Due to it’s famous beach parties and backpacker culture Thailand has recently become a favourite amongst young travelers with nomadic types travelling from across the globe to get a slice of the action. Despite this rise in popularity there is still much of the country that remains undiscovered by the partying crowd and if you are keen to get off the beaten track there are still plenty of hidden gems and enchanting destinations that await you.
Known worldwide as the ‘land of smiles’ Thailands people do not disappoint and you are sure to expect a warm welcome and friendly face wherever you go.
- Thailand is home to the world’s largest gold Buddha, the largest crocodile farm, the largest restaurant, the longest single-span suspension bridge, and the world’s tallest hotel.
- The Thai alphabet has 32 vowels and 44 consonants
- One-tenth of all animal species on Earth live in Thailand
Travel Highlights in Thailand
- Visit the historical city ruins of Ayuthaya, once the trade capital of Asia, destroyed by the Burmese army in 1767
- Take a trip to Ko Tarutao island, and soak up the amazing landscape and vast array of exotic animals on display on the land in the surrounding sea
- For those looking for an unbelievable snorkelling or diving experience in Thailand’s stunning blue waters, do not miss a trip to the Similan Islands
- Find some bargains and test your bartering skills in the bustling Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
- Discover the amazing setting for the movie, The Beach (2000), on the popular Ko Phi Phi island resort
Where is Thailand?
Thailand is the geographical heart of South East Asia surrounded by Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia. It also makes up part of the infamous Golden Triangle where Thailand’s borders meet with Laos and Burma.
Like all of South East Asia Thailand has a tropical climate which can often leave it extremely hot and muggy in places. It’s seasons are divided into three throughout the year; November to February is the cool season, March to May is the hot season and June to October is the rainy season. This seasons tend to be more extreme in Northern regions of the country where the heat can become more intense and the mountains can sometimes become cold.
Language in Thailand
The language most commonly spoken throughout Thailand is Thai or Siamese, and these are acknowledged as the national and official language of the country. This is considerably different from many foreign languages and the meaning of words can change depending on which tone is used, so can often be quite hard for visitors to pick up. This being said Thai people are generally happy to help visitors with the pronunciation of the Thai language and are extremely appreciative for your efforts in learning. Many Thai’s also speak and understand English and with so many visitors from across the world English tends to become the common currency for cross cultural communication.
The People of Thailand
Known throughout the world as the ‘land of smiles’ Thailand certainly lives up to it’s name and Thai locals have a well deserved reputation for being easy going, courteous and hospitable. Although many still live a more traditional life, living off the land in the rural countryside over 10 million people now live in the sprawling streets of Bangkok. Many people choose to move to bigger cities and towns due to the increase in tourism and hope for better work.
In contrast to bustling, lively cities are the hill tribe communities based in Northern, rural Thailand. Living in villages throughout the jungle these communities hold on to traditional Thai values and practises, living off the land. There are six major hill tribes throughout Thailand which are the Akha, Lahu, Karen,Hmong/Miao and Lisu and each of these ethnic groups has its own distinctive heritage, clothing, language, religion and culture. Buddhism is the dominant religion in Thailand, although a variety of tribal religions continue to be practiced.
Travelling in Thailand
Thailand is bursting at the seams with cultural destinations, adventurous activities and beautiful wildlife spots and there is certainly far more to do in Thailand than lazing on the beach and dancing all night at the Full Moon Party (although it’s not a bad place to start!) If you want to experience Thailand away from the crowds then trek into the mountainous hill tribes in Chiang Mai and get a taste of real Thai traditions. Whether you just spend a day getting a taste of this lifestyle of take part in a week long trek, living, working and eating with the hill tribe communities this is an experience you will never forget!
Head South if you’re looking for some serious beach life and Thailand’s famous beaches don’t fail to disappoint. If you’re looking for slice of paradise then make sure to take a local guided boat tour to a secluded island and camp the night under the stars.
For nature lovers make sure to take a trip to Khao Yai National Park where a huge array of wildlife such as elephants, gibbons, deer and exotic birds live in the world throughout miles of beautiful rainforest. Visit the countries many temples to get a real sense of it’s history and traditions.
Gap Year and Career Breaks in Thailand
Visit one of the most unique and charming countries in the world on your gap year or career break and you are sure to fall in love with the awe inspiring landscapes, friendly locals and colourful social life that awaits you. Make lifelong memories, meet amazing like minded people and get your own slice of paradise as you experience the trip of a life time.