I have lived here in the States for two and a half years now and haven't been back to Thailand for a year and a bit. America is unique and I love living here and having a new experience, but Thailand is always on my heart. Here I have narrowed down 10 things that really make Thailand my favourite country to live in, and I hope that you can all visit and make Thailand your favourite place to be too!:
1. The gentle tone in which Thai people generally speak with
Unlike the culture of being loud and speaking your mind, the culture in Thailand is to be a lot more soft spoken, especially if you are a women. Not that either way is right or wrong but sometimes it can be nice to be spoken to in a gentle moderate tone, or when you’re in a crowd of people and you don’t want to feel too overcome with the voices around you.
2. The market food
Everyone around the world now seems to have fallen in love with Thai food, in all the different restaurant variations and western twists that are now so popular for take out. Yet it is not real Thai market food because you honestly can't get the authenticity unless you're there. You need to experience the food, the concrete skyscrapers towering above you, the people staring as they go by, and your feet shuffling under you as you struggle to fit on the tiny stool at the plastic table, then you have got the authenticity.
3. Riding around on my มอเตอร์ไซค์ (motorbike)
Most people in Thailand can't afford cars and actually motorbikes are a lot easier to get around with in a city where there are so many vehicles on the road. To get to school and to ‘The Place of Grace’ a non profit ministry my parents work at, I would ride my motorbike around the backstreets because in the back streets taking a car through stalls, animals, people, monks and everything else you can imagine is not easy!
4. The continuous heat
The heat can be intense in Bangkok, in fact Bangkok is actually the hottest city on earth because of its consistent humidity levels. Yet when I come here to America and face freak winter snow storms that leave you stuck in snow up to your hips or find that the six blankets I have aren't enough for me that night, I long for the familiar heat and whir of the air con to send me to sleep.
5. Mega Bangna
Thailand and Bangkok specifically, is very well known for its malls, such as a recently built one near my house called Mega Bangna. With two floors and hundreds of shops and restaurants it is the local place to hang out, the best air con on a hot day, and in general a great place to try out new food places or market stalls. In America the malls I have found are great but they aren't as spectacular, unique and quirky as what Thailand offers.
6. Having five 7/11’s at my disposal
Just 5 mins away from my house by motorbike are three 7/11’s all within 2-3 minutes of each other. Now this may seem crazy and it really is, but they are always open and they always sell great Korean noodles, iced tea which has literally 14% sugar for when you have a sweet tooth, and the Thai version of Lays that will probably stain your teeth but taste yummy so who cares!
7. Working with my parents at the Place of Grace
A lot of foreigners in Thailand are either in Thailand for non-profit work, missionary work, business or sadly for the sex business. My parents are missionaries who run their own non-profit, after working there most of my teenage years it has become a second home, and the over 200 children families and children who go there a major part of my life. When you get to be involved in something as special as ‘The Place of Grace’ it can be incredibly hard to not see it everyday.
8. Finding a new Restaurant or cat cafe with friends
Going along with the quirkiness of malls and 7/11’s on every street, Thailand is a great place for small businesses or restaurants that are family owned. I love exploring new restaurants that always seem to have something new like a cat cafe that me and my friends found not far from where I live that makes your coffee with cat figure foam whilst 10-15 cats freely roam around you waiting to be played with.
9. My local park
A concrete jungle is definitely an accurate description of Bangkok, yet there are still some beautiful places in Bangkok that show you a glimpse of how diverse and amazing the landscape of Thailand is. One of my absolute favourite getaways world over is the park right near my house, which houses a lake with swan boats, crazy piranha fish and beautiful flower gardens as well as an outdoor workout area.
10. Being Sabay Sabay
Now a lot of people won't know what this means but in Thai Sabay Sabay almost means chill, it’s like when someone asks you how your day is or how you are and you say sabay sabay, it’s almost like you're saying everything is well, or fine fine. A middle point in which emotions get left behind and a peace takes over instead.
I miss you Thailand but I will be back soon!