The land of smiles
Updated: 6 days ago
On my birthday, I finally did something I always dreamt of doing but never found the perfect time.
I booked a flight, for 2 whole months, to Thailand, the land of smiles.
I have never been to Asia before, nor have I ever relied solely on myself.
I felt those butterflies tingling thinking, whoa... I'm actually doing this, no turning back.
The day I was at the airport, I thought I'd feel slightly afraid, but none of that occurred.
I was actually proud of myself, I took care of my accommodations, I researched all the dos and don'ts, and I had a good base of what to expect upon arrival.
I literally flew a full day, stopping at the Incheon airport in Seoul, right before arriving at midnight in Bangkok.
First thing's first, you go to those kiosks, you get a chip for your phone and you exchange some money to Thai currency.
After that was done, I hopped on a taxi, and got to my airbnb about 45 min later.
I had booked the most beautiful luxury condo there was in the suburban area of Bangkae.
Very good price of 500$/month with everything I needed. From a huge infinity pool to a gym, to local street food all around, transportation and the list goes on.
The host was out of the country but would always reply within a day time and he always sent his aunt to help accommodate me with whatever I needed.
My first week there was all about exploring my surroundings and settling into this brand new lifestyle. After all I'm there for a pretty long time and all I have is myself.
I had googled a whole bunch of basic words and phrases that were really helpful for me to get around and purchase food and stuff. The area that I lived in was considered suburban as I mentioned before and I really was a walking show 24/7. Seeing a tall white man isn't something mainstream over there.
People though seemed just so kind with full of smiles, some were shy, but I really didn't mind them staring at me all the type because I felt safe and knew they did it with a good intent.
Now let me get to one of the best parts, the food!
This dish is one of the usuals I would get... it would cost around 30 Baht which is about 1.20$!!
SUCH A JOKE! It's called 'sen lek' which translates to thin noodles. What's cool is you can take it to go or eat at their tables where they serve water and you have peanuts, chopsticks, and all sorts of spices for you to add to your dish. There's usually always pork balls, chicken, and different herbs and spices. I started eating this for breakfast as well, I let go of that cereal or just eggs type of North American style breakfasts. I even ate this shockingly delicious Vietnamese soup for breakfast which included liver and chicken legs. I know this sounds gross but I kid you not it was one of my favorite dishes to eat.
A trick to know where to eat is to just be very observant of the locals. See where they go to eat, if it's packed... that means it's clean and very tasty. If no one is there, don't trust it as it's probably not the best choice for you and you may get sick after eating.
Street food is literally the best food to eat, even if you're a picky eater, please give it a try. You will not regret it. It's the most authentic and economical food you will ever experience in your life!
You also would come across these types of stands where they grill different types of meat and add some sauces for you to dip them in.
Exotic fruit anyone? I ate such amazing fruit, dragonfruits, papayas, mangosteen, mangos, guava, coconuts, and durian.
Thailand is known for their durian. I've done lots of research prior to eating this, they're a bit pricey, and I was always waiting to find smaller pieces to purchase rather than a whole because of its unique strange taste, many people despise the smell and taste, and others are crazy for them. I finally bought one and it was about the size of a normal sized croissant. It took me an hour to eat that lol. It was so weird, the texture was soft and creamy, it tasted sweet and savory and sometimes slightly spicy all at once. I really can't explain it, it's the oddest flavor combinations I've ever had in my life. That's why I took that long to eat it haha.
I did try the dried out chips version which was much easier to eat but didn't taste like the real thing as much.
I loved getting different smoothies and juices. I had one almost every day... got to stay really healthy you know! And if you combine that with spicy foods you're sure to not get sick!
And in case you did, there would always be a 7Eleven nearby with absolutely anything you need!
Once you get to downtown Bangkok, you get so caught into the busy lifestyle. Thousands of people anywhere you looked, with giant streets everywhere, lots of traffic, LOTS of shopping and malls, food everywhere. Let me mention this, Thais LOVE to shop. There's so much of everything it's extremely overwhelming how huge these malls are. It's impossible to not find what you're looking for. Almost every mall has a huge selection of clothing stores, electronics, restaurants, supermarkets, movie theaters, all in one building.
Along the way, I got to make friends, work with people in the tv/fashion industry.
If it wasn't for them submerging me into the Thai lifestyle, I don't think I would of had such a memorable & great experience. I visited some well known clubs and bars, danced danced danced the nights away, would eat different types of street food, visited Korea town, which is very popular because there's some yummy Korean bbq restaurants over there.
I got to experience Chinatown as well. So many lights and signs everywhere.
No idea what it says but always pretty to look at :)
This here is the famous tuk-tuk. A crazy taxi ride I must say. There's flashing lights, no seatbelt really, but it's really fun to try at least once hehe!
Please note, if you're agoraphobic... Asia isn't for you lol.
See how many people there are? And look how many people are eating at this one place!
Again, be observant, that's how you know it's good food!
I obviously temple hopped!
I saw plenty of them. So many colors and sparkles.
You'll notice there are many elephants and buddhas in almost all of them.
This one here is Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Along the way I'd always find beautiful parks with ponds and exotic nature all over.
While in Bangkok, I honestly would walk for hours to destinations. I would still take the subway and buses to get to far destinations but there was just so much to see, and with all that free time, I preferred walking. My calves were rock by the end of my trip lol.
I even found some work while in Bangkok. Most were castings for shows and commercials.
One of my jobs was by complete shock. So a friend told me to download this app where casting directors write in group chats daily about different gigs. One of them I said yes to and so this woman calls me and tells me theres a casting tomorrow.
Tomorrow comes, I go, and I sit on a chair for a good 45 min getting my hair and makeup done.
I found it really odd because it should take 5-10 min max and so I asked this guy next to me what am I doing because I didn't really know what it was about only that it's something TV related.
The guy then tells me, "Oh, you're on a game show... you didn't know?"
I was like," What??? I had no clue, oh wow!"
I kept cool because my turn would come soon and I was so shocked but then I thought to myself... I'm on the other side of the world, this seems hilarious, even if I make a fool who cares lol. So I get on set and it's a charades type of game show; a Thai has to try to tell me what to do in English. It was one of the funniest things I have ever done, I was laughing throughout the whole time, I had to exaggerate some expressions and do random things but it was awesome to get to experience that haha.
Take a look below, I'm not lying :P
Catch my segment at 21:12 , you're in for a laugh!
In the picture above, this pretty much sums up my walks back home from the BTS and in the top left part of the image, with the yellow windows going up, that was my condo! Overall, Thailand has totally opened up my mind and soul. It was such an enriched experience.
I am truly blessed to have done this.
When people ask me anything about Thailand, I say nothing but good things. I had one of the best times in my life, the weather is amazing, the food is so flavorful and eclectic, the people are so warm and kind. I enjoyed it so much to the point I missed my flight back home!
I didn't properly say goodbye, nor do I think I ever will.
I would definitely live there if my first options wouldn’t work.
I left my imprint in the land of smiles, but Thailand definitely left one on me for life!
Hope to see you soon,