Dating in Thailand as a foreigner

This is a topic i’m sure you could find lots and lots of different opinions on and could be talked about for endless amounts of time. However, I’m bringing a point of view that’s not often blogged about regarding this subject: A foreign woman dating Thai men. I should probably clarify that and say I am currently in a relationship with a Thai man (singular) but prior to this I did experience dating a few different people. **Warning** I have written about most of the things in this post just because of personal experience but I am obviously aware that these things do not apply to all Thai people or all Thai men.

Whether you’re on holiday in Thailand, living here permanently, or coming here just to look for “love,” I’ve put together a few tips that may help foreign ladies that are interested in dating Thai men.

Tips

  • Thai people often marry quite young so it’s not unusual to meet guys that you might be interested in who already have a wife at a relatively young age. It seems to be a lot more common to marry young here than in America. I’m not quite sure why, i’d appreciate any feedback about that.
  • If you don’t like being cheated on DON’T date bar workers or “beach boys” as I like to call them – this means guys that work in popular bars or work on the beach (jet ski rental, fire dancers, bar tenders, beach bar owners etc). I’m not saying this because I want to be judgemental towards these people, I am saying this because I’ve been there done that and know lots and lots of other girls that have as well. The nature of the work that these guys do is all about meeting new people, charming the people they meet, and having a lot of fun. They are often the guys that speak the best English and have the best tans so you’re probably going to love them but it is best to keep them as just friends. They are probably great people to know because they’ll give you free drinks and invite you to fun parties but just knowing them is enough.
  • In general, be aware that monogamy is not as important here as it may be where you are from. It is not common for Thai men to have what they call “gigs” which are girls that they umm….associate with I guess is the nicest way to put it. These are girls that are not their real girlfriends, these are girls they see while their girlfriend is not around. I work with a lot of married Thai men, and some of them openly talk to me about these girls that they see or used to see while being married. I’ve found this not only with the guys I work with, but with many of my guy friends as well. Talk to most Thai women about the Thai men and they will say the same thing. This is just something again that is part of the culture here and something that you have to be prepared for. Not all guys are like this of course, but it is not uncommon.
  • Don’t feel like your boyfriend/new fling doesn’t like you if he’s not into pda- that’s just the way it is in Thailand. Pda seems to be super embarassing for Thai people and is not a common practice. You’ll see the ocassional hand holding and couples with their arms around each other but fondling and kissing just aren’t done in public. It’s a cultural norm and if you want to be polite you should follow it.
  • “Cheek sniffing” will happen to you. It’s a more reserved way of essentially kissing someone. Your boyfriend/love interest will probably at some point press his nose against your cheek and seemingly sniff it. Just take it a compliment. It’s super cute and enjoyable once you get over the intial weirdness of it.
  • Remember that you are from different countries, you grew up differently, you view the world differently, you value different things, you take offense to different things, and you just are different in general. Cherish this! Getting to know someone who is different than you is one of the best parts of life. Keep this in mind though when you think the person you’re dating is crazy or unreasonable or even rude.

For example: my boyfriend decided to tell me that my face looked fat one day and this did not go over well with me. You will find that in Thailand calling someone fat is not considered rude but to an American woman it’s not the nicest thing to say. I explained to him that this hurt my feelings and I didn’t like it etc etc but that was hard for him to understand. He felt that he was doing me a favor by telling me I looked fat because he wants me to be healthy and wants the best for me. This sort of communication mishap will happen a lot! Just keep in mind that something your Thai partner considers nice may offend you but it is most likely not meant to! Vice versa you will probably do something offensive to him (pointing at things with your feet) and you won’t mean any harm by it but he may think it’s extremly rude.

  • Be aware that Thai men touch each other a lot more than men in the western world (especially the USA) do. They massage each other, hug, and even pat each other on the butt way more than you would probably see in your home country. This could potentially mean they are interested in each other but most of the time it doesn’t, it is just the way that it is here.
  • Most Thai people, including the men, do not like confrontation and avoid it all costs. Avoiding confrontation means that feelings will be kept secret sometimes, and saying no to things happens a lot less often than normal. Because they don’t want to “lose face” they won’t always approach you about something they want changed in the relationship, call you out for being offensive, or say no to you when request something ridiculous. You will ALWAYS get the last bite of food if you want it even if they are near starving. This is no way means that you should take advantage of them, it means that you need to be extra aware of what you are doing, and how potentially you could be trampling on someone. If you’re a nice enough person i’m sure things will be fine, but it’s always good to keep in mind this part of the culture.
  • Don’t let a language barrier stop you from pursuing something with someone that you have a connection with. It might be hard at first to communicate with your boyfriend if he is not fluent in the language you speak and you’re not fluent in Thai but you should not let that stop you from trying to make things work. It can be extremely fun, challenging, and rewarding, to develop your own style of communication with someone and at the same time to learn to speak and understand a new language. Google translate may be your new best friend when it comes to those tough words that you can’t get across but there is nothing wrong with that!
  • Speaking of translating services, once you’ve become friends with your new Thai crush on Facebook you’ll probably start to see what he’s writing on his profile and you’ll probably wish you could read it (if it’s not in English). Once you press that handy dandy little translation button on facebook you’re in for a whole lot of nonsense. Be prepared to be out of the loop with social networking stuff that your boyfriend posts. The translation app on there just never translates things as they’re supposed to be. So when you think your crush is talking about going to a concert with a pack of monkeys on the moon, he’s probably not, but your translate app will tell you he is.
  • Another thing to keep in mind about facebook is that in Thailand people seem to be quite “like” crazy more so than in America, not sure why. I am trying to say that the “like” button on facebook gets a lot of use. If you’ve got a few guys that are liking all of your photos, don’t take the wrong way, they are probably NOT trying to send some secret message that they want you, they probably just love that “like” button. I’ve made the mistake of thinking I had an admirer based on the fact that he liked pretty much every photo i’d ever post on facebook but sadly I was mistaken. I’ve also heard many girls that take these sorts of things on social networking the wrong way so it’s always good to keep this in mind!

