For those that aren’t familiar with Thailand, it is a kingdom and probably one of my favorite places on the planet. The king of Thailand, as of this writing, is King Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX. If you ever have a chance to read about the king you will find he has given up his life for the betterment of Thailand.
Upon learning he would be king, he immediately changed his major in college Agriculture. His belief was that this would be what was best for his people, not necessarily what was best for him. He’s an accomplished musician that has played with some of the greatest jazz players of his time. He has written some classic music still beloved by the Thais today and has written books and improved the lives of his people in every way he has been able to.
It’s my opinion that he’s not only one of the greatest leaders to have ever been in power, but could also be one of the greatest men to ever grace our earth. So with this I would like to say. “Long Live the King.” So enough with the history lesson. But really if you have a chance spend some time to learn about this man.
So, why is Thailand my favorite place in the world? Well… Do you remember the very first episode of Star Trek, where Captain Kirk is taking over the enterprise from his mentor Captain Pike? Star Fleet command has a meeting and decides not to grant Captain Pike his last dying wish. Mister Spock steps in and has the Enterprise transfer him to a distant star he had encountered during his time as the captain.
The poor man is old and beat up from his life in Star Fleet Command. He’s in a wheel chair with a red light on it that only beeps if he is saying yes or no. He looks like he could die at anytime. The rest of the episode is spent with Spock disobeying orders on their voyage to this planet. Do you remember it?
Well, in the end they get him to this planet. As they are leaving they turn on their giant big screen TV that shows Captain Pike. He’s now very young and viral with, two very beautiful ladies in each arm waving good bye.
THIS IS WHAT THAILAND IS TO ME!
The time I spent in Thailand was on the island of Phuket. If you look on a map you will see iit has about the same latitude as southern Florida. The weather patterns are the same with the same rainy season as well as the same average mien temperature.
The main city on the island is Patong. If it’s a busy beach and incredible night life you’re after this is the place to stay. One of the greatest parts of being in Thailand is the cultural diversity you find there. This is the top destination in Asia for people on this side of the world to vacation or holiday in. It is not uncommon to see ladies from the middle east dressed in their full borques on the beach. And not more than a few chairs down a lady from Europe sitting topless to get the full effects of the sun.
Australians’ love this part of Asia as well as people from India, Russia, Germany, Japan, China, Italy, Lebanon and the list goes on and on. But, because of this the food and the different arrays of restaurants are countless and all of them have authentic cooks to make the food just like home. And to me the best part of being there is meeting the people from these different cultures and getting to know and understand how they live.
No matter what food you choose, it’s always delicious. Believe me, no trip would be complete until you sit down at an authentic Thai restaurant and eat some pad thai or pad tsi eu or of course the ever famous Tom Yum Gung. All Thai food is spicy. But it’s a taste sensation you will never get enough of or ever be able to forget.
The people are friendly. This gives Thailand its nickname of the “land of smiles”. Likewise, the Bangkok airport has the nickname of the “airport of smiles”. It all lives up to its name. English is widely spoken on the island. It’s not hard to get around or communicate your needs to a local even if you don’t speak a word of Thai or understand what sawadee kap means.
The women are beautiful and when they say the “land of smiles” they mean it. When walking through the malls many of the striking women will look you in the eye and smile. It makes you feel like you still have it and you’re still everything you were when you were young. It is also the only place in the world that I have ever been where when you introduce your Thai girlfriend or wife you always back it up by saying. “But she’s a good girl.”
There’s plenty to do on the island besides the night life. There is elephant trekking for an adventure you won’t soon forget. There’s boat excursions to some of the neighboring islands. The excursion to Phi Phi Island includes a stop for some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving I’ve ever seen. Another stop is Maya Bay where the movie The Beach was filmed.
Buddhism is the main religion of the Thai people. The temples found there are both extraordinary and fascinating to see. There are two Buddha’s on this side of the world. One is the Thai Buddha. An amazing statue known as the Big Buddha has been built in his honor. It’s on the southern side of Phuket island. The other is the Big Bellied Buddha. Its the Chinese Buddha and probably the buddha most Americans are familiar with. Many Thai’s have both Chinese and Thai ancestry. Due to this, both buddha’s have celebrations. It is not uncommon to see the monks in their orange robes on the street. You can even take part of the ceremonies at the Big Buddha, which is an incredible site to behold.
The Chinese Buddha is celebration is with a Chinese vegetarian festival. It was from September 27th – October 5th, in 2011. It’s held once a year through out Chinese temples. The largest of the Chinese temple’s can be found in Phuket Town. This is an amazing festival to behold. The spirits of the deities posses theThai people and they go into a trance. This allows them to push steel bars through their cheeks and do other forms of self mutilation during the festival. Fireworks are a main part of this festival so be sure to bring your ear plugs. Without them you ears could be ringing for a very long time.
Songkran is the Thai New Year. Its celebration was April 13th – 15th in 2011. There are 543 years difference between the Thai calendar and the western calendar. So in Thailand, the year 2012, is the year 2554. Kind of puts a wrench on this whole Mayan Calendar and the end of the world coming in 2012 when it is hard to distinguish what calendar they might have been talking about.
If you plan to visit Thailand during this time of year make sure to wrap your cell phone, and anything else not water proof, in plastic. This is a water festival and the people of Thailand turn into children during this time. On the last day of the festival they giggle all day and wait until everyone is off work. Then the water fight starts and everyone gets soaking wet.
This is why I love Thailand and I hope you all get a chance to visit sometime soon. I guess the only way to sum up Thailand is in what I have already said. LONG LIVE THE KING!