5 Coffee Shops In Hanoi You Have To Try

Hanoi is a city with a coffee shop culture that runs deep. Regardless of the time of day the city’s cafes are overflowing with citizens from all walks of life. Though Hanoi is famous for its Egg Coffee, there are a myriad of hideouts that have a more low key menu. After living in Hanoi for a while now, I’ve compiled a list of my favorites! Here are five cafes that should be at the top of any coffee lovers list!


 

1. Cafe Nola

 

Tucked away from the bustle of Hanoi’s most touristy street – Ma May, is Nola. A gem hidden in plain sight. Enter through a small alley on the side of the road, and be prepared to be transported to a whimsical land full of paintings and coffee. This multi story cafe not only makes a mean Cà Phê Sữa Đá (Vietnamese ice coffee) but they also have a rooftop terrace and a rotating art gallery!

 

Must try:  Cà Phê Sữa Đá

Address: Mã Mây, Quan Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 

 

Cafe Nola

Cafe Nola

 

2. The Note Coffee

 

The Note Coffee is two words: quirky and cute. The walls from floor to ceiling are lined with colorful post-it notes with messages from people all over the world. The open air rooms extend a few stories up and give great views of the street below. Located right in the heart of the Old Quarter, The Note Coffee Shop is a great place to duck into when you need a break from exploring. The drinks are sweet just like the decor, it is an absolute must visit!

 

Must try: Coconut Latte

Address: 64 Lương Văn Can, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

 

3. Hanoi Social Club

 

One of everyone’s favorites is this speak-easy/cafe, Hanoi Social Club is more than just a coffee shop. They hold workshops and talks every week and act as a community meet up spot. Offering a full menu of absolutely scrumptious items, wifi, games, and even cocktails in the evening you could easily spend an entire day here! Located down an alley near Hanoi’s famous railroad street it’s a great location to base more exploration.

 

Must try: Avocado Toast and a Latte or a mint and lime slushie 

Address: 6 Ngõ Hội Vũ, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

 

4. Cong

 

This famous chain is almost like the Starbucks of Vietnam. Normally this would put me off but the fact that there is a Cong on every corner is reason to celebrate! Decked out in wartime apparel this themed cafe has an impressive menu of exclusively Vietnamese favorites from yogurt coffee to smoothies you can get a real taste of the countries history along with a tasty cuppa something great!

 

Must try: Coconut Coffee (!!!)

Address: Every street in Hanoi

 

5. Căng-Tin 109 Cà Phê

 

Căng-Tin is like traveling back in time to Hanoi 100 years ago, when the streets were quiet and life was slow. This old world cafe is located a little out of the way, and far from the tourist trail. Situated next to a pagoda in a small neighborhood it’s an authentic escape from the chaos of the Old Quarter.

 

Must try: Trà Quất (Kumquat Iced Tea) 

Address: Ngõ 198 Xã Đàn, Phương Liên, Đống Đa, Hà Nội

     

 

5 Notorious Instagram Girl Poses Explained

Navigating the world of Instagram is a daunting task, let alone trying to figure out what the heck us ladies are doing in our photos! Before I started taking lots of travel pictures I would just be BAFFLED at these travel Instagram accounts!

Like WHY AM I ONLY SEEING THE BACK OF YOUR HEAD?! Or why are you wearing a dress and a hat on the top of a mountain, I KNOW you had to hike up to that!!

I remember thinking ‘this is dumb’, BUT little did I know these gals had it figured out. These are the essentials to making beautiful wanderlust-y photos.

Here I want to give you the behind the scenes explanation of 5 that I have (sort of) figured out and am totally guilty of!!


 

1. The Walking Away To Nowhere Shot

This is a BIG one in the Instagram world. You will see us Instagrammers aimlessly strolling along a street, or Riviera or some other picture perfect place. Somewhere that yes we probably did walk but WHY are we being photographed doing it. Well let me tell you!

I’ll start with the no BS reasons why I like to take pictures walking away from the camera:

Firstly, facing away from the camera covers up the fact that it’s probably 150 degrees and I’m sweating a lot.

