I guess that the reason is that thais is the oldest city, the 'beginin' of everything related to tibia.
It used to be the best city to level up when you were free account years ago.
First demon respawn was in thais. First Ferumbrass attack was in thais...
Nowadays although there are many other cities which respawns are better, Thais has remained as the meeting city to trade, pvp in free accounts cities or just chilling around.
I believe Thais, being the first city, has always been popular, but due to the latest updates it has become more popular for a number of practical reasons. There are boss portals which also link thais to various other places on the map, besides very interesting respaws for various classes, cults, furys, minotaurs, your Depot is very close to the boat and the bank inside the depot, there are quests linked to thais. and interesting invasions, which makes Thais a very busy city, as well as the blessing of inquisition. That is, whether you like it or not, you will pass by Thais, maybe she is just no longer accessed than the venore boat.
Thais, is the center of kingdom, the most populated city, the home of king, the place where you can travel to all important cities.
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