Out the Rabbit Hole: My ‘Beauty Notes’ from Bangkok, Thailand. Of course, I have more coming!

Hello from Bangkok! Well, not really. I was back in Singapore this morning but I started writing this post while I was still in Bangkok. Hubby and I stayed there for about six days and although it’s not really a break from city life with Bangkok being another busy city, it was a refreshing holiday both for my soul and my shopping bag.

Being a beauty nerd, learning about every country’s beauty secrets and trends is one of my most favorite part of traveling. And I sure didn’t waste the chance accomplishing that mission in Bangkok. So to kick-start my 2-part Bangkok trip review, I listed some of my observations below:

I’m not sure whether it’s just me and my obsession with thick, luscious locks but one thing I noticed was that a lot of women in Bangkok had thick hair!

Considering the humid weather, there seemed to be a lack of oily-looking and sparsely-haired heads in the crowd. If you’re from Singapore, this is a HUGE thing. Simply count the number of Hairloss Center adverts in Singapore and that’ll give you a glimpse of the statistics here. Even I am suffering from hair loss! So what’s the secret of Thai women?

TV and print advertisements in Bangkok showed mostly (and that means almost all) fair-skinned women.

Hubby and I kept our eyes peeled to do the count and we only saw about two — and that’s out of over 50 faces on TV — dark-skinned girls on Thai television. Hair loss might not be a huge concern among the Thais but the casting in adverts and the abundance of skin-lightening creams, soaps, ointments, pills and whatchamacallits everywhere sure say a lot about the culture’s perception of beauty.

When some of my friends who had been to Bangkok crowned the city as a ‘shopping paradise for girls’, they weren’t kidding!

Of course, the $4 Singapore dollar to 100 Thai Baht rate made a huge difference but that’s not all. Bangkok is a network of shopping venues. There’s just so much variety as long as you’re willing to walk, haggle and brave the crowd. I love that the Thais aren’t ‘pushy’ so I was able to shop in peace. I’ll share with you part of my haul on my next post.

Herbs and oils are everywhere.

I noticed that the words ‘Herbal’, ‘Herbs’, ‘Oil’ and ‘Natural’ were quite common in many home-grown beauty products although they may not entirely be natural. Turmeric and coconut oil were just two of the most common ingredients I spotted on product labels. I bought quite a few. Some were labeled fully in Thai which meant I had to use an awful lot of gut feel to figure out whether they were really natural in the first place.

A lot of women aren’t afraid to walk proudly with their post cosmetic-surgery faces or bodies.

Again I am not against plastic surgery but I found this interesting. Everyday on the train, we saw at least 5 people who had gone for a nose job or were recovering (they were wearing medical masks over a swollen and bruised nose bridge and I doubt they broke their noses from a cat fight). I guess there might be a very strong social pressure to ‘look good’ in Thailand and there is a certain mold for beauty. That or I’m just being too anal-ytical.

I’m sure I still have a few on my list but I’ll leave it at that for now. But don’t take me for Wikipedia.  My notes are based on my personal observation as a tourist and in no way should they be taken as facts. So if you have something to add or react to, violently or not, the comment section below is hungry for some discussion — and tips for my next trip!

I have part 2 coming soon so stay tuned. In the mean time, let me deal with my near-bursting luggage bag and psyching myself back to work. Yawn.

Have you been to Bangkok before? Add some of your own beauty notes to my list!

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  • http://www.kira-ramirez.com Kira

    Hi Vivi! Last time I was there was back in 2009. Didn’t really notice anything beauty-related, but I sure had a blast shopping! :)

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Were you able to visit Platinum Mall and Union Mall? I got most of my stuff from there. :)

      Are you still in India? I love all the pictures you’ve been posting but Hubby wouldn’t let me go, haha. He’s still paranoid after the recent ‘incidents’ in India. :(

      • http://www.kira-ramirez.com Kira

        Yes, I visited all the malls and Pratunam 😀

        Thank you! I still have to collect my thoughts re India, so many things happened the past 6 days! It’s definitely a place worth visiting — the temples, palaces and of course, the Taj, was really worth all the 9 hour plane ride. Maybe next year you can visit? If you’re up for an adventure it’s the perfect place :)

        • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

          Hi Kira, not sure if Pratunam and Platinum mall are the same but probably they are. Lots of english words sounded so much different in Thai. 😀

          I keep showing Hubby your instagram photos to ‘entice’ him to consider, haha. He’s too paranoid about safety! I’ll try to employ more tricks and maybe he’ll change his mind someday. 😀

  • http://www.prettybeautiful.net xin

    haven’t been to bkk myself but i have to believe that it is a shopping heaven based on the feedback of so many friends! it’s been on my list to visit for a long time, but not sure why i have been putting it on hold ><
    xin recently blogged..Argan Oil with Geranium Cuticle Oil Review + A Little Money Saving Tip

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Go! :) After getting clothes from Thailand, I lost whatever little flair I have left for shopping clothes in Singapore. BKK clothes are just so cheap and the quality isn’t bad. I bought a nice skirt for $7 BUT the seller unfortunately gave me the wrong item.

