I’m back!

Winter break has begun, and I’m free to do all of the fun things I’ve been wanting to do all semester!  I have a list full of craft projects and trip prep that I cannot wait to get started on. I’ve started working on my Thai, visiting the Thai temple to practice my speaking and writing. I’ve also planned out my independent study for spring semester, which I’m very excited to tell you all about!

Be sure to follow my Instagram for daily Thailand throwback pictures, and updates on all my cool craft projects.

<3, Eliot

Thai Food Fair

Sunday for lunch, my family and I went to the Thai Buddhist temple of St. Louis  for their monthly Thai Food Fair.  Yeah, it wasn’t organic, and I felt totally gross afterwards (and still do), but I knew what I was getting myself into, so I’m not upset about it. It was fun!

The temple is in an old church. They turned the sanctuary into the temple, the basement into housing for the monks, and added a library, meditation room, garden, and multipurpose room. It’s name, Wat Phrasriratanaram, means “Temple of the Beautiful Gem.”

When you arrive, you purchase a pack of 10 fake dollars for 10 real dollars, and use these throughout the fair to buy what you want to eat. I told the ladies it would more fun if they had pretend Baht’s to buy the food with, and they just laughed at me.

They had a good assortment of food, which I’m told changes monthly. It is much more reasonably priced than going out for Thai food, but still significantly more expensive than Thailand. It also seemed to be a little more authentic than the average Thai restaurant.

  
I forgot to take photos of our food, because I was too excited to eat, but got a photo of the woman who served it. I asked for her picture, she said yes, and then kept packaging up the food. Here, she was putting a soup into a plastic bag, sort of like one you would bring a fish home from the pet store in. It’s likely that if you bought a soup in Thailand, they wouldn’t bother with the foam container, and would put it straight into the plastic bag.

  
This lady was incredibly nice, and I had a little Thai conversation with her, which was fun! I ordered 3 Thai Ice Teas, in thai, and she got so excited she just started speaking Thai and I had very little idea of what she was saying. So I told her, in Thai, that I only speak Thai a little bit, and then she kept speaking Thai. I just laughed, and thanked her for the Tea. It was only $2 a glass, compared to the usual $3.50 at a Thai Restaurant, but $2 is still twice as expensive as Thailand.

Once we finished eating, we got some Rotee for desert. Rotee is sort of like a crepe, but slightly more like a pastry. It’s fried in butter, drizzled in sweetened condensed milk and sugar, rolled or folded up, and then covered in more toppings! In Thailand, you can find Rotee at the night market, or maybe near a beach. They usually serve it with more toppings, such as jelly, honey, or chocolate syrup. It’s a real treat.

  
I ordered 3, in Thai, and the lady asked, in Thai, if I would like them for here or to go. One of the most fun parts about the Thai fair was practicing my Thai. After I ordered, she told us she would bring them to our table, which was very nice!

  
To read more about Thai food, check out my 5th post in the series 8 Reasons to Visit Thailand. To read more about Thailand in general, read them all!

If you enjoyed reading this post, and checking out my blog, consider donating to my next Trip to Thailand. Learn more here!

11 Thai Ice Teas

I was going through my closet today and found 222 Thai Baht that I forgot I had.

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222 Baht is about $6.17 which doesn’t seem like much, but in Thailand, its sort of a lot. For 222 Baht, you could rent a motorbike for 2 days, buy an impressive assortment of snacks (probably 5-10 things) from 7/11, eat about 8 meals of Thai food (not fast food though, thats expensive), drink 11 Thai Ice Teas, or get a Thai massage. So really, this 222 Baht is quite an epic discovery.

Also, I’ve started a countdown. 2 months, 23 days, 6 hours, and 57 minutes until I land in Bangkok! For more info about my trip, checkout the new Thailand tab up there! ^^^^

It’s Official!

I did the deed, guys! I will be arriving in Bangkok, Thailand at 11:45 pm January 5th!

I managed to spend only $879 on the trip, instead of the $1,300 that I planned for! The website I booked through had a special running, $50 off any trip to Thailand, so that helped a little bit. I love saving money! I managed to accomplish the rest by spending a little more time, and a little less money. Really, when you think about it, they’re totally related. You use some of your time in a certain way and then you are given compensation for it, whether it be money, or a hug. We use time to get other things every day.

