They say Americans don’t travel, but pioneers such as Lee Abbamonte, Nomadic Matt, Kristin Addis, and Matthew Karsten have slowly changed this. We, American millennial travelers, are seeing more than Vegas and Cabo.
It started with Europe. Somewhere between 90s movies like Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Beerfest, and Eurotrip, we made our way to the UK, Barcelona, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, and Oktoberfest. And while U.S. Tourism statistics prove that Mexico is still the #1 traveled to destination (ummm proximity, duh), Thailand is trending. We’ve caught up with the Aussies, the British and the Scandinavians when it comes to normalizing Thailand.
Honestly, tell me that there isn’t at least one friend or Tinder swipe you’ve seen growling with a tiger or getting some love from an elephant? You probably can’t.
Taking on Thailand, my friends, is a trend. However, Thailand isn’t just a hippie-chic Brandy Melville tank top — it’s a destination that exceeds our expectations, and is anything but “basic.”
My first time in Thailand was about two years ago, and it is still one of my favorite countries on the globe. I had the privilege of returning to Bangkok solo and experiencing a few day trips with Thailand Insider, the official Thailand Board of Tourism, North America sector (heyyy!). And this, my friends is why Thailand is so irresistible:
1. It’s (relatively) easy to fly and visit Bangkok. You pretty much have to.
No, almost twenty-four hours of flights from LAX isn’t exactly convenient. However, if you are on a mission to see Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Singapore, chances are you are going to fly into Bangkok.
On this trip, I did a direct flight from LAX to Bangkok with Etihad Airways, then I did a stop over in Abu Dhabi on my way home. It was perfect! If you’re going to be on a plane for that long, the good food, pillows, and new releases of movies and muic are worth upgrading to in the five time winner of the ‘World’s Leading Airline’ at the World Travel Awards.
If you want to join the party and see Thailand, you’re going to go through Bangkok, so you may as well milk the location for its many wonders.
Tip: Never take the train in Thailand. Always fly, or take a ferry or charter bus if necessary. If you can afford it (remember everything is more affordable anyways), a private tour guide and/or driver is worth splitting with friends or family.
You can find the best deals on CheapOair.
2. It’s more affordable to experience luxury in Thailand.
I was 23 and financing my own stays at four-star hotels a couple years ago. That felt great. And those $15 massages? Oh boy. Whether you’re a budget traveler or a luxury traveler, your money goes farther in Thailand.
Tip: For a five-star gastronomical experience, check out Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin by renowned Henrik Yde Anserson, the only chef with a Michelin Star in Thai cuisine.
I stayed at the elegant InterContinental Hotel in Bangkok. It’s centrally located, has a lovely fitness center with wall-sized windows, a rooftop pool, and countless meeting rooms for me to hop on my computer and get some work done in between excursions.
3. There are so many cultural activities and adventures.
Whether you prefer a dinner cruise on the river or biking around the city of Ayutthaya – a day trip distanced at one hour – you know your Instagram is going to be blowing up :) Priorities right? I’m kidding.
The truth is, despite being a hot go-to destination, Thailand is still very much rooted to its ancient history. A fascinating population who trekked through the jungles domesticating elephants the way we did horses, Thai people continue to live in a culture so different than our own. I love that.
Tip: If you can’t make it Northern Thailand for Chiang Mai, check out the Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo for elephant fun, a history of Thai culture, tigers, and crocodile wrestling. It’s a quick day trip and just an hour outside of Bangkok.
If you’re up for a little festivity, head to the island of Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party.
View of Wat Arun from Bangkok River Cruise.
My biking guide touring temples in ancient Ayutthaya.
I just realized this is my fourth article on Thailand. Clearly, it is one of my favorite countries in the world.
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