My Thai Experience...
Highs: The reclining Buddha at Wat Pho; the grounds of the Grand Palace; Thai massages; fresh
mangoes everywhere; boat ride to an island in Laos; watching the elephants paint and play music/dance
at Mae Sa Elephant Camp; the refreshing scented wet towels you're given before a meal; cooking class;
the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; sea canoeing through caves (especially at night); enjoying breakfast
while listening to and watching the sea.
Lows: Having to argue with tuk-tuk drivers that we did not want to have additional 'stops' en-route to
places that we wanted to go (we ended up just getting out and not even taking the ride); the flooding that
was happening in parts of Bangkok; getting to the Golden Mount temple only to find out it wasn't open;
arguing with taxi drivers about putting the meter on; thinking we saw the Emerald Buddha when we
Best Moment: To be determined...
Smells: Incense; street food (some pleasant, some not-so-pleasant).
Sounds: The high-pitched whistle of the ferry boats in Bangkok.
Sights: The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha (250 baht); Wat Pho (50 baht); Wat
Arun (20 baht); lots of high-end shopping centers; Night Market; Chedi Luang Wat (in Chiang Mai); Doi
Suthep (in Chiang Mai - 30 baht); Mae Sa Elephant Camp; Opium Museum.
Tastes: Pad Thai; steamed fish; afternoon tea at the Peninsula; tropical fruits (mango, pineapple,
custard apples, dragonfruit, etc.); exotic fruit salad with shrimp and peanuts; seafood salad; glass
noodles; khao soy; dried fruits; Thai coconut lemongrass soup; papaya salad; mango and sticky rice; fish
in red curry sauce; banana flower salad; steamed banana cake; sweet and sour seafood; pineapple fruit
shake; apple fruit shake; pad Thai with lobster.
Experiences: Thai massage at Thai Privilege (soooo nice!); elephant ride; ride on a longtail boat in
Northern Thailand; going to the markets in Myanmar; going to a Laotian island; going to a Thai dentist
for a teeth cleaning ($15); cooking class (about $27); scuba diving (about $100 for full-day trip); sea
canoing through caves (about $100); snorkeling ($23 with boat ride to Phi Phi Islands).
Purchases: A skirt; earrings; black dress; a quartz bowl; an old-style thingy that was used to smoke
opium (sounds worse than it is); earrings and a ring; another pair of sunglasses.
Street Food: Cut fruit; skewered things; mango with sticky rice; curries; crepes.
Funny Food Finds: McDonald's selling fried chicken and 'McRice' burgers where the patties were
made out of rice.
Western Companies Out Here: McDonald's; Swensen's; KFC; Burger King; Mrs. Field's;
Starbuck's; Au Bon Pain; Baskin Robbins; Dunkin' Donuts; Bud's Ice Cream of San Francisco; A&W.
Other General Info...
Visa needed? No.
Departure Tax: 500 Baht
Type of currency? Thai Baht. $1 US is equal to about 36 baht.
Wallet Friendly? The islands and Bangkok are not as cheap as someone might think. Northern
Thailand is very reasonable. Nice restaurants in Bangkok are cheaper than at home...but definitely not
'cheap'. Hotels were also not very cheap in Bangkok and Phuket.
Things Thailand Is Known For: Thai massages; great food; great beaches; chicks that turn
tricks; having suffered major effects of the tsunami.
Some Fun Facts: Thailand's name was formerly 'Siam'; the new airport in Bangkok (it just opened
in September 2006) is now the world's largest; there is a Thai Elvis in Phuket.
Costs: Around $1300