Travel to Thailand

by Robin Darch
Traveling around the world is still only a dream to many, but for those that have done it, their lives have been enriched by the experience. Different cultures, languages, and locations to us to appreciate the world in a new way. The world seems smaller once you travel around and the diversity of cultures makes you appreciate people in a new way.

If you haven't already done a lot of traveling, I suggest you save the money until you can. Life is way too short not to take the time to travel the world and appreciate its beauty. Meeting people from different countries gives you a whole new outlook on life and a new understanding about people in general.

In this article, I will tell you a few things about a wonderful place to visit . . . Thailand. They call Thailand "The Land of Smiles." The people there are great, always having a smile for everyone. They don't lose their temper or express bad behavior in public, because to do so causes "Loss of Face."

As I said before, one of the greatest things about traveling the world is meeting people with different cultures, different beliefs, and different attitudes towards life. In Thailand, the people do not believe in rudeness and brash behavior. They believe this is an embarrassment and it is not tolerated. Being from the US, I find that refreshing. Maybe we can learn from them.

Another great thing about traveling the world is the shopping. You will find shopping in different countries a great pleasure because you will find products that are not produced anywhere else. Each country has it's own unique products to offer you and in many countries the prices for these items is very low. Thailand is no different in this regard. The shops in Bangkok will keep you busy for days, so go prepared to shop.

There are a lot of alleys in Bangkok filled with shops, small cafes, and great Thai restaurants. They have a wholesale garment district called Wu Fen Pu, with more than a thousand clothing stores and shops that sell accessories, such as shoes, belts, purses, bags, and much more. Many of the items are hand made or locally produced and you won't believe how low the cost is for these items.

Another market to visit while you travel in Bangkok is Chatuchak. It's huge! You'll think you're in the Disneyland of shopping centers. It will take you a couple of days to browse all the shops at Chatuchak, but well worth it for all the bargains and unique products you will find there.

Another location for some great night shopping in Bangkok is the Shilin Night Market. They have a food section and another for shopping. There are more than one thousand stalls here and some of the best bargains you will find in Thailand.

You may not be allowed to shop on Fridays. That is when buyers from other stores go there to stock up on items for resale and business is focused on them. Just like here, if you plan to buy summer clothing, go in the fall and vice versa. Most shops in Bangkok are open to 11pm, so shopping in the late afternoon or evening is much better.

One of the most exciting parts of world travel is exploring and taking in the sights that are unique to each country. As you travel the world, the photographs you take at memorable sights will help you relive the memory of the great times you had in each country over and over again, so take plenty of film and your camera wherever you go.

Now let's talk about some of the sights you will want to see while traveling in Thailand. Ever see the movie, "Bridge Over The River Kwai, starring William Holden and Alec Guinness? I'm probably revealing my age by being familiar with this movie, but it was based on a true story and the actual bridge does exist.

A few hours by shuttle from Bangkok takes you to Kanchanaburi. That is where the actual Bridge over the river Kwai is located. Whether you have seen the movie or not, the sight of this bridge is impressive. It is one of the "must see" sights during your visit to Thailand. The river is beautiful and the fact that the bridge was built by prisoners of war makes the trip to the bridge worthwhile. The prisoners who built the bridge delayed it's construction long enough to save many lives. I suggest you watch the movie before your trip to Thailand, so you can fully appreciate the sight of the Bridge Over The River Kwai.

There are many "Wats" in Thailand. A wat is a Cambodian, Lao or Thai Hindu or Buddhist temple. They are considered a source for Buddhist spiritualism. Most of them are very beautiful and amazing feats of architecture built by hand out of love for Buddha. The architecture is even more amzing when you consider some of them were built many years ago by people who had very little to work with.

One such Wat is located in Ayutthaya City, the capital of Ayutthaya province in Thailand. The city was founded in 1350. The city was destroyed by Burmese troops in 1767 and the area where it was originally located is now called Ayutthaya Historical Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. The city itself was rebuilt a few kilometers away.

Another is located in Sukhothai Historical Park. According to, this park covers the ruins of Sukhothai, a 14th century kingdom. This historical sight should be part of any itinerary for traveling in Thailand. The area has walls all the way around it and has gates on each side. The remains of the royal palace and 26 temples are inside these walls. The largest temple is called Wat Mahathat. Thousands visit the area every year to see the ruins of this once great city.

Many areas mentioned in this article can be easily toured by bicycle, an often overlooked form of transportation when traveling the world. Whenever you travel to another country, sitting in a car going from sight to sight sometimes cheats you out of truly appreciating the beauty of the country you are traveling in. Check out the country and the sights by bicycle where possible and I guarantee you won't regret it.

There are many other Wats to visit in Thailand. I suggest you choose as many as your stay will allow. If you visit some of them in the evening, you can even experience the chanting of the Buddhist Monks. A couple of other Wats of interest are Wat Chedi Luang, in Chiang Mai City, which was once the home of the emerald Buddha and Wat Phra Kaew & the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Wat Phra Kaew is now called the The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Legends hold that the statue originated in India, but it first surfaced in Chiang Rai, Thailand in 1434.

One thing you have to remember if you plan to visit the Wats in Thailand is that you must wear long pants. Shorts or dresses are not permitted while entering these temples.

If you like beaches, then you must visit Phuket, 70 minutes flying time from Bangkok. The waters of the Andaman Sea are green and beautiful and the beaches are very clean. It is Thailand's most popular beach and resort destination. They have popular resort hotels, Thai and seafood restaurants, water sports, Wats, forests, coral reefs, and mountains. The tropical setting makes for a great part of any visit to Thailand.

Speaking of mountains, a visit to Mae Hong Son Mountain Wat is a special cite you may want to add to your itinerary. Mae Hong Son is located on the summit of a mountain. You can walk or take a tuktuk (like a rickshaw) up to the Wat, itself. There is also an observatory that overlooks all of Mae Hong Son and the mountains of Myanmar behind it.

We hope we have added some useful information and ideas for your trip to Thailand.

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