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My Thai Guide to make Yourself Happy in Thailand

Let me introduce my Thai guide to happiness

Find Yourself Inside Yourself

Find Yourself Inside Yourself

You may wonder why there should be exactly a Thai way to make oneself happy. Here in this country, it is essential to find happiness, not in the big world of consumption but in little things, like food or socializing.

Many people in Thailand don’t have access to a lot of material goods, not like we are used to in our so-called developed world. Mysticism and body-oriented satisfaction are more important than to collect stuff and hoard money.

I don’t want to say that all Thais go to the Wat every day and give massages to each other all the time. But when they have an exceptional experience, I found out, it most often is things like going and participating in a temple fest or have a massage or do one another’s hair. Eating is a daily satisfaction and probably the most important. What you cant have don’t bother too much, this they learn from the monks.


 

My List to make yourself happy in Thailand

I have a list of eleven quotes after which I try to guide my path through life. Of course, there are things directing my path that are less controllable but with the right mindset, a big step is done.

  • Put yourself first, be the lead actor in your movie.
  • Do what you need to do from your feeling in your stomach.
  • Forgive yourself for what you did in the past.
  • Don’t try to make everyone happy.
  • Live today, every day.
  • Think positive, say yes to life. 
  • Use your time wisely.
  • Giving is better than taking.
  • Set yourself goals and believe in them.
  • Do not get addicted.
  • Get involved with music.

There is not a number one or most important quote, all of them, all the time, are useful and should never be forgotten.


 

Thai people are masters in Technics how to make themselves happy

It’s no surprise, that here people know many ways how to make themselves happy. I use people here as my Thai guides for staying optimistic. As Thai people in common are not rich, they learned many technics to make them selfs comfortable without spending a lot of money.

Thais also have a great talent for quickly getting up after every fallback. Just one example, the weather, here the weather is totally extreme. Every year there are floods and once everything is dry and starts getting normal, the annual droughts will have you back in depression again. For me, when I came here first, I thought this is just not normal. Thais take it as it is and never lose their faith.


 

The first and most important source of happiness for Thai people is their meals they have every day.

Thai food is known to be very delicious but also very spicy. The tastes of food are very important in the Thai kitchen. There are the four plus one tastes every menu or dessert has to be prepared with the right mixture. Sweet, sour, hot and salty plus often also bitter. Wan, piau, phet, and khem plus khom. These tastes release sensation in our mouths and are a great help to find a little happiness every day.

All these tastes come from natural sources and are produced in Thailand.

Sweet, sugar, is made from coconuts and sugarcane but the many fruits eaten here on a daily basis are also a ration of sweets.

Sour, traditionally lime and sour tamarind is used to get the sour taste into a meal. Nowadays too often though it is cheap neutral vinegar that replaces the tasty fruits.

Hot, chilly of course. There is a great variety of different chilies and processed chilies and each meal needs the right ingredients. Our well-known pepper is also used often to give the meal a different taste.

Salt comes from the sea. At the shores below Bangkok, many huge salt farms are harvesting this natural and tasty compound.

Bitter, many dishes are prepared with leaves or flowers that have a bitter taste. Bitter is not as much a happy maker but reminders of medicine and gives a feeling of eating something healthy which again results in some kind of well feeling. When meat meals are made bitter, the bile of the prepared animal is used to get the taste.

 

One side of taste is not enough

When Thais eat they want the whole bouquet of tastes in whatever they eat. Fruit for example, when they say they are sweet-sour, it means they are very good. Not enough, a lot of fruit, like unripe mangos grapefruit is consumed with a mixture of sugar, salt, and chilly. The thrill in the mouth is amazing and the plates are always empty fast.

You might think an orange juice is perfect as it is, no, here we have to add a tiny little bit of salt to make it perfect.

The use of sugar is a bit overrated here for my taste. I think there is no meal or just nothing edible which does not have to have at least a little bit of sugar added. Ok, sugar releases endorphins, happy hormones but to overuse them, makes people addicted and is not really healthy.

