I’m already coming up on almost two weeks in Thailand and it has already been full of many different experiences and adventures. In case you are unaware of what exactly I’m doing in Thailand, I will be here for the next two and a half months as I participate in a BYU study abroad where I am taking classes about the history and politics of Thailand as well as writing and sending out a survey for some research that we’re doing here. We are primarily interested in looking at the current government here and peoples’ views towards it, so a lot of my blog posts on here will incorporate my impressions of my experiences here mixed with the history of Thailand.
I got off the plane in Bangkok and immediately felt the wall of humidity hit me—and I absolutely loved it. Oh how I have missed this glorious hot and humid weather of Southeast Asia!
Besides the familiarity of humidity, I am once again in a country that eats rice or noodles for three means a day seven days a week. I’ve already had noodles served in more ways than you can imagine haha but no regrets.
One of the first things that struck me is just how friendly most people are. My professor had told us prior to our arrival that Thailand is affectionately termed the “land of smiles” and I’ve come to appreciate just how accurate this name really is. The people here seem very friendly, but they are also very polite and have a lot of cultural behavioral differences that I’m sure that I’ll become better acquainted with over the next few months.
Chiang Mai has a rich history and is the largest city in Northern Thailand. Although it is still a large city with a huge tourist industry, it is noticeably less busy and cramped than the capital of Bangkok. The first full day here I went walking with some other students from my program and it seemed that every corner we turned had a temple, each seemingly just as ornately decorated as the last one.
Our second day in the city we biked around the heart of Chiang Mai to get familiar with our home for the next few months. The city has a fun mix of little shops and houses with taller buildings and temples scattered throughout, all dropped in a very humid and jungle backdrop. The heart of Chiang Mai, called the “old city,” has a more distinctive feel to it than the surrounding newer developments that have enveloped it which only adds to the contrast of the juxtaposition between the new and old that seem to harmoniously blend into each other.
Overall I am loving it here! I am so excited for all of the adventures that I am going to be having here over the next few weeks! This was just a preview of what my summer’s going to be like, so if you would like to live vicariously through me then come back here weekly for updates on my life here 😉