Critical opinion

So you are considering traveling to Thailand. Let me tell you what I think about this intention.

If you want to travel to Thailand for sexual or love relationships (and I do not mean with prostitutes), then you have a valid reason. For sexual and love relationships rightly take priority in anybodyís life, and the promise of sexual and love relationships of better quality makes it worthwhile to take risks, and to spend money.

An interest in sexual and love relationships of better quality is a genuine reason to travel to Thailand. Most other reasons are not genuine in as they are not original. They have been implanted in peopleís minds by marketing campaigns, or the joint interest of different players who all benefit economically from people making journeys to far away destinations.

These players include (in the case of Thailand): the Thai government that is interested in the economic benefits that can be reaped from the tourism industry, airlines that want to sell seats on their their long-haul flights, international hotel chains, travel agencies, the manufacturers of suitcases and swimwear, and, last not least, the publishers of travel guides who want you to buy their books.

But is a journey to Thailand without a definite reason, just for spending a holiday there, in your genuine interest?

What are the potential benefits:

A foreign, widely overrated, cuisine? If you do feel you need to taste Thai food, you can surely find a Thai restaurant in the next major city of your own country. Quite possibly, the food is better than in Thailand itself, and quite possibly, the hygienic standards are higher.

Beaches? You can find better beaches closer to home: in Spain or Greece if you are in Europe, or in California or Mexico if you are North American; and certainly, if you are Australian, no Thai beach is a match for the Gold coast.

Culture? How many Buddhist temples do you intend to visit? From an architectural point of view, they are overrated. And if ancient architecture is your reason, let me ask you: how much of the ancient architecture of Europe have you visited. I am really sometimes amused when I see tourists visiting a wat which may be 150 years old, but an 800 year old church in their own country, they ignore in spite of having lived just a few hundred kilometers away for decades.

What else? Nature? Thailand has little to offer nature-wise. Most of the country has long been the subject of deforestation. There are a few national parks, yes. But if you arenít into national parks in Europe or the US, your interest in national parks in Thailand would likely be the product of slick advertising brochures, rather than genuine (just as in the case of architecture).

And now, take a look at the risk factors:

There is first the long flight. Yes, statistically, flying is safer than traveling the same distance overland (and itís certainly much faster). But there will always be flight accidents, and itís unpleasant, indeed, to be in one.

I am not afraid of being dead. But to die in an airplane is one of the worst possible deaths. And this is simple math: the more you fly, the more you are likely to be in an air travel misshape.

Furthermore, there are very definite health risks: malaria, cholera, hepatitis, salmonella, to just give some household names. There also are more exotic strains, such as SARS and bird flu. Furthermore, there are the diseases that donít have illustrious names, such as diarrhea.

And then, next, think whether you really want to be in a country where you are constantly cheated (and often, you donít even notice)?

Most Thais like foreigners as a source of income, but thatís about it. Their friendliness is of the kind, motivated salespeople also display.

Yes, if the reward are better sexual and love relationships, then there is a valid reason to travel to Thailand. For others (especially women and men traveling with women), itís smarter to stay at home, or spend a holiday somewhere nearby.


Jan Garanoz
Juhu Tara Road, Juhu,
Mumbai - 400049 India
Last updated: July 28, 2011