introverts dont like to beat around the bush.
i will be outright honest with you that i do not know how to promote the village.
Traditions? come on, every village has their own tradition. and i didnt experience the other 21 to have anything to compare.
Wrist Binding isnt practiced only at Buriram.
activities? SIlk worm, dyeing, silk weaving. these arent unique to Ban Khok Muang.
Rice planting? There are so many rice paddy in Thailand.
Instagram-able places? Everywhere is instagram-able. what matters more is your photography skill.
we visited Prasat Muang Tam
There is Phanom Rung
there are buffalos too.
so. what is there to make this place unique?
The time I spent there. it is the time and effort that i put in, that makes this place special TO ME, to people who were there.
(i MUST introduce the legendary Por Yai Keuab)
if singapore is well known for the otters, then i have to say in Ban Kok Muang you will have to meet Yai Keuab)
you have to meet him in person to feel his quirks.
okie what else is there in Ban Khok Muang?
i do not know, i have nothing to compare. i need to personally experience the other 21 villages to tell you what makes each village unique.
do not trust what everyone else says about 'this is the best place to visit'.
come on. the world is huge. you dont just visit one or two and declare it the best.
i can not say Ban Khok Muang is the best. i can only tell you I was fully at ease and felt safe the whole time i was there.
so let the introvert blab about the 5 days in Ban Khok Muang, Buriram.
as we grow older, more and more of us become reserved. we eventually realize we are an introvert.
yet as a traveller, the willingness to open up and talk to strangers becomes an important survival skill.
we want to travel. but we need our personal space.
so where's the balance?
On day one when i met my Thai buddy for this trip, Toon, i asked her if she is an extrovert or an introvert.
Extroverts are fun to be with but they also tend to drain out the introverts.
She said she's an introvert. Phew.
introverts can be funny too okie?
next, i was afraid that i would have to socialize and make a lot of small talks. to the team, to my buddy, to the locals....
dont get me wrong. i love meeting locals. but i hate small talks.
i had no idea what was waiting for me in Ban Khok Muang.
the program i was given felt tiring. it felt like there was a lot of PR-ing to do.
a lot of socialising, a lot of talking about my country, my work, my family...
the thought of it made me really scared.
oh well. i wanted this. so i just have to make the best out of it...
To be honest, i was more stressful about the competition itself.
i dislike competitions. it makes me forget the true intention of traveling.
to be honest again... i would have enjoyed a lot more if this wasnt a competition.
introverts do not like bothering people to share/like/comment on social media.
i wonder how the rest of them actually have time to post/share everything.
i would rather spend my time getting to know the people right before me.
Ban Khok Muang is a small village with 700 families.
everyone practically knows everyone.
I went through the blessing ceremony, learnt the trades of weaving, cotton dyeing, reed weaving, local dish cooking, rice planting...
guess what. these are all meant for introverts.
not much talking is needed. you just focus on your work. concentrate on your own scope.
not that difficult at all.
just had to put his face in my blog.
Por Yai Keuab is a man every introvert seek to meet.
he doesnt talk much. he does his own things. helps the villagers when they need him.
he is like the rare pokemon in Pokemon Go.
his quirky demeanor really brightens up everyone's day.
after all the experiences from the village, i have to say that a village life is actually the way for introverts.
people are sincere, genuine and hard working. they play hard too.
but there is no need for small talks about the weather. because for them, the weather is important for daily lives. they need to predict if they could work in the field. they need to know if the seasons are changing.
when they ask if someone is hungry, it is not a small talk topic too. because living in a village is all about sharing and caring. they are genuinely concerned.
when there is a visitor, everyone makes time to meet and greet. and everyone offers to show the visitor around. because they are really proud of their village. proud of their skills and proud of what they have.
when they hug, it is not out of courtesy. it is out of love.
when someone is asked to help, they go all the way out.
they never bother anyone. they dont intrude people's privacy.
they give enough personal space to everyone.
i survived the 5 days easily. but i didnt keep to myself all the time.
because the people were so down to earth, so sincere and respectful, i was able to let my guards down, bring down the wall and really live life like a local.
of course, the fact that i spoke fairly good thai helps.
there was little language barrier. so people dont just ask me about the weather back in my country.
i realized too, that people make small talk because they dont know how to communicate.
which was never a problem in this village. people sincerely care. so they ask questions that really meant something, waiting for answers that they really cared for.
isnt this sweet for introverts?
i thought i would be quiet and reserved like i usually do in large group of 4 and more.
but i was wrong. i truly enjoyed being with everyone.
apart from Toon and myself, we had a guide with us. and a publicity team. six of us in total.
plus the daily entourage of at least 3 locals.
there was never a time i was alone. except in the bathroom.
this is a nightmare for introverts. we need our space. we need our solo moments. we need the conversation with ourselves.
it was this many people everyday, if not more.
but i never for once felt suffocated.
the people here enjoy quiet moments too.
it seems like everyone was sensitive to one another.
Toon and i shared a room at the homestay. and every night, we stayed up to talk. till 2am. we had so much to talk about.
when we were not talking, we left each other alone and there was no awkwardness.
i overheard Toon saying to the filming team. that if her buddy wasnt me, this trip wouldnt have been so enjoyable. i have the same to say about her.
introverts pick their travel companions carefully. it is usually a book, a good play list or sunglasses to avoid eye contact.
with the team, we had so much to joke about too. as i said, understand thai really helps. i felt like a thai, and that this wasnt a competition. i felt so at ease with the team that it felt like a bunch of friends taking a trip together.
missing in action: the two gentlemen who took splendid videos and photos.
we had so many good laughs together.
i am still an introvert.
perhaps we are all introverts until we meet the right people.
and this is what i would call 'destiny'.
that some people are meant to meet.
i survived the village stay. and i am sad that it has to end.
that after the 31st of july i will have to go back to my cave where the walls are high.
being in Ban Khok Muang is heals the soul, calms the mind and recharges the body.
we cycle everyday but i never for once felt tired. its all in the mind.
an introvert will definitely fit in the village. but the danger is, we will never want to leave this comfort zone.
on the day of departure, i couldnt hold myself back. i cried. P Peng came over and talked to me. the simplest words of "take good care when you go back. do come back to visit us. i will cook for you again".
introverts are afraid of displaying emotions. i have never felt such sincerity for a very long time.
many of the grannies came over and gave me hugs. they spoke to me in the local dialect which i could barely understand. but words, at that moment didnt matter, i felt it all with the heart. and through their eyes.
another check for the introvert. no words. just connection of the hearts.
so this whole journey was like a trip to the theme park.
i was excited. yet scared. but at the end of it, i knew i wouldnt want to leave.
if you ask me what makes my trip more special as compared to other participants... i will be straight forward to tell you its a silly question.
it is special because of the time spent.
just like the little prince's flower.
i am sure everyone else is as proud of their trip and the people they meet.
so in summary, Ban Khok Muang has everything an introvert needs.
peace, safety, warmth, silence, space.
oh well if there's anything else, then there is Buriram Thunder Castle. home of Buriram United.
so what makes my blog stand out?
i will also be straight forward with it.
i dont know.
i am no longer concerned about the competition.
i have the greatest reward already.
i dont know if our paths will ever cross again.
and introverts are lazy to keep in touch.
but i know we will all cherish the memories...
Thank you everyone in Ban Khok Muang and the amazing teamBKM.
dedicating one of my favourite songs to everyone i met in this trip. <3