Thailand – the land of tangerine-cloaked monks, early morning sunrises, peanuts, and soft sandy beaches. Thailand seems like the perfect travel destination for any Brit – it is brimming with culture and heritage, it’s hot and it’s beautiful. I say that, having never been to Thailand myself, of course.
I took a fondness to Thailand from an early age – as a family we occasionally eat at a Thai restaurant when we are in Lyme Regis, to make a change from the usual Indian/Chinese that are in abundance up in the Midlands. I am a super-fan of nuts, so Thai cuisine seems perfect as there is always something vegetarian on the menu that contains peanuts or cashews. From pad-thai to noodle soup to Thai curries, I know that Thai food packs a punch when it comes to flavour. Street food is apparently world class in Thailand – cheap, local food, cooked quickly for you by local people who know what they are doing. Thailand’s beaches are also home to fabulous driftwood beach bars; where you can relax in the comfort of a hammock whilst sipping a cocktail.
The beaches in Thailand are famous for being pristine; soft white sands meet turquoise waters. Thailand is also home to the prettiest pink lakes; in Udon Thani, lilies on Red Lotus Lake burst into a riot of crimson blooms between November and February. The wide lake – 15km long and up to 5km is little-known by non-Thais but is a beautiful sight.
Thailand’s main religion is Buddhism – with 93% of the country practising the meditative religion. Thailand is full of huge glistening Buddha statues – the most famous perhaps being the ‘Big Buddha’ on Phuket Island.
Thailand is home to a huge array of fabulous wildlife; most famously the ‘cheeky’ monkeys and gibbons that crowd around Buddhist temples, and elephants which are the national animal of Thailand and play a huge rule in Thai culture. Thailand is home to the worlds smallest mammal – Kitti’s hog nosed bat, which weighs just 2 grams, and can be found across western Thailand. It is also home to the world’s largest fish – the Whale Shark, which can be found swimming in the ocean near to Koh Tao.
Is Thailand Budget-friendly?
A typical return flight in mid-December from London Heathrow to Bangkok costs around £500 with British Airways and takes 11h 20mins. Train travel within Thailand is budget friendly – an overnight air-conditioned sleeper-train from Bangkok (Thailand) to Butterworth (on the border of Thailand and Malaysia) costs only £25 in second class, allowing you to explore all of southern Thailand. A 4-star beachfront hotel room for 2 adults would cost you around £50 a night including breakfast.
So would Thailand suit the budget traveller? Yes and no. Although Thailand has a lot to offer and would be an amazing trip – flights and two weeks in a hotel room would cost £850pp – European destinations are usually a lot cheaper. It really depends on how far away you are looking to travel and if you have the funds available to travel to such an exotic location.