Exploring real Thailand (The Land Of The Free)
Welcome to the amazing world of Thailand
You want to know more about this wonderful country, follow me and I show you.
Beaches, Historical sites, and food are the most famous attributes of this unique Kingdom in the middle of Asia. I try to cover all these topics and much more. Please explore the website to get the most insight and answers to everything you ever wanted to know about real Thailand.
The first time I arrived in Bangkok, with the intention of having a holiday in Thailand, it was after a thirty hour trip from Bali, India. I was tired and just wanted to go to some beach somewhere. After another never-ending twenty-four hours, I arrived on Kho Tao, a wonderful island, and a never forgotten experience. I would not recommend traveling like that, I think I slept the next two days.
Once you arrive in Bangkok I think it’s better to have a bit of a plan.
You can jump here to learn more how to get around in Thailand
I hope you enjoyed this video as much as me. It shows a great part of what you can expect when you come to visit this amazing Thailand. Many of these adventures and trips I have made my self in the ten years I live in here so far and many I haven’t seen yet. A lot I have seen which is not mentioned.
A great part of the country and its residents and traditions is not shown and I like to introduce all that to you.
Thailand the 50th largest country in the world
Thailand, also known as Siam, the heart of Southeast Asia. This country with around 70 million (in place 20 in the world) people living here on 513″000 square kilometers is mainly a nonrural nation. Hundreds of islands belonging to the kingdom of Thailand in the Andaman Sea as well as the Gulf of Thailand. The coastlines stretch over 3219 kilometers.
First populations are believed to live here already 40`000 years ago but the Kingdom started to establish itself around the first century, around 2000 years ago, then ruled by the Khmer Empire and its Hindu religion. Today Thailand has representatives of almost every religion and you find churches, mosques, Chinese Zen temples and of course the main religion of today’s Thailand with its “Wats” in every corner of the country.
Isan, The Rice pot of Thailand
Due to the great size of the country, Thailand has many different regional traditions expressing themselves in food, dialect, and cloths. These three girls, for example, are from the Isan, northeast region. Their dialect is influenced by the Lao language, they eat sticky rice, you can even see the rice container on this pic, and on special days they like to wear silk sarongs, men as well as women.
Isan is the rice-growing region, it is quite flat and dry and hot. It is very rural there but a lot of expats live in the Isan. It is also known to be a quite poor region and you find a lot of wild food among their dishes. My brother lives in Kho Kaeng district int the countryside and a popular hobby there is to catch field rats at night to turn them into a nice hot and spicy minced meat in the morning.
Chiangmai the mountain people
The northwest mainly related to Chiangmai is a mountainous region with a higher altitude than the south and therefore a much colder region. People have a thicker skin and much warmer clothes. Their dialect is more like a different pronounced Thai language with not so many own words like in the Isan.
People around the northwest also prefer to eat sticky rice but then it is also famous for the so-called “Khao Soi” a curry noodle soup, when perfect, with handmade rice or egg noodles in a coconut base.
The number of tourists visiting Chiangmai is immense. Mostly Thais but also a great number of Chinese these days and about 30% westerners. The total of annual visitors in the capital city must be over 20 million today and the town suffers from traffic and tons of waste. It still remains a scenic region worth seeing, more than the flat rather boring rice paddies of Isan.
In Bangkok, you can see many street vendors wearing the traditional clothes of the north-west, selling handcrafted wooden toys, clothes and handmade Thai cigars.
The Malay influenced south
The south of Thailand consists of a greater amount of people believing in the prophet Mohamed. This shows in the way people cloth and their eating and drinking habits. It is quite common to not find alcohol in every shop or restaurant. The same counts for pork and pork products. Anyway, in most communities, not the smallest village though you will find Thais and Muslims living friendly together.
There is again a regional language down south, called Pak Thai or southern Thai. Around 5 million people communicate in this dialect up and down the border with Malaysia.
The south which is much more tropic and humid is very sea oriented. On both sides of the land strip is a coastline. Due to these circumstances, a lot of the dishes eaten in the region contain seafood. The southern food is also known to be the spiciest style in Thailand. Here people eat the normal steamed rice as everyday nourishment. Did you know, in Thailand people say let’s eat rice when we say let’s eat? Also, the second question after how are you, is to ask “have you eaten rice yet?” In general, eating rice is essential for people and to share food is very common.
