It’s a bit of a cultural shock initially when in Thailand, you see for the most part Thais smile at you when you approach them. Complete strangers walk past each other with beaming smiles, a far cry from my days working in London when even eye contact was a scarcity.
The cynics would say its not sincere, but I disagree and have found the Thais some of the warmest, nicest people I have ever met. The typical Westerner by contrast just doesn’t want to connect with a stranger in the same way.
Culturally though we all have lots to learn about the rest of the world and other nationalities. My wife is Russian and my views of Russians prior to meeting her was that they were a tad rude and unfriendly, I have learned I could not have been further from the truth. You see, it all comes down to misunderstandings and stereotypical propaganda us Westerners are traditionally fed about Russians.
Now when it comes to Thailand it would appear a new report by Visual Capitalist merely confirms how the world views Thais but by a set of metrics not connected to culture. The Land of Smiles is officially the least miserable (so by default ‘happiest’) in the world based on economics.
This latest report is based on economic factors: Inflation + Bank Lending Rates + Unemployment, which produces an annual misery index. Thailand’s low unemployment rates of between 0.4% and 1.2% has been like this for years.