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Published: March 22nd 2012
Top 10 reasons to love Thailand….
Tomorrow I’m heading to Thailand. An exciting trip, right? Not really. Thailand has become my home away from home (away from home). Over the last 10 years I’ve lost count of the number of trips I’ve made to that country. Why, when there are so many places to visit on this planet, do I keep going back? Here are my top 10 reasons….
10. Beaches: Lots of places have beaches, but the beaches in Thailand are the stuff that postcards and screensavers are made of. Find the right one and you will be in a private cove with swaying palms, you might find white sand and turquoise water, or you might be surrounded by dramatic karst outcroppings. No matter what your pleasure, Thailand contains paradise found!
9. Food: For anyone that has tried Thai food anywhere, this goes without saying. But, there is something really special about the real deal. Whether you eat at one of the many atmospheric restaurants or buy from the parade of street vendors, you will consume something delicious. The flavors are complex. I think I could live on the aromas alone! The variety is beyond imagination and
there is no such thing as a bad meal.
8. Budget: Whatever your budget, you’ll have many choices. I can go to Thailand, enjoy all the luxuries, and spend less than $50 a day, or I can spend 10 times that. I like a country that caters to backpackers and billionaires. My budget is usually closer to the first category, but I never feel like I’m slumming it, no matter which I choose.
7. Medical: The latest in cutting edge tourist activities – medical tourism. For a fraction of the cost, and no waiting, you can have a myriad of medical treatments. Yes, lots of people go for plastic surgery, but I just have top to toe check-ups every year. I’ve had every test and check that I could think of and have never spent over $400. I always get an A-list team that is constantly monitoring my health. My first experience was with vision corrective laser surgery. For less than half the cost of US doctors, I flew to Bangkok, had the surgery with their top eye doctor, went for 2 years of follow-up visits, and even included a quick trip to Cambodia (in case I lost
my vision, I wanted my last sight to be memorable). I had nothing to worry about; the care is always top notch.
6. Bangkok: When I first went to Thailand many people scoffed at Bangkok. Dirty. Polluted. Crowded. These were the words I heard. Yes, Bangkok does have its negative points, but it is a world-class city. The transportation, restaurants, hotel choices, tourist sites, shopping, etc… It is a little slice of all Thailand has to offer and I never get bored with it.
5. Spa treatments: Between price and quality, the toughest part of visiting a spa in Thailand is fitting it all in. Daily foot massages keep me relaxed. Thai massage is a singular experience and 90 minutes can cost you as little as $6. I never leave Thailand with raggedy nails and my face always ends up smoother and just a little bit younger looking. Like the food, I have never had a bad experience.
4. Shopping: Like food, hotels and spa treatments – there is everything for everyone in every price range. Upscale malls sit side by side with street markets. The weekend and night markets contain more items that you can imagine.
I like the legitimate shops, but I also like discovering what can be found in the illegal back rooms. That nondescript luggage shop with no customers might have a thriving DVD business and knock off everything is available to those who know where to look. One night, I thought of a few things I needed. I left my hotel at 9:30 at night. I returned 15 minutes later with a set of ipod earbuds, new sunglasses, and some prescription strength ibuprofen and had spent around $10.
3. Smells: There is something amazing about the smell of Thailand. 90% of the smells are wonderful – curry, spices, tropical flowers, plants – but every now and then something weird hits you – sewage, elephants, or things unexplained. However, good or bad, there is always some kind of smell. The constant array of aromas makes me feel alive.
2. Religion and Royalty: The Buddhism is as engrained in the culture as the food. I’ve learned a lot about this peaceful religion over the years. The temples are some of the loveliest sites in Thailand. I’ve sat in a café, enjoying my breakfast, when the staff stops what they are doing to
give offerings to the monks and receive their blessings. It is a sight that is in contrast to the chaos of Bangkok and can set a nice tone for the day. But, equal in fervor is the country’s feelings for their king. Most Thais were not alive when Bhumibol was on the throne. He is the world’s longest ruler at 62 years and counting. The love the people have for their king rivals anything I’ve ever seen. It is their other religion.
1. The people: There is a reason Thailand is called the “Land of Smiles”. No matter where you go, you will be welcomed warmly. The Thai people will go out of their way to provide you with a memorable experience.
There is no way that I could express in a list why Thailand is special. You really have to experience it for yourself. The thing you can put on a list is the magic. Thailand is a magical place. It feels exotic, yet comfortable. It both assaults and calms your senses. It is like a first love that you just can't forget. But, this list starts to sum up the reasons why all my other trips start or end there and why it has become my default destination. So, even though this is my umpteenth trip there, I am very, very excited to get on that plane tomorrow!
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