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The meeting of extremes
Most modern life and extreme old tradition meet in every corner of the Kingdom. You see old ladies in traditional clothing sitting in bamboo hats checking their Facebook. Villagers might have no right roads to their houses but drive new pickup trucks. Electricity may have fall outs but the mobile-networks are stable almost everywhere around the clock.
Some people think Thailand is the third world, a country behind the moon but that is not at all so. When I came first to Bangkok I didn’t believe how modern the city was. Magnet Technic sky trains or glass skyscrapers surround the hundreds of years old temples. I never saw more ATM’s so close together anywhere in the world.
People might work their fields with buffaloes but pay their bills with the smartphone. It was too in Phuket Patong where I bought a flight ticket with the mobile phone and paid the bill in a Seven Eleven with cash. today here in my small village almost everyone has a car or at least e motorcycle. Everyone has one or more TVs and about every child over the age of ten has its own smartphone. Still, people often sleep on bamboo beds without a mattress and eat on the floor or on a bamboo stage. To eat with hands is common and how to use a knife while eating is for most a very difficult technic.
A lot of farm work is done by hand although around here buffaloes have been replaced by tractors for plowing the fields. Sadly a lot of chemicals are used on many farms to fight pest and fungus but more and more the BIO understanding is growing back due to the many illnesses caused by Chemie and the education by the government and NGOs organizing training and education sessions all over the country.
The streets are mainly well developed and electricity is arriving almost everywhere. Okay, the quality of infrastructure could be better but for the amount of money, the government can spend, I think it’s quite all right.
Thailand is progressively investing in the environment-friendly industry like BIO farming, Solar electricity and nature protection. People here are relatively poor, compared to western countries but the government does not take their last dollar. Health care is actually free and taxes are only charged to big income makers. Even for my 50 acres of farmland, I pay only about 6$ tax a year.
Thai people are used to not having much money to spend on food, that’s why they still know what nature gives for free to eat. Many leaves from trees and bushes and seaweed are eaten here on a daily basis. Some of them are sold in your country for a lot of money, like the moringa tree products for example. We also eat all kinds of wild animals like frogs, snakes, ant eggs or grasshoppers. Many more things we in more developed countries will have to relearn to use again are here on the daily menu since old times.
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Customs and traditions are kept very high here
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Much more than in the western world, the life among each other here is regulated by customs and traditions. In our village, we hardly see any police and when problems occur they are solved among each other. One custom of the Thai people is to more easily accept things as they are. Sometimes I get angry about things my neighbor do and think I should talk with them and try to change the situation. Not so my wife, she has a different technic. She slowly lets people of the family know of the problem, they then talk about the topic with their families and so on and if they think I am in the right things start slowly change by itself.
It is more like an anarchistic way of living here, fewer regulations less control. With the traditions, believes and sensitive behavior amongst the neighbors the living together finds a human solution almost every time.
Politics has to be seen a little different here than in more developed or educated countries. Now at the moment, we live under a military regime, many western countries complain about. For me personally, does this not change a thing. I guess for countries used to abuse weaker countries and start bundling with corrupt governments this situation is not a perfect one. The Thai people, in my opinion, are not yet capable to deal with a real democratic system. There are too many ways to influence the voter’s minds because of weak education. Low income leaves the population vulnerable to corruption and false promises. Again, if the Thai government works with the traditional believes and customs it does not really need a chosen government that mainly supports the needs of their voters but a neutral institution which wants to help the whole country to get on its feet again.
What the tragedies were for the ancient Greek and the soap operas in the modern western world the Thai traditional dramatic performance is for the Thai people. These are performances given all over the country at special occasions like temple fests or village festivals. They are mostly stories about jealousy, unfaithfulness, greed or all the other bad habits of the common people. People enjoy many hours of theater, mostly in the open at night, where there is bad mouth talking, lying and mostly also some killing. I think it is a good way to learn that everyone even the gods or godlike creatures have the same old problems as we living human beings.
This kind of performances also helps a less educated population deal with the everyday situations without taking everything too serious.
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Continue reading my next post, How To Get Around Thailand
Our unique guided trip to the southern Thailand
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