Monkey Abroad

Videos and stories of the life abroad – food, culture, travel & work

5 Things I Miss About Thailand


Less than a month in China and I’m already sobbing over the things I miss about Thailand. I mean, it was my home for nearly 6 months. Attachment was inevitable. If you’ve ever lived in Thailand, you get it.

1. Fork and Spoon

In Thailand people double wield the fork and spoon when they eat. These two eating utensils form a dangerous combination of pokeability and scoopablity, utterly devastating any meal you’re bound to encounter. When I go to war with food, you can bet your ass that fork and spoon are my weapons of choice.

Now living in China, chopsticks are my only friends. Two wooden sticks are effective for eating, no doubt, but they just don’t compare to the durability and charm of my old pals, fork and spoon.

Kra Pao Gai

Pad kra pow gai kai dow

2. Pad Kra Pow

If I could marry a plate of food, I’d sign the papers today with pad kra pow. I love it so much, I made this video about it. It’s perhaps the signature dish of Thailand; the burger-and-fries combo of the Land of Smiles. Pad kra pow is fried basil with pork, chicken or beef, with an optional kai dow (fried egg) on the side. It’s sinfully delicious and it only costs 30 baht ($1), making it arguably the world’s best thing ever conceived. Besides Monkeyzilla.

While living in Thailand, I must’ve eaten this dish at least 5 bajillion times. I’m a man of simple taste. Once I figure out what I love, it’s game over for every other food on the planet. I’d seriously have a monogamous relationship with pad kra pow gai kai dow.

3. Tropical Beaches

If heaven exists, it’s a quiet beach on some remote island off the west coast of Thailand. Imagining the pristine beaches I abandoned when I left Thailand makes me sob messy, snotty tears all over my keyboard. I’m now living next to a beach in China, but the Yellow Sea’s got nothing on the Andaman Sea.

The three weeks I lived in Phuket were immaculate. My life for those 3 weeks: sit in the sun, drink beer, swim in the sea, sleep, repeat. Those 5 actions listed in succession are the secret formula behind every master hedonist and Phuket provides the perfect setting to fulfill that gluttonous agenda.

Things I Miss About Thailand

It’s easy to take this scene for granted. Temples like this one saturate Thailand.

4. Buddhist Culture

I’m not buddhist, but I admire Thailand’s undying devotion to it. The official religion of Thailand is buddhism and 95% of the country is onboard. You’ll spot an elaborately crafted golden temple on practically every street corner and orange-clad monks walk among common folk in the streets and markets, reminding everybody around to keep their cool.

America, where I’m from, claims no official religion. Neither does my new home, China. But unlike America, China is wide open about being an atheist country. That’s fine with me, but it just doesn’t have the fuzzy, peaceful aura of Thailand’s buddhist atmosphere.

5. “Thai Time”

It’s common knowledge that Thais live on “Thai time.” They’re never in a hurry. Since Thai culture is so deeply permeated with buddhism, people there are just so damn relaxed. It’s a very present-focused mindset that Thais have, I think, because the buddhist way of life is very cyclical, as opposed to the linear forward-thinkers of the western world.

Thais know how to live in the moment. If you show signs of stress over some inane deadline, people will give you a puzzled look, like, “why are you so worried about first-world bullshit?” Living in Thailand shifted my thinking in such a positive way. I’ve always strived to be stress-free about menial crap, and my stay in the Land of Smiles only motivated my lack of motivation.

Things I Miss About Thailand

A large Buddha statue watches over Nan.

Author: Kevin Cook

I want to inspire you to pursue your own dream of traveling and/or living overseas!


  1. Makes me sob too when you speak about Thailand like this…

  2. This is why I could not leave! Thailand and I miss you buddy. Hope China is treatin’ you right.

  3. Hey man, I see you have left Thailand, I hope you are enjoying China! Just wanting to say, this post had me laughing out loud several times 🙂 I came here 6 years ago with my best friend, and I have been loving life here daily ever since. At that time we lived in BKK, but I have since lived 4 years in a small town far outside Korat, and now I live in a larger town in Mahasarakam. My buddy started a blog, he is quite famous now (, and I just got into learning Thai and learning everything about their daily life culture as I could. So man, a few of your comments, quite good, quite fair, and quite humourous at the same time :), had me laughing a lot. Great article, thanks for posting! I have a question, try to see this as one person who definitely understands a huge deal about Thailand, lives here and loves it dearly, asking someone who that person respects as knowing a bit about Thailand as well – Would you say that teaching in China, maybe for just a year or so, learning as much Chinese as I could in that year, be worth it as far as leaving my visa here, getting a new one and going through all that in China, moving stuff and then coming back here… Would that be a good idea as far as doing it right now? As in within the next few months?
    Thailand is not doing so well economically, specifically this year, and I see the benefits of, as you say, learning at least a solidly basic level of Chinese language for the future life as a permanent ex-pat in general…
    Thank you very much! Have a great day! Have you made much Pad Kra Pow for yourself while you’ve been in China?

  4. Kevin, I’m living in Thailand right now teaching english and stumbled across your blog. It has been more than helpful, so thank you! I love reading your posts and couldn’t agree more with everything you have written about the Thai culture.

Let me know what you think


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: