Tag Archives: Thailand

Postcard for you, from us!

We’ve started to write our Finnish blog about nine months ago. And in such a short period of time we have managed to get alot of readers around the world. Sure this blog is kinda new but there’s still alot of you guys reading these posts. We don’t know how you found your way in here but we’re glad you did.

Originally, this was meant to be just a diary for relatives and friends and maybe some random passers-by perhaps as being somekind of inspiration to follow the dreams or even hop off from the rat race. Something similar we did over 6 months ago.

However, the number of visitors to our blog has increased tremendously over the past few months and more followers have started to appear. Thanks to all of you, we hope you visit our blog again and maybe even share your thoughts of our posts or what we do. We would also love to hear what kind of people are reading these texts.

You’ve given us so much in such short period of time, but now it’s our turn to give you something in return. We decided to start a monthly tradition where once a month we send a personalized postcard to one of our readers.

There are three rules:

  1. Post a comment on this post about “Your best travel experience / memory“.
  2. When commenting, make sure your email address is something we can send email to.
  3. You can send your comments until the end of February.

In March, we will look at the comments and personally contact one person selected by WheelOfNames. We don’t choose the “best” comment, but let the Wheel of Fortune decide.

How is life in Thailand?

As you may already know we’ve been living in Koh Samui for six months now. We’ve seen the good sides of Thailand and some of the bad sides. But how our life really is? This time it’s about time to tell a bit about ourselves and also our daily life.

Sorry to crack your heart-shaped glasses but living in a ”paradise island” doesn’t really make a difference compared to any other place in the world. Sure in some cities there are skyscrapers, big malls, busy atmosphere and the weather might be different with a snow storms or fallen leaves of autumn. Koh Samui is a small island (228.7km2) that you can drive around in an hour. There are no skyscrapers but there are lots of resorts, villas and hotels and only a one mall. And that’s not even very big one. But the atmosphere is very slow-phased and easygoing and the weather is sunny pretty much every day (except for rainy season of course).

Beached whale in Koh Samui

How is our ordinary week then?

Our weekdays mostly consists of driving to work at noon (because we work with a Finnish time table) and get off at evening. And yes we really have a office for work since we’re not digital nomads or remote workers who can hang around at the beach or at home making phone calls or writing emails. After we get off work we go get something to eat, usually to some thai restaurant because they have delicious food with very affordable price (ordinary thai meal with a soda costs about 3€). We really don’t make the food at home because we get off work so late and we don’t even have an oven or kettle at the moment. It’s much easier to eat outside since the price is pretty much the same compared eating outside or at home + you don’t have to do the dishes.

When we get home we usually spend our time working with our blogs and searching for ways to grow our audiences. Mostly we’ve been focusing on our Finnish blog for the past two weeks but we are still working with getting this English version up to date. We’ve also been doing some collaborations with various Finnish media sites and also with some companies here in Samui.

When we had a private pool. *sniff* 😦

Like we said; our weekdays won’t be anything special. Sure we COULD wake up early and go to the beach or hike up the mountain but no. The pillow is too comfy. We know it’s very bad habit and it would be great to take a swim at morning but maybe we do it “tomorrow”. We actually went to a morning swim every day in our first apartment because we had a private pool but now we would have to drive 10min to the beach and then back. It really isn’t the same. And that’s maybe the stupidest excuse ever. But anyway…

On the other hand we have our own fish tank at the terrace that could fit two person at the same time. But sitting in a fish tank with a few catfish? Maybe no.

We have a fish tank, such wow!

How about a weekend in Koh Samui?

At weekend we usually have too much to do. Why? Because we overbook our weekends with photoshoots, blogging or visiting sightseeings or something like that. Sometimes we’re planning to visit the beach but the truth is that we really don’t have the time. Or would have if we could get our assess up from the bed much earlier. We should really get rid off that pillow… But this is actually a great example of the easygoing life in Thailand. Basically you would have to do only one thing per day because that’s what everybody tells you to do. But we are not at that point yet.

Koh Nang Yuan

We haven’t really done any activities here in Samui because the lack of time. We could try all kinds of stuff from jet-skiing and ATV rides to zip-lining or having a visit on a Elephant Sanctuary (this is the first one on our to-do-list) but we have managed to get to snorkeling and hiking. Snorkeling is definitely the thing we would love to do more since the ”underwater world” is so exciting!

Future plans

Sorry that this blog post wasn’t anything special but we still hope you understand that writing this English blog can be difficult sometimes. Now we’re trying not to repeat the same old too much and we really don’t want to write about all the things we’ve done in the past or translate everything from our Finnish blog directly to here.

In the near future we will tell you everything we know about Visas and visaruns, work permits and the price levels here in Samui. At the start of February there’s also a small surprise for you so keep in touch!

Living in Thailand – pros and cons

We’ve been living on a paradise island of Koh Samui for a six months now. Time has passed pretty quickly and we’ve learned alot during this time. Some of the things are good, some of them aren’t. But as in your home country you will get used to everything. And even the paradise island doesn’t feel so “paradisy” all the time.  Like in Finland (and every other country) even Thailand has it’s pros and cons. So that’s what we are writing today. If you’re looking at Thailand through the heart shaped glasses there might be some shatters in your lenses after you read this.

Pros

Easygoing life: This can be seen everywhere except while on the road. There is even a thai word for lifestyle like this and it’s called “sabai“. Practically sabai is part of life of every thai since you can feel the peaceful and relaxed lifestyle while just looking at them. Things happen when they happen so you have to take your time. At first this lifestyle might seem quite lazy because thai workers are taking a nap at the furniture department of a big supermarkets or on a flatbed of a big truck.

Time to relax after the work is done

On the other hand you have to understand that thais are working 10 hours per day six times a week and get paid something between 250-500 euros so let them rest once in a while. If you should work with the payroll like that you would do the exact same thing.

Nature: This is the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Koh Samui. If you google Koh Samui you are getting lots of pictures of the beaches, palm trees and steep hills. Since Samui is an island there’s nice seabreeze everywhere and you can go to swimming to a ocean very easily. The middle part of the island if basically a mountain/jungle area with all the exotic wildlife so you will hear alot of different birds singing and all kinds of “magical sounds”.

Downside of the nature: The jungle includes huge ass spiders and colorful snek’s that kills you on sight. Gladly you really don’t see them so often since we have seen a snake about once in a month. We aren’t afraid of sneks but it’s better if they stay outside. By the way; there are cobras. So if you see one, backoff or play a flute and hope it will do the dance instead of attack.

It’s also a nice thing that you don’t need to wear ice fishing overalls like in Finland when you leave your house since it’s -20C and it’s windy as in frozen Hell. You don’t even have to wear long pants or proper shoes and you can even go to the market with bare feet if you want. That’s also very accepted and thais do that too.

Food: As you might already know Thai cuisine is extremely tasty, spicy, nutritious and quite cheap and you can find it in pretty much everywhere. At least in some form. On the side of the streets there are streetfood vendors selling satays, fruits, sausages and all kinds of meaty meats. Sure it can be difficult sometimes for us to get streetfood since Hanne is vegan. There really aren’t much vegan options unless you want to buy a fresh fruits or sticky rice.

Vegan curries with spring rolls.

And if you don’t like thai food (well why go to Thailand then?) there’s a lot of different other options especially in Koh Samui. You can eat in fine dining restaurants with the white tablecloths, try western sporty bars offering European steaks and British fish & chips or “bangers and mash” (what ever that is other than some stupid words). Or if you’d like to have some real italian pizza or even hamburgers that’s possible too. There are also Burger King, McDonald’s and Hooters if those are your cup of tea. So you really have plenty of options to eat.

PS: If you can’t find something from the markets or restaurants there’s quite possible that someone is making and selling it. You can find real sourdough breads, vegan cheese or even vegemite. You just have to know where to find or whom to ask. And that’s how we build a “donkey’s bridge” to the next phase.

Other expats: Expats = farang (= mamu: quite inappropriate word in Finland). Just like we are. If you require something and you don’t know where to get it or if you need help on anything the other farangs will help you. Facebook groups have helped us alot and the farang community in here is very supportive. We’ve met lots of nice people because of the Facebook groups and that’s also where we found our cats and received an invitation to a pool party.

It’s very hard to find a hardware store from a city you don’t know. Or find someone to take care of your pets or house while you are on a visa run. Expats are a huge help because there’s always a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy to do the job.

Prices: Even though Samui isn’t the cheapest place in Thailand it’s still cheaper than Finland. Obviously. Most of the fruits and meats, especially chicken, are really affordable compared to our Wintery Wonderland. Of course, as it comes in fruits the prices are understandable, since in Finland we don’t have any exotic fruits. Actually the only fruit we have is an apple.

In here you can even get yourself a fresh durian directly from a tree a kilometer away if you feel like it (and the stink doesn’t make you vomit) or even get a banana from a tree at your backyard.

