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Joe Paul

5 Things You Need To Know Before Living in Thailand

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Hi Friends! 

Life in Bangkok has suddenly gotten very busy! Between three group projects and our first round of midterms, I have been focused on academics as of late with little time to go on many adventures. All is well though! Studying for exams and working on schoolwork has been a nice reprieve from the fast-paced life I have been living for the past month and a half. It has also let me reflect on some of the interesting things I’ve learned about Thailand during my time here.

So, here is a list of five things I have found most interesting about life in Bangkok:

1. The weather is unpredictable (even more than the Midwest). Weather prediction systems here are a little less advanced. So, a beautiful, sunny afternoon can turn into a full-blown monsoon in a matter of minutes! Be sure to always carry a poncho and get ready to have soggy feet. The streets often flood for a couple of hours after a heavy rain!

Tall builidings with clouds and sunshine
A beautiful sunset from my residence after a strong storm

2. The heat will control your life. Thailand is pretty equatorial, as such, it is very hot! Whether it’s sunny or overcast, you can expect to be sweating bullets after just five minutes of walking. I often find myself planning routes alongside air conditioned malls and subway stations just to be safe! On the flip side, my skin is noticeably clearer and I have never been this well-hydrated before!

Joe standing in front of a buddha statue
Drenched in sweat in Thailand’s ancient capital city, Ayutthaya!

3. There are almost no trash bins anywhere! You’d be hard pressed to find a garbage can in the subway stations, malls, or the streets. Despite this, Bangkok is a relatively clean city. However, it does get a little annoying when I have to carry my trash for the day with me all the way back home!

4. Thai is an incredibly difficult language to learn. I’ve memorized a few basic phrases, and while I’m sure I’m totally mispronouncing everything, it’s important to take effort in speaking the local language. It is polite when you’re interacting with local people and shows you have for respect for their culture. Even showing that you are willing to try will make Thai people smile, and vendors might even give you a “Thai discount” on a purchase when they see your efforts!

5. The love and respect for the late king is almost tangible. Currently, Thailand is in preparation to end the official year of mourning of the king’s death with his cremation. King Bhumibol was a peaceful leader and his impact on Thai life was enormous. Passing the numerous ceremonial alters and seeing people dressed in black every day shows how much his citizens loved him. I am lucky to be here during such a formative time in Thai history!

As always, condensing my Thai experience into short blog posts can be difficult. Attached is a video I made that helps convey just how high-energy and beautiful this country is!

Until next time!