Ko Racha Yai | Kingdom of Thailand

Kingdom of Thailand

After a mindful month absorbing what I could of Balinese Hinduism, Thailand appeared high on my list of places to visit next. The Kingdom is a nexus for the illegal wildlife trade, but there are many more layers to the SE Asian hotspot. As a Theravada Buddhist society it has a strong appeal for keen students of life. And of course, there are elephants.

I’m interested in Thai traditions and folklore. Much like Bali, the layering of Animism, Hinduism and Buddhism creates intriguing mosaics. Thais are a superstitious people; auspicious dates litter the calendar for everything from marriage to clipping toenails. The last thing you want to do is anger a local ghost, thankfully I keep a low profile. Whatever happens though don’t get a haircut on a Wednesday!

I’ve settled into a cozy little house on Phuket, Thailand’s largest island. Motorbike orientation tours with friends have me off to a good start. Now my search for the legendary Himapan Forest can begin, while avoiding as many ghosts as possible.

But all work and no play makes Bradley a dull boy. I’m adventuring with an alluring Kazakh-Siberian girl who seems determined to teach me Russian: privet moy lyubimyy kartofel. Learning how the Russian landscape is shockingly similar to Canada is a striking revelation: we’re not all that different. Our nation’s politics and history differ but at ground level her and I are remarkably the same. At once I both despise and regret my education system for failing to inspire┬áthis glaring revelation: I like Russians. It’s a good thing too – I’m meeting as many Russians here as I am Thais. While our national governments fight over ego and economy, I’m content working on meaningful peace negotiations.