Secondly, it also covers up the fact that I’m definitely wearing no make up and look like a tired traveling goblin.

Thirdly, it disguises that I probably have a stomach ache and I am in pain. Also if I extend one of my slightly chunky-ish legs it makes it look s’long and lean which works for me! It’s like the magic Photoshop for real life.

Now the more *~artsy~* explanation – Basically, this effortless aka totally planned picture, is supposed to beautifully recreate what we are actually doing which is probably walking down a beach or alleyway but with the intent to transport you there as well!

Showing only the back of my head makes it way easier for random Instagram viewers to imagine themselves exploring a new coastline or shopping in a local market. Its silly and kind of annoying but true!!

2. The Hat *also face turned away* Shot

Basically this kind of picture is the same as the one above but just add a hat to it! Why? Because the hat is the face of the back of the head! It adds interest, it covers up a bad hair day and hats are just cute right?!

3. The Dancing Twirl Shot

This is a classic instagram photo, you know that like dress or skirt which has the, as 7-year-old me would say ‘twirl factor’. Why are we spinning? It makes literally no sense and I actually can’t even explain it to you other than its fun! Twirling is fun, and that ‘funness’ is conveyed by the movement of clothing. But yeah I don’t really get this one but I’m totally guilty of it.

4. The Smiling At Literally Nothing Shot

Okay this one is a go to of mine, and may only be applicable to me, but I’ll explain anyway. A lot of people can pose in a shot and look super moody and mysterious by not smiling but your girl ain’t one of them. If I am not smiling I look a bit constipated and my face just looks puffy, overall not cute. SO that’s why I am smiling, and usually I am genuinely happy to be looking at whatever dumb thing I am looking at. ~*~miles of smiles~*~

Exploring back alleyways of Hanoi, also wishing that this orange Vespa was mine 🤗✨🍊

A post shared by Kelsey | Miles Of Smiles (@milesofsmiles._) on

5. The Scenery With You Being Very Tiny In The Frame Shot

This one is a popular one, and is actually a basic rule of thumb for photographers and hobbyists alike. These type of shots are used mostly to show off a view or something in the background and if you put a person in the frame it instantly creates more intrigue along with showing off what is in the background! It also creates a scale so that the HUGE mountain will actually look huge next to a person.

Every person you will ever meet knows something that you don't, learn from them // Bill Nye ✨💛 ☼ Did you know that Malaysia is predominatly Muslim country? While I was in Kuala Lumpur thought it would be fitting to learn a bit more about its religious culture, so I visited this absolutely ~*stunning*~ Mosque. Up until then I had never been to a Mosque before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect! ☼ I went on a short tour of the building and was amazed by the intricate tiling, and impressive architecture but even more so by the people who were there. They were kind, patient, and knowledgeable. We chatted about religion, art and just life! It was an absolutely amazing experience as a whole and totally what travel is all about – educating yourself! ☼ Tell me about a time you learned something completely new whilst traveling, let's share the knowledge! 🤓❤️

A post shared by Kelsey | Miles Of Smiles (@milesofsmiles._) on

 

There ya have it, 5 poses that I am guilty of using explained. I hope that this provides on insight and less eye rolls when scrolling through your Instagram feed. Do you have any others that you see or use often? Let me know what they are and why below!

 

Wondering how I can take all of these photos in different locations? Check out my latest post here which explains how I can travel so much!

 

Keep smiling (at nothing while twirling and walking away)

 

xx Kels

The Ultimate 48 Hour Kuala Lumpur Bucket List

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Known for its large international airport, Kuala Lumpur is merely a stopover city for most who are on their way to other destinations. Unfortunately for them, they are missing out on so many awesome things to do and see!!

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Since I was only there for two days I in no way could tell you that this is a ‘guide’ to the city! Anyone who says that they have the perfect itinerary for a city after only being there a couple days is lying! Rather they should just be called ‘this is what I did when I visited *insert city name here* and usually they all will tell you the same things. I too am guilty of this, BUT I am making a change now! Sooo here ya have it, after many hours of research I compiled this Kulala Lumpur bucket list of sorts for myself and now I will share it with you!

