What to pack for Thailand

A recent article in The Daily Telegraph called What to pack for Thailand came up with the following list:

1. A good rucksack
2. Insect repellent
3. Sunblock
4. A money belt
5. Walking shoes
6. Sandals
7. Lightweight shirts and trousers
8. A light scarf (sarong)
9. Lightweight towel
10. Antibacterial wipes
11. Hair conditioner

Our list would be:
1. A good rucksack (daypack)
2. Insect repellent (especially during rain season)
3. Sunblock
4. A money belt
5. Walking shoes
6. Flip flops aka slippers
7. Lightweight shirts and trousers
8. A light scarf (sarong)
9. Lightweight towel (big)
10. Microfibre towel (small) (very useful to protect your neck from sunburn)
11. Small foldable umbrella (especially during rain season)
12. Rain poncho (especially during rain season)
13. MP3 player (if you are a music lover)
14. Blue tooth speaker (if you are a music lover)
15. International driving licence
16. Credit card (as a backup for a debit card failure)
17. Buff multifunctional scarf
18. A piece of rope
19. Duct tape
20. Instant glue (If duct tape fails to do your emergency repair)
21. Travel guide (Lonely Planet, rough guide etc.)
22. 3 way electric plug (2 extra sockets for charging your electronic devices)
23. Camera tripod (better pictures and selfies with self-timer)
24. Rubber wash bowl or bucket (if you want to do an emergency hand wash of your clothes)
25. Ear plugs (when staying in a hostel)
26. Portable luggage scale aka travel scale (If you like to buy tons of souvenirs or cheap clothing)
27. Flight bag; a thin sleeve that you put around your backpack or suitcase that act as a protective waterproof layer to catch dirt. Luggage handling is often under high time pressure and done very rough and disrespectful.

7-Eleven and other shops 
A lot of items like ear plugs, scotch tape, instant glue, shaving foam, small washing powder, toothbrush etc. are also for sale at the 7-Eleven or Mini Mart stores. They are literally located on almost every street corner in Thailand. Flip flops, light weight trousers, light weight T-shirts and a small folding umbrella can also be bought at shops and street vendor stalls on the roadside. Often for much lower prices (100 – 200 bath) then in visitors their home counties. Be aware of a poor quality. When buying flip flops it’s wise to buy instant super glue at the 7-Eleven. Usually they are glued together with water based glue that will dissolve after getting wet again. In case of a plastic disposable rain poncho it is best to look for a big western size made from a slightly thicker plastic back home. The disposable rain poncho’s sold in Thailand are usually from a poor thin quality and too small to cover a tall western person.

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Super power glue (instant glue) from 7-Eleven for all your repairs.

Some other ideas about what to pack and what not can be found in this blog from Thailandredcat.com: Your Backpack for Traveling in Thailand.

French army F1 backpack

The French army F1 backpack was in use till the mid 90s. Nowadays you can still find them in many (online) army surplus shops. Main reason for that is because they are extremely durable and made out of tough heavy duty materials. This backpack is super strong and won’t disappoint you.

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The French Army F1 backpack can be extended with a chimney. That’s why the closing straps are extra long. Source: www.global.rakuten.com

The French army F1 backpack is compared to a modern lightweight backpack a bit heavy (2,2 Kg) and a bit uncomfortable. Actually it is more a very luxury duffel bag. For example; it doesn’t have side pockets and it has grip handles on both sides. Besides that you can also wear it on your back.

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The (British army) Rucksack Other Arms vs The Osprey Porter

The Rucksack Other Arms from the British army and the Osprey Porter are both “single” compartment backpacks where you can hide the shoulder straps. This allows you to use it as a hand carrying bag. Both the backpacks are not very high compared to their width.

If you spend most of your time carrying your luggage at your back when hiking or going to the woods and mountains, then a real backpack is most suitable. If your backpack spends most of its time in a luggage compartment of a bus, train, air-plane, mini van, taxi etc. then a single compartment bag with no extra straps or side pockets is more suitable. This setup comes close to a suitcase that you carry on your back.

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Chillax Neighbourhood

This is the neighbourhood in front of the Chillax Resort.

Chillax Resort www.holidaycheck.de
The cosy neighbourhood in front of the Chillax Resort hotel. Source: www.holidaycheck.de

www.chillaxresort.com
www.facebook.com/ChillaxResort

The area is very close to the Khaosan Road but much more quite and relaxed. The area sees almost no traffic because it is tucked away from the big main road. It is almost like a small village inside the big city.

