A Day in Bangkok. Top 5 Things You Must See.

When I was a teenager I lived on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Do you know that in the entire 5 1/2 years I lived there, I never once visited Pearl Harbor? How ridiculous is that? As an adult, I look back on that time and realize it was such a missed opportunity. I now believe in the importance of seeing and experiencing all a place has to offer, especially if you live there. 

I suppose that’s why in our 2 1/2 years in Shanghai we went on dozens of trips, booked countless local tours, and tried to immerse ourselves in the culture as much as we could. It’s fascinating to learn about another country’s history and culture. Now living in Bangkok, we have a blank canvas on which to begin our exploring again. Read more

Thailand Essentials: 12 Picks for a Perfectly Packed Purse

Thailand is a great place to visit with so many diverse things to see and do. From hiking through a lush jungle to laying on the beach, or experiencing the exciting vibe of a big city, it’s a country that truly offers something for everyone. 

If you’re like me, when possible you like to prepare ahead of time for any situation, and coming to Thailand is no exception. With such a huge variety of terrain and weather, it’s best to carry some essentials with you at all times, especially since you’ll be taking a bazillion Instagram photos to make all your friends back home super jealous of your amazing trip! 

Here are a few must-haves:

1. SunscreenIMG_4668

I know, this is a bit of a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to add this crucial step into my beauty routine and have gotten burned as a result-literally. Thailand is tropical for Pete’s sake. I should know better. When visiting, apply sunscreen and apply it often. The sun here is very strong and almost always out. Also, use extra caution if you’re on the water as the reflection of the sun will burn you even faster.

2. Bug SprayIMG_4650

As beautiful as our lush, green land is, it’s home to bugs you never even knew existed. But mosquitoes are your main concern. Don’t skimp on the bug spray. Suck it up and use the strongest stuff you can find. If possible, make sure it has Deet. As of now, I’ve heard of three cases of Dengue Fever here in Bangkok, two of these people I know personally and from what I’ve seen, it’s not a mosquito-borne disease you want to take home as a souvenir. Trust me on this one. It’s nasty!

3. An Umbrella-Ella-Ella(sorry, I just couldn’t resist)IMG_3717

Weather here in Thailand can be extremely tricky to judge. Sunny one minute and monsoon rain the next. I’m not exaggerating here people. If you see even one dark cloud approaching, brace yourself because you’re going to be soaked within the next 5 minutes. It’s crazy how fast torrential rain can arrive. Your trusty umbrella will be handy for not only rain but for the intense sun as well. Make it a cute prop for a photo op or something, but don’t leave this one out of your purse.

4. A HatIMG_4663

Another threat here in Thailand is heat exhaustion, especially if you aren’t used to this kind of humidity. Of course, I don’t know if one can EVER get used to this kind of heat and humidity. Do your noggin a favor and protect it from not only the heat but also from those strong, sunny rays.

5. WaterIMG_4670

Again, probably another no-brainer. But the no-brainer that I am, I always forget this one and end up super thirsty-every.single.time. Tap water here is not safe to drink, and although there are lots of convenience stores that sell water, they never seem to be convenient when you need them. I suggest investing in an insulated water bottle that will keep your refreshing beverage cold for a long time. Because, when you’re drenched in sweat like you will be..trust me, it’s gonna happen…hot water just won’t do the trick.

6. SunglassesIMG_4644

I don’t know if we are actually closer to the surface of the sun here or not. I’m not a scientist after all, but it is so bright and sunny here, it certainly seems like we are. So invest in a cool pair of shades. You’ll get a lot of use out of them here, and will be quite the mysterious lady with your hat, umbrella, and sunglasses. Who knows, maybe you’ll be mistaken for a movie star. I say if that happens, just go with it. 😉

7. A FanIMG_3906

You may laugh, but I’ve had a fan come in handy so many times here. Sometimes in the hot season the heavy, humid 95-degree air just sits unmoving like a sweaty weight upon your entire body. It’s nice to have a way to move it around and at least pretend like you are a bit cooler by waving a fan in front of your face. 

8. CashIMG_4658

Many markets and rural locations only accept cash so make sure you always have plenty on hand. On a side note, pick-pocketing and purse-slashing are sadly a reality in many places here so make sure your cash is secured safely. I’ve had to use cash here more than any other place in the world, and you wouldn’t want to pass up those must-have elephant pants you find at the market due to a lack of funds.

