Final thoughts on our third visit to Thailand

Our last three weeks were spent in Thailand.  We did things a bit differently.  We were in no hurry to sightsee.  We didn’t visit the big Buddha on Phuket, we didn’t go to the national park on Koh Lanta, we didn’t go visit the James Bond rocks near Ao Nang, and we didn’t visit a single wat in Bangkok.  Nope, we lounged.  We lounged by hotel pools for hours on end and read.  When that got to be a bit dull, we went snorkeling or scuba diving.  And, when we got to Bangkok, we walked slowly through Lumpini Park and wandered around shopping malls looking at Christmas decorations.  So, we don’t have that much to say about our most recent visit to Thailand.  But, you know us, we always have something to say….

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  • As discussed below, the beach towns we visited each have very distinct personalities.  Don’t get me wrong — they all feel like Thailand but each in their own way.
  • On Phuket, we stayed at Kata Beach.  Nearly every single tourist was Russian.  If we ever again see an old Russian dude wearing his banana hammock (and nothing else) to the 7-11, it will be too soon.  And don’t get me started on the women who think their bikinis are appropriate attire for walking down the street (although I’m guessing Robert didn’t mind that as much as I did….).  Kata Beach is very built up and very touristy.  We would go back, but we would likely stay at a nice resort and likely only leave the grounds for dinner and snorkeling/scuba diving.  And, really, if we are going to do that, what is the point of flying all the way to Thailand???

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  • Koh Lanta is much less developed than Phuket.  It was much more our speed.  Don’t get me wrong, it is touristy, but it seemed like a place where real Thai’s actually still make a life for themselves doing something other than servicing the tourist trade.  Koh Lanta is absolutely amazing for snorkeling/scuba diving and, in fact, many of the tourists are there for that sole reason — the water is clear and the sea life is amazing.  Unlike Kata Beach where everyone is Russian, a huge percentage of the tourists on Koh Lanta are Swedish.  There are even two Swedish schools on the island so Swedes can take a month off and keep their kids in school.  How crazy is that?

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  • I’m pretty sure Ao Nang doesn’t exist for any reason other than tourism.  The tourists in Ao Nang are a healthy mix of different nationalities.  Oddly, the best food in Ao Nang is Indian.  Nearly all the cooks are from India and they kick out some delicious Indian food.  In fact, we ate more Indian than Thai in Ao Nang.

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  • Phuket was the only place we saw “fried” ice cream…No worries, everywhere had Nutella pancakes…Bangkok was the only place we saw fried scorpions and spiders.  No worries, neither one of us tried the insect delicacies this trip….
  • Bangkok is the only place where we have ever seen chickens climb a tree.  Seriously, they looked like they were having a blast.  Four chickens, playing in the trees, and making their funny chicken noises.
  • Thai 7-11’s are like the best thing ever.  The vast majority are clean, many are open 24 hours, and they have anything and everything you might need.  Oh, and they sell these yummy snacks called fried broad beans….Robert is going to have to learn to make those back home because boy are they good.  (And, a vegetable to boot!).
  • In a relatively conservative culture, lady boys appear (at least from the outsider perspective) to be completely accepted by most Thais.  And not just in the entertainment industry.  Working at the 7-11, waiting tables at a restaurant, etc. and generally just living life.  How wonderful is that?  (No clue if behind the scenes things are worse….).

 

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  • Some of the towns we stayed in were predominantly Muslim.  And, you know what?  You won’t find nicer, more welcoming, or more tolerant people anywhere.  We wish more Americans realized that…
  • Before this year, neither of us were huge fans of Thailand.  After this year, we plan to come back again and again…
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