‘Amazing Thailand’ – The First Timer in Bangkok
The second the plane skidded on the tarmac at DongMueng Airport, Bangkok I was amazed at what I saw. At the end of the jumbo’s wing, no more than 100ft away, a man stood quite relaxed putting on a golf green. Not only that, He didn’t flinch a muscle as the jet screamed in reverse thrust so close to his game.
I spent many years continuing to be amazed at what I saw in Thailand. Wow! What a place. I soon realised why others call it ‘Amazing Thailand’.
How can one tell of the Thai Experience so that the reader believes? It’s no easy task. Thailand is unbelievable to the stranger. You have to visit to believe. If you haven’t ventured to this part of the world or are thinking of going I hope I can be a source of positive information and advice.
My first suggestion is……. Tomorrow morning wake up early and get yourself down to the nearest travel agent to book a flight. You’ll feel great once you have the ticket.
Plan your holiday wisely. There are many different places to go and have a wonderful time but you don’t want to book into a hotel or guest house in an area that doesn’t suit you. Khao San Road is a good place to meet budget travellers and get sound advice on inexpensive accommodation. If you wish to stay in one of the many luxury hotels the Internet is all you need. Bangkok caters for every pocket and every taste. Seek and you shall find.
My first visit in 1989 blew me away. My senses exploded on arrival as the doors of the aircraft opened. For the next three days I acclimatised in the Asia Hotel and slipped into the best holiday I’ve ever had. The Asia is big and grand but its not expensive. I was glad to being staying there before I did an Indiana Jones and went into the unknown.
There are many forms of transport in Bangkok. BTS Sky train or the modern subway are cool ways to travel about. They don’t go everywhere though.
- Taxis are endless and usually have air-con. Use your common sense when getting into one and start your journey with the meter cleared.
- The Tuk Tuk is great fun. Be sure to fix a price with the driver before you set off.
- Motorbike taxis are easy to find. Make sure your travel insurance covers you for this… It can be very hairy and many a person has come to grief travelling this way. Despite the warning I used motorcycle taxis for years and luckily had no dramas.
- Boat Taxis are excellent and you get to see many old parts of the city. Exciting too!
- Buses are cheap but tend to be very busy, noisy and sometimes incredibly bad for ones health.
- Mini buses run about but if you’re not familiar with Bangkok it would be best to leave them.
- Walking is the best if it’s a short distant. You get to see more and experience the amazing street life of The Big Mango. Bangkok is best seen on the street .
Thai people are very friendly and quite curious of us foreigners. It takes a lot to upset them. To ensure you don’t offend it’s worthwhile to bare in mind some of their customs and behaviours.
If you travel to a tourist destination the locals are very broad minded. They are used to our strange ways and sometimes emotional outbursts but they don’t put up with trouble makers.
I was once told to not stand out. The proud nail gets hammered down. Sound advice. Have fun, be polite, don’t get angry or aggressive and avoid embarrassing anyone. In my experience of Thai people loss of face causes conflict.
Things to avoid…….
- Don’t sit facing anything Buddhist showing the souls of your feet.
- Avoid arguments of any kind. Smile and walk away.
- If you enjoy the bars and the red light areas take a small amount of cash only. Don’t show off or flash the cash as you will attract attention of the wrong sort.
- Try your up most to avoid any contact with the police. If you get in trouble breaking any laws it will cost you. The Thai legal system is also worth steering clear of so pay your fine and smile.
- Be respectful of the Royal Family as they are held in high regard and loved by many. Show the same respect for Buddhist Monks, Monasteries, Temples and elderly people.
- Don’t drink too much especially if you are alone. Drunk tourists can get in to very hot water.
Some handy phrases……
Sawasdee krup – Hello and goodbye
Sabai-dee mai – How are you?
Tao rai krup – How much?
Kortort – Excuse me and sorry for something minor
Mai Kow jai – Don’t understand.
Mai Ow – Don’t want
Ow – Want
Mai chorp – Don’t like
Chorp – Like
Arroy – Delicious
For men its polite to say “KRUP” at the end of a sentence. Ladies say “KAH”.
Tourist Thailand understands English quite well so don’t worry about communicating. If you do struggle have fun trying to mime what you want to say. Guaranteed a laugh!