This is what I did/you could do in Kuala Lumpur with 48 hours:

Learn more about the Muslim faith at Masjid Wilayah:

The majority of Malaysia is Muslim, so why not immerse yourself a little bit more in their religious culture? Masjid Wilayah also known as the Federal Territory Mosque, is only a few minutes outside of downtown Kuala Lumpur and is an architectural wonder, channeling designs from Iran, the tiling and structures are amazing.

Tours are free and start at 10:00 in the morning! The men and women who work there are some of the kindest I have ever met, they are happy to discuss their faith with you along with any other that questions you may have. Non-Muslims are welcome to join the tours, remember that it is a place of worship and you must act accordingly! They will give you proper attire to wear, as you must wear the appropriate clothing.

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Immerse yourself in history at the Islamic Arts Museum:

While you are learning more about Islam, take a trip over to the Islamic Arts Museum! I was a bit skeptical at first because I have been to a handful of sub-par museums in SE Asia but this one was first class! It was on par with art museums in Europe that i have visited. The artifacts were documented and explained in English, and categorized beautifully. Entrance to the museum is only 14 RM, (3 USD) and you can spend as long as you’d like! The gift shop – one of my favorite part about museums was amazing as well. Truly top notch!

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Go shopping in Chinatown aka Petaling Street:

Petaling street is one of the best night markets that I have been to! The amount of goods for sale was insane. Watches, shoes, glasses, clothes, bags – and it all was really good quality! Well I mean it was all fake but it was that nice kinda fake. Prices weren’t too bad either and you could haggle with the shop owners quite a bit to grab a bargain!

Along with the goods, the food was amazing!! SO many different options and all of it looked delish. I tried some noodles and dumplings which were s’goood along with a winter melon drink that was actually scrumptious despite its coca cola color! All around this area there is no shortage of foods to try, things to buy and photos to take!

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Explore Brickfeilds – Little India:

Because of its primarily Indian population, Brickfeilds has been dubbed ‘Little India’! All around this area you can find Indian cuisine and shops. Loud music blasts from street speakers and hundreds of pigeons fly over head! It really didn’t feel like I was in Malaysia any more! All the shops that line the main thoroughfare are bursting with beautiful fabrics. I bought a beautiful Indian skirt at one shop and later munched on some Pakoras that were made fresh right in front of me! Nom nom nom.  

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Marvel at the Thean Thou Temple:

The Thean Thou Temple was legit the most beautiful Chinese temple I think I have ever seen. The weather was gorgeous which helped, but this stunning place should not be missed if you are in KL! The details were astonishing,  and you actually get a pretty cool view of the city from the top!

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Get the perfect view of the Petronas Towers:

To witness the amazingness which is the Petronas Towers you can venture downtown to KLCC park to see them from the ground or you could also take a visit to the HeliPad Bar for a stunning view of the city! Since I was doing this for the ‘gram I wanted to perfect photo op (shameless I know, I know). After much discourse between fellow bloggers I was recommended to go to the Traders Hotel! From their top floor pool you can stand on a bench and hang out the window and get this picture. I am ridiculous I know, but hey, it was a great view!

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Hike 272 steps at the Batu Caves:

One of the top sites in Kuala Lumpur are the Batu Caves! This Hindu temple is placed on the inside of a massive cave on top of a huge mountain! Needless to say it was awesome! The only way to see it is to climb up the 272 stairs while dodging 300 monkeys and 400 pigeons, if you survive the ascent up, then prepare to be amazed. The second cave is where the real beauty is, hanging vines and trees line the cliff walls while monkeys scamper up them!

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Coffee Shop Hop:

Kuala Lumpur is in the beginning stages of a coffeeshop boom, with the level of millennials rising, it can only mean one thing – coffeeshop culture must accommodate our need for hip spaces to drink expensive beverages and eat expensive salads. This is all fine by me though, as there were some beautiful places to stop, recharge and have a delish cup of coffee or tea! My favorites were Merchants Lane Cafe, VCR, and ChoCha Foodstore.  

