Challenge: Having Guests

I’ve lived in Thailand for about 7 months now, since August 2010, but the first time I visited Thailand was in August 2004 with my younger sister, Marlee. We went to Koh Phagnan for a few days, hit Bangkok for 1 day, then went back to Japan, where I was living. It was a whirlwind trip.

This was us in 2004. So young!

This time, my sister came with her husband and we all stayed together in my small one-bedroom apartment. I was worried that this would cut into my sitting-around-in-my-underwear-in-front-of-the-fan time–which it did–but that’s okay.

I like having guests. I always thought I would be a good tour guide because I have lots of opinions about things and I like to show off information I have about a place. Plus, if you have guests, they don’t know anything and they’re at your mercy. They’re like kids; you can mold their minds into whatever you want. Best restaurant? BOOM! Best bar? THERE IT IS! Worst food? Don’t even tell them about it and they won’t eat it! Problem solved! It’s all kinds of awesome.

Of course, the downside to having guests, especially in a foreign country, is that they rely on you for everything. Fair enough; I relied on my friends for a long time when I first got here. If my Thai were super fantastic and wonderful, this wouldn’t be as much of a problem. As it is, my Thai is pretty crap. I can usually get a taxi driver to understand where I want to go and I can usually order food and make myself understand. That’s about the extent of my Thai ability, but it’s generally enough for me to get by.

As everybody knows, though, when you have people looking at you expectantly, no cab drivers will understand you and all things you order will come to you with problems, which you are then powerless to resolve. And you look like an idiot, and you have to protest, I swear that I have never had this problem! And they’re like, It’s okay. It happens to everybody sometimes. And then everybody is slightly annoyed and embarrassed for the other person, but can’t say anything about it because that’s rude.

Anyway, I love having visitors, and if you want to visit, I will probably give you my bed and sleep on the couch. Because that’s the kind of host I am. Just saying.

The rest of the trip in photos:

Day 1: Street noodles, Chatuchak Market, and a recording of Bangkok Podcast, which I’m pretty sure my mother still has not figured out how to listen to. Also, Chatuchak Market on the weekend makes me a nervous wreck. It’s about 10 billion degrees, half of Thailand is there, and it’s a total maze.

Matt eating some pad see eu from the street. 30 baht (~$1).

Day 2: Wat Po, Wat Arun, walking around until we have sweat off 20 pounds, and then introducing my sister to mango sticky rice. You’re welcome, by the way, Marlee!

I'm not going to say it was hot, because it's Bangkok, and of course it was hot.

Days 3-5: Sitting on the beach in a lovely resort in Phuket. I read, like, 6 trashy beach reads and took naps. And we ate some food. Good times.

The sisters in Phuket. Yeah, she's 2 years younger and several inches taller. And somehow she has smaller feet, which doesn't seem fair.

Day 6: Thai cooking class!

Marlee and Matt, getting ready to cook some Thailandian food.

Gonna chop some stuff up.

Day 7 (Saturday): We send Matt off to the airport by himself because he had to leave at 6 a.m. and we were both lazy. I was like, Thanks for traveling 24 hours to come see me! Later, sucker! Marlee and I spend the entire day staring off into space, with me occasionally asking if she wants to do something and Marlee assuring me that she is too tired. We leave the apartment for about 10 minutes to get some noodles.

We decide Saturday afternoon that we should go to Chiang Mai the following morning, so I book tickets on Air Asia. Only I book the complete wrong times and Air Asia are total jerks to me and I hate them forever although I will have to fly them again because they are so cheap. Bastards. I put Marlee in charge of the hotel because I’ve already screwed up the flights.

SO Day 8 rolls around: We’re at the airport, trying to figure out our hotel reservations and it turns out that instead of one room with two beds for two nights, Marlee has booked two rooms with two beds for two nights, and we can’t get our money back. After we laugh hysterically, we start to wonder if maybe this trip was not meant to be.

