In February 2012 I travelled together with a friend to Thailand. I expected a lot from the Land of the Smiles. Sure it’s a cliché, the everlasting smile of the Thai, yet it’s true as a turtle and provides instant happiness. Vibrant and hot Bangkok is a city of contradictions. Glass skyscrapers and eccentric shopping malls rub shoulders with authentic back-alley houses and wooden stilt houses in the Klongs; thousands of buzzing tuk-tuks stand in contrast to the lonely monks in their orange and brown tunics. The latter devote their time mostly to the maintenance of many fine temples, to beg for food for their brother-monks and to study religious texts. In the tranquil town of Sukhothai I visited many sites with enormous Buddha statues by bike. Everywhere, even in the smallest villages, I grabbed a seat at a local food stall and ordered myself pad thai, my favourite dish and probably the best prepared pad thai in the world. Thanks to cooking classes in Chiang Mai I now also know how to re-create those great dishes at home. I have to admit, I very much enjoyed the green mountains and rice terraces of Mae Hong Song. The sunset there was stunning and approached the colours of my mai thai. A little bit of relaxation at the beaches of Phuket is a deserving end to an energetic, sparkling trip! Thailand has become a very familiar friend, which as any true friend should, keeps on surprising me – in a most generous way - every time I return.
- Nothing like a relaxing Thai massage after a day of city-exploration. Though it seems they fold your body in ways unimaginable and stretch your limbs to the extreme don’t panic, you’ll feel reborn afterwards.
- There are markets everywhere in Thailand, but the one not-to-miss is definitely Chatuchak Market on Saturdays and Sundays. You will most certainly find a way to spend your left-over Thai Baht here. It’s the biggest market in the world and you can buy almost anything. From trendy clothing to nice jewels, art and especially great souvenirs and gifts for your family.