We love Thailand. I've been going there since I was about 8 years old. In the 80s and 90s Thailand still seemed like Thailand. It was not as convenient, there were fewer ATM machines, one ate mostly Thai food while visiting and fewer people spoke English. There were very few shopping malls - we went to markets. Those were simpler times. Thailand's economy has grown over the years. People have moved to the cities as people do everywhere and villages in the countryside still remind me of the old days.
When you sail around island hoping or drive across country, I've even ridden bicycles around Thailand, you'll still find nice people, hospitality, beauty, good food, an amazing and ancient culture and many more reasons to love the place.
It's getting harder, however, almost anywhere you go, to find the kind of development that would preserve the kind of culture and natural beauty I cherish over tourist dollars and shopping. Everyone wants to be a consumer now. People want to shop. I'm still more interested in people, nature, culture and my experience as I get lost and map the world in my mind and imagination.
Seeing masses of tourists in loud boats all over the place makes me sad. I know the money is good for the economy, but I wish things were managed better. After the tsunami in 2004 devistated the region I was hoping that Phi Phi Island would be developed in a good way. It wasn't. It's haphazard and bog standard. There are more pizza places than curry joints. Drink, get your tats and eat your pizza just like home. Sometimes it's more fun to be challenged by a culture than to visit your creature comforts from back home.
Phuket is crowded now. That's something I don't particularly like, but it's still a beautiful place if you frame things just right. It's getting harder for me to frame things just right.
When you go, especially for the first time, you'll enjoy the novelty and freshness of your experience and compare it with whatever strikes you. It's still Thailand and it's still worth seeing and lovable.
Visit this page again soon. I'll be putting more content here. Happy travels.