2020 stats: I’ve watched I don’t know how many seasons of Below Deck. Kept my New Year’s Resolution to get better at swimming. Definitely gained the COVID-19. Did the stay-cations, the barbeques-with-your-bubble and continue demolish the global supply of green bananas.
And now what? Northern Hemisphere people know – with a dread we’ve never known – Winter Is Coming. If you’re sick of Netflix (or horrified at what your algorithm has become), below, find 29 ways to bring Thailand to you. From food and flavours you’ve never heard of, to books you’ve never read – here’s hoping it gives you a month’s worth of sunshine.
Links below may include affiliates. I use affiliate links to recommended products and services. I receive a small commission on any resulting purchases at no cost to the customer. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It keeps The Koh Samui Guide ad-free, never sponsored and 100% independent.
29 Ways to Bring Thailand to You – Today, Tomorrow and This Weekend
Make your strangest Amazon Prime order yet: add jackfruit, durian and mangosteen to cart and discover your new favourite Thai fruit.
Practice yoga … with elephants. Featured as one of nine easy ways to help Koh Samui (without leaving your couch), you can download two twenty-minute yoga and guided meditation videos filmed at Samui Elephant Haven in partnership with a Koh Samui yoga studio. (By donation).
Read the entire Bangkok 8 series and emerge when winter’s over.
Love a good mystery? Even more so if it involves -cough- the CIA -cough- and remains unsolved over fifty years later? See what you think happened to Jim Thompson (and window-shop for Thai silk while you’re at it).
You versus the Vitamix: Here’s how to make a coconut shake, exactly like in Thailand.
Rehydrate both skin and soul: discover the restorative magic in a cold lemongrass towel (especially post-Peloton).
Add a tropical wall mural to any corner that needs it – even inside a closet. Peels off easily and available in two sizes to suit your ceiling height.
Binge Below Deck season 7 – filmed in Phuket and Railay. (In truth – because I’m an expert now – this was my least favourite season. So start at Season 1 and you can claw your way to season 7 by December).
Learn just a little bit about sharks and shark fin soup in Thailand – even lodged in the very back of your brain you’ll be a better-informed traveller for the future. (P.S. sharks eat sea snakes. Go sharks! Team shark!)
Try Butterfly Pea Flower tea – the bright blue colour is completely natural and can be used in drinks or to bake – bright blue icing with no additives!?
Make an emotional break from banana bread – and just skip to the good bit. By a zillion, million miles – THIS is my new favourite snack.
Try a Skillshare class – completely online instruction for beginner’s watercolour techniques, filmed in Thailand: Sketch Your Travels: Skyrocket Watercolor Techniques with 6 Fun Projects of Thailand.
Zoom call the elephant herd at Samui Elephant Sanctuary. A US$50 donation comes with a 30-minute live tour and introduction to the herd. Tours are available in English or French.
Rainy days ahead? That’s no time for a 500 or 1,000 piece puzzle. Break out the big guns: Three thousand pieces; a panorama puzzle of James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay near Phuket.
Unleash some COVID-19 bitterness with a truly ironic, slightly rageful, tropical face mask. Will you choose “the fresh watermelon shake I didn’t drink” face mask, or the “beautiful Thai beach I didn’t see” face mask?
Need to exercise full creative expression, even in languages you don’t speak? Pick up some Thai slang and practice on unsuspecting family members.
Visual learner? Get to know Bangkok a little a time, and brighten up your walls while you’re at it. This Bangkok map print comes in five sizes, from 8″X10″ up to 28″x36″.
Get cooking! If you need a break from takeout but can’t part with Thai food – it’s time to cook it yourself. I’m a few weeks into “DIY pad Thai” and am pretty proud of the results. (Top tip? Order six bottles of fish sauce with every new Thai cookbook). Find 33 superb Thai cookbooks for all skill levels, including 4 German-language books, plus niche options and, fine, vegetarians, too.
Phuket-Inspired – From the artist: “This art print is based on an original mixed media painting inspired by the vast, tropical beaches of Phuket”. Why do I love it? That perfect shade of blue.
I did. If you avoid chemicals and favour cruelty-free products, you might discover a new favourite sunscreen, face wash or hair product in my round-up of the best toiletries for Thailand.
Did you know that Good Morning, Vietnam was actually filmed in Thailand? See if you can figure out which locations were used where. (Hint: Many of the extras are actually students from International School Bangkok (ISB).
Pandemic rules state that listening to podcasts totally counts as human contact. From snakes to elephants, coral reefs and jellyfish, to what it’s like being in blind in Bangkok, discover 14 fascinating podcasts and some wonderful audiobooks about Thailand.
By now you know that I chickened out on my spicy Thai banana chips. Want way more heat (and probably more crunch?) Switch to the experts and choose between Sriracha and Thai sweet chilli banana chips.
Tried Sriracha banana chips and ready for more? Try some totally Thai flavours: larb or green curry banana chips. These special edition flavours were developed with Thai street food expert Mark Wiens and the result is so popular that fans have uploaded unboxing videos. As a limited edition these might not last long.
All the big kids in travel books are planning major releases for 2021, including Lonely Planet and DK Eyewitness. Pre-order a few now and delight your future self at your forethought and organisation. (A feeling I’ve never experienced but imagine would be highly satisfactory).
I spotted this book on Amazon at the start of lockdown and recommended it to a relative who has always wanted to learn to paint but ‘never had the time’. This book’s been an incredible resource for a beginner and has ignited what will be a lifelong hobby. (The results I get sent on WhatsApp are mighty impressive, too). Sick of YouTube and want to do something with your hands? This is a high-praise recommendation-by-proxy for DIY Watercolour Jungle.
One last suggestion for adding some jungle colours to your walls. I love this Northern Thailand print – all my favourite shades of green and blue. As with everything from Society6, it’s available in a variety of sizes (from 8″x8″ up to 28″x28″).