Thailand & Cambodia are coming close. In just one week I’ll walking through the streets of Bangkok, cycling across the Ankor Wat complex and lying in my hammock on the beach of Koh Tao. I’m so excited! The anticipation has really started. I devour travel guide after travel guide and pin image after image on my Thailand & Cambodia board on Pinterest. To increase the anticipation, I wrote this ‘I’m looking forward to…’ inspiration post. What am I looking forward to? And what’s good to know before going to Thailand and Cambodia? Read along! And maybe you’ll have some tips for me.
In a week I’ll fly to Bangkok to go on a journey through Thailand and Cambodia. In my head Asia has everything. A beautiful culture, a great landscape and delicious food. Although I’ve never been, I know I am going to love it. Why? Take a look at my top 5 ‘I’m looking forward to…’ and you’ll understand why.
When I think of Thailand and Cambodia, I think of…
I’m looking forward to the spicy and colorful dishes, discovering new fruits (for example the famous ‘dorian’) and having multiple ‘moments of joy’ every single day. In the Thai culture it’s a normal to eat all day long. Westerners usually eat three large dishes a day, but the Thai eat up to 10 small dishes a day. I’m planning to eat most of my meals on the street. Bangkok is known for its delicious streetfood. Here you can get cheap and safe meals. It will be prepared right in front you, so you’ll know it’s safe.
I’m looking forward to seeing, hugging, washing and taking care of elephants. I’m a huge fan of these animals and I’m planning on visiting an elephant sanctuary. Unfortunately, in Thailand they still offer a great many of elephant rides. For tourists this is an ‘unforgettable experience’. Sadly, the same applies to the elephants. The elephants that are used for these rides are seperated from their mother at a young age and are detained and abused for days. To make them more obedient, the elephants are stung during the rides with a sharp stick. All to give the tourist an unforgettable ride…
This animal suffering has to stop. That’s why I support the World Animal Protection to call upon everyone to stop taking rides on elephants.
I’m looking forward to the temples. Large and small ones, striking or intimate. Thailand and Cambodia are predominantly buddhist and that’s why you can find tens of thousands of temples in these countries. In Russia I walked from one church to the other and I suspect to do the same in Thailand and Cambodia. The abolute highlight awaits in Cambodia, the Angkor Wat. The largest religious structure in the world. I cannot wait to see the sunset and sunrise at this place. Don’t forget that temples are holy places. Show respect by talking softly, wearing long pants and covering up your shoulders. And don’t forget to take off your shoes before going into a temple.
I’m looking forward to the serenity on the islands. I leave my obligations behind, I leave my work behind, I leave it all behind. So that I can enjoy the beach, the sea and especially the serenity. Thailand is known for its beautiful islands. I’m looking forward to the moment the white sand is between my toes, a coconut is in my hands and I’m standing under a palm tree (or rather besides the tree). Of course I’m planning on doing a lot of snorkeling. Great places for this are Koh Samui and Koh Tao.
5. …the Thai and Khmer
And last but not least, I’m looking forward to the people. I’m always fascinated by people and their cultural customs. Thailand is known as the ‘Land of the smile’. Smiling is for the Thai a way of expressing emotions. Thai people will never express negative feelings. Instead they smile, even when they’re angry or discomfortable. The same applies to a lot of Asian countries. Loss of sight should be avoided at all times.
Also be careful with using certain parts of the body. Feet are seen as unclean while heads are seen as the holiest parts. For instance, you should never touch someone on the head. This is the place of the mind and soul.
To conclude this post I’d like to share a little video. Just to take you along the colors of Asia. Although there’s no sun, it’s still a pretty collection of images. Enjoy the music, turn it on.
Have you ever been to Thailand and/or Cambodia? I’d love to hear your tips! You can also follow me during my trip on Instagram (@golivegotravel).