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Useful Info:

Download Grab App or Uber: There are taxi’s everywhere in the city along with an expansive metro system but I opted to just use the taxi share app Grab. Therefore my destination along with price was prearranged and could not be disputed. I have spent so much time getting lost on trains and time was precious and these apps worked great and were much cheaper than the taxi alternative.

When traveling from the airport, again – I would just opt for a grab or uber! I took the train and once I arrived at the station and took a cab to my hostel it ended up being basically the same price as just getting a car from the airport. Next time I will just do that from the get go and save time!

When going to any of these places, arriving early to avoid the crowds is necessary! The Batu Caves were very quiet when I got there at around 8 AM but shortly after it was swamped with tourists!

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Don’t forget to Pin it for later!!  48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur

 

 

10 Hilariously Real Things That Happen When You Move To Vietnam

Moving to a new place is always nerve-racking, you never quite know what to expect or how you will change. In case you are looking to move to Vietnam, here are 10 things that will happen when you do!


1.  You become a street-crossing warrior.

The roads in Asia are unlike any the west have ever seen, from the crazy fast drivers in Thailand to the small alleys and incessant honking of Bali, these streets are cray – but Vietnam puts them all to shame.

The roads here, especially in big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh are wild. Traffic rules are nonexistent and the onslaught of motorbikes never stops. If you want to cross the street the only trick is to keep moving just as the traffic is. After a while you become invincible and can cross these roads like a pro.

2. You embrace that nap life.

Vietnamese people are an early to bed and early to rise nation. They start their day around 6 AM, and not just wake up at six, I mean they are out and about. All of this early hustle leaves you exhausted by midday, (also it’s really hot) which is why the whole country has a siesta of sorts for a couple of hours.

People will nap anywhere and everywhere, coffee shops, the side of the road, their office, you name it. Due to this complete shutdown of life around noon it’s only appropriate you adopt similar customs. #naplife

 

3. You will up your people watching appreciation entirely.

Vietnamese people take chilling to a new level. Here they slow down, and will just sit on a small stool on the sidewalk taking life in. These small little roadside tea stands are super popular with the locals as a spot to take a smoke break and read the paper or grab a cool drink.

Their love of people watching inevitably rubs off on you, and you notice all the quirks of society from the elderly practicing Tai Chi or daily stretches to the wild amount of things fit on a motorbike – there is never a dull people watching moment.

4. You appreciate the sun more than you ever have in your life.

This is mostly here in Hanoi where I am, because the pollution is so bad that seeing the sun is a true rarity. When you do happen to get a clear day, some direct sunlight and clean air, it’s like you are reborn.

5. Iced tea takes over as preferred day time drink always.

In Vietnam the gold standard day time drink is a cool Tra Da – which means iced tea. There are lots of different varietals but this unsweetened, slightly earthy tea is everywhere and anywhere. You drink it with every meal, all the time, ever and after a while you simply can’t see any other drink to pair with a meal.

 

6. Condensed milk in your coffee becomes the only way to drink it.

Again, with the bev-ys but this is a serious one. I mean it’s coffee we are talking about. Cà phê is a big deal here, and there is no other way to drink it than with some version of condensed milk.

You may perhaps add different things to it like yogurt, egg, or coconut but the tried and true method of getting that caffeine fix is the ol’ Cà phê sữa đá which is strong, black Vietnamese coffee with a smidgen of condensed milk – and let me tell you it’s pure happiness.

7. You will stop wearing makeup and rock that glistening upper lip.

Okay, so this is directed at my other traveling lady babes out there but in Vietnam it’s hot, and I don’t mean just like warm, it’s full on sweaty. So, this inevitably doesn’t make for a makeup conducive environment.

Not to say you won’t throw some concealer on, along with a little mascara but foundation and eye shadows are a thing of the past. If they don’t melt off your face, the everyday monsoon will wash it all straight off. RIP beautiful Mac eye shadow palette.

8. You will start to own this body you have like none other.

It’s no secret that Vietnamese people are pretty small, clothes in shops probably won’t fit you unless you are a very small human as well and this is totally OK. After you are told you are too big for things day in and day out – not to mention if you are a teacher your children will most definitely point this out too – “techa baby?!” Ultimately, you will come to a place of self-love and not give any damns about how others perceive you. Gotta just live your life, shop less and embrace the stares.

