Thailand travel 1. Solo and on a whim
“Take as small a backpack as you can. You don’t need much stuff and you can pick up things along the way: cheap. Buses and trains are very do-able in Thailand. There is a two-day slow boat trip down the Mekong I’m planning to do with my daughter later in the year, if her mom will let her come with me again.”
“Her age?” Twelve, he says.
“There are lots of cheap places. Have a head massage in Luang Prabang. I don’t know what they do, but it’s amazing. And have a good time.”
This is the gist of the advice and suggestions that come from Steve, known in Durban for his great Thai kitchen: at St Clements on Musgrave Road.
I couldn’t heed his “don’t take your laptop, just your iPad.”
My MacBook has been everywhere I’ve been for the past seven years. And its predecessor before that. My iPad is too fiddly to write on and pay bills on and things that need to be done on the road. Even with a keyboard, which I never seem to manage to keep properly charged.
But besides that, four days before I am set to leave for three-and-a-half weeks in Thailand, I now have a rough itinerary.
I have my Lonely Planet. Huge and heavy and published two years ago but the best I can find and I want the book for this, to leaf through and keep things in and if need be, scribble in. E-books can be perfect and I have Kindle in my iPad, which I take, too, and buy a Laos Kindle Rough Guide on route.
But for Thailand, the big fat heavy one cuts it.
I borrow a smaller backpack than the one I was planning to take. And a smaller front-pack, for computer and camera, than planned. Put two black garbage bags as lining and double bag little sets of clothing items in plastic: my Woolies frocks; Crocs to walk in, recommended by my friend, Anne, who swears by them; swim stuff and cool stuff and too much stuff.
Double-bagged because I’m heading into monsoon season and this was the recommendation by a customer at Cape Union Mart where I bought a backpack, mine having been sold at a garage sale in the US some years back. A backpack that doubles as a suitcase. More elegant. A backpack that I didn’t use and will return as Cape Union Mart gives you six months to do this, I learn when in my panic to pack on the last day I run out of time to return it then.
© Wanda Hennig 2016
Look out for Thailand Travel 2