In most ways, dating in Thailand is similar to dating in most countries, there are just some cultural differences that are good to keep in mind. It can be a lot of fun if you find the right person and if even if you don’t find the right person it can be a good experience! I’d love to hear anyone else’s experiences with dating in Thailand if anyone is interested in sharing. Coming soon I may do a post about foreign men dating Thai women. That should be quite interesting.   Thanks for reading!

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Street Dogs of Thailand

Thailand is full of street dogs! The dogs are everywhere you can imagine, inside 7-11, in the middle of the road while you’re driving, napping in front of your house, sitting in the same restaurant as you, at the beach getting a tan etc etc. For the most part these dogs mean no one any harm, they’re just living their lives. I’ve never had any problems with the street dogs and it’s been rare that I have heard of other people having problems with them either. Although prepare to be barked at sometimes.

When I first came to South East Asia I was speaking to another American girl who went on a rant about how stupid I was for not getting rabies vaccine before coming to Asia because of all of the street dogs. On one hand I could see her point; it is much more expensive to get the vaccine after you’ve been bit than it is to get it before as a preventative measure but on the other hand, the chances of getting randomly bit by a rabid dog seem to be quite low even with all the dogs running around. Getting the vaccine before hand may be a good option for some people but in general I do not think it is a necessity before traveling. My best advice is if you see a dog that looks menacing or that is growling at you or looking aggressive in some way, just stay away from it. Most of the dogs you come across are going to be super friendly and probably just want someone to give them some attention (and food).

I also recommend to be very cautious when driving at night because they tend to wander into the road and if you hit one of them while driving a motorbike it can cause a major problem not only for them but also for yourself.  You should also make sure that you have travel insurance anytime you are traveling out of the country because you never know what can happen and it’s great to have that backup in case something goes wrong. If you’re coming to Thailand from a western country seeing all these dogs running around is going to be shocking at first, but it is the norm here and you should treat the dogs well!

Another thing to keep in mind when interacting with dogs in Thailand is that you may see a dog that you think lives on the street but there is probably a good chance that it has a home. In Thailand people typically do not put their dogs on leads and they let them roam quite a bit more than we do in the western world. Dogs are given a lot more “free will” here and that works out fine for most people. This is something that you’ll have to get used to pretty quickly being here.

If you’ve got the room in your heart and your home and you’re permanently staying in Asia I would even recommend adopting one of the street cuties. Remember though, if you plan to move back to your home country you have to take your pet with you, it’s the right thing to do! If you do plan to adopt and think you could move home in future, you should look into what the process for taking your dog home would be (it’s expensive and complicated).

Thanks for reading!

My travel bucket list

VinesA few years ago I made a goal for myself, just one goal. So far I’ve managed to stick to it: Go abroad (from wherever I am living at the time) at least once a year for the rest of my life.

Simple as that. Now that I’ve shown myself that it is totally possible, I have decided that it’s best to make my travel bucket list to go along with my yearly goal. Hopefully each year i’ll be able to cross at least one of these off!

  • CUBA! But last I checked i’m not allowed to go there without some special reason simply because I am American. That might be what makes me want to go there even more but either way it is one of my top dream destinations.
  • Brazil – anywhere in Brazil, i’m not picky I just need to go there. I need to experience the food, the culture, the sounds, the dancing, the colors, everything.
  • Argentina- I want to do everything there but top on the list is to visit some vineyards and indulge in lots and lots of Malbec
  • Auckland, New Zealand (and all around New Zealand please!)
  • Amsterdam (can’t believe I didn’t make it there when I was living in London)
  • Maldives – little holiday time
  • South Korea (My time in the airport just did not suffice)
  • Morroco – Marrakech, Essaouira, Merzouga – etc
  • Kenya – everywhere I can!
  • Machu Picchu (DUH!)
  • India! Everywhere that I can go in India, I want to go (if anyone would like to come along just let me know)
  • Geneva, Switzerland (should I live there?!)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark (should I live THERE!?!)
  • Prauge, Czech Republic
  • Vietnam – I’ve got a long list of cities to see there and should be making that happen sometime this year!
  • Philippines
  • Jordan – and other middle eastern countries
  • The state of Washington, United States of America
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Romania
  • Sri Lanka

etc etc etc – the list could go on and on

So if there is anyone out there reading this who wants to go with me or has my in to one of these countries, let me know! 🙂

Thanks for reading

Chiang Mai – I’m in LOVE!

