Ranked among the world's top travel destinations, Thailand is no ordinary tourist hub in Asia. The country is home to some of the most breathtaking islands in the region, and its bustling city of Bangkok and colourful cultural festivals are some of the reasons why visitors flock to the country. From the popularity of its cuisine to its retail possibilities, this article explores the myriad of reasons why Thailand is such a famous travel hub for the masses.
The Street Food Scene
While every country has its own street food scene, only that of Thailand is vibrant and eclectic enough to warrant global recognition. Bangkok City's street food hotspots alone can beat out the roadside food markets in any part of the world due to the sheer variety of delectable goodies for sale at all hours of the day. Affordable and freshly prepared, Thai street food not only includes classic Thai noodle dishes and beverages but also western fare such as waffles, pancakes and baked goods. Walking down the streets of the Thai capital is akin to walking through one of the largest buffets in Asia as there are food carts, kiosks and snack stands selling every type of meal and drink imaginable from sunup till sundown.
The Local Cuisine
Often considered the second most popular Asian cuisine, Thai food is loved around the world for its unique blend of flavours and signature dishes. The unique combination of sweet, salty, spicy, bitter, and sour flavours in Thai cuisine is attributed to the skilful use of Thai spice mixes. This harmonious blend is a key factor in Thai cuisine's exceptional standing in the global culinary landscape. While there may be Thai restaurants in every corner of the world, there's nothing quite like digging into a plate of Pad Thai or Pad See Ew prepared the old-fashioned way in its land of origin. Piping hot Tom Yum Soup, papaya salad and decadent Mango Sticky Rice are other reasons to head down to Thailand to savour the authentic tastes of these popular orders.
The Iconic Temples
Thailand stands as one of the world's few remaining Buddhist states, and the impressive temples that grace its main cities and cultural hubs contribute significantly to the country's fame. The Bangkok Riverside alone contains some of the most awe-inspiring temples in all of Thailand with the Temple of Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho among its ranks. Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn is another architectural and spiritual marvel for the ages while Chiang Mai's more than 300 temples make Thailand a must-visit destination for the religiously inclined.
The Local Festivals and Events Calendar
Thailand, home to a diverse yet harmoniously coexisting population, is not only known as the Land of Smiles but also celebrated for its grand festivals and local traditions. In this part of the world, there's always a special event just around the corner. The Songkran Festival, welcoming the New Year in April with epic water fights that span three days, is a widely recognised celebration. However, cultural enthusiasts are drawn to Thailand each year not only for Songkran but also for other significant events such as the Loi Krathong Lantern Festival and the "Tak Bat Thevo" Festival, dedicated to vegetarians, making it a compelling destination for both locals and tourists alike.
Paradise Isles and the Beaches
As the hallowed location where the Hollywood blockbuster "The Beach" was shot, Thailand is a beach holiday destination unlike any other. With Koh Samui, Krabi and Phuket leading the pack, the country's leading beach venues also include islands like Koh Chang, Koh Lipe and Koh Kood. The beach destinations in Thailand, adorned with renowned hotels including Minor Hotels and similar other major hotel chains, attract visitors not only for their vibrant full moon parties but also for the exceptional scuba diving and snorkelling experiences available on the surrounding islands.