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Looking for that postcard-perfect retreat? Then Thailand is your answer. With an alluring mix of exotic food, tropical lagoons and a frenzied yet enduring way of life, many find themselves living here indefinitely.
Things to do
Through the eyes of a westerner, Thailand is a country that can appear messy and chaotic even at the best of times. The gods of routine and order certainly seem to have a diminished presence in this vibrant, colourful nation. While it may take some getting used to, very few leave Thailand without falling in love with its way of life. One thing's for certain - you will never run out of chances for adventure and excitement.
Whether you are getting lost in the busy streets and winding alleyways of the capital city of Bangkok, holidaying on the pristine beaches of Ko Samui, or partying hard with fellow revellers at Full Moon festivals on the island of Ko Pha Ngan, you will never be short of things to do.
Places to eat
If there is one thing that Thailand should be famous for above all else - it is certainly its food. Those with adventurous taste buds will find myriad flavours, as well as a few unorthodox dishes awaiting them. When it comes to food in Thailand, the golden rule is to never let unfamiliarity put you off trying something new. For those looking to move to Thailand, this will be an all-important attitude to adopt.
Traditional Thai food can be found in all manner of places - from hole-in-the-wall style canteens to busy street markets, to luxurious five-star restaurants. All these places should be explored to ensure that every interpretation of Thai cuisine is sampled. As a side note, a good rule-of-thumb would be to look for places that are filled with local Thai customers - as these are the places that are likely to offer the best food at more reasonable prices.
Shoppers can get their hands on almost anything in Thailand - and the best places to look for those hidden gems has to be the numerous street markets that can be found in any of the big cities. Be sure to bring your top haggling-game with you to ensure you get the best prices!
For those looking to try their hand at cooking their own interpretations of pad thai and massaman curry, the Damnoen Saduak floating market in Bangkok is a one stop shop for tropical fruits, vegetables and all manner of local produce. The waterways are crowded with vendors selling their wares from the decks of their boats and provide the perfect opportunity to capture some truly memorable photos.
The one downside of the Damnoen Saduak market is the fact that it caters almost entirely to tourists, so if you are looking for a more authentic take on a Thai floating market, head to the Amphawa market; close to Bangkok it is visited almost exclusively by Thai locals.
There is no way past it: travelling in Thailand can be an incredibly hair-raising experience. In terms of getting around the numerous cities in Thailand, there is no one means of transport that stands out as a favourite among the locals. You will find a swarm of motorbikes, cars, bicycles, tuk-tuks and buses all fighting to make their way from point to point.
For travelling from city to city, buses are the most popular mode of transport - for the locals at least. They may be slow and sometimes uncomfortable, but when you consider the fact that they are relatively cheap and offer a sublime platform for viewing the Thai countryside, their appeal becomes more apparent.
For those seeking a more comfortable and less time-consuming means of domestic travel within Thailand, flights can be booked from a number of airports around the country. All have Bangkok as their central hub, so there is a good excuse to get out and explore this sleepless city. Daily international flights also make Thailand that much more accessible from overseas - and mean that home is never too far away.
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