Since I packed my life in a suitcase and leave to see the world, I’ve checked 19 countries so far. I must tell you that nothing I’ve seen and experienced in my life struck me like Thailand. This is a special place where the people and places are extremely different from what I’ve known. I will tell you next the most interesting things about this country.
Thailand is called “the land of smile”, Thais are happy people with a positive and relaxed attitude. Sometimes this cand be too much, especially for an European. Thais are very attached to their religion (Buddhism) and they do not like to complicate there lives. It is difficult to find grumpy people. Losing patience for them is a sign of weakness.
It is well known that Thailand is often a destination for sex tourism and it is customary to see men of all ages walking hand in hand with local girls who are usually much younger. But you can also see them with a boy of 20 or 30 dining quietly in privacy. Homosexuality is welcome and in very high percentage in this country. Even transsexuals are super integrated in society. No judgement! But, and now comes the big paradox, in this country touching tongues is forbidden! Also you should refrain from all public displays of affection.
When in Thailand you should be very careful in traffic. Let me tell you some useful information about the road traffic. Bangkok has the worst evening rush hour traffic in the world. It is real medness. You need to be careful every step of the way because no car will stop if you want to cross the street. The car’s driving system is similar to the British one (the right-hand steering wheel), and the direction of movement of the vehicles is on the left side of the traffic artery.
In Thailand, monks are extremly respected and it is forbidden to or be positioned higher than them. Also a women can not come in contact with a monk under any circumstances. Also keep in mind that it is disrespectful to keep your shoes on while entering temples or even homes or some of the restaurants in Thailand. That is why I recommend light-weight sandals, that you can remove easily.
The national sport here is the muay thai. A close combat action similar to kickboxing but deeper and more complete. A mix of dance, martial art and mystical rituals. The sad part is that many of these athletes start at the age of 6-7 years driven by their parents often for economic reasons.
One last advice… The best way to limit the effect of cultural shock is to have an open mind. Try foods you could never find at home, or new activities and never refuse an invitation. In this way, not only will you build bonds of friendship with your new adventure companions, but you will do things that will never happen to you again. This is also a great exercise for discovering many more things about other cultures and yourself.