Thailand claimed the top spot as the most hospitable country in a Booking.com poll. Picture: Pixabay

I am at Phuket International Airport searching for a local to purchase a sim card from. When I find him, he blurts out what I believe is his salesman pitch: “Simcard for sale. 80 Baht. Best deal around.”

I smile, he does not. He is too preoccupied trying to sell me “the best deal” to care about smiling back. I assumed that this was how all locals were: grumpy, unhelpful and not hospitable. I was wrong. 

The sim card man must have had a bad day as other Thai locals were quite hospitable. During my trip, they tried their best to make my stay comfortable. 

One local even fixed my glasses when they broke free of charge, and others came to my rescue when I struggled to find activities. Therefore, it came as no surprise that Thailand claimed the top spot as the most hospitable country in a Booking.com poll. 

Thailand stood out in the research conducted by Booking.com with 21 500 travellers from the 29 countries. The Thai poll respondents were confident their country had the "host" factor being recorded at 85%. 

Booking.com described Thailand as “the perfect destination for travellers seeking to experience a warm welcome and immerse themselves in the local culture”.

Indonesia, Mexico, Taiwan and India made up the top 5 hospitable countries. 

In a statement, Booking.com said: “In 2019, travellers are looking for new experiences and unique accommodation like a Thai traditional house, boat or treehouse. Meanwhile, they’re looking to live like a local by staying at alternative accommodation types; such as villas, holiday homes and apartments.”