I thought I'd write a separate post detailing some of the delicious food I ate and some of the luxurious experiences I had. Massages, pedicures, tailors and personal drivers can all be enlisted for a fraction of what you’d pay back home.
Thai Massage The world’s most beautiful pain
For a few dollars you get a better massage than you’d get for hundreds at home. I had a $12 one hour massage at Wat Pho temple in Bangkok where they have the top massage school in Thailand specializing in Thai massage. Traditional Thai massage in a bit painful and has influnces from Ayurveduc and tradational Chinese medicine. Thai massage is more energizing and rigorous than traditional massage. Thai massage is also called Thai yoga massage, because the therapist uses his or her hands, knees, legs, and feet to move you into a series of yoga-like stretches. You could say Thai massage is like doing yoga without any work, while it also relaxes you, reduces stress, improves circulation and you’ll sleep better.
The last time I was in Bangkok was 9 years ago and I remembered I had a wonderful foot massage near my hotel. Well I went back to that neighborhood, walked around a bit until I instantly knew I was on the same street! Massages are cheap and easy to come by in Bangkok, you’ll see lots of storefronts advertising it, but this place was special to me. It wasn’t just a foot massage - it was an hour long foot reflexology. Your foot has thousands of nerve endings that correspond to every organ and system in your body. By pressing on these reflex points, you stimulate the nervous system and open energy pathways that may be blocked or congested.
On this same street I also found the tailor that I've been to a few times who surprisingly remembered me. Thailand is famous for their silk so I've had a few silk pieces made.
Fish spas are all over Bangkok and Bali. Basically, you sit with your feet in a giant fish tank and tiny fish chew the dead skin off your toes. In Bali I found a place where $4 got me 20 minutes in the tank with the fishies. It felt really weird at first, you should have seen the look on my face, but afterwards you get used to the sensation. Can’t say though it worked or not, I keep my feet pretty moisturized, in fact I had a pedicurist comment that she had little work to do.
Seeing an elephant in real life is an experience I cherish having in Thailand. I got to touch a baby elephant and he felt comfortable putting his trunk around me. On a previous visit I got to stand in between adult elephants and feed them bananas which was a bit scary considering how large they are and I’m not behind some fence. Did you know elephants paint? Yep some of them are trained to paint artwork.
I visited a coffee plantation that grows cocoa, pineapple, exotic fruits as well as coffee. While I don’t drink coffee so I’m no an expert on taste, Indonesia is known for its excellent coffee. They had a small furry animal in a cage called a Paradoxurus from which they make Kopi Luwak coffee from the animal poop! lol These little mammals live in the trees and one of their favorite foods is the red, ripe coffee cherry. They eat the cherries and beans but their bodies can't digest the beans so it comes out in tact but undergoing a chemical treatments and fermentation in his digestive system. This exotic coffee is described as having being very smooth with a rich, heavy flavor with hints of caramel or chocolate. In the U.S. it will go for $300 per pound! I tried the local made chocolate but skipped on the world’s most expensive coffee. I did buy some lemongrass tea and vanilla bean.
What’s cheap in Thailand & Bali – Food. The food was amazing, plentiful and cheap. Bali and Bangkok was a cuisine paradise for me as a vegetarian. Bali is the home of tempeh, a product made from soybeans and alternative to tofu. Both countries know how to prepare perfectly seasoned tofu which was easily found on restaurant menus.
They are used to wrap food prior to steaming and grilling. The leaf makes an excellent platter. Fresh coconuts were sold pretty much everywhere for drinking water, perfect for hydration in the humid temperatures. I tasted so many delicious exotic fruits with passion fruit being my favorite.
I was first introduced to Jamu at my hotel during breakfast. Everyday they had a different flavored Jamu juice. My ears perk up anytime I come across something healthy so I had to try this. It’s a Balinese style turmeric juice because turmeric is known to be one of the most powerful healing herbs. Every morning the menu would list what aliments the herbs in the juice would help with. It’s not a particularly sweet juice, some days it was quite difficult to drink. lol
|spices that make up Jamu juice|
|Balinese breakfast of tempeh, jamu juice and fruit served on banana leaf|
|fresh coconut to drink|
|tempeh curry - red rice was popular in Bali|
|exotic fruits that I had daily for breakfast|
passion fruit, tamarillo, soursoup, snakeskin fruit, rambutan, watermelon juice
|Panang Tofu - my favorite Thai dish|
|roadside fruit stall, saw a ton of these in Bali|
|pumpkin coconut curry with red rice|