Thailand calls to travellers because of its natural beauty above all else. Backpackers flock from all over the world to experience the country and explore its pristine beaches. Scuba enthusiasts are drawn to some of the clearest and most spectacular waters on the planet. And many seek to have their weddings and/or honeymoons at one of Thailand’s sensational resorts (which is why Koh Samui made ViralBake’s recommendations of gorgeous wedding destinations recently).
As much as the beauty is rightly the highlight of Thailand though, the country’s culture is ultimately what sets it apart from so many other similarly beautiful places in the world. So without further ado, we’re pointing out a few ways you can immerse yourself in this culture if and when you make the trip.
1. Sample The Street Food
You can’t do much better than the street food in Thailand, which is both delicious and entirely unique to the country. And while there are various cities where you can sample this aspect of the country, you should really do some advance research on recommendations for street food in Bangkok. The large capital city has it all in this regard: You can sample pad Thai, try seasoned meats grilled on skewers, and enjoy variations of noodle soup and som tam, a papaya-based salad bursting with different flavors.
2. Visit The Grand Palace
Just because a given attraction happens to be grand in nature and featured in sightseeing guides doesn’t mean it isn’t a vital part of the culture. Such is the case with the Grand Palace. This glorious royal residence in the middle of Bangkok has actually been the home of kings (first of Siam and then of Thailand) since 1792 and is a popular stop for tourists today. It’s an ornate and beautiful complex housing a mix of functional offices and historical relics – the most notable of which is an emerald Buddha from the 1300s.
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3. Watch Some Football
Football’s roots in Thailand aren’t as deep as in some other parts of the world, but the sport has become a very important part of the culture over the years. This can be credited in part to the increasing ease with which local fans can follow leagues abroad. Many of these fans now regularly follow the British Premier League in particular, and some tap into available tips for betting online, which helps them to wager strategically on the outcomes. While spectating and betting from afar has helped to build up football enthusiasm though, the Thai national team has also improved, and makes for a fun attraction in and of itself for travellers who want to experience the football culture.
4. Interact With Elephants
Thailand has a famous connection with elephants, to the point that they’re actually designated as the official animals of the country. One needs to be careful about finding ways to interact with them because it’s widely frowned upon to treat them as too much of a spectacle.
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Specifically, there are some places that train the elephants to perform, which in Thailand is seen as unethical. Fortunately, however, there are online guides to ethical options that allow you to see and interact with elephants in a more responsible and respectful manner. It’s an essential part of any trip to Thailand.
5. Take A Tribal Trek
You can’t get a much more genuine look at a country’s culture than you do by interacting with local tribes, and it just so happens that this is something some travellers do in Thailand. Various hill tribes (like the Hmong and Lisu, among others) live in the northern part of the country and can be reached by treks through the hills.
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In some cases, with a guide, you can even arrange to stay with a tribe overnight – but even visiting provides you with a fresh perspective on the country that you won’t get any other way.