Thailand - Overview
Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
117Trip End Jul 28, 2008
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Now far from the jewel of south-east Asia, Thailand has sadly been devastated by the effects of tourism. It was once dubbed the "land of smiles" as a phrase referring to the friendly hospitality of the locals. These smiles have now come to symbolise exploitative greed at the expense of any outsider who can be scammed, overcharged or simply robbed. Without doubt, amazingly welcoming and genuine people remain but they are hidden by this ugly culture that has developed.
The scarred relationship between foreigner and Thai has left a sour taste and both sides are responsible. We witnessed one backpacker making obscene gestures at a noodle-seller over a misunderstanding about the variety of sweet chilli sauce used! It is disgusting, if not embarrassing, to see.
Thailand's popularity is simply that it offers a convenient package (far from as cheap as everyone pretends). Sure there are great beaches and interesting cultural sights, BUT there are far better beaches in Malaysia, more stunning temple complexes in Cambodia, cheaper beer in Vietnam and far more friendly folk in Laos.
The isolated seclusion that everyone dreams of has largely disappeared. Overdeveloped commercialism rattles on like a self-possessed juggernaut. The Thai tourist bubble will soon burst - and it needs to.
Get yourself into Malaysia or Vietnam and the leave the crowds to sardine themselves into over-priced beach resorts that have been struck by a fatal case of the "Mac Attack".