9. Your workout struggle will be so real.

Finding a gym that has A/C is a real ordeal here, most gyms have fans but air conditioning is just too dang expensive, hence you will most definitely be working out inside but it will feel like you are outside.

This hot box called the gym will have you questioning all of your life choices. Bugs will fly through the open windows and die in your sweat, and every time you’re there you will be 90% sure that heat stroke is one stifled breath away. It’s all worth it though – wait, is it?

10. Driving in the rain will always be comical (and terrifying).

When it rains it pours, but does life stop? Hell to the no. People have got places to be! Since the majority of Vietnam runs on motorbikes there is quite a stylish and booming business of driving ponchos. Man, the Vietnamese have perfected the poncho like no other country I have seen.

Here, this large plastic tarp is fully equipped with a bit that covers the front of your bike entirely and has little holes for your mirrors and a cut out spot for your headlight. You can even buy them in different patterns and with two hoods so your passenger can be covered as well. These strange things will never not be funny but they are quite useful and make driving in the rain much more comical to distract from all its dangers.

 

And there ya have it – 10 hilariously real things that happen when you move to Vietnam! Anybody have any more things to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

Keep smiling! 🙂

Kelsey

An Open Letter To Those Asking: How Can You Travel So Much?

The neighborhood I lived in, in Thailand

Kelsey how do you travel so much?

A question I’ve heard time and time again from friendly strangers on the internet to my own family. It seems though we are enigmas to the world, expat-y 20 somethings living in a foreign country and traveling to as many places as possible, seems to be a concept that is difficult for many to grasp.

It would be easy to assume, that I am simply on one big holiday, a long vacation of beaches, and the wanderlusty adventures that fill your Facebook feed. In reality,  I,  like so many others are travelers (not the douche-y type), we are not on a trip, we are living our life just in another place.

I’ve been wanting to write this for some time, the countless ‘how is this possible?’ or ‘how do you travel?‘ questions I get are starting to pile up. I want to shed some light on my current situation as it is different from so many others who plaster travel photos on social media.

I know most people who see my Instagram or perhaps read my blog must wonder how does she do this?!

One may default to thinking ‘oh she is probably loaded – she probably has money.’ Well I hate to break it to ya, but my savings account barely breaks three digits and the funds have been dwindling for some time so lets just dispel that idea quick!

The second thing people might think is the ol’ maybe she gets money from her blog, or social media sponsorship’s, since that is a thing now. Womp, again this couldn’t be farther from the truth! I have never had a sponsored trip anywhere let alone gear, clothing or treats – although if anyone is offering… hehe.  On a good day my blog may be seen by 100-ish of you, but I’m still convinced its just my mom (hi mom).

You’re probably thinking then, Kelsey what the heck! How have you filled up your passport, lived in two countries and are visiting more all the time. The answer: I have a job! *gasps from the audience* I know it doesn’t seem like it but I am in fact working.

I have been working full time since I moved away from home two years ago. I have taught English in schools and centers in Thailand and Vietnam. This is my main source of income! All travels have been worked around a full time schedule.

Okay okay I can hear you rolling your eyes, thinking ‘sure you have a job – but its not a real job, you don’t work that hard. You drink coconuts on beaches and take pictures.’ And yes this is true, but also, I do work hard, the two things are not mutually exclusive, but I am not here to convince you of that.

Teaching in Asia is HUGE, the amount of people doing this same thing is incredible. There are communities of teachers, expats, and travelers in tons of countries. The amount that you are paid in SE Asia ranges from around 800 – 2,000 USD a month depending on a number of factors! This is way more than enough to live simply and travel lots and lots.

Here in Vietnam I work evenings and weekends but I get two days off and teachers are allotted a month of holiday – hellooo have you packed your bags yet?! The advantages of living in one place and making lots of mini trips is invaluable.

I, along with my boyfriend are able to take small amounts of vacation off at a time in order for us to explore more and more of Vietnam and the surrounding areas. Flights are cheap, countries are close together and all this makes for one hell of an adventure.

