Which Five Words Would You Choose to Best Describe Thailand?

Thailand is the Land of Smiles, and those three words have served the Kingdom very well in terms of enticing holidaymakers to the country. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)  has, for a long time, marketed the country under the slogan ‘Amazing Thailand‘. This year they added three more words to their trademark catchphrase to further embody Thailand’s reputation as a value for money holiday destination and a country rich in culture. Those two words have become five, and ‘Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You‘ has been TAT’s promotional logo throughout 2011.

photo by worradmu

TAT’s new slogan got me thinking about which five individual words best describe the appeal of Thailand as a holiday destination to me.

I’m not necessarily talking about words which gloss and glamorize Amazing Thailand, but more about single words you might give in answer to a friend’s question about the allure Thailand has for you.

My five words which describe Thailand best to me

  1. Cheap – That’s a terrible word to start with, but for me, Thailand is attractive because it’s so cheap in comparison to my life here in England. Two dollars for a haircut, a bottle of strong beer for one UK pound and a plate of chicken and rice for only 20 Thai baht is proof of the value for money Thailand holds.
  2. Cultural – Thailand’s culture is deeply linked to Buddhism and is evident in the myriad of temples in the cities and towns of the Kingdom. Thailand’s numerous festivals are another clue to its cultural past, but I also have a fascination with the values and characteristics of the Thai people too. Thai smiles, the customary Thai wai and the people’s overplay on face and respect are each interesting facets of Thailand’s culture to me.
  3. Colourful – Thailand’s floating markets and festivals have every colour imaginable, but Thailand is an unusual country in other ways too. Thailand is picturesque, but it’s also a country with a giant buzz about it too. I particularly enjoy the vibrancy of Thailand’s night markets and the party-themed atmosphere of its festivals.
  4. Chilled – I think Thai people, in general, have a very relaxed and laid-back approach to everyday life and I find that to be a welcome change from the higher tempo, fast-paced ways of the UK. Thai life has a pace I like and one I find very easy to follow.
  5. Green – The Land of Smiles is far from green in its efforts to conserve the natural environment, but I mean green in the sense of the colour. Thailand’s countryside is awash with lush lime-green vegetation, sprawling rice fields and deep green mountain forestry, all of which never fail to amaze me. I’d always imagined Thailand’s countryside to be brown, parched and dry, but I was way wrong on that one.

That’s my five words which characterize Thailand to me but what about you. Which five words would you choose to describe Thailand best?


Photograph by worradmu
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I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

21 Responses

  1. isaan live says:

    beautiful, racist, internetless, multicultural, undereducated

  2. Martyn says:

    Isaan live – Thanks for your five words and I’m not going to argue with any of them. I’ll just add that I can understand the reasoning for choosing all of them and would make an intelligent guess you have lived in Thailand for quite a while.

  3. Hi martyn, my five words to describe Thailand would probably change on a daily basis. I’ve had a stressful couple of days so it is probably best to skip the words that currently spring to mind 🙂 I like your choices because they do sum up a lot of the appeal of Thailand.

  4. Martyn says:

    Paul I’ve just read your blog post and fully understand you’re now in a state of recovery from shock and your choice of words might be a bit downbeat and expletive. I’m pleased for you that everything turned out well in the end.

  5. Snap says:

    Only five????? Drippy, delicious, fluctuating, sensorial, surprising! 🙂

  6. Snap says:

    now ticking the follow up comment check box…sigh!

  7. Martyn says:

    Snap five lovely words one of which I had to Google to get a definition for:


    adj. drip·pi·er, drip·pi·est
    1. Characterized by dripping; drizzly: a drippy, wet day.
    2. Slang
    a. Tiresome or annoying.
    b. Mawkishly sentimental: a drippy love scene.

    Thanks for your five and I’m guessing by drippy you mean mawkishly sentimental or such.

