On the banks of the Chao Phraya river, you will see rickety old wooden houses on stilts and covered boats. The people that live here are called the boat people. They do not have much money but seem to be very happy living on the river.
I guess i had not been doing my homework well because when the thai national anthem began playing at the BTS station at 6pm, everyone would stop whatever they are doing and stood really still. It was a big surprise for me and is not something that i had seen or experienced before. It sure took me awhile to register and realise what was going on.
Everytime you see a local pass by a temple or shrine, they will put their hands together (similar to the way when they say Sawasdeekap/ka) and bow their heads. This shows that the locals really shows respects their belief. Something to note when you see a local passing through a temple or shrine...
There is a mountainous region in the North where due to time and natural occurrences salt crystals have been trapped and aged for hundreds of years. In the village of Nan farmers make salt the old fashion way leaving a raw but finely aged and naturally cured salt. Combined with other raw materials local to Thailand, and the a clay stoneware body dug in Chang Rai the Clay Temple takes the utmost care in bring live from the surrounding area and packaging it in ceramic wares that can be enjoyed at home. In the old capital city of Ayuthaya a kiln site has give rise to ceramic ware made from Thai local materials with a cosmopolitan perspective.
No matter how dirty Bangkok may be, one thing that has impressed me from my very first visit is the cleanliness. The stallholders always clean up and leave a nice tidy pile, which is then collected by a cleaner. There is a small army of mostly women who clean the gutters around populated areas, like Chinatown, and I haven't seen people wilfully litter at I do at home, and there is almost no graffiti to be seen! The people themselves are very clean - despite often the most basic accommodation and facilities available to them. As a frequent tuktuk passenger, I have to say I always notice how clean and tidy the drivers are at all times, as are the people in the streets, stallholders etc. Stallholders are seen fussing and dusting all day long - and, once you have moved on from their store, they will tidy any mess you have left behind! It is therefore respsectful for us as tourists to attend to our grooming, and cleanliness, and rituals such as removing shoes in some shops and houses, rather than assuming anything goes.
The little girls in my main photo are the children of a concierge staffmember from our hotel - what you can almost see is the dirty khlong beside them - you can't see their home, which consists of 3 of the tiniest rooms you have ever seen, where you have to move from room to room via a public outside alley....and the general basic nature of this family lodging. They were all dressed up for a day at Chatuchak with my husband and I.
When you walk along street and you see these insect fried such as grasshopper, bamboo worm, and hard wing insects or baby birds. Could you please understand that it's just local food for some region of Thailand? As you know that Bangkok is like the most civilize city in this country. There’re many people from every part of Thailand move and find a job to work here. Some people are still get use to with eating this kind of food which they get use to. That’s why there is a lot of this kind of food sells along street.
Insect fried could look disgusting for some of you but for me. It’s just a type of food that somebody can eat and some can’t. I can’t eat as well because the region where I came from has no kind of this food at all. So, please note that it’s not typical Thai food but just special type of food for some of people here.
By the way, I’ve tired grasshopper and bamboo worm fried though. I still confirm that it’s not bad but I’d rather eat chicken. Ha….
one thing i noticed about thai's, they'd rather eat outside than have their meals at home.. i asked one of my colleagues if this holds true for him also.. he said its cheaper to buy the cooked food from the streets or eat outside... hmm kinda opposite w/ us filipinos..
On my second visit to Thailand I travelled alone for the first time. This turned out to be one of the best experiences and times of my life.
On of the main things that travelling alone forces you to do, is get associated with the local people. On the last trip I had my brother to buffer me because of his previous knowledge of Thailand.
I had a great time meeting the locals in Bangkok and Koh Samui, not to mention in between. This continued on for me even when I was with my local girl, as we weren't staying in an area where many Westerners seemed to stay. She helped me with learning some new (to me) local customs and language, and this can only help my next time.
The Thai people are the most charming people I have met. When bargaining please try to remember to smile and do not get angry. On previous experience, my husband has made several good buys for less than he expected just by having a sense of humour. The Thai people love humour and appreciate a smile.
About 95% of Thais are buddhist. However, Thais tend to respect all religions. You will see many buddhists go to a Hindu temple, a Chinese one, or even a church.
In the pic, it's the main Hindu temple in Silom area. We call it "Wat Khaek". There are always people going there to pay a respect and pray.
For Thais, sometimes it's not just about the religion you're labeled to have since you were not yet born. It's about superstitious beliefs. It's about respect.
PS It's somehow popular for some Westerners who decorate their yard, bathroom, or whatsoever, with a buddha image. That behavior is considered disrespect to our religion and ALL buddhists. So if you happen to know someone who have such a decors style, maybe you can help them out.
Thai people have much respect for others. There is a hierarchy from the King at the very top to the labourers at the bottom. Everyone knows his or her position on the hierarchy tree and shows their position by way of what you could call the 'height rule'. In any social encounter the social superiors head must always be higher than the social inferiors head. The lower you stoop means you show more respect to the person you meet or are passing by.
In a school situation this is more evident and it can be quite an eye opener to watch. As a white person I am seen quite high up the hierarchy tree. This means that other teachers will stoop as they pass me even if they are much older than me. (Thai people respect their elders like we do). I do find this a bit unnerving so I tend to stoop too, thus giving them as much respect back.
Hello = Sawadee (sa-wah-dee)
a variant is to add a 'Ka" at the end
so the greeting will be sa-wah-dee-ka
Thank you = Khop-Khun (cop-cun with the second syllable pronunced as in "cancun")
Yes = Chai
No = Mai-chai
When you meet Thai people don't be surprised if they 'WAI' to you! It's a traditional greeting manner done by putting two palm together at about the chest and bow the head with it. In addition, they say 'sawaddee krub' if you're a male and 'sawaddee ka' if you're a female. Both words mean 'hello'.
DOs AND DON'Ts
- Be polite and respectful toward older people.
- Sample the local food and try out some of Thailand's exotic fruits. But not the food on the street since the food may be contaminated and will give you a sickness.
- Try and learn a little about local customs and culture.
- Take off your shoes when entering a Thai home.
- When visiting a temple or palace, dress propely
- Don't pat people on the head since Thai people regard the head as the highest, the holiest part in the body.
- Don't point your feet to another people since Thai people regard the feet as the lowest part in the body.
- Be patient with Thai people who do not speak English.
- Don't mock Thai customs and habits even though they may seem strange to you.
- Don't attempt to touch monks, especially if you are a female.
Thai is the national language as well as the most spoken language of Thailand. It is wise to learn to speak a few Thai words and phrases, if you want to survive in Bangkok.
Thai people are nice, friendly and (almost) always smiling. They are really kind, as I could see after meeting some VT members from Bangkok.
In the pic you can see me with Winston the day after I arrived.
I have given a number of cultural tips on my Thailand page and they really don't differ from one part of the Kingdom to another. I think Thai people would agree however that Bkk people are less friendly and helpful than those you would meet upcountry, bar the South where people have an unfriendly reputation to uphold. Sure, there are still many people in Bkk that are friendly - probably relocated to the city recently. It's the urban effect. People become less willing to be friendly because there are just too many people with whom to maintain that friendly demeanor. Happens everywhere.
I remember feeling a bit like a yokel when i would attempt to chat shopowners up they way you do in other parts of the country as a matter of course and being snubbed by those too busy or unwilling to listen. Still, i met some great people in Bangkok and i am sure you will too.