Thailand is an especially unique place. From the sparkling waters of its pristine beaches and the tropical rainforests of its national parks to the crowded hustle bustle of Bangkok, this country has it all. Above all, however, Karma is palpably real and exists in its purest form in Thailand, with 95% of its population Buddhist. People are genuinely kindhearted and trustworthy to the point where I often felt safer in the most foreign, remote towns of Thailand than I sometimes do in my own hometown.
After living in Thailand for six months, and knowing a very basic amount of Thai, but enough to get us around, my two friends and I set off on an adventure to uncover some of Thailand’s more hidden destinations. Leaving its famous hippie town of Pai with no plans, we headed west for the border of Myanmar - a fascinating experience where we rode down the river that separates the two countries, with Thailand on our right and land bombs on the shore of Myanmar on our left. From there we hopped on vans, motorbike taxis, buses and trains, making our way east and then eventually back down south to Bangkok through national parks, ancient ruins and temples. This was how we learned the Thai language, really got to know the people, and developed a deeper understanding for the easy-going culture.
One of our last nights off the grid, we arrived at a bus station late at night. At that point, we were seeking out a mosaic temple we had heard about in a province that wasn’t even in the guidebook (see the Temples of Thailand section). We had no hotel booked, but we knew enough Thai to ask the local who was closing her food stand for advice about food and shelter. Not only did she reopen her stand and serve us up a delicious hot meal, but she also rounded up a few local guys with their motorbikes and hitched us each a ride (along with our giant backpacks) to a hotel just down the interstate. That was a defining moment where I took a leap of faith, trusting in the culture and in human nature, and my intuition told me to ride it out. We all arrived safely at our nice, but cheap hotel and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning watching conspiracy documentaries and discussing the technicalities of the world.