Traveling to another country with a different culture to your own can be a wild experience. I am from Australia, so we are close to Asia and it’s not such a big shell shock to eat Asian food and interact with each country’s culture. We are definitely into eating from the local restaurants which are Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese etc. Even so, actually visiting the country does make you think about where you come from and you can’t help but make comparisons to your own individual lifestyle. When you visit Thailand you will have to adapt! Here’s what I found out about me!
I’m not a really huge fan of blasting heat!
By heat, I mean humidity. It’s something you will not be prepared for if you come from a place where the heat is dry and you have a long winter season. Thailand is severely humid. Walk out of air conditioning and you break into a sweat – most of the time. Up north in Chiang Mai and other places, the weather will cool down and there will be a winter season. Not in the south! Yes, it will rain, but the humidity will stay. Sometimes it feels worse after a rain shower! Especially if the sun comes out right away. Don’t get me wrong, I love Thailand, but the heat can make you want to jump straight into the pool and stay there some days! Keep this in mind when you visit Thailand.
I can eat way way more than I ever thought possible!
Thailand is focused on food. The Thais love to eat. They love to snack. They chat, catch up, make plans…all with some kind of food in front of them. I mean really, this place is geared all around food. You can’t escape it. It’s right there at your fingertips – street vendors the minute you walk outside your hotel – fruit shakes, Nutella pancakes, some-kind-of-meat-on-a-stick, noodles, rice, mango and sticky rice, the list is endless. How can you pass this by? 3 meals a day is just not enough. I found we were eating the 3 meals, but also adding a few in between! They make it so easy and so cheap to eat. So, my advice is – indulge and then prepare to diet when you get back home! You will have a few extra pounds after you visit Thailand!
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We are very lucky to have everything we need to live
We are extremely lucky to have employment, a roof over our heads, cars to drive and food to eat. We did see many poor areas in Thailand where the people are really working very hard to put food in their mouths. Tourism is a big industry in Thailand, and without it, many people wouldn’t be able to get by. We are lucky we can pay a few baht extra for things and not have to worry about every single item and it’s cost. Thailand reminded me that we have a relatively easy life in our country. I don’t have to be outside my home from 6am to 10 or 11pm cooking on the street corner so my children can eat. I sit in an air conditioned office and home and have plenty of water and food. Buy the street food, bargain a little less aggressively….I learnt that giving just a little bit could help some people more than I realised. It’s nice to be aware of these things when you visit Thailand.
I am not a huge risk taker!
I’m from a country which is often referred to as the “Nanny State”. Here in Australia, we have rules and laws for everything. Sometimes it gets to the point of being ridiculous as we are so over-governed. Get yourself on a plane to Thailand and you soon realise where you come from may not be all that bad with regulations! The lovely people of Thailand do have laws, rules and protocol for society and daily life. However, sometimes these are not enforced, or they do not exist. Take for example riding a motorcycle without a helmet. We have strict laws in Australia and if you don’t wear one, you will likely get a fine pretty quickly if a police person sees you. Yeah, no helmets in Thailand! Some people do wear them but I have seen loads of people, even children, on bikes with no helmets. I wouldn’t take that risk.
A similar situation exists for tourism businesses such as boat operators on the islands. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories of trips to the islands on overcrowded boats without enough life jackets. I wouldn’t be taking that risk either. Yes, I am definitely not a risk taker, yet I thought I was pretty risky when at home….not even close!!
I had no idea I had hidden suitcase packing talents
A trip to Thailand can result in a common problem for travelers – over-shopping. The symptoms of over-shopping include having no idea how much you can fit into a suitcase, purchasing items that are way too fragile to travel thousands of miles, buying totally irrelevant and useless goods that seem like necessities. The abundance of Thai markets will have you exhibiting these symptoms pretty quickly. On the flip side, you can become extremely good at packing a suitcase!
The drama begins when you realise you actually have to get all this stuff into something to transport it to the next destination – be it, the airport to go home, or off to another Thai city or island for further exploration. On the last trip, I managed to find amazing little corners of my bag to stash the aforementioned irrelevant stuff. Clothes became annoying space-takers, and don’t get me started about shoes! Anything made from fabric got rolled. It’s the only way to remove the air which takes up valuable bag real estate. Roll it so tight that it appears to be 10% of its original size. It can be done! If it won’t fit, throw it out! I’m not going to visit Thailand and not bring back heaps of memories!
This can be very satisfying once you get back home, even if the stuff is a bit left of centre! The pride of knowing you managed to get 4 paper umbrellas into the bottom of your suitcase and they arrived home without one single tear – it’s worth the effort! I am still finding bags of Phuket key rings in the shape of flip flops….why did I ever think these would be useful?
This is the kind of useless crap that you think you can’t live without when you are on holidays in Thailand…….
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Thailand really does give you plenty to think about when you are there and when you return back home. I’d love to hear any other thoughts on how Thailand taught you about yourself. Please leave me some comments below.