Expectations are such a pain to travel with. Giving in to them means spending time categorizing experiences into two columns: what you expected to see, and what comes as a surprise in each country you visit. The two of us have built up countless expectations about Asia in our lives – having waited until late 2011 to get here! But let’s say we ditch the expectations for a while and just talk about our first impressions of Thailand, without revealing into which category each of the following observations fall. We hope you enjoy (or are at least slightly amused by) our newbie impressions of Thailand…
Like living in a buzzing bee hive, there are more motor scooters here than we’ve ever seen in our lives…
Poodles seem to be the most popular pets by far.
But there are also cats everywhere! (Just like in Italy)
Seeing monks everywhere is normal, regular, every day life in Thailand. Not just in temples, either. It’s quite normal to chat with them on the bus, see them buying iPods, carrying laptops or on their Blackberries in traffic on their motor scooters.
Real ones, however, are rare.
In Thailand, public transport can vary from Bangkok’s ultra-modern sky train to traditional cycle rickshaws.
Thais love Foursquare! There is always at least one person checked-in at restaurants, bars, coffee shops, even temples or bus stations – they love it so much, we’ve even seen Foursquare t-shirts at markets. When tips are in English, we get great local tips this way.
We’ve all heard of Thai massage, but had no idea how seriously Thais are about any kind of massage. Foot, back, shoulders, neck, Thais love to get a massage on a trip through the market. Fish spas are a freaky but fabulous Thai institution.
Distracted by beaches or sightseeing, tourists in most countries might not even know the name of the country’s leader, let alone be able to pick him/her out of a line-up. Not in Thailand, where His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej waves down from posters and billboards literally all over the place. In fact, there is also a film of scenes from throughout the King’s life played to a standing audience before every movie shown in Thailand cinemas, too.
‘The Beach’ is not the deserted dream destination that it was when the movie was filmed there.
Whether at the market or in a restaurant, Thai food is so delicious, we order it three times a day. Who needs cereal, when you have this?How donuts found their way into Thai cuisine is a mystery, but there is not a single mall without a (Mister Donut, Dunkin Donuts) donut shop.
This Thai mannequin, used in stores everywhere, really creeps us out – unlike the ones in Mexico! 🙂
Thais live in the future. Seriously – 543 years to be exact. According to the Buddhist calendar, while we ringing in 2012, Thailand was celebrating the year 2555.
We can wholeheartedly conclude that a Thai girl wearing a traditional Bavarian dress is just wrong – especially because she worked at an all you can eat Bavarian beergarden in Phuket, which is also just wrong.
Thais refer to foreigners (white Caucasians) as farang. It might sound offensive (like being called ‘cracker’ or hillbilly) but the term is a fairly neutral term for a westerner.
So far we are loving finding out these great quirks about Thailand – a place that used to feel so far away, but has come to feel so familiar. Please share your observations of Thailand in the comments below, or let us know if you have any questions about planning a trip here one day – we would love to share a few tips about traveling in Thailand.