Thailand is a tropical paradise with some of the friendliest people in the world. With delicious cuisine, elaborate gold temples, stunning beaches punctuated by pillars of limestone – this country really is magic.

Here are five reasons why you need to go to Thailand:

1. The food

Thai food in Thailand is one of the great pleasures in life.

If you like Thai food in your home country, you will love it in Thailand. You can eat in up-market Thai restaurants in classic-Thai wooden houses. Or grab a delicious $1 bargain at a food court. We highly recommend a street food tour in Thailand – you won’t believe how good it is.

Food in Thailand is not restricted to Thai cuisine. Thailand also has high-quality Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, French, Italian, Scandinavian and Indian restaurants in all the major cities and tourist spots.

2. Shopping

Forget Hong Kong, Singapore or other well-trodden shopping destinations, today’s bargains are in Bangkok.

Shop in the multi-storey department stores and malls for international brands and top-end Thai products. Explore markets for variety and ridiculously cheap price. Buy on the street for convenience and fun. The famous Chatachak Weekend Market has more than 9000 outlets. You can spend a whole day in its exciting madness. For imported goods head to Chinatown. Head to Pratunam for locally-made clothing and footwear.

3. Culture

Thai culture is deeply influenced by religion. Most Thais are Theraveda Buddhists. This strand of Buddhism is characterised by greater respect for elders. You will need to give up your seat on public transport if a monk enters.

Thai Buddhists believe individuals should gain insights from their own actions, experience, knowledge and critical thinking. Their meditation is mostly silent, as opposed to chanting. Interestingly, animist and superstitious beliefs co-exist with Thai Buddhism. Thais honour Buddha statues, spirit houses, and photographs of the King.

You can easily spend a few peaceful hours watching Thais seek guidance and protection, praying for a good future life at the temple.

4. The landscape

Wow. That is the one word you will keep saying in Thailand.

In Bangkok, it will be because of the manmade attractions: the giant golden Buddha, the glittering temples and the incredibly twisted wires cobbled together and strung over streets. Chiang Mai will delight you with rice fields, history, hill tribes and thousand-year-old temples. In the south, expect stunning white-sand beaches and limestone pillars topped with lush vegetation.

Thailand has so many different landscapes that you could spend a long time exploring them all.

5. The people

The Thai people are reason enough to visit this country. They’re always smiling and helpful. Thai’s tolerate, and even like most tourists, and once you become a friend of a Thai, you’re a friend for life.

Republished with permission of My Discoveries.