To really get under the skin of Thailand during your visit, here are some suggestions of what to read, watch, eat, drink and listen to.
Food is one of the true joys of Thailand. If you are not familiar with Thai cooking, imagine the best of Asian food ingredients combined with the sophistication of fragrant spices, sweet coconut or citrus, and topped off with ripe red and green chillies. Seafood is also excellent in Thailand and served at a fraction of the cost you would pay elsewhere.
Read Jasmine Nights by SP Somtow, a coming-of-age novel set in 1960s Bangkok. Touch the Dragon is the diary of Karen Connelly, a Canadian who worked as a volunteer in a northern Thai village at the age of 17, which deals with discusses the nature of culture and culture shock. Finally, Thailand Confidential by ex–Rolling Stone correspondent Jerry Hopkins, weaves an exposé of everything expats and visitors love about Thailand and much they don’t.
See Danny Boyle’s film version of Alex Garland's novel The Beach, shot on the beach of Ko Phi Phi Leh.
Bridget Jones – the edge of reason was shot in Phuket and Bangkok.
Thais love music, and the country has a long musical tradition dating back to at least the 7th century. Thailand also has a number of home grown pop stars who pump out Thai-language hits and have a huge teen following.
Thailand is the place to enjoy the freshest tropical fruit juices.
November - Loy Krathong River spirits are placated for another year with gifts of Krathongs floated on rivers, canals and lakes on the night of the full moon. Made of banana leaves, and decorated with incense and candles, thousands of these beautiful boats light up the night. The most beautiful sights are at the Bang Sai Arts & Crafts Centre near Ayutthaya, and in the ruins of Sukhothai, the first Thai capital, where the festival is supposed to have originated.
Stay at a tented camp in Thailand’s exotic bamboo jungle and take part in mahout training with the camp’s own elephants, visit hill tribes, trek through the jungle, go bird watching and fishing or learn new skills in a cooking or craft class.
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