July 31, 2012

10 tips: how to (really) live like a local in Bangkok

Recently CNNGo wrote an article that was quite humorous, and also very true when it comes to "hi-so" Bangkok, about how to live like a local... 10 tips on faking it. Well, I live in Bangkok but in a smaller village area. We are not rich and we live more like the real Thai locals live. We are not faking it. Here is 10 tips how to really live like a local.

1. Drive a motorbike in the rain with a poncho. 
I don't have a car. I drive a motorbike everywhere and during the rainy season it can get a bit tricky. Have no fears, Thai people have figured it out! Rain ponchos! I have a beautiful bright pink one with a hat. When it starts to rain, I pull over, put it on and put my bag in the seat. The raindrops still hurt my face but I get where I am going and am only a little damp when I get there. Badass.
2. Feed your soi dogs your leftover rice.
We try to give our soi dogs old bread sometimes. They won't eat it. Asian street dogs are quite picky and prefer rice.

Even babies eat only moms milk and rice.
3. Buy a 30 baht (1 USD) meal from the street stall or traveling moto food cart.
You haven't really experienced Thailand if you haven't gotten violently ill after eating a delicious stick of meat from a portable food stall littered around the city. The spicy food makes your mouth water and the severe vomiting makes you feel alive!
4. Buy all your groceries at 7/11
Because you totally can. Also, fill up your mobile phone credit while your there and grab a bottle of Sangsom for number 6.

5. Wai when you walk past a temple or spirit house.
Being Buddhist is basically synonymous with being Thai. There are temples everywhere, the people are very devote. Make sure you visit on all the Buddhist/Thai holidays to pray for fortune and good luck.
6. Head to your local karaoke bar, bring some cheap Thai whiskey and sing crappy Thai love ballads at the top of your lungs.
Do it. You'll feel like shit the next day but it will be worth it. 

7. Say mai pen rai at least 10 times daily.
Learn some Thai. People always appreciate you trying to learn their language. To really impress them, even if they are not nice to you, give them a smile and a "mai pen rai" you might be surprised what will happen!
8. Use the "bum gun"
Unless you have been to Thailand, this might be a bit of a shocker. Literally. Next to every toilet in the country, they have a little hose that all Thai people use instead of toilet paper. Eco friendly? Yes. Refreshing? Very much. Hygienic? Not so sure. They claim it is cleaner, but when I have used it (I only do if there is no toilet paper, old habits die hard) I just feel wet, which is not so comfortable around your a**hole when your walking around in this heat. Try it once, it does feel a little nice when your sweaty and many people (non-Thai people as well!) swear by it.
aren't you just a little curious?
9. Pay off the cops.
Caught red handed with a bag of dope? No worries, you (probably) won't go to Thai jail as long as you have a significant amount of money in your bank account. Calmly walk the "protector of the people" to the ATM so you may buy your innocence. Didn't do anything wrong but are waved over by a man in brown on a motorcycle. Quietly slip a pink baht note into his hand and your on your way. (The first cop I meet back in America is getting a great big hug from me.)
10. Stand during the King's song at the movie theater and stop walking/talking when the national anthem plays twice daily.
At the beginning of every movie at the theater the "King's Song" plays a beautiful ballad with wonderful pictures of the kingdom and all he has done for it (ie. giving the country light!) Of course you stand your ass up and stop eating your popcorn. If you are in a public place at 8 am or 6 pm you will also see everyone around you freeze when the National Anthem plays over loud speakers. Your not in Kansas anymore hunny...
Do all these things and you will fit right in living in the Kingdom of Thailand! Oh wait, you have white skin and light hair? ...yeah maybe not.


  1. Maki | Moon River Travels August 3, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    This list is hilarious! Maybe one day... :)

  2. thanks for reading Maki! :)

  3. This is so right! The dogs outside my apartment actually RAN AWAY from me when I tried to give them sausage. Sausage! Also, I'm quite proud of the fact that in 8 months in Thailand, I've avoided police attention and the whole pay-off thing...

  4. Haha, ya its funny how picky they are! Your lucky you haven't had any run-ins. We have had a few in BKK driving our motorbike around but nothing too serious thankfully.


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