As for my Instagram account and blog, I am not a professional photographer, I don’t have tens of thousands of followers (yet – fingers crossed for one day), I’m not paying for likes or followers, hell I didn’t even have a DLSR camera up until a few months ago when my dad gifted me his 11 year old Canon, which due to his meticulous ownership works amazingly! I just want to take beautiful pictures and hopefully you like em’… and me… and this blog #loveme

I simply want to break down the social media veil, the wall of rose colored glass that separates too many of us. What I am doing is far from glamorous – more posts to come on that (i.e. sickness, bug bites, motorbikes, squatty potties, sweat, bug bites, sun burns, bug bites – you get the picture) but it is satisfying, and truly something that you can do to! (not to sound like a motivational speaker but — really!)

For now I am just writing these posts for you, my sweets, whoever is reading! I hope that my stories and tips will help you down the road! One day maybe I’ll make money from this, but for now it’s a creative outlet for me and hopefully a source of inspiration for you!

Keep smiling!

Kelsey

48 Hour Guide To Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Dubbed the terrestrial Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh (pronounced Ning Bing) is truly a magical avatar escape, full of towering limestone mountains, expansive caves and secret river ways. All of this awesome is located only two hours away from Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi. This sleepy little town is full of rice paddies, water buffaloes and some of the most stunning views you’ve ever seen. A trip to Ninh Binh is an absolute must if you are visiting Hanoi!


Getting to Ninh Binh:

 

Getting to this little rural paradise is actually quite easy! From Hanoi there is a train (Ga Hanoi) that departs every day, it takes about two hours, has A/C, chargers for your phone and is only about five US dollars!  When you arrive you can book your ticket back! Easy peasy.

 

What to do:

For being a provincial town there is actually loads of things to do that are packed with adventure and history! Here are my top picks for your weekend escape:

Trang An Boat Tour:

This little boat tour is quite impressive! You will paddle through caves, and float through some of the most breathtaking mountain scenes. For about eight USD you get a around three hours of blissful exploration. You will stop off at a number of different pagodas and temples only accessible by boat! Bring a little snack if you are prone to getting hangry, there are few options for food along the way, and as it did for us – three hours began to feel very long without a snack!

Bich Dong Pagoda:

This pagoda is a great one to visit if you are short on time! There is no hike or boat required. Just bike up to where it is and walk in! It’s striking archway at the front is what draws many visitors along with the pond it sits on, which in the summer explodes in pink lotus flowers!

Mua Caves Hike:

This hike up around 400 stairs will take you to the BEST view of Ninh Binh there is! Photos don’t do it justice, you will have to just experience it for yourself! There also are some caves there but meh – the hike and view take the cake!

Hoa Lu:

This city was once the capital of Vietnam! Around 1,000 years ago there were many different structures but now there are only two. Located only 20 minutes from Ninh Binh visiting this ancient city is well worth the trip!

Other things to do if you have more time would be:

  • Visiting the Va Long Nature Reserve
  • Bai Dinh Pagoda
  • Tam Coc Boat Trip

10 Truths About Living In Thailand

With all of social media flooded with picturesque photos of waterfalls and the sparkly temples of distant lands it’s easy to make a different version of South East Asia in your mind than how it is in actuality!

Don’t get me wrong – the past year and a half living in Thailand has been the best time of my life! It truly is a magical place BUT there are some parts of living in SE Asia that can be anything from frustrating to hilarious, and everywhere in-between!

Here are 10 truths that you need to know, if you are thinking about moving abroad to SE Asia!

1.     Street food is safe, and cheap!

*just use good judgment

Most people come to Thailand and will turn their nose up at all the street food, but this makes me so sad because often times the most delicious, authentic cuisine is going to be at that roadside stall! This being said, you do have to use your best judgment because Thailand’s food cleanliness standards are definitely lacking!

2.     You will get sick very often.

I know this seems to contradict my previous statement but living in SE Asia comes with a guarantee that you will be sick a lot. Usually it wont be from the food though – hand soap is lacking here so germs are just everywhere! Hand sanitizer is your BFF along with Immodium – there are no escaping the ridiculous instances of illness.


