I wasn’t crazy about going to Thailand. I knew that it has been an average holiday destination for everybody who wanted to stew on a beach.
Especially the disgusting sex tourism to some Thai destination made the country repulsive.
Wat Arun, one of Bangkok’s most important temple complexes on the west bank of River Chao Phraya.
But man, was I wrong! It obviously only depends strongly which route you travel and where you’re going. I fell in deep, lasting love with Thailand.
As a matter of fact I enjoyed the first part of my trip meandering from Bangkok to Chiang Mai much better than the beach part that brought me to the beaches and island around Krabi in the Andaman Sea.
Thailand’s territory covers a big part of the South East Asian land area, stretching from the Himalaya’s most far foothills over more than 1,100 miles all the way South to the Malayan border. Along this stretch, for many travellers the most attractive part are the beaches – 1,200 miles on the Golf of Thailand in the East, and all the same 620 miles along the Andaman Sea in the West. If you add the 1,430 islands, islets, reefs, and cays, there sure is space – thus the popular beaches are overcrowded due to the concentration of mass tourism in certain areas.
The country is facing major problems because of that: while it has a population of about 68 million people, only in 2016 34 million tourists visited the country – and they weren’t 34 million greenpeace activists so that mainly the ocean life is endangered.
The land area of aobut 513,115 sq km (approx. 198,115 sq mi) is dominated by a tropical monsoon climate. On boxing day in 2004, Thailand was one of the countries hit by a tsunami that caused 5,395 confirmed deaths, 8,457 injuries, and 2,817 missing(effective June 2005). Mainly affected was the area along the Andaman Sea. Since 2012 Thailand has had the best tsunami warning system in South East Asia.
Those who don’t go to Thailand to get a sun tan mostly go there because they have seen ‘The King and I’ and are fascinated by Siam’s history. The predecessor called ‘Siam’ never was a national state but a ‘geo-body’ defined rather by the adjacent French and English colonies. Amazingly Siam itself never was a colony.
It’s wonderful to follow the traces of the Mon (3rd century) to the Khmer (9th to 12th century) to the Sukhothai (13th) and Ayutthaya (14th to 18th century) and admire their rich cultures at the remnants of their palaces and temples.
At the end of the 18th century, the Chakri-Dynasty took over, and Bangkok became Thailand’s capital. After the beloved king Bhumibol died in 2016 – by then he was longest acting head of state, the present king is Maha Vajiralongkorn, Bhumibol’s second child – Thailand is a hereditary monarchy.
Most Thai follow the Theravada Buddhism, and although Buddhism isn’t the state religion, according to the constitution the king has to be Buddhist.
These are the places I’ve travelled, the entire route is on the map below: