Country guide Thailand

Whether you’re into tropical beaches, beautiful architecture or the Buddhist culture, Thailand has it all. It is, arguably, one of the most beautiful locations in the world, as well as one of the friendliest (and cheapest).

Sights and Attractions

Thailand, by Western standards at least, is a country that has become infamous for its seemingly chaotic way of life. To an outsider's eye, routine and order certainly do not rule the roost. However, the flip-side of this topsy-turvy way of living means that there is certainly no shortage of opportunities for adventure and excitement.

Visitors and residents alike can get caught up in the hustle-bustle of the sleepless city of Bangkok, escape to the picture-perfect beaches of Ko Samui, or party the night away at the numerous Full Moon Festivals held throughout the year on the island of Ko Pha Ngan.

Restaurants and Cafes

If there is one thing Thailand does well, it is definitely food. Thai cuisine offers an incredibly diverse range of flavours, as well as a few ingredients that may result in raised eyebrows. Don't let the unfamiliarity put you off, though, as no Thai experience is truly complete without sampling the local delicacies on offer in this amazing country.

There is certainly no shortage of places where Thai food can be found. Numerous canteen-style restaurants, street markets and five-star restaurants all offer their own unique take on everything from Pad Thai, to Tom Yum Goong. As with any country, it pays to keep an eye out for the places that are packed with locals, as these places will be the ones that offer the best interpretation of the local cuisine.

For those that may not be so keen on some of the more avant-garde Thai dishes, there are always the familiar faces of western chain restaurants to retreat to. That being said, though, half the fun of moving to a new country is immersing yourself in the local culture, so get out there!

Shopping

All manner of goods can be found in the sprawling, hectic street markets littered throughout Thailand. Everything from artwork to clothing, to food can be bartered and haggled for.

For those looking for fresh produce, as well as an experience to remember, the Damnoen Saduak floating market in Bangkok should not be missed. Although these photogenic markets are more catered towards tourists than locals these days, the boats are still piled high with mountains of tropical fruit and vegetables, as well as hot meals that are cooked fresh on the special mini-kitchens that are on board.

If a more authentic market experience is what you seek, a trip to the Amphawa floating market, also near Bangkok, is visited almost exclusively by Thai natives.

Juxtaposed against these bright, vibrant markets are the sleek, modern shopping malls that those in the west are accustomed to. If you're looking to escape the heat and shop for everything from designer fashion to the latest electronic gadgets – these are the places to go.

Travel

Travelling in Thailand is chaotic, even at the best of times. There are no predominant means of getting from A to B, with motorcycles, tuk-tuks, buses, cars and bicycles all fighting for space on the busy roads. This means that commuters will need to have their wits about them at all times, and should avoid taking any liberties with their safety while out and about.

Buses are the most popular way of travelling longer distances between cities. While they might not be the fastest way of getting from one place to another, they are relatively inexpensive and are a great way of seeing the dramatic sights of rural Thailand from the ground.

For those looking for a faster and more comfortable way of travelling from city to city, there are a number of domestic flights leaving from airports around the country – all of which use Bangkok as their central hub. A number of international airports make Thailand that much more accessible from abroad and mean that flights to take you home will never be too hard to find.

Currency zone

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