Thailand has definitely become a go-to destination with an absolute abundance of things to do for anyone and everyone! However, I have created a list of easy things that everyone should or shouldn’t make a part of their itinerary in Thailand among things more attuned to your interests.
1. See the wildlife the right way!
Everyone wants to see elephants or tigers when they go to Thailand, myself included. However, it should not be lost on anyone that there is a severe lack of animal welfare law and enforcement in Thailand and many tourist attractions will boast conservation or sanctuaries which is not always accurate.
I personally thought I had researched enough and booked a tour at a place that was cruel: within 5 minutes of being at the premises my sister and I were in tears upon seeing an elephant cry out after being struck with a bull hook on the head and behind the ears. Research also tells us that elephants should not have the baskets upon their backs that are used for elephant trekking. We then skipped our planned day at Tiger Temple as research told us it was perhaps just as cruel.
Therefore, do your research thoroughly to avoid a memory and regret such as ours. There are places in Thailand where you can humanely see and interact with the wildlife, it just takes research. For more information and assistance in this area Right Tourism has some great information.
2. Do markets and shopping the right way!
Before I left for Thailand, I had been told by quite a few people to not go overboard when buying the fake items you will find everywhere and with general items as well. Many shops and market stalls have the exact same items all over the place, so if you want something in particular, do not buy the first one you see – shop around!
It’s also common knowledge that bartering is a custom. The tip for bartering is to ask for a price that you automatically halve and then work your way back up to an agreed price, with a calculator they usually provide to overcome language barriers. It’s also important to remember that it’s supposed to be fun – a lot of people get disappointed or disgruntled if they don’t get their way and feel as though the seller was unfair, these people often don’t enjoy the shopping or get what they want. Instead, have a laugh and a joke as you do it, the sellers will do the same!
3. Get out and about!
At the resort I stayed at, there were always the particular people who sat in the resort all day, everyday: they ate there, they drank there, they swam there and they slept there – they did not participate in the culture. Why go on holiday to stay in one spot? Often your accommodation will work to appeal to other cultures and is therefore not authentic, or cheap! The alcohol and food in our resort was always twice the price as outside the resort and outside of the resort we were getting an authentic and cultural experience, which should be the reason we travel.
4. See the temples!
One of the biggest highlights of my trip was seeing the temples. The Thai are very spiritual and very proud of their temples and their monks, and rightly so, they are absolutely beautiful. From large, extravagant temples to cave temples to jungle temples with monkeys, they are the perfect way to immerse yourself in the culture in Thailand and while I wouldn’t consider myself spiritual, I felt the spirituality that day and it was an amazing and humbling. Make sure you dress conservatively or will you not be able to visit some of them – this means shoulders, chest and thighs covered.
5. Boat tours!
One of Thailand’s biggest attractions is the beauty that is the sea and the islands that surround the country! There are speed boat and long boat tours that can be as short or as long as you like where every photo you snap is a postcard photo!
See what I mean? These things are so simple and easy to do for anyone who visits Thailand, so pin this post on Pinterest to ensure you do them so you won’t feel as though you missed out on the key aspects of the culture. To see more of my photos and highlights from my trip click here!
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