Travel Spotlight

Just Back From... Thailand


is a country with a complex history, diverse landscapes and a population that is deeply religious; it is also a nation with intense poverty and internal conflicts, and visitors can’t help but notice all these factors simultaneously. Like in many destinations, most travelers might struggle to truly grasp the country and all it has to offer in just one visit—from its kind, welcoming citizens to its rich and fascinating culture. Still, in order to experience Thailand in the best way possible (in my case, for the country to enhance one’s perspective on the world), visitors must travel with an open mind in order to fully immerse themselves in the Thai way of life.

This distinct culture has been influenced by many factors throughout history; chief among them is Buddism, which exists in all facets of Thai identity. During a conversation with my guide, I learned of her strict practice and her hopes to become a monk one day. She outlined the five basic moral precepts of Buddhism, one of which is abstaining from lying. I, a novice to the Buddism practice, asked her a silly question: “Would you tell a harmless white lie to protect a loved one’s feelings?”

Without hesitation, she replied, “No”—even in the most innocent and casual of situations. “White lies give way to bigger lies, which pave the way for more moral infractions in your life,” she explained. My guide’s commitment to this lifestyle was both inspiring and intriguing, and—like my overall experience in Thailand—was both deeply personal and very unexpected.

Related: Postcard from Thailand

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]An elephant at Anantara Elephant Camp An elephant at Anantara Elephant Camp[/caption] Indagare founder Melissa Bradley emphasizes that we travel to broaden our mind and nourish our soul. From the moment I arrived, I understood that Thailand—with its exceptional warmth, beauty and complexity—does exactly that.

Related: Next Stop: Where to Go Now

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