When I met Thailand, it was love at first sight.
My experience of living with a Thai family for a month made me all the more attached to the country and its people. I have developed a high sense of respect towards this hard working nation.
The wide range of activities will not leave any visitor unsatisfied. Here, anyone can find a place for their taste. Modern and traditional blend perfectly well. Contemporary infrastructure, clean environment (even though they use an enormous number of plastic wraps for takeaway packaging), a wide range of cuisine, magnificent landmarks, crazy nightlife and postcard-like coastlines are a few of the reasons Thailand is on the bucket list for many.
When I look back at my #213DaysinAsia trip, I miss Thailand the most. And here is why.
The Thai food most of us have in our home cities is nothing compared to what you eat in Thailand itself. Tai, a local girl I lived with told me that Thai cuisine is so diverse that she has not yet tried all the varieties available. Imagine that!
When people ask me to describe Thailand I always say that it's a haven for gourmands and shopaholics. I have not seen so many food stalls in my life along with plenty of night markets and shopping malls.
You can find food and snacks literally on every corner, where you can indulge in meat dishes, fish balls, pancakes and even bugs (YES bugs!). Fruits and freshly squeezed juices are extremely common too, and you can usually find a stall on every street.
We also stumbled upon small stalls with a couple of tables and chairs where people can enjoy fast, easy and cheap food yet still full of flavour. And don't worry, they're very hygienic. In fact eating goes on all day and all night, so for those of you who get night time munchies, you will be spoilt for choice.
Locals are friendly, always happy, smiling from ear-to-ear, very polite and helpful. In Sukhothai, where I spent the month, I had Thai neighbors on both sides of the bungalow. Even though they did not speak English and I only knew a customary greeting sawadikha, we always greeted each other with a nod and a big smile every time we would meet in the courtyard or on the terrace.
And if I had a problem or an issue, Tai was always there to help, assist or even teach me some cooking tricks.
Do I need to say anything? Look at the picture! Who would not want to exchange the cold, gloomy winter to sun, warm, sea and white sand?
Thailand is famous for its gorgeous beaches and islands. Some are even popular because of the moonlight parties held at its beaches. Phuket, Ko Pi Pi, Krabi and Ko Tao are the destinations for many such nights.
Due to their vast popularity and a huge number of tourists, the islands tend to be quite expensive. But the landscape and the natural beauty are worth the visit. If you are on a budget, do not worry, Thailand always has something to offer you without emptying your pockets.
Life here seems so easy. Even though Thais are a hard working nation, they do take their time and do not like to be rushed.
The transportation here is perfect. There are buses, scooters, motorbike taxes, cars, tuk-tuks, songthaews or even boats taking you anywhere you want. No need for booking in advance. You can show up at the bus station and buy a ticket for the same day, or pop your head in a hotel and ask for available rooms. Easy peasy.
Thai people love ketchup and by love I mean they put in on EVERYTHING! Even on pizza. What?? Yes, they do.
As I lived with Tai and her husband, I helped them with their pizza restaurant business. I would wait on tables and cook some burgers when the restaurant was a full house. I was always amazed by the amount of ketchup I would see on a plate when cleaning the table. I had to refill bottles every other day.
Thais are very serious about their dining customs. Did you know that it is impolite to take a dirty empty plate from the table? It means that the customer is not welcomed in the restaurant anymore and should leave. If they want you to take a plate, they put it on the edge of the table.
Almost no one cooks food at home and every restaurant offers a takeaway wrapped in a banana leaf or a plastic bag. Even when it comes to soup or a juice!
They also have one of the most delicious as well as weirdest flavours of homemade ice-cream I have ever tried. Oh, how I miss those too.
Thailand, you will always be in my heart!
Article and Photos by Baia: www.redfedoradiary.com