People Tell the Story: Thailand

Posted by on May 12, 2013 in People Tell the Story, Thailand | 0 comments

The people of Thailand undeniably lived up to the hype. Their overly-friendly personalities, curiosity with foreigners and general sense of happiness far exceeded any other country we’ve visited. The “Land of Smiles” is not only an incredible country to visit, but also a place to experience some of the world’s best hospitality and nicest people.

Name: Naatsitan (Nat)
Age: 35
Occupation: Staff member at Friends For Asia
Hometown: Chiang Mai


We met Nat on our first morning in Thailand. She took time away from her family on the most important holiday of the year (Thai New Year) in order to take us to our guest house and run through a mini-orientation along with three other volunteers. Having now experienced a number of different volunteer organizations, it’s clear to us how dedicated and committed she is to her programs and to her volunteers. Nat goes above and beyond her responsibilities to make sure everyone is accommodated. Her calling to work in the volunteer industry came after years in hospitality which brought her to exciting countries like Hungary and Italy. She loves Thailand and is thrilled to be back in Chiang Mai, working where her true passion lies. During the interview, Nat wanted us to know the perception of Thai people, but also the reality that not all Thai people are as they seem. . .

Take a look at Nat’s comments below:


What 3 words would you use to describe your country?
1. Secret – you can never understand Thailand until you’re there yourself.
2. Different – sea, sand, mountains, nature.
3. Standstill – it’s as though the country can’t go any further, but we’re also not moving back. We’re trying to develop, but it doesn’t seem to be working.

What 3 words would you use to describe the people of your country?
1. Different – even though they speak the same language, there is a feeling that people in big cities look down on the country people and immigrants from Burma and Laos.
2. Mask – you can never be 100% sure what Thai people are thinking, especially about foreigners. The “mask” is really only evident in big cities where everyone isn’t as helpful. If someone has a problem, they’ll still smile and just avoid confrontation. (Once at a jewelry store, Nat pretended to not know the language even as an employee was speaking very negatively about her.  On her way out, Nat cautioned the employee to be careful of what she says around customers). 
3. Respect – especially in the family, but still strong in the working place and among friends and elders.

What is the top priority of the people in your country?
(Big city) Survival – how can they live? Where can they find money? How can I survive tomorrow? Education is the key to making a career in the city.
(Countryside) Family – everything is just more flexible and easier. There are no major career goals, just the importance of time spent with family.

How do people typically make a living?
Tourism, industry in the city and agriculture.

What is your favorite place to visit?
1. If I’m in a historical mood, Ayuthaya. This was the capital city before Bangkok.
2. Doi Inthanon – the highest mountain in Thailand and only 3-4 hours from Chiang Mai. Waterfalls, rainforest, picturesque fog.

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