I had never been to Thailand until very recently, just a couple of week ago, so I only knew India and Nepal. I’ve been to both India and Nepal twice before and I just spent a further 4 months in India and 1 month in Nepal so I would say that I know them fairly well. I didn’t just stay in one place, either, I travelled around a lot, especially in India my motorbike covering around 9,000km.
I’m writing this post because there are a few things that I have noticed immediately since coming to Thailand. Also, I imagine that a larger number of people will be doing it the other way round; visiting Thailand first and then India. This is mainly because Thailand is seen as an easier place to travel in and that is most definitely true.
Words to Learn
I found it really interesting when I compared the first words that I learned in Thai and Hindi. In Hindi I first learned how to say “Hello” followed by “How much is it?” and “That’s too expensive!” This shows a lot about what it was like in India. Everything had to be bargained for and things were always overly priced, especially for foreigners, but to be fair the same kind of negotiations went on between Indians.
The first words I learned in Thai were “Hello”, “How are you?”, “Thank you” and “I’m fine”. This definitely sums up my experience of having been in Thailand so far. I’ve met lots of friendly people and the taxi drivers and people you meet in hotels and along the way are nowhere near as pushy as in India. They are definitely more friendly, but maybe that’s just a great tactic for getting you to buy from them and not negotiate on price! I don’t know, but it certainly feels more friendly here.
Riding on the Roads
Having ridden over 9,000km in India I felt confident that I could ride in Thailand, especially after seeing the road conditions in Thailand and the fact that people actually indicate and look before they manoeuvre. The first thing I noticed about the scooter that I had was the nearest button to my left hand was the indicator, whereas in India it was the horn. They don’t use the horn in Thailand like they do in India, mainly because they have rules that people follow!
I did miss the horn though, because I think it’s a great way to let people know you are there without being aggressive. Most people in Europe think that the horn is only for use when someone has done something wrong, but it’s a great way to say “hi, I’m here so be careful”.
The first thing I noticed when I stepped off the plane and into a taxi was how much more developed Thailand is when compared to India. They have rules which are by and large followed, like on the roads at traffic lights. There are proper pavements, markings on the roads, central reservations, street lights and everything you would expect to be there as a Westener.
I’d love to know what other peoples experiences of India compared to Thailand were, too?