Final Thoughts on Thailand
I had difficulty putting my thoughts together on the trip to Thailand. In fact, this is something my wife and I discussed at length on our absurdly long flight back home. Was it the trip we dreamed about? Did it live up to our expectations? The honest answer is no.
Don’t get me wrong, we had an awesome vacation. I just think that our expectations were a bit high. Everybody we talked to raved about how awesome Thailand would be. Our imaginations were filled with images of Wild Thailand – secluded beaches without a soul in sight for fifty miles or trips to mountain villages so far off the beat path that we would be their first contact with the outside world. We had read guidebooks and Internet forums and filled our heads with overly romanticized images. Then we arrived and experienced a bit of a letdown. We were shocked by the sex tourism culture, the food didn’t live up to our expectations, and Chiang Mai didn’t possess the mystique we envisioned.
I realize how negative this all sounds, like the typical American who goes abroad and gets angry because nobody speaks English, the food isn’t just like at home, and Bud Light doesn’t flow like water. I lived in Miami so I know what it’s like to hear very little English, and I didn’t break from Thai food the entire time we were there. Thus, I don’t consider myself to be an ugly American. We just expected something different but still enjoyed what we got.
If I was to do it all over again, I would plan an entirely different holiday. You see, I suffer from being a professional working American. This means I get hosed when it comes to time off from work. Seriously, three weeks is hardly anything compared to all the other international tourists we met. A month is short to them! They have the time to dive headlong into Thailand first travelling south to more of the remote beaches and ko’s (islands) and then doubling back up the northern territories for a 5 day long trek to hilltop tribes or a multi-day journey with Flight of the Gibbon to Laos. This type of trip takes at least two weeks. Thailand is a long journey away and is no Europe for getting around. We tried to hit both regions but only had enough time for basic exploring with travel days filling up our nine day itinerary.
Reflecting back, what really made the trip was the Thai people. If any country lives up to its nickname, it’s Thailand – the Land of Smiles. The people were wonderful – always warm and welcoming. They were playful endless jokes and laughter. It didn’t seem like any of them took life too seriously, and that’s not a bad thing.
Thus concludes my ramblings about our trip to Thailand. It has been a years since that trip and I am just now finishing my blogs about it. Hopefully my next trip which starts in a few days won’t take me so long. I actually plan to blog on the fly with my new iPad. Stay tuned!