Popping back in with some updates on life here in rural Thailand!
When I was preparing to come here and teach, one thing I was really curious (and a little nervous) about was the housing situation. What would it be like? Would it be modern at all? Or a complete 180 from the American standards I’m used to?
So now that I’m here, I’ve decided to show any curious minds how I’m living in a very not-modern village lol. In short, it’s nothing to fear! It isn’t bad at all, though even my place is “nice” by local standards (even though it’s pretty small).
Check it out!
My place is a one-room Thai-style bungalow, in a complex of other bungalows and guest houses. I actually lucked out in that this is a homestay complex for visitors who come to volunteer with the local elephants–so it’s up-kept to modern standards, with foreigners in mind.
With that said, it’s still modest in the rural Thai way, but I’m lucky to have “luxuries” like air conditioning, a shower head, and a flush-toilet (more on that later). It’s really cute from the outside, and I like feeling like I’m staying in a home that has some character.
The village is specifically known for its elephants; for centuries the local people have owned and raised elephants in their families, and use them for work, elephant shows, etc. It’s all a bit problematic from an animal welfare point of view by Western standards if you ask me, but here they see no problem with it and consider elephants “part of the family” (despite the questionable quality of life they’re given).
In any case, my landlords here own a few elephants and keep them on site, so there’s always an elephant or two within view from my porch or window. It’s cool to see, but kinda sad if you think about it.
Now, the inside!
That’s it! Lmao. My one-room palace. It’s cute in that I get great sunlight, and I love the wood floors/doors and natural bamboo finishing on the walls (#HouseHuntersaficionado right here). But it’s a little tough living in essentially a tiny studio (bachelor really…) with no kitchen !!! Cooking is my life, and eating is one of my greatest pleasures lol. So to live without an oven or stove, or even a microwave!, is a tough life for real.
I do have a mini-fridge, and could buy a microwave or hot plate situation…but the bugs are so crucial here that I don’t even wanna chance preparing food. If I leave an empty wrapper on the table for 10 minutes I have a storm of ants in no time…so I don’t need the added stress of meticulously cleaning my microwave or whatever every single time I heat something up.
Luckily 40 baht (~ $1 !) meals are easily found in my village, so it’s cheaper to buy food than make it anyway.
Anddd the bathroom! Like I said, I lucked out with a flushing toilet and a shower head.
Traditionally, Thai’s bathe with a bucket they fill with water, and a smaller bucket to pour the water over their bodies. In speaking with my local teacher friends and visiting their houses, that’s the standard style of bathing/showering in this village.
My homestay gave the option of bathing traditionally (I guess for Thai visitors?) by providing the bucket you see next to the sink, with the smaller water-pouring bucket (little red thing on top). I just use the shower head though, obviously. I’m not used to handheld shower heads, but it’s an easy adjustment…plus I save a lot of water from turning the water off and on to lather instead of it just running the whole time. #ecogoddess ;)
You’ll also notice that there’s no curtain or glass separating the shower area from the rest of the bathroom. This is probably my biggest qualm with Thai bathrooms (maybe it’s an all of Asia thing? I noticed the same in Bali..), like why not throw a curtain up?? The whole bathroom floor being wet for hours after showering is so annoying when you want to use the bathroom or wash your face. I never knew we were living well with separated showers in America (or at least showers in an enclosed tub) until I got to Thailand lol. #firstworldproblems?? Whatever.
As for the toilets, thank God I got a flushing one! Another thing I didn’t expect to have to worry about…but most places in Thailand (even restaurants and places of business) only use squat toilets. Flushing toilets tend to be reserved for homes of people with money, hotels, or places catering to foreigners.
Here’s a photo of a (really nice and clean, actually) squat toilet from a nearby restaurant:
You squat over the toilet & do your business, and use the “bum gun” (the sprayer thing on the left of this squat toilet/on the right of my flushing toilet at home) to spray yourself clean. Then you use toilet paper to dry off, and throw it away (never flush!) in a waste-bin they keep in or around the bathroom. The bucket of water and pail are to “flush” the squat toilet manually…you pour water into it repeatedly until all your business is down the drain.
Too much work! #nah. Lmao. And frankly I’ll never get on board with the “wipe and toss” concept of using toilet paper…just seems gross when you’ve grown up used to flushing it. Thai pipes are notoriously weak though, so flushing toilet paper is seriously frowned upon and most locals have been trained from birth to not do it at all. But I do (#sorry!)–I just use muchmuch less than I would use back home.
And really, I avoid squat toilets at all costs…I’ll go home from my schools to use the bathroom if I need to lol. Some things are just more than I’m willing to take if I don’t have to ;)
So that’s my crib!
Overall it’s a nice place, especially by local standards, and has most of the comforts I need. It is quite small, but luckily I only came with clothes…most of which are still packed away in luggage, since I only have one clothing rack lol. But it’s home, and it gets the job done.
Gotta say though, I’ll be glad to get back to the States and have a standard bedroom + living room + kitchen situation again.
Hope you liked!
– ♥ Sade