Hi all, Susan here from www.BraveWomenTravel.com.
I wanted to share what a month in Thailand looks like with all of you. Over the next few weeks I am going to take you on a journey through Thailand to get a glimpse of what it feels like to really delve into what Thailand is all about. At the end, you will want to come and visit, I have no doubt.
You will also know which part of the country most appeals to you. I’m going to start with Bangkok, then Ayutthaya, Chiang Rai and Northeastern Thailand, then I’ll tell you about Chiang Mai in the Northwest and then lastly the Island of Phuket. Each area is very different and all are worth a visit. It really depends on what you are drawn to. Are you going to Thailand for the culture? The food? The temples? Each area has its own beauty and should be visited.
I would suggest a month in Thailand, do 2 back to back tours with www.BraveWomenTravel.com and see everything. If you can only stay for 2 weeks then either Bangkok and the North or Bangkok and the South. Either way you can’t lose. Plus, if you can only manage one trip, I’m quite confident that you’ll be back for the second half, it’s that delightful!!
An Amazing Country
I have to start out by saying how beautiful Thailand is. How hospitable the people are. And how amazing the food is!! I have always loved Thai food, especially the red and green curry dishes and the Pad Thai. I find the food is very different in Thailand than back home. The restaurants in Canada have a way of making Pad Thai and it’s very different than in Thailand. You’ll have to take a cooking class so that when you get back home you can recreate the authentic flavours you will come to love and appreciate.
I could live in Thailand permanently, no really, I could. I could pick the family up and relocate there. The nice thing about owning your own travel company, www.BraveWomenTravel.com is that I can work from anywhere I want!
I could lie on the beach in Phuket day in and day out and create trips and write blogs and take care of all the women who want to travel the world.
Wouldn’t that be the life!!
I must say that I really truly love my job. By the end of 2018 we will be the largest, fastest growing travel company for women’s group tours in the world! How amazing is that!! And you are a part of it!!
The fun just doesn’t stop. Each trip I get to meet new women, understand new cultures, bond with women who have overcome so many obstacles that they help change your life. I am a different gal when I get home. My life has been enriched because of these women travellers.
They teach me something new every day, and I am so grateful for that.
So let’s talk about Thailand!!
It is a Southeast Asian country. It’s known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha.
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, since 1782. It has an ultramodern cityscape that rises next to the quiet canalside communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). There are approximately 8 million people plus another 2 million visitors at any given time.
And all I can say about Bangkok, is Holy Crap! If you’ve never been, you’ve got to experience Bangkok at least once in your life. It’s like no other city I’ve ever travelled to.
There is lots to see in Bangkok, but 3 days is really enough, so when we travel there the days are packed and the women are exhausted and loving it.
Do’s and Don’ts
Before we get into the highlights of Bangkok, here are few do’s and don’ts of Thailand, no matter where you travel to:
- Eat off your spoon, not your fork. Eating directly off a fork is considered to be crude. Instead, use your fork to push food onto your spoon.
- Take tuk-tuks during the day and a taxi at night.
- Bring along a cover up shawl in your bag. You never know when you are going to come across a temple that you really want to go into. You must be covered up to enter.
- Use public transportation The BTS (Subway) and MRT (Light Rail). They are cheap, convenient and fast.
- Get use to seeing cockroaches and rats.
- Also get use to the smell in Bangkok. One minute you can smell the jasmine in the air, the next step all you can smell is the sewage. Just keep walking!
- The ice for your drinks is fine to use almost anywhere in Thailand. Most often I chose to drink room temperature, but when it’s really hot outside and you know your drink will melt, get some ice. In some parts of the country they charge you for ice, usually 15 baht (.50 cents USD)
- Get massages, and get them often. Prices are pretty much the same throughout Bangkok, so if you like the look of one and there are other patrons inside, go on in. Start with a foot massage for 200 baht if you’re apprehensive and then work up from there. For $8 it’s totally worth it. I couldn’t walk for 3 days after my first foot massage, he worked so hard on my calves, but it sure felt great.
- Carry your own tissues and hand sanitizer. They have western toilets and squat toilets. Sometimes there is toilet paper, often there is not. And, sometimes you will have to pay to use the toilet. 3 baht (.10 cents) was the norm and with that you got some toilet paper. If you have to go, you have to go!
- Learn a few basic phrases in Thai. Some speak English, but trying to get your point across can be quite difficult. You can use Google Translate if you have wifi. Or you can buy a pendant translator for around your neck. You speak into it and it translates in Thai.
Useful Words and Phrases
Here are some of the words I learned very quickly:
- Sa Wat Dee (Hello) …
- Kor Toht (Excuse Me) …
- Kawp Koon (Thank You) …
- Haawng Naam Yuu Thee Nai (Where Is The Bathroom?) …
- Hiu (I’m Hungry) …
- Chawp Pet Noi (I Like It A Little Bit Spicy) …
- Aroi (Delicious) …
I practiced them before I came, and yet they still smiled at my attempt. They are very gracious people!
General Tips and Recommendations
- Have your front desk write out your hotel name and address in Thai so that if you get lost the taxi driver will know where to go, or you can ask a local for help.
- Download Maps.me with wifi and it will tell you where you are when you are offline. It saved my little butt a few times. You think you are heading in the right direction to look down and see you are going the wrong way.
- You may have heard the phrase ‘soapy massage’, if not, you can google it. Avoid any neon signs that read ‘girls’ or ‘happy massage’ unless that’s exactly what you want!!
- There are 7 Eleven’s everywhere. There are cash machines everywhere. Both are big business and you can find almost anything in a 7 Eleven.
- Have a suit or dress tailor made for you in Bangkok. The materials are amazing and the price is a fraction of the cost of back home. They will bring you in for 3 or 4 fittings and you’ll get exactly what you want. Best bet is to take in a picture of what you want and a color in mind. If they are good tailors they will guide you through the process of what’s good and what’s not.
- Show respect for Thai customs by greeting others with the Wai (placing hands palms together at your chest and bowing your head). It will become a habit after a few days.
Food and Drink
- Don’t drink the tap water. Buy bottle water or bottled beer.
- Don’t expect the food to taste as it does back home. Pad Thai in Bangkok is nothing like Pad Thai in Toronto.
- Take a cooking class to understand how the food is made and what the ingredients are that go into Pad Thai and Red Curry. It’s a fun way to meet new people and learn about the Thai culture.
- Always negotiate the price with your Tuk Tuk driver and your taxi driver. Often the taxis don’t want to put on their meters. They’ll give you a price and if you don’t like it you just keep asking. You might find a driver willing to go for your price, other times you just have to bite the bullet and pay the price. Just remember the difference between 300 baht and 400 baht is $4…it sounds like so much more, but it’s only $4
- Your tuktuk driver will want to take you to a shop because they have made a deal with the owner for some form of compensation. You can agree or ask to be let out and find another driver. I went to a really nice ladies shop, where I bought two beautiful tops. It was a win/win for everyone and the price I paid to go to Wat Arun was considerably cheaper had I not gone.
Bangkok is such an interesting place, once you are there for a few days you will start to understand the people, their culture and what is expected from you.
From there I’m going to talk about Ayutthaya, Chiang Rai and Northern Thailand. Some of our adventures go to Chiang Rai, but most do not. So I’m going to go over some of the reasons you may absolutely love Chiang Rai and you’ll pick one of our group tours that include this amazing destination.
Luckily, there are a number of simple, logical steps you can take to protect yourself from risks….