Filed under: Miscellaneous, Expat life, Thai news, News, Culture, Food | Tags: Thailand, Travel, food, UK, Thai language, Beer, public transport, Bangkok, Thai, United Kingdom, drink, shopping, pollution, 7-Eleven, Lonely Planet, supermarkets, Chiang Mai, plastic bags, environment, Tesco, recycling, turtles, Koh Larn, wildlife
Forget everything you learned in your Lonely Planet phrasebook about how to greet people or how to buy two train tickets to Chiang Mai.
Probably the most common Thai phrases I use is “mai ao thung” (I don’t want a bag). I say this almost every time I buy something in a shop in Thailand. If I do need bags, I frequently repackage them so that my goods fit in one or two, rather than three, four or even five, and give back the superfluous extras.
They are handed out with everything. I don’t need a plastic bag for a bottle of water or a packet of tissues. I obviously don’t need one for an ice-cream. I absolutely don’t need one for a four-pack of paracetamol. (All real examples).
And even when they are necessary, they are over-used. A single bag is not going to split open if you buy two 1.5-litre bottles of water, so it doesn’t need to be double-bagged. And what’s with these chain stores’ insistence on separating items based on category? That sealed bottle of ketchup is not going to spoil my sealed packet of ballpoint pens. Don’t give me two bags for them! Why does alcohol go in one bag, and soft drinks in another? Furthermore, I don’t need four plastic straws for those four beers, and I certainly don’t need a straw for my large bottle of water. Continue reading
Filed under: Expat life, work, Travel, Culture, Nightlife, restaurants, media, Food | Tags: Thailand, newspapers, magazines, tourism, Travel, food, restaurants, travel writing, Bangkok, USA, India, markets, shopping, Nana, Vietnam, Sukhumvit Road, Japan, To Thailand With Love, books, Nabanita Dutt, Things Asian Press, San Francisco, guidebooks, writing, Burma, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal, Khlong Teoy, Khlong Toey Market, Middle East, sheep, testicles, jungle food, Jareung Restaurant, Phatum Thani, crocodiles, snakes, spirituality, volunteering, photography, Marc Schultz, Dasa Book Cafe, Barnes & Noble, United States, Amazon, bookshops
Having been published in newspapers and magazines, I have now, with the release of To Thailand With Love, completed the trinity of print media.
I have been referring to it as “my book debut”, rather than “my book”, as I am just one of several contributors to TTWL. It is the latest in the “With Love” series, edited by Nabanita Dutt and published by Things Asian Press of San Francisco, which combines travel writing with guidebook-style pointers and listings. Typically, the writers provide features on travel experiences in the country and append info for the reader to visit the destination for themselves, should they wish to. Previous “With Love” books have focused on Burma, Cambodia, Japan, Vietnam and North India, while a Nepal edition was published concurrently with the Thailand release.
Quite apart from my involvement, I would recommend any of these books if you plan to travel to one of the countries covered, or if you generally have an interest in them. The “With Love” entries offer a slew of out-of-the-ordinary stories and ideas which you might not find in more traditional guidebooks, nor hear from “ordinary” tourists.
I have three stories in the Thailand book, covering a wander around Khlong Toey Market (a totally authentic fresh market with lots of weird sights and smells), a trip to Bangkok’s Middle Eastern quarter (you can be transported to Arabia for three Sukhumvit sois and eat some things you won’t find elsewhere in Thailand, including sheep’s testicles), and dinner at a “jungle food” restaurant in Phatum Thani (crocodile, cobra and much more is on the menu).
There’s plenty more to digest from the other writers too, divided into chapters covering food, must-see attractions, spirituality, hidden treasures, shopping, remote destinations and tips on local life, volunteering and more. Complementing all this is some quite charming photography by Marc Schultz.
To Thailand With Love is available at Dasa Book Cafe in Bangkok, from Barnes & Noble in the United States, and can be shipped worldwide from Amazon. If you would prefer to order a copy from a bookstore of your choice, the ISBN numbers are ISBN-13: 978-1-934159-11-8 and ISBN-10: 1-934159-11-5.
Filed under: Expat life, Culture, Nightlife, restaurants, Fun, Food | Tags: Thailand, tourism, Travel, food, pubs, USA, India, seafood, Western food, Indian food, Thai food, coffee, steak, websites, hotels, shopping, Vietnam, Khao San Road, Laos, pad Thai, Sukhumvit, internet, television, curry, green curry, Indian curry, Manchester, vindaloo, porridge, southern Thailand, Thai restaurants, Soi Sribamphen, Narathiwat, MBK, sandwiches, Ploenchit, Asoke, sushi, Japanese food, Japan, supermarkets, Soi Thaniya, pizza, Italian food, Italy, American food, tom yam, Andrew Zimmern, Travel Channel, Bizarre Foods, northeast Thailand, Udon Thani, Not the Nation
Thailand justifiably has a reputation for producing some of the world’s best food, and as with any national cuisine, the best Thai food can be found in the country itself. Thais who travel will often bemoan the inferior quality of Thai food overseas, while foreigners who have visited here will never look at another country’s green curry in quite the same way again. Hell, I once had the misfortune of ordering a plate of pad Thai in Manchester and finding they substituted tamarind sauce for tomato ketchup!
Yet exactly the same logic can be applied in Thailand – if you’re looking for good foreign food, you might be best off going to the country in question. Just because the local food in Thailand can be mind-blowing, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the kitchens of the Land of Smiles can perform similar culinary feats with dishes from abroad.
People who grow up with a certain type of food know it best. Add in the scarcity of certain ingredients in certain countries, plus how relatively new some foreign food is to Thailand, and stir in some peculiar local twists, tastes and takes on foreign dishes, and you have…
5 FOREIGN FOODS THAT THAILAND DOES VERY BADLY
Filed under: Expat life, Travel, Outside Thailand, People, Culture, Nightlife, restaurants | Tags: Thailand, tourism, Travel, food, Thai language, Beer, religion, Food and Drink, English language, motorbikes, restaurants, Bangkok, Indonesia, Phuket, beaches, jungle, resorts, markets, bars, Nightlife, temples, macaques, monkeys, Hindu temples, Hinduism, Islam, Muslims, Thai food, backpackers, coffee, steak, islands, painting, art, drink, hotels, massage, shopping, museums, barbecue, Bali, animals, mountains, Bali Hai, Bali Hai beer, Kuta Beach, Kuta, Patong, Renon, Denpasar, Bali Museum, Kuningan Day, Pura Jagatnatha, Sanghyang Widi, Pasar Badung, Muang Phuket, Balinese people, Ubud, rice, cafes, backpacking, Sacred Monkey Forest, forest, rainforest, gueshouse, Deva Sari, breakfast, Balinese dance, dance, Ubud Palace, palace, masks, costume, Napa Orti, Laughing Buddha bar, Pura Taman Suraswati, Pasar Seni, souvenirs, Sanur, people, Indonesian people, Thai people. Thai girls, Indonesian girls, Balinese girls, Islamic clothes, Australian people, white people, Bahasa Indonesia, Indonesian food, Balinese food, chilli, Warung Ijo, Brazilian Aussie BBQ, buffet. Sky Garden, kebabs, Flora Hotel
Last month I travelled to Bali, Indonesia, in what was primarily a social visit, as I have a friend who lives and works there. It hadn’t really occurred to me to visit Bali before, being that is an uber-touristy destination, but I figured that I would see more than beaches and bars with the combination of a local friend and my own inquisitive style of travelling. And so it was. As expected, the main tourist area of Kuta didn’t hold my attention, but some other parts of the island – unfortunately time constraints limited me to the south – were charming.
My thoughts on what I saw of Bali are as follows. It is not a chronological travelogue; more like a scrapbook of impressions and recommendations. Continue reading
Filed under: Expat life, Outside Thailand, People, Culture, Nightlife, Fun | Tags: Thailand, expats, tourism, food, prostitution, Thai language, Beer, London, tourists, Thai people, red light district, Bangkok, work, Thai, Thai business, Western food, Thai food, Thai culture, Chang Beer, skytrain, BTS, Khao San Road, women, Sukhumvit, clothes, maps, cons, European beer, Europe, Heineken, Irish bars, Ireland, carrots, bread, Sukhumvit Road, happy hour, Singha beer, vampires, light skin, beauty, sunburn, prostitutes, weather
Everybody needs somebody… to look down on, and few lifeforms get less respect than the lowly tourist. In Bangkok, they are easy to spot – bright pink skin, dripping in sweat, wearing a Chang Beer T-shirt and scratching their heads over folding maps and the BTS ticketing system. Tourists are naïve, vulnerable, confused and trusting – everything that the noble expat is not! But to the average Thai conman and opportunist, every foreigner is a potential tourist, and to every tourist, anyone of their same colour is likely one of their kin. But the resident farang is a wiser, nobler and all-round higher class of foreigner, and we must flaunt our status with our behaviour and habits. However, this is something that can only be cultivated over time, with experience – unless you consult my handy guide to…
10 WAYS EXPATS CAN AVOID BEING MISTAKEN FOR TOURISTS
Filed under: Expat life, Relationships, Thai news, News, Travel, politics, People, Culture, Nightlife, restaurants, Health | Tags: Thailand, Travel, food, Thai language, Beer, Thai politics, Thai people, English language, motorbikes, restaurants, Bangkok, politics, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Sri Racha, anti-government protests, Chinese, beach, seafood, temples, hospital, Buddhism, swimming, Thai culture, children, islands, hotels, condominiums, fast food, Red Shirts, shops, Isaan, Ko Sichang, May 19, nighclubs, 7-Eleven, goats, tuk-tuks, Gulf of Thailand, Hat Thampang, Hat Thampang Bungalows, Paree Hut, Malee Blue, Benz Bungalows, Pan & David Restaurant, Rama V, palaces, monastery, salad, whale, diarrhoea, dogs, rabies, antibiotics, crab
Thailand’s image needs all the help it can get right now. Last month’s dramatic footage of bomb sites and gun fights across Bangkok played out internationally and many countries have yet to lift their travel warnings to the erstwhile Land of Smiles.
For sure, confidence has been rocked, and even beyond the photos of war on the streets, the reputation of Thai people as gentle, benevolent Buddhists has been tarnished by displays of downright ugly behaviour during such fractious times.
Whether the protesters promising – and almost succeeding – to turn Bangkok into a “sea of fire”, or their opponents cheering and swearing as the death toll neared a hundred, there was precious little positive humanity on display.