Why go to Thailand ?

 

You will find here the results of our backpackers' survey as well as comments on some aspects of Thailand.

We asked backpackers who had traveled in Thailand for more than three weeks already to answer the followings :


Do you like Thailand ?  100% of the backpackers surveyed (98) say yes !
(same)

Do we need to comment ? If anybody meet someone who did not like Thailand as a whole, let me know. I will send him flowers.

 

Would you happily come back ? 90% of the backpackers surveyed (98) say yes ! (up)

Everyone seem to like it all right but a few would not like to come back. The main reason lye with mass tourism : in Thailand, you are never too far away from another westerner and, in some places, you will actually see more of them than local people. So after having visited Thailand as everybody else, why not concentrate on more adventurous & undiscovered places ?

 

Would you recommend Thailand ?  98% of the backpackers surveyed (98) say yes ! (up)

Near unanimity : as a first backpacking experience, visit Thailand ! As a professional traveler, visit also (it is surprising that you did not do it already, what have you been waiting for ?) and them move to more exotic places...


We also asked them to rate the followings :

The tourists attractions        Backpackers : 15.76 /20 (down)
Thailand may not have famous structures like the Great Wall or the Forbidden City but it has got some of the best beaches of Asia, which very obviously are attracting tons of tourists. The numerous Temples & old ruins, as well as the magnificent Grand Palace of Bangkok, are also part of the good rating.

The city scenery       Backpackers : 11.92 /20 (up)
Very clearly, you do not come to Thailand for its cities' architecture. Some, like Bangkok or Chiang Mai, have got some charm and they all offer temples & markets but, as a whole, this is where you find Thailand's pollution and traffic jams.

The natural scenery         Backpackers : 17.26 /20 (down)
An excellent rate for what is indeed the first attraction of the country. Most people would think about the beaches first, but Northern Thailand also offers superb jungles and mountainous areas. 

The cultural opportunities        Backpackers : 15.22 /20 (up)
The Thai culture is unique in the world and can be only experienced in Thailand ! The Temples of course but also some great museums, the food, the massage, the music, the dances, the Muay Thai boxing and, in general, the attitude toward life. Not always easy to grasp if you do not speak Thai and stay in the tourist areas, but Thailand offers, as a whole, a very coherent and pleasant alternative to the western world...

The food         Backpackers : 18.04 /20 (down)
Together with the natural scenery, the food seem to get unanimity among travelers. This is well deserved as it is usually as tasty as cheap. Thai food really spiced your trip up ! Thailand for example offers some of the best "fast food" in the world : try Pad Thai, the local fried noodle with peanuts and lemon juice... If one wanted to play the devil's advocate, one could however say that variety in the small restaurants is not so high and that some dishes are quite too spicy to western palate. But, again, this would not reflect the general opinion...  

The infrastructures         Backpackers : 15.38 /20 (down)
Thailand is, in Asia, one of the easiest country to travel in : the roads are good now almost everywhere and the bus system efficient and relatively comfortable (up to very comfortable if you stick to "expensive" VIP buses). And if you get fed up of the roads, you can always switch to the efficient rail system ! 

The cost of living and traveling        Backpackers : 16.57 /20 (down)
It depends of course where you are arriving from but, as a whole, only a few countries are cheaper to visit than Thailand. This is however not true everywhere in the country : some places like Phuket, Pattaya or recently Ko Samui are clearly up market and caters more to tourists than backpackers. And some products, like the local beer, are also relatively expensive : half the cost of basic accommodations ! But maybe it is the accomodations which are too cheap... The creation in July 2000 of a B200 entrance fee for all the national parks goes however in the wrong direction.

The safety        Backpackers : 16.45 /20 (up)
There is, in general, no concern about safety while touring Thailand. The robberies that affected some remote areas a few years ago have been put to an halt and the police is active & efficient. Tourism is a big business so tourists & travelers are taken care off ! Still, looking a bit closer, areas near the borders remains sensitive and even so the roads are open, it would be better not to use them alone and stick to public transport. Violence toward foreigners is rare but it happens, in particular around the bars where foreigners can be spotted with local girls. A few girls reported some cases of harassment as well. But, hey, those things remain much more frequent in western countries !

The cleanliness        Backpackers : 12.95 /20 (up)
Again, coming from India, Thailand will look like an hospital. But coming from Singapore... The Thai does not seem to have yet the reflex to go up to the nearest dustbin so, yes, roads, streets or paths are covered with plastic bags and other kinds of decoration.

The pollution        Backpackers : 10.33 /20 (up)
An average rate for a problem which, overall, affects the cities only. Go to the countryside and it will be just fine. If we broaden the subject a bit, one must admit that some coral reefs are also disappearing and that heavy tourism is starting to really pollute the tribal areas of the North. And when a one year old Akha kid ask you for money because you took her in photo, is this not a kind of pollution ?

The Shopkeepers' attitude        Backpackers : 13.71 /20 (up)
A fair rate as most of them are friendly, smiley and helpful, whether you buy or not . Still, in big cities (the worst place being Khao San Road in Bangkok), to make money fast is the motto and the service look quite secondary.  But again, how would you rate the shopkeepers of your own country ?  

The Minorities' attitude        Backpackers : 14.34 /20 (up)
A difficult questions as they are plenty of different tribes and minorities. The Chinese are well integrated, control the economy, and are difficult to tell apart except in some villages. They usually smile less easily than the Thai but are as helpful. As for the Tribes, it depends how you meet them : if you are with a tour and your bus is the 10th which visit the village, do not be surprised if the tribes people come towards you with business minds. Same things at the market : the ladies are here to make money and their traditional costumes is a kind of marketing tool. At this game, some Akha salesgirls are quite annoying as really pushy. But avoid the tourist area, respect the code of conduct and wear a smile and you should meet genuinely friendly people.

The Thai people's attitude        Backpackers : 15.63 /20 (down)
Absolutely ! The Thai people are very friendly and helpful ! The land of smiles still follow, as a whole, its reputation : Thai are happy people who love to have fun and this shows on their face. They also show great patience when confronted with someone who does not speak their language and will try as hard as they can to answer his/her query. Finally, most of them are not too pushy and will not follow you just to sell you something as it is common in some other countries. This being said, Thai people have been confronted to western faces for quite some time now so do not expect extreme manifestations of hospitality just because you show up. As for the sincerity of their smile, well, who cares ? It makes you feel good and this is what matters. As long as they do not all turn like the ones around Khao San Road !

Entertainment        Backpackers : 15.58 /20 (up)
From the night life offering point of view, there is quite a lot of differences between localities. Bangkok, Pattaya or Phuket offers plenty of opportunities, of all kinds including the extreme. Other cities will have a few bars and a small night scene area only. In the countryside outside the tourism area, going to bed early is often a favorite activity... Interestingly enough, there is a 3 points difference between men and women answering this question, the latest giving a 13/20 only. 

Shopping        Backpackers : 17.18 /20 (up)
Not a lot of countries can match Thailand for the offering, quality & prices. Any look at any bazaar market will temp you into bringing home a souvenir or two. Tribal products are best on display in the North of the country but Bangkok is a last time shopping paradise... But whatever you buy, compare the prices and remember to bargain softly.  Also, Thailand does not offer too many bargains for electronic equipments.  

Generally, the country        Backpackers : 17.31 /20 (up)
As a whole, Thailand remains a backpacking paradise : beautiful scenery, strong culture, friendly people, excellent food, good transport, cheap cost... Thailand is without contest one of the easiest and most rewarding country to visit, as demonstrated by the hordes of visitors. 

Value for money        Backpackers : 17.27 /20 (up)
On the holidays' investment scale, Thailand offers top performances ! Where else could you get so much for so little ?

 

Give your opinion !  If you have traveled in Thailand for more than 3 weeks, please participate to our surveys ...

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