First, I realized it was way cheaper to fly from Chicago to Bangkok than St. Louis to Bangkok. A difference of 889 to 1365! My first thought was then to book a flight separately to Chicago, which would be $230, putting me at a total of 1,119. This would have given me a one way travel time of about 30 hours. Still cheaper than what I had planned, but not the cheapest possible way! I realized I could take a bus from St. Louis to Chicago for a mere $20 each way! By adding about 8 more hours of travel time, for a total of about 38 hours, I saved about $190. Major score, and totally worth it. Thats like a month’s worth of food!

So my flight is booked. It’s Official! I’m going to Thailand and nobody can stop me! *laughs evilly*

But seriously, I’m very excited. Thanks to everyone who donated to help me pay for this ticket, you made it happen! And while I have the ticket, I also need to live while I’m there, so please don’t hesitate to donate if you are interested and able!

It’s Plane Ticket Time!

If you’ve been following my blog, I’m sure you’ve heard all about why you should visit Thailand, and my plans to study abroad there in the spring. I was officially accepted into the study abroad program last week, and now it’s time to buy my plane ticket!

So far, my gofundme page page has been quite successful! I have raised 410 dollars, of which I appreciate every penny. I had originally set my funding goal as $4,165, which is the total amount I need to go on the trip. I had estimated that I could save $1,500 by the time I left for my adventure, and that if I made the full $4,165, I could put the extra money I earned towards paying for school next year. While 4,165 is still my total amount needed for the trip, I changed my gofundme goal to $2,000. I’ve taken on a second job, so I should be able to save the other $2,000 myself!

So far, in my savings, I have a total of $900. $410 from gofundme, and the rest is money that I earned! This is just a few hundred dollars short of the cost of my plane ticket, so I would especially appreciate any donations in the next week or two, to help me reach 1,300 dollars and purchase my ticket!

If you’ve already watched my video explaining my trip, and checked out my blog, but still are unsure about whether or not its really worth it to donate to my trip, keep in mind that I will be updating this blog with everything I do, see, and learn over the course of the adventure. That means that you get an awesome peek into life in Thailand, as well as the privilege of watching me learn and grow! I would say that’s worth a little $5 donation! If you agree, check out my gofundme page for information about rewards you can get for donating.

Thanks for reading!

8 Reasons to Visit Thailand (Reason #8!!)

Reason #8: THE BEACH

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You probably should have seen that one coming. Beaches exist all over the planet, and while there isn’t really anything specific that makes the ones in Thailand special, they do have one thing going for them: they’re in Thailand!

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Many touristy beaches are near markets where you can get a Thai massage, buy souvenirs, or even better, a nice cold Thai Ice Tea or Fruit Smoothie.

If you find yourself on a west-facing beach, do yourself a favor and watch the sunset at least once.

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Wherever your Thailand travels take you, whether to a lovely beach town, or to the jungles of Chiang Mai (hopefully both), I wish you a Thai Iced Tea, a Thai massage, and a Thai Smile.

I’ll be leaving for my second trip to Thailand on the 5th of January, and I’m saving all the money I can for a semester full of massages and motorbike rides. If you’d like to help me out, click here!

8 Reasons to visit Thailand (Reason #7)

Reason #7: Night Markets!

While Night Markets aren’t only unique to Thailand, Thai night markets are a totally interesting, fun, and noteworthy experience.

Going to the night market for the first time was quite overwhelming, but after a while, you get used to it. When it starts to get dark, one entire street gets blocked off, and vendors set up various booths. Food, knock off electronics, clothes, accessories, souvenirs, and toys are all common.

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The smoothie booth was probably my favorite. For 1 dollar, you get a pretty decent sized smoothie, in whatever flavor you wish! Smoothie vendors are very common in Thailand, and can be found all over the place, not just night markets. Other food booths are also common, you can see photos of them on my food post.

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Another common staple at the night market is cheap sunglasses. You have about a million options to choose from, for only $3!

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Various handmade goods and accessories are also abundant. These booths were always one of my favorite to look through.

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These carved soap flowers were at almost every night market I went to. I didn’t learn until almost the end of my trip that they are made of soap! I never did find out why they make these flowers out of soap or what they’re for, and google doesn’t seem to know either! Anybody have any ideas?

