1. Street Food
For two foodies, who are on the verge of resigning to the fact that we’ll never ever be fit given how we eat, Thailand was wonderland. The street food was cheaper than we imagined (40 THB for a noodle soup), and available in enough varieties to let you survive on noodle soup alone for the entire trip. It was fresh, filling yet light enough for us to walk around in the hot sun after lunch without feeling sluggish. It was quick, eaten at a roadside stall, while standing or resting on stools. Ah! The discoveries we made, the seafood, the pork, the egg. Unbelievable flavours. Then why would we have to hate it, you’d wonder? Because no two noodle soups were ever the same. And since we were always on the go, there was a slim chance we’d ever find the same flavour or dish that we loved the other day, ever again. Trying to communicate and understand specific ingredients would have taken years. So yes Thailand, we love your street food, so much that we hate it!
2. Cheap Shopping
We were prepared for the shopping. So much so, we only took enough clothes for the first 2 days, and carried two huge empty suitcases. The thing about Thailand is it’s an overdose. Honestly, there’s just far too much colour and variety in your face at all times of the day. Even for two indefatigable shopaholics like us, after a while, we’d find ourselves walking past malls in a bit of a daze, looking but not seeing. The shopping is cheap, knockoffs are a dime a dozen, it’s all trendy and gorgeous. Chatuchak had us coming back for more, as did MBK, Discovery and Paragon. But oh, such torture. To find such unbelievably cheap and gorgeous clothes, only to discover, their free size is the average Bangkok woman’s size. XXS- XS. About 4 sizes too small for me. Hmpf, Thailand, I need your genes before I can buy your jeans.
For an Asian country that’s full of the rituals of Buddhism and Hinduism, for cities that are bursting at the seams with locals and foreigners alike, Thailand manages to keep it pretty clean. In an almost surreal way. The subways, the lonely alleys, the street carts, everything was so spik and span, it unnerved me. It seemed artificial. How can it be that this country doesn’t produce any garbage? They’ve really got the recycling thing bang on, and it’s all a bit much to take in.
“You can walk into a 7-Eleven and pick a cold beer as you glug it walking down the street!” Was Charles’ first description of Thailand to me. I refused to believe it, not knowing that that was what we’d end up doing almost every evening. This was great for us, since we love our alcohol and were on holiday. But talking to one of our taxi drivers after a near brush with another car, really opened my eyes to how dangerous this can be. “They all like to ding ding ding,” as he said holding an an imaginary bottle to his lips.
5. Pink Taxis
Pink taxis. This city takes their neon-metallic-magenta hued chariots rather seriously! It’s hilarious, while really cool all at the same time. You’ve got all these men, some rather macho ones, cruising the streets, in hot pink taxis. We in fact had a blast in one, when the driver insisted we listen to (and dance to) Gangnam Style on full volume, in loop all the way from Wat Arun to Lumphini Park on the night of Loy Krathong. But it just doesn’t help the eyes that are already being assaulted with the colours of Thailand. Neon just doesn’t help.
There’s so much more to love and hate about Thailand, but these are our top 5. Do you have a love/hate relationship with any country? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to know and understand them!
Disclaimer: This list is influenced primarily by our experiences in Bangkok, Phuket & Chiang Mai. We could be making generalisations while calling it Thailand as a whole, but that’s Thailand for us.