YOUR FIVE SENSES IN THAILAND

You know; sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing.

No matter where you go, you have these senses involuntarily working, the only variable being: your environment. Every place has it’s own unique smells and sounds. One area, in particular, that I feel has the some of the most distinct stimulation is Thailand. When in Thailand, the {cool, shocking, weird, etc.} things you’ll experience on a daily basis will most likely multiply by three. It is an incredible place to get it all. From the chaotic cities filled with street life, markets, and transportation to serene beaches and national parks inhabited by some of the most beautiful lifeforms one could surround themselves with. There is always so much going on around you in Thailand that you won’t even know where to look. Your head will be on a swivel trying to take it all in, but be careful because you never know when a motorbike will come flying around the corner or the sidewalk will present you with a random 2ft metal pole barrier. Allow me to try and prepare you for what you might see, taste, feel, hear, and smell if you ever find yourself in Thailand (without spoiling all of the surprise).

SIGHT

What you’ll see:

Markets: Thailand is truly a market-based society. Night markets, food markets, flower markets, vegetable markets, you name it. You can catch them every day and night on just about every street corner. From colorful fabrics to food to just about anything you can imagine.

Artbox, a traveling pop up market in Bangkok

Artbox, a traveling pop up market in Bangkok

The "same same" souvenirs at the Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok-- the world's largest market... I just made that up, but it's freaking huge. 

The "same same" souvenirs at the Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok-- the world's largest market... I just made that up, but it's freaking huge. 

I'm honestly still not quite sure what they do with the millions of flowers they don't sell everyday... 

I'm honestly still not quite sure what they do with the millions of flowers they don't sell everyday... 

Market on an island in the middle of Khao Sok National Park.

Market on an island in the middle of Khao Sok National Park.

Okay. You get it. Markets are everywhere.

Temples: an endless amount of wats (term for a Buddhist temple.) Just google “what to do in Thailand” and you’ll see that about ⅗ of the suggestions are temples. They're amazing and colorful, but depending on where you are in your travels you may or may not be all templed-out.

Wat Po in the old city of Bangkok. All the tuk tuk drivers want to take you there. 

Wat Po in the old city of Bangkok. All the tuk tuk drivers want to take you there. 

A tiny back alley temple

A tiny back alley temple

Beaches: The beaches of Thailand are beyond beautiful and there’s an array of islands to choose from depending on what you want. Get the party in Koh Phi Phi, the chill in Koh Lanta, and a little bit of both in Koh Samui.

Sunset on Koh Samui

Sunset on Koh Samui

Hectic parties: Take a stroll or get down on Khao San Road, PVC, Soi Cowboy, or just about all of Koh Phi Phi and you’ll get what I mean. HECTIC. The party scene here is pretty crazy and you can find it just about anywhere, but make sure to check out the more low keys spots too because you’ll have a great time without drinking buckets (literally) of alcohol.

Strays: Lots of pups and cats. It’s actually pretty rare to see a domesticated dog, but no worries the dogs and cats in Thailand are very independent and know to stay out of traffic and what local stand will give them the extra chicken and rice.

Here, there, and on the tables.

Here, there, and on the tables.

Lizards and various other creatures: There are going to be lizards in your hostel, mainly your shower. They’re harmless. They like the dark in the day and light at night. You’ll see them climbing all over the lit up signs. Also, expect to see one or two cockroaches  -_____- But more importantly, you'll see monkeys and elephants!

Chillen in Khao Sok National Park

Chillen in Khao Sok National Park

Elephant Nature Park

Elephant Nature Park

And motorbikes: tons and tons of motorbike. Who’s on them? Everyone and everything: Smiling families of 5, dozens of chickens, racks of clothing, you name it.


TASTE
What you'll taste:

Rice: rice on top of rice on top of rice. white rice, fried rice, rice noodles (flat, skinny, vermicelli), rice pancakes, the list goes on.... Thankfully there’s a variety of different ways to eat all of this.

Street pad see-ew. A classic thai noodle dish made with a sweet soy sauce

Street pad see-ew. A classic thai noodle dish made with a sweet soy sauce

Pineapple fried rice

Pineapple fried rice

Salt:They really love their MSG.

What in carnation?

What in carnation?

Sugar: Carnation condensed milk runs the game. You’ll know what I mean when you get here.

Spice: Asian taste buds are on some other level adjusted to spice. Even when you ask for no spice or a little bit (pronounced nit-noy in Thai) of spice, expect it to be spicy. One thing I will say is that depending on how long you are here, in due time, you will adjust. It took me about 2 months to finally get down with the curries.. I still chug water after every bite, but they’re so good you can’t stop

and everything nice.

