Experiencing Winter

Thailand isn’t exactly the best country to experience winter. There is no snow. Nevertheless, Thailand isn’t very tropical either.

I have had vacations in countries with sub-zero temperatures, spent a week in London with rainy 9°C mornings, and a week in Europe with breezy 8°C nights. Not forgetting a week in California with 13-15°C nights that were quite chilly too.

Yet those vacations never prepared me enough for what I was about to expect here. The initial months were rather similar to Singapore’s climate. All I needed were a few singlets and t-shirts, although I also had a hoodie that accompanied me during my flight.

However, the past 2 months were so cold that I ended up bringing my ultra-thick fleece hoodie from Singapore. Temperatures drop to as low as 9-10°C in the night and it is impossible to shower without a water heater. (I have neighbors who don’t have water heaters in their apartments so I don’t know how they manage.)

Try taking a tuktuk in the evening and having the cold winds blasting into your face. My lips are cracked and my skin is slowly peeling. Street vendors can leave their fried chicken out in the open for hours, and the chicken still remains crispy from the dryness of the cold.

It is quite a new experience for me. Even with my water heater switched on to its hottest, the water, quite frankly, is just lukewarm. If I shower too late, like maybe 11pm, my nails actually turn purple in the bathroom.

Most of us have been to Bangkok. Most of us have walked through Chatuchak market perspiring under the afternoon sun. Who would have thought that I would actually need to sleep with the aircon and fans off? (The temperature this morning in Bangkok is actually 15°C, lowest in 30 years.)

And by the way, it has only rained ONCE throughout the past 2 months.

Having grown up in Singapore, most of us have no concept of how winter feels like, and living in winter is very different from holidaying during winter. I assure you no such experience can ever prepare you for something like this, and this is another reason why my current journey still excites me.