Real Papaya Salad must be Sweet, Sour, Hot, Hot and Salty

Real Papaya Salad must be Sweet, Sour, Hot, Hot and Salty

Not all meals in the Thai cuisine are spicy hot but more than half are for sure. Eating hot also releases happy hormones. I sometimes think they make meals real hot so one cannot eat too much of the tasty and more costly stuff and needs to eat more rice with it:)

I love the Thai kitchen and all of the taste varieties. Some I had to get used to, like salt in orange or lime juice but today I quickly miss it when I eat in my home country. It’s all so stale.

A tip, don’t eat big meals at a time, better eat many times a day. You can enjoy the process of eating more often and don’t suffer under a heavy stomach.


 

To visit a temple Wat can be relaxing and a way to find happiness

I don’t talk about visiting a temple to look at it but to participate in the rituals. A normal Thai Sunday, about every six days, starts with getting up early and getting ready for the Wat. For most women that means getting up real early and prepare fresh meals for the temple. For me, I take a shower, a small breakfast and put on clean clothes, who has, the white set with the temples logo on the back. Around 7 am people start to gather and sit around, some inside some outside smoking or just chatting with people from the neighborhood.

When we arrive first we offer our food to the community by holding it above the head and do a small prayer, then place it on a table or the provided space. A spoon full of prepared rice we serve into each monks rice bowl and the rest comes together with all the cooked rice from other people. That done, most of us kneel down before a Buddha statue, light three incent sticks or the number required and do a prayer remembering our forefathers and family, wishing them and us fortune health and all the best.

By about 8 am the monks sit down at their reserved places, a bit above of all of us and start the prayers, meditation. Everybody sits on the floor with the feet backward, away from the monks and holds their hands together. Texts are recited and repeated by the crowd. After an hour or so it is time to eat.

First, the monks get their meals or let them selfs get served and when they all have we get our own plates. There is always a lot of different meals to eat with fruit and desserts. After another short praising of the food, everyone starts to eat. At around ten we are finished with eating and the ones that like fill up some bags with leftovers for the ones stayed home to guard the homes or elders and small children.

Another set of prayers and recitations, moments of meditation until eleven and the ritual is over. Often my legs hurt and sometimes even fall asleep. I don’t understand a lot of what is said because it is not even the normal Thai language but an ancient language.

When the ceremony is over everybody goes back home with a little bit of happiness and thankful for a change from the everyday life routine. I enjoy the sense of peace and quietness in the Wat as well as the lively eating together all the nice meals made with love.

Over the years I participated in longer meditation rituals, some last the whole day or even deep into the night, and learned techniques of meditation. I could practice these techniques at home as well but only rarely I find the time and patience and the undisturbed situation to do so.


 

Thai Massage the Absolute

Thailand is famous for the great massages. All over the country, you can get professional oil, foot or other massages for a really good price. In Thai culture, it is normal to touch each other and give massages. Children give it to parents or just anyone to anyone to show friendship and love. It’s a relationship to the body, which people in “developed” countries nearly lost. Being touched makes happy.

In general, taking care of one’s body is an important aspect of the Thai life. Taking showers at least two times a day is normal here. It is quite understandable, in the hot weather, a cold shower is not just to keep clean but also adds a lot to the well being. I often observe my daughter, when she’s upset I suggest she take a shower. When she finished and put on clean clothes, she’s like another person, smiling and happy and all sorrows are forgotten.

In the evening or even during the day Thais love to let someone handle with their hair. They can sit for hours and brush or color or just make a new hairstyle. I love when my wife is rubbing coconut oil into my hair and brushes it and gives me a small massage to the head and neck.

Physical contact makes happy. Hugging is a western way to get a warm feeling and sense of being loved. Here people show their love and respect by massaging each other’s neck a few minutes, just like that.


