So here’s the silly yet obligatory blog post about what we’ve found to be essential in Thailand.
Flip flops – regular shoes, or anything you have to tie or buckle, are completely worthless when you have to take off your shoes every time you enter a home/temple/whatever is considered indoor space. Besides, it’s way too hot to wear regular shoes. I actually wish that I had a pair of Crocs or something similar – they would have made me feel a bit safer when I was hauling logs up the hill or hammering bamboo stakes into the ground.
Packet of tissues – for the toilet. It’s almost never provided as people just wash themselves. I suppose perching/squatting skills are also required but it’s something you learn to do after a while.
Hand sanitizer – soap in the bathroom is also a rare beast.
Phrases – We’ve managed to learn how to say “Hello” (sawadee ka/kup), “Thank you” (khab khun ka/kup), “Delicious” (aroy or say ap depending on the province) “How are you?” (sabaidee mai), and “Good night” (fun di). Counting would be nice too but gesturing and pantomiming seems to work OK. Next phrase to learn: “Where is the bathroom?”
Mini wash board – we picked this up at muji right before we left. when doing your own laundry, it’s definitely handy to have to get stains and stubborn crap out of your clothing.
Extra cloth bags – great for collecting your laundry in, extra shopping bags, general carrying bags. And they fold down so small that it barely takes up any room in our suitcase.
Motorcycle skillz – If someone offers to lend you a motorbike so you don’t have to walk two hours to the internet cafe, you say “yes sir!” and hop on the bike. Because of course you know how to use it!
Bug spray with DEET – yes, I know you are saying, “DEET? Really? Isn’t that stuff poisonous?” Of course it is. But after being bitten I don’t know how many times in a single afternoon to the point where my ankles got swollen, I am totally going there.
Headlamp – Frees up your hands to carry stuff while still being able to walk back to your hut without tripping on loose adobe bricks.
Immodium/traveler’s diarrhea pills – for when street food beats you into submission.
Linen – loose clothing made from linen rules. Shirts, pants, skirts. It breathes, wicks away sweat, and then you don’t have to look like a schlubby American. It’s good for working outside and going out to dinner. And you can pick it up pretty cheaply here.
What we didn’t need:
Three pairs of jeans – jeans are a pain in the ass to wash by hand. And three is just too many and too heavy.
Eight books – god, what were we thinking? Yes, two guidebooks but we’re going to leave at least half of the rest of the books at Pun Pun.
Malaria pills – our doctor will probably officially not agree with us, but really, NO ONE takes malaria pills here and there is no malaria afaik. And we’ve been in the sticks most of the time we’ve been here and have been eaten alive by mosquitoes and I haven’t died yet, last time I checked. Not that we are giving you any kind of medical advice.
iPhone – I’ve used it exactly once to convert farenheit to celsius. So far it’s been deadweight but maybe it will prove to be useful as a translation tool in China.
Wayne will probably think that we didn’t need a lot more stuff than I’ve listed because he’s carrying the big backpack. 🙂
What I could have used more of:
Tank tops/wife beaters. I only brought two and I should have brought four – I usually wear it under a loose shirt to absorb the sweat so I only have to wash the tank top and I can wear the loose shirt multiple times before it needs a wash.