Well, this isn’t another post out there worshiping a checklist of to-eat’s in Hatyai, Thailand. I don’t normally post about food in my blog, but there is this ONE eatery in Hatyai I just have to recommend to everyone, and it’s not without reasons.
Firstly, this Thai-Chinese old-school boat noodles restaurant is run by my very own good friend, Pom, who always serves me with not one, but two special bowls of beef or pork noodles in generous portions whenever I go visit him.
But to recommend something which I don’t genuinely feel is good isn’t my style, and I don’t do this just because the eatery is run by my friend.
All I can guarantee is the fact that this decade-old restaurant, famously known as Chen Loong Boat Noodles (成龙面条 ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือเฉินหลง ใกล้ห้าง Lee Gardens), is probably the best and the most popular one you will ever find in this Southernmost city of Thailand neighboring Malaysia’s Kedah and Perlis.
Named after world-famous Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, Chen Loong Boat Noodles is situated right in the city center of Hatyai, only less 3 minutes’ walk from the famous Lee Gardens Plaza usually thronged by Malaysian tourists.
Getting Braces in Thailand: My Unanticipated Orthodontic Journey (1)
This entry isn’t an advertorial. I’m writing this just to share with you my journey to getting braces in Thailand.
Growing up, I had always had crooked teeth. I also had a lot of cavities, and that explains the many fillings on my teeth.
The old black fillings which I got when I was younger were still visible on some of my teeth. But nowadays there are the tooth-coloured composite fillings, so I guess that should do dental aesthetics some justice.
Anyway, for over 30 years I had to put up with bad teeth, with no intention whatsoever to get them straightened, simply because it would cost a bomb in Malaysia. My sister got hers done for just RM1,000 or so at the government dental clinic, but that was only because she was under 17.
So truth be told – I only wore it for a couple of nights before chucking it at a corner and leaving it to rot. HAHA!
So fast forward to my stint as a teacher in Thailand. My then girlfriend (now fiancée) has had her braces on for quite sometime. Initially I was hesitating whether or not to get braces in Thailand – at least at the same dental clinic as hers since she said her orthodontist was good and the price reasonable. However, I eventually decided not to do it as I wasn’t sure if I would stay in Thailand long enough to receive the long-term treatment.
Those two years in Thailand were when my oral health received the least of care as I indulged myself in all sorts of good food and snacks. So naturally tooth decays and cavities began to happen and I ended up having to visit the government dental clinic for a few times to address the problem.
One of the dentists who treated me expressed shock upon seeing the condition of my teeth. She asked if I had ever experienced a fall before, which affected the structure of my upper teeth because my upper teeth looked as if they were about to collapse! And yes, “collapse” was the word she used.
After being told of the serious condition of my teeth and also advised to get orthodontic treatment as soon as possible, I decided not to take risk with my teeth and proceeded to make an appointment with my other half’s orthodontist.
Speaking of dental braces in Thailand, they are EXTREMELY popular. Walking down any street in Thailand, you would easily bump into people – teenagers especially – with braces. Because of that, orthodontic services are competitive in Thailand and most orthodontists are also very skilled.
But of course, many of the braces people are wearing are also fake ones, and people wear them as a fashion accessory. It can be dangerous and deadly, but I’m not going to go into that.
My orthodontic treatment costs a very reasonable 35,000 Thai baht (about RM4,300) for three years. In Malaysia it would cost around RM5,000-6,000. At the clinic I go, customers could either opt for the lump-sum payment or monthly installments at a reasonable cost of 1,000 baht with each visit. I chose the latter, and didn’t need to pay any deposit, unlike at some dental clinics.
Like I’ve said earlier, my teeth were in a horrible condition, and that needed to be rectified before I could proceed with the orthodontic treatment. I spent quite a bit getting not one, not two, but about ten teeth (re-)filled and another extracted! But the total amount spent was still way cheaper than if I did in Malaysia.
My orthodontist had to make sure that all my teeth were in a good condition before she could put braces on them.
Below I will take you through the journey of my orthodontic treatment.
The following picture was taken in May 2016 in Bangkok, a few months before I got my braces:
From the front, the condition of my crooked teeth may not look too serious, until…
I’m Ken, a passionate traveller from Sarawak on the exotic island of Borneo. Currently a teacher in a rural town in Southern Thailand, from time to time I share on this blog my experiences teaching the kids and living a laid-back lifestyle here. With its focus on all things Thailand, mrdefinite.net also features a handful of stories about my travel adventures in other Asian countries.