I have some minor physical limitations and I am wondering if these things will be an issue while in Thailand / Laos / Cambodia. My goal is to visit remote locations and visit spots off the main touristy-travel agenda.
I am unable to use chopsticks due to dexterity issues, will this be a problem? Should I bring my own silverware?
I wear plastic leg braces which sit inside my shoe (they don't work unless my shoes are on) to prevent ankle drop and to help me walk..... will I have any issues with removing shoes? I know this is a custom there. Should I bring a note-card explaining the situation in Thai as to why I can not remove them? I do not want to appear disrespectful.
#1 urbal has been a member since 15/11/2007. Posts: 12
Chopsticks are only used with some noodle dishes and all restaurants supply guests with a spoon and fork as standard -- so no need to bring your own.
Regarding your leg braces, the only area where you are expected to remove your shoes without fail is on entering the inner buildings of temple complexes. Some guesthouses and private houses may request it, but they're generally flexible regarding this. With the temples though, I'm not sure how they would handle it.
A note certainly would be a good start, but Thais are very accommodating so I'd expect even with a smile and a gesture towards the braces, you'd be well on the way to finding some mutually agreeable solution.
Hope that's of help.
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,789
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If you want to go off the normal tourist trail then it would be good to be able to speak Thai as English tends to be only spoken in major city tourist areas.
Visiting the prayer rooms and halls in temples you are required to remove your shoes I have never seen overshoes but you could always ask.
How do you manage at home?
No need to bring silverware almost all places will provide spoon/fork
On my latest trip I noticed a trend that more and more small shops like internet cafes were asking people to remove their shoes prior to entering. However, like Somtam says, Thais are typically quite accommodating and a smile and gesture towards your braces will almost always be enough to solve the problem.
Also, like the others say, spoon and fork are available everywhere, even at the noodle shops. In fact, most times I actually have to ask for chop sticks at Thais often assume that is what tourists prefer anyway. Have a wonderful trip. Regards.
Thank you all for the informative replies!
About Speaking Thai...My friend has been there for the last two years, stationed in Trang for the Peace Corps, she can speak Thai very well and I will be traveling with her. Also I have started learning common phrases and trying to pick up a bit of the language. I've got 5mos to learn as much as I can, shouldn't be an issue. :)
At home, I typically leave my shoes/braces on until I go to sleep. I can walk without them, but balance is not 100% w/o them and my ankle drops w/o them so I need to be careful not to trip over my own feet! :)
#5 urbal has been a member since 15/11/2007. Posts: 12