We’ve been pretty quiet on social media lately, so, in case you didn’t know it, Rusty and I flew back to Thailand last week. In fact, as I write this, we’ve been at our home for one week in Pattaya, Thailand, as we flew in around mid-day on Tuesday. For the most part, we’ve just been trying to regain our bearings, settle in, and find the peace we came for…so far, it’s working.
It’s hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t been here what life is like in Thailand. We both get asked all the time – WHY – and the reasons we give are things like “it’s just easy” or “it affords us the kind of life we want to live.” But what does that LOOK like in real life?
Well, I guess I’ll just give you a rundown of what we’ve done for the past week. And, because we know so many of you are interested, I’ll give you the amount of money we’ve spent as well. Lucky for us, even though we keep ourselves on a tight budget here, we found that we had several thousand baht in the safe left over from our last trip. Score! Basically, that left over money paid our entire first week of expenses, and freed up our “real” budget allowing us to do a few extra things over the next seven weeks we will be here.
Once we landed, we took the 90 minute taxi ride from Bangkok to Pattaya ($50), and spent the next hour or so just unpacking. I brought a few extra household things this time, to make it feel more like home. A throw pillow or two, some extra sheets and fluffy towels, a couple of my favorite silk plants, some framed photos. Little things like that. I also brought plenty of our favorite soaps, and our electric mister that makes the apartment smell like lemongrass or orange. Silly, maybe, but it feels more like home, and since it’s officially home now, I’ll take all I can get.
Once we unpacked, we headed straight for the pool. Over the past few months the resort has been adding new things, like new lounge chairs all around the pools, and even upgraded the enormous lower pools with sand entries. The slides are installed now, and there are plenty of great lounging and sitting areas all around. One thing we have noticed for sure is that it’s high season in Thailand, and the once rather empty pools and gym are much busier now. Where we used to share the pool with only a handful of other residents, we now see 40 or so a day. Still, very few, considering our resort has 1600 apartments, but definitely a noticeable increase. We never have trouble securing a great set of loungers though, and we go every day for at least an hour. I’m finally getting a little color!
Going Into Town
After our first trip to the pool, we changed and made the walk into town for a massage. Still $6 an hour, and still the best thing about this town. We could go every day, but are limiting ourselves to 3-4 times a week, just because we feel like we should. It’s so relaxing though!
Up the street from the massage parlor is our regular night market. It’s called Rompho, and it’s roughly a mile from where we live. We buy our fresh produce there, as well as our staples for eating back at the apartment. We also eat out there. It’s very much like a fair, with food vendors under tents and awnings, selling everything from fresh fruit smoothies, to grilled fish, octopus, Peking duck, chicken, pork, kabobs, you name it. We typically eat dinner here with the other Pattaya tourists, as you can eat dinner for about $1.50 each. After dinner we load up on things like pork skewers (30 cents each) or chicken wings (6 for $1.20). We add some rice and corn, and bundle it home for leftovers the next day.
One of the best things from the market is the watermelon. It makes me sad for watermelon back in the US. This watermelon is sweet, and full of flavor. It’s the kind of watermelon we used to eat when I was little, back before the grocers had to get them from mass markets that pick them before they have a chance to get ripe. Honestly – it’s just incredible, and we eat a bit every day. We can buy a full half melon for just over a dollar, and it lasts us about 3-4 days. We also found fresh strawberries this time, and they, too, are amazing. Again, they are picked fresh so they just burst with flavor. I’m so excited they are available to us! We can buy a pound for just about a dollar.
Our first night here, last Tuesday, we sauntered back home with our groceries. We were so proud of ourselves for not having jetlag or sleeping during the day. It was probably 9pm, and we went straight to bed, managing to sleep all night (well, until about 630) and waking up ready to go. Fruit for breakfast, more pool time, a light lunch. Then, even though we both said we weren’t tired, we laid down “for twenty minutes.” Twenty minutes turned into the whole night! We slept from 230pm until 6am the next morning. I am happy to report, though, that we actually DO NOT have jet lag. We’ve managed to go to bed about 9 every night and wake up about 7, which feels good.
Dining Out & New Finds
Our favorite breakfast spot, Back Fabrik, is still our go-to for breakfast. It’s only about half a mile or so from the apartment, and while it’s spendy by Thai prices, it’s still in our budget a couple times a week. Plus, it’s just up the street from Rusty’s favorite massage parlor. Of course, we get another massage if we go that direction!
We’ve also stumbled upon a new-to-us street, where we found a new good place to eat lunch or dinner, called Mister Moo’s. And yesterday, after a seven mile walk, we found several new restaurants we want to try. We also found a new market that is HUGE. I mean, it’s massive. However, the produce vendors are open at the most bizarre hours – 3am until noon. So, I guess one morning we will have to check it out in full swing.
We’ve been walking fools this week. Our goal for these couple of months was to average 20 miles of walking per week. This week we managed way more than that…28 miles. Plus, we have been to the gym twice, and swimming every day. We both feel better, eat better, and sleep better. That’s one of the things we mean by it lets us live the kind of life we want to live. You should see our fridge. It’s full of fresh vegetables and fruits, things that will expire. Our cabinets hold only a box of cereal, Rusty’s peanut butter, and a few tiny packages of Oreos that we treat ourselves with from time to time. We eat fresh and healthy here, because there is really no alternative, and we like that. I cook at least twice a day, every day, and I don’t mind. Even though we have the tiniest oven, no microwave, and only a two burner stove, it’s enough. It is all we need and we’ve made it work well for us.
So, to round up one week in Pattaya, Thailand, here’s what we’ve spent:
- 4 hour long massages each, w/tip = $59
- Breakfast at Back Fabrik = $14
- Lunch at Back Fabrik = $10
- Lunch at Mr. Moos = $13
- Two Dinners at Rompho Market = $7
- Dinner at Made in Italy = $12
- Market Groceries = $10
- Groceries from store = $21
Total Food for Week One = $87
Total Expenses Week One = $146
When we were here in August, we wrote about food costs, and also wrote a post about what it costs to live here, you may want to check those posts out as well, in case you are thinking of making the leap to Thai life!
Who knows what Week Two holds? We aren’t sure yet! Stay tuned!