There’s nothing quite as exciting or empowering as a passport, plane tickets, and having the whole world at your disposal. One of the best things about being able to travel is the ability to experience new and different places, learning about the cultures there and becoming all the more personally enriched in the process. Ernest Hemingway famously described living in Paris as A Moveable Feast, an experience that you can keep with you all your life.

The travel industry is booming, allowing more people to travel to and discover their own “movable feast” in more new locations than ever before. Along with the traditional travel favorites, London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong, some newer hotspots are popping up, of which few are hotter than Thailand. With increased interest in Thailand as a tourist destination, more and more travelers are getting the chance to experience this pleasant travel surprise.

And just what Thailand facts might surprise you the most?

From Russia with Love

One of the most intriguing aspects of any tourism boom is examining what factors go into it. Sometimes, the truth about who’s fueling such a boom can be surprising, and that’s certainly the case with Thailand.

For those not in the know, Thailand is an increasingly popular getaway for Russian citizens. This is due to a variety of factors, ranging from political (namely, increased visa restrictions on visiting Western Europe) to geographical (Thailand’s warmer climate and close proximity to Eastern Russia) to financial (the ruble’s favorable exchange rate there.

As such, from Thailand’s tropical regions to Bangkok and beyond, you can find plenty of Russian tourists enjoying the sites and leaving their mark.

One Night in Bangkok, Sixteen Million Visitors

Among the biggest indicators of Thailand’s skyrocketing popularity is the fact that Bangkok has overtaken London, Paris, and all those other high-profile destinations to become one of the most popular destinations in the world. According to Forbes, Bangkok clocked in as the most visited city among international tourists in 2017.

Amazing Thai Animal Facts

One of the most notable things about Thailand is and always has been its abundance of wildlife. Thailand is lucky enough to have some of the most amazing habitats for animals both on land and sea, with its wildlife being yet another of the big factors fueling its rise through the tourism ranks. Among the most interesting fact about Thailand’s animal life and culture include:

  • If you’re an elephant lover, you’ll be happy to know that Thailand has a long tradition of hosting elephants as luxurious animals. What’s more, recent years have seen increased reforms for the improved treatment and conservation of these animals, ensuring their humane treatment and continued place in Thai culture.

  • Siamese cats come from Thailand originally, and they are still highly prized in the country, so if you love cats, you’ll definitely want to take in Thailand’s incredible cat lover culture.

  • Thailand is also home to the smallest mammal in the world (a miniature type of bat that weighs in at a teeny-tiny two kilograms) as well as the largest species of fish (the confusingly-named whale shark.)

  • Speaking of which, one of the go-to places for seeing and tasting fish in Thailand is the Mekong River, which is home to more than 1300 different species of fish.  The river flows not only through Thailand but also China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Among these are some of the largest fish in the world, including a type of freshwater catfish that can clock in at over 10 feet and 660lbs. If you’re looking for an incredible Southeast Asian fish story, Thailand might just be the place for you.

  • Thailand is also home to some incredibly unique animals, such as the mudskipper, a type of fish-like creature that also has amphibious adaptations that allow it to crawl onto land.

From the incredible wealth of wildlife to the menus and culture of Bangkok and beyond, natural beauty is one of the biggest elements of Thailand’s popularity. As such, it is of the utmost importance that Thailand’s rivers and forests be preserved. There are numerous NGOs and governmental organizations that work to help conserve the country’s wildlife and natural beauty, and they’re always looking for donations and additional support.

All this and more demonstrates just how full of surprises Thailand is and why booking a trip there is becoming ever more popular.

Published by Samantha Brown