Top 20 Things I Love About Thailand

A list of things I’ve enjoyed the most and will miss once I’ve left the land of smiles….(I will be attaching pictures….it is just that I’m currently working in Myanmar for a couple months (more on that soon!) and the wifi speed here is ATROCIOUS).

  • The FOOD!! Need I say more?
  • My students. At whatever school I’ve taught at, the students have been great and I really enjoyed teaching them
  • Koh Chang, my favorite place in all of Thailand
  • Lonely Beach, Koh Chang; where many days were spent relaxing and partying late into the night
  • Bangkok; I’ll miss the excitement and energy this city has
  • I spent a month here doing muay Thai training and for that it will always have a place in my heart
  • Chiang Mai. The laidback vibe, historical sites, and memories from the Songkran ultimate frisbee tournament
  • The temples….and a girl who .ibe, historical sites, and memories from the Songkran ultimate frisbee tournament own I dated on and off before it ended abruptly
  • Authentic muay Thai training; nothing beats it
  • The low cost of living
  • The women; I’ve dated a few Thai women and two of them were the most memorable women I’ve ever dated, for better or for worse
  • Cheap domestic travel
  • Driving a motorbike on a daily basis
  • The friends I made at camp
  • The cool season
  • Saritdidet public school, I’ve taught at 3 public schools, but this one was by far hands down the best in so many ways
  • My Thai co-workers, besides the Trat debacle, I’ve found them to be super helpful in every way, more so than what I experienced in South Korea
  • The abundance of hidden gems; forget the crown jewels of things to see, there are so many other natural, cultural, and historical sites to see that I’ve only really scratched the surface
  • The sabai sabai vibe of Thailand, this is one mellow country and I applaud it. Sadly, recent events and trends are beginning to change this
  • Low cost of rent, for $280USD you can get a decent sized apartment in a high rise building complete with access to a gym and swimming pool

With the good come the less than pleasant experiences, what I WON’T miss about Thailand:

  • The poor service at restaurants; probably one of my biggest pet peeves is having to wait ages for food with no explanation or apologies offered as would be the case in a Western country
  • The visa process to work here as a teacher is long and overly complicated
  • Tourist scams, foreigner pricing, overzealous vendors; anything that targets foreigners
  • Teaching agencies…..they are bloodsucking leaches who see teachers as nothing more than a paycheck
  • General low pay for foreign teachers; unless you are a certified teacher back in your country Thailand just doesn’t pay enough for most ESL teachers to stick around for longer than a year or two
  • Long bus rides
  • 711 food…..in smaller towns 711 might be one of the only options for quick/late night eating…

So what do you think? Is there something I missed on either list? Let me know in the comments below, cheers!

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A Day in Ayutthaya

Thailand is a Buddhist country blessed with an abundance of natural and also mystic beauty.  While Phimai Historical Park is arguably Thailand’s number one site to visit temples of breathtaking beauty and serenity, the sites to be seen in Ayutthaya are not to be missed either!

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Getting to Ayutthaya

The city of Ayutthaya is only about an hour and a half away from Bangkok which makes it perfect for a day trip or a stepping stone on the way up north to Chiang Mai or south to Bangkok.  Buses to Ayutthaya run from Mo Chit bus station and Victory monument.  There you should be able to get a van ticket for only 60 baht.  You can also take the scenic route by catching a train from Hualamphong station in Bangkok.  Tickets start as low was 20 baht!

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Getting about

Since the temples are spread out across the center of the city you will need to get some way to transport yourself around.  The cheapest but most time consuming way, because you will have to wait around and do some more walking, is to catch a songthaew.  These should cost no more than 10 baht a ride and there are quite a few driving around the city.  For those more physically inclined, and perhaps staying the night, you could rent a bike for a less than a hundred baht at most hostels or guesthouses.  If you prefer to feel the breeze in your hair, then you can rent a motorbike for a few hundred baht with a full tank of gas.  Then there is the option which I took, hiring a tuk tuk to ferry you around the city for a few hours.  900 baht for 3hrs is what I paid but split between a group of people it is arguably the best option after you have been walking around in the blistering heat and just want a break between temples.  You can get taxis, songthaews, and tuk tuks from the bus and train station.

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How much?

Farangs (foreigners) pay 60 baht to enter the different temple areas while Thais pay 30 baht, I believe.  For expats who work and live in Thailand I have read that if you can show them proof that you live in the country, like showing your visa or work permit, you can pay the Thai rate.

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Which temples to see?

Now this is a matter of taste, because I only had a day in Ayutthaya I chose to go to the four most popular temple sites but really you could easily spend 2, 3 or more days exploring the full extent of the temples and ruins spread out across the city.  Personally I went to Wat Phra Si Sanphet (the largest temple in Ayutthaya), Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit (which houses a large bronze cast image of Buddha), Wat Phra Mahathat (with a tree growing over the head of a Buddha statue), and Phet Fortress (great views of the river!)

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After the temples

I found Ayutthaya to have a real chill laidback vibe to it and definitely backpacker friendly.  At night a good place to go to is the night plaza where there is a market selling food, clothes, souvenirs, and generally the usual stuff you expect to find at a market in Thailand.  Nearby for dinner or drinks is the Cowboy bar and restaurant.  There you can get Thai and Western food at reasonable prices, it also has a pool table and live music.  For those wanting to go to a club or just have drinks, I recommend going to Zeedzaa Pub and Restaurant.  While calling itself a pub, it is closer to a club the later you go with DJs and live music.  There was a closed off room with a TV playing sports, which I guess was the pub portion.  No dance floor, but people start dancing at their tables once the beats begin to drops and the drinks flow.  I was the only foreigner there but I was made to feel welcome by Thais giving me cheers.  I will say that drinks were a little more expensive than I would normally pay (120 baht for a big Singha), but I was with a date so I couldn’t complain.

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If you’re wondering why this girl pops up in a few of the pictures, that was my Thai guide and date!

So I hope you find time in your travels to fit a day in to visit Ayutthaya.  I will say that you should bring lots of water as it can get very hot if you’re visiting during the hot end of the dry season (40 Celsius when we visited!!!) If you’re just looking for a day out of Bangkok, interested in Buddhism, or you like to see Asian ruins, Ayutthaya is just what you’re looking for.  Please comment and like if you found the article helpful for your future visit!

Next up I will write about how I got on at the 10th Annual Chiang Mai Ultimate Frisbee Hat Tournament. Catch you later!