The best way to see the price levels are the houses and apartments. Let’s take a look at a brand new apartment for comparison. What kind of house you’ll get in the capital area of Finland for 400 euros? Nothing. Okay if you’re very lucky you might get a 11-square-meter sized dog kennel from the government for that price. From the smallest cities you might get a small one bedroom apartment but nothing fancy.

In here we are basically living with the same amount of rental expenses and we have a house with four bedrooms, living room, kitchen and three showers (don’t ask why). You could get also a smaller one with a private pool or maybe with a sea view if possible.

Activities: There sure are lot of different activies. Most of them are different forms of water activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, waterskiing and kite surfing. And if you want to go and see some turtles or even dolphings that’s possible too! You can experience and do lots of stuff from motocross to go-kart or even see elephants in Elephant Sanctuary. Just be aware that there are also lots of safari tours that offers you elephant trekking and you should never support this kind of animal cruelty.

Hanne training in Muay Thai gym

For the americans and hoplophiles there’s also a possibility to visit shooting ranges where you can use all kinds of firearms if you just got the money. You can even visit an abandoned military base and train like Keanu Reeves if you’d like.

And if getting drunk and wasted while partying with ladyboys is your thing; Have no fear! That’s also possible. The flashy lights of Chaweng, cheap booze and busty ladyboys have taken the money and dignities of many men.

Friendliness: Might be a bit fake but anyway. Employees might take their level of customer service a bit over the top even if you would be only just strolling around. Usually you have three or four of them following you everywhere you go just in case you might need some help. For a finn this can be quite awkward at times because our personal space is at least three meters wide.

@finnishnightmares.blogspot.fi

Skills > diploma: This is like a two way street. It’s great that sometimes skills are more valuable in here than having some form of masters diploma to be able to work at a bike repair shop. You can’t fix motorbikes or cars with the piece of paper but with an experience and skilled hands you can.

But then there is this other way of the street. You call an electrician to fix your broken network cables so he shows up and after doing the job he leaves 90 meters of loose cable hanging in the air while convincing he’s a professional and it should be like that. Sure after he’s done with the work your internet is connected but how long and is it safe to you or to your house? He says “Same same”, gives you a thumb up and leaves.

Next day you call a plumber to fix your sink so the same guy appears and fixes your sink. Next time you need a gardener or maybe a help from a moving company? There’s always a same guy standing behind your door and smiling. Does he have a diploma or certificate of anything? No haaave! 🙂

Thai style of connecting cables

There’s no hobos nor beggars: There might be but you really don’t see them ever. There might be some homeless guy sitting next to a 7 Eleven with a small paper cup in his hand but he really doesn’t bother you. He ain’t drinking beer or yelling to people passing by. He just sits and waits if someone might give him a coin or two.

We’re sure there are lots of reasons for this but one of the big reasons is that like in Finland, homeless and jobless people can’t afford alcohol. Also it’s not a part of thai culture. If thai loses his house because of reasons he won’t go searching the future from the bottom of the bottle but tries to build a new house and life around it. It’s also quite hard to starve here since you can always go fishing or get some fruits from the trees and with ingredients like these you can make an excellent meal to yourself. Durian, catfish and various herbs and tadaa; You’re all set.

Cons

Traffic. For some reason we had this romanticed image in our heads where we would walk to work at morning, sipping our takeaway coffee and eating a breakfast we grabbed from a small food stand. But nooooo. Not gonna happen. If you decide to walk to your workplace that’s located in a ten kilometers away your home you will probably die after first 300 meters. Why? Because the traffic is pure carnage. There are concrete trucks driving like they are in Mario Kart, tuningcars straight from The Fast & The Furious and some lunatics with their overlypowered StreetHawks. If you don’t get hit by one of these you will at last get run over by some tourist who just happened to find his driver’s license from a cereal box. If he even has one.

Without a scooter or any other motorized vehicle you really can’t go anywhere. There are not really much proper walking streets anywhere except in Chaweng or near Fisherman’s Village.

You can see pretty much anything while on the road.

Compared to thais (who always has some supernatural skill called Avoiding Collision) tourists are still the main concern on the roads. Usually they are just on the way and somehow blocking both lines. “Samui tattoo” is a very common joke in here and is referred to road rashes they get after flipping over with their Honda Click’s. It’s actually pretty weird how people can crash on the ground while driving straight road. On the other hand: no wonder you will get your pretty face smashed if you’ll pull scooters front brake while driving 80km/h.

PS. It’s a strange thing how tourists can leave their brains home when leaving the home countrys airport. Here in Thailand using helmet is required by law. Just because locals drive without one doesn’t mean you should drive aswell. Why on earth would you drive bare-headed in Thailand when the traffic here is one of the most deadliest one in the whole world. In Koh Samui there are 20-30 fatal accidents for every month and in whole Thailand over 500. So you do the math. How many could’ve been avoided if people would wear a helmet?

