From Anna and the King of Siam to James Bond’s Man with the Golden Gun to Leonardo DiCaprio and The Beach, the beauty of Thailand has captured our collective attention for many decades. But its gorgeous beaches and ancient temples are just part of the reason Thailand should make it to the top of your bucket list.

Here are a few more:

The history and the Buddhist temples. No trip to Thailand is complete without a pilgrimage to the ancient temples, most prevalent in Chiang Mai or Bangkok. Even for the unindoctrinated, it’s a spiritual experience.

Affordability. From food to lodging to goods purchased in the markets, you’ll be shocked to see how far your dollar stretches in Thailand.

The climate. How do year-round sunshine and warm temperatures sound? Thailand has only 3 seasons and all of them for great for tourist travel

Incredible food. In a word, phenomenal! For those who think they know and love Thai, food, you’re in for a big surprise when you eat REAL Thai food. There is more variety than you can imagine and it’s fresher than fresh. In addition to Pad Thai and curry, you’ll find a wide variety of salads and snacks. And last but not least, it’s VERY inexpensive. Think lunch for less than $2.00.

World-renowned nightlife. Whether you are relaxing on a beach or exploring one of Thailand’s bustling cities, you will never be far from a bar or nightclub.

Ease of travel. There are many modes of transportation available in Thailand and none of them are expensive. Even air travel, once you’re in the country, is affordable. This means no more missed opportunities due to expense!

Fascinating cities. History buffs will appreciate the culture, history, and architecture of both Bangkok and expat-rich Chiang Mai, located in the quieter, charming center of Northern Thailand.

Friendly people. The smiling faces of the Thai people are a welcome sight to weary travelers. Known as the “Land of Smiles”, people of Thailand are friendly, open, and kind to foreign visitors. You won’t find a better welcome than that.

The markets. Regardless of what you’re shopping for, you’re bound to find it in Thailand - and for much less than you’re accustomed to paying at home. Whether you seek quirky eclectic souvenirs or shoes and art, vendors will be vying for your business.

For a true Thai experience, make sure you visit one of the floating markets. Here, vendors arrive with their wares in small boats and patrons either meet them on the water or call them over to the shore to make a purchase. Food vendors will prepare meals from their small floating markets.

Festivals. Thai people love to celebrate and their festivals are often colorful and joyous. If you can, plan your trip during Songkran, the national water fight festival.

Picturesque beaches. Remember The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio? That was in Thailand,  on Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh island, to be exact. While that’s now closed to tourists, you’re sure to find your own paradise with over 5,000 miles of coastline to explore. The crystalline blue waters and powder soft white sand have been delighting tourist for centuries.

Diving. Thailand has some of the best dive sites in the world. Make sure to take a trip to Pattaya to dive with the sea turtles. Other great dive spots include Koh Tao, the Surin Islands, Koh Chang, and Chumphon.

Varied terrain. In a weeks’ time, you can go from surfing waves on a beach to trekking and zip lining through the jungle, to whitewater rafting on a river.

Elephant sanctuaries. Animal lovers will rejoice in seeing these intelligent, family-oriented animals being properly cared with love and respect afterlives of servitude.

Backpacking. In the past decade, backpacking has increased by over 80%. Much of this is due to the ultra-affordability of the country and the friendliness of both locals and visitors, who meet upon arrival and set off on their adventures together.

With all of these activities and attractions, your trip to Thailand will be filled with days of excitement and discovery, with memories to last a lifetime.

And an item on that list checked off.