How to experience Thailand like a local
Everybody is talking about Thailand the recent years. This country is reminded as the hottest name of Southeast Asia, the land of thousand Asian dreams, the center of Mekong culture, unique culinary art and heaven for shopaholics in many travelers’ heart. But there’s so much more to do in this country! Step away from the usual activities, and seek out more immersive experiences both in and outside of the more touristy places.
And here’re the basic tips to help you enjoy this miracle country as a local.
Learn to Speak (simple) Thai
The local language is the first and also the most important door which opens the way to live inside a country like a local. And in the case of Thailand, it’s obviously good to start learning some Thai. Not only will it make communicating with the locals easier, but some Thais might also be so impressed that they’ll instantly warm up to you!
Besides the commonly-known “Sawasdee ka/krab” (for females or males respectively) as used for both greetings and farewells, replace your “Thank you” with “Khop Khun” and your “How much” with “Tao Rai”. Another useful phrase to learn is “Mai pen rai”, which roughly translate to “Nevermind”. The phrase is used for more than clearing misunderstandings; however, it’s also a polite response to a “Khop Khun”!
Stay in a Thai Village
When thinking about Thailand, you may only remember big cities and resort centers like Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai etc. So in your next Thai trip, why don’t try experiencing the rural life by staying with a host family in one of the country’s many villages? We can ensure it will be a brand-new world… Most Thai tour agencies offer homestay experiences to a wide selection of places, from seaside hamlets to mountain settlements. These tour agencies also provide a translator as well, who would be with you throughout your entire village stay, making communicating with the villagers significantly easier.
Eat Street Food
Thailand’s culinary art is definitely a treasure, with the brightest gems are found on the streets. You will be amazed every-single-time you taste something on the street. Jean-Georges Vongerichten once said, “I landed in 1980 in Bangkok, and I stopped to eat ten times between the airport and the hotel. It was all lemongrass and ginger and chilies.”, to describe the super-diversity of Thai street foods. And in 201x, we think you will need to stop much more than 10 times.
Learn To Cook Thai Cuisine
Everyone eats Thai food, but very few non-locals know how to cook it. Bring yourself closer to living like a Thai by enrolling into a Thai cooking class. Most Thai cooking schools offer half-day courses for guests, which generally involve a thorough study of the ingredients involved and hands-on cooking. Every class is usually different, with schools rotating the dish to be taught every day. There is one thing that is always guaranteed at the end of each class – you get to taste your own cooking!
Learn Muay Thai
The most authentic place to learn Muay Thai is obviously its country of origin. Besides, how else to further blend in with the local crowd than to pick up the local martial art? Unleash the fighter in you, and enroll in the local Muay Thai gym! Feel yourself becoming stronger and fitter after a session or two under the gym’s intense training regime, as well as being better able to defend yourself.
Haggle at Night Markets
Visiting the night markets in Thailand’s cities is something every tourist does, but deviate from the usual crowd by doing what the locals do, and that is to haggle hard. From grabbing the latest fashion accessories to purchasing vintage curios, bargain rigorously and wisely in the night markets. You can even up your haggling game by impressing the stall-owners with basic Thai phrases, which will surely get them to lower their prices further! You’ll be surprised by how much of a steal you can get your goods for – the final price difference can be quite significant!