Oh Thailand, you changed my world. This was my starting point, the entrance to South East Asia. Nothing's quite like it.
The culture, the smiles, the incredible respect of personal space, the food, the countryside, everything. I spent a few years in Thailand, made a serious attempt at learning the language, learned about Theravada Buddhism and tried to integrate as much as possible. But as a foreigner you are always a Farang. Don't get me wrong, as a tourist you are most welcome. Settling down, however, is not encouraged. Never mind, the food is fantastic (if you like it spicy)
Most of the time I lived in Pratchuap Kili Khan, just south of Hua Hin. This is where these pictures were taken. This small town has its fair share of giant Buddhas statues sitting above ground or resting in caves
There are two type of monkeys here. One boysterish, nasty and with lots of attitude and the other one shy, reserved, almost gentle.
The nasty ones lived on temple teritory and therefore untouchables. And don't they know it. If you approach them with a bag or anything else they consider interesting, they take it off you. Occasionally they venture into town and steal food and things.
The gentle ones try to stay away from people. They stick to trees and nature. If you are patient, though, they come and investigate. The locals call them Lin Can Wen or monkey wears glasses, for obvious reasons.
Their babies are golden and unbelievably cute.
Buddhism is the dominant influence on local society. Most young men spent a year as a monk in a temple. There they learn about self-control and respect and the importance of being humble. A lot of people don't know this but there is no god in Buddhism, only nature. Every Buddhist knows this. Yet, people feel the need to adore some greater being. This is fine as long as this adoration doesn't oppress or depress the development of the individual. It works for Thailand. it also produces lots and lots of statues and temples.