Thailand

Home to some of the best wildlife, cities, and food in the world; Thailand should be near the top of everyone’s bucket list. As the top tourist destination in Southeast Asia, Thailand has so much to offer the world. 

One of the coolest things to do throughout Thailand is explore the Buddhist temples. Known as Wats, these temples are full of beautiful statues of Buddha, mythical creatures, and animals. The culture of Buddhism is very peaceful with an emphasis on respect, peace, and love. At these temples you must be respectful and it is a good idea to either bring a guide/local or to look up the rules beforehand. 

Thailand's cities are very unique and range in size and culture. The capital city of Bangkok, is the most visited city in the entire world. The city itself is massive and there is plenty to do both within and around the city. Extremely cheap transportation can get you around the city for a matter of a few dollars. Chiang Mai is one of the biggest cities in the North of Thailand. It is an amazing city full of nightlife and lots to see. The city also has (in my opinion) the best street market you can find. You can feed yourself for two to three dollars on delicious dumplings, kebabs, noodles, and more. Clothes, souvenirs, and other knickknacks are sold up and down the street for incredible prices. Phuket is another popular city in the South. It’s beaches and surrounding islands offer incredible snorkeling and scuba diving.

One of the coolest things about Northern Thailand is the elephant sanctuaries. Unfortunately, Southern Thailand is still not very humane with elephants. Often using them for tourism and logging industries. Please whatever you do, do not pay to interact with elephants in Southern Thailand and especially do not ride them. Despite their massive size, this can hurt the elephants. Additionally most elephants who do this type of work are mistreated and abused. Think of it as the Seaworld of Southeast Asia. However, in Northern Thailand, many places have opened up to rescue elephants from these harsh situations. Elephants are brought here from dangerous and harmful environments and are given large spaces to roam free with other elephants. You can visit these places and help volunteer. Some of the work you may do will be cleaning up after the elephants, bathing them in rivers, harvesting and giving them food, and more. 

Speaking of elephants, despite major deforestation, Thailand is still home to many wild elephants. These elephants can be found in the countries national wildlife parks such as Khao Yai and Khao Sok. These parks are filled with amazing animals such as Gibbons, monkeys, vipers, buffalo, and possibly even a few tigers. Seeing the wildlife of Thailand was my favorite part of traveling here and you can see wildlife all across the country.

 

While I have traveled solo is many countries across Europe, I would not recommend going alone in Thailand. Scammers and criminals are attracted to tourists so one of the most visited countries in the world will bring in a lot of them. Just using common sense can almost always keep you out of harms way but know that there are some dangers. Scams in Bangkok and Phuket are particularly famous with the police sometimes being part of them. Traveling with a group and/or hiring a guide can help you easily avoid these issues.  

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