There are many reasons to love Thailand and if you’re fortunate enough to be in Thailand for Valentine’s Day (‘Wan Valentine‘ in Thai), it’s easy enough to spot the signs all around that love is in the air. Teenagers on motorbikes clutch oversized cuddly toys, flower markets do a roaring trade, restaurants host special promotions and various venues are decorated with red hearts. And it’s all done with a distinctly Thai touch.
Valentine’s Day in Bangkok
If you find yourself in Bangkok for Valentine’s Day, try to make time to visit the Trimurti Shrine. Located in front of a shopping mall and adjacent to a busy road in the middle of Bangkok, there’s nothing romantic about the setting. But this is where local people of all ages head throughout the year to make offerings for love and good luck. On Wan Valentine the Trimurti Shrine is especially popular with Thai people making wishes and offering roses.
The area in and around the flower and vegetable market at Pak Klong Talad is always fascinating to visit in the lead up to Valentine’s Day and on the big day itself. Much like other places in the world, the price of flowers in Bangkok increases at this time of the year although the blooms are still cheap compared to Western countries. When you visit Thailand, check out how much a bouquet of flowers costs at any Thai flower market compared to your home country and be prepared to be jealous.
Changes have been proposed at Pak Klong Talad to ease road congestion and tidy up the pavement for pedestrians. Some vendors could be forced to move out before the end of February 2016 and it remains to be seen what effect it will have on the rest of the market.
If you want to wow your other half for Valentine’s Day in Bangkok, treat them to a Chao Phraya dinner cruise or drinks at a romantic rooftop bar. My current favourite rooftop bar is the Eagle’s Nest at Sala Arun with gorgeous views of Wat Arun, but there are plenty of options to choose from in Bangkok. Lots of other people will have the same idea so book in advance where possible.
Valentine’s Day on a Thai beach
If you’re with your loved one at a Thai beach for Valentine’s Day, give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve earned a serious amount of brownie points. Watch the sunrise or sunset, relax and enjoy the moment.
If you and your partner love diving almost as much as you love each other, you can get married beneath the sea in the Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony held on Valentine’s Day. Couples that are already married can choose to renew their vows at the same event.
Pakwan with your partner
If you want to sweet-talk (‘pakwan‘) a Thai person you like, you could try out a few romantic Thai phrases. Be careful who you try it with and be sure to do it with a smile and good-humour. Despite the image projected in some tourist and nightlife areas, Thai women are generally conservative in public when it comes to the opposite sex and that’s something which shouldn’t be forgotten by visitors. Public displays of affection between lovers are far less common in most areas of Thailand compared to Europe or the West. Although it’s not unusual to see Thai girls and women holding hands with their female friends, they may be more reticent to do so in public with their boyfriends. That said, times and attitudes are changing and it’s not that unusual anymore to see Thai couples, particularly younger couples, holding hands in public. And for those who aren’t afraid to show their affection in public, Valentine’s Day on previous years in Pattaya has seen attempts to break the world record for the longest kiss.
Love Thai food
There’s an old saying where I come from that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. In Thailand, it’s also the way to a woman’s heart! If you’re no good with the pakwan and the sweet-talk or if you haven’t got a better half to impress, you have one fall-back that everybody seems to love; Thai food. Happy Valentine’s Day from Thailand.