 

Water Fun

Water Fun at Songkran

Water Fun at Songkran

Something we probably all have experienced at least when we were young. To go to some water somewhere whether it be a river, lake or the sea and enjoy the thrill of playing in the water.

It is so much relieving and fun to just forget the everyday struggles for a while and let ourselves go. I found out while playing in the water this is easily done, for me at least. The sound, view and physical sensation of tolling around in the water are incomparable.

My favorite, of course, is to go to the beach and enjoy the waves. I’d say it should be a must to visit some beaches when coming to Thailand. But waterfalls with their small ponds or just any chance to jump in the water should not be missed.

Many lakes and rivers look a bit muddy here but I don’t care, this is natural dirt and after a shower, at home, everything is washed off but I had the chance to have fun for a while.


 

MUSIC

Dancing Makes Happy

Dancing Makes Happy

A way to gain happiness is to hear the music. In Thailand music is playing somewhere all the time. There would be no temple fest without music. Nowadays Thais love to open their smartphones and play UTube sounds where ever they are.

Sweet, romantic music is the favorite in Thailand. For hours we listen to heartbreaking tunes about lost love or other sad themes. It seems to be a comforter for the people here and I start getting used to it my self.

Thais love to sing. Karaoke is very popular here and some are really good at it too. An evening enjoying sweet music and eat and drink with friends and family is one of my favorite ceremonies.


 

Our unique guided trip to the southern Thailand

All inklusive trip


 

Also, see these posts

Travel safe with kids

Best time to visit Thailand

Customs and traditions banner

Historic south west


 

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19 Comments

  1. Great article. One of my friends in college was from Thailand, she made it sound like such a great place. She asked me to visit, but I never took her up on it, I should have.

    I really like your quotes for making yourself happy in Thailand, thank you for sharing those. I wrote them down, and have them pinned at my desk.

    Other than Bangkok, what is a good city to visit?

    • Hi Jim, I’m glad you could get something out of this article.
      Other cities than Bangkok, I think Phitsanulok in the center is quite nice and Lopburi, they are much smaller than Bangkok but interesting to see real Thai life. You can search for them in the search bar. Then in the south, there is Phuket town which is also quite interesting, at the sea. Many people prefer Chiang Mai or Chiang Lai, in the north-west, I haven’t been in that region but it must be fantastic.

  2. I loved this article. I really love the top quotes that you listed. It is something that I think every should know. I also enjoyed reading about Thai, there seems to be so much to learn.

    When you were explaining how food is cooked in Thai, it sounds so tasty which, I knew where there was a Thai restaurant was around me. I never knew that there was a such thing as a salt farm. I am sure that would be something amazing to see.

    It is pretty cool how the rituals go. And, the best part was the Thai massage, makes me want to go to a spa and get one. Thai is still on my list to travel too. It seems like a very nice place to be…Very informative article and thank you for sharing…

  3. Oh Stefan, where can I catch the next plane? Wow, sounds like a dream, sweetness living in compassionate grace. I am putting Thailand on my bucket list right now. I am really drawn to the sense of community you speak of. Amazing, guess I have to do my own eat, pray love! What drew you to living here?
    in peace and gratitude, ariel

  4. Hi Stefan,
    Thanks for this great post about the Thai style of happiness. I think this is pretty awesome because happiness and health are actually the two most important things in life. Too many people living in the urban cities tie happiness to “money”. I believe there are ways to be happy with or without money. This post is really inspiring 🙂 Keep up the good work!

    • Thank’s Jerry, for the positive feedback. You are making me happy already 🙂
      I think so too, happiness is not necessarily a result of having money, money is necessary to survive in most places but does not guarantee happiness.
      I think we should appreciate the short moments of happiness, they can be just a second or ten but when they occur we feel it, it feels good. Precious moments in our lives that can’t be bought.

