I love everything about Thailand, I really do. I’ve traveled the world, been to countless countries, and seen some amazing things, but something about Thailand keeps me coming back again and again.
I love the stunning beaches, the noisy cities, and the outrageously delicious food. I love the low prices, the friendly locals, and Thai people’s great views on life.
However, if you forced me to come up with one thing that I don’t like about this amazing country, it would have to be the loss of identity that is gradually unfolding in some areas.
As more and more tourists fly into Thailand each year, the most popular tourist spots are inevitably losing the authenticity and charm that made them so popular in the first place. Now, this is by no means a problem everywhere in the country, but it is getting harder to find the quiet parts that haven’t yet been hit by overdevelopment, where locals haven’t become slightly jaded by the years of relentless tourism.
So, to help you get away from the tourist traps, here are three great ways to get off the beaten track and experience the real Thailand.
Undoubtedly one of the best ways to get away from the crowds and ensure you have an authentic experience while traveling is to spend time as a volunteer in Thailand.
There are projects available to suit any interests, as well as any budget. Some people may have a passion for nature and wildlife, in which case they could volunteer in a national park. Others may have more of a social conscience, and choose to work as a teacher in underprivileged areas.
Volunteering can be rewarding on many levels. Firstly, there is the fact that you can genuinely contribute to a good cause, and see the positive results for yourself.
You will also have the chance to get to know local people on a level that isn’t generally possible for most travelers. On top of this, volunteer projects are mostly based in quite remote areas, far away from most other tourists, so you get an unadulterated insight into Thai culture.
This is the mentality that you need to adopt when traveling anywhere in order to get the most out of a trip, but it particularly applies to Thailand, in my opinion.
To people who have never been to the country, or any similar countries before, Thailand can seem like a very overwhelming place at first. Don’t let this put you off and retreat to your comfort zone of staying around your hotel and only venturing out on organized tours to the major sights, though.
Try to always push yourself beyond what you would normally do, and you will get so much more out of your experience. Don’t shy away from the weird-looking street food – eat it. Don’t only visit the sights in the guidebook – ask around and do some exploring for yourself.
Talk to locals
Thai people are some of the friendliest and kindest people I have ever come across, and making the effort to chat with locals can enrich your trip dramatically.
Talking to locals can help you to learn all about the country, and enjoy your time there more as a result. You can learn where the best sights are, which restaurants serve the tastiest food, and most importantly, get a greater insight into the culture than you could as a normal tourist.
Follow these tips to see a different side of Thailand
Anybody visiting Thailand is guaranteed to have a great time. But, if you’re interested in seeing a more authentic side of the country and getting even more from your trip, then follow these tips.
Nicoleta is the resident content blogger for uVolunteer. Nicoleta is an avid linguist, speaks fluent English, Chinese, French, Spanish and native Romanian. She spent a decade working in China in the education sector and working with major international development institutions and currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. She is passionate about volunteering, sustainable travel and has a soft spot for ethnic food.
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