Thailand. A country which has never been high on our bucket list. It is a beaten path and yet we’ve spent so far most of our trip in Thailand. Plans on a world trip are apparently there to be changed.
Living the search took us to Thailand the first time. It simply was the nearest surf spot we could find. Surfing it was. Our cultural effort did not go further than enjoying the delicious Thai food and joining the Thai in giving your most cheerful “sawadeee-kaaaaa” welcome to everyone you meet.
Next to surfing it turned out to be the place where we digested the going-on-a-world-trip-rollercoaster. Despite that all went smoothly, and it was all we wanted, it was quite a big deal to quit our jobs, sell our house, our stuff and say goodbye till we meet again to family and friends. But we did it and are grateful we can travel the world and even more, glad we are. Today, instead of tomorrow.
The second, third and fourth visit, Thailand was in between us and the country we wanted to go to. We’ve travelled many many kilometers on Thai grounds. Thailand passed by through a window. East to West and North to South. Our fifth and latest visit we’ve spent again weeks and weeks in Thailand, however on the water, on a boat. Eating pasta and English pie. Talking about sailing. We are probably the only travellers who managed to travel all around Thailand without visiting not even one temple. Sort of mission impossible in a country where 95% of the population is Buddhist.
Our weekends on shore were in Phuket. High season and Phuket are not our cup of tea. There is no surf. It’s overloaded with tourists. You hardly can walk on the beach without tripping over someone and the water is dangerous with all the jet skis, banana boats and parasailers. Lousy hotels ask triple prices, restaurant and bar promoters interrupting you all the time, sellers who all sell the same useless stuff. “Good price just for you!”, taxi drivers asking astronomical prices. Basically, everyone seems to be focused to get every penny out of you. It’s overwhelming. The worst is Patong town. If you imagine the Thai party scene selling sex as positioned in the media, that is exactly as Patong is like. Horrible in our opinion. It is not without reason why we’ve nominated Patong for being the worst place we’ve been too on our trip.
We were oh so happy when we boarded the boat again and could leave Phuket behind us. Even if that meant rolling around all night long in Patong bay due to a confused sea. We still don’t know how we’ve managed not to roll out of our berth. The next day we’ve left for another great trip along the Thai islands. Just lovely. This time we’ve sailed on Kay Sira. She is a 42-foot ketch (two masts), about the same age we are, and she has a story. She travelled all around the world for years and years which brought her and her owners from the UK to the Caribbean, the Pacific, ANZ to Malaysia where she started a new era as a training yacht.
Unfortunately, we were dropped back on Phuket for the weekend, but still had fun as we finally could continue our Formula 1 watch addiction. The season has started again! In no time the weekend was behind us and we were checking out of Thailand for the last time. We think… We hope… Almost at least. We still had to sail some days in Thailand to arrive in Langkawi, our temporarily home. No complaints though. This voyage is all about beautiful islands, sunsets, sun rises and the sailing life. ⛵️
So, what can we say about Thailand? The food is delicious, but what’s new. We are in Asia. The people are kind, if we ignore Phuket high season, but again, the people are kind everywhere we’ve been to. The nature is green, but what else to expect in a country at this longitude on earth.
And yet, there is one typical Thai characteristic which will be etched in our minds. It is sá-nùk. We’ve heard about sá-nùk only recently and doubt if we would have heard about it if we would have spent more time acting like a true traveller exploring the country and its culture. Sá-nùk means fun. Having a good time. Enjoy yourself. It is a rule of living. Whatever you do, it should be sá-nùk. Work, household, traffic, it doesn’t matter. The Thai will always try to make it sá-nùk. It seems to be even more important than saving face. And in Asia saving face is extremely important. Not embarrassing yourself or others. Likewise, in Thailand, except when it is sá-nùk to do so.
From this perspective we fitted well in Thailand. We may have not delved ourselves into the Thai culture, but we’ve lived Sá-nùk to the fullest. 🏄🏼♂️ ⛵️ Ok, apart from our weekend in Patong maybe.