Thailand: 10 Major Impressions
Русская версия Thailand is so popular that everyone seems to have been there. Still, every person chooses his or her own, particular, destination(s) in Thailand, also getting different impressions. People experience things as different as the dissipation of Pattaya, shopping in Bangkok, or beaches in Krabi. We will share our impressions based on the budget trip in Bangkok, Koh Samui, and at the hilly north of the country – around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
1. The development of tourism.
We do not know exactly what the Thailand tourist policy is based on, but Thailand is the easiest Asian country to travel. You will find guest houses and places to eat for different budget in every town, the country is extremely safe. This is really relaxing, that is why Thailand is ideal for the beginning travelers and may seem boringish for those who have been in Asia before. Everything is too easy, no need to worry about anything. At the same time, we should admit that this is not due to the lack of sights: Thailand is very diverse. Among other things, for instance, it includes mountains, Buddhists wats, ladyboys, medical tourism (you may anchor dental implants or undergo sex reassignment surgery during your holiday) and beaches.
2. Thai character.
Unlike in the majority of Asian and African countries, Thailand is touts-free. Nobody asks you to pose for a photo, nobody grabs your hands, and even taxi-drivers offer their taxies only once, at the most touristic places too. If you refuse – nobody runs after you! Moreover, even those Thai people who do not know English, always smile and try to help.
3. Driving culture.
This is another shock based on the contrast with other Asian countries. First, all of a sudden nobody horns as crazy here. Second, Thais are very neat drivers, at least at the places which we visited. Sometimes they were even too neat: often we had to wait for a Thai to park his or her car for ages. Also, we were travelling in the Thai mountains during the New Year, when a lot of people from Bangkok drive to the mountains for their holidays too. Many people from Chiang Mai said that people from Bangkok cannot drive in the mountains, and indeed they were very slow and often yielded the road to us, even though they were driving the cars and we – the motorbikes. In Thailand, the motorbike drivers are as important as the car drivers, unlike, for instance, Vietnam. The only trouble is that despite being so neat, the Thai people on motorbikes often do not wear helmets, which contributes to more deaths on the roads. The accident, not so scary though, happened to us too.
4. Motorbike accident.
In Chiang Mai we rented a motorbike Honda PCX 150, often recommended for the local hilly roads, for 10 days. The first half of our trip went fine, even though we had to change the brake cylinder (the brake liquid was leaking) and fix the hole in the wheel. On the whole, by that time we still felt confident on the bike. Victor even bought a t-shirt showing how many curves we made on a particular road from Pai.
The accident happened on the same day. The road was indeed difficult, hilly, with many 90 degree curves and simultaneous ups and downs. In addition, its quality was low – with holes and for some reason covered with gravel. It is on the gravel where we probably slipped and fell aside. The speed was low, so we only injured elbows and knees, tore clothes, damaged the motorbike, and got really scared.
The rest of the trip went well, and the owners of the bike even did not notice that it had been damaged. Still, this became our major impression from Thailand. First, through our own experience we realized that even low speed may bring problems. Second, perhaps, it became the major impression because of the generally relaxed and easy atmosphere and Thailand. Before Thailand we went to Africa and Kamchatka, and, compared to them, Thailand may indeed seem too boring and easy. Not Buddhist wats and nature, but falling from the motorbike becomes a major impression then.
5. The cult of king.
When you come to Thailand, on all the billboards, banknotes, in the shops, etc. you will see the same face. Soon you will get to know that this is the king of Thailand – sacred for the Thais. According to the rumors, people get to prison even for damaging the Thai money – since there is the image of the king on them. Every touristic sight is associated with the king too. For instance, there was a dying poor village, but the king came there, came up with the idea of how to revive it, and the village blossomed. On different images, he plows the soil, carries children, grows sheep or rules the army – Jack of all trades. On just one billboard he has so many guises:
It is not clear, why this cult of personality developed, but the king is definitely a holy figure for Thailand.
6. Night markets.
Night markets – migrating in some places – is a definite must see of Thailand, where you should primarily come for food and souvenirs.
The markets may be divided into two categories: the local and the touristic. It is needless to say that we recommend the local ones. Once, in Chiang Mai, we met Westerners looking for the night market. We pointed at the local market to them, and they made a face: this market does not have English menus! It is difficult to come up with a more stupid reason of avoiding the local market: the same food and goods are 2-3 times cheaper here, and the food is better and more authentic than at the touristic places. Unlike tourists, the locals come back here, and the traders are interested in attracting them with the good quality of their dishes. And you hardly need any signs in English, as one can see all the food on the counters, and there is not much to right on the signs. You can see that this is a sausage, and these are the fried cockroaches – it is easy to choose.
Even though there are several other religions in Thailand, Buddhism is the major faith there. Every boy dreams of becoming a Buddhist
At the same time, the monks often come to the places of worship and pilgrimage with huge cameras, or you may see them with smartphones and cigarettes. They are people after all, although these views may be strange for us.
Due to the high religiosity of Thailand, multiple wats become major sight for a tourist. To enter the very popular ones you have to pay, that is why we do not recommend them for the visit – there are many more free and diverse ones.
The Thais are not homogeneous and the country accommodates more than 10 tribes, some from Burma and China. They may be often distinguished by their costumes, houses’ construction, faces, etc. The most popular for the tourists is the Karen, or the so-called long-neck tribe. The businessmen now often bring Karens from Burma (where Karens are from) to arrange the human zoo for the tourists. The women of this tribe wear metal rings on their necks and joints from their childhood: long necks and joints used to seem beautiful. In the name of beauty, the women carry 5-6 kilograms of metal on their neck only. Although today it is not only about beauty, but more about money – the tourists pay to see these women.
When we were in Africa, after about two weeks, we could talk little Swahili. In Vietnam , we easily learned the words for different dishes and their ingredients. In Thailand, it took us several days to learn “thank you”, which, by the way, has different forms for a man and a woman. The language is extremely difficult due to their alphabet, tones, and dialects.
Taken from: https://freelanguage.org/
10. Everyday life.
The geographic position and climate of Thailand determine many of the Thai habits, often different from ours. For instance, a Thai can sit on the bike since being an infant, and everyone in general can drive a bike.
Also, it was interesting for us to know how the coconuts are collected in Thailand. For this, the monkeys are trained to climb the palm trees and can choose ripe coconuts. That is why when the coconuts on the palm tree at your house ripen, you should call a specialist with such a monkey. A coconut falling on a head is one of the major reasons of deaths in Thailand. After motorbike accidents.
These are our major impressions of Thailand, a country different for everyone. We will continue with more stories – about go-go bars, Chinese and Myanmar tribes, Thai cuisine, shopping, agricultural tourism and many other things!