Part 1 of 4
Bangkok… hot, humid, crowded (over 8 million people!) & snarling traffic sprinkled with the occasional massive floodings and political chaos. It smells, tastes and feels like home. What an amazing city it is!
This past August I had a chance to spend some time in Thailand where I was in Bangkok, Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai.
I decided to share my trip here with travel tips from my old home country. I’ll break down the photos into several chapters: Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, and of course the all important food chapter.
No you won’t find the usual travel tips you find elsewhere. No touristy places, just common sense everyday observations and tips you won’t find in the usual guidebooks. So sit back and enjoy the show. Click on the images for the captions and to enlarge
Ronald says “Sawadee Krup”. You can’t go wrong knowing this as your first Thai greeting phrase.
One of the first and most frequent things you’ll see in Thailand: traffic!…
…That’s why I recommend using the BTS or Skytrain system as much as possible. A 5 minute BTS ride can equal an hour taxi ride. No joke!
Another (not recommended) option is to take a motorcycle taxi. It’s more exciting than any amusement park ride. Helmet not included
Here’s a reason a motorcycle taxi can get around so quickly. Sidewalks are fair game for them which is bad for pedestrians. It make’s the video game Frogger seem like child’s play.
Another sidewalk hazard.
Speaking of Frogger, yes you can take the local bus or taxis. Notice how far the buses are from the bus stop. I hope your life insurance is paid up.
This BTS train car is turned into a school bus
In case you get tired of the local foods, you can get your burger fix anywhere. In this case at the skytrain station. For the locals, the most popular dish at McDonald’s seems to be fried chicken and rice (hot sauce on the side.)
You can also find mini 7-11’s at the station
Or you can get a haircut while waiting for the train. This place charges about $3 for a haircut.
Here’s a sign at the entrance of the BTS station. Notice the durian warning. More on that to come. And yes I did see security deflating a poor kid’s balloon. Wait, am I not supposed to take a photo of the sign?
I recommend staying at a hotel within walking distance to a BTS station, in this case Ibis hotel. Nearby is a Holiday Inn Express which looked much nicer than the ones in the US.
MBK Mall. This behemoth 8 story mall focuses mainly on local branded goods with a great (local) food court.
One of the most famous shrines in Bangkok, Erawan shrine seems to have expanded since I was last here.
After a long day of walking or just to get away from the mid-day heat, I recommend checking into Healthland Spa & Massage. This local chain is located in a beautiful setting with amazingly low prices.
You’ll find Bangkok very multicultural. This beautiful Indian temple is called Wat Prasri Maha Umathewee. Say that ten times quickly.
During the rainy season it can pour within moments. I ducked into one of the many foot massage shops. The rain completely stopped when I finished my 30 min. massage that costs only a few dollars.
Sukhumvit Road, one of the main drag for tourists. There’s so much fake goods sold here at night that the streets are lit as bright as day.
This is more my kind of street scene. Street foods. More on this in an upcoming post.
Wait a sec., that looks like my missing luggage!
My favorite way to get away from the congested streets is to hop onto the river boat. It’s just like getting onto a bus although taking the wrong step can get you wet.
The cost of a ride can be less than 50 cents.
Bangkok is sometimes called Venice of the east because of all the activities that revolve around the river system.
Nothing like riverside dining. I’m guessing I know where they wash the dishes.
The famous long-tailed boat. You’ve seen this in such movies as James Bond: Man with the Golden Gun
Ah, this is the life! Behind me is the famous Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun.
A pair of tourist is wondering what all the strange things are being sold.
Three forms of tranport: motorcycle, taxi and tuk tuk
Here’s what I get for taking the train during rush hour…
Khao San Road the infamous backpacker street made popular by the movie “The Beach”
The neighborhood is so surreal that the local Thais come here as tourists and gawkers. These days it’s a bit more mainstream.
Finally a VW put to good use.
If you get out early enough you’ll frequently see people giving food offerings or alms. Thailand is predominately Buddhist. No they’re not giving away the baby.
Clasping your hands in this manner is called “wai”
My ride has arrived!
Talk about surreal…a cable car in mid air…in a mall!
I never get a view like this of the real Golden Gate Bridge.