I can’t believe I was in Thailand just a couple of weeks ago. It was such a spontaneous trip! Three months ago, my travel mate Chul sent me a message asking me to go to Thailand with him. I answered yes without further ado because I am fascinated by Asia. Furthermore, going there meant visiting South East Asia for the first time. Prior to this, I went to South Korea and Japan, two totally different countries. With this trip I definitely discovered a different Asia. Usually a big planner, this time I didn’t write an itinerary with places to go or things to do. Living in London means planning time off for everything, so travelling without any goal in mind was thrilling. I didn’t have high or low expectations about Thailand, I was just curious to be immersed in a new culture.
I arrived in Bangkok one month after king Rama IXth’s death. This was definitely a unique experience I shared on my Instagram (use #thecurioustraveller to find out more). But if there is one thing for which I will remember Thailand for it is its spirituality. It started at the airport with a lady who thanked me using the wai or thai greeting. Whenever someone greets you, they will join their hands and bow slightly. The wai means ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘sorry’ or ‘thank you’ but, most importantly, is a sign of prayer (see the woman on the picture above).
Travelling in South Korea and Japan, I learned bowing meant respect and expressed the level of seniority. The wai differs though because of its religious aspect. I felt behind it there was an intention of expressing hospitality and kindness – two aspects really important in buddhism. With 90% of buddhists, the wai is just one expression of how spiritual Thailand and its people are. It was fascinating witnessing how this religion shapes their every day life. The pictures below show the different sides of buddhism I have seen during my trip. Enjoy!
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