Guys, I LOVE Chiang Mai, I really really do. I’ve been trying to convince myself to go back to school so that I have an excuse to move there and attend Chiang Mai University.

There are so many reasons to love Chiang Mai but for me the number one reason is because it reminds me a little bit of home (as much as Thailand can I suppose). It’s such an extreme difference being in Northern Thailand in Chiang Mai for holiday and living in Southern Thailand. Life on Koh Samui is absolutely nothing like life in Chiang Mai. They both have great things to offer but also are so different to each other. In this post i’ll go into the a little bit of detail about my experiences there and what I found to be good while I was there. There is quite a bit more to say but i’ll try to keep this relatively brief!

Beauty in Chiang Mai

Beauty in Chiang Mai

Getting to Chiang Mai

We took the night bus up from Koh Samui to Bangkok where we arrived at about 6am. My boyfriend Ae is from Bangkok so we spent the day at his family’s house just catching up with them and did little bit of cycling around the neighborhood before getting back on another night bus that night up to Chiang Mai. We rode with Sombat Tour up to Chiang Mai and I kid you not, it was the coldest I’ve been in over a year. I don’t know what temperature they turn the AC on to, but my nipples were hard enough to cut diamonds and I’m pretty sure my lips turned blue. Ok, I’m being a little dramatic but I was just not ready for that aircon after living in Koh Samui for so long.

When we arrived to Chiang Mai in the morning we thought we’d step out of the bus to warm air and feel great but once again, it was cold! I am from MICHIGAN in the United States of America which if you know anything about Michigan you know it’s cold most of year (extremely cold), and I was shivering in Chiang Mai. Thankfully it warmed up throughout the day but just a tip for anyone visiting around December- January, bring warm clothes!

Another note about getting to Chiang Mai- you can get there a few different ways including by air plane. For us the bus made the most sense because of the budget we were on. From Southern Thailand it is about a 24 hour total bus journey up to Chiang Mai. You can also take a train from Surat Thai, rent a car and drive there yourself, or as I mentioned before you can fly in from various locations.

From the moment we got off the bus and took a Song Taew to the area of our hotel, I knew I was already in love. Chiang Mai is just so……cute! I hate to use that word but it really just is. It is so artsy and calm and quaint and cute! I felt like I was back in Michigan in a lot of ways.

One example of cuteness

One example of cuteness

I won’t bore you all with the whole step by step of what did in our days in Chiang Mai but I have put together below some recommendations, must sees, and other tips!

Where to stay

We stayed in Old  City for our time in Chiang Mai which in my opinion was a great choice because there was a lot to do and see there, it was really great fun. I get the impression that Old City is the main area that draws in tourism. With that being said though it didn’t seem to be all that crowded or touristy. We went over Christmas time which is supposed to be a very busy time in Chiang Mai but for me it was not all that busy.

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Opal and Ae sitting outside of Greenhouse Backpacker

We stayed at a place called Greenhouse Backpacker in old town and I could not have been more pleased with the place we decided to stay. Greenhouse Backpacker is a hostel but it does have private rooms as well. The hostel bedrooms have a maximum of four beds in each room so they are not too crowded. My boyfriend and I got a private room and my friend stayed in the dorm room. The beds are comfortable, clean, and each room is uniquely decorated. They’ve all got what I call the “Chiang Mai Feel.” The style and decor in there is unbeatable, and it’s also really hard to describe. As I said before it’s the artistic, maybe a bit hippy, a bit hipster, and a bit traditional Northern Thai style all combined in one.

Another example of some typical Chiang Mai cuteness

Another example of some typical Chiang Mai cuteness

Anyway, Greenhouse Backpacker was even more amazing because of the person who worked there named Opal. Opal was the funniest, nicest, most all around awesome person to meet in Chiang Mai. She was super accommodating and made our stay there really enjoyable because of her hilarious jokes. She also gave us so many tips on cheap places to eat, good temples to visit, the popular bar to go to at night, and the cheap places to rent bicycles. So I highly recommend giving the Green House Backpacker a visit, and tell Opal I say hi!

Getting around

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Santas everywhere! My Santa Tuk Tuk was amazing

Ride in a tuk tuk! Come on, be a typical tourist and just do it! It is actually really fun and chances are it’s probably something you cannot do at home. We were lucky enough to be in Chiang Mai over Christmas so our Tuk Tuk was extra special and all dressed up like Santa Clause.

Tuk Tuks are cheap, relatively safe, and a good experience. They are not great for super long distances but for short distances they are totally fine! I would say for about a 15 minute journey you can expect to pay somewhere around 100 baht in Chiang Mai. Split that with a few friends, and it’s practically nothing! Chances are your tuk tuk drive will also be super fun to talk to and have lots of good recommendations for you.

