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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