Experiencing true local Thai culture is one of the great joys of visiting Thailand. Many visitors relish their visits to the northern provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai because it seems so much more “Thai” than the beaches or even Bangkok, which is undoubtedly a 21st century metropolitan city. However, regardless of where you visit in Thailand, whether Phuket, Bangkok, or Khon Kaen, there are a number of ways to make sure you experience the local Thai lifestyle.
One of the best ways to experience this local Thai lifestyle is by eating local Thai food. Thai food is undoubtedly one of the great joys of Thai culture. While many foreigners love the Thai food that is served in restaurants, some of the best local Thai food is found on the street. Most street restaurants specialize in particular types of meals, whether they are rice or noodle based dishes with duck, pork, chicken, or beef. If you are leery of eating Thai food on the street, find a street stall that is particularly busy (the locals know where to eat) and have a look at the goods on display. A steaming bowl of noodle soup is typically safe, even for western stomachs, and street food cooks will good naturedly help you order something you might like.
Another great way to get into the local Thai lifestyle is by visiting a Thai market. Morning markets are where many Thais do their grocery shopping. These “wet markets” feature every kind of vegetable and meat imaginable and are an overwhelming experience for your eyes as well as your nose! Local Thai town markets in smaller provincial capitals are Thai versions of department stores, selling everything from clothing to electronic supplies. And some parts of Thailand even have markets that have buffalo auctions. Spend some time wandering the back streets of any Thai town and you are bound to find an interesting market; otherwise ask at your hotel or guesthouse.