Tuk tuks are awesome but my favorite way to get around in Chiang Mai is by bicycle! It’s a great way to see parts of the city that you probably would not otherwise get to see. Also, there are bike rental shops everywhere so it is not hard to find one that suits you. The type of bike you should rent will be based on where in the city you plan to go. If you’re not doing any mountain or hill riding you can just rent a cruiser and take a tour around the city. Typically the cost of renting one for 24 hours is only 50 baht. Unbeatable really! It’s a great form of exercise, it’s fun, and the roads in Chiang Mai are cyclist friendly as they have so many people there doing it!

Relaxing at the park after a nice bike ride.

Relaxing at the park after a nice bike ride.

Another way to get around Chiang Mai is by catching a Song Taew which we did a lot of as well. Song Taews are the pick up trucks with benches put in the back for people to sit on. Sometimes, if you’re lucky and adventurous you will get to stand at the back and hang on for dear life. If you’ve been around Thailand before i’m sure you’ve encountered Song Taews, they are a very popular way to get around. In Chiang Mai they are also super cheap at about 40 baht per person pretty much anywhere you want to go in the city (within reason).

My last recommendation of a way to get around in Chiang Mai is to rent a motorbike. Unless you have an international license, it’s not the smartest idea in Chiang Mai. There are a lot of police to stop people riding to check for the proper licensing. If you don’t have it, prepare to pay! It’s just so much easier not to go through that hassle. If you do take the risk and rent a motorbike, ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET. Not only because you’ll get a big fine if you’re caught without one, but also because you’re head/brain/and life are way more important than your hairstyle and how cool you look. Ok, my public service announcement for the day is finished. 🙂

Song Taew action shot

Song Taew action shot

My top 5 things to do in Chiang Mai

Shop at the Night Bazaar

The night Bazaar is the famous night market in Chiang Mai and lucky for all it’s patrons it is open every night! The Night Bazaar is super fun, full of people, and full of great things to buy. I haven’t been to a market quite like this one yet in Thailand as it has things from pretty much every culture you can imagine. For any jewelry fans out there, this is also a great place to purchase jewelry. I think between Chiang Mai and Pai I bought probably 6 different rings and even more earrings (my boyfriend thinks I shop too much but that’s just not possible).

Another great thing about the Night Bazaar is that it’s not only a great place for shopping, but like  most markets in Thailand it’s full of great food. The food in the north part of Thailand is so flavorful, inventive, and of course, spicy. If you are not used to spicy food, make sure when you are traveling in Thailand you ask for your food not spicy or say “Mai Phet Kha,”kind of like saying the phrase “My Pet,”but for a female you add “Kha”on the end and for a male you add “Krap”on the end to be polite. “Mai Phet” in Thai means not spicy.  My experiences with food in Thailand have been that if you go far North or far South you need to be prepared for that famous Thai spice that you hear about. If you stay in the middle area of the country the food is not automatically burn your lips off sort of spicy.

Sorry to get off subject a bit, but I recommend visiting the Night Bazaar to pick up some great things to bring back to your friends and family or just to help remember your trip. It is also a great place for a nice relaxed night out.

Visit Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep is a must see for Chiang Mai and i’m sure if you’ve done any researching on Chiang Mai you’ve probably already come across this name before. It is a mountain in the city about 15 kilometers outside of the center of the city. It’s a must see for several reason, one being the breathtaking Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep which is the temple up on the mountain. There are a few ways to get there but I will give you the insider tip on the cheapest and best way to do it. Before taking my trip up there I did a bit of research on the cheapest way to do it because I am nothing if not frugal when traveling. My friends and I ended up renting motor bikes just for the trip up there (150 per motorbike rented). For us, this was the easiest way to go about it as it allowed us time to stop at the different areas we wanted to see and we could create our own schedule. The other option if you’re not super comfortable on a motorbike is to take a taxi or a songtaew (a truck with seats in the back) up the mountain, this one though is a bit more pricey at around 600 baht per person for the round trip. The nice part about doing that way though is that you don’t have to worry about figuring out where you’re going or driving up there yourself.  If you’re super fit and up for a challenge you can get there by mountain bike- as I mentioned before you can rent them almost anywhere. I do not know exactly how long this takes but riding a motorbike all the way up to to the temple took about 30 minutes. The bike ride up there looked quite challenging but I image it is was super satisfying getting to the top and it was clearly a great form of exercise. I’m planning to get the courage built up and do it on my next trip to Chiang Mai.

Once you do get to the temple though you’ve got some stairs to climb before you finally reach the beauty. It’s full of amazing Buddhist relics and history, and there is quite a bit to see there. Also, the view from up there is unbeatable. It really put into perspective for me just how big Chiang Mai actually is.

At the temple on Doi Suthep

At the temple on Doi Suthep

There is a cost to get into the temple which was around 20 baht at the time I went, so not much at all especially for what you are getting when you go there. Although the temple is a major tourism spot and from what I gathered is often full of people, it is still almost impossible not to feel at peace while you are there.

