The best way to pack a suitcase

There are may schools of thought here for what is the best way to pack a suitcase and it seems everyone likes to have their own method, myself included. I think the thing that you really need to check first is ‘what are you actually taking?’

While people are banging on about what method works and what doesn’t, it seems nobody is really focused on the items themselves and what you are hoping to achieve.

Are you looking to get as much in your case no matter what? Are you looking to crease your clothes as little as possible?

Are you going to be moving around a lot and changing frequently?Are you going to be using packing cubes?

Have a look at these videos, there are really 2 main packing styles here, the roll and the bundle. Here is the roll method which shows you how to make a sausage shaped bundle from pretty much any clothing item by folding a lip into the item along the horizontal bottom edge, then 3 vertical folds to make a narrow strip which is then rolled and then tucked into the lip.

This is a great way to compress your item into neat little packs which you can then stuff into all the nooks and cranny’s of your suitcase, backpack or carry on.

The main advantage here is space saving. The downside of this packing method is that creases are not only unavoidable they are inevitable.

If you are looking for a less creased trip then maybe save this method for items not on show such as socks and underwear.

The next video shows the bundle method. This involves building up a cross shaped pile of clothes where the overlap of your clothes is the same size as your case, trousers and jeans are placed alternately, waist inwards in an east and west fashion, then shirts and other items, placed similarly in a north to south fashion. then starting from the top, folding each layer in to build up a bundle of clothing from the middle outwards

This is a great way to keep your clothes as crease free as possible as you are actively folding the clothes taughtly around the previous layer thus keeping the creases from forming as would happen in a traditional fold and stack style of packing.

The main advantage for this is of course keeping the creases out but it’s a great space saver too. The downside is that the bundle is not very user friendly if you are looking to get access to items inside the bundle. You will find yourself going through the whole thing to get to a particular piece of clothing.

So what is the best way to pack a suitcase?

Not surprisingly all of these options require you to pack in a different way so when you are looking for the best way to pack a suitcase I believe the answer is all of the above. Get yourself a good set of packing cubes, compression cubes for absolute space saving, regular for creating mini bundles.

Then bundle pack your shirts, blouses, trousers, dresses and jeans into these regular cubes, roll your underwear and socks and stuff these into shoes and gaps around your bulky items.

What you will be left with is is a set of regular packing cubes each with a mini bundle of clothes, your shoes which will be full of rolled underwear and socks, these will be on the bottom of your case soles facing out, your cubes layered over the top with any other rolled items squeezed into the gaps.

In my opinion this is the best way to pack a suitcase as you will have the best of everything. Easy access to all of your clothes without having to unpack everything, maximum use of all available space, your clothes bundled into smaller bundles to avoid having to go empty your whole case while still keeping the creases at bay and the cubes to separate clean and dirty clothes.

Top 10 reasons to visit Thailand

backpack-thailand-bangkokDeciding where to go first on your  Thailand trip can be so confusing as there are so many wonderful places. Why not start in Bangkok? The nations capital has literally thousands of different things to see, places to go and is home to sights you will not see anywhere else. Take a look below at my hand picked top 10 reasons to visit Thailand flights there have never been so cheap as now. Check here for your best flight deals.

Tuk tuk ride around town

Now this should be tried at least once. There is nothing like zooming around town in one of these, the warm air blowing in your face, hearing the sounds of vendors as you whizz past, the smells of food, spices and other unknown aromas hitting your nostrils. Some drivers are less sedate than others so a good grip is always recommended.

A word of caution though. There are, sadly, some drivers there who are looking to make an extra buck. When you get in ask for them to start the meter, if they refuse get out, this will avoid the awkward conversation of why you should pay 500 baht for a 50 baht journey. Also if the driver offers to take you somewhere else other than where you want to go, politely refuse and state you wish to go where you originally asked for. There are a lot of places geared towards taking money from innocent tourists for fake jewellery, clothing etc. If you unsure, just say no.

With that said tuk tuk’s are incredibly fun to ride and despite the problems when you take a metered ride to where you want to go they are the best. If they are not to your liking the BTS skytrain is great, it covers most of the major areas you would want to go and is really clean and cheap to ride. My personal favourite after the tuk tuk.

Amphawa floating market and Maeklong railway market

Another favourite of mine. when you are looking to see the sights but are feeling tired from walking then jump in one of the many boats waiting for you and enjoy a nice relaxing ride. Have lunch on your boat, get some souvenirs for your family and friends or even get some nice gifts for yourself 🙂 Just remember to make them small or your Thailand trip will be spent trying to decide which of your possessions to throw away to make room for all your goodies.