3.     “Bum Guns” are your friend.

Attached to every toilet is a little hose that you can use to squirt water on your bum after you do your business. These upon first glance can seem gross or strange BUT THEY WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE. Literally just trust me. Toilet paper isn’t usually stocked anywhere and even if you try and carry it everywhere, I promise you will find yourself without it at some point… trust me.

4.     Bus schedules are more like guidelines.

Bus schedules in Thailand are very irksome! I swear the busses have a mind of their own. Perhaps a bus will arrive 20 minutes early and leave ten minutes before its set time therefore you miss it. Or, it will show up an hour late just because. Either way there is nothing you can do, and just going with the flow and staying flexible is a must!

5. There will be bugs in your food all the time.

Bugs in food is the norm! Back two years ago in America I would have sent something back if it had a bug in it, now here in Thailand it’s a non-issue, just pick it out and continue nomming away! Sometimes the bugs are even there on purpose!! Had an interesting encounter with an ant stew a while back… blahhh!

Snapped this selfie right after I ran up the steps to this view point as the ferry below was waiting! I was drenched!  Snapped this selfie right after I ran up the steps to this view point as the ferry below was waiting! I was drenched!

6.      You will sweat… a lot.

When you first get to Thailand you will sweat CONSTANTLY, unless you are accustomed to a level of humidity that rivals the inside of a sauna, in which case you are a super hero. If you aren’t then you wont just glisten, I’m talking buckets of sweat. You will reach levels of un-comfortableness where you will have to just meditate on the pain in a pool of sweat because there is nothing you can do.

**Pack wisely! When I just got here I had clothes made of random different materials like rayon or synthetic whatever – they all just felt like wearing plastic bags! Pack lots of linen and cotton! Yay for breathability.

7.     Bug bites are forever.

RIP my unscarred legs and arms. Your appendages will go through a trip, I’ll tell you that. Pack lots of mosquito repellent, and after-bite because there is no escaping it! I prefer natural citronella spray because it is less irritating – after camping in Cambodia I had the most ~*disgusting*~ bites on my legs along with a lovely rash all over from using too much repellent that contained DEET.

Regardless of what type of spray you pack, pack lots of it!

My drive to school last semester! My drive to school last semester!

8.     Roads are crazzay!

When living in a Thai town you have to be SO careful!!! The roads here are unreal, there are no rules and Thai people have no fear, in fact Thailand has been named home to the worlds 2nd most dangerous roads. Please please please be careful.

Breakfast in bags!  Breakfast in bags!

9.     Breakfast doesn’t exist.

If you are living somewhere other than Bangkok then chances are you can say goodbye to the sweet sweet breakfast food that you know and love. Say hello to rice, and some more rice and then maybe some grilled meat. This is the normal breakfast in rural Thailand, if you don’t think you’ll like just meat for breakfast with rice then you can always have the second favorite dish: Jok! But this is basically boiled rice soup with meat, so pretty similar. It’s not that bad though, you get used to it!

Free roaming lizards in Bangkok's Lumpini Park. Free roaming lizards in Bangkok’s Lumpini Park.

10. Even when you’re inside you’re outside.

This is a big one! Its actually quite funny, it seems like everything in Thailand is not sealed nor is it built to keep anything out. It is very common to go to bed with geckos leering at you from your walls or even plants growing out of your drain!

You know that feeling you get as you’re falling asleep where something tickles your arm and you just think “oh its just a hair or something,” well here… its never just a hair.

I have three resident spiders that I cohabitant with, they keep to themselves though. Sometimes if there is an onslaught of bugs outside somehow they will seep into your room. I’ve looked up and there have been hundreds of gnats swirling around the lights!

There you have it! 10 ridiculous but very true facts about living here in Thailand. Although, everyone’s experience is different, let me know your tips and funny experiences below in the comments!

In the end, my time here in Thailand has been unreal and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I’ve loved every sweaty, bug filled moment of it. The sparkly temples, beautiful views and waterfalls do exist as well though, and they are amazing!

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