At first, you’re bemused by how much can be piled onto the back of a motorbike. You’re confused when your driver tells you the Grand Palace is closed. You’re appalled that you have to clamber over three other boats with your 40-pound backpack to get to your ferry.
You can’t put your finger on exactly when it happened, but one day you notice that you’re not fazed by anything any longer. All of those WTF moments you experienced in your first week slip away unnoticed, and suddenly become the new normal. Shuttle service running half an hour late? Standard. Torrential downpour that came out of nowhere? Classic.
You know you’re close to maxing out your visa when:
1. You’ve had Pad Thai for 20 consecutive meals.
2. You can cross the road without fear of imminent death.
3. Clothes you brought from home have made way for banana t-shirts, Chang singlets, and bright orange elephant pants.
4. Watermelon shakes are life.
5. Magic shakes and lucky balloons — you know which one goes up high and which one gets you high.
6. You go out for a quick mooch around the market and come back with five beach sarongs, four coconut bowls, three bikinis, two Buddha figurines and a pair of knock-off Adidas sneakers.
7. But your entire haul only cost you $20 because you’re a master haggler.
8. You consider 80 cents quite expensive for a 1.5-liter bottle of water.
9. You know what a bum gun is and how to use one.
10. Walking down the street takes twice as long in Thailand than at home because there are many stray cats that require your attention.
11. You’ve coined the verb “to be templed out” and boy, is it a real thing.
12. Toilet roll and soap are considered lavish luxuries.
13. You’ve snorkeled with reef sharks, more species of fish than you can count and… oh look, a box jellyfish.
14. Your thighs are rock solid from hovering over soggy toilet seats.
15. Wading knee-deep into the sea, clambering up a ladder, and almost sending the other passengers over the side as you crash land in a long-tail is the only way to travel.
16. Tissues, hand sanitizer, and a poncho are indispensable items you don’t leave the hostel without.
17. Gloriously cheap beer has become a staple part of your diet.
18. You can’t go one day without popping into a 7/11.
19. You’ve accepted that your blood is sweet nectar to the 27,000 mosquitoes you attract each day.
20. Your feet are permanently dirty — and you’ve stopped caring.
21. 7/11 toasted sandwiches are your go-to in a budget crisis.
22. You laugh at first-timers attempting to use the pedestrian crossing.
23. You have a bamboo tattoo of an elephant, lotus flower, or the word for “courage” in Thai.
24. Seeing monkeys on the beach doesn’t faze you.
25. Even if one looks like it’s about to clamber up your leg.
26. You can’t get Celine Dion out of your head.
27. You happily go about your day in outfits you wouldn’t normally dream of leaving the house in.
28. You can’t remember the last time you wore real shoes.
29. You’ve pretty much forgotten what a sweater is.
30. You pop spring rolls like Pringles.
31. You’ve been stretched, crunched, and pounded in massage parlors across the country. But you still keep going back for more.
32. The prospect of paying more than $3 for a meal back home fills you with horror.
33. It’ll feel strange putting toilet paper down the actual toilet.
34. You don’t know what you’re going to do without mango shakes or banana and Nutella roti in your life.
35. You realize there’s no such thing as staying in Thailand for too long, and head to the nearest immigration office to extend your stay.