Life in Thailand
A Brief Introduction to Thailand
Thailand is in a historic region with classic art and architecture, famously reflected in many ancient and revered wats (temples) that house magnificent Buddha statues and other artifacts. Temple abbots receive visitors and Buddhists seeking blessings, and Buddhist monks can be seen daily on their early morning walks in many cities carrying alms bowls, which are filled with food by residents of the various houses the monks pass. Thais enjoy dance and music, and among the traditional dances performed in Thailand are the Fon Lep (fingernail dance) and the Fon Malai (flower dance), as well as many dances of the hill tribes.
Thai food is world-renowned for its liveliness of flavor as well as for its spiciness. Many visitors enjoy pad Thai, which can cost only 20 baht (less than $1) per serving in Thailand. Other favorite dishes include: curries (red, green, yellow, panang, or massaman); hot and sour Tom Yum or Tom Kha soups; rice or egg noodle bowls; and stir-fried noodles such as Pad See Iew and Lad Na. The Thai version of fast food is commonly represented in the plethora of street food, which includes a variety of quick noodle dishes as well as a variety of rice dishes topped with choices of various meats, curries, and stir-fries, among others. For meals at sit-down restaurants, diners can choose from a broad selection of restaurants serving Thai and international cuisines.
The lives of Thai people revolve around rice. Thais have grown rice for as long as the country’s history has been recorded. The fragrant Hom Mali (Jasmine) rice is sought after by connoisseurs worldwide. When the rains come, farmers plant rice countrywide, from small house plots to large plantations. Some households plant just enough for the family to consume three times per day, while others grow rice as a way to earn a living. Visitors from June through August are able to witness the rice-planting season, while visitors in the fall can participate in harvesting the crop. In either season, the experience of participating in such a central part of Thai culture is unforgettable.
Coffee Shops & Kiosks
Many streets in urban areas are dotted with coffee shops and coffee kiosks offering fresh coffee to rival Starbucks. The average price range for a cup is 25 to 60 baht ($1-2).
Lodging for Visitors
Plentiful selections of hotels are available in all cities at very reasonable rates, typically ranging from 800 to 1,500 baht (US$ 25-45) per night.
There are three seasons in Thailand: summer, (March to May); rainy (June to September); and winter (October to February). Summers are dry and hot with temperatures in the 90’s fahrenheit (30’s centigrade). The rainy season (the monsoon) brings periodic bursts of showers, usually late in the afternoon. The weather cools down to the 80’s and 90’s but can be humid. In the winter, the temperature in Northern and Northeastern Thailand dips to 80 degrees in October, 70 degrees in November, 60 degrees in December, and sometimes 50 degrees in January, usually with the low temperatures reached only at night, while the day time continues to be rather hot. Temperatures in Central and Southern Thailand will be higher than those of the North and Northeast. Winter visitors will want to bring sweaters and light jackets for the nights and mornings.
Health & Fitness
The Thai lifestyle is generally conducive to good health. Thai food is nutritious and made of fresh, flavorful ingredients. Beautiful scenery and outdoor opportunities beckon Thais and visitors alike to walk, run, swim, ride bicycles, and play golf among the plethora of available activities.
Household Items & Food Stuffs
All Thai cities have a multitude of retail stores, from small “mom-and-pop” shops to large “superstores” with offerings that cater to the needs of locals and visitors alike. Most Western consumer products and amenities are easily available.
Visiting Thailand & Beyond
Visitors enjoy many cities in Thailand because they offer the convenience and amenities of an urban setting while preserving the charms of traditional Thai living. For example, Lampang, where our foundation is located, boasts some of the country’s most beautiful and important examples of historic art and architecture. The standard of living is excellent yet inexpensive. The “off-the-beaten-path” nature of the North allows for an experience that is genuine to the way of life in the region. Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Sukhothai are an easy bus or train ride away from Lampang for a pleasant weekend getaway. For longer weekends, visitors can travel to Bangkok, the ancient capital city of Ayutthaya, as well as Pattaya Beach or Koh Chang island. Longer holiday breaks offer opportunities to visit Southern Thailand’s fabled beaches and islands, including Samui, Phuket, Krabi, and Phi Phi. Thailand also serves as a convenient base for visits to neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, India, Taiwan, and South Korea.