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23 Things I've Learned in Thailand

by Sean Ogle | Last Updated: February 1, 2010

Over the past three weeks of traveling through Thailand, I’ve learned more about myself and the culture here than I ever thought I would.  Here’s just a sampling of some of the more interesting things I’ve learned while traveling through Thailand.

1)      In Thailand it doesn’t matter where you’re from, these terms are universal:

  • “Tuk-Tuk!”
  • “My Friend, you want suit?”
  • “Hello, Welcome!”
  • “Massaaage?”

2)      America got it all wrong when it comes to fruit drinks.  I have to pay $4.95 to get a freaking fruit smoothie at Jamba Juce back home, and here I can have an entire mango in liquid form for less than a buck.  America, are you taking notes?

3)      Don’t go to the islands of Thailand unless you are looking to acquire a drinking problem.

The view at my place in Phuket

The view at my place in Phuket

4)      It doesn’t matter where you go, or what time you get there, you can always find a room for the night at a reasonable price.  Planning in that regard is over rated.

5)      Motorbikes are dangerous.  When riding ALWAYS have money on you, you never know when it’s going to break down after you’ve been going 10km in the wrong direction.  I didn’t bring my wallet that day…

6)      Thai street food is way better than anything you’ll find in a restaurant…and a quarter of the price.

7)      There are more Swedish people on Koh Phi Phi than Thai people.

8)      Stressing about packing isn’t necessary. A month into the trip you will have gotten rid of anything you don’t need, and added the things you do.

9)      American airlines really are that bad.

10)   Thai Baht is not play money. If you treat it as such, you will go broke very quickly.

Long tail back from Railay

Long tail back from Railay

11)   Buckets are never a good idea.

12)   The Thai language isn’t as difficult to learn as it seems, assuming you’re willing to work at it.

13)   Venturing to where the locals go is never a bad idea.  Night Market/carnival in Patong is an excellent example of this.

14)   Good friends are good friends, regardless of what country you live in.

15)   Traveling and being location independent are two VERY different things.

16)   Not nearly as many people as I thought are interested in working remotely and being location independent.

17)   Phi Phi is where you go when you are 20ish. Phuket is where you go when you are 60ish.

18)   There should be a training manual at every Thai massage parlor.

19)   Being comfortable is great, but usually unnecessary.

20)   Do not ever accept a bet from a prostitute in Thailand over a game of Connect 4.  You will lose.  And if you win? You still lose.

21)   You will meet more interesting people in one week abroad, than you will in a year at home.

22)   Just because a place has wifi, does NOT mean they want you sitting there working for 4 hours.

23)   Even with all the sacrifices, this has been the best decision I’ve ever made.  AND I think it sufficiently meets the criteria for #31 on my bucket list: Make at least one terrifying decision that gets me closer to my goals.  Done.

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Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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