October 7, 2019 By bangkok7
For this week’s “Love It” entry, we’ve got a great blog from the good people over at Thaizer. They’ve found a lot to like about this amazing country, all accurate. Skipping the ones in every list (BPCFW—beaches, people, cost of living, food, and weather), here’s the rest of those fine traits that make Thailand what it is:
“Thailand may be many things, but it certainly isn’t boring. It’s a country full of life and energy with an intoxicating mix of the fascinating, the fun and the frivolous. It can also be frustrating at times as visitors get to grips with the different way of doing things in Thailand and the attitude to life in general. But that is all part of the charm and the appeal. Thailand certainly has its faults, but the good points far outweigh the negatives.”
Two ‘certainlys’ in the same paragraph, but we can forgive that because it’s an enduring truth that for Westerners, Thailand is a space removed—from normalcy, from the mundane, from familiarity. You can’t help but be knocked out of your usual dimension when you arrive. And while that happens generally anytime one travels (I became addicted to being knocked out of my dimension the first time I visited the UK), the experience in Thailand is unique. The culture “shock” here is shock that people are so friendly, that nobody seems to worry about anything, and the day-to-day of life seems to consist (with one or two exceptions) of moving from one enjoyable moment to the next.
Plenty of people have told me that what they love most about Thailand is the feeling of relaxation they get here. Things are done at a different pace to many Western countries, partly because of the heat, but also because of the general culture and different priorities. Thais like things to be sabai sabai or comfortable and relaxed which is good news if you are in Thailand on holiday or vacation. Relax, smile and go with the flow. Sit yourself down with a long cool drink and watch the world go by. Swing gently in a beachside hammock or treat yourself to a Thai massage and let those stresses and travails from your everyday life in your home country drift away.”
Ain’t that the truth. As a young man growing up in the hellish prison of The United States, I suffered from ulcers, insomnia, and crippling back and shoulder pain from persistent stress knots. Within mere weeks of moving to Thailand, everything was reversed. My back was relieved of all tension, my ulcers disappeared, and I’ve slept like a rock every night for the past decade. Full disclosure, I also read “The Tao of Pooh” in my 30s and it significantly contributed to my de-stressing. But I don’t think I fully understood the implications behind the philosophy until I moved to a country where virtually every person lives in the moment. If you’re having trouble letting go of the past, or you worry about your future, try moving to Thailand. It all sort of…melts away.
Thailand is justifiably famous for its beaches and islands, but there is a rich cultural heritage waiting to be explored beyond those sandy shorelines. From the ancient temples of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai to the burgeoning and eclectic art scene of Bangkok, different regions of Thailand have their own unique cultural identity and heritage.”
To me, Bangkok is craft beer, oyster bars, wine tastings, fusion restaurants, rooftop cocktails, river tours, high-class malls, five-star hotels, art shows, an exciting music scene, nightclubs, live music, prolific DJs, Michelin star chefs, street food carts, night markets, and red light districts. It rivals London and New York for excitement and good living. And yes, intermixed with these modern urban delights is the distinct color of Thailand. A shrine wedged between hotels. A temple nestled among malls. A sprawling tropical park creating an island of oxygen in the city smog. And of course, everywhere you go you’re interacting with Thais, who remind you through their demeanor that you’re not in the West. You’re instead in an oasis of good will, warmth, and kindness in an otherwise cold and cruel world.
The beaches and islands of southern Thailand and the Eastern Seaboard might grab most of the attention of the glossy travel brochures, but Thailand has some wonderful national parks and delightful scenery away from the coast. Highlights include locations such as Khao Sok in the south, Khao Yai to the north-east of Bangkok and Doi Inthanon in the north.”
If you’ve never been to a tropical area or visited an ecosystem outside your comfort zone, it’s impossible to explain what you’ll see when you come here. To foreigners it will likely seem as though they’ve been dropped into a movie set. The beaches, jungles, forests, and islands seem too beautiful to be real. Even now, after all these years, when I’m sat in the white sand with my toes in the water, a cocktail in one hand and a piece of fresh fruit in the other, and my eyes scan the beach with the blue-green of the sea and the blue sky and white billowy clouds slowly moving along the horizon, my brain still struggles to accept it. It still feels like a dream, ten years on.
And that’s all for this week—short and sweet. I like reading these ‘love-Thailand’ blogs because they remind me what I sometimes forget in the daily grind of life—that this country truly is the best in the world, and any of us who are lucky enough to live here should be grateful every minute of every day. Thailand is called “The Land of Smiles” presumably because the Thai people smile easily and often. But to me, this place is the land of smiles because when I’m here, that’s all I do.
Tune in on Friday for another Frowback to my Delirium Days to get a better idea of why I never stop smiling now that I’ve escaped to this magical country, and cheers to another week above ground. Peace!