September 23, 2019 By bangkok7
In our continuing effort to lift up blogs that explain why we expats choose to live here, this week we turn to bangkok.com’s list of reasons to love Thailand. Again as last week, we’re skipping the BPCFW’s (beaches, people, cost of living, food, and weather), and instead focusing on the aspects most people miss. Let’s get started…
“There’s a Lifestyle to match your Budget
Thailand is known as a cheap country, and it’s true that essentials such as accommodation and food can be found at really low prices. On the other end of the scale, there’s plenty of swanky villas, expensive shopping boutiques and incredible restaurants in which to splurge your cash. From backpacking on a shoestring to unbridled luxury living, you can do it all in Thailand.”
Amen to that! As long as you’re not too picky about certain luxuries, you can survive on next to nothing here. When I first moved to Thailand, I lived in a small town in the jungles of Krabi province. My budget was $800 per month. Mine was an austere existence, obviously, but I got by. Now that my income is more middle class, I tend to indulge regularly on fancy dinners and apartment nick-nacks. It’s all about your perspective. If you can be content with less, you can stretch your money further than you ever thought possible. With $15 electric bills, $20 mobile phone bills, $2 water bills and rent in the low hundreds, it’s a truly charmed life. Free of the heavy thumb of thieving Western governments and greedy corporations.
And while this technically falls under the ‘c’ of BPCFW, it also brings up unique aspects that are separate from just the cost of living benefits, eg freedom from the tyranny of the West and the comparatively low price tag for holiday-makers as well. Because although the more popular places like Samui and Phuket have become more expensive in the last decade, you can still find good bargains if you know where and when to look, and besides these locales, there are less-known islands and beaches like Surat Thani and Trat where a savvy traveler can get a beachside room for a real steal.
If you’re from a more temperate climate, the range and prices of fruits in Thailand’s markets are simply incredible. From the first-timers favourite – mango – to more exotic choices like longans, jackfruit, sapodilla, rambutan, mangosteen, papaya, pomelo, custard apple and even the ‘love it or hate it’ durian, we would put Thailand’s amazing variety of fruits up against anyone else’s.”
I never saw such a dazzling array of fruit till coming here. Some are almost too beautiful to eat, and when you do, they taste more like candy than fruit. My favorite is yellow watermelon.
Hand in hand with a sociable, fun-loving nature is the opportunity for a celebration. In Thailand, festivals of varying sizes are held throughout the year in honour of all sorts of things. Of course, Songrkran – the world-famous water festival held every April – is the daddy of them all, but there are honestly festivals taking place every week somewhere in Thailand. If you happen to find yourself near to a festival (the more local the better) while in the kingdom, do yourself a favour: go!”
Like last week’s blog, these folks highlight Songkran, and like I said last week, I hate Songkran. But it’s easy to see how a first-timer would find it exuberating. I will say that in my experience, Songkran is more fun in Phuket than in Bangkok, where the streets are so crowded you can barely move, and Pattaya where the festival lasts 9 days and the people get more crazed by the hour and don’t quit until late late late into the evening. The folks in Phuket are a bit more laid back about it.
Before I arrived in Thailand, I had never had a professional massage. Turn the clock forward several years and it is now part of my weekly routine. Thai massage is engrained in the culture and is a great way to keep the body supple, mind relaxed and give yourself a little ‘me time’… plus, they’re incredibly cheap! Ranging from humble, street-side massage shops to swanky hotel spas, there’s a treatment to suit everyone in Thailand.”
I must admit, this is something I always forget to do. When I lived in Krabi, I’d grab a massage nearly every weekend, and it made a huge difference in my everyday outlook and general feeling of happiness. Now, in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok life, when I need it most, I rarely even think of having a massage. I really must get back into the habit. There’s no excuse not to, since they’re so cheap and accessible. A massage that’d run you $200 in California costs around $10 here. No joke.
“Services on (almost) Every Corner
Whether it’s a midnight snack, a lift to the shops or a kindly auntie to do your laundry, Thailand is most definitely pioneering service industries on a neighbourhood scale. This is particularly true in the locales popular with foreigners, such as Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. This kind of convenience can be amazing to newcomers, but is quickly taken for granted…until you go back to your home country for a while!”
Back in Los Angeles, if I needed anything like milk, toothpaste, or beer, I had to get in my car and drive to the store. Walking would’ve taken 20 minutes each way. Here, I have a 24-hour supermarket and a 7-11 each less than 50 meters from my front door.
“Hotels and Hospitality
Thailand is a cheap country to travel in when compared to the majority of tourist hotspots around the world. Food, attractions, transport and especially accommodation offer real bang for your buck. Consider the fact that it’s possible to get a high-end five-star hotel in Thailand for less than $100 a night, and a cheap and cheerful guesthouse for little more than $10.”
One of the classic complaints from many hate-Thailand blogs is the hotels, mainly because the staff weren’t English fluent enough for the blogger’s liking. As if somehow the Thais who were too poor for a good education should magically know a language other than Thai. This supposition always makes me angry. It is presumptuous and entitled, arrogant and imperial. So it’s always good to see bloggers sing the well-deserved praises of Thai hospitality. I know this one only focuses on the low price of bargain hotels, but in addition to the great prices there are also wonderful staff who, despite their English ability and often total lack of interpersonal skills, always strive to treat customers with kindness and a helpful attitude. Even when that customer is a belligerent dickhead. But yes, speaking of prices, competition between hotels is so high that you can often score sweet deals in really upscale hotels. Any time I plan a trip to the beach, I watch Agoda.com for several days looking at different deals, waiting for the right time to strike.
And that’s all for this week’s Take This Blog and Love It. Tune in on Friday for another Delirium Days entry, and between now and then keep your nose to the grindstone, your eyes on the prize, and cheers to another week above ground in the greatest country on Earth: Thailand.
(*Some photos courtesy of the internet.)