Eat Khao Soi  (ข้าวซอย) 
If you’re a lover of food, or eat food just to sustain life I urge you try Khao Soi, you will not regret it. It is something like the North’s version of the noodle soup that see everywhere in Thailand. I’m kind of horrible at describing flavours so i’ll try my best here- Khao Soi is rich, creamy, slightly spicy, and just all around delicious. You can get it the classic way with chicken, or just vegetables like I did. Based on the reviews from my friends and from my experience, it is delicious either way. I really couldn’t even tell you all of the ingreidents that it includes but to name a few – boiled noodles, fried noodles, coconut milk, some sort of stock, curry, lime, and the list goes on and on. It’s simply amazing! You have to get it when you’re in the north because that is where is originates from so it will be the best there. Also, I’ve discovered that it’s nearly impossible to find anywhere else.

Sorry guys, wish I could upload a picture of deliciousness but I was literally too excited every time I ate it that I forgot take a picture. You can google it though to see what i’m talking about.

Get a massage at the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution 

This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, prisoners giving massages. Well to be more accurate, they are female prisoners who are almost finished with their prison sentences and are preparing to transition into the massage industry when they are released. The massages are really good, really cheap (180 baht per hour!), and more importantly they are helping to make a difference in the life of people looking for a second chance. They are professional, and make their customers feel completely comfortable.

I would highly recommend this if you love relaxation and massage and are looking for an affordable massage coupled with a unique experience. Not only will you leave relaxed and feeling good but you can also go back and tell all your friends that you’ve been massaged by a prisoner. That makes a good opening line for a story.

While there you can also purchase handmade products that some of the ladies have made during their time and the money for this goes back to into the program that is helping out the prisoners to sharpen their skills. This massage parlor is a great idea for helping women to have a better and more structured life when they are released.

If you are interested in having a massage though I would recommend booking before you go so that you are guaranteed a spot, this is quite a popular stop in Chiang Mai.

Lounge around in Suan Buak Had Park

Lovely day at the park

Lovely day at the park

On a lovely day we decided to take a ride over the Suan Buak Had Park and I’m really glad that we did. I am huge fan of parks and I always felt like I needed a park visit while living in Koh Samui. It was really nice to see a beautiful, green, well kept park that so many people were enjoying. The park is quite small (it takes about 5 minutes to ride a bicycle around the whole park) but has a lot of different things going on so there is no way to get bored there. There is plenty of room to just lounge around and read a good book or relax and talk with friends. If you’re worried about sitting on the grass, no need worry anymore, you can rent a bamboo mat to sit on for only 10 baht. If you get hungry or thirsty just take a quick walk around the park and you’ll find refreshment carts to satisfy your needs. I had to have some coconut ice cream while I was there, I couldn’t resist it. At only 25 baht per cone though, it is hard to turn that down. Not only is the park filled with ice cream but it’s also filled with people doing physical activity. Yoga classes, acro partner yoga, and slack lining seemed to be the most popular things going on when I was there. From what I gathered, yoga happens quite frequently in the park. It’s not hard to see why, it is a peaceful and tranquil place, and although there are quite a few people there, it is a quiet place as well. If you’re not too into yoga you can try your hand at one of the permanent exercise machines they’ve got around the park. Or, if you’re like me you can just do a couple laps around on your bicycle and then lay down and eat some ice cream. Either way, this a great little place that’s worth a visit for a peaceful afternoon.

 

Conclusion 

As I said before, I love Chiang Mai, and I highly highly recommend it as a must see when you are visiting Thailand. I’ve barely scratched the surface in this post of all the things to do, all the places to see, and all the wonderful details about the city. The food is unbeatable, the people are super friendly, the night life is buzzing, and the city makes you feel a little bit magical somehow. If anyone is interested in more recommendations of things to do or places to go please get in touch me with I am happy to recommend more.

 

Thanks for reading!

Being a wedding planner: The basics

It is really kind of funny that I’ve ended up being a wedding planner and it has turned out to be my most favorite and the best job I’ve ever had.It is not even a job to me anymore- it is my long term career. The reason it is funny that I’ve ended up as a wedding planner though is because I remember when I was in university studying Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on event management) I told myself and I declared it to my classmates as well that I would never be a wedding planner. Never say never, as the saying goes! My reasons back then were probably that I did not want to have the pressure of being in charge of one of the most special days of peoples’ lives which as you can imagine is quite a pressure to put on yourself. Now that I have been doing this for almost a year I can say though that I want to continue my career in wedding planning for as long as possible, and I really do love this work.

The pressure of being in control of someone’s wedding always turns out to be wonderful because if you are successful, you know that have just helped people to have the best day of their life. What’s not to like about that?

The title of this post a little be a bit misleading because in my opinion it is a little difficult to actually pinpoint the “basics” of wedding planning as every wedding is different and all the clients are different. I’ve put together a list though of what I find to the basics things for me to do or remember with each wedding and things that help me to make my experience as a wedding planner the best it can be.

