Here are ten random things that I find odd or unusual about Thailand. They are not placed in any particular order.
1. Commercial trucks that drive around audibly blasting advertisement.
The first few times we saw and heard trucks driving around blaring information about Muay Thai fights, we couldn’t help but laugh. We just found it humorous. We still look at each other and smile when they drive by.
2. Similar stores crammed next to each other.
We find it extremely odd that you will find 4-5 different banks literally right next to each other. However, it doesn’t stop there. You will see 2-5 shops of any kind right next to each other and selling the exact same thing: shoes, food, cell phones, and fruit shakes.
Now, I’m not a marketing expert, but I have the feeling that immersing yourself among your competition is not the best way to get more sales.
3. Store hours are all arbitrary.
This doesn’t apply to every store, but it’s a common occurrence that stores don’t honor their posted times of business. We’ve found ourselves avoiding establishments that we would otherwise give our business to, simply because we’re never sure if they’re actually open.
4. Stinky people are always white.
Thailand has a hot, and sometimes muggy environment. You will sweat and become unpleasant at times. However, it never fails that when I get a whiff of some extreme body odor, the culprit is always a white person. Perhaps they are
standing smelling for some principle! Fight the good fight white people!
5. Many bathrooms don’t have toilet paper.
Thai sewer systems are not designed to handle toilet paper. You’re expected to rinse your bottom with a douchette (bum gun). Any toilet paper that you do use is expected to be placed in a waste bin. Some public restrooms don’t supply any toilet paper at all. Be prepared to bring your own, or drip dry!
6. If you are a picky eater, you will always be disappointed.
Back in the States, I’ve gone out to eat with and experienced a lot of picky eaters. You know the type, they always have to request substitutions and changes to the listed menu items. If you’re this type of person, I have the distinct feeling that you’re not going to enjoy your culinary experience here in Thailand.
First of all, the language barrier will prevent you from asking for substitutions. Second, Thai people will nod and say yes to your request, even if they have no clue what you’re asking for. Good luck!
7. There are stray animals everywhere.
The Price is Right doesn’t air here, and Bob Barker’s message of spaying and neutering your pets has never been received. It’s a good thing that we think doggies and kitties are cute! At least they don’t seem to be starving.
8. There are far fewer homeless people than in the United States.
One of the most striking and shocking things to witness is the lack of people sleeping on sidewalks. After living in Portland, Oregon for 10 years you get used to seeing homeless people everywhere: doorways, sidewalks, alleys, under overpasses, and sometimes litterally in the gutter.
Here, I am amazed that I don’t see anything that even remotely resembles the homeless situation in the United States. I do see plenty of people living in shacks, but shacks certainly seem better than a sidewalk, and some of them even have electricity.
I do not see any authorities removing people, so I do not believe that they are swept away for aesthetic reasons.
Amerika, you should be ashamed!
9. Construction workers and their families live in on-site garages/shacks.
The economy seems to be booming here in Chiang Mai as there are new construction of condos, hotels, and store fronts being constructed everywhere. Next to all of these construction projects are a row of garages/shacks that get built, and it seems that the entire family of the construction workers move into them.
They are on site to feed the crew, and in the evening you can see them all hanging out front of their garages doing the things that families do. Enjoy each other’s company. However, it is odd to see little kids running around construction sites!
10. Most random things that you can get in the United States, you can also get in Thailand.
Before we came here, we had the impression that we would have to give up many creature comforts that we’re used to in the United States. This was our biggest misconception. Every random things that you can get in the US, you can also get here: chocolate, IPA, Nike, Adidas, coffee, and most any name brand items.
In fact, the malls that we have been to are every bit as impressive (if not more so) than ones in the United States. However, just because you’re in Thailand don’t expect that you will pay less for western items. Many of these types of products cost the same here as they do in the US.
I’m sure this list will grow, and we’ll have a follow up eventually. Do you have random things from your own experience that you found weird or amusing? Let us know in the comments below!