Valentine’s Day is around the corner and if a trip to Thailand is not on the cards, don’t worry.
Chaiwat Tamthai, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Dubai for the Middle East and Africa, shares four ways in which lovers can bring a touch of Thai to their “Wan Valentine” celebrations at home.
Plant a love tree
Tamthai suggests planting a Cassia fistula. This is Thailand’s national flower/tree.
The bright, yellow blossoms on the tree are symbolic of Thai royalty, Buddhism and central Thai values such as harmony and unity.
Cassia fistula can be brought as trees or seeds at several local nurseries in South Africa.
“Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to plant Cassia fistula as a relationship tree – a living milestone that will, quite literally, become a gift that will grow along with your union.”
Dine over Thai food
Tamthai indicates that one thing most South Africans remember most about Thailand is the fragrant, local cuisine.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a Michelin Star chef to prepare a traditional Thai meal that captures some of the region’s best flavours.
“Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday this year, so people may be less inclined to prepare a dish that’s very time intensive.
“A recipe that takes under an hour to prepare is a Vegetarian Panang Curry – known for being one of the richest, creamiest curry variations. A refreshing alternative for salad lovers is an aubergine salad with spicy coconut cream dressing.”
Learn how to make it here.
Once the meal has been prepared and you’re ready to tantalise the taste-buds of your significant other, the one thing left to do is prepare a delectable cocktail.
Some of the best ingredients to have on hand for any Thai-inspired drink include lemongrass, kaffir line and Thai basil.
“An easy cocktail to make is Sabai Sabai, a sweet and sour cocktail garnished with Thai basil leaves and Mekhong/whisky. Sabai Sabai (translated as ‘totally relaxed’) is generally served as a welcome drink before a meal.”
Learn how to make it here:
Throw in a Thai massage
Another much-loved thing to do in Thailand is to have a massage. Traditional Thai massage techniques are revered for their therapeutic and holistic health benefits.
Considering not everyone is a trained Thai masseuse, there are ways to recreate a classic Thai massage from the comfort of your own home.
Some of the most popular aromatherapy oils used in Thai massages include chamomile and lavender, which are known to induce a restful, peaceful state, as well as rose and neroli, known for their ability uplift the mood and senses.
“For an experience that is both healing and indulgent, it may be useful to do some research on the acupressure points used by Thai therapists to release excess tension, reduce inflammation and ease areas of pain.”
Learn how to give a classic Thai massage here.