On our way home

Thailand

DSC04121
We spent quite a long time in Thailand in November of 2014 – 1 week at the beaches, 1 week in the ‘middle’ (BKK, Sukhothai), 1 week in Chiang Mai, and a final weekend in BKK. We had an absolutely amazing time and weren’t ready to come home by the end (save being over the whole living out of a suitcase thing). While we were there we took notes/wrote our blog as we experienced things and kept a running list of tips.
Communication
  • Sawasdee ka/krab means ‘hello’ from a female/male. It’s the thing they mumble while bowing at you – say it back, they’ll love it!
  • People generally do not speak English – even at high class resorts. They generally know enough to do their jobs, but any deviation from that can quickly get confusing. Make sure to confirm all addresses/pickup times etc by pointing to them on paper.
  • Try to bring printouts of where you are trying to go – if possible have addresses printed in Thai (your hotel should be able to provide this for you).
Transportation
  • Make the taxi driver use the meter or get out, especially in Bangkok. If they won’t turn it on, they’re ripping you off!
  • Get used to crazy driving – including bad moped drivers – they switch sides of the road like it’s nothing!
  • Beeping is used to notify other drivers that they are coming – not as a method of yelling!
  • In BKK take the skytrain instead of taxis – it’s faster, cheaper, air conditioned, and cleaner!

Food

  • The general rule is the smaller and cheaper it is, the better it is! Fancy restaurants are a waste of time and some of our favorite food was street food. (We were obsessed with fried puffs of something – still have no idea what it is…)
  • Keep small amounts of money handy (e.g. 20 THB, 100 THB) for snacks/full meals!
  • Tipping is not necessary – if you do it, make sure that you are clear that it is on purpose. Thais are very honest, they’ll chase you with your change!
  • Room service is a good option for relaxing while eating – 10 % up charge is the worst we experienced.
  • When ordering, “mild” spice is not mild, even if you ask for “not spicy” your meal may arrive spicy. Saying “no spice” got us the best results!
  • Try new foods – literally everything we had was delicious – we tried to stay away from our typical choices at home and had great success (Try mieng kham!)

Culture

  • Take your shoes off whenever you go inside somewhere
  • Be ready for pickups on time! All of our pickups were very punctual.
  • Thais are incredibly honest.
  • At the resorts, be prepared for royal treatment, e.g. having your chair pushed in for you, your napkin placed on your lap
  • Don’t say no or get angry – instead politely decline with “It’s ok”. The response ‘no’ is not part of their culture and they take this (and ‘disappointed’) VERY seriously.
  • The ‘h’ is not pronounced! (E.g. Thailand, Sukhothai, Phad Thai, Phi Phi, Phuket)
  • Dress appropriately for Wats – cover your legs and shoulders – be respectful
  • Don’t talk about the king or queen in public – if you are caught being disrespectful you can be arrested
  • When paying at a restaurant, expect that the server will stand over you while you sign the check. It’s awkward but they don’t mean to be rude – tips are not expected.

Others

  • For USA – most places you won’t need an adapter just make sure your device supports 240 v (iPhone, iPad, cameras, etc)
  • Bring an umbrella out with you for both shade (in intense heat like Sukhothai) and brief downpours
Warrior holding up the temple

The Temple of Dawn

Leave a Comment - BangkokThailand

For our final act as tourists in Thailand we ventured across the Chao Phraya River to Wat Arun – also known as The Temple of Dawn. It’s a Buddhist temple that derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna (the radiations of the rising sun). After spending a few days seeing the sun set over it… Read more →

Balancing on a log while fish attacked our feet!

Erawan Waterfalls

27/11/2014 - Leave a Comment - KanchanaburiThailand

It was a relatively short ride to Erawan Waterfalls and we were excited to jump in some water after being in the hot Thai sun at the bridge. There are 7 tiers of falls over a 1.5 km (uphill) hike. Our tour guide came with us to help take pictures as we went :). We… Read more →