Most importantly – Have a great attitude

Weddings can be stressful, especially if you’re like me and tend to take other peoples’ stress on as your own. The most important thing that you can do though is keep a positive attitude. If things are going wrong or you have a bridezilla, or even if the wedding is just not enjoyable in some way, you have to remember to keep it together. If your attitude goes sour, this will show and will likely affect your clients.

Treat each wedding like it is the only wedding you’ll ever work at 

I mean this in the sense that you have to make sure to dedicate yourself fully to each wedding and not constantly be thinking about one you had in the past, or one you have in the future. In January, I planned 8 weddings….I repeat, 8 weddings. Some of them drained me physically and mentally but I had to go into each new one with a clean slate. The way I do this is by reminding myself that the bride and groom don’t know (or care) how many weddings I have to work at, all they know as that their special day is the most important thing to them so that is how I treat it. I don’t bring any baggage from my previous weddings with me.

Be as flexible as possible 

I mean that figuratively, not literally although being physically flexible may come in handy being a wedding planner as you never know what crazy request you may have to fulfill!

You need to make sure that you can adjust to pretty much ANY situation, anything can happen at a wedding.

Be quick on your feet and creative if you can! 

Being a wedding planner is a great way to let your creativity really shine. You are going to have to come up with crazy ways to put broken shoes back together,  make a garter (learn how to sew!), to make dresses fit when they might be a size or two too small, make a beach look wider than it is, to make a bouquet morph into a table centerpiece, or even to fix a wedding cake that accidentally looks like the leaning tower of Pisa. You’ll be asked to move mountains and you’ll only be given 20 minutes to do it so be prepared to come up with something genius, and come up with it fast!

Do not be afraid to say NO

It is so hard to have to disappoint someone but you have to be strong and tough to be a wedding planner. You cannot be afraid to say no to people, especially the bride and groom. In my last point I said you will be asked some crazy requests, and to the best of your abilities, try to do them but do not forget that some things just cannot be done. When it comes down to it you are not the bride’s friend, you are her wedding planner, so even though you’re ultimate goal is to make her happy, you have to have your limits.

Don’t take the romance for granted! 

No matter how many weddings I have been to or how busy I am at a wedding I always make sure that I catch the look in the bride and grooms eyes when they first see each other. Nothing beats seeing that pure look of love, terror, excitement and every other emotion in the world. That moment to me is the most romantic in the entire wedding. You may be surrounded by love, happiness, and emotions all the time as a wedding planner, but don’t take it for granted, appreciate it and bask in it because it’s one of the best parts of life.

Ask for help

As the wedding planner, you are going to feel like the pressure of everything running smoothly is put completely on you, but there are times where you are going to need help to make this happen. Do not be afraid to ask people for help, it does not make you look incompetent, it just shows that you care and want everything to be as perfect as possible. It’s really important also to have a good wedding staff. Get people that have experience, that you can rely on, and people that have a great attitude just like you!

Stay organized

I cannot stress how important it is to keep everything organized. As a wedding planner you will have about a million different tasks, appointments, papers, things to remember, and things to do. You have to have a good way of keeping this all on track. Lists will become your best friend! Make sure you have a good planner/diary/calendar, and if you can, make sure you have some sort computer system set up specially for weddings. I am lucky enough that at my company we have an extremely well organized computer system where I can keep essentially every detail that I would need to have about a wedding. Without having everything organized and all in once place I am not sure i’d actually be able to do this job; it is so important to stay organized.

Have fun!

You have got to have some fun at your weddings! You have to remain professional and on top of things but don’t forget that what you are doing is amazing, creative, and super fun. Laugh as much as possible, meet new people, and take in all the beauty and excitement around you at each wedding.

 

There is so much that goes into being a wedding planner but for me these are the basic things that will help get the best experience out of this career. Coming soon will be a post specifically about planning weddings in a foreign country, or working as a destination wedding planner.

 

Thank you for reading!

Khanom- The land of the pink dolphins

Khanom is a super cute and fun beach town in the south of Thailand and is a part of the Nakhon Si Thammart District. For me it is a perfect weekend getaway – not that a getaway is really needed when you live on a tropical island, but I love to see new things.

Khanom’s beaches are beautiful and seem to stretch on and on with no end. The best part about them is that they are not overrun with people. In fact, one weekend when I was in Khanom I’m pretty sure I saw more cows on the beaches than I saw people. You can see one of the cows and I getting to know each other in the photo below.

Cow selfie Khanom beach

The beaches have clear blue water, clear blue skies, and give you absolutely no blue feelings, it’s all wonderful there. Khanom is a place that I’ve actually visited a few times just to get away and have some peace and quiet. If you are looking for a relaxed, quiet yet fun, and beachy place, this is a top destination for the south of Thailand.

My Hotel recommendation

Finding a place to stay while you’re there couldn’t possibly be any easier as they’ve got countless bungalows, guest houses, apartments, and resorts everywhere. I would recommend going somewhere along the beach as you’ll be in walking distance of paradise. On my visits I’ve stayed at Dolphin House which is a cute little apartment style hotel just opposite the beach. Dolphin House was a completely random choice but ended being a good one as the room was comfortable, clean,  safe, and had a great sunset view. The owner of Dolphin House is also fantastic and will literally give you the shoes off his feet if you ask (don’t ask). The rates are super cheap at only 500 baht per night (not in peak season) and for me even cheaper as I shared the room with two friends. Don’t be afraid to share a room, just make sure everyone fits in the bed before making that commitment.

Not a whole lot of time was actually spent  hanging out at Dolphin house as we wanted to get out and experience what Khanom had to offer but the nights there comfortable and enjoyable.

Speaking of getting to know what Khanom has to offer, I recommend renting a motorbike while you are there and just driving around the city. It is bigger than you would think at first but not so big that you’ll get lost and you can find so many cool little places and things to see if you just explore. For me as a traveler, getting out, driving around, and exploring is often the time that I have most magical experiences. Those experiences are what keep me traveling.

Dolphins

Potentially the main attraction for tourists in Khanom is the pink dolphins.  Khanom is a famous dolphin watching spot and it is known especially for being home to many pink dolphins. The first time I saw Dolphins (grey dolphins) was in Thailand while I was waiting for a ferry and my mind was blown, I could not believe my eyes, I was almost moved to tears. That may be a little dramatic but members of my family have been known to cry over the majestic beauty of sea creatures so I guess I inherited that quality. Anyway, I thought that the grey dolphins were pretty much the highlight of life until I had the chance to see the pink Dolphins on one of my visits to Khanom. Guys, trust me, they really are fantastic.

It’s super easy to arrange for this to happen, just ask pretty much any hotel employee and they will let you know what to do. Keep in mind that has to be done very early in the morning as that is the prime time for dolphin activity. You’ll arrange a tour on a small long tail boat with a group of people (either people you know or random people that happen to join at the same time as you) and you’ll take the boat out to “the” spot. You get the chance to try and feed the dolphins in an attempt to draw them closer to your boat so you can snap hundreds of pictures of them, or in my case just cry tears of joy upon the mere sight of them.

On the dolphin viewing trip you sit out in the boat for an unspecified amount of time, typically about an hour or so, or however long it takes to get the dolphins to show up. Depending on your tour guide you may stop at a mysterious temple on the way back to your taking off point, or you may just head straight back after you’ve had your dolphin fill. Either way, the trip is fantastic and worth the money. When I went on the trip the cost was 1,000 baht per boat and our particular boat had 5 people in it so the cost was extremely low.

The really amazing part about seeing the dolphins is that no harm is done to them, no one is forcing them to show up, they are not trapped in by any means, they are just in their natural habitat. We may be cramping their style a bit by showing up to their turf and taking selfies with them, but we mean them no harm. It seems rare to find a place in Thailand that is like when it comes to animals so this is a wonderful experience to have. I know a lot of people may have their opinions on animals when it comes to tourism and I have to say I probably agree with pretty much all of the reasoning against it, however this particular activity is relatively harmless. However, I do not and will not recommend any tourism that has to do with animals in captivity.

We managed to snap a few photos of the dolphins peeking out of the water but I could not pull it together in time to capture a photo one of the illustrious pink dolphins unfortunately.

Dolphins Khanom3 Khanom boat

The Night Market 

Khanom also has a fantastic night market with every type of Thai food you’d possibly want to try, every key chain and trinket you can imagine, and clothes and clothes and clothes.  You’ll have to make sure to get there before the weekend as the market in only open on Friday nights but is definitely worth it! The night market is easy to and find is located about 4km east of the city center. Ask any of the smiley locals to direct you, and you’ll take one road straight all the way there. The market is a great Friday night out for shopping or for just relaxing and enjoying some food and drinks as my friends and I did. Nothing there will break the bank, with most of the food going for 50 baht or less and most of the clothes around 100 baht or less. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

I recommend Khanom as a really great place to check out while you are in Thailand if you happen to make it south it is worth checking out and i’m willing to bet you’ll want to visit more than once! Khanom night market

Blog makeover

The theme of the blog has now changed as I’ve realized I may have a lot of information to share that my fellow travelers might be interested in reading!

There are now two, maybe three sometimes, themes to my blog so please, pick what interests you and have a read.

First i’ll be writing about traveling in Thailand and South East Asia. While living here for the past 13 months or so, I’ve done a fair bit of traveling when I am not working. Along they way i’ve found places and activities and moments that are worth sharing so that hopefully other travelers too can have these wonderful experiences. There may even be some tips in here about what not to do!

The second sort of theme of the blog will be work based as I am a wedding planner in Thailand. I’ll give my tips about working abroad, how to find jobs, and more importantly how to be successful in your job abroad, and how to keep it! Over the past year i’ve become completely obsessed with weddings so i’ll also share my love of weddings on here as well.

The potential third theme will be more of a personal side of things. In the past my blog posts have always been very personal and have included a lot of short stories etc and I may still do a bit of that as it is what I enjoy.

As always, thank you for reading.

