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Wherever you go in the world you are bound to come across things you have never seen before. Things won’t always make sense to you, but will be totally normal there (check out why we struggled to get Calpol and teething gel in Fuerteventura.) Here are just some of the strange things that happen in Thailand.
A whole family will often travel around the city and even fast on country roads, on one small scooter. I do not mean a family of two, or couples, I mean families of four or five. They will position themselves on bikes so that they can all get around on only one. This includes small children. Children who wriggle, children who have no long been born. More than once I saw women holding newborn babies on the back of bikes as their husbands whizzed them around the islands.
Offending people by touching their heads
You can easily offend Thai people by touching their heads. The head is a special and sacred part of the body to Thai people so it is really important not to touch someone elses head.
Having the Buddha tattooed on your body may seem hip in the UK, but it isn’t so hip in Thailand. It can be offensive to people there. This includes displaying the Buddha in any way, for example on a t-shirt, on a necklace or on any other jewellery and clothing. It is strange how wearing something with such high importance can become so offensive.
Missing small words off Thai phrases
Anyone has been to Thailand will know how often you need to say ‘no thanks’ or ‘I don’t need it.’ We learnt the Thai phrase quickly, which was ‘mai aw.’ Mai aw translates to ‘don’t want.’ We thought we were doing pretty well and we told our Thai friend from Khaosan Road how well we managed to use the phrase to turn down unwanted products and Tuk Tuk rides. He quickly corrected us saying that using the saying without ‘Ka’ on the end (for females, males say ‘Krab’) was rather impolite. Oops. Isn’t it strange how missing that one little word made us become rude, instead of polite.
I have written before about how Thailand really is without rules. It is something I love about the place. This often means you come across sketchy situations you wouldn’t see back home. Think of climbing out of a rocky boat by climbing to its roof and jumping a huge gap to shore, or having a shoe lace as your only protection from falling down a set of stairs.
People buy suits in blistering heats
Everywhere you turn on Khaosan road you will be offered a suit. There is actually no avoiding it. What is completely baffling about this is that people actually buy these suits even though the temperature is in the high 30s. Even more so, the guys selling them are fully suited all day long…
Drivers all over Thailand scoot about in the famous Tuk Tuks. They are so much fun, and they have free air-con as the wind whips inside to cool melting tourists. I love Tuk Tuks as they can often be the cheaper option, getting you about the city as they skim through traffic. What is strange, however, are the drivers who want to drive you from one end of the street to the other? I mean, why?
What strange things that happen in Thailand were you most shocked about? What things won’t you miss when you leave Thailand? Here is what fellow travel blogger Vagabond Disposition isn’t missing about Thailand.