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Headed to Thailand, mates? Going to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Phuket, or Isaan? Find the best hotels and prices on a rental car. Doug Knell of Doug's Republic goes over it all. Let Douglas Knell guides you through flights. See the Similan Islands and Khao Lak. Learn what it's like to be living in Thailand and the techniques of picking up a Thai.

Kingdom Of Thailand
King of Travel Destinations

"If you want to wipe the smile off someone's face, don't send him to Thailand. It's called the Land of Smiles."  Doug Knell, Doug's Republic
Australia travel

This site has a wealth of information about Doug's experiences in Thailand.
Just make a selection on any of the items on the left side of this page and you'll see so much of Thailand, you may decide to not even go or, on the other hand, cash it all in and emigrate here. Doug talks more about his own impressions and attitudes.  Hard-fact travel info can be found on a myriad of conventional travel sites.

So why should you come to Thailand?

Here are a few reasons:

1. The grass is always greener where you're not.   Where do you live most of the year?  The UK? The United States? Australia? Sterile Scandinavia? Sorry to inform you that the grass really is greener over in Thailand compared to home. If it weren't, why does the country get 14m annual tourist visits per year?

2. Thailand is a hub for Southeast Asia.   Southeast Asia could well be the most diverse travel destination in the world, and Thailand is in the heart of it. From Bangkok, you are just a short flight away from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Hong Kong. There are cheap flights to places further afield, like China and India, too. Good luck flying abroad roundtrip to diverse cultural destinations for USD 200 if you live in Melbourne, Australia or Cleveland, Ohio. If you want to remain an uncultured hick, stay at home, okay?

3. Thailand offers more than reasonable prices, by First World country standards, for food and drink..  Do you think you're too thin and want to build up a paunch quickly? Eager to hasten cirrhosis of the liver?  Thailand is your place. I had a friend come over and visit for a month. He couldn't believe how inexpensive the spicy Thai cuisne was and ate three main dishes per meal, three meals per day. When he got back to New Zealand, a friend asked him if he were pregnant. This friend wound up becoming an alcoholic due to the cheap booze he was able to obtain in Thailand. Look on the bright side: he couldn't have accomplished this feat as cheaply and as efficiently back home in Kiwi Land.

4. Thailand insures you won't starve.  Yeah, we've already been over the point how cheap the food is, but we haven't discussed how delicious it can be. Visit Latin America's beautiful vistas and you'll be eating beans and rice and chicken till the still-living chickens come home to roost. In Thailand, you'll be eating red, green, yellow, Massaman, and Penang curries; stir fried dishes with basil leaves and kaffir lime leaves; salads made with lime juice, peanuts, and shredded fruits; supping iced coffees made from grounds grown in the fields of Northern Thailand. Get with the program, junior! If Chilean and Ecuadorean and Peruvian food is so world class, where are all the international Chilean, Ecuadorean, and Peruvian restaurants. Wake up and smell the (delicious) coffee over here.

5. Thailand has superb and affordable accommodation options.   In the European Union, you could pay €50 to camp out in a leaky shed. The Europeans believe it is your inalienable right to pay through the nose just to sniff their Old World sewage. Thailand won't charge you to sniff or bathe in their sewers. Here, you can pay USD 5 and stay in a closet, USD 10 for a large walk-in closet, or USD 200 to schmooze with elites. Would your home nation give you the same variety and affordable options? Nope. They're too busy taxing everyone to death.

6.  Thailand has a language that's nearly impossible to learn.   Can your read this?    I highly doubt it.   The Thai language sure looks imposing. In turn, you wont bother learning much, if any, Thai.   That's a lot of time you'll be saving.  If you were traveling to Spain, France, Germany, Argentina, Italy, you'd delude yourself that could actually learn a bit of the local lingo, waste time and money on language courses, still be terrible, and arrive in your destination no more fluent. When you come to Thailand as a casual observer, you won't even bother trying.

7.  Thailand offers it all in one vacation destination.   Are you a 65-year old male sex tourist, a "sex pat"?  There're plenty more like you over here.  A gay or bi-sexual lager lout and drunk?   There're even more like you!  A family man bringing the wife and kids?  There's plenty like you, too.  If you want to mix it all up, you can date a woman a third your age and bring along the kids. No one cares.  Thailand offers a holiday to cater to all tastes, appetites, and morals.  

8.  Thailand still has somewhat friendly people.  Yeah, it's called the Land of Smiles, but that's just a tourist gimmick.  Plenty of the people aren't smiling, and if they are, it's because they just overcharged you 300% on that rental car, condo, or "authentic" Rolex.   But we both know you'd get ripped off worse in India.  And when you go to a European country for a vacation, the people sure aren't smiling as the entire system legally rips you off.  Tourism has definitely jaded many Thais, but they're still more welcoming at their most jaded than anyone you'll ever meet in Sweden or Germany. 

9.  Thailand has both beaten track and off-the-beaten track treats.   You want to do the trip everyone and his cousin has done (i.e. Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, Khao San Road in Bangkok), no one is going to punish you for being a follower.  At the same time, you can get way off the beaten track in Isaan where you won't meet another tourist.  It's all up to you.  In Australia, by contrast, you'd have to steer a 4-wheel drive into the deep Outback to avoid the tourist hordes.    

10.  For those in need, Thailand provides "Asia Lite."   Asia can seem intimidating to the uninitiated.  The Orient, the Far East, bowing, saving face.  It can be so foreign, so odd, so different that you'll shy away from going.  Not Thailand, folks. It can be very different if that's what you want to see or it can just be Asian backdrops while you do facetime with people from your own culture.  In South Korea, you can spend an entire day in Seoul and not see another foreigner.  In Thailand, if you spit, the spit's likely to land on a foreigner's shoes.  The "Asia Lite" angle can be viewed with derision or zeal, whichever way you choose to see it, but considering that most tourists don't really see or understand the countries they visit anyway, Thailand lets you come and make no pretenses about really traveling. 

Highlights of Thailand

These are just a few:

1. Grand Palace of Bangkok.  If you've traveled a lot, you'll probably have seen better and better-maintained palaces, but its setting and what it represents seem to show off Thailand's mix of modern and ancient in one snapshot.

2. Karst formation scenery near Krabi.   Very unique, beautiful, and Thai.

3. Spending a time in a basic bungalow appreciating what counts on Koh Phangan. 

4. Ordering a delicious three-course Thai meal superior to anything you'd get at home and receiving the very reasonable check.

5. If male, picking up a Thai girl a half to one-third your age and letting yourself believe she finds you divine. If female, watching these males pick up girls a half to one-third their ages and believe the nonsense spouting out of the local girls' mouths.

6. Superficially meeting hill tribe villagers in Thailand's north and then making hackneyed remarks that "Something should be done about these poor people," without yourself intending to lift a finger.

7. Bucolic Thai villages along the Mekong.

8. Sukhothai, the former capital of the Thai Empire.

9. Indulging in a little opium (. . . or not!!) near the Golden Triangle, where it's grown, the point Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos meet in triumvirate harmony.  Warning: opium is illegal, but so are a lot of things, and we're sure you wouldn't listen to us on most things, so why advise you to go legal now?

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The Busy Person's Guide To Insanely Interesting Beer Bullshit

  Thailand is a fascinating place to visit. We're sure you'll be checking out Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Phuket, and Isaan. Doug Knell of Doug's Republic breaks it all down for you. He shows you hotels, rental car, and motorbike rental procedures. Douglas Knell guides you through flights. You'll gaze with beauty at the Similan Islands and Khao Lak. Living in Thailand and picking up a Thai are also discussed.