Thailand is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for holidaymakers in south-east Asia. Many people come to Thailand with preconceived ideas of Thailand’s people and culture based on things they’ve seen in the movies or heard from other people’s opinions.
There are many things to be said of Thailand, and the country truly has something for everyone. So if you haven’t been to Thailand, yet and want a true, accurate perspective, from somebody who’s lived there for many years, then read on. Some of it may be considered controversial, but not meant to be offensive.
It’s easy to get scammed in Thailand – You will meet many expats who have lived in Thailand for a number of years, these guys think that they know it all. These people will have had a jaded experience and generally just prop up a bar somewhere talking to other expats, about what’s wrong with Thailand. They will tell you Thai people are only out for one thing, money.
This simply isn’t true. Most Thai people are very good, honest, hard-working, respectable people, most of the scams happen in the more dodgy areas by unsavoury characters in touristy places. Most Thai people live their lives completely separate from tourists and tourism just getting on with living their daily lives.
It is best not to think of everyone you meet as a potential scammer, do some research treat people as an individual and be nice, in almost every case that kindness will come back to you.
All women have a price for sex – Thailand is very well known for having its areas of prostitution. But the fact is that a lot of Thai people would rather be doing a respectful job. It’s due to a lack of education, lack of money and family commitments that people are forced into prostitution.
Don’t come to Thailand with the idea that every woman or man can be bought. In reality, most will look upon your behaviour as being rude and disrespectful.
Everyone speaks English – In the main tourist areas, some Thai people will speak English, although the further you go into the rural parts of Thailand, almost nobody will speak English.
If you travel to a non-touristy part of Thailand, it’s useful to have a phrasebook with you. You may be able to get by on hand signals and gestures, although Thai people really love it when people have a go at speaking Thai.
You will make friends a lot quicker if you try to speak their language and often you will all have a laugh together and will be taken to people’s hearts much more quickly.
They are lazy people – The fact is that Thailand is a country of many different cultures. The pace of life is very different to how people live their lives in the West and what people would call lazy is a matter of differing perspectives, timekeeping isn’t so important to most Thai people. What is important is always looking your best and saving face.
Actually, most Thai people work very hard, because if they don’t they won’t earn any money and someone else will take their job.
Thailand is the land of smiles – Indeed, Thailand is a wonderful country made all the nicer by the friendly people that you will meet, who generally want nothing more than to share time with you.
Being a foreigner (farang in Thai) you will be treated very well. This is because Thai people are very proud of their country and make sure that they are very hospitable and friendly, they want to show off the best side of Thailand. You will meet some bitter expats who will tell you a different story.
It is true that Thai people (people in general all over the world) love to gossip and sometimes talk behind people’s backs. This is generally just between Thais speaking about Thais and if you treat people with respect and sincerity. You will be treated fantastically well.
White skin has the most appeal to Thai people – There are a few reasons that people tend to think this. There does seem to be a caste system in Thailand. Whilst it’s certainly not as bad as in, say, India, it does exist. in Thailand you will hear the terms “Hi So” (upper-class people) and “Low So” (people considered lower class)
The thought is that people with lighter whiter skin are looked upon as being socially upper-class than people with darker skin, you will always see Thai women in particular on a never-ending quest to make their skin whiter, also people like to try to stay out of the sun.
It stands to reason that if you work outside in Thailand you will be very exposed to the sun and therefore have darker skin than somebody who works indoors in an office. I think it also comes down to geographical location. A person who comes from the south is more likely to have darker skin than a person who comes from the central or northern regions.
Most Thai people are generally very clean and consider people with dark skin to be dirty.
Another reason that white skin is said to have the most appeal to Thai people is because humans all like something different. We all find different things attractive about people, it comes down to a matter of taste, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Thais are racist – Unfortunately, in a lot of cases that does seem to be true and black people seem to have a tough time in Thailand. Most Thai people don’t understand that they are being racist, that’s just the way it is.
Although everyone should be treated as an individual, so don’t think this racist view applies to everybody.