Stray dogs and cats. These sad stories are everywhere all over the island. And there are more coming all the time hence the local animal rescues neuters them at monthly basis. At times if feels like you’re watching Silverfang because dogs are moving in big groups barking to each others and defending their territories. Sometimes they might chase motorbikes driving by or jumping against cars. Usually they are harmless but you never know what they might do. So be careful around these bad boys.

People say there are no cases of rabies involved in Samui these days but you should be safe rather than sorry.

Beach doggo hanging around

Dirtiness. What do you think about recycling in the small island of Thailand compared to big cities of Europe? What the people here might do with a pile of plastic bottles, glass jars, tin cans or other household wastes? They gather everything as a huge pile and then stick it into a fire. That’s recycling on it’s best. Gladly plastic bags are nowadays banned in Thailand in supermarkets, 7 Elevens and so on. But still you can see these small dumps near the roads of in the middle of the jungle just waiting to be burned.

And the beaches? Tourists are throwing their Coca-Cola bottles and beercans all over the beachline while waves brings all kinds of waste to the shore. Sure there are some volunteers who are focused on cleaning the beaches but that won’t remove the problem. It’s just cleaning the dirtiness left by others. Let’s just hope there won’t be another Koh Phi Phi situation.

Insects and creepy crawlers. We mentioned this previously but still it need it’s own place in this post. It’s pretty obvious that there are tons of different insects in Thailand. There are crawling ones, buzzing ones, flying ones, rolling ones… Some might even do all these things at the same time. And then there are snakes and scorpions that could kill you in a few minutes if you’re having a very bad day. The worst snakes are the cobras so if you step on a snake you should pray it isn’t one.

Cute mantis!

But the good thing is that there are geckos. They are your best friends against bugs even though they shit all over your house and sometimes makes very high noises. You should be aware of the one called Tokay. They’re a very large geckos with a colorful and bumby skin and the sound they make might really scare you at first. But Tokay is harmess unless you drive it to the corner or decide to touch it. You won’t die on a bite but it will hurt like hell and it won’t let go unless you try to drown it.

Corruption. The best thing when it works with you. The worst thing when it works against you. We don’t actually have any personal experiences with any corruption cases but we have heard the stories of others. There might be a policeman stopping you and asking your driver’s license or checking your bag. When you open your bag for them they might find any item that is prohibited in Thailand and the only way you can get away from the sticky situation is by paying the fee. And you pay it directly to the policeman. It’s very difficult to say how bad is the situation here in Samui but we are sure that it still exists in some form.

Visa runs. This thing is usual in many countries around the Asia. Depending your countrys regulations you can arrive to Thailand and stay for a limited amount of time. That might be 30 days, 60 days or something else. Before the days are over you’ll have to leave the country. But you can come back with the Non B Visa using the Visa Run Companies. With that you can stay in Thailand for the next 3 months.

If you don’t have a work permit (or any other valid reason) you have to do the Visa Run for every 3 months. That means paying to the Visa Run Company and going to another country with their transportation. It requires money and time to arrange this and you’ll be away from the country for a couple of days. The good thing is that you can travel to another country like Laos or Malaysia but that’s pretty much it.

One example of Visa Runs

The income gap. We live high on the hog compared to locals. Even though our apartment is not a castle in the modern world or a fancy mansion it’s still “better” than the one on the other side of the road which is a small wooden barn without the windows. There are lots of these cases where there are two houses that are total opposites of each other. The other might be a large mansion with the electric gate and a swimming pool and the other one is made from wooden pallets, tin scraps, duct tape and some hardly-rain-resistant material.

It is somehow incomprehensible that there really are no “poor” or “wealthy” areas here but they are all mixed up side by side. Sometimes it feels a bit bad for us to order something using the home delivery to this kind of apartment when your neighbor seems like he can’t afford the basic things of life. ON THE OTHER HAND; he has a 2018 Isuzu D-Max pickup truck while we have a Honda Click rental scooter that has fixed with a duct tape.

Our first Honda Click. Now we have a better one.

Whoa, there was alot of text to write and things to say.

Like we Finns and people of many other countries in general; negative things are very easy to find in your everyday life, in your immediate environment, in your acquaintanceship and at work. But can you find just as many good things? That was bit more of a challenge for us. And actually while living here, we have both tried to get rid of this Finnish sin and the curse that we see and remember only the bad things in life. Luckily we have succeeded quite well during these six months.

