Wow! I can’t believe that I have spent a week in Thailand. It only feels like yesterday that my flight landed in Thailand. So far, I have been enjoying my time in Thailand from learning the language to going to markets. Plus, the food culture here is so healthy and delicious. Well, I decided for this blog post, I will illustrate on the main highlights of each day on my first week in Thailand.
On my first day in Thailand, we didn’t do much at all. There was an orientation that was organize by the ISDSI about Thailand and the culture. The orientation gave me more knowledge on what I should know about Thailand and the culture. Also, we went to tour Chiang Mai University and met some of the students that were there. It was great to talk to Thai students about their culture and helping them with their English at the same time. As we were touring the school, I noticed that they were playing American music in the coffee shop, which was a bit weird because I was expecting to hear Thai music. This made to consider how American culture has an effect on different countries no matter where you go. They consider American music to be cool so when they play it, the customers would think that their store is hip to the trend.
One of the highlight of the day was we were able to go to Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market. The market was very huge and had so many beautiful things like soap carving, scarves, clothes, wood artwork, and jewelry. Also, there were live music performances. I noticed that there were a lot of tourists at the market, which shows that the market must receive a lot of tourism attraction. Although, I haven’t learn any Thai, I didn’t have a tough time communicating with the vendors. Some of them could speak and understand English very well. Also, they would use a calculator to type the price of the item in case you aren’t able to understand them. I think it was very easy to communicate with them because they have encounter a lot of foreigners, which could have motivated them to learn English to communicate effectively with tourists.
This was our first day of Thai language and culture studies, which we had to take for a week. Thai language class was very overwhelming. The language was very tonal compare to the other languages that I have learned. The teacher (Ajaan) didn’t like to say the direct meaning, instead he would describe it through his body language. This was a little confusing for me, but later on I was able to connect it very well. During class, we learned about vowels, greeting, and introduction. I can now say that I am able to introduce myself in Thai! One thing, I am happy about is being surrounded by Thai people, whom I can practice Thai with. This will really help me to grasp the language very quickly. After our language class, we had a culture class on Thailand and South East Asia, which talked about the history. I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know about South East Asia and Thailand. For example, I didn’t know that Hindu and India played a role in flourishing many South East Asian countries.
We had Thai language class and an excursion to Wororot Market. In language class, we learned about bargain, number, food, and other phrases in Thai, which was very useful in the excursion to Wororot Market. I was able to ask for prices and bargain in Thai, which was a great improvement from day 1. Although, I felt that I didn’t pronounce it very well, the vendors were very happy that I was trying to speak their language. This market was a bit different from the Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Market because their wasn’t a lot of tourists and they had different products. They had a floor dedicated for food, fruits, and meats. Also, there was an area that sell Buddhism items. Another thing I noticed was the market was similar to the ones in Nigeria. It felt like I was transported back to where my parents are from.
I didn’t do much that day. We had a Thai cooking class and a culture class about the Northern Thailand. The class talked about how Northern Thailand came to be and highlighted on Chinese tourism.
We had our Thai language class and went for an excursion to Doi Sutap Temple. This is a very sacred temple in Thailand located on the mountain in Chiang Mai. The temple is freaking beautiful and amazing. I was in awe with the architecture and the design of the temple. On the outside of the temple, there was a statue of a white elephant and different shrines. Once you go inside, you will see a big golden stupa surrounded with different statues of Buddha. Also, there was little houses that contained different shrines and monks. As I was there, I saw people walking around the stupa saying prayers to Buddha. There was a lot of Chinese tourists that came to the temple either to see it or offer prayers. Being able to go to this temple, it has given me a glimpse of Buddhism that you will not found in textbooks. I was able to watch how people were praying to Buddha and see the influence Buddha has in Thai culture.
Wow! This was going to be my last Thai language and culture class before I leave for Chiang Rai. I am so glad I was able to take this language class because I wanted to learn the language and I will be able to talk to the local. I know more Thai than I knew when I was coming in. I’m now able to greet, introduction, buy stuff, and ask for where places are located. I hope that I will be able to grow in the language as I am in Chiang Rai.
Well, that is all that occurred in my first week in Thailand!! Tune in next week to hear/read more about my time abroad.