Sunday, June 9, 2013

Final Thoughts on Thailand

We are planning on returning to Thailand after touring Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and southern China, but for now, we're getting kicked out (as we don't much feel like paying the fines for overstaying our visa!). Overall, I liked Thailand, but maybe not as much as I was dreaming about, in my last year in a cubicle. It was much more expensive than I thought it would be, which for those of you who know that I am a bit of a nut about finances, you'll know that can take some enjoyment away for me! Our impressions overall:

- The food was delicious (but often quite spicy). And when I would ask for something not spicy, it often came piled up with hot chili peppers, because clearly, THOSE aren't spicy!
- The customer service was hit or miss, and we're not sure if it was because it was bad, or there are just different cultural expectations. One oddly annoying tendency of restaurant servers and shop keepers is to stand about 1-2 feet away from you while you peruse the menu, so as to be completely available the second you want to order. And if you tell them you need another minute (in an effort to peruse in comfort), they might move to 3 feet away.
- Haggling for price was very difficult, largely due to the bigger-than-we-expected language barrier. When you can't joke or add levity to the negotiations (which requires a certain level of shared language skill), it becomes very hard to negotiate without feeling like a total ass. That and there are so many tourists that it felt like people were unwilling to budge on price because they knew someone would come along and pay it. Such as the photocopied version of the Lonely Planet guide that I wanted to purchase from a market stall...but the woman would not negotiate down her $15 USD asking price!
- The beaches are absolutely lovely, and there is nothing quite like scootering up to the beach with your honey, finding a beach bar to plunk down your clothes and jumping off for a swim in the warm water. Swim back to shore when you're ready for a fresh coconut or cold beer, and your day is complete!

Total Costs for Thailand: Our average daily cost in Thailand was $103 per day, which is higher than we were expecting (and we could have brought it down in a few ways). This included 3 nights at a splurgy (but delightful) hotel in Bangkok (for $114 per night), and the splurge of flying back to Bangkok from the islands, instead of taking the overnight train again. Avg daily cost of hotel: $36; avg daily cost of transportation: $18 (including trains and planes within the country); avg daily cost of food: $37. We certainly could have gone cheaper, but we had a very fulfilling and lovely 25 days in Thailand, and were able to see a lot that we loved!

See ya later, Thailand!!

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