In all likelihood, travelers coming from the “western world” don’t have to spend much time in Asia to realize that most of their preconceived notions and perceived stereotypes are pretty far off from the reality of this side of the globe. Every once and a while, however, a piece of the local culture fits perfectly in to our overly generalized idea of a country’s ethos.
The decision to attempt a camping trip grew out of a conversation with another English teacher working in a rural town, looking to get some space from the extended family vibe of our communities. There are several national parks within the country’s borders, but Khao Yai (which translates to “Mountain(s) Big”) is by far the biggest.
If you were to ask a hundred random westerners that had never been to southeast Asia, what a “visa run” is, you’d probably get a weird mixture of “charity 5k run?” and “competitive shopping?” responses. Ask the same question to just about anyone who has been to that unique and beautiful part of the world, and you’ll likely get nothing but glazed over eyes and some nervous twitches in response.
Those who travel internationally by choice and for pleasure are all looking for variations of the same thing: new and foreign experiences that will, in some way or another, take them out of their daily routine.
When you think about the most respected careers in your home country, what are they? Soldiers, doctors, nurses, firefighters? If you ask any local in Thailand, one of the first answers you’ll hear is “teacher.”