Public Service Announcement (PSA) Guidelines for traveling in Thailand
As a follow-up to my blog on the reality of things in Thailand. I would like to take this opportunity to caution any single woman traveling alone who prefer to travel off the beaten path without the benefit of a group, I would not recommend Thailand. There are a couple of instances that I would recommend traveling in Thailand.
- If you are traveling in a group being shuttled from place to place with a group.
- You plan to spend ALL of your time on a resort.
I do however want to give some kudos to a couple of things I loved while I was traveling in Thailand. First of which, is the food and the topic of this blog.
While traveling in Thailand, I found the food to be wonderfully delicious everywhere I went. From the hotels to the street vendors.
It’s been my experience over the years to hear about everyone else’s experience from folks having traveled to Thailand from the United States or were from Thailand initially, had talked about how spicy hot the food is, subsequently I was expecting the worse. The food I ate while I was in Thailand was not crazy spicy hot as I was led to believe and every bite I stuck in my mouth was a delicious treat. As enjoyable as the food was and I’d recommend it to anyone, there are a couple of things you need to know about eating food and drinking beverages in Thailand.
Drinking Beverages while in Thailand:
- If you are a water drinker like me, drink only bottled water. It didn’t take much convincing for me, especially after seeing the rivers in Thailand. I made sure I only drank and even brushed my teeth with bottled water.
- Skip the ice. The ice is often made from tap water and may contain bacteria and little critters Westerners are not accustomed to. This rule sucks because Thailand is freaking hot and humid and a little ice would be welcome.
These are 2 pictures – Left picture is of the river that goes through Bangkok and the picture on the right is taken inland rural area on the River Kwai.
Things to know about eating in Thailand:
As I tend to be a bit adventurous about what I will stick in my mouth. In fact, I always say I will stick anything in my mouth at least once. Now I imagine you are smirking and pondering that bit of TMI about me.
I do have 3 rules about what I will stick in my mouth
- Whatever it is, it needs to be dead first.
- It cannot be human
- It cannot be from an endangered species
Everything else is fair game for me.
When I got off the plane in Thailand, I wanted to do just 2 things; I wanted to eat skewed cooked scorpions and do the fish spa thing. A Fish Spa is where the fish eat the dead skin off of MY ratchet feet to see if they had any rules about what they would stick in their mouths. Sadly, I was not able to have either of these two desires come to fruition which just might warrant another trip traveling to Thailand.
I did learn a few things about eating items from the street vendors though and feel compelled to share with you as well.
- Every populated area is filled with street food vendors lining the streets.
- You are taking your chances eating fresh fruit from street vendors. Thailand has the most amazing fruit. Fruit of all different sizes and colors. I am still trying to figure out what some of the fruit is called. If you buy fruit from street vendors, the fruit might have been rinsed or washed in the local tap water which can be contaminated. We were warned about not purchasing fruit from the street vendors for this reason. If you get fresh fruit, get it as a whole piece of fruit and cut it open yourself or use your handy dandy anti-bacterial wipes to clean whatever blade the vendor wants to use to try and reduce the risk of contamination.
- Eating meat or cooked substances – Make sure the pieces of cooked bits have come directly from the heat source. Do not select the meat that has been laying on the side of the grill waiting for a customer. This will minimize your exposure to harmful bacteria.
Ensure any fish (primarily freshwater fish) you eat has been fully cooked. In southern Asia, it is common in freshwater fish to be contaminated with river flukes. River flukes are little worms when ingested will live in a human body, typically in your liver, and will eventually cause irreparable damage or even kill you. As this is rare in the western world, Dr’s in the west do not know how to identify these little critters in a timely fashion. What is worse, they can live in your body for years before causing enough damage or any symptoms can be felt. By the time symptoms are felt, your trip to Asia will no longer be suspect to your problem. Again, after seeing all of the rivers in this country, I definitely have an appreciation and understanding regarding the risks you are taking when making food and beverage choices while traveling in Thailand.All food at the resorts I stayed in were great. The buffets were OUTSTANDING. Remember, though, pass on the ice.
Next blog – Other kudos, more things that I loved in Thailand.