I have always intended to go on a long and distant journey one day. For this reason, my sister and I decided that we would travel around Thailand together and then fly to Bali. We only booked the outward and return flights, the rest we would figure out along the way. For the travel vaccinations, we first went to vaccinatiecentrum.nl for advice. I would need the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, polio), hepatitis A and rabies vaccinations. I had already had most of these vaccinations, requiring only a repeat DTP vaccination. Because we were in Asia for less than 3 months, a typhoid fever vaccination was not necessarily needed either. Apart from vaccinations, one of the most important pieces of advice was to wash your hands well and make sure the food was prepared properly. If you do not prepare your food yourself, you should make sure it has been prepared in a way that ensures that bacteria and viruses in the food die before you eat it.
We landed in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, and right away we had to get used to the different culture and people. There were scooters everywhere and lots of taxi drivers approached us. We were among the first tourists to come back to Thailand after tourism had virtually stopped because of the Covid pandemic.
We soon saw that locals did not eat in restaurants, but mainly got food from street food stalls. This made us very curious about the food prepared in these stalls. Because both my sister and I did not speak Thai, we did not know what we would get, but we decided to queue at the back of a busy street food stall anyway. When it was our turn, fresh Pad Thai was being prepared before our eyes. This is a local dish usually made with a lot of spices, noodles and prawns. When we ate this we found out why there were so many people queuing for it, it was really delicious and it only cost 80 cents!
After that delicious pad thai, we got a taste for street food and tried several stalls. One of these stalls sold pre-cooked meat unknown to us. Unfortunately, my sister and I woke up the next day with a slight stomach ache and diarrhoea, probably something was wrong with the meat after all. We had not paid close attention to ensure ourselves that the meat was well-cooked and freshly prepared. Fortunately, both of us were only sick for a day and then we were able to get back to our adventure. When we left for Bali, we thought we could expect pretty much the same in terms of food and street food stalls. Yet this was different in Bali than in Thailand. There were fewer street food stalls here and Bali was more focused on tourism. Often there was an English translation next to the indonesian text or the vendor spoke English. Also, people in Bali use a lot more chilli and spice in their food. In Bali, we had dinner with locals my friends had met while fishing for tuna. The fisherman’s wife had prepared tuna, prawn crackers and a salad for us. With the few words of English she knew, she explained to us that she had made the food less spicy for us because she was afraid it would otherwise be too spicy. Full of enthusiasm, we started eating and very soon all our faces turned red. Even though the woman had made it less spicy, it was still very hot. Nevertheless, it was delicious even though I normally don’t even like fish. The fact that it was very spicy didn’t stop us from eating it all. Though we couldn’t taste much for the next two days.