I’m not sure if you’d call it a dirty secret but one thing that most visitors to Thailand don’t know: they didn’t see or understand anything about Thailand.
You see for most visitors a trip to Thailand means Pattaya, Pukhet, Bangkok or worse full moon parties and an alcohol fueled beach binge. Hate to tell you but that isn’t Thailand. You spent a holiday in a small section of Thailand designed for tourists and focused on sex, booze, scams and all the typical things westerners seem to expect on a trip to Asian holiday hot-spots.
But it’s not Thailand. Not even close.
Thailand is a beautiful, quiet, remarkable country full of very conservative and respectful people. Thai live a relatively humble life. The majority are farmers or work in local markets and their lives consist of providing for the daily needs of their families.
The country side is adorned with small villages, temples and rice fields. Small cities offer cultural and dinning experiences with most regions offering unique foods, clothes, gifts and a wide variety of scenic indulgences.
Small street stalls with local delicacies can be found in every street. Streets come live with the many different foods in the evenings. As the main businesses close the sidewalks become eateries for the locals.
There is live entertainment to be found all across the country though it is more easily discovered in the larger centres.
Nightly markets spring up providing food, clothes and a variety of bric-a-brac to rummage through. Local crafts are often on display and the traveling markets are popular with locals.
Tours are plentiful with everything from hiking and white water rafting to eco-tours and elephant rides.
If you are fortunate or smart enough to get out off the beaten track pay attention to where the locals go to shop and find out the times of the local markets for the best prices on food, fruit and veg.
Traveling through Thailand is really inexpensive and there is no problem finding accommodation around the country.
The dirty secret: there is much, much more to Thailand than Pattaya.