December 15, 2012

'real' Thailand

Many tourists traveling through the kingdom come to Thailand for a taste of culture (and Pad Thai) and search for the last undiscovered piece of paradise that one would call the "real" Thailand. I have lived here for over a year now and can tell you that is a place made up in our heads while perusing google images of Thailand. There are some amazing beaches and places in this country (including the place we are now living) and I have been to a lot of them, but so has everyone else. You cannot escape the tourist trail in Thailand anymore, EVERYTHING has been done, every beautiful white sand beach has been constructed to fit the western ideal of heaven on earth. 

While this fact might make traveling in Thailand easier, it also means your reality is a product of what you experience here. This has been my reality for the past year. Grey skies, dirty air, green jungles, colorful temples, garbage littered everywhere, major freeways leading to twisty turvy backroads. This is the real Thailand that everyone talks about, where people live out their lives, just as one might do in the "real" America.  A lazy, hot stroll through my neighborhood and you enter a different world. There are is no white sand or backpackers around here...

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  1. Wow. The 8th picture (of all the white garbage) is remarkable. Can you give any more info on what it is we are looking at? A vacant lot? A garbage dump? It really is quite the contrast to the spruced up tourist areas.

    I definitely agree with you that everything in Thailand has been done. I don't think it's possible to meet a backpacker who hasn't been to Thailand. But I also think that's what makes Thailand a really good place for people to start traveling. It still feels exotic but the tourist trail is laid out quite neatly for you.

  2. These photos look a lot like the town where I'm living. I've certainly learned more about Thai culture than I would have in a tourist hotspot, but I'm also kind of looking forward to moving on soon. It's definitely a case of "be careful what you wish for" when you ask for authentic Thailand. Sometimes I think we really want the fantasy, not the reality.

  3. I agree, it does make it a great place to travel. I always say I think it is much nicer to holiday here than live here...

    That picture is just a vacant area around my school. There are actually several spots like that in the area and when driving around in Bangkok and the surrounds. The amount of waste we produce is just sickening. (There are also several small shacks just right next to where that picture was taken as well, I felt weird taking a picture of the houses as many people were walking around. I need to get a nice camera so I don't just look like a tourist myself with my small point and shoot! )

    Thanks for reading :)

  4. Yeah, we dream of bungalows on the beach with a mai tai, but out in the real world you get cold showers and mosquito bites. haha. it is an interesting perspective on the world though, coming from my privileged American life! Thanks Jessica! :)

  5. Your pictures are so typical of many places in Thailand, only a few weeks ago I went to Bang Saen, finished the day off in seafood restaurant overlooking the sea, if the tide had been in I might not have noticed the mess on the beach beneath us, there was litter everywhere. I took some photos actually and added them to my blog and wrote a little piece about litter.


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