  5. A great article! I too love Thai food, and I now fee motivated to travel there. The philosophical approach to life is very appealing something we could do with here in London! As a keen meditator too I would love to experience the rituals you describe in the Wat’s in Thailand.

    • Hi Eric, great to have you here.
      If you like meditation, Thailand is a place to visit. I’ve done a lot of rituals. If you are interested you can always come and I will introduce you to a temple where quite special practices are done. Like meditating in a wooden box of 1m³ for two or three hours joined by about ten large phyton snakes:)
      Contact: exploringrealthailand@gmail.com

  6. Wow! There are a lot of ideas here to make yourself happy in Thailand! I’ve never been, but it sounds fascinating. Do you travel there often?

    • Hi Melinda, indeed there is a lot that lets one have a happy life, not only here. I like the small every day happy makers.
      In fact, I live in Thailand since ten years and don’t regret it a minute.
      Thanks for the comment and have a great time.
      Stefan

  7. I never thought about travelling myself but after reading your exciting article Thailand maybe an option for me to experience.

    Thank you

    • Hey Terei, I can assure you, you won’t regret visiting Thailand. There is so much to do and explore here it won’t be boring at all.
      I hope you come and visit once and wish you all the best.
      Stefan

  8. This is such an awesome piece of article. Really meaningful. I like when you said
    “Live today, everyday.”
    Sometimes, travelers forget the fact to live in the moment, to be happy with the present instead of trying to capture the best shot for instagram just to show off or to please people.

    I will definitely remember this advice. Thanks

    • Thank’s Ramlee
      It is true, today people enjoy taking photos of drinking cafe more than the drinking it self.
      I do what I do for my self and not for an audience.
      Being said, let’s go have some fun and live life in the moment
      Have a wonderful day Stefan

    • I just checked your website a bit, nice stuff. but I haven’t found the comment place, sorry

  9. Thanks for an inspirational article! Just what I needed today. Thai people are surely better at enjoying life and be happy for the simplest things. All people should look at your list every day and remember life’s blessings.

    I have been in Thailand 2 times and I loved it. There isn’t any place as magic as the beaches in Thailand and the jungle with all fantastic vegetation. The only thing I wish I hadn’t done the last time I was there, was to eat a salad that probably was rinsed in their water. I got sooo sick and stayed most of that stay at the hospital. I would strongly advice people to be very careful with the water and ice in their drinks. Otherwise, it’s amazing!

    One thing though that pierced an arrow straight through my heart…They should definitely ban the elephant riding. I did ride an elephant myself before I found out years later how they beat them and take the mother away from her baby elephants to break their spirit, so we can ride them. Horrible!

    I guess with all good, come bad things, which you can find in most countries. Thanks for the motivation and for reminding people to spread the love!

    Best,
    Stina

    • Hi, I’m glad you could take something of my page.

      I don’t know about the salad and water thing, I eat salad regularly at home and rinse it with tab water. I never got sick so far. What I always say, eat in places where Thai people eat. The restaurants for Thai customers are better looked after. Thai people love Thai people and take care for them. sometimes Workers in Tourist Places are a bit jealous of Westeners and don’t take too much care for them.

      the elephant riding also has two styles, one animal friendly and the other only money making. I suggest to get informed how the particular place is being run before riding on these beautiful animals. I look forward to writing a post about these topics in time thank’s.

      Thanks for this informative comment

      I wish you all the best and hope you come back to this wonderful country and maybe visit us.

      Stefan

      Ps. Send me your URL to comunicate over that too.

  10. Thailand is on my list of traveling for quite some time now. It just seems very expensive to get there, but from what you say and what I have heard, living there is not that expensive.

    About the massage 🙂 only the best reviews about this practice in Thailand. I hope I will enjoy my massage soon enough. Thanks for the read, was fun !

    • I’m happy you liked it.

      As much as I know flights to Thailand are some of the cheapest for the distance.

      Hope to see you soon here on the dragonfly farm

      have a great day Stefan

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