Published 23rd November 2019

Thailand is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and it’s popular with TEFL teachers too. Most people were introduced to Thailand through the 2000 movie The Beach and while the movie definitely showcased some of the more beautiful locations in Thailand, there is more to this country than sandy, white beaches, cocktails and parties. So, what is Thailand known for?

Island life

Ok, so let’s get the islands out of the way. Thailand is probably most famous for its islands – 1 000 islands, to be precise.  You might be familiar with the tourist hotspots of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Pi Pi, but there are many more waiting to explored. Mark our words, the islands on the east coast en route to Cambodia will soon enjoy their share of the limelight.

Full Moon Parties

Every month on the full moon, Koh Phangan hosts its famous Full Moon Party. Tens of thousands of revellers gather on Haad Rin beaches and party until sunrise. Expect loud music, cocktails in buckets, fireshows, dancing and very little sleep.

Waterfalls

Besides islands and beaches, Thailand is also famous for its waterfalls. Hiking is a popular pastime for Thais and usually a jungle or mountain hike will end at a beautiful waterfall. The most impressive waterfalls can be found in the north during the wet season of April to October.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is a martial art that originated in Thailand. Similar to kickboxing, it’s a combination of punching, hitting and kicking, and is also known as the ‘art of eight limbs’. Seeing a muay thai fight is on many tourist’s must-see lists and if you’re one of those, head on over to Lumpini Stadium in Bangkok to get in on the action. 

Tuk-tuks

These three-wheel scooters can be seen zooming around any street in Thailand. Loud and smelly, they are guaranteed to get you where you want to go in record time. Though they’re used by locals too, if you’re a tourist you’re likely to be overcharged so they’re not cheap – but they’re definitely an experience not to be missed. 

Thai food

People travel from all over the world to taste authentic Thai food in Thailand. Pad Thai is a delicious peanut and noodle dish which you can get on any street corner; green curry is a mouthwatering journey for your tastebuds; som tum is a deliciously spicy salad made from green papayas and chillis. The best thing about Thai food is that you don’t need to visit fancy restaurants to enjoy its internationally-renowned cuisine – any street vendor is guaranteed to blow your mind with deliciousness!

Backpackers

Thailand is undoubtedly the hub of backpacking in South East Asia. It has built a reputation as a friendly, safe area to backpack around. The transport options are cheap, cheerful and convenient, making it easy to move around the countries and into neighouring countries. 

Ladyboys

A ladyboy is a man who prefers to identify as a woman. They will dress like a woman or may even have had gender transformation hormone therapy or surgery. They will most definitely respond as a woman. Public displays of affection are generally frowned upon in Thailand but they have a very relaxed attitude towards ladyboys. 

Buddhism

Buddhism is evident wherever you look in Thailand, in the behaviours and dress of the people, as well as the religious customs and cultural beliefs and buildings. Thailand boasts over 40 000 temples and 300 000 monks. No trip to a Thai city would be complete without visiting one of its many temples. Be sure to dress and behave appropriately when you do. 

Thai massage

Let’s be quite clear, Thai massage is not for the faint-hearted! Although you can get a nice, relaxing massage on any beach or in any massage parlour, if you go for the real deal you can expect your masseuse to walk on your back to really make sure they get the knots out. 

If we’re honest, there are so many other things we could add to this list of things Thailand is known for: spirit houses, festivals, markets, jungle trekking….the list is endless. But you don’t need to take our word for it, you can go and discover it for yourself!

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