If you haven’t figured out from the title of the post, I went to Thailand!!! The ongoing debate prior to the trip went something like this:
My friend Andrew: “Can’t wait until we get to Thailand and eat some pad thai!”
Me: “Umm, PLEASE. Paid thai is totally an American invention. Kind of like how General Tsao’s Chicken isn’t really Chinese. OBVI.” *insert plenty of eye rolls and smug know-it-all face*
FINE ANDREW FINE. I WAS WRONG OK?! We had pad thai up to our eyeballs while we were in Thailand. It was everywhere – at food courts, at fancy restaurants, on the streets – just everywhere for only $1-2 USD!
I was more than a little addicted to these chicken satay shish kabobs ($1 USD).
Quail eggs at Chatuchak Market, Bangkok ($1 USD).
Deep-fried yam balls on the streets of Bangkok ($1 USD). These bring back great childhood memories of growing up in Taiwan. I remember my babi secretly buying these for me when my stepmom, a health nut, wasn’t paying attention.
Basil chicken larb in crunchy cups at Indigo Pearl Resort, Phuket.
Ice cold drinks near The Grand Palace, Bangkok ($1 USD).
This face pretty much describes it all. Definitely a favorite! Creamy coconut icecream served in its shell on top of a cup of fresh coconut juice ($2 USD).
We didn’t forget the mango sticky rice! Another classic Thai dessert ($3 USD)!
Me: “Hey Jen, check out this picture. What do all of the objects have in common?”
Jen: “I don’t get it”
Me: *Gestures towards the lower half of my body*
Jen: “Oh god. I still don’t get it. How does the goldfish come into play?!”
So I went to a ping pong show. Was that a disapproving look? Hey, it was not an easy task for me to make something so gross look cute for my blog! Our little ping pong show experience ended up being a bit more adventurous than we bargained for. Lesson? Never follow a strange man with a flyer into a dumpy bar in a dark alley in the red light district. And no, in case you were wondering, that was not obvious to us then. We came out 20 minutes later $100 USD poorer, an exorbitant amount in Thailand considering a one hour massage costs $10 and a private one-day guided tour (driver included!) costs $70. I won’t elaborate about what happened, but if you really want to know, here’s a Wiki article that pretty much sums up our experience.Let’s move on to the three different modes of transportation in Thailand minus the standard taxi and sky train rides.
An auto rickshaw- The most exhilarating way to get around the city! A 10-20 minute ride is usually only around $2-5 USD.
Nothing screams “I’m a tourist!” more than riding elephants in Thailand. I didn’t care. My excitement was palpable as we neared the Elephant Village, located about an hour outside of Bangkok.
I was pretty sure my elephant guide had a crush on me because he let me sit on the elephant’s head. Turns out they let everyone sit on the head. Heartbreak city for me.
The long boat was considerably less exciting than the tuk tuk and the elephant ride, but it was a nice change of pace. We had the chance to relax on one of these on two separate tours. The first was a tour of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok that took us past historical monuments and various communities living on the riverbanks. The second was the Floating Market boat tour in Damnoen Saduak, also located an hour outside of Bangkok and close to the Elephant Village. I recommend this tour over the Chao Phraya River Tour.
The floating market was clearly tailored towards tourists, but we still got to enjoy a few traditional Thai dishes on our boat.
Grilled bananas ($1USD).
Papaya salad ($1USD).The biggest market in Bangkok, Chatuchak covers 35 acres and has vendors selling anything from home decor, gadgets, food, clothes, and Facebook flip flops. Imagine a maze of never ending stalls spanning over 30 football fields! I’m pretty sure I could have spent 2 days there and still not have been able to go through the whole place.
A skilled Thai iced tea maker at the market.
Anh and I were clearly more than amused by the silly Disney-themed headbands, lacy hipster glasses, and cupcake rings that we discovered at the market.
Out of control estrogen explosion! Together, we ended up buying 11 purses within our first hour at Patpong, a shopping market lined with strip clubs.
Anyone who has travelled in Asia before knows that bargaining is a way of life. The trick is to automatically slash whatever price the seller presents you on a calculator by at least 50-75%. The seller will usually try to meet you at the middle. If you simply walk away, they might even agree to sell the item to you at your desired price point despite earlier protests. For reference, a t-shirt should cost no more than $3-$8 USD, and a genuine leather purse should only cost $20-$40 USD.
We also learned that flame tests are essential in this city. Vendors will generally have a lighter handy and will be more than happy to burn a corner or edge of the purse to prove that the purse is made out of genuine leather. Artificial leather will melt or burn.The number of temples we saw in Thailand probably rivaled the number of chateaus my parents dragged my 4th grade butt to when we vacationed in Europe.
Temple of the Emerald Buddha and The Grand Palace.
Obligatory tourist jumping pics.
Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
Temple of the Golden Buddha.
The king’s portrait – a reoccurring theme in Thailand.
“Can I? Can I?!?! PWEASE PWEASE PWEASE!!”10 minutes of indecision and $3 USD later, I’m setting a few sparrows free, making a wish, and probably making this old lady’s clap with glee that she tricked yet another gullible American. I have a pretty good feeling those sparrows are going to go right back into that cage and “set free” again in a few hours.
Sprinkled with holy water and received a good luck rope bracelet ($1 USD donation).
Sprinkling each other with water from lotus flowers for good luck.Did I mention that we went to Thailand during rainy season? We got caught in a pretty bad thunderstorm while island hopping from Phuket to Khai Island. This is what we thought we would be getting:
This is what we actually got:
But at least we got one last jumping picture!
Thanks Andrew and Anh for documenting the whole trip so I didn’t have to lug my D90 around!