Welcome to the Land Of The Free! 🇹🇭 Join us as we explore the beautiful country of Thailand. From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the beach paradise of Koh Chang.
In this guide we delve deep into Bangkok culture with our wonderful guide, Apple before moving onto the island of Koh Chang in search of an authentic Thai experience. Find out where to go, how to get there and uncover all that Thailand has to offer.
A massive thank you to Apple, our fantastic guide from Your Thai Guide. To find out more and to book your guide, check them out here 👉 http://bit.ly/2WzvePX
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The people of Thailand have a gentle kindness about them. They're infectiously positive, steeped in tradition, incredibly proud of their country, and the reason Thailand has been given the nickname, The Land of a Thousand Smiles.
Thailand is a tropical country that sits in South East Asia, It's home to nearly 70 million people and until 1949 was known as Siam. It was then the decision was made to rename the country, Thailand. Thai translating as free, so The Land of the Free. If you look into its history, it has a good reason to own this title. This South East Asian nation is the only country in the region to have avoided colonialism. Remaining a sovereign country in its own right, something that the Thai people are very proud of. Thailand is a noticeably Buddhist country. With peace and positivity at the forefront of their national identity, that welcomes all other religious beliefs, allowing for the full freedom of expression. Over the past two decades Westerners have been lured to Thailand, and now it caters for every type of tourists, from cheap hostels to five star resorts. But here lies the contradiction, tourism has had a Western influence on the country and we want to see just how much of an effect this is having, on not only the landscape but also Thailand's cultural heritage. We wanted to see how easy it is to find the authentic Thailand. Whether that's in its capital city or a small island off it's coastline.
Most visitors that come to the region fly into Bangkok, and that's exactly what we did. We flew from London Heathrow, where we treated ourselves to an airport lounge. Knowing we only had a short time in Bangkok before heading out to the island, we prioritised our time and booked an transfer through Holiday Extras, from Suvarnabhumi Airport to our accommodation in the city centre. Bangkok is the hub of South East Asia, during the eighties and nineties to Asian investment boom had encouraged more corporations and consequently more people to the capital. Now, around 13% of the country's population live in Bangkok, that's over 8 million people which makes the city busy, and I mean crazy busy. The traffic is insane, people are everywhere. Lights are pulsating, music blaring, exotic smells from street food vendors around the city is quite simply an assault on the senses. And for this reason, a little goes a long way in Bangkok. And just a short stopover here, can be just enough to get a taste of the city.
We've fought through the jet lag and made our way to the Pak Khlong Flower Market, the best way from our hotel was to get a taxi boat. This is something I've learnt to get used to in Bangkok. People, and busyness, everywhere - here goes! Now these boats are loud, cramped and the river can be just as busy as the roads. However, the sights are pretty impressive and it's a great way to see the city. We always recommend downloading Google Maps on any trip and Bangkok is no different. It really helps on this journey where to catch the boat from, and where to get off. The cramped conditions can make getting to the exit difficult with so many people in the way, so if you can, make your way to the end of the boat early. The market entrance is hardly spectacular but what lies ahead is an explosion of colour and smells. People are hard at work, as flowers are symbolic of Thai culture and are often used for the King's celebrations. So we've come to the Pak Klong Dalat Flower Market, flowers are a huge part of Thai culture and this market is actually open 24 hours a day and apparently, the best time to come is at 3am, when all the wholesalers bring the flowers in. Now that might seem early but if you're jet-lagged and wide awake at 3am then it could be the best place to come.
After being impressed by the flowers on show, we thought seeing them in their element would be a good idea, so we headed back up the river and made our way to the Grand Palace.