Today I’m starting a new series on the blog, where I invite people from all around the world to tell us a bit about the places they live in. I’m aiming to get to know little parts of the world through the eyes of the locals and maybe to be able to have some authentic experiences if we get to visit those wonderful countries or cities!
For the first post, I have chosen Thailand, as I am fascinated by its blue water beaches and by the craziness of Bangkok and I’m planning to visit it in the near future! I want to thank Lauren for taking time to answer my questions. So let’s get to know Thailand better!
1. Let’s get to know you better: where are you from and what are you doing now in Thailand?
I am a 26-year old travel blogger all the way from sunny South Africa! My cousin and I have recently started a blog to record our independent travels across the world. The other main aim of the blog is to create more South African viewpoint content aimed at encouraging more of our brethren to travel and advice around the mounds of visa paperwork we have to get around for most destinations.
I have been living in Thailand full-time for 2 months, after falling in love with the culture and people when I visited in 2015. At the moment, I’ve decided to put my TEFL qualification to good use and spend a semester teaching English in a semi-rural town, 45-minutes outside of Ubon Ratchathani.
2. What do you like the most about Thailand?
The number one thing that has drawn me to Thailand is the food. After taking a cooking class here during my first visit I have been obsessed. My whole cooking style has changed and I challenge myself on a weekly basis to amp up the spicy factor in hopes of one day being able to eat a papaya salad without crying on the inside.
Besides food, I really love the rich history the country has to offer. I am a huge history nerd and a perfect day of exploring for me consists of lots of temple hopping, museums and art galleries.
3. Let’s suppose a very good friend of yours will come visit Thailand. Could you please make a few days program to include all the must see places?
- Elephant Nature Park: it is an ethical sanctuary that doesn’t allow you to ride elephants.
- The Famous White Temple Wat Rong Khun.
- Sunday Walking Street Market: get an on-the-street massage, indulge in some of the best street food and find beautiful trinkets to take back home.
- Monk Chat: meet local monks and learn more about Buddhism and Thai culture while helping them practice their English. Plus it takes place in the beautiful Wat Suam Dokm temple.
- Take a Thai cooking class
- Visit the famous backpacking Khaosan Road
- Take a tour of the Bangkok National Museum to learn more about Thai art and history
- Visit the Grand Palace and the neighbouring Wat Pho
- Island hopping to party on Phi Phi and relax on Railey!
- Explore Phang Nga Bay and it’s beautiful limestone cliffs
- Experience Bangla road nightlife
4. What touristic attractions in Thailand you think are a bit overrated?
That a trip to Thailand is not complete without riding an elephant. It is time for travelers to wake up and realize what a cruel practice this is and that it is not worth that selfie. Elephants do no naturally allow humans on their backs, they have to go through the “crush” at a very young age that involves the baby elephant being confined to a small cage and tortured until it’s spirit is broken. Any attraction that uses animals for human entertainment and promotes riding an elephant should be avoided at all costs.
5. I think you already had some time to integrate through the locals. Could you give us some advice to be able to know more about their preferences?
- The most important part about travelling and living in Thailand is to know that there is a “foreigner” price. This is especially true if you are going to be travelling in the south. Learn to speak some basic Thai before arriving so you can haggle confidently and avoid being ripped off.
- Food that you should definitely try is the mango with sticky rice, Som Tam and Pad si-io!
- If you want to get away from all the backpackers, avoid the Khaosan Road hangouts and go off exploring. You are bound to find a small Thai restaurant or bar and get a chance to interact with the locals.
- Plan the timing of your travels and go to one of the big music festivals like Road to Ultra Thailand! It’s a great way to see how Thailand throws music festivals and interact with the young and fashionable crowds of larger cities like Bangkok. There is a small foreigner crowd that attends these events as well so it’s a great way to meet other travellers or expats living in Thailand!
Lauren is the co-founder of Wanderlust Movement. When she isn’t writing about her adventures around the world, she is preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Or stalking penguins.
If you want to find more about Lauren and her amazing experiences in Thailand, don’t hesitate to follow her: