September 30, 2019 By bangkok7
It’s Monday, folks. And what does every Monday have in common? They all suck. So let’s find something positive to meditate on. Here’s another ‘love-Thailand’ blog by a happy visitor who does nothing but sing the praises of TLOS. And as a kindred spirit, I’m all too happy to join in the love fest. Skipping the ones every blog mentions (BPCFW—beaches, people, cost, food, and weather), let’s check out what Nomadic Matt likes about our favorite country:
“It’s the Perfect Travel Hub
Thailand is smack-dab in the middle of everything. It’s three hours to Hong Kong, two hours to Singapore, four hours to Bali, and half way between Australia and Europe. You can get to a lot of places easily from Thailand, which, for a traveler like myself, is really appealing.”
I admit, I did like this aspect of BKK early on, when I still had the urge to travel. I made it to Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, and The Philippines by way of easy access before realizing that everything I could ever want or need can be found within the confines of the borders of Thailand. Now, I hate the fact that so many idjits find their way here whilst in transit to somewhere else. I wish the airport was on an island in the Gulf so travelers couldn’t come into the city and ruin my night with their boorish behavior.
“The Postcard-Perfect Tropical Islands
I love the beach. I can sit on the sand and go for a swim for hours upon end. While Thailand has been developed for years and many of the best beaches have been ruined by uncontrolled development, you can still find some pristine, picture-perfect islands and beaches around the country.
I particularly love Ko Chang, Ko Kood, Surin Island, Ko Adang, and Ko Lanta. The best islands are down south near the Malaysian border.
As long as you avoid the super touristy and overpriced beaches (and there are many), you’ll find the postcard-perfect beaches you’ve already dreamed of!”
Agreed. This is one of my favorite things about Thailand, and while it may overlap with the B in BPCFW, it bears mentioning simply because of how unreal the experience is of stepping onto one of these islands. It’s like stepping into a storybook or a movie set. Your eyes refuse to believe it’s real for the first day or two. The islands of Thailand are among the top wonders of the world. Let us forgive Matt for saying the southern islands are the best, since he obviously hasn’t been to Trad where they’re as good or better.
“The Lush JunglesAs much as I enjoy sitting on the beach, I also love to hike through the jungles, and Thailand has some of the most beautiful and lush ones I’ve seen. From the jungles and elephants in Khao Yai National Park, to the famed lake of Khao Sok in the south, to the famous jungle and hill tribe treks near Chiang Mai, you can get your tropical jungle fix very easily here.
They may not be the wild and untamed jungles of some places in Borneo or the middle of Africa, but they still offer amazing views, dense forests, waterfalls to cool off in, and an interesting variety of wildlife.”
I lived in the jungle for my first two years in Thailand. It was amazing. I quickly figured out that, without constant gardening and clearing, the jungle would completely take over my house and crush it to rubble in mere weeks. The vegetation grew so fast and so thick, you could almost see it happen in real time. And everything is so—fucking—green! Your eyes are veritably saturated with a myriad shades of green.
“The International Environment
Thailand is a country where you can get as local or foreign as you like. Because of all the tourists and expats who live here, the country is very cosmopolitan and international. There are global food chains, international restaurants and stores, Starbucks, and Hollywood movies.
Thailand is a melting pot of people, and you’ll find people from around the world. I’ve made friends here from France, Germany, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Israel, just to name a few.”
I have love-hate feelings about this aspect of BKK. On the one hand it’s great to have so many choices for food, culture, sights, and sounds. But if I’m honest, there are a couple of cultures I could do without. I’ll leave it up to your imagination which ones I mean. If given a choice, I’ll almost always lean toward Thai culture, even over my own.
Thailand is convenient. Hungry at 3:30am? There’s someone around to sell you food. Need to take a bus to Vietnam? That can be easily arranged. Need to go shopping at some strange hour? There’s a store open. Pharmacy at 2am? Got that too. Thailand is just an easy place to live and move around in. And in Bangkok, you never have to wait for a taxi.”
This is 99% true. The only thing you can’t find is a taxi after 10:00 pm in certain neighborhoods. But now, the Grab app solves that problem. It’s true that 24-hour shops, stores, and restaurants abound, and everything you could want or need is a short walk away. And if it isn’t, just have it delivered. Everything—and I mean everything—is a click away.
I hated Bangkok the first few times I traveled there. It wasn’t until I moved there that I fell in love with it.
Bangkok, it turns out, is an easy city to live in. There’s lots to do, plenty of events, great bars, and amazing food (see above), and it’s easy to get around (except during rush hour). I love cities where there’s always something to do. No matter what time of the day or day of the week, you can always find something to do in Bangkok.
I began to love Bangkok when I got know it beyond the temples and the tourist trail. When I found hidden markets and amazing street stalls frequented only by locals, became friends with residents, and understood how it operated, I knew why people loved Bangkok so much.
Bangkok is not a city for tourists. It’s for residents. Take some time here and enjoy it!”
My first three years in Thailand were spent in small towns in the south—first in Krabi province, then in a tiny fishing village on Phuket. Life there was slow, quaint, and charming, and I loved it. But you can’t take the city out of the city boy, and when I finally relocated to Bangkok, it was like waking from a dream. The dream was lovely—sandy beaches, ocean breezes, bamboo bars and small-town girls. But Bangkok is a real city—more so than my native Los Angeles—and it positively buzzes with excitement 24/7. It’s Hunter Thompson, Chuck Bukowski, Henry Miller, Billy Burroughs, and Nabakov all rolled into one story. And that story is your story.
“There’s Something for Everyone!
Whether you’re a travel newbie of veteran backpacker, Thailand will have something to keep you entertained. While the country is always my go-to suggestion for new travelers, I’ve been coming back for over a decade and have yet to be bored or disappointed. Whether you’re looking for hiking or partying, greasy street food or a super-healthy detox retreat, you can find it in Thailand. Digital nomad? Head to Chiang Mai. Looking for yoga? Head to Pai. Want to escape the hectic cities? Go explore Isaan.
No matter what kind of trip you’re looking for, you can find it in Thailand!”
Let’s talk read for a second. Looking for hedonism? Head to Ko Phangan for the Full Moon Party, or Patpong in Phuket, or Chaweng in Samui, or Patpong/Nana/Cowboy in BKK. Or of course, the granddaddy of all forbidden pleasures: Pattaya.
Looking for low-cost retirement living? Any small town will do, however if you also want to be near the beach, look to Krabi province, Surat Thani, Had Yai, Trad, Trang, or even the coast of northeast Phuket.
Props to Nomadic Matt for this enlightened and insightful list. It’s great that for every whiny bitch with a hate-Thailand blog on the internet, there are dudes like this who see the country for what it is and have the brains and perspective to appreciate it. Until next time, keep your balls warm, your beer cold and cheers to all you Thai lovers. It really is the best place in the world. Peace!