The best, cheapest, and healthiest sweets in Thailand are the traditional home made ones. They are sold in markets, from road-side stands and mobile motorbike carts. In the video at the bottom of this post you will see how they are made in a Thai village setting.
Chiang Mai, Thailand, is known for it’s vibrant culture, spectacular festivals, and many live events. But the Thais are not the only ones who are contributing to this.
There is a large holistic community of non-Thais, visitors, travelers and expats from all over the world. They are into yoga, massage, holistic life styles, meditation, healing arts, just to name a few.
You can see them at holistic festivals, in the many Thai Massage schools, in yoga classes, in the city park, and in the restaurants that cater to them.
There is, at least at the time of this writing, a farmers market happening every Friday afternoon next to the Three Kings Monument. I happened to see one very graceful and talented western woman doing a spontaneous dance performance right at the market.
She is living proof that Chiang Mai’s famous atmosphere and culture is a mix of Thais and westerners. Chiang Mai is a multi-cultural city with tens of thousands of visitors and expats present at any time.
If you have children, this is for you! Watch a big high school event where students from several schools in Chiang Mai, Thailand, are competing in sports and dance. The dancing is similar to western cheer leaders, however the sports events are less serious and more fun.
There is ‘sack hopping’, chasing a little ball with green eggplants hanging from the hip, and other fun events. This is not a tourist event, but footage about real life in Thailand. Watch the video below:
In Thailand there are colorful local markets everywhere. In small towns they are the main shopping venue, and in larger towns they co-exist with supermarkets.
Thais like shopping in local markets because the food is fresh, there is lots to see, the atmosphere is friendly and fascinating, there is social interaction, and often you can even get a massage right in the middle of the market.
Here is a quick peek into a local market experience in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.
The elephant has always been one of the the most important animals in Thailand. They were used for warfare, for doing heavy work like logging, and they were a symbol of power, wealth and prestige.
To this day the king of Thailand keeps a stable of white elephants which are very rare and considered highly auspicious. Well, they are not exactly snow white, but they are much more light skinned that the usually very dark skinned animals.
However training elephants to become domesticated work animals can be a traumatic and painful experience for the animals since it takes quite a lot to break the will and the sense of freedom of those giants.
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city. It is also the second most important city with a huge tourism industry. The latest push is to turn it into one of Asia’s main convention centers.
Chiang Mai’s population is exploding since it is one of the most appealing cities not only in Thailand but in all of Southeast Asia. Why? It still has a laid back atmosphere which has fallen by the wayside in Bangkok already. Despite being a major city, people are still friendly, courteous, helpful, and always ready to flash you a friendly smile.
Population explosion is a big issue in some Asian countries. Look at India for example. China had the same problem and in response they instituted the (not very popular) one child policy.
Consequences of over population in developing nations can be starvation, lack of employment, lack of sufficient medical care, inability of the government to provide enough social services, pollution, sanitation issues etc. It’s a serious problem.
Not too long ago Thailand also had a population growth problem. Families were large with lots of children being born, and there was wide spread poverty. The writing was on the wall that sooner or later there would be serious consequences.
Today Thailand’s population growth has shrunk significantly. There is no serious starvation, there are no slums which exist in some other Asian countries, and Thailand is one of the more prosperous countries in southeast Asia. How did this come about?
Chiang Mai, Thailand, is famous for its colorful Sunday Market. Hundreds of vendors are selling art, handicrafts, clothes, food, musical instruments, and other creative items. But the Sunday Market is much more than a place where you go shopping.
You can get a foot massage or a Thai Massage in dozens of places – right on the sidewalk. And you can watch lots of musicians perform for donations. It is easy to spend hours there without ever getting bored, even if you don’t buy anything.
Last Sunday I saw a little girl, about 8 years old, put on an amazing performance which drew lots of spectators. She had a golden voice and was clearly an up and coming singing talent. I caught one of her songs on video.
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Traveling in Asia can be fascinating since life happens out on the streets. People meet, talk, eat, sleep, and party outside. It is the total opposite of life in many western countries where most activity takes place indoors, and where streets are mostly devoid of people except for the ones in their cars.
In Asia you can just walk around and you will find something going on in most places. I live in Thailand which is primarily a Thai culture with some Chinese and Muslim mixed in. Malaysia however is a country (right next to Thailand) with three distinct cultural groups: Malays, Chinese and Indians. They all have their own languages, customs, festivals, religion and culture.
Some places in the world attract holistic, alternative or ‘new age’ communities. This includes practitioners of yoga, massage, various healing arts, meditation, Qigong and many others. Some of those places are in beautiful surroundings like Sedona, Arizona or Bali, Indonesia.
Others are in places with a long history of spirituality like Rishikesh, India. Some of them develop in beautiful beach areas like on the Big Island of Hawaii.
(Make sure to watch the video at the end of this article)