Sunday, 17 November 2013

Adventures in Thailand

Adventures in Thailand

In April of this year, I was fortunate enough to go back to Thailand for the second time. It was a trip that changed my outlook on life and changed me spiritually. Travelling around Bangkok and the surrounding towns for 2 weeks, there was never a lack of adventure. I have compiled a list of my favourite things from my trip and things you should know of Thai culture.

1. The World's Largest Water Fight

Songkran Festival occurred on the hottest day of the year. Immediately after leaving my hotel room, I felt like I was melting. After walking down the street, a stranger splashed me with water. This might be considered rude in Canada, but it customary to throw water at each other during Songkran. It symbolizes washing away the old and starting fresh on the Thai New Year. The locals would wash images of Buddha and pour water on each other. It is believed that by doing so, they are cleansing themselves from the troubles and bad luck of the previous year. Luckily, I knew of the event ahead of time and brought an extra change of clothes in a waterproof bag. Also, make sure you leave your camera at the hotel.

I took a speedboat to Damonoen Saduak, the Floating Market and tasted the fresh produce that many people sell on boats. Thai street food is something everyone should try. I tried he spicy Thai fish and crab. It was delicious. The docks also had vendors selling a number of goods. You can barter with the sellers and are allowed to barter 3 times. If you both disagree on a price after the third attempt, you walk away and say, "Mai pen rai", or "no worries", to show that you are not annoyed by the situation. 

3. Wat Intharawihan, the Temple of the Standing Buddha

The tallest free-standing Buddha was a sight to behold. It was made of 24-karat gold. I've never been in front of a statue that tall before. I was able to see many temples, but this one is not as famous as Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn or Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. However, what I found interesting about this wat, or temple, is the fact that the statue contains a relic of Buddha.

4. Don't Point With Your Feet

Based on Buddhist beliefs, the head is the most valued part of the body while the feet are the lowest, symbolizing attachment to the ground, a cause of human suffering. Avoid touching someone’s head and pointing your feet at someone, or at an image of Buddha.

5. Versatile Greeting

Put your hands together, at chest or nose level, smile and bow your head to greet people, say thanks or to say goodbye. Thailand is one of the many countries that practice the Wai, or the Namaste greeting. You will also see Thai people do this when they see an image of Buddha, a Hindu deity or the Thai King, to show a sign of reverence. 

I hope you found this helpful. Have you been to Thailand before? If so, what activities would you recommend?


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