Thailand is one of the top destinations for first time travelers, solo female travelers and digital nomads, and I wish I had spent more time there. I didn’t go to beaches and I am a bit upset I didn’t. (But there is always next time!) I spent all of my time in Bangkok, but I still got to see some great things, drink a lot of great things and eat a lot of great things. To be 100% honest, as someone who has regularly eaten Thai food in the states and the UK, I didn’t think the food was that much different. With the exception of my favorite dish, the pad see ew, which I had at the same restaurant two different nights, which was AMAZING (and I consider it the best Thai I have ever had), the rest of the food was just as good as what I have had States and Europe. I wasn’t exactly disappointed, I was just surprised a bit. Perhaps if I had ventured out of Bangkok, and into smaller villages and the countryside, the food would be better. Someone had mentioned something like this to me also. But I am still grateful that I went and I hope to come again.
One thing I actually DID do in Thailand that I didn’t do anywhere else was tutor English online. I can actually say that I was a true digital nomad in Thailand. I need to have a LOT more discipline though, and tutoring English over video takes up a lot of batter and requires steady internet access. My goal is to get a steady, well paying writing job/jobs where I can write on Microsoft Word and not have to use the internet unless I am ready to send something to a client. I do have a small device that allows you to get internet anywhere but you do have to pay per gigabyte or something and it is quite expensive. And I don’t think mine works anymore, so I’ll have to get a new one. But during my next hopefully successful round the world trip, I will have a steady writing jo where I just have to turn something in every week or two weeks. My next plans are to head to South America, Africa, parts of the Middle East and Asia again, and the likelihood of not being able to find internet access is high. But these areas of the world are some of the least traveled and I have to go to them and write about them. I digress. But yeah, I tutored some lessons in my hotel room I had in Bangkok.
One thing I liked about Bangkok was the temples and the massive Buddha statues. These were quite awesome. But you had to cover up when you went into them and wear long pants which was a bit of a nuisance as it was so hot. But I ended up buying one of the shawls that I borrowed in order to enter one of the temples, and it’s a really cool blue and white one with elephants. The reclining Buddha statue was one of the things I have been wanting to see since my intense interest in travel began, so seeing it up close was really cool.
I took tour of what is called the “backwaters of bangkok” and it was one of the tours the hostel offered where I stayed. The offered a lot of really cool tours, some that were overnight and in the jungle, but I didn’t have enough time to do those and I didn’t understand how they would work- do you pay for the hotel on top of the housing on the trek/tour? Can you leave your stuff there while you are gone? It was a little bit confusing. But one of my goals for my next travels is to do something like this.
The backwater tour was really neat. You basically went on a boat with a tour guide through these canals where there were a lot of houses built on the river. We passed lots of little temples and even a lady in a canoe whom I bought fried banana from. We stopped in a little store where they had in a glass case these little Thai dolls/puppets I have always wanted to see. One of them, hilariously, was a Michael Jackson one (see pic below). We also visited an Orchid farm and saw from our tour guide the various uses of banana leaves.
A couple things I didn’t like about Thailand were the taxis and the feeling of unease I got, due to a few reasons which I’ll explain in the next paragraph. The taxis had meters on them but several of the drivers, many of whom didn’t speak English of course, wouldn’t use them. Basically they did this to rip people off and charge a higher price per minute or whatever. A pretty clever tourist scheme if you ask me. It was hard to find a cab driver that would use the meter, and I remember I got out of one because the driver refused to use it. Every cab I took from then on out, the first thing I would ask was “do you use the meter?”
The feeling of unease that I talked about earlier was related to a few different things:
1)Southeast Asia might be one of the top tourist/backpacker destinations in the world, but even with lots of Westerners traveling there regularly their laws are fairly strict. Getting arrested or locked up here is no joke. Ever seen the show “Locked Up Abroad”? Yeah, you don’t want to get thrown in the pokey in Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam. You may be wondering why I was scared of being locked up here if I have nothing to hide, but the reality is is that you could get in trouble in Thailand for just having the Buddha on your shirt or as a tattoo or trinket. I saw a sign that read something along the lines of: THAILAND IS THE LAND OF BUDDHA. RESPECT BUDDHA AND DON’T WEAR HIM AS A TATTOO OR ON YOUR CLOTHING. So basically here giant, ornate statues could be erected of the Buddha as a form of idol worship essentially, but you couldn’t wear a shirt of have a tattoo if it. Kind of scary as I’m not sure what would’ve happened if you had one.
2) I read about people setting up tourists with drugs. While this may not happen a lot, and I am not sure why it would in the first place, apparently there have been incidences where locals or who knows, even foreign drug-lords or just shitty people in general, plant drugs (like cocaine and heroin) on tourists like in their backpacks. For whatever reason they get searched and then caught with it and end up being given a lengthy sentence in a Thai jail. This got me scared. It didn’t happen to me, but just hearing about it freaked me out.
3) Along the same lines of drugs being planted on you, you can’t smoke weed anywhere in Southeast Asia. While I wrote about smoking hashish in Vietnam and I have in India as well, I don’t recommend it. If you get caught with it, kiss your freedom goodbye, because you’ll be in big trouble. I’m not really sure why I smoked hashish in India and Vietnam, but given the situations I felt comfortable enough. I was around other people who were doing it and who had bought it, and in Saigon, Vietnam, the smell of it was wafting in the air on the street where I was, so I figured a lot of people were doing it and it would be pretty hard to make an arrest. But who knows, I may just have been lucky. I definitely don’t recommend buying or smoking weed alone, so if you are a solo female traveler and absolutely have to smoke some weed abroad, make sure and do it preferably in an indoor environment where there are lots of other people doing it.
4) There is a lot of sex tourism in Thailand, and while I don’t recall seeing it, I know it is there just like in Vietnam. While I often get tired of hearing white males get blamed fore very ill in society, this is one example of where mostly white males can be blamed because it’s the majority of them who come here to pay to sleep with women, and not just that, but women that they deem subservient and more “feminine” than their western counterparts. Southeast Asian women are heavily fetishized and the sex trafficking industry is huge here. And I’ve even heard of white women being kidnapped abroad and sold into slavery. While this kind of stuff happens everywhere, it’s more out in the open here, and as a woman who is against prostitution and sex work, I don’t like it.
But enough with the negative. Enjoy the pictures below!