Do you dream about taking an adventure abroad, but nervous about taking your first International trip? Matt and Caro from Passport and a Toothbrush share three reasons why Thailand is a great destination for first time travellers:
Meet Other Travellers
As this is your leading trip in your foray into travel, there will be many firsts! Your first international flight, your first ride in a tuk tuk (a Thai taxi), your first real Pad Thai, and your first time meeting another traveller! And then your second, and third and fourth and whoa…what’s going on here?
Expect a lot of this in Thailand, as the tourism industry has absolutely exploded in the past several years! In 2013, so far, Bangkok has been the most visited city in the world with over 22 million coming to see the south east asian gem. There’s also said to be tens of thousands of foreign travelers staying in the country at any time of the year. What this all adds up to is a great support system and network of other people to meet that are just like you! There’s an instant bond that can be formed between to utter strangers when you’re living new experiences in a new environment together. So you may have a best friend from Sweden that you don’t even know about yet! Better get to Thailand and join him on the beach before he burns!
Thailand is without a doubt a beautiful and exotic country, and largely contrasts North America in terms of food, language and culture. These things can seem intimidating to a first time traveler, but there are ways to remedy swirling, anxious feelings.
Firstly, we would always urge you to try to immerse yourself as much as possible in the culture of Thailand as it should be one of the main reasons that you’re visiting! The laid back attitude and flavourful, spicy dishes are much of what Thailand is known for, and it’s not worth letting things like a difference of language or lifestyle ruin that for you!
But, all this considered, if you are feeling a little homesick there are plenty of North American luxuries to make you feel comfortable. If you’re in Bangkok, the capital is notorious for its great shopping! The famous MBK Center has eight stories packed full of 2000 shops, stalls and restaurants, and is extremely popular with tourists and the local Thais, receiving more than 100,000 visitors a day. This is only one of the shopping attractions, as MBK is connected to the upscale Siam Paragon and Siam Discovery centers by an elevated walkway! Thats right, your feet don’t even have to touch the ground as you’re getting stocked up with merchandise like Elizabeth Taylor.
If you’re not feeling in the mood for a Tom Yum Goong soup, there is virtually every fast food and beverage franchise you can fathom inside the city walls, and lets not forget the endless 7/11’s dotting every street corner. They truly bring new meaning to convenience. You can only fight the surrounding culture in Thailand before having to give in, but in the meantime there should be enough of the West there to keep you pacified.
It Caters to You
If you know anything about Thailand you’ve likely heard of the world class beaches and the out of this world Full Moon Parties that take place on the popular islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. These factors are a big reason for the tourism boom in the country. Come on, where else can you juggle flaming torches as waves crash upon one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet?
But Thailand is much more than the glow sticks and alcohol buckets you see on the surface, it’s a very peaceful and respectful culture with a rich history that dates back thousands of years.
If you’re looking to get more of a traditional Thai experience try to stay out of the larger cities. Instead of Bangkok or Chiang Mai, rent a scooter and explore the northern city of Chiang Rai and its beautiful, ornate temples. If you’d like to stay closer to the south, visit the small town of Khao Sok near Surat Thani. You can rent a room minutes away from the Khao Sok national park, a thick jungle reserve that is great for trekking!
One of the best ways to experience Thai life is to surround yourself with it. Try signing up for a homestay, and live with a Thai family for a week! If you’re looking to give something back, there are various volunteering opportunities throughout the country. In many cases you’ll be teaching English to school children, a really fun experience that turns you from an onlooking tourist to a friend.
Are you convinced yet? Thailand is the ideal location for a first time traveller, and we can promise that your experiences there will fuel a travel passion that you barely knew existed!
Looking for more information on travelling to Thailand? Contact a Flight Centre Travel Consultant at 1-877-967-5302 or visit your closest store.