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5 tips you should know before traveling to Thailand
Why is Thailand so popular among travelers? What is so special about going there nowadays when there are plenty of other places around the world that are not yet mainstream? Let´s sum it up by saying this: Thailand has the best street food in the world, some of the friendliest people in the world, and the rich history and culture are just jaw-dropping. Those, among a multitude of other reasons, still rank Thailand as one of the best travel destinations year after year. That being said, here are a few handy tips you need to know before traveling to or studying in Thailand:
Don´t ride the elephants
Sitting top of a giant elephant in the middle of the lush green jungle might be a great travel story and good content for your Instagram feed. But the reality is if you decide to pay for riding elephants you directly support a business that allows locals to abuse these beautiful animals throughout their lives. These captivated animals are being beaten daily, overworked and seen as moneymakers. This cruelty has to stop so do not support this scam! If you want to experience these animals from a close distance, then visit one of the many elephant sanctuary parks around Thailand. These parks are made for protecting elephants and providing them a natural environment where they can live in harmony. One of the popular ones is the elephant jungle sanctuary located in Chiang Mai where all donations go to the sanctuary to help elephants.
Take a cooking class in Thailand
Thailand is famous for its cuisine and for very good reasons – nowhere else in the world will you experience food with a fine balance of sour, sweet, salty and bitter. The traditional dishes in Thailand include ingredients and aromas you most likely have never experienced in your home country. If you want to get to know more about Thai custom and traditions, taking a cooking class while studying in Thailand will help you to learn the fundamentals and some of the history of Thai cuisine. If you live in Bangkok there are a huge diversity of cooking classes and many to choose from. The prices are between 1,000 to 4,000 bath per person. Most schools offer trips to the nearest local market as a part of the class and it´s highly appreciated among participants as it makes the whole experience more unique.
Explore northern Thailand
Most travelers choose to visit Bangkok or spend time on the beaches and islands like Phuket in the south. But if you want to genuinely see the true beauty of Thailand then head up north! Northern Thailand offers a staggering range of amazing places. Jungles and breathtaking landscapes can be found throughout the region. The many small villages around northern Thailand are filled with locals who live differently compared to the big cities. While being up north you must make a quick visit to Thailand´s cultural capital city Chiang Mai. Small local markets and ancient, beautiful temples surround this thriving city. If your priority is to get to know the Thai culture, then Chiang Mai is a must-visit on your bucket list!
Do not mention the king!
If you bring up the royal family in Thailand, make sure not to be negative. Any disrespectful comments could get you arrested and end you up in jail. According to BBC, anyone who defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent will be punished with a jail term between three and 15 years. You can also read in the constitution of Thailand the following: “the King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action”. To be on the safe side, do not even reconsider mentioning the Royal family!
You might also be interested in: Where to live as a student in Bangkok
Go scuba dive
If you want to take a scuba diving license, Thailand is the best place to do it. For diving, Thailand has outstanding marine environment and the land of smiles is one of the cheapest places in the world to take scuba diving courses. Some of the most popular places to learn to dive are Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, and Phuket. Koh Tao is one of the most popular places to dive because of its pristine waters, colorful tropical reefs and sandy beaches. This place is packed with travelers and scuba dive shops, which offer very good deals!
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