All posts by Crystal Kiana Soderberg

How to be a Tourist in Thailand

I have the amazing opportunity to be able to be in this country after learning a little about Thai culture from the orientation we had. As well as being surrounded with peers and teachers who are so knowledgeable. Knowing what little I knew of Thai culture before coming here has helped me to observe more clearly. I have noticed the kind natured and very generous culture show through since arriving. This was something I wasn’t used to and it brought a lot of questions to mind.

I been very interested in how the high population of tourists has affected this welcoming culture that is present. This curiosity has come about from everything, my bags being carried up to my room for me, my food brought out, or the wooden pieces of the game in the Hmong village being retrieved for us. I cannot help but wonder if this is purely for cultural reasons or if it has some effects of tourism within it.


The fact that I couldn’t help but assume that there was more to this country or their culture than met the eye has made me reflect on my own culture as well. I am used to Minnesota nice, where people say what they know you want to hear rather than the truth. I also come from America where it is largely encouraged to question and change things constantly. These ideas have made me think that the there must be more to why the people in Thailand are so generous, that it must be because we are paying them and not because it is a cultural norm.

Now if you lump all tourists into one category and ask; does this affect the culture here in Thailand? I would say yes. We bring with us these expectations of an unforgettable time and our fast paced ideals that are usually linked with more developed countries. I think that this has caused the more competitive nature in the markets, the night markets and late night things always going on. For a simple culture this can change locals daily lives. One example is the children of street vendors who cannot find someone to watch their kids, they stay out late with their parents and this may disrupt the norms of each individual family.


Wat Temple

When I got out of the car I, like a lot of people, was caught off guard by the house in front of me. However, the exterior of this temple did not change how much I took out of the day. I am still in awe of my experience at the Wat Temple. The Thai culture is something that I wish my life was more like. The family and people that we met were kind, generous, and very careful and caring about how we were feeling. I think that being mindful of yourself and how your actions make other feel is a virtue that everyone should at least try to incorporate in their lives. Throughout the whole day I was at peace. This may have come from the meditation exercise that we did. I have actually been trying to do this everyday and it really makes a difference.

One learning goal that I have for this trip is to learn and take home with me a piece of Thai culture. I tend to get stressed out quite a bit. I think that incorporating the Thai and Buddhist beliefs into my own life will make me a happier and healthier person.