Thailand is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and over 12 million tourists flock to the country every year. Most tourists can get away with very limited Thai and can say good morning, goodbye and order a beer or glass of wine. However, there is something unusual about Thailand in that many people return, and large numbers stay, and this means relationships and friendships are formed.
One of the biggest reasons to speak Thai is to build friendships and relationships. There is no denying the fact that many men are fascinated by Thai women, and to get to know them language is the key. Even returning for a vacation year after year will encourage people to learn Thai. That awkward feeling of being guilty or insecure as you converse with locals who speak in broken English soon goes when you speak their language.
The Thai people are renowned for their hospitality and friendliness, and this will become ever more apparent upon speaking Thai. Barriers drop quickly when a language is spoken and doors to new experiences are flung open in a new and exciting way. For some strange reason, speaking Thai draws you even further in to a country that pulled you in when you only had a handful of words in your pocket.
When you visit Thailand without speaking Thai, the people of Thailand can tell you are a tourist and will treat you as a tourist. Once you show that you speak Thai, you are seen differently and you will be elevated among the locals you meet when on vacation or when starting a new life. Conversation will open up and natural curiosity will spark what can easily become lifelong friendships.
Two words define the change when you speak Thai. The first is Trust. Trust is gained when you speak Thai as people can see that you have taken time and made the effort to learn their language. Sure, many speak English, as English has long been seen as the only way to get ahead or get out of Thailand. Returning the favour triggers a special emotion that you will only understand when you communicate with the locals in their native tongue.
The second word is Independence. Speaking any language automatically gives a level of freedom and independence that nothing else can provide. Without speaking Thai, your movement and choices of places to visit is somewhat limited. With speaking Thai, you can venture beyond the hotel bars and tourist attractions and discover the real Thailand. Speaking Thai can instantly make any local the perfect tour guide who will take you places and introduce you to people that you would never visit or meet without the language.
Thailand is constantly calling tourists; tourism is the mainstay of the economy, and if you want to heed that call and get more out of Thailand for pleasure or on business, learning to speak Thai will pay off. Thailand is more than just hotels and shrines; it is a country full of amazing places open to you and people who cannot wait to tell you more because you speak their language.
Have you ever thought of retiring in another country? Some older Australians do so very successfully, and are enjoying their last years in the place of their dreams, living life the way they always imagined.
Many Australian are attracted to spending all or part of their retirement overseas - perhaps for family reasons or because it is more cost effective so that you can potentially have a much more relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle. Retiring overseas is not for everyone as there are many things you should consider such as the impact of prolonged absences from family and lifelong friends. Another significant factor when considering relocating is whether the Australian Age pension would be payable to them offshore. The Australian Age Pension can be paid overseas, but there are conditions. The rules in this area are both complicated and unclear in certain areas, particularly for current expatriates, and it would be prudent to seek advice from both Centrelink and financial advisors regarding your entitlements. Much would depend upon the details of your individual situation.
Apparently after you have not resided in Australia for more than 2 years you will be removed from the Medicare system. You cannot just assume that your health or concession cards will remain valid either. Another suggestion is to obtain international health insurance which would possibly cover you in the event of ill health or accidents (check these policies carefully to ensure you have the right level of cover for you).
Before considering this mammoth move it would be wise to ensure you have all your health, financial and legal affairs in order and recorded with an independent associate. Your will could be stored with your accountant and ensure you have considered all the issues and ramifications of who gets what, in the case of your death.
Once you have decided to retire overseas you will be beginning a wonderful adventure of new people, culture, experiences and new foods (your stomach may need a little transitioning time!). If you are considering retiring to Thailand, come to VLLC and learn Thai first to ensure you are at your most comfortable when starting your new life!
We paired up, paid our money, stripped off our sandals, rolled up our pants and put our feet into big tanks filled with tiny fish. It wasn’t long before they all migrated to our feet and started to nibble. It’s a real experience, probably something I wouldn’t do again but definitely something different and one of those things you should try if you are going to Thailand. It was not long before this strapping 6 foot something man’s man, let out a high pitched squeal, then spent the next 10 minutes giggling, screaming and squirming like a little girl being tickled. It was so funny that people were stopping in the streets to see what all the commotion was about. What travel experiences have you faced that had you squealing like a two year old on Christmas morning or squirming like a worm? We would love to hear your stories. Helen Dorling CFO VLLC Aust
We were given some very wise advice before we left Australia by someone who travels to Thailand regularly. Don’t change your Australian dollars to Baht at the airport or at the hotels in Thailand. You will get a much better conversion rate from one of the many currency conversion stalls on the side of the road in town. Although we changed a bit of money at the airport to make sure we had enough Baht to get a taxi to our hotel plus a little extra, we saved most of our cash to be changed on the street in Phuket. It made a huge difference.
Travelling is an exciting opportunity which can be enhanced by learning the language before you go. This blog contains some interesting articles about language and travel.