Chillax Resort 03 www.macontour.wordpress.com
While Chillax Resort is pure luxury the rest of the neighbourhood is basic and more authentic. Source: www.macontour.wordpress.com.
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The Chillax Neighbourhood is in walking distance of the famous Khaosan Road.

The area is full with small coffee shops, foot massage shops, backpacker hostels and small (street food) restaurants. At the “entrance” of the area you’ll find the more upscale Nouvo City Hotel and a 7-Eleven supermarket for all your necessary supplies. One street food style restaurant that is receiving very positive reactions for their high quality sea food is Jokphochana Restaurant.

Other hotels in this neighbourhood are:
Nouvo City Hotel
The Glory Hostel
Back home backpackers
Cow Hostel
Love hostel and cafe
At Phranakorn Inn
Full Hostel
The Rajata
Samsen Sky Hostel
Samsen 360 Hostel
The glory of Samsen

As you can see from the names of the hotels, this area is on the Samsen Road. More precisely; the southeast side roads (soi) 2, 4, and 6.

Cillax neigbourhood 2
Source: www.nouvocityhotel.com

https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=584901045040623&id=117658675098198

Coffee culture in Thailand

Royal Projects
The relatively cool mountains in the north of Thailand (close to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai) are very suitable for coffee and tea production. The royal family launched several projects to support the hill tribes who lived in these mountains. One of the things was the introduction of coffee growing as a replacement for the opium growing. The small coffee farms try to focus on the production of high quality (single estate) coffees rather than big volumes of cheaper blend coffees. Some brands are Doi Tung, Phu kha, Doi Chaang, Nacha Coffee and Akha Ama.

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Royal Project Coffee as sold in Royal Project product shops across Thailand. Source: www.thaiorganiccoffee.com

More info about Thai Royal Projects
Travel review by Mark Wiens: Doi Chaang – How To Visit Thailand’s Coffee Paradise.
Travel report: Coffee Journey: A tour to a remote coffee village in Thailand.

Coffee shops
Coffee shops in Thailand can be found in all sizes and shapes. From simple street vendors to luxury bakeries with a shady garden. One of the biggest Thai coffee shop chains is Black Canyon Coffee. Besides coffee you can also buy food here. When you are exhausted from the heat, look around for a shop with a glass front window and door. This is very often a coffee shop with air conditioning inside ! Sometimes you can also recognize coffee shops by the drying of used coffee powder outside the shop. This is used as a natural skin scrubbing agent. Especially in the smaller streets (sois) this can be seen.

Top 5 Specialty Coffee Shops to Visit in Thailand.
Best little coffee shops in thailand.
The 8 best coffee shops in Bangkok
Top 10 coffee shops in Chiang Mai, Thailand

 

Picture source: GRAPH CAFÉ in Chiang Mai.

Iced coffee
Iced coffees in Thailand are usually prepared with condensed milk and a lot of sugar. It is so popular that there is even a page about it on Wikipedia. Pailin “Pai” Chongchitnant from www.hot-thai-kitchen.com shows how you can prepare these coffees by yourself.

 

 

Canned and instant coffee from the 7-Eleven supermarket
In every supermarket from 7-Eleven you can buy instant coffee and canned ice coffee. Usually it comes with milk and lots of sugar.

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Canned ice coffee. Source: Tripque

More information:
Coffee culture in Thailand blog by www.medium.com

Multi Functional scarf, Head Wrap, Wrist band

In Thailand it can be hot and sweaty. A light weight thin piece of fabric can absorb that sweat around your head of wrist. On a motorbike you can use it as a scarf to protect your mouth from flies and dirt. In busses it can be chilling cold because of the airconditioning. Then you can use it as a scarf to give you some extra warmth. When sleeping in a bus or hostel you can use it as a blind coffer for your eyes. Also suitable for naughty sex games.

http://thailandoutdoorshop.com/catalog/product/view/id/7015/s/buff-thailand-outdoor-club-limited/

https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/multi-function-head-wrap-solid-colour/10561?ref=proper-military-gear

(Dutch) foldable wash bucket

When you are travelling you need to wash your clothes sooner or later. Luckily you can find many laundry services in Thailand. They will wash and dry your dirty clothes for 40 to 200 Thai Bath. But sometimes you just want to wash one or two items or you just stay one night in a place. Then it is an option to do a quick hand wash in a bucket or in the bathroom sink. For these situations it is super handy to have your own small rubber bucket with you. It is light and it doesn’t take much space in your suitcase or backpack. In case you don’t have soap with you you can always buy some in a small package at the 7-Eleven. Or you can off course use some shampoo or shower gel.