Well, Day 8 and Day 9: Are awesome. We see some of my friends and walk until our feet are about ready to fall off. Also, we eat khao soi (curry noodle soup) about 15 times in two days because IT’S SO AMAZING.


See, Mom, we were thinking about you!

Day 10: I’m getting tired of writing all this now, and I’m sure the only person left reading is my mother. We eat at a raw food cafe in BKK, which was surprisingly good, although I generally like my food pretty cooked.

Day 11: Fabulous spa day, where we spend 3 hours getting massaged and facialed. For my sister’s last meal in Thailand, we go to 7-11.

I'm the best host ever!

Final Score

Having Guests: 0   Megan: 1

It’s always hard to show people everything you want to in a city and country you love when you just have a limited amount of time. Still, I think I did a decent job of showing them around and forcing them to eat lots of food they’d never tried and all that.

If anybody else wants to visit, let me know! I really do love having visitors…



Filed under Living Abroad, Special Challenge, Thailand, Trips

25 responses to “Challenge: Having Guests

  1. Well done Megan! After over six years of house guests, after giving explicit instructions to both them and a taxi driver, I usually (but not always) send them off on their own.

    I haven’t lost a house guest yet and they’ve all had crazy fun adventures – two guests even came back with new wardrobes instead of seeing the Grand Palace. Now, how great was that?

    • Thanks, Catherine! I guess after 6 years I’d get tired of taking people around, but it’s kind of fun for me to play tour guide. Sometimes I don’t go into the attractions or whatever I’ve already been to, though.

      • Megan, I do try and get visitors to go to different places but a lot come with the same ‘gotta see’ list. And how many times a year, in high heat, can you drag yourself to the Grand Palace?

        I’ll be watching your blog to see when your I’VE HAD ENOUGH post goes live :-D

        And ok, even with excuses on hand, I’ve already been to the Grand Palace twice this year. One set of house guests were in town for a short bit, so chatting while seeing the sights was the only time we had together (I bailed from Kanchanaburi’s Tiger Temple – so the Grand Palace was it). And then there was a photo shoot for a site (that was fun because I got to see where tourists paid crazy money for t-shirts and long pants).

        Note: I do have a trustworthy taxi driver – he won’t dump guests at the wrong side of the Grand Palace and into the clutches of the tailors from hell – and he speaks English.

        But then guests lose out on the excitement and the whooooosh of the tuk tuk ride to jewelry stores and tailors, etc, so they are missing out on a part of the Thai experience, yes?

        Decisions… decisions…

        • Oh yeah, luckily my sis and bro-in-law were pretty easy and only went to the main attractions because I forced them to. But we skipped the Grand Palace!

          You know, I’ve heard that some people actually have enjoyed the tuk tuk rides to the stores, so it’s probably fine to let them go out on their own… :)

  2. You did a good job taking care of your guests and you are 100% right, when having first time visitors to Thailand they do depend on you for just about eveything. Longer than two weeks gets old preety fast. Also, sounds like you don’t have a/c. How can you live in Thailand without a/c? Just askin’. Very enjoyable read once again!

  3. I thought your mom not figuring out how to listen to the BKK podcast was pretty funny. It would be even funnier if my mom knew how to use a computer! then I could laugh the laugh of superiority. Eh.

    Good to see you and meet the sis ~ sorry Air Asia sucks rambutan balls.


    • She still hasn’t figured it out, but she wrote me an email about how she figured how to make a folder in Microsoft Word, so haHA, Megan. :)

  4. aw I would love to stay with you! This looks like such a blast. It’s awesome that your sister and her hubby were able to make it out to see you.
    I love showing people around where I’m at. It’s so fun! Playing tour guide is awesome.

  5. Jess

    You and your sister are soooo preeetyyyy. That’s all I’ve got.

  6. Kristin

    Makes me want to visit!

