I don’t know where to start when talking about Thailand. It’s one of those countries that tourists flock to for the beautiful beaches and delicious food. Exotic jungles and animals. It’s where you can feel one with nature in an Instagram post kind of way.
We stayed on the well beaten tourist path, visiting during the rainy season so even 5 star resorts were within price range as in not much more than a holiday inn and in some cases motel 6. I guess I will give travel advice or list things that surprised me because I can’t spend two weeks in a country and not blog about the experience.
Fruit is plentiful and cheap. In Japan fruit is expensive, so it was a nice change to be able to eat all the mangoes. On of the must try foods is mango sticky rice. Slices of sweet juicy mango on top fragrantly sweet sticky rice. It was the first thing I ate in Thailand and it was all I wanted to eat the entire time there..(sweet rice is almost a Taboo in Japan)
2. The Locals
Being there only 2 weeks its kind of hard to gauge attitudes of Thai people. I found them to be generally a bit abrasive in an American kind of way. Only because I am used to the more subdued way of being in Japan.They were also very helpful, but I felt manly ignored , especially when they would constantly fawn over my husband and try to sell him something. Sometimes doing the hard sells, like the lotion carts in the mall, that make you want to run way. The look on our waiters face when I paid for the food was priceless, he didn’t know what to do and even when giving back my change he gave it to my husband who then passed it back to me. If anyone knows what that’s about please leave a comment.
3. Movie Theaters
We had lots of time to kill so we went to see Suicide Squad as it was out in Thailand before Japan.Everyone must stand up for what I think was the national anthem or tribute to the King that was pretty unexpected and all fine with me…. but why sooooo many commercials??? I think they showed every trailer for every movie coming out this year! If you don’t mind waiting literally an extra hour before your movie starts, I would skip the movie theaters.
4. Skin Whitening
This is an issue that is prevalent in Asian countries where white skin = beautiful. I have gotten so use to it being in Japan. Many girls go to extremes to not get tan. We often joke that summer is when the ninjas come out as some are completely covered in UV blocking clothing from head to toe. In Thailand though they do it more with bleaching products which are more harmful to the skin, its literally in EVERYTHING from sunblock, lotions, body-washes and most surprising to me deodorant. But the real kicker here is that its not only in women’s products it’s in the men’s products too! like shaving cream which brings me to…
5. Thai TV
What shocked me the most on Thai TV .
In America we are sooo use to seeing barbie dolls hosting this or that show and their counter part is usually no where near that plastic perfect level. We just accept that fact like its normal. In Thailand though they have Barbie and Ken! I couldn’t look away at how perfect the males looked next to their perfect co host. I wonder what would happen if American males were subjected to this. When my husband saw it for only a brief moment he turned the channel as it creeped him out (made him feel weird lol) and yet we ladies often have to endure this, there is no off switch.
6. Tuk Tuk
Are fun roller coasters of doom. Imagine riding in a New York taxi except not in a crash tested car but on the back of a motorcycle with a cage and seats. It’s exhilaratingly terrifying you can’t help but wonder where are the traffic cops? The drivers weave in and out of traffic like NASCAR pros and will often charge you way more than a metered taxi would. If you don’t know how to haggle and even then, if your paying more than 200 bat I would say your paying to much.
7. wild dogs
I was surprised by how many wild dogs were just wondering around abandoned in Thailand. They didn’t seem at all ferocious what you might expect with feral dogs. They all looked like the same generic kind of dog too, the kind a kindergartner would draw a picture of. But sooooo tired looking wondering around looking for scraps with head bowed. The locals paying them no mind.
In Thailand I guess the sewer system can’t handle tissue, so the hotels ask the guest not to flush toilet tissue down the toilet. It is kind of odd that you are suppose to dispose of the toilet tissue in the regular trash can. But all the toilets come with hoses next to them that you use to clean yourself before hand, because if you don’t use it, I am sure your room will smell like a public bathroom in no time otherwise. Speaking of public bathrooms I went to one that had a squat toilet and only a tub of water and bowl in it, no tissue at all…I had a 3 seashells moment.
9. Chatchuk Market
This is like a giant flea market on the weekends, nearby is a giant swapmeet/bazaar like building that is similar if you miss coming on the weekend. There are lots and lots and lots of shops crammed into a makeshift spaces surrounding a clock tower. There are maps that give a very very general idea of what should be in what area, but I would say for the most part its pretty chaotic, food venders, clothing venders, here there everywhere!!!
The even had Kawaii venders! I found a few extremely kawaii shops. They sell the most adorable floral head bands, hats and halos many of which would make perfect veils for a bride and brides maids or Lolita. One shop I have to mention is Kiss me Doll they have the most Kawaii Lolita print silky scarfs that need to be turned into JSK, I don’t know how they do it but I think this place is the hidden jewel of the market.
But probably the saddest part of the market were the animal venders. The exotic animals most likely illegal to even export outside the country are cramped in small spaces in hot weather everything from flying squirrels, hedgehogs, lemurs, monkeys, turtles, bunnies, cats, dogs, rare species of marine animals, reptiles and mammals, its a wonder that part of the market isn’t shut down.
