I first came to Thailand in 2011 and have made a trip every year ever since. There’s something about the place that just keeps you coming back. It always shows you a good time. The stunning coastlines, the lazy islands, the bustling cities and the slow paced countryside in the north. It’s really a country that has something to offer to every kind of traveler. The prince, the pauper, the adventurous and the laid back, the one’s who want to dance the night away as well as those who are looking to recuperate. As far as i’m concerned, I’ve been here for all of these reasons. The food, the diving, the shopping, the nightlife, the history, the culture, the massages on sun-soaked beaches, the forests and the fields. Oh! I could really go on.
The moment I step off the plane into the country, an almost sudden transition takes place. I start stretching my words a little, unintentionally emulating that adorable singsong manner, smiling and bowing a lot more, looking out for the first 7 eleven I can spot to get a pack of my favourite ‘creamy shrimp’ Mama noodles. I can slip off my shoes with ease and I start craving rice, even for breakfast.
I have to say my love for Thailand starts with the FOOD! Delectable, varied and incredibly reasonable, my favourite flavours in the whole wide world. The sizzling chillies, the pungent lemongrass, fresh local ingredients enhance and lend flavour to each dish. I can safely say that its the kind of food that I can eat day after day, for the rest of my days.
Most tourists come to Thailand for its crystal clear turquoise waters and white soft sands. Specially from India, it makes for a very affordable beach holiday. And depending on the mood and the company, there’s a vast choice to pick from. There are the islands where the sun never really sets and the beach parties run well into the morning. And then there are some tucked away gems to grant you that ‘get away from it all feeling’. With its warm and clear seas and abundant marine life, Thailand also makes one of the world’s best diving destinations for all levels of diving. And having taken to the sport over the last couple of years, this has to be one of the key reasons that keeps pulling me back.
As much as I love the island life, the culturally plush north has its own charm too. Hopping along the back streets, one gleaming temple to the next, discovering towns and villages that are very very Thai. And of course, the rural countryside. The best way to explore this rural heartland is on a motorbike, with the rice paddies swaying on either side. It grants you a sense of freedom, very few other experiences do. I find the region specially apt for self guided exploration. This gives you the flexibility to experience the serenity of the Thai countryside at your own pace, also providing the opportunity to leave the beaten track at any moment you like.
Add to this the encounters with history, the sensory overload at the bustling street markets, the vivacious nightlife and of course the mega malls where you quite literally shop till you drop, and you have all the ingredients that make for that perfect getaway.