 

 

 

 

 

The Dutch / Belgian military rubber bowl will stand right up by the pressure of the water what is inside. The bowl isn’t that big (approx 4 litre) but it is large enough for a T-shirt, a pair of socks, some underwear and a short. Just let your laundry soak in the water with soap for a few hours and then wash the soap out of the laundry under running water from the tap.

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Polish army backpack

The Polish WZ89 army backpack (aka Frog or Puma camouflage) is a cheap and simple backpack. Just a big sack with two straps on it. It was in use in the Polish army from 1989 and until 1993. The typical camouflage pattern is called the Zába Pattern, which in polish for Frog. On military surplus store websites it is also called the Polish Puma camouflage pattern. In Germany this camouflage pattern is often referred as Pumatarn.

International army-surplus website Varusteleka.com starts their sales description with: The saddest, most terrible attempt to make military gear, ever. And then continues with a story about all the negative points about this backpack. A truly unique way of advertising your products. Only in the army surplus world.

Since every disadvantage has it’s advantage this article tells about possible uses for this backpack.

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Bicycling in Thailand

Bicycling‬ is a very good and comfortable way to go around. You’ll see more than by walking and it doesn’t go that fast that you’ll miss everything around you. The movement on the bicycle will cause a slight breeze and will keep you cooler than you might think. You can stop everywhere for a drink or to make some beautiful pictures.

In and around many tourist destinations in Thailand it is possible to rent a ‪‎bicycle‬ or to book a guided tour. For example in ‪cities of Bangkok, Pattaya‬, and Hua Hin. In the beautiful landscapes around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai or between the beautiful ancient temples in the historical city of ‪‎Ayuttaya‬ and ‎Sukhothai .

Bangkok
Family travel Thailand: Of the beaten path, Bangkok Bicycle Tour

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Recreational-Bangkok-Biking-Ltd/217132794465

http://www.covankessel.com/

https://wwhttps://www.facebook.com/covankesselw.facebook.com/SukhothaiBicycleTour/?fref=ts

Sukhothai

The team from Sukhothai Bicycle Tour organize and guide tours through the Sukhothai Historical Park and through the quite and peaceful countryside around Sukhothai. The provided mountain-bikes are in excellent condition and suitable for tall western people. For small kids they have small children bikes or special extensions to the bike of one of the adults.

http://www.sukhothaibicycletour.com/

Chiang Rai

http://www.chiangraibicycletour.com/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/ChiangraBicycleTour

Water fun parks in Thailand

The weather in Thailand can be very hot. A little cooling is a welcome relief from time to time. Beside the islands and beaches Thailand has several water fun parks; swimming pools with artificial waves and huge water slides. These parks are sometimes combined with a normal theme park. Ideal to spend the day with children.

Santorini Water Fantasy is located North of Hua Hin.

Siam Park City in Bangkok is one of the older parks in Thailand. It is located in Mini Buri, eastern Bangkok. The park is combined with a normal theme park.

If you like to try surf boarding on artificial waves instead of the sea you can practice your surfing techniques at the Flow House in Bangkok.

Cartoon Network Amazone Pattaya is located in Bang Saray, south of Pattaya.

Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Jungle in Hua Hin

Black Mountain Water Park is also located in Hua Hin.

Scenical World Khao Yai is the newest water fun park in Thailand. The water park called Splash World is just a part of a bigger fun theme park. It is located in the beautiful Khao Yai National Park, only 2 hours driving north of Bangkok.

 

Splash Jungle Water Park on Phuket island. Luckily their Facebook page is mostly in English.

 

Not only the tourist hotspots are filled with swimming pools and water fun parks but also the provincial cities have their water parks. One of them is the Dino Waterpark in the north east city Khon Kaen. But for most people this part of Thailand is of the tourist track.

 

Also in the countries around Thailand are water fun parks. Especially in the more developed counties Malaysia and Singapore. Here are some parks listed:

Sunway Lagoon a little south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This water park is also part of a bigger adventure theme park. Luckily their Facebook page is mostly in English. Desa Water Park is also in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They also have a Facebook page in English.

Adventure Cove Waterpark in Singapore. Another water theme park in Singapore is Wild Wild Wet. Also here is a English Facebook page available.

 

Last but not least (according to their own website is) is going to be Ramayama Water park south of Pattaya, Thailand. They will open the park in March 2016. They promise to open more than 50 different slides and attractions. This would be the biggest water park in Thailand according to their web page.