9. Thai Hospitals
Me and my husband and friends Emi and Sai had gotten extremely ill, I’m talking about food coming out both ends, stomach pain, nausea. We had decided to eat at a food vender in Phi Phi island.We know not to drink the local water and most hotels give you complimentary bottles, but we suspect this lady used tap. Make sure you guys take care.
So anyway about the hospital.. Me and my husband made it back to Bangkok but were ill, we still wanted to enjoy the sites so we booked a beautiful boat ride with traditional Thai food and performances . It was our much delayed honeymoon after all.
My husband still felt bad but took some medicine before the trip. We forgot alll about the meds he took and right after we had a glass of tropical cocktails …he passed out for a brief moment and had to be taken to the hospital.(It was sooo terrifing the ghostly white look on his face as his eyes rolled back, and he fainted, like something from a TV show complete with gasps from the crowd and Doctor on board to help) The boat staff were so kind !! One of the staff went above and beyond. She escorted us to a private hospital but because we had our passports locked in a safe in the hotel, we had to change from the private to public hospital. We waited in the waiting room only about 30min!! and the doctor saw him asked questions and gave medicine that cost in total about 5$!!! I was floored by how cheap it was, how fast, and how kind. I feel in the USA we could expect a sky high bill and maybe even a wait until the next day!
10. Hotels and Resorts
We stayed in some Amazing hotels and some craptacular ones. Some words of caution
1. Don’t leave food or eat in your room because..ants..
2. Laundry is EXPENSIVE in hotels as they charge per item!! ( I wont lie we went full cheap and washed clothes in the bath tub old school style)
3. You can often book tours though the hotel the better the hotel the better the tour usually but be prepared for people trying to sell you stuff the whole time.
Anyway So, here is a ranking from The Best to Worse Hotels we stayed at….
1. Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort and Spa in Koh Yao Yai
100$ a night
This was the most gorgeous hotel I have ever seen in my life!!! a bit hard to get to and arrange boat rides. But it was something out of a Tolkien Novel, surely the elaborate wood carving was the work of elves. The breakfast buffet in the morning was not to be missed. They have carts to take you around the different parts of the hotel it’s that huge with a library, spas, fitness center that teaches Thai dance and boxing, and several restaurants. They also offer excursions but if the weather was bad it could be canceled with no refund(many places did that soo make sure you check the weather report) They also would spray your room for ants with an all natural lemongrass solution. The rooms are sooo stunning and the view amazing you never want to leave.
2.Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort on PhiPhi Island
35$ a night
This beach bungalow was very charming it is definitely a fun tropical get away with stunning views and delicious food. The Thai ice tea and coconut milkshakes are to die for. This is the perfect spot to relax on the beach and enjoy the best snorkeling spot in Thailand. Only possible downside is room electricity is shut off until night, and watch out for monkeys.
3. Railay Princess Resort & Spa in Karabi
37$ a night
The beaches were stunning!! We stayed in a cheaper room so they kind of cut corners. The lighting was not so good in the room and the food expensive. If not for the beach and view it would have a lower rank in my book.
4. Chillax Hotel Bangkok
30$ a night
How we got this hotel is a crazy story. We were suppose to stay at the Raweekanlaya Hotel but couldn’t find it our taxi just dropped us off in the middle of a busy tourist area late at night in the rain. We found a tuk tuk driver who eventually found the place after talking to some local people. It turned out it wasn’t even open yet they were working on construction and had booked us in the Chillax instead… and yea its really called the Chillax lol. The rooms have a giant hot tub that can be viewed from the bed, it even has a red light for Roxanne to turn on lol. The location is nice and close to many attractions. The staff friendly, breakfast buffet delicious, infinity pool on the roof, great Thai massage room but a kind of rinkydink fitness center.
5. Suvarnabhumi Suite Bangkok
50$ a night
This hotel is right near the airport, but still pretty quiet. Because of off season we had the place to ourselves. The rooms were like a standard maybe lower end Holiday Inn. The rooftop had some cute restaurant/bar, massage parlor, and even live music. The super early and delicious breakfast buffet plus airport shuttle made this an ideal place to stay for a layover. Also the decorations outside are fun and quirky.
6. Recenta Express Phuket Town in Old Phuket Town
I think this is a newer hotel. It’s nice clean and cheap. The staff friendly and helpful and it’s a good place to make a layover on your way to the islands. Make sure to try and get a room away from the bars outside as they can get noisy. This place has a pretty interesting bar/restaurant across the street and you can walk around lovely old Phuket Town.
7. The House Patong Hotel in Phuket near Patong Beach
45$ a night
Please guys DO NOT book this hotel. We needed a cheap place to stay before heading to Bangkok but this was soooo NOT worth it. The smell was horrific the room dirty. The staff nice enough and the bar looks okay. It’s close to crazy Patong Beach but no no and no no no no. I am still kind of sore we didn’t book the Boutique Hotel the rooms there looked interesting, though it may get noisy as its right on the mall but it probably would have still been better.
This trip was taken during summer. I am fully aware that the situation in Thailand has changed. The atmosphere more subdued since their leader passed away. I just ask anyone visiting this year to please be respectful and if you expect to party maybe think of going to another place.
I will update this post with youtube videos about our sightseeing tours soon …. Thanks for reading…