  • http://www.perfectskincareforyou.com/ Swati

    waiting for the part 2….enjoyed the post Vivi :) some really fantastic observations which i shall keep an eye on if I visit Bangkok! my parents hated the place! they said it was so dirty!!!
    Swati recently blogged..Clinique 3-Step Skin Care Samples {Product Review}

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Hi Swati, your parents were right! The place is dirty (trash on the road + the occasional dog poo) but I didn’t mind because I was in shopping centers most of the time. 😀

  • http://www.vivawoman.net sesame

    Yes, shopping is great! I think the clothes I bought from BKK won me the most compliments. Plus, I can get them in suitable sizes! And of course there are also the undies.

    The beauty scene is interesting but I ended up with some herbal stuff that I still have (under my table) which I did not use. I think it’s time to junk them.

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Did you ever get to use the herbal compresses (forgot the term they used on the label)?

      I have way too many already, haha. I bought mostly clothes (skirts, tops, shorts, etc). I could have shopped more if only I didn’t get sick. I wanted to buy some accessories and a few more skirts. Unfortunately, 2 days had to be wasted staying at the hotel and recovering. :(

  • Mai

    I have been wanting t0 g0 there f0r the l0ngest time esp when i heard ab0ut the cheap sh0opping there!! Alas i g0t n0 travelling c0mpani0n wh0 is keen t0 g0 :( But g0 i shall s0meday.l0l.

    By the way, is tt u in the pic, with the fishtail braid? Y0ur hair l00k thick & gl0ssy fr0m what i see..n0thin c0mpared t0 mine!! Can’t wait f0r the next p0st :)

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Hi Mai, you should go at least once. It’s not a place to go sight-seeing because the streets can be very chaotic and messy but it’s really a place for shopping. :) Grab one of your girlfriends because it’s more fun to shop when your companion loves shopping, too, so you can support each other, haha.

      Yup, that’s me on the picture. My hair looks 5x nicer on the picture, trust me. I’ve got thin hair that’s got a lot of ‘air’ so it’s a bit deceiving sometimes. I remember you also mentioned I looked fair on photos. I’m definitely more tanned in real life.

  • http://www.lecoupletoy.wordpress.com ChuiShia

    I am totally in love with BKK!!! Love the shopping, the food, the partying…everything! I only buy undies once a year when I go BKK coz its just so much cheaper and with lots more variety. :p

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Haha, I think I kinda experienced everything except the partying. Hubby and I are hermits, haha!

      I never thought of buying undies in Bangkok but probably I should check them out next time!

  • Surille

    When my father was traveling to his country, he made a pit-stop to Thailand to get a procedure done. He claims he went to an inexpensive dentist for dentures or something, but I suspect he might have had more done…heheheh. I’ve been told that medical procedures and cosmetic surgeries are cheaper and less restrictive in Thailand, but may not be necessarily safe and licensed. But I only heard this from other people so it may not be accurate.

    Now I want to go shopping there!! And I also want to know their secret for lush thick long hair!! I’m no expert, but I too notice ads/tv in Thailand, Indonesia, India, etc only light-skin women are featured.

    By the way, that’s a darling side shot of you with the braid, flower and floral top. Glad you both had a pleasant holiday.

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Haha, you’re suspicious of your Dad? :p

      But yes, the dental services and treatments are really cheap. Hubby even thought of doing his fillers while we were there but I talked him out of it — not because I didn’t trust the dentist but more because I felt we didn’t have enough time to monitor the progress after the treatment. If something went wrong, we won’t be able to go to the same dentist anymore and we’ll be forced to pay for corrective treatments here in Singapore which are ridiculously expensive, by the way.

      Oh, another thing interesting is that there are lots of ‘cosmetic surgery’ tour packages offered in Thailand!

      I’ve seen ads in Indonesia and India but the Thai ones are really incredibly ‘fair-skinned people territory’. Nothing against it because I don’t live there but I just found it amusing.

      And thanks, that’s so sweet of you! We had a pleasant holiday. If you are into shopping and NOT sight-seeing, Bangkok is a nice place to visit. :)