10 things about Thailand that are absolutely correct
It really is that HOT 365 days of the year here. We visited both main land Thailand and the islands in November and every day it was 90+ degrees. It’s also super humid all year around, so everyone embrace the sweat and girls, accept that frizzy Afro hair look we all love.
It really is dirt cheap. I mean cheap. Known for having some of the best street food in the world, an average meal found at one of the many infamous Thai food stalls, found on virtually every street corner, costs roughly 35 to 40 baht. In US dollars that rounds out to about $1 USD. Most sit-down restaurants offer menu items between 40- 120 baht which is about $3 to $4. Taxi rides are about $2-$4 USD and a nice painting or piece of jewelry from a street vendor will cost you about $6 USD. Ball out.
People really are that friendly. If you look lost, it’s not uncommon for Thai’s who know English to stop and ask if you need help. Thais tend to smile and shake their head a lot. They never appear mad. More often than not, Thai’s will smile back when you throw them a grin. They also Wai. This slight bow, called a Wai, is used to show respect and reverence. The Thai’s Wai when they greet you, to thank you for purchasing something, when you do a nice deed, when saying goodbye, and sometimes just randomly to show respect. The Thai are kind, kind souls.
Street food really is the BEST food in Thailand. Food markets pop up every night in almost every corner of the city and the options are ENDLESS. We would spend hours observing the cooks, smelling everything from a chocolatey roti pancake to a plate of fried sweet and sour chicken and stir fry vegetables, tom yam shrimp soup, and fried grasshoppers. Everything we tried was absolutely delicious. Be adventurous and open-minded. Every Thai dish is bursting with flavor. And remember, if you don’t like something you are only out about $1 USD anyways.
The King and royalty are really that important to the Thai’s. Seriously. Respect the culture and try not to speak about the king or royalty. As an outsider, it’s best to just observe the Thai’s devotion to their king and not comment on any of it. In Thailand, if someone speaks poorly or comes off as if they are insulting the King or royalty, they can be jailed.
Backpackers and Digital Nomads are everywhere in this country. It’s true. Backpackers and digital nomads flock to Thailand and can be found everywhere, although Chiang Mai and the islands of Phuket on the west coast and Koh Tao on the east coast are the most popular places for them to roam. Thailand is cheap and absolutely beautiful and there is SO much to see. After visiting, it makes complete sense why there are so many foreigners wandering and hanging out in Thailand for months and sometimes years at a time.
The Yi Peng Festival is really worth it. It’s a religious festival and the ceremony leading up to the release of the lanterns is a truly special experience. Monks perform chants and lead a focused meditation for all attendees to partake in. The festival is a time of reflection. The release of the lanterns symbolizes the letting go of personal demons and negativity. As you release the lantern, it’s also a perfect time to make a wish for the future. There is nothing more mesmerizing than a full moon and night sky full of bright, magical lanterns. The entire experience is unforgettable and will seriously take your breath away.
The massages are really that cheap and you are crazy if you don’t treat yourself to at least one. An hour long full body massage is $8 USD and a foot massage is roughly $4 USD. There are massage shops EVERYWHERE in Thailand and it’s common to find people setting up massage chairs on the side of the road as well. Do it. They are lovely.
Pad Thai really isn’t a thing in Thailand. It’s available and it’s tasty but it only exists because vendors want to cater to tourists. You will never catch a Thai eating Pad Thai. Definitely try their take of Pad Thai if you enjoy it back in your home country, because it’s good here, BUT, make sure you try authentic Thai dishes like Red Pork Noodle Soup (Kuay Teow Moo Daeng), a Thai omelet (Kai Jeow), usually served with pork inside on top of jasmine rice and smothered in sweet chili sauce, and mango sticky rice, which is sweet and freaking amazing.
Thailand really is the epicenter of Buddhism. Temples are extremely sacred and important to Thai’s and Thai culture. Respect it. Dress conservatively and take your shoes off when entering a temple. Also never point your feet at Buddha. If you are sitting down to pray, sit Indian style or on your knees with your feet behind you.