Moving abroad is exciting, there's no question about it. There is a lot of newness surrounding you and a lot to explore. However, I found that after I had created a routine in my new home I began to fall into the same after-work habits that I had back home (which means that I watched a lot of Netflix).
Unfortunately you’re bound to get bored, so here are some suggestions to combat that idle feeling:
1. Work out at a free outdoor gym or Zumba class.
Thailand has outdoor gyms set up in little pockets of most town, where you can stop for a quick weightlifting sesh. If you’re looking to get your sweat on, this is a great (and free) option. Sometimes there will also be community run Zumba-style classes that you can join for free—which is pretty much the most fun way you can get to know the locals while making a fool of yourself at the same time.
2. Go for a scooter ride.
Strap on that helmet and go exploring. It costs about 50 baht (roughly $2) to fill up a tank, so this is a really cheap and fun way to see your new home. Google Maps only knows so much, so make sure to take some interesting turns and see where you end up. If I know Thailand, which I think I do, it’ll be a beautiful ride wherever you are.
3. Get a massage.
I don’t even want to know how many baht I have given to the massage ladies in this country. It’s definitely my favourite pastime; what better way to spend an hour than with a stranger rubbing oil all over your body? While I don’t suggest doing this too often (remember you are on a Thai salary), a little treat every once in awhile never hurt anyone.
4. Go to the beach.
This is circumstantial, of course, but if you have a body of water near you then take advantage of it. I’ve always had beaches near my Thai homes, and my friends in northeastern Thailand were even able to go swimming at their local lake. Bear in mind that you might be the only one swimming in a bikini (Thais tend to swim in their jeans; don’t ask me how that’s enjoyable) so remember to stay modest if there aren’t many other westerners around.
5. Find a new-to-you market.
And while you’re at it, try some crazy weird foods. The best and cheapest markets are the ones with the fewest farangs (foreigners) and you can always find something new and interesting for your supper. Catfish salad, anybody?
6. Play some basketball with the locals.
This is a favourite of some of my male co-workers; they have been known to show up at the high school basketball gym and just kind of stand around hopefully until the Thai men invite them to play ball with them. But be warned; these Thai guys aren’t messing around! Whether their sport is basketball, soccer or takraw, these men are sure to kick your butt (all in good fun, though).
7. Practice your Thai.
There are a lot of different ways you can learn a language: pay for a tutor, strike a deal with a Thai friend, practice with a website or YouTube tutorials. I recommend giving “Learn Thai With Mod” a Google; their videos are fun and definitely relevant to the Thai you’ll be wanting to learn.
8. Get an overly sugared coffee and people watch.
You’ll never have to wait long to see something interesting in Thailand! If you can find a coffee shop with one or two chairs and maybe some A/C, then settle in with a cafe yen or cha minao (iced coffee or lemon tea) and watch the world go by. It’s kind of a nice change of pace from being gawked at to being able to do the gawking for half an hour.
9. Watch the sunset.
I take back what I said before about messages being my favourite pastime—watching the sunset takes the top billing. When the weather is nice, you can find me at the beach watching the cotton candy sky about four nights a week. What’s great about this is that you can watch a beautiful sunset from pretty much anywhere without a roof. It’s the best therapy for an introvert like myself; give me a book, my iPod and a sunset and I’m happy as a clam.Add this article to your reading list