You Know Who Loves Thailand? The Swedes

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

11 million people visit Thailand every year. So who which country outside of Asia visits Thailand the most? Coming in at number one is Australia with 520,090, followed by the United Kingdom at 670,904, the U.S. at 496,812, India at 494,223, Germany with 438,171, France at 339,201, and in seventh place is Sweden with 253,007. (The full list is here.)

Notice anything about those numbers? That’s right, all those countries are in the top 25 of the most populated in the world, except for Sweden with about 9.3 million residents. Which means that every year 2% of the population, or 1 out of every 50 Swedes, packs up and heads over 5,000 miles to Thailand. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the Swedes love Thailand.

Suffice it to say, a lot of people go there, and not just the Swedes. So it might be of some interest to know that there are some places where you are unlikely to overhear discussions about football or be overrun by gap-year crowds. The Guardian heads to Koh Kood, the small island about 200 miles east of Bangkok and just off the waters from where Thailand ends and Cambodia begins, to see what everyone’s missing out on.

A train ride to the shore and an hour-long boat ride will bring you to this tranquil island, “home to rainforest, coconut and rubber plantations, sleepy fishing villages, and fewer than 2,000 people.”

Though the island prides itself on its plenty of nothing, there are a few things to do for those of us in the A.D.D. crowd. You can trek to the Klong Chao and Klong Yai Ki waterfalls, two spectacular falls known for their beauty, or boat over to the nearby Koh Rang islands for snorkeling and, you know, more pristine beaches. Or you can sit around, commiserating about how you can’t find any good Surströmming or a glass of Kopparberg — your choice.

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