Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Things We Learned in Thailand

In no particular order, here are some things we learned on our travels through Thailand...

My papaya fruit shake waits while I play the piano at a breakfast place.
1. You can never have too many fruit shakes in one day. I recommend trying all flavors. I also recommend getting a banana Nutella roti pancake dessert from a street cart every night.

2. Prices are cheap. There is no need to pay over $50 per night for a hotel (even $20 gets you something decent), and you can get an awesome meal for under $5.

Stray dogs in Phuket hang out in front of a crepe stand.
3. You are expected to bargain for almost everything you buy. We heard to start at about 30% of the original asking price. Walking away sometimes gets them to lower their prices even when it seems they won't budge. I also learned to play vendors against one another ("that guy said he'd give it to me for 150 Baht").

4. The currency is Baht, and it's about $3 for every 100 Baht. It's cheaper to change your money over there rather than here.

5. In some areas of Thailand, stray dogs run around everywhere. In other areas (Koh Phi Phi), there are stray cats. Go figure.

Pad thai with a Chang beer-Zack's perfect Thai meal!
6. Thai food is delicious, and we learned the difference between red, green, Panang, and massaman curries.

7. It is hot in July, and you sweat constantly. The water is nice and warm. Rain might come through for a bit, but it doesn't last long, and it usually feels good.

Just a small sampling of the scooters near Patong Beach.

8. Lane lines on the street mean nothing. Everyone seems to own a scooter or motorcycle, and I don't know how more people don't get killed on the roads every day.

Oh, how I wish I hadn't lost my other market pictures!
9. There is always some sort of market going on, including food, clothing, trinkets, etc. for sale.

10. Because tourism is a huge industry, learning English seems to be the biggest asset to Thai people looking to earn higher paying jobs. Most Thais know a few key phrases, but the ones who are more fluent seem to work in fancy hotels and resorts.

11. We learned to say "thank you," which is "kob kun krab" for men and "kob kun kaa" for women and "hello/goodbye" which is "sa wat dee khrap" (men) and "sa wat dee kha" (women).

Fire dancers outside a bar in Chiang Mai.
12. There are tons of temples (especially in Chiang Mai), and after seeing a bunch of them, you can get "templed out." Stray dogs tend to hang out here.

13. The drinks of choice are a Chang beer or a bucket of mixed alcohol. These are best accompanied with watching fire dancers along the beach at night.

See the sand crab?
14. Thai massages are incredibly cheap and not necessarily relaxing (they kind of hurt at times). You can get a one hour massage for the equivalent of about $4. You will get stretched out in every which way, and sometimes the little Thai lady will even walk on you!

15. There are little clear/white sand crabs on the beach if you look closely. They tend to scurry away from you quickly though, so they aren't a bother.

Durians for sale along the streets of Phuket.
16. The durian is a popular fruit in Thailand. Apparently it is an acquired taste. The smell alone is enough to make me never want to acquire it!

17. Thailand is a land that has been devastated by tsunamis. While lots of rebuilding has occurred, you find evacuation route signs posted everywhere.

A nice greeting in Railay Beach, Krabi!
18. The check-in procedure at Thailand hotels is so nice! Upon arrival, they usually ask you to be seated. Then they bring you a cold towel to wash up, along with a fresh fruit drink and sometimes even a flower lei while you fill out the paperwork. Such service!

Zack looks so big in this picture!
19. Tuk tuks are a great way to get around if you're just going a short distance. The larger red "taxis" are used by the locals, and they work well too.

20. Thailand is a photographer's dream, as long as your camera's memory card doesn't get destroyed. (No, I will never get over losing some of my pictures, but I promise to finally stop talking about it now!)

Goodbye Thailand; we hope to be back some day!