  7. damn, my sister is visiting me in a few weeks and so far, my plan is “siam paragon, MBK, silom road, khao San road, ????, profit!”.
    Im totally stealing some of the things from you, for sure. The thing is, i dont eat street vendor food (yet), so im pretty shite on “oh this place is great” and more accustomed to “24 hour mcdonalds delivery”.

    Thanks for the ideas, homie! ill be sure to um… i dunno.. ill buy you a beer some day maybe. Or a bag of chips.


    • Ugh, I would stay away from Khao San, but that’s just me. I don’t even feel like it’s really Thailand. Or it IS, let’s be honest, but…well, I’m just being judgmental, let’s be honest. I guess it’s just not part of my life here.

      You know what I rely on a lot? Nancy Chandler’s map of Bangkok. It has every damn thing on there and is so easy to read. You can get it at lots of places in Paragon or Siam Discovery.

      And go out and eat some street vendor food! It’s safe!

      • shuttupjerk

        Oh, i know its safe, i had it once in chatuchak, but i have a restaurant in the ground floor of my building thats as cheap as street vendor food and they deliver to my door. So really, no need.

        As for Khao San, ive been in Thailand for nearly two months and i still havent been. I figure that my sister wants cheap clothes and to not die of food poisoning, not a huge fan of culture or anything else that i like.

        That map sounds good. next time im at paragon seeing a movie, ill be sure to pick one up.

        Thanks again!


  8. It looks like your visitors/family [and you!] had a great time. As an international host and cultural AND culinary tour guide, you are a “hostest with the mostest.”

    • Do you think there’s a market for a “7-11 Tour of Bangkok” where we just go around and visit cool 7-11s and try different things?

      • Oh, yes! A definitive “cook’s tour” of Bangkok’s finest 7-11s! For added excitement, you could combine scary transport [forgo taxis for tuk-tuks or motocy-taxis] and exotic snack foods [skip the chips, and go for the hotdog (?) on-a-stick] or off-label energy drinks [Red Bull, ha! What’s in this bottle of M-150?]…

        You could be on to The Next Big Thing.

  9. You did a much better job as host than I would have. On day two, I’d have been like, ‘Wanna do something?’ *grumblegrumbletoolazy*

    I’ve just heard the news that a 7.0 earthquake hit Burma a few hours ago. Apparently near the borders of Laos and Thailand. I thought of you and hope that nothing major comes near Thailand again. (Yeah, I know that sounded really stalkerish but I’ve just recently discovered your blog and literally went through the archives the other day and *loved* it … Okay, yeah, that does sound creepy. Ignore me. :P)

    • Like I said, I love giving my opinion! :)

      Thanks for the thoughts about the earthquake. It’s totally not stalkerish–I do that with my internet friends all the time! (And, btw, I am also like a stupid romantic comedy, what with the walking into stuff all the time!)

  10. Anne Demko

    Hi Megan,
    This is your cousin in Vancouver, Canada. Love reading about your Thailand experiences. thanks for sharing. I lived in Thailand many years (Sukhumvit Road, Soi Sep Sam (13).. and have returned many times. Love all of it, love the food, the fruit, street vedor food. Get my dental done at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital Dental Dept(American) each time I go. Very good work and good price. You did great with your guests. Will contact you to get together my next visit.
    Keep having fun. Sawadeeka! Anne

  11. Marlee

    Yes, sissy poo, you kicked ass while we were there. I’m ashamed to say that we did rely heavily on you to show us things but that’s because you ARE so awesome at it and we knew you’d do a fantastic job. Soooo much food–fried morning glory, mango sticky rice and khoa soi (or however you spell it; btw, I woke up craving this the other night.) Thank you for living in places that are far away and awesome vacation spots :) P.S. I love how my hair looks the same in both of the beach shots

    • There’s no shame in having somebody show you around a new place! I relied on Brock and Josh for EVERYTHING for the first week.

      Yeah, you’ll probably crave khao soi for the rest of your life. And now I want some, too…

      Love you!

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