Top 10 Reasons to Visit Thailand

It's a bucket-list destination for adventuresome travelers

Marble temple (Wat Benchamabophit) in reflection, Bangkok
Theerawat Kaiphanlert / Getty Images

Though traveling to Thailand is commonplace for Europeans, most North Americans consider it too far away and even too exotic to visit on a regular week or two-week vacation. That’s a shame​ because if you can get past the 14-plus hours on a plane, Thailand is a mind-expanding vacation destination. Although it’s always better to visit if you have weeks or even a month to spare, you’ll also get plenty out of your visit if you go for just a week or 10 days.

  • 01 of 10

    Affordable Food and Lodging

    Street food stall in Silom, elevated view
    Ed Freeman/Getty Images

    The dollar goes a long way in Thailand. There are hundreds of hotels and guesthouses for prices that sound like America in the mid-20th century. Thai food is likewise inexpensive, and often the street food vendors, who typically sell dishes for what Americans consider pocket change, offer the most delicious stuff. Want to splurge? That's even better because Thailand has some outstanding hotels and resorts, all for significantly less than you would pay back home.

  • 02 of 10

    Year-Round Sunshine

    Thailand, Krabi province, Ko Tub island
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    Whether you visit in December or May, expect warm weather and mostly clear days. There are seasons in Thailand; they’re just a little different from the ones Americans are used to—cool, hot, and rainy.

  • 03 of 10

    Beautiful Beaches

    Southern Thailand, Phangna Bay, family in kayak, calm waters
    Waterfall William/Getty Images

    Thailand has some of the best beaches in the world: warm, clear water; stunning vistas; and marine life to gawk at as you swim, snorkel, or scuba. Plus there are so many different types of beaches in Thailand, from quiet and laid back to party all night, that everyone can find ​the perfect fit.

  • 04 of 10

    Terrific Thai Food

    People dining outside at food stalls at night
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    Few will argue that Thai food isn't delicious. But if you’ve only been exposed to it at Thai restaurants in the United States, you’re in for a surprise. Here in Thailand, the food is better, there is more variety, and it’s very inexpensive. You’ll easily find favorites such as pad thai and curry, but you’ll also find a wide selection of salads, noodles, and snacks. And believe it or not, with apologies to the American South, Thailand has delicious fried chicken.

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  • 05 of 10

    Splendid Shopping

    Night scene of colorful tent and cityscape at Chatujak market secondhand market in Bangkok , Thailand
    Suttipong Sutiratanachai/Getty Images

    If you like markets, bargains, or cool and quirky stuff, you’ll find shopping in Thailand rewarding. Big city markets carry everything from shoes to art, and the malls in Bangkok are some of the fanciest in the world.

  • 06 of 10

    Easy Travel

    Thailand, Koh Samui, Plane flying over Wat Phra Yai Ko Pan temple
    Jon Arnold/Getty Images

    Once you’re in the country, it’s easy and cheap to get around, thanks mostly to local budget airlines like Nok Air, Air Asia,  and Bangkok Airways. If you book ahead and aren’t traveling during the peak season, it’s quite common to get a round-trip ticket from Bangkok to Phuket for an extremely affordable fare.

  • 07 of 10

    Interesting Cities

    Bangkok City
    Anek/Getty Images

    The booming, bustling capital of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, the quieter, charming center of Northern Thailand, both offer culture, history, architecture, great food, and lots of diversions.

  • 08 of 10

    Friendly People

    A Thai lady selling fresh chilies in Bangkok
    Igor Bilic/Getty Images

    They don’t call it the “Land of Smiles” for nothing. While there are occasional tourist scams and once in a while, you’ll encounter someone who isn’t smiling, by and large, the people of Thailand are friendly, open, and kind to foreign visitors.

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  • 09 of 10

    Breathtaking Buddhist Temples

    Doi Suthep temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Asia
    Alex Robinson/Getty Images

    Buddhism is Thailand's predominant religion, and it influences everything from the architecture to the way people interact with one another. All of the country’s major cities have breathtaking Buddhist temples to visit; Chiang Mai and Bangkok have the lion's share.

  • 10 of 10

    Renowned Nightlife

    Banyan Tree Vertigo rooftop bar and restaurant
    Tony Burns/Getty Images

    Whether you are on the beach or in one of Thailand’s cities, you won’t be far from the bars and nightclubs that have made the country famous. Don’t worry, it’s not all go-go bars and scantily clad women. There are plenty of discos, nightclubs, and regular bars, too.