One of our Account Managers for Canada, Soran Prasad, recently visited Thailand. To keep you in the loop about the latest happenings in the world of travel, we chatted with Soran and got some insight on her trip as well as tips on how to sell Thailand vacations to your clients.
1. Where did you travel?
I travelled to Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui in Thailand.
2. What is the number one thing agents should know about Thailand?
It is safe to travel! Thailand is well prepared to welcome international travellers and to help people navigate all the safety requirements at the present time. In fact, people in Thailand are ready and waiting for travellers from North America to come and visit. Agents should let their clients know that they should exchange their dollars at the airport for a better rate than at vendors in the cities, or to use their ATM card directly at a bank.
3. What is the biggest misconception about Thailand?
That all Thai food is super spicy—this isn’t the case at all! My group and I ate at many local Thai restaurants and had amazing food that was always different spice levels. As well, if your clients can’t handle spicy foods, they should let the servers know that they prefer mild seasoning. Most places are very accommodating. As well, the desserts in Thailand are the best. This is a foodie destination for every kind of taste, from Michelin-starred restaurants to casual affordable dining.
4. What was your favourite hotel and why?
Well, there were many hotels I loved, but I have to pick the Ritz Carlton in Koh Samui. It was amazing. It’s part of a brand new product line with Goway that opened just before the pandemic. It’s a well-known luxury brand, of course, but the location, staff, and personal touches are the most memorable parts of it. There’s nothing stuffy about it and there are lots of free activities to do at the resort, which is a unique offer that other properties may not have.
These activities include Muay Thai boxing (yes, there is a boxing ring there). You can learn the Art of 8 Limbs for a total workout with trained instructors. It also has the largest pool in Southern Thailand (100m). The swim reef Discover is the largest swim reef in Southeast Asia. This is a unique snorkelling experience that no other hotel has on Koh Samui. The Southern Gastronomic Journey also offers a cultural and gastronomic experience at a local market where you source seasonal produce and afterwards discover the secrets of traditional southern-style Thai cooking in a culinary class.
As well, being the Ritz Carlton, there’s also an unmatched attention to detail from the cuisine to the rooms to spots all over the property. You can learn more at the hotel website.
5. What new things did you learn about Thailand?
It’s a place where you can come back each time and have a very different travel experience. It’s a diverse country with many ethnic groups and different cultural styles. I was amazed by the differences in local cuisine across the country. There are a variety of luxury accommodations to choose from—some make you feel like you’re outdoors in a rainforest, others make you feel like you have absolute privacy in nature. In general, I was also surprised by how clean the entire country was.
6. What was your favourite local experience?
Visiting local restaurants! They are the best for healthy, fresh, and affordable food. But if I have to choose a single experience, it has to be visiting Patara Elephant Farm, where we learned about taking care of the animals. We fed, bathed, and massaged them. It’s a must-do when you visit Chiang Mai.
7. What was your favourite individual destination?
Maya Bay in Phuket. This is where Leonardo DiCaprio and crew filmed The Beach. During the pandemic, the Thailand government learned that the large crowds attracted to the beach were hurting the environment, so they took the opportunity to change the rules. Now, boats and humans aren’t allowed in the water. It’s still an amazing place to visit and get your best photos. You can even see baby reef sharks and colourful tropical fish.
8. What were your favourite local dishes or drinks?
Pomelo salad and fresh coconut water served in the coconut itself. Of course, you also have your choice of Thai classics such as Pad Thai, Massaman Curry, and Tom Yum Soup, which are all fresh and delicious.
9. What would be the perfect complement as an extension to this trip?
The country’s north is an amazing place full of cultural and historical highlights. I visited Chiang Mai, but you can easily go beyond this northern city to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle. You can also extend the journey into Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, or even Myanmar.
10. What are your top three tips for agents who want to sell Thailand?
One: Remember that Thailand is more than just Bangkok and Phuket. Your clients can start in the north of the country and work their way down south.
Two: Do some research on goway.com for sample itineraries so you can let your clients know what they can do in the timeframe with the budget they have. Remember that Thailand is a tailor-made, fully-customizable destination where a Goway Destination Specialist can help you piece together the perfect trip for your clients.
Three: Book in advance! Things are picking up and you want to be able to plan the whole experience that your clients dream about.