First Impressions of Thailand

By Katherine, Taylor, and Grace

Thailand is absolutey amazing.

We’ve already experienced and learned so much and we love it here. This is our third day here. We are staying in a hostel in Chiang Mai, which is in northern Thailand. It’s beautiful here. The city is surrounded by mountains. The city isn’t like any American city; all of the buildings look like temples—and there are real temples everywhere!

The temples are amazing. They’re gold with carvings of elephants and huge Buddhas, and look exactly like something you’d see in National Geographic or only on TV. Everyone can go into them for free—you just have to take your shoes off. In Thai culture, feet are considered where all of your negative energy is, so you never can point your feet at anyone and must always remove your shoes.

The food here is also incredible. I’ve tried pad thai, fried rice, spring rolls, sweet and sour chicken, Thai omelets, and many other things. You can also buy fresh fruit smoothies everywhere, which they’ll make with an entire mango and ice. This will cost 30 baht, which is the equivalent of less than a dollar.

Everything here is amazingly cheap. Meals at restaurants cost between 60 and 80 baht, so less than $3. The only problem is that the food is made very differently than in America—with oils that we aren’t used to—so we can’t eat too much Thai food in one day or we feel sick.

So last night we got food at an outdoor market, and got crepes and mango ice cream for dinner. We have been doing so many fun things. Some of the highlights have been getting a Thai massage yesterday which cost $6 for an hour, and it was incredible. They basically put you into yoga positions and stretch you out. We also went to a street market last night which was so fun. It was very busy and overwhelming, and there was no way we could ever see all it had to offer. But we bargained deals and all bought lots of Thai elephant pants and other cool things.

I also led the group in a yoga class yesterday morning which was really cool. And we’ve been inside lots of beautiful temples, tried different restaurants and street food, and many other things.

We are currently doing orientation, where we learn what we will be doing for the next three months and about the culture of Thailand. We had our first language class today and it was hard but so cool. It keeps hitting me how incredible it is that I get to learn Thai in Thailand.

This is reminding me how much I love learning, which is great.

It’s pretty humid here, but it’s monsoon season so it rains a lot which is really refreshing. The group is pretty good. I get along well with everyone and think we will all become really close. And the leaders are really cool. Overall I am having an amazing time and am soooo glad that I’m getting this amazing opportunity.

I honestly never want to leave, it is so incredible here. We are learning and experiencing so much and are so excited for all of the activities to come. On Tuesday we start a two-week long homestay, which we are both excited and nervous for. The family probably doesn’t speak any English and we hardly know Thai. But we have really cool activities and language lessons every day and it will be a great time to learn more about the culture. We also will be learning Thai cooking, Thai dancing, teaching English at a local school, and learning about Buddhism.