I spent a total of 122 Days in Thailand over 5 months (4 of the 5 months).
Thailand is modern and it feels like it’s a booming country, then you move away from the cities and tourist areas and you experience a more traditional lifestyle.
Bangkok is a wealthy, vibrant city with happy people. I experienced both really congested roads and then on occasions riding around on the Dakar it was easy with considerate drivers. Nobody uses their horn in the aggressive way they do in Europe! I rode around the city on many days and I have a great feel for it, it’s about the size of London but it has great transport networks with many roads and the ‘sky train’ high above the hectic city below, it really is one of the great cities of the world. The people of Bangkok are really friendly.
26.5 million tourist per year visit Thailand which makes it the 10th most visited country in the world and has to be one of the easiest countries to travel in, everything is made easy from transport to accommodation to cheap food. A backpackers paradise. For me Thailand is so successful in attracting tourist and offering solutions to all travellers needs it doesn’t offer a challenge and I imagine many people want Thailand to be how it was 25 years ago when I was first there. Where is the new Thailand with fewer tourists?
The islands are beautiful, from a full on party holiday to a complete deserted beach every need is catered for. The islands are packed with tourists for good reason, Phuket is the most crowded with Koh Samui not far behind. The beaches, jungle, local people are a delight but the crowded resorts with McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King you can keep. Search out a small village by a beach with locals and it’s as beautiful and tranquil as anywhere in the world.
Sex tourism is everywhere in Thailand. Beautiful, young Thai women walk around hand in hand with ‘old, white, ugly, fat western men’. ‘It’s all about the money’. I understand why these ugly, old, fat white men do it, they cannot find love or sex in the western world so they travel and find it here. I spoke to many people about this both tourists and people who live here and the consensus was that Thai women want the higher standard of living they can get from old western men (I do understand this). For me the success in ‘sex tourism’ is hard on the eyes and really sad. What about the Thai men? I understand they hate it. I’m sure that if the majority of beautiful English women were doing the same in my home town my friends and I would hate it too. Prostitution is all over the world it’s just more ‘in your face in Thailand’. It was an easy decision for me to keep away from these areas!
Step outside the vast world of tourism in Thailand and experience ‘real thailand’ where the people are so genuinely friendly, curious and want to understand your story, what brought you here, why? Offers of friendship and help are everywhere. As in so many places in SouthEast Asia people look you in the eye and smile continually, they love their King, Buddhism and a relaxed lifestyle, I believe the are people are happy, they certainly seemed to be.
When did the western world lose the ability to slow down and engage so peacefully, was it ever there?