It always amazes me the difference in cultures one country has to another so it was great to experience the culture of Thailand on my honeymoon last month.
The first thing that struck me was how friendly, happy and relaxed Thai people are, even in situations that would cause most British people to get a bit stressed.
A prime example of this was the traffic.
There seemed to be constant traffic jams on the roads regardless of what time of the day it was and cars, scooters, buses and tuk tuks just seemed to weave from one lane of the road to another with no warning, cutting fellow drivers up in the process, yet no-one seemed in the least bit annoyed by it.
Indeed driving laws seemed far more relaxed than the UK. Scooters, for example, could be used to carry a family of four, with babies cradled in their parents arms and not a single crash helmet. Women were seen sitting sidesaddle on scooters and no-one batted an eyelid.
Thai people believe in a sense of Karma and so look after stray animals, especially dogs, very well.
Whether you were in the busy city centre of Bangkok or in a far out village you were never far from a homeless dog, but rather than looking ill and unkempt, the dogs all appeared quite well cared for.
Dogs were given food from street venders and drivers were very alert for dogs on the city’s roads and motorways, making sure they avoided hitting them at all costs.
Thai people are generally softly spoken and avoid confrontation at all costs, which is perhaps something that UK people could learn from. During the three weeks we were in Thailand I don’t think we saw a single angry Thai.
It was explained that if Thai people were feeling stressed with family life they would go to their temple (Wat) and stay for a few weeks until they felt better, rather than going to the pub, which was another reason people could stay happier.
Another thing that caught my attention was how Thai people would come outdoors and enjoy their meals communally whilst sat on the floor.
The eating experience was very much a shared one and food was past around those present.
In fact it was explained to us that many Thai apartments did not have a kitchen in them as it was actually cheaper to buy food from street venders than it would be to buy the ingredients and cook them.
In general there was a lot I think many people from the Western world could learn from Thai people.