Mix classical Middle Eastern culture with Thai ways and what do you get? Something very intriguing – and utterly exotic.
Some Arabs and Middle Easterners come to Bangkok for business and shopping. Others come for unrestrained sensuality, or medical tourism. Still others open restaurants, providing a welcome culinary service in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and beyond. And then there are those who need jobs while they await elusive UN approval for asylum.
Proud of their own culture, one thing they don’t come for is Thai culture. Rarely do Arabs ever step foot inside ‘infidel’ Thai Buddhist temples.
For centuries, and especially in the last few decades, Middle-Eastern traders and travellers, restaurateurs and refugees have left their mark on Thailand, bestowing their cultural, Islamic, architectural, culinary and musical heritage.
Digging deep, Carleton Cole writes about Middle Easterners who have called Thailand a home away from home.