Cultural differences – what not to wear to a temple

I’m actually not sure whether this falls under cultural differences or just under common understanding. In any way, the Thai news was filled lately with people dressing inappropriately while visiting a temple. The last one dated back to August, when a tourist visited a temple here in Phuket in a see-through dress. She most probably just walked off the beach and thought she would be able to go to the into the temple dressed like she did. However, after photos appeared on Social media, she was invited to the police station to get a lesson on Thai culture, and she had to apologise for her actions.


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Culture Shock; Language Barrier

HELLO in eight different languages

Growing up, my parents have always encouraged me and my brothers to speak different languages. We would go with our caravan {yes – I know, typically Dutch} on holiday in Europe and wherever we would be my parents let us go and order bread at the bakery or food in the restaurant. We were always supposed to be ordering it in the language of the country we were in, off course after my dad would have told us what it was in that specific language.

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Culture Shock Thailand; Meeting and Greeting

As said in a recent blogpost, I did a write up for for Expat Arrivals about culture shock in Thailand. Having previously lived in Ho Chi Minh City, I have to say that there was not a huge Culture Shock for me. Not to say that the two countries are the same, but in a way I think I start to understand the South-East Asian culture a little bit better and I know what is coming. Besides that we have visited Thailand a couple of times, so we already knew some of the cultural ‘quirks’ that were coming. Another reason could be that I don’t have an office job, so my interaction with locals is much less then in Ho Chi Minh City.

However, whether you move from Vietnam to Thailand or from Amsterdam to Paris, you will always see changes, even though from a distance the people look quite te same. One of the first things I noticed was how people greet each other in Thailand.


Wai – close up; image from

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Expat Arrivals; Culture Shock Thailand

Expat Arrivals; culture shock ThailandLast week I already let you all know that Expat Arrivals interviewed me for their website. It made me think a lot about all the years that we have been living abroad. And it was very fun to see it all back on their page.

Besides the interview, they also asked me to do a write up on Culture Shock in Thailand. To be very honest, I have the feeling that there was not a huge culture shock compared to our move from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City. This might be due to the fact that we’re getting to know the South East Asian culture much better. I am not saying it’s all the same, as it’s definitely not, but it’s not such a big change from one country to the other. It might also be as I am not working at this moment, so I have much less interaction and ways to get to know the culture. That being said, it took me a little while to see the culture shock for myself, but in the end I was able to make a nice write up about it. Take a look at their website to see my write up:

Expat Life; What does it mean to be an expat?

According to Oxford Dictionaries the definition of expatriate in English is: “A person who lives outside their native country”. There are many reasons for leaving your native country: career opportunities, desire to travel, dreams of a better life, to follow your spouse, and many more.

Officially I am considered to fall under the “to follow a spouse or partner” category, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I do think that if I would not have know Ruben, there would have been a big chance that I would have lived abroad. But let’s not get sidetracked…

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Just wondering

Last week I came back from my 2 weeks back home in Holland. And when I was back, something happened that I have been experiencing ever since I left Europe. What is it? You will probably ask yourself. No it’s not that I am home sick or anything like that. It’s just that I come across people that I have met before (I am putting it in this way, as they are not friends but more an acquaintance), they fondly greet me and tell me that I got fat…

Really… What does this mean? I mean you’re not just telling someone they got fat because it’s a nice thing to say, right? Or is that pretty normal that you say that to each other. And I have to say that I only gained 1kg; so that means last week I was fat as well… It’s not just an Asia thing. I have experienced it in Antigua W.I. as well.

In Holland we would never tell someone that they are fat, or that they gained weight. Even though we are known for are straight forward and directness. So please can someone explain this phenomenon to me?

As said… Just wondering 😉

Phuket life; Re-enactment of crimes

Last week when Ruben flew back to Holland, he was almost not able to reach the airport. Luckily his taxi driver knew there was ‘some’ disturbance on the main road, and took all these small back roads to finally reach the airport in time. It would have been really bad if he had missed his flight due to a traffic jam…

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