Reflections On Thailand And The Full Thailand Chronicles Index

 

Beautiful lighting on a building on Sukhumvit Soi 55 in Bangkok, next to an adult club called Exotica. Taken with a Nikon D200 and a 18-200mm VR lens on the 19th of February 2007. Part of the Bangkok By Night Series in the Thailand Chronicles.

We have been back for almost a week now, and enough time has past that I had time to formulate my thoughts on Thailand.

Thailand.

It wasn’t really anything like I expected. Naturally, I had some preconceived notions about Thailand, but nothing dramatic.

As I think about Thailand, I think about our last few days. The time spent on a motorcycle cruising the highways and going to different beaches. Finding the best spot to take pictures of a sunset. Those are good memories. Seeing my friend as well, that was really great.

I pictured us in Phuket, living in a small bungalow, next to the beach, taking it easy and getting cheap deals everywhere we went. That didn’t happen in Phuket, we were in a hotel room for the nights that we were there. And it wasn’t cheap. 

But other parts, the constant haggling, dealing with the taxi mafia, the Thais always trying to exploit the tourists, well those aren’t really good points. Also, everything in Phuket is more expensive than the rest of Thailand. 85BHT to get from the bus station to the Phuket airport, even though that is less than 3 USD, it is still a steal! Especially when we paid 50BHT per person to get to Ayutthaya, which is almost 2 hours north of Bangkok.

I hate the “tourist price” on everything in Phuket.

I will not be going back there anytime soon. The only thing that I would like to do is cruise the smaller islands and the Andaman coast to the East of Phuket. Other than that, the island was beautiful but way too touristy in my book. I think I had a better time when I was the only foreigner on a bus heading around Thailand than on the beaches of Phuket.

Wats.

The Buddhist temples are beautiful in Thailand. It has prepared me to see Angkor Wat. I want to see Angkor Wat a few times in my life, not just once. I am happy that it is located so near us. Thailand is a beautiful country, and I encourage you to travel to Thailand. A lot of things are cheap there. I suggest that you bring only one change of clothes in a small carry-on bag and buy the rest of your clothes there. I suggest that you buy your clothes when you leave Thailand, and only get the essentials in the beginning. Before you leave, get a big duffel bag to carry your things home with you. Also, visiting Phuket is nice for a few days, but if you want to discover Thailand, I suggest that you leave Phuket out of the equation. It is filled with tourists and people trying to exploit tourists. If you want to spend a few days in the sun in a resort, go ahead!

But if you want to discover the real Thailand, the Thailand filled with exotic locales and great temples, use the excellent BKS bus system and scour the countryside following your travel guide, the Lonely Planet. One frustrating thing about the Lonely Planet; all prices are out of date. Also, the names of the smaller restaurants and sights are not indicated in Thai, so it is a pain to try to explain them to your driver.

As I have mentioned before, our next trip to Thailand will take us to Chiang Mai, Sukhothai and Prang Panom Rung in the East before heading over into Cambodia on land. I do not plan on flying anywhere next time, maybe from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, but that is it. I didn’t like the Air Asia flight, and the fact that they allow 10 kg less per person in checked luggage is also discouraging. Next time, we will be traveling a lot lighter. I plan on having a MacBook at that time, and lugging around only my camera and a few clothes. I am thinking that my small shoulder bag might suffice, but that will be close.

From what I understand, I will have two extra weeks. Originally, I had planned on visiting my friend in Phuket. But after my 1st visit there, I do not plan on spending any time there, unless I meet up with my friend. I plan on going to Laos and Vietnam before meeting my wife in Bangkok two weeks later. There are some UNESCO World Heritage sites in Laos and Vietnam that I want to visit. I plan on going by bus as well. I will probably go to Vietnam first, and then travel West to Thailand. I have yet to make up an itinerary, but I have spotted the places that really interested me already. Getting the Lonely Planet guides for those countries, including Cambodia is next on my agenda.

A whole month of travel, now that is a holiday!

That hasn’t happened to me since I was a child.

Hopefully my French will serve me well in those countries. Also, my friend Carrie will be back at that point, and I will have some first hand knowledge about what do to and not to do. Remember, Vietnam is a socialist country and Laos isn’t a rich country!

One thing though, I plan on having a lot more money with me this time. I only went with 10000 NT and my wife came with 16000 NTD. For a whole month, I need to have adequate supplies of the Thai BHT, the Cambodian currency, as well as Vietnam’s and Laos’. I read that some of those countries accept USD as well, though I am unsure if I plan on taking any, since the exchange rate from NTD sucks. I have read that USD can be readily changed into the local currencies. I don’t know about the Loonie.

I think I will spend a week in each country, that will be good I think. Traveling has a way to open your mind, though I am glad to call Taiwan my home for now. It was a welcome change after Phuket.

* * * * *

Thailand Chronicles

My travelblog from when I was traveling around Thailand during the Chinese New Year in February 2007.

  1. Suvarnabhumi Airport And Into Bangkok
  2. Wat Phra Kaew, The Grand Palace, Wat Pho And Some Shopping
  3. Nathon Pathom And Phra Pathom Chedi
  4. Ayutthaya
  5. Back To Bangkok
  6. Arrival In Phuket And Ao Chalong
  7. Ao Chalong
  8. Ao Chalong, Hat Rawai And Hat Patong
  9. Hat Rawai, Hat Kata & Hat Karon
  10. On Thai Companionship And Languages
  11. How To Bypass The Taxi Mafia
  12. Crazy Scare
  13. Liveblogging Or Sort Of From Airports
  14. How To Bypass The Excess Weight Charge At Airports

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

5 thoughts on “Reflections On Thailand And The Full Thailand Chronicles Index”

  1. Hey Range,

    Awesome post about your thoughts and suggestions for traveling Thailand. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your travels, especially Cambodia, as I know it is at the top of your travel list and you are most anxious to get there! I hope your vacation time comes as quick as can be, as you’re both working your butts off right now. I applaud you both for all your hard work and dedication and wish you luck on your move this weekend. Remember who to call this weekend when you need help! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the comments, Carrie, and don’t worry, we will be calling you on Sunday. Our move is scheduled for 2PM so we will be arriving in Hsin Chuang City at around 3:30PM.

  3. Hey… I was hanging out with a friend tonight and found out he is leaving for Thailand for a couple of weeks soon. Funny coincidence.

    Could I ask you how the internet cafe situation is in general? He’s considering not bringing a laptop at all, just a pile of camera memory.

  4. Internet café situation is pretty good in Thailand. We had no problems accessing the internet, as you saw from my posts during our vacation. Costs vary between 40 BHT for the small cafés per hour to 150 BHT for WiFi at the local Starbucks. (1.2USD to 4.5USD per hour) I have used cafés outside of Bangkok where I paid 15BHT per hour. Most of the machines are recent and come with Skype, headsets and webcams. The cafés are easy to find and are sometimes indicated with road signs for tourists.

    The only thing is that he will pick up virii from those cafés. The machines are filled with virii and they will infect his CF cards and USB HDs. I picked one up on my CF card. I think it was a trojan. I formatted it a few times, on biggie, but still annoying. It jumped to my laptop later on in the trip.

    Thing is, I did some quick calculations. Here, 8GB costs 6000NTD (180USD). If you buy 5 cards, you could have bought a MacBook instead with a 100GB HD(MacBooks here are 30000NTD, 850USD). That is why I decided to take my laptop, even if it was a pain. I took about 2000 pictures in 8 days. Thailand is a good place to shop. I found that electronics weren’t as cheap as in Taiwan. Taiwan is a good place for electronics, laptops and cameras. With the exchange rate, it’s worth a stopover.

    Granted, I do have a pro camera with a pro lens, even if I am not a pro, and I do take a lot of pics. However, imagine if you are staying for a few weeks, like I am planning in July. This is not possible without a laptop in my opinion. You will have to use the small screen of the camera to view and delete pics, never a good idea, because they are never rendered correctly.

    But that depends on your relationship with computers. I normally always have one near or with me most of the time, even if I don’t use WiFi that much, I write a lot, check out my pics.

    If your friend just wants to rough it, taking a few memory cards, maybe not 5, but let’s say 3, should be a good compromise. It is hard to upload the photos, I had some trouble and could only upload a few pics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s