I could take a Thai in a fight – It seems that there has recently been a massive explosion of Muay Thai training camps in the famous touristy areas. For some young guys after they have got lagered-up they feel like Superman and think with their new-found fighting skills they can beat up anyone.
Big mistake, If you get into a fight with a Thai person. There will be no Queens-berry rules. Thai people fight dirty and use weapons. And other Thai people will join in against you. You will get beaten up and if the police get involved you will always be in the wrong and will have to pay your way out of it. If you really piss somebody off, you could get shot. Life is cheap in Thailand, and that’s the way it is.
There are loads of brothels in Thailand – Yes, the fact is that Thailand is well-known for its sex trade. Although there are red light districts all over the world, whilst I don’t advocate prostitution. It seems that Thailand’s sex trade has been hyped up a lot through television, film and the media.
If you decide to go to an area that is well-known for its brothels, remember it’s viewed upon as a business, it’s been going on for many years and as long as people keep spending money it will keep going on.
Although if you consider Thailand as a whole country. These areas of prostitution are relatively small and you will find most bars, pubs and nightclubs you go to do not offer sex services.
There are many lady boys in Thailand – The simple fact is, yes that’s true, Thailand is perhaps considered the home of the lady boy and it’s now accepted as part of the culture, although a lot of lady boys do not consider themselves as being gay.
The reason some do it is because being a lady boy and dancing in a cabaret show or something similar can offer a lot more money than they would get in another job.
The start of the lady boy was during the Vietnam war, when a lot of American soldiers would come to Thailand for a bit of rest and relaxation. But there weren’t enough ladies to entertain the troops, so some of the Thai men dressed up as women to fill the need.
Thai food is healthy and natural – Sadly, anything we eat nowadays has chemicals in it and been tampered with in some way and MSG is in everything.
Most Thai food is flash fried like Khao Pad (fried rice) or Pad Thai (fried noodles). These are the foods that most people tend to stick to, they have a lot of oil content, and it’s not healthy.
However, Thai cooking also tends to use a lot of hot chillies and by eating these chillies, your body sweats and releases toxins.
The food is dangerous – Actually it’s very safe. In fact, it’s a lot safer than most other countries in Asia because most food is fried at high temperatures; it kills a lot of the bacteria that would make you sick. The worst you would get is a case of diarrhoea, food that is been sitting out all day unprotected is best avoided.
It’s a good idea to look for places to eat that are busy this means the place has a good turnover of fresh food also look out for a sign that says, “Good food Good taste”. This means the restaurant has been visited by the food standards agency and awarded a good grade.
The ice is safe as it is made from filtered water and comes in packs, but don’t drink tap water only drink bottled.
Everybody in Thailand is poor – People’s ambition and focus in Thailand is making money, so there are actually a lot of extremely rich people you only have to look at some of the lavish cars that people drive and some of the places that people live.
But the divide between the rich and the poor is great and conflicting. You will see a lot of wealth and a lot of poverty there seems to be no middle ground. That’s just the way it is in Thailand.
Thai people would take the chance to live in the West or more developed nation if they had the chance – Thai people are proud people who love their country, culture and traditions. The majority of Thai people want to live in Thailand, and would be just like a fish out of water, If they went to another country.
We all think that the grass is greener on the other side. But as any wise person will tell you, it generally isn’t. And it’s usual practice for Thai people that have tried living in another country soon return to Thailand.
You should only go to Thailand for the beaches – Thailand has some of the most amazing and most picturesque beaches anywhere in the world. And simply jaw dropping awe inspiring scenery, the pace of life is so chilled out and relaxed. You can easily reach another level of relaxation.
Although as well as the beaches, there are also many wonderful mountainous regions, and Thailand is a country rich in culture and history, with many ties to the ancient world.
I believe you could spend months travelling around Thailand and see something different in every place. Some of the most beautiful parts are the beaches of the South, such as Phuket and the islands, Pang Nga with its amazing prehistoric limestone cliffs, and regions of the North, such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Thailand is an exciting, intriguing country full of surprises and new discoveries.