If you are looking for something unique try what is most probably the worlds most dangerous market at Maeklong. It’s about 15 mins from Amphawa but is something of a must see. The market has grown up on either side of the tracks, literally inches from them. When the train comes in or out of Maeklong the shoppers stand to one side and the vendors pull back their awnings to let the train pass. Incredible!

Temple tour

Even if religion is not really your thing I recommend you try visiting the temples here. You will see many here, Buddhism being the main religion here. Remember not to wear your shoes inside and do not touch any of the statues. My person favourites are Wat Arun (temple of dawn) and Wat Traimit. Wat Traimit is at the beginning of Yaowarat road making it great to explore Chinatown afterwards for some well deserved food!

Get a traditional Thai massage

For the more adventurous of you there is nothing better (other than a cold drink in a comfy chair) than a relaxing massage at the end of a gruelling sightseeing trip. I love these but have to request some of the mobility movements designed to increase flexibility and well being are not performed as I have a lower back injury.

If you are unsure of what to ask for or if you have an existing medical condition then opt for a more relaxing Swedish style massage which focuses on muscle manipulation to reduce tension and release toxins which have built up. When you leave you will feel totally relaxed and on cloud nine. Depending which area you are in can affect the price but expect to pay no more then 400-500 baht for an hour which is incredibly cheap, you may even find them as low as 300 if you shop around!

Enjoy the street food

With no many hungry mouths to feed the street food industry here is a bustling thriving one where you can expect to eat so many wonderful things cooked right in front of you while you wait, you cannot get fresher than that! Some of my favourite foods to get whenever I am out and about are banana pancakes, mangoes and pretty much any dish I can find with duck in.

For those of you who are conscious of their weight be careful of the banana pancakes. If you are like me, a bit of a greedy so and so then try not to have these too often. They taste sooooo amazing but they are drowned in condensed milk and sugar. My record is 4 in one sitting but to be honest I felt so sick afterwards I regretted not stopping at 2!

Visit the night markets

If you love a bargain and are a bit of a night owl then there are many night markets around to take your fancy. Pat Pong and Silom markets are close together and can be reached by BTS (Sala Daeng) or MRT (Silom) trains. There are a few night markets around Ratchtaprarop road but a good 15 minute walk from BTS (Ratchathewi) or grab a tuk tuk.

If you don’t mind going a little further out, albeit not by much then try the Ratchada Train market, it’s huge, over 500 stalls! Just jump on the MRT (Thailand Cultural Centre) and you are there in no time.

Feed the giraffes at Safari World

If animals are your thing then you have come to the right place. Located about an hour from Bangkok you will have the chance to see many animals up close, including giraffes, tigers, lions, rhinos and of course Thailand’s beloved elephants.

There is something for everyone here with regular shows taking place for you to enjoy, an awesome marine world too for those who love dolphins and seals. How about a tiger on your lap while you have your photo taken? Yes that too!

Enjoy a few drinks in your favourite bar

Bangkok nightlife is second to none and you will be hard pressed not to find anything you don’t like. There are sports bars everywhere for those who cannot get enough of their favourite team. If you have a particular taste in music from rock to jazz to salsa there will be something for you. How about an amazing view of Bangkok at night? Then head to one of the many rooftop bars to enjoy the hustle and bustle below you while you sip on a gorgeous cocktail.

Take in a ladyboy show

While everybody is not into the ‘ladyboy scene’ there is nothing wrong with popping along to take in a show. The effort put into making these shows something to behold is incredible. I recommend going to see one even if you are as straight as a die it does not matter, here you are going to see cabaret shows put on by groups of fiercely competitive ladyboys not engage in anything sordid. Picture Las Vegas cabaret but with ladyboys. Granted they are probably not as talented as those on the Vegas strip but they more than make up for it with enthusiasm and have a great time onstage to boot.

See a Muay Thai fight

Whilst it’s not everyone’s cup of tea Muay Thai, being Thailand’s national sport is something to see. When you are used to seeing boxing when you see the fighters using their knees, elbows and shins as well as their hands it takes it to the next level. You will quickly get an appreciation of the complex strategies needed to engage your opponent when you add another 6 contact points to the 2 we are used to.

If you want to take in a fight then head on down to Ratchadamnoen Boxing Stadium where you can see some of Bangkok’s finest giving their all.