Site logo

Being an Open-Minded Thailand Expat

The eccentric American rock musician Frank Zappa once said that the mind is like a parachute; it doesn’t work unless it is open. That is good advice for expats who are planning to start a new life in Thailand or tourists who are visiting the Kingdom on holiday.

The ways that things are done in your home country are all well and good, but they are not universal patterns of behavior that must be imitated everywhere else in the world, least of all in South East Asia. Thailand has its own way of doing things and is on its own unique course of evolution — which is the way it should be.

You may get frustrated by the chaotic nature of many of the attitudes and actions that flavor daily life in Thailand. But there always are reasons for the madness, and sometimes very logical and understandable ones if you take the time to listen, learn, and keep an open mind.

So stuff those judgments, fears, and phobias in a sack, as well as that misplaced sense of your own superiority. Go with the flow in Thailand when possible and get out of the flow if you can’t handle the current. Learning the Thai language will help you keep an open mind. It also will enable you to remind your Thai friends and colleagues that they should keep an open mind too.


open mind – เปิดใจ – bpèut-jai


Khun dtâwng bpèut-jai hâi mâhk gwàh née nòi.

You must open-mind give more than this (soften).

You should try to keep more of an open mind.


Thai Language Tip: Remember that the Thai word for mind (jai), is also the word for heart in the Thai language. So to be open-minded in Thailand also means to be open-hearted, generous, and sympathetic. The two walk hand in hand, which is really the best way for all of us to walk though life.

To remember how to say open-minded in Thai, you can try to use this rhyme which we often offer as advice to farang friends who are dating close-minded Thai girls: If she isn’t bpèut-jai, then time to say bye bye.

Want more advice on navigating life in Thailand? Then check out our post on Working in Sakon Nakhon.