Hey y'all! I know your adventure to Thailand begins soon. It's been almost 2 months of being here for me and my group. I've gotten a lot of questions about how things are, how we are adjusting, and what I wished I had known before coming here. I started this blog to hopefully help someone out and keep my family updated; hopefully, I am achieving those goals! I love answering any and all questions you have, so if you would like to reach out to me personally with any Thailand questions the best way is through Instagram (@morganmoellering). In this post I will be sharing bullet points of things my group and I wished we had packed/known before getting on a plane.
-Contact your school. The listed school coordinator might not always be the best contact person (I sent my school coordinator an email a month before we departed and still haven't heard back ;) Haha) Ask CIEE/OEG who would be best to contact at your school. A simple introduction is always nice, but they can also help answer questions you have about your particular school. For example, you can ask about uniforms/work attire. My school has us wear yellow on Mondays, Tuesday is "free dress", and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we have to wear school polos they gave us. We also are allowed to wear pants (definitely work appropriate and more flowy than fitted) at my school. If I would have known this, I wouldn't have packed so many maxi dresses or blouses. On the plus side, Thai clothes are pretty cheap, and I have a fun new wardrobe to wear now.
-Bring yellow clothes! As I mentioned above my school has us wear yellow every Monday. A lot of Thai schools are like this I have heard. Also, yellow is basically the color of Thailand, so you can wear it all the time and fit right in. I only brought one yellow shirt and I definitely wish I would have brought a couple more.
-Bring multiple pairs of athletic clothes. On nights/weekends you will most likely live in these, and we are in Thailand... hello SWEAT and SMELL!
-Ladies, bring a lot of bras! Talking about getting sweaty and smelly, it makes bra usage time drop drastically. Getting a little personal, but I wear a new one every day. We do laundry every weekend so I would suggest bringing 5-10. Same for underwear for both ladies and men. You will most likely be doing laundry every weekend as well, so you can plan the number of clothes/under garments you bring accordingly.
-10 BAHT COINS!!! These things are like GOLD here for us. (I'm not sure if this is everywhere in Thailand, but I will share the news just in case.) To do laundry for us it is either 20 or 40 Baht and the machines will ONLY take 10 Baht coins. Everyone is saving their 10 Baht coins for laundry, so it is hard to come across them in town. 7-11 is the best bet to get some extra 10 Baht coins, they will exchange money for you, but my suggestion is to try and get some before you come here, or definitely to exchange your money before you get to your town and when you're in Bangkok ask them to exchange some for 10 Baht coins then. Then, if you exchanged your money for 10 Baht coins and don't have to pay for laundry, call me and I will trade you for them! Haha.
-Raingear. This is another question you can ask your school, or you may possibly already know, but if you have any sort of commute to work bringing good raingear is a MUST! My recommendation is a full-on suit of pants and a jacket, not just a poncho. During monsoon season you will thank me! If you live on campus, then raingear isn't necessarily needed but could be a good thing to have on the weekends. Definitely bring a rain jacket if nothing else.
-Bathing Suits. Having some options is always nice, so definitely pack a few. Make sure some are more modest than others. If you go out with Thai coworkers, you may want to wear the one piece or the longer board shorts. If you're just going out with friends, you can break out the two piece and shorter shorts.
-Covering your knees/shoulders. Make sure you have lots of clothing options that cover your shoulders and knees. When you go out in public you should try to always have at least one of them covered. When visiting any temples, you will need to have both covered. Some temples you will need to be covered to the ankle, and ladies you can't wear pants to some, so keep that in mind.
-Easy to slip on and off shoes. These are great for temples, or for your school. You have to take your shoes off a lot here, so it's best that they can go on and off quickly.
-Backpack/fanny pack. Having a backpack is crucial, but also having a smaller bag or fanny pack is a good idea as well. When you want to go out for the day having a backpack may be nice, but if you're on a short outing but want to keep your phone/wallet/etc. safe then having a smaller bag or fanny pack is nice. (This comes in handy if you get a motorbike because you don't want things flying out of your pockets.)
-Camera/Go Pro/Dry bag for your phone/Selfie Stick/Etc. MAKE SURE YOU BRING SOMETHING TO CAPTURE THIS AMAZING ADVENTURE! I cannot stress this one enough! You are going to see and do some incredible things, and you will want to capture them to remember forever! Well, at least if you're anything like my group and I! :) I was usually the type that would feel nervous to bring out any gadget while in a group setting thinking they might view it as weird, but here I was like the savior when I pulled some out.
Until next time: keep life simple, travel, and be kind!