31 July 2015

How to Not Look Like a Tourist... When Touring Thailand!

 

Travellers no longer wish to be labelled as ‘tourists’; instead today’s travellers are looking for authentic experiences.  Best way to achieve this?  Go where the locals go, eat where the locals eat and participate in activities the locals enjoy, of course.  Here are some tips on how you can easily blend in with the unique Thai culture.

 

1)    Participate in cultural festivals – Drawing influences from India, China and Cambodia, many of Thailand’s festivals will be deep-rooted in religion and cultural beliefs.  For instance, the Hat Yai Lantern Festival or the Loi Krathong Festival each year focus on displaying mythical characters, fairy tales, or they simply give thanks to the gods.  These festivals occur during significant periods within the Thai lunar calendar and have much meaning to the Thai people.

 

2)    Shop in the open-air markets – Make time to check out the world-famous floating markets in Thailand, it’s a must-do experience.  But on your non-touristy time, you may want to check out Patpong’s Night Markets for an exciting, one-of-a-kind shopping experience.  The Chatuchak markets are among the largest in the world offering 35 acres of vendor stalls and kiosks selling just about anything.  You can also bargain at these shopping sites, so be sure to brush up on your negotiation skills!

 

 

3)    Take in the natural wonders – You can truly be yourself on a secluded beach among a serene tropical atmosphere!  Visit the Andaman Coast and take a longtail boat to a few of the nearby secluded beaches.  The island of Phuket is great for its variety of activities and its diverse range of ethnic groups, cultural influence and fine cuisine!  All major Phuket beaches for instance offer instructions and equipment for diving, wind surfing and sailing – just so you can look like a pro!  The many jungles of Thailand also allow you to steer off the beaten path and create your own unique adventure. 

 

4)    Meditation centres and retreats – Thailand is known for being the “Land of Smiles” and it’s mostly because the locals are always smiling and are a generally happy community.  If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the Thai culture, being part of a calm tranquil mindset can ease your transition nicely.  Quiet locations such as Sakon Nakhon, offer fantastic meditation retreats.  The island of Koh Phangan takes you away from the commercialism of Thailand where you will be near beach bungalows and a myriad of health, meditation and yoga retreats.

5)    Take a piece of history with you – Visit historical buildings, learn all about how the Kingdom of Sukhothai in1238 became Siam until 1939 and eventually the country we know today as Thailand.  Nothing immerses you more into a culture then knowing about its roots and back stories.  Furthermore, try taking a cooking class and treat your friends with your culinary craft upon your return.  Or learn Muay Thai Boxing so you can stay fit and learn a national sport at the same time.

 

Written By:  Jane (Destination Specialist)  

Planning your dream vacation shouldn’t ever be a simple “Point A to Point B” experience.  I will always look to include many unique aspects of your destination as well as give you exposure to the off-beaten path adventures and experiences that make your holiday exceptional!