[The title of this post reads ‘See you later Thailand :(‘] After catching the boat back from Wat Arun we decided to grab a drink and relax in an air conditioned cafe before relaxing in the room until dinner. We took some shots of typical goings on that we didn’t think we’d captured yet. We… Read more →
- 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).
- 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!
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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
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 →
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 →
On our first visit to BKK we found that there wasn’t much to do during the day outside of seeing the temples, so we decided to fill our time with a trip to the Bridge on the River Kwai and Erawan Waterfalls. We booked a private tour and were picked up at around 7 AM for the… Read more →
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 →
We woke up bright and early for our 8 AM departure to Bo Sang. We’d found some plain teddy t-shirts at the mall and the hotel helped put us in contact with Boyd so that we could go get shirts (Thailand has thus far been rather devoid of teddy bears) made for Checkers & Bruschi…. Read more →
We woke up completely and utterly exhausted – both of us had no idea how tiring hanging out with elephants could be! We sluggishly got dressed and threw some breakfast into our mouths. Luckily we’d signed up for a private tour for the day so we weren’t too worried about being a few minutes late… Read more →
Thanks so much to Ken and Noelle for this great gift! One of the most important aspects of our trip to Thailand was the ability to spend time with some Asian elephants. Thailand’s obsession with elephants has resulted in a lot of unethical treatment of these. We wanted to make sure that we had a… Read more →
We woke up early this morning to have a quick, but delicious, breakfast at the hotel. They had a lot of choices (western & Thai), including a grill where they will make whatever you want (bacon egg and cheese sandwiches, or pad see ew). After breakfast we left to head toward Doi Suthep via taxi (the… Read more →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Brett and I knew in advance of our trip to Thailand that Bangkok wouldn’t be our favorite spot. It’s a haven for partying but our main interest is seeing the sights and eating, so we booked a 2 day excursion to Sukhothai, the capital of the Thai Empire for 140 years – founded in 1238. The city… Read more →
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 →
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 →
A note about the tigers sleeping vs. being sedated: Many of the people we encountered on our vacation chose not to go to Tiger Kingdom because they believe that the tigers are sedated. While we can’t be sure, the experience we had was what we expected – they’re pretty sleepy. Tigers are big cats, and cats… Read more →
Note: Pictures courtesy of the Nikon COOLPIX AW110. This morning our driver picked us up at 7:15 AM for scuba diving (THANK YOU MOM & DAD PONSLER!!). It was raining and I felt nervous because I don’t feel I’ve mastered diving yet. We had a private car and got to the pier at around 8 AM…. Read more →
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 →
This morning we had a Thai cooking course at Ya Cookery School! DISCLAIMER: This morning started off a little hectic. If you’re someone looking to book with Ya for a cooking class, we 110% recommend it and the fact that the first few minutes of our day were stressful should have no baring whatsoever on… Read more →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →