Thailand has its own way of doing things. What is normal in Khao Lak isn’t necessarily the standard in your country. Khao Lak, as with any other town in other countries, has its habits which may or may not appeal to your sensibilities. Either way, it is good to be prepared for some usual things that you may encounter while visiting The Land of Smiles.
Beer with Ice Cubes and Soft Drinks in a Plastic Bag
Beer drinkers in Thailand take an entirely different treatment of their brew – they mix ice cubes with it. and with good reason. With all the heat and humidity, it is only logical to refresh the drink to keep it from warming up. You may find this a bit unusual and think that it waters down the beer, but give it a try and you’ll see the wisdom in putting ice in your beer. The Thais have created a way to have a drink on the go – plastic bag with a straw. A small plastic bag is filled with ice cubes; ice tea, ice coffee, coconut water, sugarcane water or any other refreshment and a straw is put in the bag for you to drink from. Before you get triggered about the environmental impact of all that plastic, These days you will only see it up-country and in smaller villages.
Insects as Snack
For the squeamish among us, insects are just not on our list of snacks to eat. They provide great nutritional value and Thai restaurants even in metropolitan cities like Bangkok and Phuket are serving anything from silk worms to water beetles, bamboo worms and crickets. Grasshopper still remains one of the top favorite snacks, especially among the children. They are fried with lime leaves and chilies until crispy and have a wonderful fragrance and texture. While snacking insects isn’t the norm, it is not unlikely to find restaurant menus that showcase extensive selections of insect-based foods. At any fair or festival in Thailand you will always come across a stand selling fried insects, give it a try.
If you happen to be in Thailand for the Songkran Festival, the traditional New Year’s Day of Thailand which falls on April 13, you will find that there are really some unusual things going on this day – . Originally Thai people gently poured water on the hands of their elders to show respect. Wishes for a long and happy life are exchanged. Temples are cleaned and merit is made. It is a time to gather with family and enjoy the day eating and relaxing in the shade. Well things have sure changed. As part of the celebration these days, merry makers use water guns to shoot water or buckets of freezing ice water on each other – no one is exempted. The unfortunate traffic policeman is a convenient target. Even children know this and take advantage of the occasion and then the buckets of water come out and everyone gets soaked from sun up to sun down. Chiang Mai is the epicenter of Songkran and festivities can last up to 5 days. Many locals who don’t want to get wet stay indoors until the sun sets and the streets dry off. In Khao Lak the Festival is only on the 13th and the government has been known to shut the water off at 5 o’clock.
From overloaded lumber trucks to 4 people on a scooter people here have a knack for the absurd when it comes to highway safety. Spend any time on the roads and you are guaranteed to witness this. Dogs on scooters. Monkeys and pigs on scooters. An entire bamboo forest stacked dangerously high in a small pickup truck. Overloaded vehicles leaning to the left. Overloaded vehicles leaning to the right. Some laying sideways in a ditch. Some upside down. Thailand is truly amazing.