Choosing where to go on a holiday in Thailand just got a lot easier thanks to Google Street View. Thailand has become the 35th country in the world to be part of the platform, which allows you to view 360-degree panoramic street-level images online.
Just pick a location – so far Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket have been mapped, and see where you want to go. It means you can view exactly what an area is like before you travel, making it perfect for choosing a hotel in Thailand.
"Google Maps with Street View is a great example of leveraging innovative technology to change the way Thais and tourists around the world experience our country," Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Suraphon Svetasreni told Channel NewsAsia. He is hopeful that the web-based maps will spur more people to visit Thailand in 2012 than ever before.
Not only does it allow you gauge a neighbourhood before booking accommodation, you can roam around to see what the scenery is like, whether there are restaurants nearby, and if you will be as near the beach as promised. Decide on a place to stay that sounds good, whether it's the Siam City Hotel in Bangkok or Laguna Beach in Phuket, and start exploring.
You can cover about 95 per cent of the mapped areas, so there is little that you won't be able to experience with your own eyes before setting off.
Google plans to have all 77 of Thailand's provinces mapped eventually, and its team is currenly working on the regions to Bangkok, including Samut Sakhon, Nakhon Pathom and Nakhon Nayok. But for now it is the capital, the northern city of Chiang Mai and the island of Phuket which are mapped.
"We hope tourists can see with their own eyes what Thailand is like. Street View will help their decision-making process in a positive way in regards to visiting Thailand," TAT marketing information technology officer Pongrit Abhijatapong told Reuters.