Jake’s Top Ten: THAILAND

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VIDEO: It usually only takes about one or two weeks for the cultural differences of any nation to reveal themselves.

The video shows my top ten observations about Thai culture that I find interesting, bizarre and ultimately fun!

A quick snapshot:

  1. In Thailand, it is a good idea to take off your shoes or sandals before entering a home and sometimes certain areas of a restaurant or temple. Although I dig it, I’m glad my doctor recommended I update my tetanus vaccine!
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  2. Food in Thailand is pretty freaking cheap if you go a little outside the tourist hotspots. $1 for pad thai off the street is common. However, the initial cheap cost can surely cost you later….
  3. Like many countries I’ve been to, the shower is placed inside the same room/area as the toilet and sink. But in Thailand, they seem to not care where the shower head is located. So while you’re paying for observation #2 you can multitask and get a shower at the same time.
  4. It is a common rumor that Thai’s popular beer “Chang” has poor regulation standards and the alcohol percentage per bottle can vary between 6-12%. Not sure if this is true, but it might explain cheers-ing on bottle number one and getting schwasted by the end of bottle number two.
  5. I find Thailand to be a lot like Costa Rica. It is very tourist friendly throughout most of the country and the locals typically don’t mind. But the language can be more difficult to pick up, so whereas in Costa Rica I feel guilty for not knowing more spanish, Thais smile and forgive you for just trying.
  6. Thais are very trusting. You really have to dust off your moral compass, because they enforce very little rules to keep you from not paying for something. I rented a bike for a week with no passport or paperwork (could’ve just never taken it back). Got a private room for two weeks, but they never asked for payment until I brought it to them one week in. Pay as you please and try not to take advantage!
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  7. Muay Thai is nuts. If you can throw any part of your limb at somebody then you do so. Its exhausting and intense. I went to a fight and watched a couple of preteens knock each other out with kicks to the head while a bunch of shady men bet on them from the side of the ring. I won’t lie, I may have been guilty of throwing money down too.
  8. Motorbikes are a lot of fun, but if in an area of too many inexperienced and hesitant “farang” (white people), you will undoubtedly see people in bandages… or worse. Its estimated that an average of 40 people die on motorcycles per day in Thailand. I was getting way too overconfident on a motorbike until I came to Pai and saw all the foreigners wheelchairing out of the local hospital.
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  9. Speaking of motorbikes, the best thing I did when riding one was to tie a shirt around my face. I don’t think there are many smog regulations for vehicles, because every vehicle is pumping out blackness. Not only that, but the northern farmers burn rice paddies which cause a nice layer of air pollution. Makes me very nostalgic for LA some days.
  10. Lastly, if at dinner with friends, there is no need to be polite and wait for everyone to receive their food. The will be given to you as its made, and there were definitely times where one person would finish their meal before the last person received theirs. No biggie though, you can just buy a delicious shake for less than a buck to pass the time!

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