Thailand has done exceedingly well to promote itself as a tourist destination. It has created a space in the travel industry as a budget destination with all the right ingredients. The country receives tourists from around the world and India is no different. A recent report indicated that Thailand is visited by around 100,000 Indian tourists each year with figures only moving upwards. So what is it that attracts the Indian tourist to Thailand considering there is stiff competition in the Asian sector with Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines and Laos around the corner??
- Convenience / Accessibility
In present times, it is no big deal to go to Thailand. Roughly 4 hour distance by air, most airlines (including low cost carriers) run daily direct flights to and fro Thailand. The currency is cheap and the Indian tourist does not mind indulging. Even if you chose to visit Thailand with a tour operator, a basic package would cost you approximately 26,000 INR all inclusive (accommodation, meals and sightseeing + return airfare). Your trip to Shimla – Manali is likely to cost almost same, so why not go international?
- No Visa hassles
While a lot of beautiful countries in Europe, U.S.A. and the Middle East require you to arrange a visa ahead of time, Thailand throws that logic out of the window. Thailand has a Visa on Arrival facility for almost all nationalities so you could even plan this as a last moment extended weekend trip.
Thailand is a haven for shoppers. Clothes, Shoes, Accessories, Electronics and practically every other thing can be purchased here. No! I don’t mean obsolete or second hand stuff; Most of these items are almost always in trend.
- Value for Money
Let’s accept it, Value for Money is very important to Indians; and Thailand offers something for everybody. So if you are into water sports there is Coral island, Temples and Monasteries are scattered around the country, Honeymooners can settle for Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai islands, night life seekers can have a rollicking time in Pattaya, Thai cuisine and their street food is mouth-wateringly delicious and shoppers can practically splurge without overspending in Bangkok. Thailand attracts many middle and upper middle class Indians and a lot is attributed to the Paisa Vasool factor it offers.
Life in Thailand is to a great extent uninhibited. It is unrestrained and tempts you into borderline guilty pleasure compared to a rather restrained India. Take for example, Thailand’s prostitution practice which although illegal throughout the country, is yet tolerated and in some cases regulated. They pride themselves on Thai massage and you will find plenty such massage parlours around the country. Kathoey, popularly Ladyboy in English is common to Thailand but less familiar to Indians so they find it interesting and exciting. Pattaya’s Tiffani show is a cabaret performed by the transvestite and the transgender community. The show is extremely popular and was once on the top 10 list of shows you must see around the world. Pattaya is unofficially called the ‘Sin city of the East’.
Thailand has lived up to the budget holiday destination it markets itself as and the Indian tourist is a sucker for budget holidays. In fact, for a lot of Indian’s, Thailand is the first travel step they take from Domestic to International.