9 Signs that You Know You’re in Thailand


signs you know youre in thailand
Note the massage parlor backed by a 7-11 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


Thailand isn’t just a land of stunning beaches, friendly people, 5 foot long monitor lizards, cobras and the best curry on the face of the earth.


I’ve been stalked by 2 Thai lady boy prostitutes in this magical land.


I, not once, but TWICE saw the Royal Family’s motorcade whiz by me.


Once in Bangkok, once in Chiang Mai.


I’ve seen 6 inch long scorpions and monstrously large monitor lizards in Koh Lanta, wild soi dog packs in Pak Nam Pran and monks on 4:30 AM alms runs in Chiang Mai in the Land of Smiles.


I’ve spotted a few surefire signals that you’ve in Thailand after spending nearly 2 years in this country.


1: Majestic Photos of the King Greet You in New Towns


First off, RIP to King Bhumibol Adulyadej.


My heart goes out to the Thai people, who are in a year long state of mourning after the King’s death.


The King.
The King.


You will see 10 to 20 foot murals of the King at city limits and smaller photos in most Thai homes.


2: Standing to Honor the King before Movies


Kelli and I were a bit confused when we were asked to stand before our first movie in Phuket.


We soon learned that all movies begin with honoring the King.


This is a unique practice that displays the level of reverence the people of Thailand have for their King.


3:  “5 in 1” Stores


If you see a building housing a:


  • Restaurant
  • Laundry service
  • Photocopier business
  • Motorbike rental service
  • computer/internet cafe


….all in 1 shop/store, you know you’re in Thailand.


4: Seeing 7-11s Everywhere


A few years back the island of Phuket had 219 7-11 stores.




Gorgeous view in Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Gorgeous view in Koh Lanta, Thailand.


Double that number if we’re counting all convenience stores.


My obsession with colorful (stop retching Kelli), off the wall, curiously concocted Thai snacks was borne of a 7-11 visit in Rawai, Phuket, in 2011.


I spied a hot dog bun filled with strawberry cream and raisins.


I was hooked.


Kelli was horrified.


5:  2 Words: Soi Dogs


Soi dogs, or street dogs, roam the streets of Thailand.


I once saw a pack of soi dogs overtake a traffic circle every night in remote Pak Nam Pran, Thailand.


Kelli in Phuket.
Kelli in Phuket.


We’re talking 10 dogs sleeping *in the middle of the road* after 9:30 PM.


Motorbikes and cars drove around the circle.

Me and my soi dog buddy Bebe in Pak Nam Pran, Thailand.
Me and my soi dog buddy Bebe in Pak Nam Pran, Thailand.

Or went in the other direction.


6: Smiles, Smiles, and More Smiles


Thailand is the Land of Smiles.


Most Thai smile like the Cheshire Cat when ya meet ‘em and greet ‘em.


7: Wai Guys (and Gals)


The wai, or traditional Thai greeting, of clasping your hands prayer-style and bowing, is crazy common in Thailand.


I vividly recall 3 young women Wai-ing Kelli and I when we arrived at our hotel at the Chalong Circle in Phuket, 5 years ago, 2 weeks into our trip.


8: Seeing Massage Parlors Everywhere


Although a few SE Asian countries are heavy on the massage thing, Thai massage parlors are all over the place!


Kelli usually camps out at/frequents these joints in spots like Koh Lanta, Bangkok, Pak Nam Pran, Chiang Mai and Phuket.


Massage parlors seem as omni-present as cheap hostels in Thailand too.


I had to mention a fabulous post I read recently by Nic at The Roaming Renegades.


She reviews a one of a kind boutique hostel in Bangkok that will make your head spin with all its amazing amenities.


Check out the post here:


Baan Khun Nine: The Boutique Hostel that Screams “Hotel”


9: Feasting at Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurants


We have our favorite place in Chiang Mai with the best mushrooms on earth.


Our 2 fave haunts in Phuket.


Just look for the bright yellow sign with red Thai wording.


Kelli and I in Phuket, 2013.
Kelli and I in Phuket, 2013.


Buddhist vegetarian restaurants are buffet style spots where you can eat like a freaking water buffalo for $1 – $3, USD.


We eat lunch at these restaurants virtually every day when we’re living in Thailand.


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