    Your comment (first one) was found in my spam folder, as was isaan live’s comment too. My anti spam plugin must be reading the quick five word lists as junk mail. How wrong of it to do that.

  8. Talen says:

    Martyn, at first glance I thought this would be an easy thing to do but it wasn’t…I had to walk away from the post for a while and actually think about. I finally came up with the following:


  9. Martyn says:

    Talen thanks for your five and once again I’ve had to ring Google’s door bell and politely ask for a definition of a word.


    adj. fuzz·i·er, fuzz·i·est
    1. Covered with fuzz.
    2. Of or resembling fuzz.
    3. Not clear; indistinct: a fuzzy recollection of past events.
    4. Not coherent; confused: a fuzzy plan of action.

    As you’re living in Thailand’s wild child resort Pattaya I’m putting my money on definition number three as being your descriptive word for Thailand.

    Smelly….that reminds me of walking down Pattaya’s Second Road. Have they fixed the drains yet?

  10. Snap says:

    I had no idea drippy could mean annoying or tiresome. For me drippy sums up: the rain at the moment, the humidity nearly all year round, hence, perspiring a lot and dodging liquid dripping from above while walking underneath building awnings…I tell myself it’s only water from air conditioners.

  11. Martyn says:

    Snap….I called that one wrong. I hadn’t associated Thailand with rain, but yes you are right and especially so about the drippy sweat which reminds me of April and May in Thailand. I must admit I’ve had a few rain soakings in Thailand during my many visits there but most of the time they’ve been a welcome relief from the heat.

    Drippy…not a bad choice.

  12. Catherine says:

    Martyn, apologies for coming in late. I was on the road yesterday and didn’t get back home until late. The rain plus a sharp corner in a small town (no warning signs) had our car skidding off the road. Then coming into Bangkok we ran into insane traffic as the same rain brought the city to a full stop, tagging 3 hours onto an already long trip.

    My five words…

    frustration – elation
    confusion – ahHA!
    [ debatable ]

  13. Martyn says:

    Catherine, my apologies for coming back to you late, I’ve been to work and having returned home I’ve had problems with my computer. The old girl doesn’t like booting up nowadays. That makes her sound like an ageing whore. I’ll have to try a system restore.

    I like your choice ahHa, Thailand does spring up the odd surprise and culture shock from time to time although they are usually things which bring a smile to me.

    Frustration, elation, confusion. Thailand must be a rollercoaster ride of emotions for you.


  14. Talen says:

    Martyn, you’ll be glad to know we have had the second road smells moved over to third road to make room for the new fresh durian smells on second road. 😛

  15. Martyn says:

    Talen despite durian having a real pong to it I still think it’s an improvement on the old sewer smell second road had before. Whatever or wherever the smell in Pattaya, a walk down beach road (beach side) is a refreshing experience anyhow.

  16. Catherine says:

    Martyn, Thailand is indeed a roller coaster of a ride. And sometimes I loves it… and sometimes not. But I’m never ever bored.

  17. Martyn says:

    Catherine…And sometimes I loves it… and sometimes not.

    There’s definite echoes of Pam Ayres in that statement. Where’s the accompanying poem?

  18. DanPloy says:

    Stimulating, bureaucratic, warm (in all the meanings), lush (in all the meanings), schizophrenic.

  19. Martyn says:

    DanPloy – Five great words and one, schizophrenic, appeals to me because I work in the pharmaceutical game.

    Bureaucratic – definitely so.
    Lush – my favourite from your five.

    adjective, -er, -est.
    1. (of vegetation, plants, grasses, etc.) luxuriant; succulent; tender and juicy.
    2. characterized by luxuriant vegetation: a lush valley.
    3. characterized by luxuriousness, opulence, etc.: the lush surroundings of his home.

  20. DanPloy says:

    Martyn, there is another meaning to lush that is also appropriate I think.

  21. Martyn says:

    DanPloy I thought the online definition I selected summed up what you’re referring to (I think) perfectly.

    A lush valley.

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