A Taste of Thai Culture
I must admit that my main reasons for coming to Thailand had very little to do with learning in a school setting and more to do with exploring and experiencing the Thai people's culture first-hand.
I was so excited about living in Asia for four months, riding elephants 🐘(lol), and visiting the many beautiful places in Thailand. Even though I had a feeling they'd probably be more to this trip than met the eye, I didn't think much of it then.
It was only when I was having a conversation with a friend in the school canteen one afternoon that it dawned on me just how much more was going on beneath the surface...
Seeing as my friend and I both grew up in Africa, we found it easy to relate to each other and even laughed about similar experiences we'd each had back home. We eventually got to discussing serious matters, and as we talked I realised that this was a part of me that I hadn't really paid attention to in a while!
One of my favourite things about travelling is that it opens my mind to new ways of thinking, but until then it hadn't occurred to me that I had been so busy learning about other cultures that I didn't realize that I was slowly losing parts of my own. However, it seemed as if God was using Asian culture to rectify that.
Needless to say, the African and Asian cultures have their differences, but they are also similar in a number of ways; and these similarities were brought to my attention throughout my stay in Thailand.
It sounds weird, but it was through experiencing the Asian culture that I got a newfound appreciation for my own culture! There are so many things about the African culture and my upbringing that I wasn't aware I'd been taking for granted until I saw the same things being celebrated here - be it the collectivism expressed through simple gestures or the high regard for traditional values.
Being here also made me realize that, as much as I'm growing and learning new things about myself, I don't want to entirely leave my 'old self' behind. I'd like to carry with me the core values that I was taught back home for as long as I live, as they form the foundation of who I am and - more importantly, who I'm becoming.
With that said, I'd like to share with you what I was able to capture of the Thai culture while I was here. You'll notice that there are a lot more people in my pictures this time around compared to the other pictures I've taken on my trips in the past. As a friend once told me, "A country is its people". And in this case, I couldn't agree more! 😉
Before I leave though, here are my *5 Tips for Planning a Trip to Thailand:
1. Mentally prepare yourself for the jetlag - especially if you're flying in from a different continent. It took me and my roommate a few days (almost a week) to adjust to the jump in time zones.
2. It is humid with a capital H in Thailand - especially in Hua Hin, the city I lived in. Pack accordingly. Bring at least one or two warm outfits as well for your trip back home.
3. Stock up on bottled water as often as you can. Due to the dry weather, you're bound to get dehydrated more often than you usually would if you're used to cooler weather.
4. Be adventurous when it comes to food. There's so much to try out here - from pineapple fried rice to fried insects! Yum! 😜
5. Plan a trip to Chiang Mai. Not only is the weather there more favourable, but it's also a beautiful city with a lot to see and do.
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