A land of natural wonders, colorful culture and vibrant cities, Thailand! The country is one of the top rated tourist spots in the world because of the richness of its culture, that is a mix of Indian, Lao, Burmese, Cambodian, and Chinese cultures. Thai people are friendly and hospitable individuals who have smiles ready to greet anyone who comes their way, making it easy for travelers to feel comfortable enough to extend their stay and interns to decide to find a job and live in Thailand as expatriates.
Geography & Demographics
Thailand is home to thick jungles, blue crystal waters and elephants that share the streets with Thai people and the many consistent visitors. A constitutional monarchy lead by King Rama IX, the country is home to Wat Chaiwatthanaram located in the city of Ayutthaya, together with Satchanalai and Kamphaeng Phet, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
For those who wish to do an internship to an Asian country where they can also have opportunities to visit other countries with minimal costs and time, Thailand is a great choice. it is bordered by Burma and Laos to its north, Laos and Cambodia to the east, the Andaman Sea to the west, and the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia to the south. There are many ways to get into Thailand yet traveling into the country by plane is the most encouraged way to do due to immigration restraints in traveling into the country through other forms such as by train, ferry, and by road. The two main international airports are Bangkok and Phuket and there are also international airports in Krabi, Hat Yai, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai. Trains provide affordable transport all around the country as well; there are three main classes on trains, first, second, and third class, categorized by the way they accommodate travelers.
Thailand’s tropical forests may not be top-rated in Southeast Asia, but they are definitely worth exploring. Lush forests offer those interested in conservation and biodiversity internship programs ideal internship experiences. The country has a tropical climate so it is best to expect humid and hot temperatures that can range from 28 to 35 degrees Celsius. There is frequent rain from July to October and the nation’s cool months are November through February. Those traveling into the country during the hot season from March to June, can enjoy the relief offered by the mountains of northern Thailand or the beaches of southern Thailand.
Food & Culture
Thai food is known to be very spicy, with strong aromatic flavors that entice everyone to try a taste. Thailand is a great place for those who are adventurous with food choices. The streets are lined with loads of cheap food stalls with a variety of local dishes that will leave first time tasters asking for more. Most of the dishes are prepared right in the stall so the freshness of the food is guaranteed.
Thailand’s staple foods are rice and noodles, like most other Asian countries, but what makes Thailand different is the ever famous Pad Thai. Pad Thai is a dish with stir fried rice noodles mixed with eggs, tofu, tamarind pulp, soy or fish sauce, and a variety of spices. Different variations of the dish exist, some with meat options or some with unique vegetable combinations. This national dish has even been listed as one of the top most delicious foods in the world.
Thailand’s colorful culture has rich influences from neighboring countries such as India, Malaysia, China, Burma, Laos, and Cambodia. Most of the people practice Buddhism, Animism, and Hinduism. Taking a stroll through the streets of Thailand gives a glimpse of how big an influence these various beliefs are to the people. Around every corner, nook, and cranny Buddha statues can be found; the largest temple in Thailand is Prasat Phimai, located amidst the famous Angkor ruins. Traditional Buddhist Monks abound, and temples and religious sites are scattered throughout the country. It is important to take note that monks are not to be in close contact with females, females who would like to donate money should ask a male friend to hand over the money for them or place contributions in front them, so the monks can pick them up on their own. Modest dress is also required in almost every Thai temple.
The people of Thailand speak Thai, which uses an alphabet and script unique to Thailand. However, Thai is normally paired with English on major road and business signs. In Bangkok international visitors have no trouble finding their way and communicating with the locals who are always eager to improve their English with the many English-speaking foreigners who travel to Thailand each year.
The local currency is the Thai Baht, 30 Baht is roughly equivalent to one USD. Western visitors typically find Thailand to be cheap, especially long-distance travel and meal costs. Foreign currencies are easily exchanged in airports upon arrival and other money exchange locations throughout the larger cities and tourist hot-spots.
Things to Do
Elephants are an essential part of the country. During the third weekend of November, a festival called the Surin Elephant Round-Up takes place where elephants get to show off their skills in and their strength on games like tug of war and football. Full Moon Parties are another event in Thailand attended by thousands of westerners every year. The party takes place on the night of the full moon in Haad Rin on the island of Koh Pha Ngan, and a handful of other islands.
For those who are not interested in experiencing a Thai party and would prefer to get immersed in the history and traditions of Thailand there are many cultural festivals to attend. Visitors can indulge in festivities like the Thai New Year celebration or what is called the Songkran. It is during this festival that locals and visitors throw water on each other over and over for several days. It used to be mellow with the washing of Buddhas with water and sprinkling the hands of the elders with scented water. But, as time goes on, it has became more and more boisterous with people using different tools for squirting or throwing water, some individuals even resort to using water hoses.
Interning in Thailand
Thailand offers a variety of internship opportunities in almost every sector. The country, rich in natural diversity and wildlife, has programs in conservation, ecology, and even elephant rescue and rehabilitation available in most areas of the country. For those who are interested in spending more time in the beaches of Thailand, there are scuba and diving instructor internships or internships teaching swimming and water safety.
A magnet for tourists and travelers, Thailand is a great country for hospitality and tourism internships as well. Due to the nation’s status as a developing country, education, language, and medical internships are available all over the country. Programs range from a Medical Volunteer and Internship Program in Chiang Mai to a Teaching internship program in Krabi or Phuket.
Interns in Thailand are mostly housed in three types of housing: shared flats/apartments, group living arrangement, and homestays. The latter being the most popular because it immerses the interns into the local ways and culture together with a few extra perks like learning the language bit by bit through conversations with the host family and getting to eat the local homemade dishes.
Individuals traveling to Thailand should flip through a country or city guide to help familiarize themselves with the sometimes confusing Thai cities and scope out ideal locations for placement that suit potential intern’s desires. Interns should try not look touristy so as to not fall prey to scammers and pickpockets, which are common in the larger cities in Thailand.