Night markets can be found in towns all over Thailand, so head over there and check it out! If you enjoyed reading this post, don’t forget to check out my next trip to Thailand.

8 Reasons to visit Thailand (Reason #5)

Reason #5: FOOD

There are many things to say about eating in Thailand. First of all, where else can you order french fries out of a photo album?!

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But seriously, food is a big part of the Thailand experience. I went to Thailand a very picky eater, and came home eating everything. While they do have some “normal” food there like Burger King, Pizza Hut ect. the Thai food is much more abundant. The most famous dish I would think is Pad Thai, which coincidentally I have never tried! While there are many other Thai dishes that I didn’t end up getting my hands on, I did eat lots of yummy seafood! One of my favorite dishes from my trip was this baked fish.

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At the night markets, fresh sea food is always an option.

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As well as this insanely delicious pancake/crepe type dish called Rotee. You can get it with nearly any fruit or syrup, and then it is usually glazed in sweetened condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk is also used in other insanely delicious Thai treat: Thai ice tea. I will forever be sad about how Thai tea costs $3.50 in america instead of the $.60 cents that it costs in Thailand.

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Thailand also has an assortment of yummy snacks to be found at any 7/11 which are on nearly every corner. Some of my favorites were this mocha flavored milk, and jello packet!

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There really is something to be said about food in Thailand, and I think it has a lot to do with the people. Thai people are so happy and kind, and when they bring your food to the table you can’t help but be happy about it! But hey, go check it out for yourself!

If you enjoyed reading this article, consider donating to my next trip to Thailand!

8 Reasons to visit Thailand (Reason #3)

Reason #3: Bangkok!

Bangkok is like no other place in the world. It’s busy. It’s stinky. It’s exotic. It’s …. Bangkok!

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It’s quite easy to get to the city, and to get around in the city! To get there, hope on one of the mini busses that seem to be nearly as abundant as scooters, (okay, maybe not quite) and you’ll be speeding there in no time. To get around the city, the public transportation consists of the BTS, or Skytrain, scooters, taxis, and tuk tuks. The BTS, or Skytrain, has 2 lines that hit all the major areas of the city. Just walk up a million flights of stairs, and wait for the next train to whisk you away. If it’s during rush hours, you’re going to be smushed. If the BTS doesn’t take you all the way to your destination, grab a scooter, taxi, or a tuk tuk to take you the rest of the way. Scooters are faster and cheaper for one person, taxi’s are the next quickest option, and tuk tuks are definitely the slowest.

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While you’re there, check out the Chao Praya River. The river itself is a little bit dirty and gross, but  cruise down the river is quite cheap, and offers some pretty cool views of temples, and the city. The BTS will take you all the way here!

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If you find yourself in Bangkok, do yourself a favor and end up on the roof of a really tall building. Rooftop views of the city are like nothing else you’ll ever lay eyes on.

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Lastly, make sure you check out Chatuchak Weekend Market. It’s HUGE. I mean seriously huge. So big it has it’s own map, and BTS station! It is one of the world largest weekend markets. While markets are common all over Thailand, this one is a little special. It has everything. Cool Thai clothes, touristy t shirts, buddha statues, live fish in bags, amazing cooked meals, puppets, decorations, shoes, and plants. And about a million more things.

Are you ready to go yet?!

Make sure to check out my latest plans to Take Over Thailand! Thanks for reading!

8 Reasons to Visit Thailand (Reason #2)

Reason #2: SCOOTERS

Scooters, or motorbikes, are like the blood of Thailand. They are everywhere, and they keep it functioning.

Seriously.

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Everywhere.

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Have you ever seen so many scooters in one place ever?!

There are 2 ways to take advantage of scooters on your Thailand adventure. First, motorbike taxi’s. If you need to get somewhere, quickly, and you don’t have anybody else to take with you, grab a motorbike taxi and you will be flying through the streets before you even finish telling the driver where to take you! Second, rent one for yourself! I rented a motorbike in Hua Hin, for about 2 months, at a rate of about $3 a day. While you could easily take a tuk tuk anywhere you want to go, and back, for about $1.50, the convenience of having your own scooter really just can’t be beat.

Don’t forget to check out my latest adventure plans!