So.many.chiles.

So.many.chiles.

A Thai iced tea with a cup of condensed milk. So sugary. So good.

A Thai iced tea with a cup of condensed milk. So sugary. So good.

Fruit: On the healthier spectrum, there are fruit & fruit smoothie stands on almost every corner. Try it all. They’re delicious and cheap.

Literally obsessed.

Literally obsessed.

Come to think of it..This random bodega seems to actually have a wine selection...TAKE ADVANTAGE WHEN YOU SEE THIS.

Come to think of it..This random bodega seems to actually have a wine selection...TAKE ADVANTAGE WHEN YOU SEE THIS.

Mediocre cocktails, bad wine, and cheap beer: Unless traveling with a very high budget, this is what you’ll be drinking. Thai beer aka Singha, Chang and Leo are almost as cheap as water. The typical price is 40 baht.

P.S. Don’t order a bloody mary expecting a full on brunch cocktail with all the works because what you’ll get is vodka and tomato juice.

And motorbikes: Not going to lie, the pollution is real. You’re probably going to taste it and feel it in your lungs.

 


SMELL

Oh, what you're going to smell..

Waterfall & swimming hole in Khao Sok

Waterfall & swimming hole in Khao Sok

The smell: I really just can’t even begin to  explain it. You’ll just know when you get here.

Nature: Despite all the city pollution you will experience, there are heaps of places to clear your lungs and get a breath of fresh air. Just escape to one of the many mountain towns up north or the secluded beaches down south. There are hundreds of national park including forest and marine where you can smell the tropical flora, saltwater, and mossy greens. 

Sewage: Thailand’s infrastructure is a little different. You can’t throw toilet paper in the toilet which you can imagine makes the bathrooms smell a little worse. Just plug your nose.

Body odor: It’s a hot place….

And...Motorbikes: like I said, the exhaust is in the air. You can absolutely smell it.

 

 TOUCH

What you’re going to feel:


HOT: You’re going to sweat all day every day and most likely feel the need to take a shower or three. You get used to it, but don’t underestimate the power of the Thai sun. Wear sunscreen.

Massages: An hour massage can be as little as $5 US dollars. You can get a lot of them, very often. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.

One of the countless massaged we got. The King and I in Bangkok.

One of the countless massaged we got. The King and I in Bangkok.

The very salty water: It burns your eyes and dehydrates you the second you jump in, but it’s amazingly buoyant. The ability to float and get lost in the silence of the ocean here is so peaceful. If down south or on the islands, I’d recommend doing boat tour where they let you jump off in the middle of the ocean. It’s bliss.

Lurky drips and random puddles: You’re going to get dripped on and step in some weird unknown liquids. Just try not to think about it...

Motorbikes: Yeah, you’ll feel them too. If feeling brave, get yourself a motorbike and just go. It’s liberating. Tip: when parking the bike, try and leave it in the shade or you’ll really feel the seat when getting back on.

Mosquitos: Especially in tropical places. People walk around with welts all over their body. Its ok, you’re not the only one.


Hearing

What you’ll hear:

This is the construction that was happening right outside of our yoga class (a place that is supposed to be the epitome of peace and quiet) and yes, that is them spray painting the pillar... inside. Isn't yoga a place where you're supposed to be taking deep inhales...hmm safe.

This is the construction that was happening right outside of our yoga class (a place that is supposed to be the epitome of peace and quiet) and yes, that is them spray painting the pillar... inside. Isn't yoga a place where you're supposed to be taking deep inhales...hmm safe.

Random outcries in a foreign language: Hostel living while traveling can offer some very interesting experiences. You’ll hear all types of noises day and night. For example, this morning i heard someone throwing up. Ah, the community.

Construction: Always happening. Always dangerous. And always loud. 

Thai music: booming from all street stands, stores, tuk tuks etc.

Really loud boats: If you’re on the water in Thailand, you are going to hear the long tail boat loud and clear. And if you’re on a tour expect to scream to your friends or just enjoy the view. They motors are visible and very very loud.

Long tail in Khao Sok National Park

Long tail in Khao Sok National Park

Birds and cicadas: Thailand offers a ton of wildlife, but if you’re trekking you are absolutely going to hear the extremely loud cry of the cicadas.


So, there you have it, your five senses in Thailand. I hope you see, taste, touch, feel, smell everything you want to in Thailand! Take advantage of it while you can...