5 eye openers as a first time visitor to Thailand
If there was anything more ridiculous than my ‘then life’ itself, it was going for a vacation with my parents to…Thailand! Anybody who heard about it would ask me why and I’d ignore it with a nonchalance of a bored dog. What could I have done after all? My parents would start an Indian soap opera act every time I would deny, with accusations more bitter than Donald Trump’s and livid glances that would make the most repulsive criminal feel guilty. So I gave in and off we went in the sultry month of June to a country that is a peaceful respite to some, a modern urban sprawl to others, or most commonly, a romantic getaway [I’d prefer to leave out the mention of sex tourists here]. With a few Sherlock Holmes strategies, I managed to deceive my way to the streets of Pattaya and Bangkok the way one ideally should.
I call them virgin experiences because as a first time international traveler, everything was new to me, and hence, brought the pleasantness newness is deemed to bring along.
Scary Cigarette packs
The Thai government has been hell bent on the slogan ‘Smokeless Thailand’. From excise tax rise to death warnings on the packs in the most obnoxious of ways, they are trying everything. However, giving a firsthand narrative, I would tell you that the Thai youth smokes like a boss. Well, it was obviously none of my business, but I still happened to find some thoughtful art on the pack and this happened to be my favorite one. Rest of them might give my readers a sleepless night, if they happen to be smokers.
The colors of nature
You will only understand how deeply colored the nature of our country is when you visit another. In Thailand, one would experience the landscape through a different lens, coastal lens to be precise. And if you want to experience the same in a micro form, have a look at their fruits. And this brings me to something my tongue kept thanking me for during my visit – Fruits!
Fruits [Straight from heaven, no kidding!]
The fruits of Thailand – especially their mangoes will change your palate orientation and that’s a promise. I willingly became a fruitarian for a day and merrily ate all their varieties which are otherwise quite expensive in India. From guavas, kiwis, bananas to mangoes, papayas and other fruits I had never heard the name of before, I cringed at the thought of not having the same richness at my disposal after the trip gets over. Beware of Durian though, if you’ve never tried it before. It seemed to be Thailand’s favorite fruit for I saw it everywhere on the streets and is also known to be the ‘smelliest fruit in the world’. If I had to define the smell in an appropriate manner, it would be the whiff you get from a refrigerator that hasn’t been cleaned for 10,000 years [not exaggerating!]
Everywhere you see, from the cashiers at the malls, metro rail workers, water sport instructors to the taxi drivers, street vendors, and shopkeepers, it’s all WOMEN. According to the International Labor Organization, only 27 percent of women in India participated in the labor force as against 64 percent in Thailand in year 2004. As a woman traveler, you’d feel empowered and safe in Thailand. To inform you, this writer even went to the infamous Walking Street at Pattaya solely without feeling a hint of threat.
Cats Cats everywhere!
You’d find one under your table while having a pizza at a neighborhood café, inside the street shops, or even on the sofa besides the swimming pool in your hotel. Cats are much loved in Thailand, whether pets or stray and might turn you into a cat-lover if you aren’t already.
The surprisingly ‘Indian’ food at Indian Restaurants
To remind you, I had plenty of family time at Thailand, but that experience needs a whole new article. As of now, I’d be happy to telling how incredibly and surprisingly easy it was for my parents to find their favorite dal and butter chicken wherever we went. It was cheap and sometimes too spicy, even by our standards of taste. So for those who aren’t very experimental with their taste buds, worry less.
While I came back regret free since I made the most of what I had got, I’d say what almost every tourist who loves Thailand would tell you – ‘This place will grow on you with each visit’. While my mother smirked at me as I dared to ask for a second beer on flight, I knew I’d come back to get so much more out of this gorgeous country.