Wat Arun across form our room

Last stint in Bangkok

26/11/2014 - Leave a Comment - BangkokThailand

We got back into Bangkok in the evening and checked into Sala Arun – our hotel that was DIRECTLY across from the famous Wat Arun. We were, of course, in awe of the view. The hotel was central to many of the ‘must see’ BKK sights – like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and more…. Read more →

chiangmai

Exploring Chiang Mai

16/11/2014 - Leave a Comment - Chiang MaiThailand

We arrived in Chiang Mai pretty early and took a taxi (180 baht) to 137 pillars – about a 10 minute ride. The (Thai) taxi driver was very friendly and spoke English well. He explained the sights and pointed out some good restaurants on the way there. At one point he cursed a bit about… Read more →

SKYBAR

The Skybar

15/11/2014 - Leave a Comment - BangkokThailand

We kicked ourselves at how easy the subway system was to navigate and what a breeze it would have made of the rest of our stay in BKK – leaving from ABC we were back at the Chatrium in no time. We spent a few hours relaxing before we headed to the Skybar (made famous by… Read more →

CAlmer side streets

Biking around BKK

2 Comments - BangkokThailand

Before we go into all the details of how amazing this day was let us just say – If you are going to be in Bangkok for a few days you simply MUST do one of ABC (Amazing Bangkok Cyclist)‘s tours! We wish it had been the first thing we did in BKK – it… Read more →

sisatch

Si Satchanalai Historical Park (อุทยานประวัติศาสตร์ศรีสัชนาลัย)

13/11/2014 - Leave a Comment - Si Satchanalai DistrictThailand

We woke up at 6 AM to try and achieve our ambitious 7 AM departure for Si Satchanalai Historic Park (older than Sukhothai and supposedly even less frequented!) … but ambition gave way to laziness and we left the hotel around 7:30. We walked from to the main road to wait for the local bus. We… Read more →

tourist_bangkok

Touristy Bangkok Day

11/11/2014 - Leave a Comment - BangkokThailand

NOTE: The word ‘wat’ means temple. From this point forward the word will appear often as we visit many of them. Today was our first real day in Bangkok. We spent the entire morning dillydallying because we were pretty apprehensive about how hot it was going to be outside. Every couple that we met in Krabi hated Bangkok…. Read more →

pool

To Bangkok!

10/11/2014 - Leave a Comment - PhuketThailand

We lazed around this morning in the pool and reading.  We checked out after a lunch at the Baba Pool Club and the girls at reception were nice enough to let us print several tickets for our upcoming trek in Bangkok/Sukhothai. At lunch I made this note to myself which I find funny “guy adjusted… Read more →

phuket

Relaxing at Sri Panwa (Phuket)

07/11/2014 - Leave a Comment - PhuketThailand

We finished class early (11:50 AM) because it was only us two in class –  and we’d already called our transfer to change from 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM in our earlier panic about being late. Ya called them for us and (amazingly) they were there within 10 minutes! A few minutes after 12 we were… Read more →

Peaking through

Loy Krathong

06/11/2014 - 1 Comment - Tup KaekThailand

Once we made it back to Tubkaak we relaxed for a few minutes before it was time to go learn how to make a krathong. We sat down and were shown exactly how to make one. It involves using only natural substances (other than pins) and putting everything together into a cool design that can… Read more →

Interesting position

Rock Climbing Railay Beach

2 Comments - Thailand

We were pretty excited for today – we had purchased a day of rock climbing at Railay beach (thanks Mom & Dad Keating!) – one of the most famous rock climbing places in the world. Climbers can climb limestone cliffs overlooking the beautiful turquoise ocean and islands in the distance.  We decided to give it a go… Read more →

DSCN0126

Snorkeling in the Phi Phi Islands

05/11/2014 - Leave a Comment - Ton SaiThailand

Note: The pictures in this post are courtesy of the Nikon COOLPIX AW110 bought for us by Kim for our wedding :-D. We were picked up at the hotel at 7:00 right on the dime (actually slightly early – the front desk called us at 6:59) by Kon-Tiki Diving & Snorkeling. From there we drove to another… Read more →

IMG_3882

Settling into Krabi, Thailand

03/11/2014 - Leave a Comment - KrabiThailand

I don’t have a great narrative for how the drive from the airport to the hotel looked. It looked 3rd world. It was dirty – metal roofs and tin shops and tire lots. Something we’ve grown accustomed to seeing with the only difference being tuktuks. I felt guilty about this because we came to experience beauty and luxury… Read more →