20 Things that Are Awesome about Thailand (Surat-style)

I’ve been here in Surat Thani for just under two weeks. Been working quite a bit, and no matter how hard I try, it takes me all day to do half a day’s work here. Life is slow, and inexpensive, and Thai people are so pleasant that I can see why it’s so easy for ex-pats to get lost here, never to return (and I’ve met several of them—both men and women). Here’s a list of things that have made my two weeks quite enjoyable.

1. Two-hour Thai massages for $10

2. Daily fruit smoothies that cost 65¢

3. Spending an average of $1.50 on a meal

4. Thinking that 100 baht is expensive, and then remembering it’s just over $3

5. Daily fruit smoothies that cost $1.65 (with a side of table service, AC, and wifi)

6. Getting so used to the heat that you can find better ways to spend that extra dollar

7. Epic 90-minute downpours that drop the temperature 5 to 10°Celcius


Neighbourhood afternoon downpour


The daily afternoon downpour, from our driveway

Large cockroach

This guy is about the size of a small mouse!

Glass of tea with condensed milk at the bottom

Hot tea served while waiting out a downpour on the highway

8. Thinking 27°C (80°F) feels “cool” and needing a blanket when it drops to 23°C (74°F) at night

9. Having chicken on rice for breakfast, with ice water, chicken broth, and cucumber (a.k.a. khao man gai)

10. The fried chicken, the pad thai, the fried rice, the fried chicken, the pad see ew, the garlic pork with greens, and the fried chicken (don’t even get me started on the soups and curries)

11. The cockroaches are bigger than some of the lizards, and tend to mind their own business

12. Someone does my laundry for 65¢ a kilo

13. Thai hot tea—strong thick tea, condensed milk, mounds of sugar

14. Thai iced tea—hot tea over a huge cup of crushed ice

15. Walking barefoot on clean, cool tile floors at home and in your nicer shops

16. Riding on the back of a motorbike handsfree (and sometimes in flip flops)


Heading home from Chaiya, on the back of a motorbike

Heading home from Chaiya, on the back of a motorbike

17. Knowing how to direct a tuk-tuk driver to where you want to go

18. 65¢ flat rate tuk-tuk rides all over town

19. Meeting a random guy at the ferry pier who happens to know one of your “home” friends

20. Buddhism

Three Resolutions of Buddhadasa

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu was an influential Buddhist thinker in the 20th century. In 1932 he founded the Wat Suan Mohkha Phalaram temple in Chaiya, a beautiful forest monastery.