Arkaneh Urairat, a native Thai who also had the experience of living overseas, had to say:
Your question may freak out many people who know Thailand well, that includes Thais and foreigners.
I can answer your question from my own experiences from several decades of living abroad. I am now back in Thailand.
I can see that Bangkok has turned into a concrete jungle with more cars & people, I see many street food vendors on the sidewalks as Thai food has become famous.
More beaches have been discovered and more tourists are roaming Thailand. Pattaya, Phuket, Samui, and Krabi have incredibly become tourist attractions. But my conclusion is:-
Bangkok and Thailandhave not changed from several decades ago, to name a few, there still be the flood, unsightly overhead cables, beggars, street dogs, the food, the bus drivers from hell, Farang and Thai ladies, buffalo race, Song thaew, 3rd class train, massage parlors, and sleazy bars, tuk-tuk, and the scammers, last but not least, protests & military coup.
Let me tell you where I’m coming from:
It was like a curse that I was born into this country compared to many fortunate kids in western countries.
Thailand was constantly looked down upon for being laid back, or exotic in a polite term, unlike the neighboring countries where the European Masters had the Midas touch on them in good infrastructure and public services like sewerage, drainage, and clean water supply.
Thailand struggled on its own on trial and error basis from Day 1.
The ugliest sights of overhead cables greeted me each day when I was out in my dad’s car. I thought it was the norm.
I saw my mom wept in tears, but I was laughing in the excitement while being carried on her waist braving through a knee-height flood, almost all year round.
My mom took me on the bus, and the drivers were always racing with one another to be the first to pick up passengers at the next bus stop. I thought that was normal.
Every year my dad took us for a vacation at Hua Hin, Bang Saen, as Pattaya beach was still unknown. He took us to eat the same food at the same restaurant in Hua Hin, doing the same old crap, different year.
Almost daily at school’s tuck shop, I ate the same food, kra prao moo sap on rice with a fried egg topping, a so-called typical meal in those days.
Beggars on the sidewalk begging for a quarter baht to survive along with street dogs. The sight that won’t raise anyone’s eyebrow.
We took the 3rd class train going from north to south to enjoy the scenery and paid cheap tickets equal to our lunch money.
We roam the country watching buffalo race, shirtless kids running playing with kites. Many schooling-age kids risk their lives hanging on a “Song thaew” (Jeepnie type) going to school daily.
I saw massage parlors, and sleazy bars full of Farang in the U.S. GI uniform with Thai women. Once one of the ladies was so kind she bought a chocolate ice cream for me and my friend seeing we are in school uniform. Of course, the Farang GI paid for it.
I have grown and entered a college. My college faced the entrance of the Grand Palace, with countless buses packed with tourists all morning. Tuk Tuks and well-dressed scammers were all over the place. The sight that no police would bother.
My college years were memorable, although my college life sucked. The student uprising was constantly a hit in my days with protests after protests from students.
The big one was after my graduation when the military tanks moved in, along with many air strikes, killing scores of protesters indiscriminately. I was there, I ducked beside a Japanese reporter in fear but it was once in a lifetime experience, hard to forget. I have seen the Military Coup more often than I ever hailed a cab.
Life was sucked with no future for a young architect, I decided to live aboard for the grass was greener on the other side… End of my story.
Back to your question: Why is Thailand the most overrated country on Earth? You’ve got to be kidding me!
Thailand is and has always been the same. Only now the world has seen her beauty not pretentious nor to be in the center stage.
Thailand is what it was and will be the same Thailand till the next millennium.