Closing words

At the moment we’re trying to get this english version of blog up to date compared to the finnish one. Some of the blogs content might be a bit older info since we are translating the finnish version of the blog here and telling the most interesting things. We are trying our best. We hope you understand the situation and the typing errors in these texts since english isn’t our native language. Thank you for reading. Till next time!

“Well that escalated quickly”

Hanne: Hey hey listen! Are in a busy at the moment?!
Markus: A little bit yea but what is it about?
Hanne: You’re getting a phone call in a minute. It’s the guy from Thailand!
Markus: What?!
Hanne: Yea yea about the job we both applied yesterday! He just called me and he also wants to talk with you. He said he wants to hire us ASAP!
Markus: Ouhmffmm?
Hanne: Exactly!! He will call you in a minute. You’ll have to pick up the phone!
Markus: Okay okay I’m ready! We’ll talk later byee!

This was the phone conversation in April that started the snowball effect which changed our whole lives. That’s why we are writing this at the moment. But let’s take a few steps back and also a recap what has happened during the past 8 months.

At first we wrote our blog only in finnish at the travelling site called Rantapallo but now we thought it was about the time to change it into an english one. We are still writing the finnish version too since it has so many readers but it’s our dream to share our story to a bigger audience.

One shot, one opportunity

Our story started on April of 2019 when we were thinking what to do with our lives. We have lived in Finland and mostly in capital area. Our life really had no problems and everything was okay. We had a steady job at one of the Finland’s biggest electronics store and we lived in a decent rental apartment. But then again something got us thinking “Is this it? Is this the life of the 30 year old couple? Going to work every morning from 9am to 5pm five days a week? After the day at the office is over you come home, make dinner, watch Netflix and go to sleep. Just to repeat the same thing over again. Maybe thinking that some day something will change?

Then the idea hit us. No. It won’t have to be like that. It can be different and since we both have been dreaming about the life abroad so why not start now? We don’t have kids or loan so what is really stopping us? So we quit. We quit the job and started to find a new one. Somewhere outside Finland. At first we looked countries like Spain, Poland and Hong Kong but then there was this one post about the telemarketing company located in Thailand. Well what the heck, we’ve never tried telemarketing before and you can’t judge a book by it’s cover so we applied for the job. Maybe we will get an answer in a month or two. If ever.

After the next day there was this phone conversation that was mentioned at the beginning. The guy from the Thailand’s office called and wanted us to work there as soon as possible. We both had the same thing on mind; This was our opportunity. We’ve found a door to a new life. All we had to do is say yes and walk through it. And we did.

Fast forward from Helsinki to Koh Samui

We will not skip alot of things since we don’t want the first post to be five pages long. Okay, we sold everything. Goodbye iMac, goodbye TV, goodbye BMW (and thanks for the engine failure just before selling), goodbye all the furnitures, winter clothes and all the kitchenware. Selling the stuff was pretty problematic since we only had two months to get rid of everything before the plane leaves. But we managed to do it anyway, barely. We would have gotten more money if we’ve had the time but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Besides selling everything we had to take care of the vaccinations, renew our passports, inform the finnish government offices about the situation and say goodbye to our friends and families. After two months everything was ready. We had packed all the clothes and camera gear and we had enough money for the trip and to live the first few months in Thailand.

At the start of July the plane took off and headed to Hong Kong. We were taking a much awaited week in Hong Kong after dealing all the shit with the Facebook Marketplace and the flea markets and their users. The worst thing about all of this was selling the fortune we had since people at in FB’s Marketplace are so frustrating with all the empty promises and the dumb questions. People make reserves but never arrive to pick it up and asking -50% discounts of the things that are worth 3€.

After the week of lovely Hong Kong it was time to move on and arrive to our new home in Koh Samui. We got a nice rental appartment pretty quick and started our new job. In Finland everything felt like we were in a rat’s race (or squirrel wheel like finnish people say) running back and forth and everything was so hectic. Here in Thailand the life is much simpler and slower, there is no snow or cold and people are (at least they look like) much happier and more satisfied with the life they have instead of being jealous of your neighbours new car and spend their weekends drinking booze and complaining about everything, literally.

Also it’s kinda nice to see the ocean and wear no shoes.

Hop Into Our Boots

Anyway welcome to our blog and thank you for following our life here in Koh Samui. We are trying to update this weekly but at the meantime be sure to check out our social media sites listed on the side bar. This first post is an introduction of who we are and what’s our situation at the moment.

We happily answer all the questions you may have so don’t hesitate to ask anything you have in mind.

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