Been There, Thai’d That

This is a place not to be tongue thai’d about. ( The Thai language is much to complex to type out hello, so a pun will do.) After graduating high school, I ventured to a continent I had never been to: Asia. A place of foreign cultures, languages, foods, and people; it was a new world full of new experiences. After surviving what seemed like the longest flight possible, it was nothing but good times landing in the beautiful city of Phuket. Here is what I recommend as the must-do’s and must-eats!

Destination: Phuket, Thailand

What to Thai

First: Hit the beach. I went to Phuket at a time just before monsoon season, and it couldn’t have been better. A walk along the soft sandy beaches was interrupted by $6 (yes I repeat $6) one-hour thai massages on the sand. The currency really works in favor of an American like for once! After getting all the stress out of your body through Thai massage, there are local foods to put in right there on the beach! Locals on Phuket often set up little stands of authentic cuisine that you can’t miss.

Me playing with baby elephant Harry's trunk. So crazy how they use them for everything!
Me playing with baby elephant Harry’s trunk. So crazy how they use them for everything!

Second: Elephants. I feel as though that should be enough motivation to get your bottom over there! There are places all over Phuket to ride or simply observe these gentle giants. I opted out of riding, but feeding tiny bananas to a baby elephant named Harry is an experience I will never forget. I recommend asking wherever you are staying of the most humane places as I did.

Third: Take a tour. There’s a bit of tourist in each of us while traveling, and Phuket is the perfect place for this. There are so many island tour options to explore all the surroundings of this coastal location. I chose a tour of “James Bond Island” which stopped at multiple places including a beach experience, a floating market, and an actual island that was featured in a James Bond movie. So cool!

What’s Ape’thai’zing

Mangoes for every meal. To be completely honest, I had never had a mango before going to Thailand. At least, from what I can remember. Maybe I just say that because they were that more amazing there. My days were filled with mango smoothies, mango tarts, and my personal favorite of mangoes and sticky rice. I never would have thought to put the two of those together, but now I’ll never look back.

Incredible, melt in your mouth mango tart for dessert my last night!
Incredible, melt in your mouth mango tart for dessert my last night!

Pad-Thai is an authentic Thai dish you will not regret. It is a stir-fry rice noodle commonly mixed with tofu, eggs, garlic, shallots, and various other vegetables. It may not look that appetizing upon first glance, but after your first bite, you won’t question it.

Pineapple fried rice. This sounds like a strange combination of a classic island fruit and a heavy Asian dish, but the result is glorious. The warm pineapple melts in your mouth mixed with rice, veggies, egg, and choice of chicken or shrimp. The best place I found this was a simple food stand on the beach made by a local family. A home cooked meal so far from it!

Whether you go for the food or the culture, Phuket, Thailand is a place unlike any other, but don’t just take my word for it. The far travels are well worth the beautiful beaches, friendly people, and incredible authentic cuisine. Don’t be afraid to be a tad touristy to experience the incredible adventures to be had in this gem on the other side of the world.

Credit: All photographs are original.

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