When I went to Thailand I saw a whole new side of the world that I had never seen before. I saw poverty, golden temples, monks singing in the streets, elephants, and long-necked women. Thailand was probably the most culturally enriching place that I have ever visited.
One of my favorite things about Thailand was the variety of cultures that I saw there. The first segment of the trip was spent in a mountain village in the north. These people, known as the Hill Tribe people, were extremely sheltered, I’m pretty sure I was the first blonde caucasian woman that the children in the village had ever laid eyes on. That being said, the people that resided in this mountain lived a life opposite to the typical America. There was one TV in the village, and one outhouse per every 5 families. Each family lived in a single story home and they all slept on the floor. At first, I didn’t understand how they lived that way, but then I asked one of the locals and he told me that he wouldn’t want to live another way and that his life was peaceful and fulfilling. It was so refreshing.
We drove to each of our locations and I don’t think that I have seen a countryside as memorable as the countryside in Thailand. We were surrounded by rice fields that stair stepped down hillsides, resembling stacks of mirrors. Sometimes people would be working in the rice fields, wearing traditional rice picking hats and bright cotton clothing. There were afternoon showers almost every day, making all of the fields bright green. The Thai people are also very serious about their religious sites, and these were found everywhere. The mountains had golden giant Buddha heads poking out between trees, marking the temples hidden away in the forests.
We visited the major city of Chiang Mai, famous for their outdoor night bazaar. Starting around 5 PM the streets are lined with thousands of booths in which Thai people sell purses, jewelry, watches, perfume, among other products. While shopping in these streets it may seem like you are just surrounded with bounds of counterfeit items, but in actuality, majority of these items are real. The Thai people that work in the manufacturing companies are known to stay after closing time at their jobs and run the factory overtime and take the products they produce, and then sell those products on the streets for a discounted price. So when you see that designer bag marked down, take advantage, chances are, it’s a real bag of high quality.
I could go on and on about Thailand, it truly is a place to fall in love with. The people there are genuinely happy and are known to constantly be smiling. I recommend Thailand to any person who is traveling and willing to dive into and embrace a unique culture.