Thailand is the country of clean energy, peace, power and full of realizations of life’s treasures. It was my first trip to Asia and the first experience of getting close to a completely different culture.
I’m originally from Russia. When I moved to the United States, it took me awhile to get used to a new mentality. However, I reflected on the places I had been around the world and I heard that Thailand was a beautiful place. I’ve read books such as The Beach by Alex Garland and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, which was a life changer. I figured if I’d already read and “experienced” Thailand through these books, through my favorite hero’s, what else do I really need to know about the place. What other things could possibly surprise me?
Let me warn you, this article is not only about the beautiful places and fun adventures in this country, this article is also about the cultural shock, the sad reality of life there and the people… Let’s just say the first 3 hours by myself in Phuket freaked me out.
But, let’s start from the beginning.
The flight was long, the weather was stormy, the hotel where I was supposed to stay was a disaster. My room was tiny and looked very dirty. I didn’t even bother to stay there for even 5 minutes. I had 3 hours to my myself before my brother and his friend landed in Phuket. As a traveler, I don’t like to waste my time, so I left the hotel right away and went to explore the city.
I looked around and realized Thailand is a totally different world. It’s so loud that you can barely hear your thoughts. And the sounds are unfamiliar. All you can hear is a strange new language foreign to your ears and sounds of electricity wires.
The smell of the air wasn’t very pleasant. Breathing it in hurt my nose.
There are no clean streets but tons of trash, homeless and stray animals.
The streets were also difficult to cross because there were no signs or traffic lights. Drivers could care less about pedestrians crossing the street! I was so excited to discover this new country, but my excitement changed in a few seconds.
The first lesson you should know about Thailand: Be careful with the cars! The largest amount of deaths there is due to car accidents.
The second lesson is that the culture shock will go away within 24 hours. After that, you’ll have the best time of your life!
I wouldn’t say that my first impression of the people was considered nice and friendly.
We were in one of the most touristic places and everyone on the street tried to sell us whatever they could. I have to say though, what was nice is that nobody tried to trick or fool us which is very rare for such a busy place such as Patong Beach.
The main religion there is Buddhism. People believe in the power of karma, positive energy, good actions, and reincarnation.
Thai people follow these 3 important principles in life:
It means to be happy,relaxed and comfortable. Or as I like to say… “be chill”. Take it easy and you’ll see where life will take you. There’s no need to be stressed. If anything happens, you have two options: If you can change it, do it. If not, forget about it and continue living your life.
It means beauty. The beauty of life, nature and a person. The most important is the beauty of your health. It’s very important to be healthy. That’s why the Thai pay attention to medicine, particularly ethnoscience. They use snake blood to be healed from any ache and they use snail concentrate to stay young. They also believe that coconuts keep your body in a good condition inside and out.
Translation meaning “to enjoy!” You have to enjoy life and be appreciative of what you have and who’s in your life. Live the life for your soul and your heart.
I looked at the life of this amazing culture not as a tourist who just wants to have fun and enjoy the beach, but as a person who is seeking for answers about life and what it’s all about; someone who wants to learn more about herself. Life is unpredictable. You never know what is going to happen. That’s why you must live it right here and right now. It doesn’t matter where you are located or how much materialistic things you have. All you ever have is you. So let’s be more open minded and learn to live in peace with yourself.