Thailand is considered one of the most exotic and expensive tourist destinations. But if you abandon the popular resorts and drive around Thailand on your own, you will be pleasantly surprised by the low prices and good quality of service. By avoiding travel agencies and popular excursions, you will be able to see and get to know a different Thailand. However, I want to warn you in advance: it is quite possible that after discovering this country, you will not want to return back. And such cases are no exception.
You can talk about the new Suvarnabumi airport in Bangkok for a long and fascinating time. Despite the fact that its area is very impressive, it is very easy to navigate there: the space is organized so competently that you will always find where to check in and get your luggage.
Before you leave the city, exchange $ 50 for Thai baht (believe me, this amount will be enough for the first time) and do not be too lazy to go to the tourist information desk. They will give you a map of the city and tell you how to find a special bus that will take you to the bus terminal, from where you can get to the center of Bangkok very cheaply. As a rule, all Europeans go to Khao San Road - one of the most tourist streets in the capital. Make no mistake, even in the capital, you can easily find food and accommodation for a reasonable price. Only promoted hotels and resorts are an exception.
DRIVING PAST PATTAYA
A sure way to spoil your vacation is to go to places popular among the Russian rich like Pattaya and Phuket, where everything is aimed at meeting the simple needs of our compatriots and, of course, for a lot of money. In defiance of the pathos of advertising materials that praise well-known resorts, I will say that the less hype around the place, the more interesting, cheaper and more pleasant it is. And all the more friendly they are to visitors.
When we entered a small provincial town 160 km from the capital in the dark, every second motorcyclist considered it his duty to stop and offer his help. As a result, a European man appeared out of nowhere and in correct English explained to us where to find cheap and clean housing. By the way, such "local" Europeans, and even with Thai wives and children, are often found in Thailand. So, no matter how far you go, you don't have to worry: you won't be the only white person there.
So, if you have at least three weeks, it's best to start with the islands, which are known to be very numerous in Thailand. From all the variety, you can choose-
lo choose Koh Phayam Island. This island is a successful combination of savagery and civilization. Along the coastline there are many restaurants, small hotels and bungalows, and in the wooded part of the island live farmers who earn money collecting cashews, coconuts and bananas. The whole area is crisscrossed by long concrete roads, so if you don't want to sit still, you'll have to remove your moped. It is inexpensive, but it makes life much easier, making you mobile and easy to climb.
CITY OF TEMPLES
After relaxing on the picturesque seashore and enjoying the sound of the tide, you can move further north. In the city of Petchaburi, probably every fourth building is a Buddhist temple. There's also a huge grocery market and lots of wild monkeys. To be honest, these are the scariest and most impudent animals I've ever met. If you carry a bag of food through their territory, take a stick or umbrella with you to psychologically influence these voracious creatures. And don't make any sudden moves - they'll think it's an attack and respond in kind.
As for the sights, to see them, just get out of the house and walk around the city center. There are many temples there - both brand-new, sparkling in the sun with colorful mirror mosaics, and unreformed, but very cozy. In general, this is an ideal place to shoot colorful historical films. The most curious are advised to go up to the huge white temple - Wat Phra Keu Noi, on the hill. After climbing up a winding path, you will find yourself on a beautiful observation deck, from where you can see a delightful panorama of the city.
YOU CAN'T STOP EATING BEAUTIFULLY
Food and cooking have a special place in the life of Thailand. Of course, it is impossible to try everything that is sold in Thai markets - but it is worth trying. The only thing you need to be careful with is spices and seasonings: It's no secret that Thais like it spicier. So, to avoid unpleasant surprises, tell the chef or waitress: "No spices, no chili "("No spices, no chili") - several times in a row, that's all.
The most popular and affordable food in Thailand is Pad Thai. This dish is prepared from one of the varieties of rice noodles mixed with all sorts of sauces and additives. Most often, these are vegetables, herbs, seafood, chicken or pork. Noodle soup - the same noodles with fillers, floating in meat or vegetable broth. And, of course, rice is prepared here - fried, boiled, steamed, sticky and sweet. It is served as a side dish, as a main course, or instead of bread with soup or a dish with a large amount of gravy. Another frequent guest on the Thai table is the freshest fish and other seafood. They are almost always cooked on the grill right in front of you.
