We have only been in Thailand for a little under three weeks, and so far we have only seen Koh Samui island, but here is what I’m discovering…
1. It’s easy to get confused with the currency
The money is colourful like Canadian currency, or like monopoly money (LOL), and it’s easy to get it in your head that things are cheap here. Even though I know that 100 Thai Baht is about $3.45 Canadian (or more after you factor in the fees from the bank machine and the extra exchange rates of the day), but when I’m at the 7-Eleven and I spot the mini chocolate bars for 50 baht, it’s easy to think oh wow, that’s so cheap because my brain is thinking 50 is a small number like it’s 50 cents, but in actuality, that 50 baht mini chocolate bar is going to cost me $1.72 or more! So carrying a cheat sheet is a life saver! (p.s. it doesn’t stop me from buying the chocolate bar, I mean c’mon, it’s still chocolate – which leads me to the next discovery…)
2. Clothing sizes are very different
Since I seem to be carrying my North American winter weight (AKA too many mini chocolate bars weight), shopping here in tiny-sizes Thailand isn’t an option till I lose about 40-50 lbs! The extra large woman’s blouse I tried on was more like a tight medium in North American sizes, and the triple XL shirt Steve tried covered one of his biceps nicely. (at least scarves and jewelry will always be a perfect fit!) But the clothing issue leads perfectly into discovery three …
3. It’s cheap to have laundry done for you
Since we are carrying backpacks, we tried to pack light and in this hot and sweaty climate, doing laundry often is a must! It’s really easy to find places to wash, fold, press your clothes for you, and the going rate seems to be about 40 baht for 1 kg of clothes. Basically a weeks worth of shirts, shorts, undies for both Steve and I can be cleaned for under $3 – it’s fantastic!
4. A family of five can ride comfortably on a moped
Motorbikes/mopeds are the preferred way to get around, and entire families crowd on them. We’ve seen entire families commuting here and there on the bikes – smallest child up front, then the driver, then another child, another adult, and finally what looks to be the eldest of the kids. People use them to go out and buy things, like furniture or tanks of propane, and they carry these large items back with them on the bike. It’s amazing, really.
5. Plumbing is different
So far where we’ve been the toilets are still the same as in North America, and I haven’t had to use any “squatter” toilets yet, but everywhere they warn you that the plumbing is slow, and that you should put your tissues/tp in the trash rather than flush it. Beside the toilet they have a hose, and I think you are supposed to use it to wash your bum – or maybe it’s to clean the toilet? LOL Anyway…. This how to article is very enlightening, and I think it will save me when, and if, I do encounter a squatter.
Those are just a few of my discoveries so far. Thailand is amazing, and really is the land of smiles, and I can’t wait to keep on discovering new things!