I‘ve now officially left Thailand and am in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. I can already see the differences in cultures between the two countries which is very strange, so I wanted to write about the wonderfully weird things about the Thai’s I saw while I was there…
If you have a sweet tooth and love all things sugar then you should get yourself to Thailand-trust me you’ll be in paradise. Thai’s put sugar or at least offer it to you with absolutely everything. If you order Pad Thai, Fried rice or another popular dish they will always come with a sachet of sugar. Sugar is always on the condiment table, right next to chilli and soy sauce, it’s really bizarre to me.
Don’t even think about trying a soft drink whole you’re there, I had a Fanta orange and thought nothing of it…until it arrived and it was illuminous orange and tasted so sweet it gave me and headache for 2 days. Also be careful where you get your smoothies-you may think you’re ordering a healthy, delicious drink but more often than not there is a lot of artificial sweetner and syrup added. Weird!
2. Stray animals
One of my main concerns about visiting Thailand was the alarming number of strays on the streets. I didn’t want to see poorly looked after animals sleeping outside. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes there are lots of strays but they are so well looked after it’s insane. Most shop or restaraunt owners, even some hostels take in stray dogs and cats; they feed them and give them a bed to sleep in. Honestly these are some of the best looked after animals I’ve seen; the strangest thing is that they’re almost always pedigree breeds. Thailand officially has the best looking stray animals I have ever seen!
It is after big part of Thai culture to have pale skin; not ever very one feels this way but it does play a huge role in its media and advertising. Some say it’s similar to westerners wanting to be tanned which I agree with on some level, but it’s taken to a whole other level here. Almost all cosmetics here involve a chemical to make you pale and they’re obsessed with snail white. All models and actors have unusual pale skin and we even saw a clinic where girls could get hooked up to an IV which would make their skin paler.
4. Men’s makeup
Makeup for men is absolutely huge here and in most drug stores the men’s section can easily rival the girl’s. I’m not taking skincare here I’m talking foundation, concealer, powder absolutely and even blush specifically for men. Now whilst I saw the products and I saw the adverts (they’re hard to miss, they’re everywhere) I’m not sure I saw a man wearing makeup- not enough for me to recognise anyway. So what men is actually buying these products-I have no idea.
Cucumber is served with everything here-which is great for me as I LOVE cucumber and always have. Want a smoothie? Here have always side of cucumber, want a dessert? Here have some more cucumber. I don’t know what it is but cucumber acts as a garnish to everything here.
6. No bins
This is one thing that really bothered me about Thailand-there are hardly any bins anywhere. If you see one you’re lucky. The strangest part though is that Thailand is immaculate! There isn’t any litter anywhere, so where do Thai’s put their rubbish?! It’s a question that’s haunted me ever since I got here and I still don’t know the answer.
Whatever drink you purchase here; whether it be beer or a bottle of water, you will more often than not be offered a straw to drink it through. I don’t know why, trust me I’ve tried to figure this out-I’ve spent hours on the Internet asking the question, but the truth is nobody knows. It’s just one of life’s mysteries.
Some parts of Thailand (Bangkok mainly but I did see evidence of this in Pai too along with some others) are slightly obsessed with Hitler. There are Hitler themed cafe’s, bars and restaraunts, you can buy a tshirt with his face on it, I even saw a tshirt with Hitler dressed as Ronald McDonald. This really is one of the strangest things in Thailand I have seen, I don’t quote know why the obsession is there, I was a little frightened to do any digging on this. All I know is that it’s downright bizarre.
In Thailand, there are chickens EVERYWHERE. I don’t mean in rural villages like you’d expect, I mean you’re shopping in Bangkok and a wild chicken walks in front of you. I have seen a chicken in every place I’ve been to in Thailand and thank God as they’re hilarious to watch. These chickens aren’t steroid pumped, fat farm chickens like we have in England-these are scrawny wild things that shriek all day and will chase you if you provoke them.
I actually love this one and think it’s really sweet. Most Thai people have an ‘English name’ as their Thai ones can be quite difficult for farangs (foreigners) to pronounce. Now these names are your typical English names-Elizabeth, Sarah, Jane that kind of thing, Thai’s usually get their names from a part of western culture they enjoy. For example, we rented a room from a woman named Golf, and we met a lovely woman named Pooh (after Winne the Pooh, just to be clear). In fact the phenomenon is so huge now there are jobs that English people are wanted for-which is to provide Thai children with suitable English names. No more Porn, no more Tables running around, from now on there will be more appropriately named Thai people; which I think is really sad.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in Thailand? Let me know in the comments below.