Bangkok is enormous and crowded and stinky in the way that most big cities can be, but more so.
There is great food and beautiful stuff everywhere. But you often have to walk through some unbelievably horrid smells to get to it.
And yes, it’s hot. While the air temp is actually cooler than a summer in NC, the humidity is always near 100% – and, we don’t go outside at home. Here, you sweat and sweat and sweat.
There was a lot of sweating at the beach house we were at, too. But this was the view:
And this is the dining room and kitchen. Open to the air. And to the critters.
It was a pretty swank place, but it was cheaper than most any beach house we’ve ever had in the US. And far nicer. There was a driver on call all day to take us anywhere (we used him to drive us to the supermarket for beer and wine, mostly). Also as part of the house package, cooks were available to come in and cook dinner for us. We paid the cost of ingredients plus a small charge for their labor. Homemade Thai food! We tipped them well.
The Thai food we get in the US is pretty much identical to the dishes in Thailand: a green curry here is the same as a green curry there. The differences are that there is a lot of dishes there that we never see here, and the ingredients in the dishes we do get are slightly different (different greens, different fish, etc.). But, overall, if you like Thai food in the US, you’ll like Thai food in Thailand.
Food on the street is crazy, everywhere, and cheap. It’s also a little squicky. There are, apparently, no sanitary regulations and so it’s not unusual to see a big pile of raw meat sitting uncovered on a cart before being fried, surrounded by flies and bees.
I’m happy to not have to drink water from plastic bottles anymore.
Thailand is pretty cheap: most things, most places. Taxis, clothes, food and the little wooden Buddhas you see everywhere are super-cheap. Booze and electronics and jewelry are not. Also, you have to watch out for people trying to rip you off, for they are everywhere. Do not take a taxi or tuk-tuk (little open-air taxi carts) if the driver says “just one stop” – he’s going to take you to a bespoke tailor who will try to sell you a suit – happened separately to two couples, one day. The clothes are cheap, though – can’t speak to the quality.
Getting there ain’t easy, though. It took us 29 hours to get home yesterday – Bangkok to NC. Zero layover – running from gate to gate.