Photo of the day: Pad Thai on the streets of Yaowarat. Photo credit: Aaron.

I am very sad to say that this brings us to our last day in Thailand, as well as our last day in Southeast Asia. We will be heading north to acclimatize our bodies to the cold winters of Canada; however, we were reminded that there will still be plenty of good food to look forward to, to warm our bellies! The food adventures will continue!

It’s time to do a reflection of our time in Thailand:

Culture and Tourism

I’ve been told that Thailand is the land of smiles. I think this might have changed over the years. Perhaps the tourism industry has boomed too much over the years and the locals are starting to get annoyed with the huge influx of tourists every day. Compared to the relatively new tourism industry in Vietnam, I definitely found that the people here were not as friendly or warm, particularly in the hospitality business. 

On top of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.
On top of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. It was difficult to get a shot without tourists in it.

The types of tourists are also different. I saw mainly tourists from China, Russia and France while we were here compared to more Japanese and Korean in Vietnam. You can also tell which tourists are most popular by just looking at the signs. At the airport, all signs were in Thai, English, Chinese and Russian.

There is one word to describe the food here. It is “more”. More spice, more flavours, and more complexity. They really like their coconut milk here and use it in a lot of their cooking. Like a lot of other Southeast Asian countries, they also like condensed milk, so be prepared for deciously sweet and creamy drinks. If you are one to like spicy and rich food, Thai food is the right cuisine for you. If you cannot tolerate spice, be cautious

Religion plays a huge part in the lives of the people here, specifically Buddhism. I paid extra attention to my dress and actions particularly in temples, which were found throughout the cities. Offerings are given not only in temples but there are little altars set up in front of businesses as well. Buddhist holidays were observed as national holidays. In southern Thailand, we also saw a large population of Muslims as well. 

Statue @ Wat Pha Lat.
Statue @ Wat Pha Lat.

We could definitely feel the respect the citizens had for their King while we were there. You can see posters of their King almost everywhere you looked. A lot of people continued to wear all black or a black ribbon to mourn for the King’s death. Although we did not go, I read that many locals visited the Grand Palace everytday to pay their respects to the King. He must have been a very good King in order to gain the respect of so many people.

Weather
Again, we had great luck with weather during our time in Thailand. Other than the one day I was melting at Wat Pho, because I was wearing jeans, the weather has been very pleasant, mostly in the low 30’s C. There was only 2 days of rain, and even that did not last very long. It’s definitely warmer than Vietnam, so I wore shorts and a t-shirt most days. Because it is warmer, mosquitoes and other insects are more prevalent here. Luckily, both the picaridin and DEET repellents that I used appeared effective for the most part.

Language

I definitely did not pick up too much of the Thai language here. Because they did not use the same alphabet, I couldn’t even try to read the characters. It is again, a tonal language, making it more difficult to pick up. However, even at the local places we ate at with no English menu, once we got over the fact that we are not actually Thai, we were able to communicate with pointing and simple English words.

Menu @ Rod Yiam.
Menu @ Rod Yiam.

Top Food Picks

  1. Khao Soi @ Tourism Festival, Bangkok
  2. Soft-shelled crab curry @ The Never Ending Summer, Bangkok
  3. Khao Soi in Chiang Mai
  4. BBQ chicken in Chiang Mai
  5. Chicken with cashew nuts @ Zabb E Lee Thai Cooking School, Chiang Mai

Top Sights

  1. Maya Bay
  2. View from top of Doi Suthep
  3. Snorkelling around the Phi Phi Islands
  4. Sunrise over Phang Nga Bay from our villa @ Paradise Koh Yao

Firsts

  1. First time trying Thai Iced Milk Tea – addicted!
  2. First time successfully snorkelling
  3. First time kayaking to a beautiful untouched bay 
  4. First time experiencing an overnight train in Thailand
  5. First time eating Khao Soi – love it!
  6. First time joining in on a free fitness class in the park
  7. First time getting a traditional Thai massage
  8. First time taking a meditation course
  9. First time going to a train market and floating market
  10. First time eating curry so many days in a row
  11. First time celebrating Chinese New Year in Asia
  12. First time taking a leap of faith and staying at a Airbnb with no previous reviews and it worked out!

And that’s it! We will see you in Korea!

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