Thailand: A Cultural Tour in Pictures

12 Jun 2017

Sometimes called the Land of Smiles, Thailand is a nation of contrasts. It’s people are gentle, friendly, welcoming and peace-loving. But under this calm surface there is a broiling turmoil. It’s a troubling affair, striving for health, wealth and prosperity as Thai’s seek to appease the spirits around them. Violence, alcohol abuse, and human trafficking corrupt the ideal of societal harmony. And the thriving sex industry attracts the worst kind of tourists while it destroys the lives of those it employs or enslaves. Yet there is great hope. There is a redeemer.

One of the eight symbols of Buddhism, the lotus flower is revered for its ability to rise above muddy waters and bloom into something beautiful – a journey every Buddhist strives to imitate by rising above worldly cares and fixating on spiritual ones. Where will he turn when he falls short?

At night, the bulb hanging on this boat will glow green, joining the hundreds of other boats fishing for squid in the Gulf of Thailand. So strong are these lights that their collective, eerie glow can be spotted from space.

Two million children in Thailand are currently involved in prostitution to pay off family debts. This has led to an increase in HIV/AIDS so much so that it is the leading cause of death in Thailand today.

In Thailand, “thinking out of the box” is a national pastime. Take this young man, for example, who looked at a pond of lotus flowers ready for harvest and decided a weed whacker was just the thing.

Thai males are expected to enter the monkhood after they turn 20 years old. Though most stay for only three months, just long enough to earn merit for themselves and their parents, some remain a monk their entire lives.

Early morning fish markets are awash in bustling vendors, crushed ice and the pungent aroma of a city port. As the first customer of the day, don’t be surprised if the vendor lightly taps your bills on each remaining fish or crab to usher in good luck and more sales for the rest of the day.

Using a net stretched between two bamboo poles, a woman fishes off the coast of Hua Hin, Thailand. In a few hours, these waters will swarm with tourists, but for now, they are the source of her daily food supply.

By and large, Thai people love to eat. If the food is served without rice, it is considered a snack. You’ll find people snacking in the mall, while waiting for the bus, or at the corner coffee shop. Even the local snack vendor may be caught snacking.

When you’ve spent your life working the rice fields of Thailand, caring for your feet – and your footwear – falls to the bottom of the priority list. But there is One who does take notice, and his yoke is easy and his burden is light; may she find true rest in his presence.

In 100-degree heat and almost as much humidity, she still covers her skin from head to toe before heading out to the fields. As much as Thais value light skin, she would rather brave the heat then let the sun darken her face.

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