New BudgetTraveller Intern Amy tells us the fun things to do in Thailand that the travel books don’t recommend..
1.) Go to a ping-pong show
Yeah, the idea of Thai women firing ping-pong balls out of their ladyparts is a bit grim. So is watching them fire darts, smoke cigarettes, draw pictures…the possibilities are endless, and get gradually more disturbing. Although I can’t deny the whole experience is seedy and a little uncomfortable, it is equally hilarious, and by far one of the best holiday stories I have to retell. Like it or not, the sex trade is a massive part of the Bangkok experience, and whilst I am NOT encouraging you to sleep with a ladyboy, being able to brag to your mates about having a ‘Hangover 2’ sexperience is priceless.
Top tip: to avoid being harassed by Thai prostitutes, take your girlfriend along to a show. They will be more inclined to leave you alone if she looks pissed off i.e. not open to a threesome.
No acting will be needed.
2.) Get a massage from an ex-con
When in Thailand, you will obviously get a Thai massage. You’d be a fool not too. But what you might not think about doing is visiting a massage centre that aims to rehabilitate prisoners. The best thing about visiting here is that not only do you leave the parlour feeling relaxed, but you also feel good about helping some women get a second chance in life.
Try the Lila Massage Parlour in Chiang Mai to look as relaxed as this:
3.) Go to Bangkok zoo
If you are at all concerned with animal rights, DO NOT GO TO BANGKOK ZOO. About a quarter of the animals are dead, or on the way out. But again, it’s kind of funny, in a heartbreaking and I-feel-bad-for-laughing kind of a way.
4.) Go and watch Thai boxing
The idea of sitting in a cramped, sweaty arena, watching Thai ‘men’ beat each other to oblivion may not seem immediately appealing, but the skill and art to the sport, along with the incredible enthusiasm from the audience, makes this a brilliant experience. Think blindfolded boxing, snake charming showmanship aplenty.
And finally… things you still shouldn’t do
1.)Eat fast food over street food
When you’ve been away for a while and all you can remember eating is noodles and rice, the temptation to go for a cheeky fast food binge is great. Can I please recommend that you resist…
Whilst my travel buddy and I never got ill from eating traditional Thai food in a restaurant or from street stalls, I cannot say the same for fast food. The day after a KFC my partner fell victim to a particularly nasty case of chronic diarrhoea in the middle of Bangkok shopping mall.
Top tip: Take the time to take a Thai cooking course… Save money by using your activities budget to cover your food as well!
2.)Ride a motorbike without practise
One of the most popular things to do in Thailand is to rent a motorbike. Sure, it’s an easy, fast and fun way to get around, but if you are going to rent a bike, I’d advise getting some practise in beforehand. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I saw hobbling around in casts and on crutches, and most of these accidents could probably have been avoided if the riders had been familiar and confident with their motorbikes. Traffic is hectic, with little to no regard given to road rules, hospitals are haphazard and grim, and most importantly, do you really want to have to cut your holiday short?
…and finally, never…
3.) Book the rest of your holiday through a travel agent in Bangkok
Whatever they tell you, there ARE hostels available, and you do NOT want a 5 day trek that will set you way over budget. Travel agents in Bangkok will rip you off mercilessly, so it’s better to book treks, tours and hostels when you get to your next destination!