Silent Romance

My romantic comedies could be put on hold for an unknown period of time. A sweet surprise of what seems to be a relationship has smiled upon me. Let’s not get our hopes up people, we will see where this goes. By people I mean all my adoring fans (I think maybe 2 people read my blog).

What I wanted to really delve into here though is the subject of dating someone who’s native language is not the same as yours. Wow! It’s interesting. It’s confusing, exciting, frustrating, informative, and most of all it makes you learn a lot. Not only do you learn a new language but you learn about a person based on what they do rather than what they tell you about themselves. I don’t want to say with any conviction that I prefer to get to know someone this way because for me words are highly important, but, I will say that this is teaching me a lot of lessons and i’m really enjoying getting to know someone this way.

Our communication relies heavily on this magical godsend called “Google Translate.” That along with books, friends, and our very little knowledge of each other’s languages get us by day to day. A lot of the time when there is nothing to say (because neither of us know how to formulate what we want to say into decipherable sentences) I take those precious silent moments and try to learn something about him. Without him telling me what he’s done, bragging about himself, or explaining his values to me I can tell that he is kind, genuine, funny, and polite. Without him having to describe to me the reasons he likes me I can see by the look on his face or the way that he hugs me that he likes me because of those things he learns about me in silence.

What a grand way to fall to for someone.

xo

The love I can’t leave: The sea

Everything can change so quickly and that’s the best and worst part about life isn’t it. You have to be able to adapt to change otherwise you are, for lack of a better term, fucked. Adapting to change I think is the number one thing I have going for me at this point in life. I can roll with punches even when they knock me out I’ve so far been able to stand back up before the bell. This boxing reference is not a metaphor for something bad happening in my life it’s just a metaphor in general about change. The most recent change for me is that i’m not heartbroken anymore and my mind is feeling free again.

I had the most wonderful weekend ever and it was simply spent enjoying the sea which is probably the best thing that a person can do in life. Everyday on my way anywhere I look at the sea (I live across from the beach). I see the different shades of blue, the stillness, the reflection of the sun, and the mountains far away and I just think about how beautiful it is. I feel as if I am living in paradise.

The sea near my house has so many color is in and about 300 meters out into the sea there is a relatively large  sand bar. It looks so beautiful and everyday I think to myself that I need to get out there to that sand bar and this weekend I finally decided to do it.  I had to wear shoes because the walk out there was slimy and full of rocks, but just before the sand bar everything went soft and water was crystal clear and warm; simply amazing. I sat out there with my friend and we just stared at the mountains near us, the mountains in the distance, and colors. We were just a little bit speechless. He broke the silence though and in part Thai part English said something along the lines of, “we are being hugged by mountains.” A simple line of accidental poetry that was extremely fitting for the moment. Koh Samui is amazing because not only is it a beautiful tropical island but it is also surrounded by other beautiful tropical islands a lot of which you can see very clearly. The ones in the distance just look like mysterious mountains in the water that take can make ones mind wander to faraway places for hours imagining what could be there. They look like something that you see on a postcard and think “damn I wish I was there.”

Sitting there in that moment was amazing and then suddenly in in the distance we could see it raining over the sea. Its funny watching storms on an island because you can see the mass of clouds raining down in one spot and just next to it you see clear blue skies. I’ve never watched a storm roll in until I lived here and now it’s becoming one of my favorite sights to see. We didn’t realize how fast the storm was moving and actually got caught in the water while it was storming which was so fantastic. I love the tropical weather even when it is raining this place is still great.

Sigh…..I feel that I’m in love with the sea again.

Little Beauties

I recently watched the film American Beauty for the first time (a little late, yes I am aware). This film spoke to me in so many ways and I thouroughly enjoyed it. Although at one point in life I thought that being a film critic would be the perfect job for me, I am not going to critique that film, that is not what this blog post is about. I just want to reference one specific scene that really stood out to me. When the young girl and young boy (main characters, I forgot their names) were watching some video footage of a bag being tossed around in the wind and the boy said something along the lines of “there is so much beauty in the world sometimes I feel like my heart will burst.” At that point I wanted to scream out, “ME TOO, ME TOO.” I often find myself driving around and just looking at things and thinking about how beautiful and amazing the smallest things are. Seeing a mother comforting a baby, a tree with multiple colored flowers, a group of friends laughing on a motorbike together, someone picking their nose, people watching the sunset together, a familiar shape in the clouds, the wrinkles in an elderly person’s face, a dog napping on the road, a hand made sign with multiple spelling errors, a family working together in their restaurant, someone discovering something new for the first time, a silly dance move, an unknown sea creature, and list goes on and on and on.

Taking time to realize how beautiful the little things of everyday life are is highly important. I was worried because most things here have become routine to me and I didn’t want that feeling of excitment that I first had to go away. I realize now though that I’m going to have to keep traveling and discovering new things for the rest of my life if I want to constantly feel that excitment of being thrown into something I don’t know. For now since I don’t have the option to travel and feel that rush, I’ve decided that finding the small amazing things in everyday life is just as good.