As you’re going about your day in Thailand it’s not unusual to come across the odd sign or two. And by odd, we mean odd. You become more and more accustomed to them but some never failed to make us smile. Here are a few of our favourites:
When Lucy came to visit us in Thailand, we experienced two weeks of laughter, culture and total chaos. Once we’d shown her the key tourist attractions, Lucy awoke on day 6, only to declare that today it was her heart’s desire to get a Thai tattoo to commemorate her holiday thus far. What would she get? “I’ll decide when I get there” was her brilliant response.
Currently working towards being in the police force, Lucy was pleased to learn that her favourite symbol from the tattoo catalogue stood for protection against guns… Perfect! And that’s what she went for.
The worst part about Lucy’s visit was her leaving, but at least we felt assured she was leaving safer and more protected than when she’d first arrived…
Knowing that we’d soon be leaving Bangkok to travel through Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, our Thai meals were numbered! There was no way we could leave Thailand without learning how to cook some of our favourites. With Tate in tow, we booked a day’s course at Silom Thai Cooking School, costing just 1000 baht each. This even included a trip to the market to buy all our ingredients.
When Jim Thompson arrived in Thailand in 1948, he recognised not only the beauty of the Thai people, but the beauty of Thai silk, establishing a business which allegedly saved Thai silk from extinction. Having seen stunning traditional Thai dress across Thailand, we were keen to visit his home and witness the elegant yet vibrant silks being manufactured.
His home was fantastic to look around; a complex of six teak houses set in gardens. The tour guides were really enthusiastic about showing us all the different artefacts inside and telling their colourful stories. However, we were marginally horrified to discover that Jim Thompson had been the proud owner of an ‘entertaining’ Chinese mouse house. Imagine a television, but instead of a movie, imagine a maze, and instead of watching actors move around, imagine watching mice. Yes, that was apparently a popular form of entertainment!
The gift shop was also a sight in itself: scarves, ties, clothing, handkerchieves, make up bags… our purses took a slight hit!
Whilst it was a pleasure to learn about the house, the silk and the history of the Jim Thompson business, most intriguing was the mysterious disappearance of the man himself. On Easter Sunday in 1967, Jim Thompson disappeared whilst visiting a friend in Malaysia. Following the biggest manhunt Malaysia has ever seen, rumours and theories about what may have happened to him during his weekend walk in the Cameron Highlands are still accumulating over 40 years later. His body was never found and no substantial evidence has yet led to the solving of the case…
Wheeled street carts serving Thai classics are an institution in Bangkok, but they are not always practical; stalls are usually perched on the edge of hot and stuffy roads with no seats and no comprehensive menu. ‘Thaifood Very Good and Very Cheap’ is street food presented as more of an alfresco restaurant; lines of benches sit either side of a small dead end street with waitresses and a full, open air kitchen.
Located by exit 3 of Phrom Phong BTS station, the restaurant does exactly what is says in the title. The Thai food is fresh and tasty, cooked fast, and is as inexpensive as any market food we have seen. It’s a fantastic introduction to Thai street food with pictures of dishes displayed on the walls and a huge variety to choose from, including a full vegetarian menu. Continue reading →
Other than ‘you must have one’, we hadn’t heard much about Thai massages prior to our initial experience. The first thing you should know about massages in Thailand is that they are not gentle.
The classic ‘Thai massage’ is a series of harsh (and sometimes painful) stretches and bends, rather than soft skin strokes. Whilst it may feel like you’ve just paid to be beaten up, you will feel ‘looser’ and more supple afterwards. If you are wanting a more gentle approach, try an oil or aromatic massage; but be warned that a surprisingly severe amount of pressure is still applied. Our most recent oil massage included small punches, clicking of joints, being kneaded with elbows, and a slap around the head. They will not only use their hands and elbows, but feet and knees too! One of us (Charlotte) dozed off mid-massage, only to awake and discover herself intertwined with the masseuse whilst being bent in half.
Secondly, Thai masseuses rarely focus on just the part of the body of which you have requested. Recently we have had the backs of our legs pummeled during a head massage, fingers pulled during a foot massage, and only today in the middle of a ‘light shoulder rub’, had the entire body pulled into a strange crab shape (Sarah).
There’s a bar in Koh Phi Phi with a boxing ring (why not?!), where tourists are encouraged to give Thai boxing a go. If they challenge each other, they’re automatically eligible for a free bucket of alcohol each, and on an island where buckets are practically the currency, you can imagine how popular this is! It was highly entertaining to witness the uncoordinated swinging of fists (the men) along with the competitive cut-throat kicking and scratching (the women). However, when we were treated to a real Thai boxing match with professionals, the drama, and obviously the skill, took on a whole new level. It was impossible to look away at this enthralling and artistically brutal sport, whilst you could feel the audience clench with each devastating kick. Though no matter what kind of a bloody, pulpy state they left each other in, we still caught them embracing and sharing a beer together afterwards…