Thailand: Land of Smile?

When people think of Thailand, some might have heard this beautiful slogan, “Thailand is the land of smile”. How come that this slogan exists? Is it because Thai people smile a lot at each other, or is it just a beautiful slogan aiming to attract foreign tourists? As a Thai myself, I’ve always believed that this slogan definitely reflects a true characteristic of Thai people, and of course, of the way we live in our country.

Essentially, Thai people have a joyful and peaceful nature. Our culture is based on sharing things together. Most importantly, Thai people always help each other, not only among family members or relatives but also with other people we don’t know. It is common, in Thailand, to call people we don’t know for help, such as brothers or sisters or even uncles or aunts. This shows that our people are living together like a big family.

This not only works towards our fellow Thai people; it also makes Thais very friendly to foreigners and especially tourists. This is at the origin of the “wai”, is a traditional Thai greeting that we generally carry out by holding both hands together between our chest, like a prayer. Thai people often give a smile to each other, including to foreigners, in order to greet and show friendship. You can easily notice this everywhere in Thailand. When you walk in the street, take a public transport, go shopping or even visit the temple, if you look to Thai people, I am certain that they will give a friendly smile back to you.

Thai people always smiling has certainly helped our country gain popularity among tourists. Although we are a small country in South East Asia, Thailand is one of the top tourist destinations in many polls and rankings. As mentioned earlier, Thai people always want to be friend with tourists. We want to give the best experience and impression to them while they are spending their holidays in our country. It can start from the very beginning, when one arrives at the airport. The officers always welcome you with a big smile. The taxi driver who takes you to the city asks for the name of the hotel and helps you put your luggage in the taxi with a smile. The reception at the hotel, the waiter at the restaurant, the seller at the souvenir shop, will provide you with the best service with enthusiasm. Of course, they will smile every time that you ask a question or talk to them.  This unique characteristic of Thai people also makes it easy for the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote our country. Consequently, the number of tourists who visit Thailand is keeping increase every year.

Nevertheless, the fact that Thai people always smile does not mean that we are in good mood or happy all the time. Sometimes our smile can carry different emotions in certain situations. The best example is that if you ask some questions to Thai people and they do not know what to answer, they will smile back at you. This is because we have a humble and shy nature. We do not want to say something funny or stupid in front of other people. Therefore, we avoid doing so by just smiling back and pretend we do not understand what you’re asking. This also often happens when foreigners ask Thai people a question in English or in any other language we are not familiar with. Many Thais  are not good as speaking other languages or even English. Although we start learning English in elementary school, there a few people that can use it effectively in daily life. Thus, you should realize that if you ask some random Thai people on the street in English, it is possible that they will smile back rather than give the answer to you…

Furthermore, Thai people also smile even when they face the critical situation or problem. Nowadays, our economy is not so good to say the least. The number of unemployed people is increasing. The prices of goods are increasing while the salary is still the same. But you can still see a smile on the face of Thai people. We always remain optimistic and see things in positive. The smile is a smile of hope. We smile to cheer up and support each other. This is the reason why will always be a smile in most of Thai people’s faces, not only when we are happy but also in sad time or when we really need some support. And since you can expect or see smiles everywhere in Thailand, I do not think it would be exaggerate to say that Thailand, indeed, is the land of smile.

In conclusion, it can be said that smile is a symbol of Thai people. We smile a lot in every day even when we’re face a good or bad situation. It certainly makes our day better. Once you visit Thailand to experience this for yourself, you will notice that our slogan is not exaggerated and be yourself welcomed this way. Welcome to, Thailand land of smile!

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