March 07, 2015

Notes on Thailand (Part 3)

  • Weather
  • Air-conditioning
  • Clothing
  • Footwear
  • Beach/pool towels
  • Hygiene
  • Water
  • Food

Weather

It is hot, humid and sunny (Dec/Jan). 31°C easy. It will rain at some point, but it probably won't rain for very long. When it rains, it won't cool down - the heat just gets wetter. You get used to it quite quickly.

Air-conditioning

Pretty much everywhere indoors (including vehicles) is air-conditioned 24x7 (or at least when people are there). Exception: see Electricity in hotels.

In addition most places have several large fans going to keep the air moving and circulating. If there isn't a breeze, they'll make one.

Clothing

Did I mention it's hot? T-shirts/vests, shorts (if you're planning on visiting a temple/palace or similar place, they may require covered shoulders and long trousers. So take a thin cotton pair of jeans with, or better yet, buy a pair of appropriate jeans there.)

Footwear

Wear sandals/flip-flops that can be easily slipped on and off (since in many places you remove your footwear before going indoors. Exception: hotels.).

However: once I got a good look at the streets of Phuket, Samui, and Bangkok, I preferred to wear lightweight sneakers with short/athletic socks. Once you smell it, you'll understand. And when it rains, whatever is in those drains definitely comes closer to the surface. I didn't want to be stepping in those puddles with bare feet, or feet covered only by open sandals.

Sandals/bare feet for the beach is fine.

The drains in Phuket are often covered with plastic mats. Step over the drains/mats, not on them. One friend stepped on the mat/drain, and went right through, resulting in broken skin, injury and exposure to goodness-knows-what nasties, requiring a hospital visit (see Health and Safety).

Beach/pool towels

On the advice of a well-travelled friend, I didn't take any towels with.

Every hotel I stayed in provided bath towels, hand towels and face towels, changed as often as I required.

The Peace Resort provided pool towels by the pool, daily. Since it was about 3 steps down from the pool to the beach, they're essentially beach towels, too.

The Patong Beach Hotel provided pool towels in the room, and you could have them changed as often as you required. These I used by the hotel pool, and on Patong Beach. Since they'll just charge you if you damage/lose them (or any hotel property), they didn't seem concerned at all as I walked out the hotel with them on my way to the beach.

The Indra Regent had a pool, but since I wasn't there very long I didn't check it out. I don't know if they do provide pool towels, but they probably do.

And if you do really, really want to own a towel, then buy one there for a few baht.

Hygiene

Wash your hands with soap and water every time after using the toilet, no matter where you are in the country. This is good advice for life, generally, too.

In Bangkok, the air appeared polluted at times. I came back from there with a nasty cough, and a sinus infection. Next time, I think I may consider wearing a mask when walking out in the street. I saw quite a number of people wearing masks when out and about in Bangkok.

Water

All hotels advise you not to drink the tap water. They also all provide you with a couple of bottles of complimentary drinking water every day.

1.5L of bottled water in the superette cost around ฿15, IIRC.

Food

You will be spoiled for choice, from restaurants to street food vendors.

We found a gorgeous little place in the Paradise Complex area of Patong Beach where we ate several times. Here, a hearty meal for 3 including alcoholic drinks never exceeded ฿900, and was often closer to ฿600.

Restaurant service may not be up to your expectations in terms of speed, but it will exceed your expectations in terms of friendliness and helpfulness (see: The Thai People)

Try the pancakes on the street. I particularly liked how the lady making my coconut-and-nutella pancake, scraped the coconut topping out of a real coconut, and scraped the Nutella topping out of a real Nutella bottle. ฿40-฿60 depending on toppings.

Next up, in part 4: Internet, GSM/3G, Pharmacies, Superettes.

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