March 13, 2013
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Backpacking in Thailand
Backpacking in Thailand can be exhilarating, inspiring, life changing and challenging, and it is a once in a lifetime experience you’ll always remember. Thailand offers the western visitor a culture and way of life far removed from that back home, and there is nowhere on earth quite like it.
For most backpackers, their first glimpse of Thailand is the bustling and chaotic Bangkok, where motorbikes and tuk-tuks (three wheeled motorised taxis) buzz about the clogged streets, while traditionally dressed monks mix with the street sellers and tourists, all to a mixed backdrop of five star hotels, ramshackle houses and ancient temples.
Bangkok is also the first place most backpackers get to meet the local Thai population. While the city is frantic and frenetic, the locals are some of the most welcoming, laid-back and friendly people you will ever come across. Thailand is often referred to as the “land of smiles,” and on meeting the locals, it is easy to see why. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to dinner or drinks with people you have just met, as Thai people love eating, drinking, socialising and are incredibly generous.
The local Thai population also loves to party and nightlife in Thailand’s major cities is second to none. With a range of classy clubs, local bars and even beaches where music is pumped out at all hours, having a good time is easy in Thailand, and it is cheap too, with prices far lower than those back home.
After experiencing the chaotic nature of big cities such as Bangkok, many westerners want to move on and experience other parts of the Thailand. It is a country full of varied landscapes, from jungles and mountains, to tropical beaches and sedate islands, there is so much to explore.
Thailand has an excellent transport system for both getting around the cities and exploring the rest of the country, with trains, buses and taxis. Transport is relatively inexpensive and many of Thailand’s beautiful tropical islands can be reached by either ferry or by domestic flights, which are also fairly cheap. Thailand is also a relatively safe country in which to travel around, although as with any country, backpackers do need to be aware of pickpockets or somebody trying on the occasional scam.
Thailand’s culture is rich and diverse and offers a wide range of unique experiences for the western backpacker. You can watch authentic Thai boxing, see some of the oldest monasteries and temples in the world, go on a jungle trek, spend a week relaxing on one of Thailand many beaches, or go snorkelling or scuba diving.
One of the country’s most popular exports is its cuisine. Thailand’s food is famous throughout the world, and once you taste the genuine thing, you will see why. Street food is sold everywhere, and it is cheap, delicious and perfectly safe for the sensitive western palate. All sorts of meals are available, from traditional pad Thai and delicious shellfish, to the more exotic barbecued crickets. Restaurants are inexpensive too, where you can dine out on some of the finest Asian cooking for the price of a hamburger meal back home.