17 hours ago
Monday, June 30, 2008
There are, in my mind, a few essential things needed when you come to Thailand. You might not agree with me on all of them but these are the things I use on a daily basis.
1. an umbrella. This may not seem very important in a place that has such lovely weather. But mine gets carried around with me everywhere for a reason. In the rainy season there are always sudden unexpected down pours (so pays to expect them at all times). In all other seasons it's pretty hot and sunny and you are half as particular as I am about my skin, you'll be wanting to carry a brolly with you on these days too. It functions as your own personal shade and stops you getting burnt. A lot of women (and men!) do it to so don't worry about looking odd or out of place (Westerners see wrinkles as the first sign of ageing but for Asians it's skin discolouration and freckles so they stay out of the sun to avoid it happening early). If anything you'll fit in more. I even take to the beach with me so I can go for walks and always be in the shade.
2. a fabulously huge sun hat. This does the the job of keeping me out of the sun when my umbrella isn't practical, like on the ferry and sitting outside to eat. Plus it makes me feel ultra glamorous. Nothing bad about that.
3. a gorgeous pair of bathers. This is actually something I don't have yet but I'm totally on the hunt for a great pair. I've always thought vintage style bathers are far more alluring than modern ones. I have my eye on these, these and these. Oh and these. So pretty, too hard to chose.
4. long sleeved cover up. This is important for a couple of reasons. It gives you instant skin coverage in case you are getting too much sun (if you haven't noticed, I'm obsessed with keeping out of the UV). The other reason is, when you go into a lot of temples, you are not allowed to show your shoulders, sometimes even your arms*, because you need to demonstrate modesty to for the monks. But wearing this all day in the sweltering high Thai heat is both unpractical and unnecessary. Just pop the shirt in your bag and take it on and off as needed. Much better than the hassle and ick factor of borrowing clothes fro the temple.
*you'll also need to be wearing long pants/a skirt. This goes for guys too. Can't be showing those offensive ankles.
5. sunglasses. A MUST. You'll notice Thai people generally don't wear them. In fact, I have been made fun of quite a few times by Thai's for wearing mine "Hello, can you see me? ahahahahah!!". But I can't leave the house without them. What's the point of being all squinty all the time. All it does is give you wrinkles.
6. an adorable coin purse. You will accumulate a silly amount a coins. I find most purses and wallets are not equip for large amounts of shrapnel. I always like to use up my coins and give exact change (it's part of how I've been learning to count in Thai but more on that later). So my coin purse is invaluable. I use it so much, it's worn a hole in it.
7. high high high SPF sunscreen. I know I sound like a broken record (protect your skin RAAAAHHH) but it really is very important. The amount of foreigners I see, especially at the beach, burnt to a crisp is unbelievable. It's just soooo bad for you people. CANCER! I put sunscreen on 30 minutes before I leave the house no matter what I am doing or where I am going. At the beach I reapply it every hour and as soon as I get out of the water. Your skin will thank you.
8. face wipes. These are mostly a must for Bangkok. All the grime and filth in the air can really ingrain itself in you skin and it feels wonderful to was that muck off. These little babies just make it easy. They are also super convenient for the beach. TIP: keep then in the fridge for maximum refreshment, especially if you got to much sun at the beach (naughty naughty).
9. water and plenty of it. I think that explains itself really.
10. flat shoes. I walk everywhere. Walking around in high heels in Bangkok is a death sentence for you ankles. The pavement is all over the freaking place. Crack, holes, grates that are half fallen in, you name it I've seen it and walked over/around it. So if you're going to walk anywhere in BKK flat shoes are the safest and most comfortable option.
11. a hand fan. In case you haven't noticed yet, Thailand is freakin' hot. And not just hot, humid. So most foreigners sweat like pigs on spits. Fanning yourself just takes the edge off and stops you from looking like a drowning victim.
12. peppermint tea, my secret weapon. Don't get me wrong, Thai food is delicious. But it can upset you stomach like nobodies business. Not because of food poisoning but because of the spices. Most people just have a little trouble digesting so much ginger, garlic and chili. It can result in a painfully bloated belly. To counter this, I keep a huge jug strong, cold peppermint tea in the fridge. Fixes it up in no time. Brew some the night before in your hotel room and carry it round in a water bottle. You wont regret it.
Is there anything you think I should add?
This is completely gratuitous but I am completely obsessed with Polyvore. I would love to wear this to the beach! I consider that to a Thailand essential. Tehehehehehehe.