TO DRINK OR NOT TO DRINK
In between meals, you will often want to refresh yourself with some pleasant drink. Be sure to try the local shake, which is ground ice in a blender with cane sugar and fruit pulp. Chilled herbal drinks give you a boost in hot weather and cost a penny by Moscow standards. But coffee, cocoa and black tea in Thailand, unfortunately, are not of the same quality as we are used to, and most often served with ice, so do not be surprised.
If you liked a particular dish or drink, write down the name, but keep in mind that the same food is prepared differently in each place. And yet, Russian travel agencies are strongly discouraged from eating in street eateries and drinking iced drinks. I admit that at first I was a little used to eating lunch myself, but in three weeks I had a supply of stomach acid.-
karstv remained untouched. So don't be afraid to make a stop in small cafes - you will get a real taste of Thai cuisine.
Local English is a very specific phenomenon, and sometimes just comical. The words "rice" and " ice "("rice "and" ice") are persistently pronounced by most Thai citizens as "paradise"and " ai". Later we came to the conclusion that the local language simply does not have the letter "c". The main rule when communicating with local residents is to express yourself as simply as possible, that is, using a set of words, gestures and facial expressions. For example, if you need to find out how to get to a train station, say: "Bus, train station?" ("Bus, station?")- and get a comprehensive answer. And in any case, do not use the twisted grammatical constructions that you were taught in school - the interlocutor, most likely, will fall into a slight stupor and will not be able to help you in any way.
However, you will not be left without an answer to your question. Thais are very sympathetic people and are always happy to help the white man, or farang, as they call us. More than once we found ourselves surrounded by a crowd of shouting locals, asking each other where the restaurant we needed or the nearest exchange office was located. They are also very fond of greeting all visitors. It is especially uplifting when you are walking around a provincial town with a huge backpack in search of a place to sleep in the dark, and cheerful teenagers on mopeds rush by and cheerfully shout " Hallooo!!!" after you.
RULES OF CONDUCT
There are several rules of behavior that should be remembered when heading to the "land of smiles". In most temples, it is customary to enter in long skirts or trousers and with covered shoulders, and be sure to take off your shoes at the entrance. The feet are considered a dirty part of the body by Thais, so do not expose them to the public when you sit in the temple. Try to speak in a whisper, avoid pointing your finger at the Buddha, and avoid stepping on the doorstep.
In contrast to the feet, the head is sacred to Thais, so strangers are forbidden to touch it. And if you suddenly hurt someone, don't forget to apologize. When you are greeted with a light bow with your hands folded, do not hesitate to respond with the same gesture, because the Thai greeting " you "is filled with a deeper meaning than our "hello" combined with a handshake.
In public parks in Thailand, it is customary to do aerobics, run, jump and improve your health in every possible way, but smoking there, on the contrary, is not welcome - you can even be fined if you smoke in a place that is not intended for this purpose.
THAI CAB SERVICE
The intrusive service and street touts that domestic tourists encounter in many eastern countries are practically nonexistent in Thailand. The exceptions are taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers, who besiege pedestrians at every turn. If you don't want long conversations with these characters, just smile back, say the magic phrase "No money" ("No money") and slowly continue your walk. And if you still want to take a ride, in any case, do not fall for the "bait" of drivers who offer to take you anywhere for incredibly little money. Along the way, they will drop you off at a store or restaurant owned by friends and insist that you buy something. This "something" will eventually turn out to be of poor quality and completely unnecessary, and the driver will receive interest on the purchase for his cunning.
Also, be sure to carry a map with you to show taxi drivers where to take you. This is also true for public transport, because there is always a risk that the driver will misunderstand the name and you will go in a different direction. You can ask someone to write down the name of the place you need in Thai, so you can also carry a pen and notepad with you.
WITHOUT A TRACE OF A SMILE
Thais love to laugh, so if a taxi driver, masseuse or hotel owner laughs during a normal conversation, do not be offended and do not take it personally - this is the life philosophy there. Perhaps the only person to whom Thais treat the image without a smile and even with awe is the King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej. His portraits adorn most of the country's public and private institutions.
Wherever you go, there will always be one of the images of the royal person on the wall: the king with his wife, the king with a dog, the king with a camera or a saxophone, and so on in endless variations. Keep in mind that the person of the king in Thailand is inviolable, and this means that no one, including foreigners, is allowed to commit actions that can offend the crowned person, otherwise you can go to jail.
Otherwise, there are no problems when communicating with Thais. They are very polite and law-abiding people who respect their own and other people's culture and traditions. This is probably why tourists feel at home in this benevolent and warm country in all respects. And for many, it has become a home in the truest sense of the word.
FUGITIVES FROM CIVILIZATION
Tired of the endless office wars and fed up with a comfortable existence, in the past rich white people live there on rent as ordinary citizens. They do not come for two weeks on a ticket, but independently and for a long time, since the conditions for a pleasant pastime in Thailand are the most suitable: fantastically delicious and cheap food, cheap housing and friendly attitude of local residents.
However, not everyone manages to put down roots in this exotic country, which only at first glance seems simple and understandable. I was able to talk to a few people who began to learn the Thai language, history, culture, traditions and mentality.
Among our compatriots, the first Buddhist converts who want to take a meditation course and live in a temple were drawn to this country. Often they were businessmen who had made the initial capital and decided to take care of the soul.
For example, my recent friend Alexander, before changing a successful business and family in St. Petersburg to a poor, but happy, according to him, life in Bangkok, came to Thailand several times. I met him on the Internet after reading several articles on his website about the traditions and everyday life of Thais.
Like the vast majority of Russians, his first acquaintance with the" land of smiles " took place during a regular tourist trip. "Then I didn't recognize Thailand, because Pattaya is not the whole country, and Moscow is not the whole of Russia. It was only during my second trip that I saw something that aroused great sympathy for the country: the benevolence of people and the absence of problems where they should be by definition," Alexander shared his memories.
Since then, his life has changed dramatically. He handed over all his business to his partner and moved to Bangkok. According to him, those who come to Thailand with their own charter will face misunderstanding and rejection, even if it is veiled in Asian terms. After all, despite the apparent openness and benevolence, Thais are very sensitive to their culture and demand the same from their guests. "For a normal, comfortable life here, you need to learn the culture from the inside and thoroughly remake your own brains. Otherwise, it will be almost impossible to get rid of the feeling of permanent dissatisfaction, " he adds.
Many of our compatriots have problems with the maniacal desire to bring their traditions into everyday Thai life. For example, when there is some problem in the hotel, a Russian person who is used to downloading a license immediately goes to fight with the administration. They don't respond to aggression in Thailand in principle, because most everyday problems there can be successfully solved with a smile. If the problem is not solved with a smile, then it is not solved in any way.
The attitude of Thais to the social hierarchy and the place of newcomers in it is another reason why it is not so easy to take root in this mysterious country. No matter how rich and respected a foreigner is in their homeland, it may not matter in the eyes of Thais. Moreover, if you allow yourself an unflattering review about someone from the local respected and revered people, you can easily get yourself into a lot of trouble or even lose your life.
According to Alexander, living in Thailand means death to our old ideas about life, values, aspirations, principles. The face of Thailand - countless masks. Sometimes it seems that you have already understood something, but the mask changes, and you realize that you practically do not understand anything, and again you try to solve the "Thai riddle".
The daily life and ideas of Thais about the rules of communication are very different from European ones. "In some fabulous way, the local atmosphere offers a lot of opportunities, from plunging headlong into vice to spiritual growth, and everyone chooses the direction themselves," Alexander reflects. But if you still manage to establish contact with another civilization, you will get the opportunity to discover a box with real jewelry, not measured in monetary terms. "My living conditions are now worse than in St. Petersburg," Sasha continues, " but for me it doesn't matter in principle. I'm happy here, what does the apartment have to do with it? Does everyday life affect the state of the soul? Yes, it does not affect in any way. Such conventions were invented by the consumer society, to which I now have no relation, so such estimates are incomprehensible to me."
To the traditional question about whether Alexander is nostalgic for his past life, he replied: "I can't say that I miss Russia, maybe only for someone close to me. And I don't miss Russian problems, dirty streets and cars, traffic jams, rudeness at all. As for the plans for the future-to live, learn, learn to live."
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