Thailand while South African
You are South African, most probably daydreaming about your next holiday, but a tad bit worried where to go with your *cough* weak Randelas? You deserve nice things too and Thailand is the answer! Well, if you haven’t been there already.
Let me tell you something, it’s not every day you come across a person who is really interested in knowing more about the destination they are visiting, besides the best restaurants, bars, beaches and shopping spots. Like most travelers, I found myself jetting off to Thailand excited to do and see all these awesome things people rave about. Boy! Did I see and do the most? The place totally lived up to its hype, however, more than just that there were a couple of things that stood out for me and thought I should share.
Respect and Culture
South Africans are generally respectful, bless African moms! As we embody respect we typically expect to receive the same respect we give right? Right! I was taken aback in Thailand simply because everyone is so friendly, what’s the catch? I kept asking myself this question. Uhm, well yeah I guess they don’t call this place ‘The Land of Smiles’ for no reason. I was at a clothing shopping and couldn’t help, but wish I could call the shop assistant aside on some ‘is your manager always this friendly or just happy to see my cash?’ The manager went an extra mile to find me the perfect souvenirs; it was genuinely a beautiful sight. Thai people really do make you feel welcome and overall make your visit worthwhile.
You can feel the spirit of togetherness; everyone is made to feel important regardless of their gender. In Thailand you don’t give anyone a pat on the head nor touch their hair, it’s considered disrespectful. You know in South Africa you can touch someone’s hair to see if it’s real or store bought? Don’t do it in Thailand, it is invasive!
Food and Drinks
Thailand is one place where you can never go hungry, there’s literally a street vendor in every corner and the food is dirty cheap. You know when you take a stroll in downtown Jozi and there’s a mama selling magwinya, a brother selling gizzards and a baba selling tripe? Bangkok is totally like that! The whole of Bangkok smells like Thai food, here I’m talking about aroma overload. Lemon grass, garlic, coriander, fish sauce? You’ll smell it everywhere; hopefully it doesn’t stick to your clothes (if you are lucky).
If you love spicy food you’ll definitely fall in love with Thai food, beer drinkers are also in for a treat because local beers like Chang and Singha are sold everywhere at a reasonable price. You know South Africans go to McDonalds after a hectic night out partying? In Thailand you make your way to 7-Eleven which is literally situated in every corner, all over Thailand – with their mouthwatering toasted sandwiches. I know right, a toasted sandwich at a convenience store? I was perplexed, but stuffed my face anyway after a hectic night at Full Moon Party!
South Africans generally want to relax in Phuket and shop in Bangkok; you know the famous spots in Thailand! They have over 1400 islands, yes you read right! Wait until you see Samui, Kanchanaburi, Krabi and more. Although Samui is fast becoming the go-to island in Thailand it’s still not as popular as Phuket. The airport on its own gives you assurance that you are in for an amazing time the minute you land in Samui, it’s really amazing! You can literally find your way around Thailand with a scooter, 250 Baht to hire for a full day. You can’t leave Samui without visiting the famous Ark Bar beach club, European style with great music, loads of party people and it’s right on the beach! South Africans have Shimmy in Cape Town, Samui has Ark Bar!
I also spent one night in Kanchanaburi and the place stole my heart. A lot of people never visit Kanchanaburi, just a 2 hour drive from Bangkok, you then hop on a long-tail boat which throws you right at those jungle rafts. You can sense the change in the air the minute you arrive, the place is very laid back and you get to connect with nature.
Very rich in history, with a village that will make you change your mind about your problems, they aren’t that big. People are living the simplest life, with less means out there, but they are very happy.
Always pack light when visiting Thailand – March through to June are the hottest months, the humid heat is on fleek! I had applied almost the entire bottle of sunscreen, but still got burnt, that’s how hot it is. Water bottles are readily available on the streets because they know you’ll need it.
- Currency – Baht
- Exchange rate – 1 Thai Baht equals 0.43 Rand
- Flights – Return flights from R7000
- Language – Thai