As you know, I’m currently living it up in Thailand and I have so much to tell you guys I don’t know where to start so let’s just jump right in after a little disclaimer – we all know I’m not your typical ‘travel influencer’. I’m rubbish at posing in front of dramatic vistas with a kaftan blowing off my ass. I don’t have the patience to create lists like ‘Top ten things to do in 48 hours’. I can only tell you what I decided to do (often not the cleverest move) and write as though I’m e-mailing my besties to fill them in on what I’m doing. That’s actually why I’m still blogging, to be honest. I’m unable to write separate emails to everyone I love so I’m just dumping my kak right here so everyone knows I’m still alive and you’re all welcome to listen in.
So, how am I doing? Very freakin’ well! Along with South Africa, Thailand’s a country I love and adore so being able to spend more time here is epic. Whenever I’ve visited in the past I’ve always done hotels because they’re inexpensive, but this time round I wanted to attempt to be a ‘cool backpacker girl’ because it’s an experience I’ve yet to have so I booked into a hostel. Not a shared dorm (is jy mal), but a little capsule room with (gasp!) a shared bathroom. When I told my bestie Karisa about it she literally shuddered but it was something I wanted to do so at least I can say I’ve done it.
So, here I am, writing to you from my little hamster cage AKA Live It Up Central. (It’s a short walk away from the BTS sky train’s Chit Lom station, just two stops away from Siam and Grand Central where all the big malls are.) Being close to this area is important to me and the location you end up in can totally make or break your stay in Bangkok so read up on my tips for choosing wisely over here. It was R291 per night but to give you perspective my accommodation at my next (much cheaper) stop, Chiang Mai, will be R200 a night for a giant hotel room with my own bathroom.
The first thing I noticed upon dragging my plane-weary body into Live It Up was their no shoes policy. All guests just leave their flops and trainers lying outside sommer so.
They also have their own DIY laundry station, so you’ll find a bunch of clothes drying out in the yard. Being South African I couldn’t just part with my belongings, so I stuck my (faux) Nikes in my handbag and proceed to collapse in my room which is pretty much the size of a prison cell. I’m not too fussed, however, because I spend all my waking hours out and about, it’s super clean and has everything I need – i.e. air con, a comfy bed (two actually, it’s a double bunk), free super-fast Wi-Fi and plugs.
What did annoy me, however, was discovering my fucking Environ Dermalac AHA lotion had exploded mid-flight, soaked through my toiletry bag and wet half my clothing. Arrrrgh! (If you don’t know, Dermalac is a brilliant super sterk alpha hydroxy acid lotion that I use to strip off old self-tan.)
After dealing with that, I hit up the shared bathroom for a gloriously long shower with no clue in regards to its etiquette. Like, where do you put your clothes and towel while you scrub up? On the sinks opposite? On the floor outside the shower door itself? Again, the paranoid Saffa in me didn’t want to part with my belongings so I took them into the shower cubicle with me and smooshed them up against the door while angling the shower head as far away from them as possible. So far so good. But things soon get steamy and the dress I wanted to change into was getting damp fast. Arrrgh!
Thus, I exited the shower and attempted to make like I was in Virgin Active and just dry myself off and change in front of the basins. This was fine, right? I mean, what was I supposed to do? Walk to my room, past the German-filled common space, in my towel? So, there I was drying off my boobs when an Asian lady walked in on me and nearly died of embarrassment. Like, she literally almost had a heart attack and died. So ja. The shower situation is weird.
Later, that day I’d enjoy my second awkward moment. As it turns out, I didn’t scoop out all the acid-soaked clothes from my bag and unwittingly pulled on a pair of AHA-infused panties and hit the streets. This became painfully apparent when temperature’s soared and my vagina started to burn like the inner circle of hell! Like for realsy! At first it wasn’t anything severe. I started to wonder if I had the beginnings of a bladder infection from holding in my pee on the plane. But then the inside of my thighs, which were chaffing and dripping with sweat (sexy image, right?), started to sting and develop welts. It was then that I put two and two together and realised I WAS WONDERING THE STREETS OF BANGKOK IN A PAIR OF POISONED PANTIES! Like, seriously, people. Does random kak like this happen to anyone else or is it just me?!
I managed to slip them off in a side street, bundle them into my bag and get jiggy with the wet wipes that, mercifully, where also rolling around in my sakkie. I then had to shuffle around, one gust away from humiliation, looking for a street vendor selling Victoria’s Secret knock offs while resisting the urge to break out my hair brush and scratch away at my ultra-itchy crotch. (Can we get a #FML over here, please?!) When I eventually found what I was looking for, I slipped them on in front of the vendor lady who gave me a look of sheer disgust, but I total deserved it. I am a marauding animal abroad offending an average of two to three sweet little Asian ladies a day.
Flaming vag aside, I had the most epic day! I saw so much coolness and am quite drunk right now so I don’t have the patience for paragraphs so let’s slip into sentences.
Bangkok has a mini Harrods serving the overpriced ice cream of your dreams. (R34 a scoop which is no biggie for Cape Town but crazy for Thailand.) I tried the Strawberry & Scone flavour and it was the best thing ever.
You’ll also find a Hello Kitty House that’s on multiple levels with a café, a spa and every kind of Hello Kitty item you didn’t know you totally had to have!
You’ll find a Sephora in Siam Centre, which is amazing, but there’s another store called Eve & Boy in Siam Square (just around the corner) that’s basically the same thing for a little less.
I spent so much time in the latter I nearly didn’t bother with the former. I’m sad I did though because now I can’t stop thinking about this Tarte palette.
