My first article on the blog and immediately such a huge topic as Thailand. To convey the most interesting information about it it is just impossible to do it one article. It has been almost a month since my return from this place, and I am still impressed by what I saw during my trip to Asia. Smiles at every corner, delicious food and unforgettable views. This is Thailand that I remembered.
The smile that I mentioned in the title is the hallmark of Thailand. And indeed, it accompanied me practically throughout the entire trip, not only because I smiled for joy that I could visit such an exotic place. Thai people smile almost all the time!
Thailand as a land of smile very often visits on travel blogs. But just being on the spot, I found out what it really means. Everyone smiles (from sellers of trinkets to passers-by or mountain villagers), it made me feel at home there, as if I knew everyone well, like walking among friends.
Even the Moon was smiling!
When I saw the moon, I did not believe my eyes, because it was illuminated from a completely different side than in Europe. Along with two stars above, it seemed as if the sky was smiling at me.
They simply enjoy life.
Thai people assume that one should enjoy life, find joy in performing activities of everyday life. These people are far from narrow-mindness, judging others on the basis of any stereotypes. They are human for the other person, regardless of what sex, race, religion, who it loves or where it works. During the trip I have experienced this countless times. Once, on the train from Hua Lampong to Don Muang, Thai woman smiled at me (I think that she was going to work). I returned the smile and she pulled a green bundle out of her bag and gave it to me. At that moment, I did not know what it was. The woman showed gestures that it is to eat, that it must unpacked. A smile made me trust her and I did everything she showed. In the middle was sticky rice with bananas, and the green was a banana leaf (Banana leaf, due to its strength, has a lot of different uses in Thailand. It can serve as an umbrella, as a dish, or as a tablecloth. It is frequently used as a packaging for meals, I like it much more than plastic). A very healthy and nutritious meal, Thai people often eat it for breakfast. After eating one of the delicacies I got another one! Apple (They say that Polish apples are the best. After trying them in Thailand, I do not agree with this statement. Thai ones are definitely tastier, more expressive). I was positively surprised by the situation. I can not imagine anyone doing something like that in Poland. The woman just wanted to make someone happy.
Smile has many faces
Under the smile of the Thai people can be hidden different feelings. It is their only right response to adversity, even in the most difficult moments they try to keep their face. They do not want to succumb to negative emotions. The people of Thailand try to look good, make a better impression (both physically and spiritually) – the smile helps considerably. They do not like to torment others with their problems, they keep them rather for themselves. When something is wrong, they will pass over the matter and smile.
For us it can be hard to understand, but it has its own cultural background. What I mean here is just taking care of “not losing face”. It makes sure not to make a mistake, not to do something wrong, inappropriate. That is why it is hard to look in this country for a bigger quarrel or shouting on the street. Calmness, self-control and a smile, it is not easy to keep it up 24 hours a day. After returning from Thailand, I try to remember and apply it for myself. I do not always succeed, but when it does, I really feel much better with it. I feel real control over myself. In everyday situations, I try to remain calm and understand the other person, I want to calm conflict situations. Very often it works and person who I am talking to, seeing my composure, also takes a calmer tone, and the whole conversation is then more enjoyable.
Make other people happier
And here I can quote my own story. During the trip we were tricked. We booked a shuttle there and back to Phu Chi Pha to see the world’s most beautiful sunrise. Bamboo Tours office, which was responsible for the trip, did not have any unoccupied drivers, so they rented one of the other tourist company for us. Unfortunately, the hired driver wanted to act dishonestly and earn something for himself, apart from the payment from Bamboo Tours. He told us to go down earlier from the mountain (we did not see the sun, and we paid for it), and on the way back he tried to persuade us that he could take us along the way, for an additional 400 THB (Thai currency) to the White Temple. Then we understood why he wanted us to end up staying on Phu Chi Pha earlier, he wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Unfortunately, he failed. Being upset with the lost money we went to the office to make a complaint. When the owner finally appeared on the spot with a smile, he took all the blame, said he understood us perfectly well and would do the same in our situation. He apologized to us for a long time and gave us money for the morning trip. It was even more than just repairing the damage for us, but he offered something else. It was our last day in Chiang Rai and we did not have any plans until the end of the day, just some roaming, etc. We got proposals for a half-day trip organized by him and one of his employees after a pick-up to the airport (then we returned to Bangkok) in price. A free, individual trip that filled us with time that we still had free. The man loaded our suitcases into the car and took us on the trip. This not only rewarded us with the lost forenoon, it exceeded our wildest expectations. It was one of the best local trips in which we participated in Thailand. Until the very end I felt amazing, full of admiration for the heart that the owner showed us. When I thanked him for that, he said it was just his job to make people happier. Well, he did.
The quoted story really made me a happier man. I realized how important are the values that we sometimes do not see on a daily basis. We chase for things that are supposed to give us happiness, improve our lives, and this is not true. Go to a mountain village in the north of Thailand, see people who do not have permanent access to water, toilet is just a hole under the house (standing on balls), limited electricity and many hours on foot (although some choose a scooter that goes quite cheap even as per their terms) to the nearest store. These people are happy there, smiling, they are teeming with life, they give each other a lot of love. Why? And why not, after all, it’s free, and thanks to that life will surely go nicer.
How much we would not consider on this subject, we will not understand it until the end. But we can try. Thailand, Land of Smile is an amazing place, incredible people, delicious food, unusual customs, unforgettable views and contact with the nature. We can learn a lot from this exotic mix and bring many positive changes to our lives.
These are my beginnings of traveling adventure. Soon, more articles about Thailand and then more trips. Visit my blog more often if you want to be sure that you will not miss anything!