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.
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.
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.
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My travelblog from when I was traveling around Thailand during the Chinese New Year in February 2007.
- Suvarnabhumi Airport And Into Bangkok
- Wat Phra Kaew, The Grand Palace, Wat Pho And Some Shopping
- Nathon Pathom And Phra Pathom Chedi
- Back To Bangkok
- Arrival In Phuket And Ao Chalong
- Ao Chalong
- Ao Chalong, Hat Rawai And Hat Patong
- Hat Rawai, Hat Kata & Hat Karon
- On Thai Companionship And Languages
- How To Bypass The Taxi Mafia
- Crazy Scare
- Liveblogging Or Sort Of From Airports
- How To Bypass The Excess Weight Charge At Airports