The beautiful beaches of Phuket and amazing temples in Bangkok are what usually draw travellers to Thailand. It’s exotic, inexpensive and strikingly beautiful, particularly in the north. While Thailand can appeal to wealthy tourists seeking luxurious hotels and spas, backpackers are the ones who find truly amazing deals and experience the culture and locale firsthand.
Despite its overall popularity, backpackers are heading to Thailand for more specific reasons lately. If travelling alone or with a group of friends is in your near future, here are five less common reasons to visit “The Land of Smiles.”
1. It’s even cheaper than people think
Thailand has a reputation for inexpensive travel options, but because of political unrest in 2010 there has been a drop in tourism. Even though things have smoothed out and the country is safe again, tourism has not yet bounced back. This means lower prices and better services than ever. Going to Thailand now not only saves you money, but it helps reemploy the Thai people who rely on tourism for income.
2. Adventure travel
Explore caves, climb rocks, bike through the mountains and hike the jungles of Thailand, all for a ridiculously low price. The country’s official travel site, TourismThailand.com, suggests diverse activities for travellers that are as low-key as meditating with Buddhist monks and as intrepid as jungle trekking.
3. Volunteer vacations
Thailand has recently revamped its nature-based travel industry, better promoting opportunities for trekking, camping, mountain biking, bird watching, kayaking and visiting hillside tribes. People interested in volunteer vacations can find opportunities to experience Thai culture and immerse themselves in nature while engaging in an eco-friendly adventure. Volunteer vacations are safe, but TravelGuard medical travel insurance provides an added layer of protection, should an emergency arise. Travel insurance also helps with evacuations, transportation back home, transportation to local hospitals and medical expenses incurred.
The northern regions of Thailand are the best for eco-tourism. Lonely Planet calls Chiang Rai the center for hilltribe trekking with a “social justice hook” as many trekking companies support community development programs and hire guides from hilltribes. Many areas of northeastern Thailand give visitors the chance to stay in village homesteads and learn about the unique culture.
4. Diver’s dream
The southern islands of Phuket are well-known for their amazing beaches, but less-known for what could be called a diver’s dream. Catherine Bodry from Bootsnall.com calls the water glass clear and a great place for diving and snorkeling. Inexpensive diving classes are widely available for people interested in learning the fundamentals.
5. Thailand is a jump-off point
Travelling to Thailand is easy, especially compared to nearby countries, such as Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar. It is easier to fly into Thailand, find a guesthouse to store luggage and then travel to border countries. Flights from Thailand to Nepal, India and China are reasonably priced as well. Using Thailand as a jump off point for other adventures makes it an attractive choice, but don’t forget to experience everything it has to offer while you are there.
Have you been to Thailand? Tell us your tips in the comments…
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