Believe it or not, is already one month since we left our comfort zones, broke our habits and opened our eyes wide to discover a new life in Thailand. When you change where you have been living for a while to a place you know only from images, videos, blogs and travel guides, I guess you will feel the same – excitement and fear, happiness and anxiety all in one.
However, once you put your feet on the road, all the illusions are gone and what you face are images and situations that are not mentioned in travel guides. These are ones that you enjoy (or not) observing on your own. Simply said, all is real and relative at the same time.
Here are our brief reflections on daily life situations we have experienced during our one month travelling in Thailand:
1. Fewer mosquitos than expected
Hold on, “fewer” means there are still some, but so far, citronella incense sticks and natural repellent have helped to keep bugs attacks under control.
2. Mind your head
If you are taller than 1.65 cm (5′ 5″), then take this warning seriously. Particularly while walking on the streets among the sunshades or roofs of the stalls and shops. Also, watch out for wooden sticks peeking out from the bottom of carton posters hanging on the street light poles.
3. Honking transport is harmless
When you walk on the street and you hear from behind a car, a motorbike or a tuk-tuk honking vigorously, do not panic and jump away from the spot where you are. Here in Thailand, a sound of honk means “hey, mate, I can give a paid ride!” rather than “move out of the way, dude!” as we might be used to from western culture. Of course, if you are crossing the road at a red light and there are cars around, you had better run to save your life.
4. Ice is safe
Despite many warnings we found online or in guidebooks, to have a fruit shake or juice with ice is absolutely fine, with no side effects for your stomach.
5. Burning mouth
An expression like “a bit spicy” does not exist here. When ordering your food, do not ask for “just a bit of chili”. Your “little bit” is far away from their “little bit”. To keep your mouth safe, it is better to ask “no spice, please”. Then you might use your favourite amount of chili from the jar that is always available.
6. Thai trees are multi-functional
Here the trees serve not just to grow fruits, sustain a bird nest or to provide oxygen, but also as a holder for fans, neon lamps or an electrical socket! No kidding. Thais use trees in all possible ways, no matter if that tree is dry and rotten. The important thing is if it can hold the weight of a piece of plastic or metal.
7. Sugar, sugar, sugar
Thai people use sugar basically everywhere: in soups, in meat dishes, in rice dishes, in smoothies, juices, too. On the other hand, be ready to find salt in typically sweet things like ice cream and some cakes.
8. Street food can be tedious
If selected mindfully, you can enjoy an amazing mixture of new textures, flavours and tastes. On the other hand, if eating only street food, it becomes quite repetitive after some time.
What goes around, comes around. 99% of Thai people smile back when you smile at them. 1% of non-smiling people are, strangely, the majority of Buddhist monks and some random people.
10. Less busier, more cheap
While doing fruits and veggies shopping at the street markets, it is always better to walk around before buying. It’s guaranteed that on a small side street next to the busier market you find cheaper stuff of the same quality, sometimes even less than half of the price of goods on the “main” street of the market.
11. Edible decoration
What we grow and care about in our vegetable gardens and fields in Europe, here they use as a decoration. We are talking about zucchini plants, which grow everywhere and produce beautiful yellow flowers to admire.
12. We are all humans
Oh, yes, we are, so do not forget to close your open mouth after you see a Buddhist monk smoking or eating chips here.
What about your “lessons” from being on the road? Have you experienced any unexpected cultural situations? Please leave a comment below.