Thailand is a remarkable nation in more ways than one. Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to visit this fantastic country will attest that its culture, people, food, and nature are all marvels to behold. Those who haven’t had the good fortune to visit there yet will likely be booking their flights as soon as they finish reading this post! This article will cover a few distinct ways that you can enjoy Thai culture no matter where you are or your nationality and will discuss everything from actually visiting Thailand and what you can do to make the most of your trip to things you can do from the comfort of your own home.
Make Your Reservation Whenever It Works Best For You!
The most obvious thing to do if you are a true fan of Thailand is to book a ticket to this marvelous country asap! Now that tourism is once again in full swing sans the annoying pandemic measures that used to be in place, you can enjoy a risk-free trip and take in the splendor of one of the world’s most fascinating nations.
That means leaving the mundanity of your regular life and enjoying a fun-filled summer in the land of smiles! When you arrive, you have plenty of things to do, from checking the Top 20 Thai Lottery Website to engaging in a flutter Thai style to relaxing at any of the numerous beaches that bless the coastline. Needless to say, you will never be bored and will come back with memories that last a lifetime. In addition, you can relive the best parts of your trip by recreating some of your favorite activities at home.
Taste The Local Cuisine
The variety and depth of flavor in Thai cooking have earned it widespread acclaim. In fact, it is widely regarded as one of the best cuisines in the world, taking the top spots with Chinese, Indian, and European foods. There’s no better way to experience a country than by eating its world-famous cuisine, and Thailand is certainly no different in this regard! But the real pleasure of Thai food is in the eating, and the more you learn about this cuisine, the more you’ll appreciate why it has so many admirers. As an aside, don’t be afraid to sample the street fare. Most visitors to Thailand steer clear of this part of the country, which is a shame because street food is often utterly divine and, more often than not, the best value.
Check Out The Night Markets
If you really want to immerse yourself in Thai culture and the local scene, you really should make an effort to visit a local night market. You can find these in pretty much all major cities, but the things you’ll find will vary a lot depending on location. For instance, in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Pattaya, or other tourist hotspots, they will primarily be aimed at tourists. This is perfectly fine, though, since you can often find some really interesting things if you look around. However, if you want the authentic experience, you should try and go further out into the sticks. It’s essential to keep in mind that markets in less populous areas will be much more focused on food than other goods.
Nonetheless, whatever market you opt for, you will inevitably be greeted with an array of sounds, sights, and smells, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced! Additionally, in continuation of the preceding point regarding food, you can find virtually any type of food you can think of here. Everything is prepared right in front of you, from seafood caught that morning in local waters and seas to seasonal fruits.
Visit Ancient Temples
If you know anything at all about Thailand, you probably know that it has been a Buddhist nation for hundreds of years. Consequently, it’s home to a broad spectrum of fascinating temples ripe for exploration. You have everything from the magnificent golden splendors that inhabit the major population centers to smaller and less ostentatious (but no less beautiful) temples in the countryside. Hiring a local tour guide who is familiar with the area and can provide interesting and informative commentary on the sites you visit can help you get the most out of your trip. If you are averse to guided tours, you should leave that behind you because you can gain so much more from a local than you ever could from walking around by yourself with Google open on your phone.
Take A Cooking Class (This Will Be Important Later)
When in the country, consider signing up for a cooking class if you want to add some flair to the trip and learn some valuable skills you can show off when you get back home. These classes will not only teach you about the different food types but will also take you around local markets. This serves two purposes:
- It’s a great way to get a taste of what it’s like to be a regular Thai
- It teaches you the ingredients you’ll need to cook at home
So, what dishes can you master that you might actually be able to recreate once you get back to your own kitchen?
- Larb: This is perhaps the easiest to recreate since it consists of minced meat (usually pork or chicken, but sometimes beef) and lots of herbs and spices. If you think of it as a meat salad, you will find it easier to make. You can serve it with either rice (sticky rice being the norm, but steamed rice is fine). Alternatively, you could serve it with fresh lettuce leaves, place a few spoonfuls into the leaf, and eat it like a taco!
- Khao soy: This dish is a soup but a little thicker. In fact, you could go so far as to say it is a curry soup since it resembles a Thai curry but with noodles. It’s incredibly tasty, and you can probably find all the necessary ingredients at your neighborhood grocery store.
- Tom Yum: If you have never tried this spicy, sour soup before, you are in for a real treat. While it might not be everyone’s favorite, it certainly deserves a try! Moreover, it is relatively straightforward to make by yourself as long as you have had the proper training (as per the cooking class discussed previously).
- Phad Thai: Phad Thai is the quintessential Thai dish in many ways and probably one of the first meals you will eat when in Thailand. It’s essentially a rice noodle made stir-fried with eggs and a range of veggies to add to the texture.
- Green/ red curry: For those averse to trying food outside their comfort zone, Thai green or red curry will change your mind. Furthermore, it’s incredibly customizable to your particular taste. For example, you can serve it with rice or noodles or even add potatoes to the soup.
- Som tam: Also known as tam mak hung in Laos, this is a fresh salad made using papaya or other ingredients like cucumber mixed with lashings of chili and fermented fish (padek). It might take some getting used to, but once you try it, you will be hooked!
Get A Real Thai Massage
There’s nothing quite like a traditional Thai massage, and when in Thailand, you can find quality massage parlors with highly trained masseuses at very affordable prices. A Thai massage is a little different from other forms in the sense that it takes on a more physical element to really get your joints and muscles moving. Even so, you’ll emerge feeling rejuvenated, and if you weren’t already hooked on massage, you certainly would be after this.
Participate In Traditional Festivals
If there is one thing that Southeast Asians do best, it’s having festivals! Because of Thailand’s immensely multi-cultural society (they are really a mixture of Chinese, Indian, Lao, ethnic Thai, Malaysian, etc.), you are very likely to experience some kind of festivity. The ones that stand out, though, and that you should prioritize when planning your vacation are:
- Songkran: This is the Thai New Year (also called Pee Mai Lao in Laos), and it is a multi-day party! It involves a lot of water, hence its name as the “water festival” among foreigners, and is a raucous few days of partying and fun. However, remember to keep the partying in the designated areas and avoid letting the rowdy behavior spill over to the more formal events, which are religious in nature and cause you to fall foul of social norms if you go over the top.
- Khao/ ock phan saa: Khao pan saa is the opening of the so-called Buddhist lent, and pack pan saa is the closing of it. These absolutely stunning events full of color, light, and prayer are highly photogenic and immensely beautiful to be involved in.
Participate In The Many Outdoor Pursuits
Thailand has the enviable position of being located in an area of outstanding natural beauty and is blessed with a multitude of outdoor pursuits. These range from your standard beach outings at any of its hundreds of glorious beaches to the pristine jungles ripe for hiking or cycling through. The activities you engage in will depend on where you choose to vacation, but needless to say, you won’t be disappointed with the opportunities to explore one of the most varied nations on earth. In most cases, it is likely you will be near a beach, in which case you can take advantage of the pristine waters and the plentiful activities on offer. For those who want a little adventure, you can book a scuba diving class or rip it up on a jet ski. For those looking for a more sedate experience, you can paddle on the shores and perhaps engage in some snorkeling to observe the world beneath the waves.
Activities You Can Do At Home To Make Your Own Little Piece Of Thailand
It’s normal to feel slightly underwhelmed when you return home from an incredible location, but if you think outside the box and use the things you learned while away, you can remake your holiday at home.
Cook Your Very Own Thai Cuisine
If you choose to take a cooking class, you will have all the requisite skills required to make almost all of the delicious cuisine you sampled in Thailand in your own kitchen. Although you might have to forgo some ingredients like padek (unless you live in an area with a high Thai diaspora), it’s not too challenging to substitute them for other things.
Learn The Lingo
The large number of constants and vowels in Thai, as well as the fact that it is a tonal language, make it challenging for speakers of the Indo-European language family to learn. Nonetheless, because of the number of Thai speakers worldwide, you can use tools like Duolingo to get a grip on the basics. Once you begin to gain some level of proficiency, you will discover your fluency increasing exponentially. If you happen to live in an area with a lot of Thai people (most large cities will have communities), you could advertise looking for a teacher who can provide one-on-one training. This will allow you to learn Thai more intimately with a genuine Thai speaker and gain a deeper insight into the culture as a whole.
Join Thai Social Media Channels And Forums
Perhaps the best way to remain connected with Thailand is via special groups on social media. You can choose the groups and forums that resonate with the things you are interested in and maybe pick up something new. If you’re learning Thai, this is also an excellent opportunity to use what you’ve learned.
Take In Some Music And Film, Both New And Old
The music and movies of Thailand are excellent examples of the wide variety of Thai cultural expressions. While most modern Thai music could be considered an acquired taste by most foreigners, if you dig deep enough, you will find something you genuinely enjoy (they have an amazing rock scene over there if that’s something you’re interested in). Furthermore, they have a wide variety of entertaining films to watch, which will provide you with a great introduction to Thai culture and give you something to talk about when you meet other Thais.
In terms of almost any metric, Thailand ranks among the world’s most diverse nations. Following the advice in this post will help you appreciate Thai culture in all its glory and further your understanding of this great nation.
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