I hadn’t been back in Bangkok for two years, and despite being back for almost a month now I’m still feeling a bit like a tourist in my hometown. I was thinking back when I was preparing to go to Sweden. It would be nice to know what the locals would normally keep in mind. So here are some of the things I would tell my foreign friends to prepare and do in terms of health and skincare if they decided to come to Bangkok or anywhere in Thailand.
1. Stay hydrated
Always carry a bottle of water with you if you are going to do a lot of walking outdoors. If you’re renting an apartment you can check if there’s a water filter machine and a water boiler. I don’t recommend drinking from tabs in Bangkok, so boil the filtered water before drinking.
Eating fruits like watermelons, pineapples, and grapes is also refreshing. I personally love pink pomelos and ripe papayas. Pink pomelos are rich in vitamin C, while papayas are high in vitamin A so they are very beneficial to the skin.
2. Protect your skin
You can always use a spray tan so don’t risk getting a skin cancer. I haven’t been so serious about wearing SPF until my mid 20’s and now I get weird sun damage spots on my arms. Apply your SPF on your face, lips, and body and always carry your sunscreen with you. A myriad of affordable and good quality Japanese sunscreens are available at Watsons, Boots, and supermarkets here. So, just slather it on!
3. Don’t buy dodgy makeup and skincare
Super cheap makeup sold at bazaars or on the streets maybe very pigmented but don’t risk your health with such things. Fake or low quality products do not get inspected by the FDA and can contain harmful ingredients. I’m not talking about parabens or mineral oil, I’m talking about toxic things like hydroquinone and mercury. It is best to avoid buying makeup and skincare products from bazaars as it is difficult to know which shops you can trust.
Also, check for expiration date when you buy products from the drugstore or department store, especially when you buy during a sale.
4. Be careful of mosquitoes
I few days ago I got bitten by a mosquito while I was sleeping. While normally I would only get an itchy bump, this time it left me with a BIG RED BUMP on my face that just won’t go away! So, be careful when entering your bedroom AM and PM. Some mosquitoes are more dangerous as you can get diseases such as dengue fever from them. Insects repellents can be easily found from the drugstores, supermarket, and convenient stores. I personally choose the ones made from lemon grass because they tend to contain less harmful ingredients.
5. Customize your food
In most restaurants and street vendors the menus are customizable. So, if you are not good with spicy food, you can tell them when you order. In my teenage years I always asked for no chillies. At Chinese and noodle places you can also say no MSG. When ordering bubble tea, you can also tell them the level of sweetness or even no sugar at all.
That’s all I can think of for now. If you have questions please leave me a comment and I will try my best to help you out!