6 reasons why I love Thailand
1 YEAR IN THAILAND!!!!! Wow!
If you had told me a year ago this is where I would be, I would have not believed you!
I have to admit I am now in countdown to go back home. 3 months to go and it always seems that the last few weeks and days are always the slowest ones to go. By the time I go back it will be almost 2 years since I have been in Portugal and 1 year and a half since I've seen my family. Just thinking about it, hurts! I love traveling, but I am very much a mummy's girl and I can't get enough of her beautiful smile.
ANYWAY!!! Focusing on enjoying myself here and to help going through the homesickness, I constantly remind myself how lucky I am to be here, living one of my dreams. I am lucky enough to be able to come back as I've been offered another year at the school I'm teaching at. Stocked that a 3 month plan turned into a 1 year reality, second year coming! I have to admit I ABSOLUTELY LOVE living here and everything about Thailand. The only thing missing is my family really.
I've decided to make this post as a bit of a joke. Here are the reasons why I love living here, which are also thinks you should check if you're visiting:
1. Mango Sticky Rice
Well... I can't say much here other than TRY IT!!!!! It is such a simple dessert and yet so delicious. I can say that during this first year I have only eaten it a couple of times but I plan on not letting any opportunity slide from now on!! I keep thinking that one day I will have to leave Thailand and I will regret not eating one of these EVERY DAY! Simply put, you get a whole mango (or at least half) and rice with coconut milk. On top, you get beautifully crunchy golden fried mung beans and the whole thing combined is just to die for!! You can get it in different places and they range from 50baht to 100baht (1.60$- 3.20$). If you're in Bangkok, give this place a try:
Mae Varee Mango Sticky Rice (expect to find a queue)
Price: THB$130 onwards
Opening Hours: 6am to 11pm
Address: Sukhumvit Soi 55
Nearest BTS: Thong Lo (Exit 3)
2. ALL the fruits
Another thing I promised myself to enjoy as much as I can is Thai fruit. Due to the amount of sugar I tend to avoid fruit and aim to have it always just before my training or just after to restore glycogen levels. One of my favorite fruits is mango and it seems that ALL mangoes in Thailand are delicious and juicy! Having lived in London for over 5 years and complaining all those 5 years that the fruit was horrible, I feel in heaven here ahha! It was so bad, my mum used to go above and beyond to find my favorite type of mangoes in Portugal, and save it for me. Even apples were tasteless in the UK. Dear God! Where did it all go so wrong? ANYWAY!!! Needless to say, here in Thailand I've been indulging in all sorts of delicious fruits and another good thing about it is the variety. There are a bunch of fruits that don't exist in Portugal or UK. My favorites are mango, pineapple, jackfruit, mangosteen, rose apples and pink dragon fruit. But seriously! I haven't had a bad fruit here! Even the sour mangoes are good! I guess the climate is ideal to brew these amazingly sweet and juicy fruits.
Check this amazing list of fruits you should try when in Thailand, here.
3. Full body Thai Massage every week for 4.50$
Sundays are rest days. For the first 5 months of living in Thailand I was training twice a day, Monday to Saturday. Sundays all Muay Thai gyms are closed so it's always rest day. While I was living in Pai, the ritual was to go for a nice breakfast with everybody from the gym and go laze down at the hot springs and swimming pool. With work I had to relocate to Chiang Mai and had to find another ritual. Sunday is now - Massage day! Well... to be honest I also do it during the week if I feel like it! I remember being in the UK and looking through Groupon to find a discounted deal, and even then it would be something silly like £50. It is definitely one of the things I will miss the most about living here, how cheap and easy it is to find a good massage!
If you're in Chiang Mai, check this place out: Women's Massage Center - a place where the ladies working there are vocational graduates from the women’s prison in Chiang Mai. So instead of just having a massage, you are also helping these ladies develop their skills and ensure they have a profession to fall into.
4. Sun, sun, sun!!
It's always hot, and mostly sunny!! After almost 6 years in the UK and being, originally, from a hot country I LOVE THE SUN!!! It has such an impact on my mood and mental state. It just makes life easy too! You only need a pair of shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops!! Even during Thai cold season (when it was meant to get really cold..............) I was fine!! Let's just say I managed to get through it without buying a jacket!! T-shirts, a random long-sleeve and a cardigan, that's all I've got! And needless to say, it's pool time on Sundays!!
I have a scooter and I can drive anywhere I want. It is a massive sense of liberty!!!! It's so great I don't think I can ever be a tourist without one anymore. You can see so much more if you drive around. You get to explore less touristic places and just do whatever your gut tells you to! I started driving it here (not the safest places some might say..), when I first got to Thailand. A couple of friends showed me how to drive one in Kho Samui. I actually have a video and it shows how terrified I was. Fast forward 1 year and I'm driving in Bangkok!! I honestly love it! I am at the point that if I move back to Portugal anytime soon, I NEED one to get around.
If you come to Chiang Mai and plan on renting a scooter, please visit this hidden gem:
Huay Tueng Thao Lake (I promise you won't regret it!)
6. The people and the sabai sabai life
Last but not least (!!), the people and the culture are also a big part of it! Visiting other parts of Asia made me realise how different these countries are and how people behave differently. I remember coming back from Vietnam (and I love Vietnam) and thinking "Gosh, I love the people here in Thailand!".
Interacting with Thai people is mostly an easy and fun experience (a part from the odd occasion when you want something different from what's on the menu and they simply can't get it over their heads..). But it is also great to live here as a solo female traveler, with a deep feeling of security. I have had many occasions where I needed help and Thai people always helped me within minutes. I could list all these occasions just to give you a reason to laugh, but let's just say.. flat tire, dead battery on my scooter, no petrol (way more times than necessary), lost keys, etc.
The sabai lifestyle... you have to experience it to understand it. So, come to Thailand!!
I wish I had pictures with some of the great and sweet people I have met here but I always feel too embarrassed to ask and to be honest, the way most foreigners do it here, I find it very disrespectful.
There are so many other reasons why I love to live here but, enough about me!
Let me know what do you love about Thailand. What are you looking forward to see/do here? What would you like me to write about and what other things do I need to try here in Thailand?