Before we get started, I highly suggest you grab a cup of tea; because this is one long post!
I’m not sure how we haven’t been here before, talkin’ about Thailand since its such a special place to me. If you didn’t already know, which lets face it – if you read my blog you do; I’m half Thai. If you didn’t know that then waaheyyy! You must be new. I’ve wanted to write about my experience growing up in two countries for quite some time but it kept getting pushed aside until I was contacted by Destination2, an online site specialising in long haul holidays across the world, one including Thailand. It was the perfect opportunity for me to mix my love of my country in with my blog… so here I am!
I count myself incredibly lucky to have grown up in a mixed family, being half Thai (from my mum) and English from my dad. From the moment I was born, passports were arranged and I was set up to spend the rest of my life visiting my family back and forth between both Thailand & England. It’s an opportunity some of my friend’s would never have had; I had been on more planes by the time I reached the age of ten, than I had getting the train… and whilst doing so I got to discover another culture, learn another language and experience some things I never would have done if it wasn’t for my family background.
I spent most of my time in Thailand as a young child in Tak Province in Thailand and saw things I knew normal tourists visiting the country may never see. You see, as a child with my Thai Mum I was part of the locals. I’ve never experienced the country as a tourist on holiday and thats why I love sharing my side of the story so much.
For once, we’re not talking about Bangkok, Phuket or any of the other famous cities you’ve probably heard of when Thailand comes up in conversation. We’re going to talk about the province where I’ve spent at least half of my life growing up; Tak is the name of a province in the lower North of Thailand where there are many historical remains (including ancient temples and architecture) meaning that there is so much to see and explore… Since it’s rarely ever in travel guides and online, discovering a place like this and climbing the mountains to visit some of the buildings are sights and memories you’ll be able to talk about and share for the rest of your life without somebody butting in “I’ve been there before!“.
It also has many natural attractions and forests with the largest remaining forest track in Southeast Asia housing many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, if you’re into this kinda’ thing then you’ll love it. The natural waterfalls and parks are incredible and sights I’ve never come across anywhere else in the world. Here, we’re also close to Myanmar (or as I know it: Burma) where there is a huge difference in culture, making Tak an incredibly mixed place. What I find the most interesting is that there is a bridge based in Mae-Sot (a district in the Tak Province) that connects Thailand and Burma together named the Friendship Bridge. Between both countries there is a river where small villages and houses are situated on the banks, referred to as ‘no mans land‘ since neither countries government ever claimed the riverbank as theirs. Imagine that?
Growing up witnessing some beautiful scenes is something I’ll carry with me everywhere I go. Every province in Thailand is beautiful and unique in their own way, from the tourist side to the local side of things, whatever road you decide to go down whilst visiting the country you will never regret it.
Moving on from all of my family memories and history that lay in the heart of Tak, I HAD to touch on some other cities we often visited. One in particular, Pattaya. We spent so much time as a family visiting Thailand that we always got the itch to move onto another place… Pattaya is one of the places we spent more of our ‘holiday’ time… lounging about on the beautiful beaches, getting on a boat to head over to islands that you can’t even believe ever even existed and eating fantastic street food. You get both the luxury relaxation and party scene in one here too. When the day is over, the night turns the city into something else. It’s 100% a go-to for anybody planning on visiting Thailand that enjoys a bit of both, or if you’re like me and prefer mostly to relax and enjoy time sight-seeing rather than partying all night and suffering for it the next day, then that’s perfectly fine too! Everybody you meet along the way are friendly and it’s a place that you won’t forget, I promise.
My TOP tips for visiting Thailand:
– BARTER! If you’re spending money at a market or getting taxi rides, barter on price. Settle for a fixed price before you take taxi journeys and make the most out of trying to get things as cheap as possible.
– EAT SAFE! Thailand is popular for its famous street food but sometimes you can be struck with nasty tummy aches if you’re not careful… So follow the big crowds and make sure you choose wisely.
– EXCHANGE RATES! Getting your money changed into Thai baht can be exciting before your holiday but only get whats needed to get you from your airport to your hotel, after that exchange the rest of your money locally. In the cities you’ll find booths dotted all over the place, in the rural villages; not so much. You will get more for your money exchanging in Thailand once you’ve left the airport which is a double winner… More spending money!
– CHECK THE WEATHER! Although Thailand is hot all year round, we are also hit with bad weather throughout the rainy season, including some nasty tropical storms. It can vary and come earlier or later but most of the time the rain is the worst throughout end of August to October.
– VISIT LOCAL & DON’T RUSH! You HAVE to visit the temples and all of the local landmarks, else what was your trip to Thailand for? Make sure you don’t rush your way through planning 100 things to do during your trip, enjoy yourself at a good pace and appreciate everything around you rather than cramming in too much and forgetting to stop, breathe and take in the surroundings.
–LASTLY: RESPECT OUR CULTURE! The people of Thailand are very religious, one tip I can pass onto you from being raised by a Buddhist family is to never approach anybody by touching their head UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. The head is considered the most sacred part of the body, and if you’ve watched The King & I, then you’ll already know this (and have good movie taste) This also includes pointing your feet towards people; anything we consider sacred including the Buddha and our King and if you visit any temples, wear something that covers your your legs. Smile, enjoy your trip and have fun. Thai locals love tourists and you will most definitely love them too.
You could easily google and find a thousand other tips for Thailand that will help you with a trip you’re planning but these are the few I always tell friends whenever they approach me for advice.
If you’ve enjoyed this post I would definitely be up for writing more about Thailand and my background growing up in two different countries and cultures, and speaking two languages.
Lots of Love, Debra-Bow xxx
*This blog post is very kindly sponsored by Destination2. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own and in no way influenced by anybody else other than myself.