In a survey conducted by lonerzone.com about what former Thailand expatriates miss most about this country, the respondents listed their Top 5 as follows.
So what does ‘Amazing Thailand’ really mean?
For the 24.7 million international tourists who travelled to Thailand in 2014, this country is all about the warm weather, beautiful beaches, delectable Thai food, and the never-ending nightlife in the country’s key cities.
But for the many ‘Pinoys’ who are here, this country is more than just the tourist attractions, or the easy-going lifestyle. Thailand is work. It is home. Unfortunately, none of us, except for those who have married Thai citizens, will stay here permanently just like those who have already settled for good in the Philippines. In a survey conducted by lonerzone.com about what former Thailand expatriates miss most about this country, the respondents listed their Top 5 as follows.
1. SOM TAM
On top of the list is food and with food all of them listed SOM TAM as something they miss most. Also known as Green Papaya Salad, this dish is of Lao origin that is made of shredded unripe papaya. The ingredients: chili, sugar, garlic, lime, fish sauce, dried shrimp, brined crabs, shrimp paste, tomatoes, pla ra/ pa daek (optional), yardlong beans, hog plums and raw Thai eggplants; are mixed and pounded by a mortar. Some of its common varieties include Som Tam using cucumber and green mango.
Som Tam is usually eaten with sticky rice (khao niao) and grilled chicken (gai yang).
2. CHEAP GOODS and GADGETS
Perhaps there’s not much difference between the prices of the standard commodities of Thailand and the Philippines but my respondents were all in to agree that a thousand baht will already go a long way compared to the same amount in peso. Unlike here, appliances in our country is much heavier in the wallet which means comfort in our country is costly.
To have a new gadget here in Thailand is not a problem. Most leading shops grant zero percent interest for purchases using credit cards. For teachers like us, some parents who own gadgets shops are also kind enough to allow unit acquisition on a monthly payment basis with a meager amount of interest. Thus, spelling the already apparent disparity.
3. NIGHT MARKETS
Whether you are up for spending with ‘gusto’ or only go ‘window shopping’, night markets are your rightful destination. Usually held in closed streets, one can go for a wide array of choices for clothing, accessories, home ornaments, food, and many others. They could be a one-stop venue for dinners and relaxing massage or a place to go out and acquaint with the culture of Thailand through music, dance and their food.
And what else they miss more about night markets? It’s the feeling of safety and security while going around the place without the need to hug their belongings to protect them from ‘snatchers’ and ‘pickpocketers’.
This may come as a surprise because our country is also known for its bountiful harvest of tropical fruits such as guavas, bananas, durian, mangoes, and mangosteen among others but then if prices come to the spotlight, no further discussion is needed.
Not that our country is far behind when it comes to tourist destinations. In fact, our country has beaches and resorts at par with the world’s best. We have Banaue Rice Terraces, Bohol Chocolate Hills, Tinuy-an Falls, and Palawan’s Underground River which has been named as one of the world’s wonder.
However, with the 7,100 islands dividing our country, visiting these places is not as easy. That’s where the disparity lies according to the respondents. Because of Thailand’s geographical form, it’s much easier to get access to any place one wants to go without having to spend much for food, transportation and accommodation.
But of course, there’s no place like home and although we have found a second home here in this country, sooner or later we will still go back to the Philippines where our heart truly belongs. One thing is for sure nonetheless, Thailand will always have a part in us.
Note: This article was first published in lonerzone.com, the author’s personal blog.