9. A Cover-upIMG_4665

If you plan on visiting a temple, you’ll need to make sure your shoulders (and sometimes even your legs and feet) are covered. Bringing a large scarf or something of the sort will save you from having to buy or rent one at the temple. Thailand is still a very modest country so having the ability to cover up is always important. Again, if you play your cards right, you’ll totally be adding to the movie star vibe.

10. A SweaterIMG_4657

Ok, I know this one sounds weird. You may be thinking, “why the heck would I possibly need a sweater when it’s a thousand degrees outside?”. Just hear me out. You obviously don’t need the sweater when you’re outside, it’s when you go inside that it will come in handy. Tooling around town in shorts and a cute little tank top is great until you go inside and the a/c is blasting arctic air. Cold air on a sweaty body…not fun. Proven fact.

11. TissuesIMG_4642

Grab yourself a little pocket pack of these lifesavers especially if you’re traveling to more rural parts of Thailand. Some locations only offer the basics (especially roadside stops), meaning you’re gonna get a squatty potty. In some of these places, you would be really uptown if the squatty potties even flush so you know you most likely won’t have the luxury of being offered toilet paper by an attendant at the door. Enter the use of said tissues. You’re welcome!

12. Hand SanitizerIMG_4652

Again depending on where you go, soap is not always readily available. Trust me, after using some of the aforementioned bathrooms, you’re going to want to clean your hands somehow. So hand sanitizer or even sanitizing wipes can be a lifesaver.

There you have it. All the must-haves to put in your purse for your next trip to Thailand. Add them up with all the other things you want to carry with you, and you may need a bigger purse. But bring these essentials and you’ll be fully prepared for anything our amazing country brings at you. 

Now go forth with your new found knowledge. Pack that purse, get out there, and get ready to explore. And make sure you tag The Bunch Abroad in all those amazing Instagram photos you movie star, you!

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Go to Koh Chang and Do Nothing!

We just returned from a fantastic 4-day trip to Koh Chang Island, Thailand. Perhaps part of the reason it was such a great trip was due to the fact that we never left the resort. After a fun-filled but challenging summer including visiting 4 countries and making one international move, we really needed a break.  Read more

Thailand-Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (Concourse F)

This is a series meant to help you find the best of the best in lounges everywhere.

Our 12-year-old, Jack has become a lounger-extraordinaire. He knows how to get the most out of any lounge experience and always manages to get our full money’s worth out of any visit. As a result, we have come up with a lounge rating system according to our very discerning lounge critic. Enjoy, and may you too achieve lounge nirvana!  

Jack’s Rating System

1 (worst)—5 (best) 

Ambiance

Comfort  

Sustenance 

Bathrooms 

=

Overall Score

________________________________________________________________________

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Air France/KLM SkyLounge

International Concouse F (by gate F2)

(Priority Pass)IMG_0676

Ambiance: 4

Comfort: 5

Sustenance: 5

Bathrooms: 5

=

OVERALL: 4.75

This lounge has become Jack’s favorite overall lounge. The main reason, the Popcake machine. A wonder of modern technology that creates mini pancakes at the press of a button. Jack gorged himself of 12 pancakes, I think mostly because they were just as much fun to make as they were delicious to eat. He rated comfort a 5 due to wonderful massage chairs in which Jack enjoyed three massage sessions. I think he needed to relax after eating all those Popcakes-haha! Finally, bathrooms boasted a rating of 5 because according to Jack, they stepped up their game and offered showers for tired, weary travelers.

 

Island Hopping Through Koh Lanta, Thailand

Once you arrive on any of the islands in Thailand, you are going to be hit with a strong desire to get out on the water and explore. After all, the area is stunning. Small cliff-faced islands dot the sea.IMG_9479 Warm, inviting aquamarine waters seem to be calling you to dive in. Brightly colored fish, interesting coral, and secret caves also add to the diverse adventure possibilities found in the area. Read more

How do you Bathe your Elephant?

I hesitate to admit this to you, but our first trip to Thailand included a trip to an elephant park. Back then we were brand new to the world of travel and understood very little about the way the big, wide world works. We booked a tour and joined dozens of other tourists taking turns riding elephants who got little to no rest in between riders. While this may sound innocent enough, we found out later how horrifically many elephants in parks such as these are treated. I was mortified that we had helped support such a practice. Fast forward two and a half years and many trips later. We have now learned so much more about the world and have learned the importance of doing our research before planning any animal encounter.  Read more