There is nothing you can’t find in the quaint flea markets of Phuket, the ritzy malls of Bangkok, the Floating Markets at Damnoen Saduak or even the Night Bazaars of Chiang Mai. From clothing, shoes, handicrafts, accessories, wellness products to absolutely anything under the sun, Thailand is a haven for shopaholics, turning you into one even if you’re not. But there’s more to this fabulous country; read on, as Alefiya Rashiq tells us about a Thailand, beyond shopping!
The beach-dotted islands, the opulent palaces and the regal temples hold a distinct charm. The local Thai culture is so captivating that you can spend days and even months just exploring this country. Here are 6 things you can do, which will show you that Thailand is definitely much more than just a shopping zone!
#1 Marvel At Palaces & Ancient Ruins
The Grand Palace is a magnificent structure in the heart of Bangkok city. Made up of a number of inspiring buildings, each an architectural marvel in its own right, this palace has been home to the royal family since the early days. A tour of the area will give you some insight into the legends of the Siamese race. By the time the sun sets, the golden pagodas begin to glisten and glow, making this a great time to capture the perfect selfie.
Ayyuthaya and Sukothai Historical Parks are ruin cities and heritage spots in Thailand that promise to transport you to a different era. The extravagance of these sites is enough to get you hooked to the country’s rich history.
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#2 Explore Stunning Islands & Beaches
Southern Thailand is blessed with an idyllic coastline and is often called God’s gift to beach-lovers. The clear water, pristine beaches and alluring sunsets will make you want to stay in the country forever. Indulge in the range of fun water-sports available, like scuba diving in Phuket, jet skiing in Pattaya or just sailing through the clear waters while staring at the limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay. The islands of Koh Samui and Phi Phi are home to some of the best beaches and wellness resorts in the world. Krabi too, offers a four-island tour that lets you travel to the various jewels of the ocean. It’s no wonder that Thailand is almost synonymous with perfect beaches.
#3 Go Temple Hopping In Bangkok
A trip to Thailand is incomplete without a visit to its temples, or its holy ‘wats’. Being a Buddhist nation, these temples play a vital role in the daily lives of the locals. The capital city of Bangkok itself houses over 400 temples, however, the three most famous ones are Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun and Wat Pho. The part that will capture your spiritual fancy is that each temple here has its own unique structure and a legacy attached to it. An enthusiast can spend days or even months wandering around the country, visiting and exploring every single ‘wat’ in Thailand.
#4 Embrace The Wild
The Khao Yai National Park is only four hours away from Bangkok and a trip to this natural territory promises to be a completely power-packed experience in the wild. Right from spotting rare animals, birds and reptiles, to hiking, camping and even a tryst with some heavenly waterfalls can be expected here. Those who want to enjoy a safari through the woods can even opt for an elephant ride at one of the many centres in Phuket and Chiang Mai.
But you don’t need to leave the city to embrace the wild. Both adults and children will enjoy a visit to Safari World in Bangkok, which has several live shows featuring charming dolphins, birds and seals.
#5 Follow A Thai Culinary Trail
The cuisine of Thailand has made its mark throughout the world. We all love the curries and the noodles that are an integral part of this cuisine, but there is much more to savour apart from just these popular dishes. Thai cooking specialises in preparing light food, with the usage of the right amount spices and flavours. Set off on a culinary escapade and try some bestselling dishes such as Gaeng Daeng (red curry), Pad Thai (stir-fried noodles), Khao Pad (fried rice) and Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup). Explore the street food carts and the high-end restaurants, but make sure you know what you are eating, before something surprising goes into your mouth!
#6 Uncover The Vibrant Nightlife
After you’ve spent the entire day moving around the many attractions of Thailand, you may just want to curl up in your bed and laze around as the sun sets. But you shouldn’t. The night itself opens up a new side of the country, which compels you to dress up and set out into the gleaming neon-lit streets. Live bars, discotheques, massage parlours, you name it and it’s there. Immerse yourself in the madness and discover a new drink, a new street and a new place on each of your midnight escapades.
Has this article intrigued you to explore Thailand beyond shopping?
A Pune’ite who is in love with the world, Alefiya Rashiq is a copywriter and a communications professional. Breaking into jigs, making quirky observations and her untimely giggles keep her going when she is not writing. Life is NOW, she believes!