Also, another random fact – when you pay and leave they automatically hand you a micellar water-soaked swab, so you can take the ten million swatches off your arms. Nice!
The monster micellar was R251 which is a very decent price considering the size but you can find a zillion other brands going for a snip. For the record, you’ll find every single non-local brand you can get in South Africa in Bangkok. From Nivea to Maybelline, they’ve got it, plus a myriad of super cool brands you’ve never heard of. To get an idea of pricing check out Watsons (Thailand’s competitor to Boots) over here. In SA, a Maybelline mascara will set you back R150 to R160. In Thailand you’ll find it for R110 while their (awesome) local brands like Cathy Doll are R32!
To view more cool Thai beauty goodies pop on over to my Facebook page. I’ll be updating the album as I go.
Food-wise, the night I arrived I found King Kong, a rad Korean BBQ buffet, around the corner from the hostel where I could stuff myself on as many prawns and scallops as I wanted for R227. Soooo good, you guys! The next day, I discoverd a Sizzler in Siam Square, an American chain that reminds me a bit of Mike’s Kitchen in its heyday but waaay better. Sizzler is a nostalgic thing for me ‘cos when my family visited the states back in the day we went there a couple of times and, as kids, the unlimited chicken nuggets, soft serve and Gummy Bear toppings kind of blew our little minds. Thus, I had no choice but to relive my 12-year-old bliss at Sizzler Bangkok and had the best time everrrrr!
For just R53 (yes, really!), you can help yourself to as much salady things, soup and pasta as you like. I realise ‘salad’ sounds boring, but you had to be there. They have literally everything. Croutons, cheese, ultra-crispy bacon bits, beans, beetroots, a zillion different type of greens, dressed and roasted pumpkin mixed with quinoa… you name it.
Sizzler had multiple salad dressings and they all looked good, but I couldn’t be the savage who stuck her finger into each of them to see what they were like. So, I made up a quick salad and ladled a big splob of each dressing onto a dinner plate. (My poor, sweet, young waitress tried her best not to be all ‘woman, what on earth are you doing?’ but, at this point anyway, only just managed to conceal it.) It was this way that I discovered that Sizzler’s thick, creamy blue cheese as well as their garlicky Caesar dressing are THE SHIZZ and a terrible new obsession was born. Thus, my lunch consisted of a succession of several plates of singular items (beans, corn, pumpkin, croutons, whatever) each literally drowning in a mix of the two dressings. Every time my waitress came by I got a look. Every time I simply didn’t care. I soon lost all my senses and got to the point where I just started pouring my disgusting dressing mix into a bowl and started eating it like soup. Again, my waitress was inwardly screaming ‘lady, WTF!’. Again, I didn’t care. I had fallen deep into the Sizzler salad dressing rabbit hole and there was no coming back. Except I will be back. Possibly for breakfast. For dressing. (Again, do you see why I can’t be relied upon to create a ‘What to see and do on a 2-day trip to Bangkok’? My idea of Best Day Ever will never hold mass appeal.)
Another fun fact? Every time I got up to replenish my hideous dressing fiesta I took my handbag with me, refusing to just leave it on the table because again my Saffa-ness dies hard, so the manager thought I was doing a dine and dash. Twice.
Dinner was better. Or worse. Depending on how you view the situation. I started to feel annoyed with myself for being slap bang in a culinary capital surrounded by amazing local cuisine and yet I was shoving Westernised shit into my face. I wondered around until I found a back alley with two busy little tuis kombuis-style restaurants where everyone was local. Like everyone. I was literally the only Caucasian person and, while nobody actually gaped, I was subject to a room full of curious eyes. This has never bothered me, however. I’ve been in situations like this before (hello Phu Quoc!) and always enjoy the novelty.
While the menu had some English on it, nobody really spoke it but ordering up a Chang beer was easy enough. (‘Chang, kruna!’ = Chang, please! = only Thai phrase you’ll ever need, along with ‘sawadee ka’ which is hello.) Alas, it turned out to a whopping 620ml bottle as long as my torso – the only kind they sell. Oops! I also managed to order a spicy green papaya salad, possibly my fave Thai dish in the world, and it was great. Emboldened, I then tried to order something warm, like a curry, but these where all in Thai and nobody could understand my questions. I eventually just pointed at something and hoped for the best. What arrived, however, was an initially terrifying shock – some kind of crispy fried marine animal skin in a spicy red Thai curry!
Before leaving, I spoke about how it’s important to take a bite out of life, particularly the unexpected bits, as it’s the only way to find out if it’s something you might like. And now I had to put my money where my mouth was. Especially since everyone was watching me. Fortunately, the mystery dish turned out to be pretty delish. I still have no idea what it was. Fish skin? Eel skin? But it was awesome. And saucy! And hot! With a nose dripping snot, I then tried to order up egg fried rice and had to resort to getting up to cluck, flap and strut before pretending to lay an egg and pointing at a bowl of regular rice on the table behind me. (They clapped!). The resultant order was very, very literally – rice with a fried egg plonked on top of it – but I ate it feeling happy.
Life is now very weird but also wonderful. Sure, I think about ‘home in Cape Town’ and then feel freaked out that it doesn’t actually exist anymore. I only have a storage unit full of whatever I didn’t sell and a suitcase full of possibly more AHA-addled clothes. But I’ve also got a beautiful blank space to fill in with lots of new, new, new. When I finally returned to my hostel I kicked off my flops and was just about to slip them into my bag. But then I stopped and left them on the steps.