Thailand is one of those places you have…

by: Mohammad Hafiz

Thailand is one of those places you have either been to or know of someone who has been there. There are many good reasons why this place is loved by many and will likely continue to be a must-go holiday destination. These are my 6 reasons why one should visit Thailand.

1. Affordability.

The Rand in South Africa usually disappoints me when I travel to Europe or The United Kingdom. However, in Thailand, the Rand goes a long way. You can actually have fun with your money. Transport is affordable, Shopping local brands and eating local food is also just as affordable. Check out the current exchange rate here.

2. Island life is never a bad idea.

When in Phuket visit all the islands you can. You won’t regret it. I went on an adventure to see a few islands and started off with James Bond Island because besides the fact that it is very beautiful out there, you will feel left out if you travel as far as Phuket and not have seen this iconic island. Canoeing is also such a great way to see the Islands in a much more fun way. You will have the most amazing experience and scenic views to indulge in. Swimming in the ocean is, of course, a must for a full-on Island experience. I swam in the ocean by Coral Island, which was not too packed like most other island beaches. Furthermore, If you’re interested in seeing the way people live, you could also visit the fisherman’s floating village which is a little man-made village in the middle of the ocean, called Panyee Island. The small village even had a primary school for the young kids, and almost every woman in the village sold something they had made or cooked. Quite a culture shock to see on my end, in terms of the way they lived compared to how I live. They were simply happy with the very little they had, which was humbling. Here is a list of some good islands to visit.

3. The people of Thailand are the kindest, most helpful and give quality for your money.

You might not know their language or culture but these people are really friendly and trustworthy. For instance, we had decided to go temple-hopping and the tuk tuk driver we found, had agreed to take us all over the city for 500baht/600baht which is roughly R200. Much less than what we would have been charged back home for the same distance. We saw multiple temples, all of which were different distances apart. At each one of the temples, our driver would sit and wait for us to go in, take photos or even eat. He would still be by his tuk tuk waiting patiently to take us to the next venue. He could have easily driven off with other people, but he waited. On the other hand, we had not paid him yet so we could have also easily run off with another driver without paying him. I have not had such good service from drivers back home.

4. You can bargain your way through almost anything.

Bargaining is a must on Thai streets. Even in some big shopping malls. Do not accept the first price given, always negotiate it down. I was so bad at bargaining at the beginning because I felt so bad for not paying the full price. After I read a lot of articles about how normal bargaining in Thailand was, I realised that I could not miss out on lower prices. Be fair and kind but firm. This got me what I wanted.

5. Beautiful affordable accommodation and reliable transport.

Why pay more when you’re in Thailand, the exchange rate is good to most currencies remember? Whether you’re backpacking or travelling for leisure, you can stay in hotels or resorts with great service for affordable prices. To book my accommodation I used STA travel where I received some of the best prices. There are many other sights to look at like Booking. com. As mentioned before, the people of Thai seem very reliable so is their transport systems. Whether your using their cabs or trains both will get you where you need to be without a problem. However the traffic in Bangkok is quite heavy, not something you want to be caught in, so I would advice using trains which are always on time, fast and also have air-cons inside them which helped during peak hours when it’s packed.

My Hotel room in Bangkok. Image: Hotelsthailand. com

6. Shopping in Bangkok is a dream.

Shopping in Bangkok is absolute fun. It is one of the top fashion cities to shop in. The unique thing about this place is that you could literally go from a high-end shopping mall where you could find Fendi or Louise Vuitton and then cross the road into a different mall that sells the very same items but counterfeit. Thereafter cross another road and it’s a beautiful ancient temple. These are the unique qualities that make Bangkok so diverse, beautiful and a place to shop for almost anything. It has multiple malls and markets for anyone’s wallet. I shopped at the following malls: Terminal 21, Siam Paragon, MBK, Platinum Mall, Pantip Plaza and Central World. I also went to the floating market but would advise on other more affordable popular markets on land that have better variety. The malls were all either a walk away from each other or a short train ride away. The most fun was had at MBK buying electronics and Platinum Fashion Mall buying local designer clothes which were so reasonably priced for the good quality and design. It’s safe to say next time I go to Bangkok it will be with an empty suitcase.

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