Thursday, 7 January 2016

I Hate Thailand: Response

If you've not seen the video 'I Hate Thailand' here is it:

I hate Thailand

So this video is quite obviously a fake, although they didn't claim so, it was actually funded by the Tourist Authority of Thailand to try to save the tarnished view that Thailand sometimes has (I'm sure you know what I'm talking about). But even though the video is a fake and at times plain stupid (throwing a rock at a car and exposing himself? Really? 
Probably two of the worst things you can do in Thai culture!).

 All of that considered, I think he overall message the video gives actually resonates as true with me, and here's why.

The video first starts talking about the fact he thought that visiting Thailand would be his 'best vacation ever' and goes on the show a collection of clips which represent the typical imagine you get of Thailand before you come, you know, beautiful beaches, massage, great parties etc. That's exactly the impression I had too.

I came here in 2011 to do a TEFL course on a beautiful island in the south of Thailand, Koh Lipe, but before getting to the island, I stayed in two of the biggest cities in Thailand, Bangkok and then Hat Yai (where I currently live). I found Bangkok to be interesting, I did the 'touristy stuff' - it was fun. But, when I arrived in Hat Yai, I had a shock, Hat Yai is not really a tourist place at all, and it wasn't what I was expecting. It seemed to be run down, disorganised, and a city where no one smiled. I really didn't like the place. Thankfully I was only going to be there for a few days before getting the boat to Koh Lipe, at least, that's what I thought.

After I finished my TEFL Certificate on Koh Lipe (which was beautiful) I was ready to be placed in a school (I did a TEFL internship program where they find you a job etc). Before I came to Thailand I'd imagined I'd be teaching in a beautiful location by the beach (another unrealistic part to that video!) but guess where I was placed? Yep. Hat Yai....

Couldn't get much worse I thought. And over the few weeks that followed my suspicions were confirmed. And actually, worsened.

I hated this place. I hated Thailand.

The guy in the film ('James') goes on to try to communicate with the police officer and gets frustrated because he thinks no one can help him. Obviously, when you are in a foreign country for the first time, you are going to struggle to communicate the things you need, be it food, transport or trying to explain you've lost something to a police officer.  It can be incredibly frustrating.  I found my first few weeks in Thailand to be difficult because of these reasons, I felt frustrated because I didn't know what was going on. I wasn't enjoying myself at all. I couldn't understand the culture. I missed the organisation and clarity of things in the west.  Just like the guy in the video, I was desperate. I just wanted to go home. I nearly did go home. I remember saying myself, 'I'll give it one more week', which is what I did, and during that week, something happened, like the guy in the video, I made friends.

Myself and my friends started talking with some of the locals on our street. One of the families invited us to come along to the local restaurant they owned. A few nights later, we went there to eat dinner and have some drinks, at the end of the evening, we asked for the bill, but to our surprise, they wouldn't allow us to pay a thing. Just like the video, and actually, after four years living here, this has happened a lot. Thai people are extremely kind and friendly people, which at that time, I was just starting to learn.

Through going to that restaurant, I made a lot of Thai friends, and I began to understand the culture more and more, which in turn, made me happier and happier. I started to understand why things were the way they were and even see the positives in their culture. I started to relax, have patience and become more flexible. I started to feel at home.

Our new friends also showed us a different side to Hat Yai, not only with the people, but they showed us new places in the city, which we had yet to discover.  It made me realise you definitely shouldn't judge a place too quickly, it takes time to get to know a place.  It's the same with culture and language, it takes time to learn and the more and I learn, the more I love. 

So there we have it, as cheesy as it may be, just like the guy in the video, 'I thought I hated, Thailand, but that's because I didn't know it well enough'.

So if you’re new to Thailand, and it isn’t quite what you had imagined, don’t give up just yet, give it time and you never know you just might finding something better; I know I did.

Let me know your thoughts on the video in the comments below, what do you think about it? Have you had any similar experiences to me? I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

You can watch the video here:

Also, If you've not seen my video about why I love Thailand yet you can check it out by clicking here!

Lots of love 'n' stuff



  1. It takes time to learn their culture and language but once you get to know Thailand, you can't but leave your heart there. But like every thing else in life, there are some Thai people who are not so nice.
    Hi Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

  2. Thanks for the lovely comment and that is very very true! No place is perfect I guess :-) thanks for stopping by - Nicola