Ok, where to begin….. 500 or so photos later, I will try my best to remember what we were doing, and what we were eating.
Bangkok was an extreme eye opener to a much different way of life. The vast majority or Thai people live in what Westerners would call the slums, but to them it is home. Thai people are extremely happy with what they have. They are obviously not starving, and like most cultures, family is very important. We had a conversation with someone (I cant remember who) who summed it up best: Thai people live for today, if they have a better than normal day at work, and earn extra money, they will spend it all that night partying with friends, rather than save it for the future. The downside of the living for today part, is they have no concern for the environment. The piles of garbage spread everywhere is impossible to believe, until you see it.
Canadian Airlines could really learn some stuff from Vietnam Airlines, well done, if our future plans fall on a route served by Vietnam Airlines, we would book with them again.
How this traffic gets to where it needs to go without crashing into people is beyond comprehension. You can come within 3 inches of another car and that is regular driving, and no one honks the horn!!! Ever!
Figuring out Thailand’s transportation system proved to be a little difficult. Taxi’s are metered, but the drivers will only use the meters during slow traffic times, during rush hour, they demand a flat rate which is much higher than the meter. this is because in high traffic times you can only travel 2 blocks in 10 minutes. Tuk Tuk’s are not metered, so you really have to know how far you want to travel. And then there is the Songthaew (which means “two rows”) this is a pickup truck with benches in the back. Most of them do not travel a set route, when you see one, you flag the driver over and if he is going in that direction, you can climb aboard. This is not to quickest form of transportation as you will pickup others along the way, but it is by far the cheapest. We really did not master Songtharew’s until we arrived in Chiang Mai. Of course there is a skytrain in Bangkok as well- but we found walking / Tuk Tuk’s to be easier and cheaper.
A Thai Massage will run you about $4-$6 per hour.
Tyler: Is it Spicy?
Waitress: a little bit
Tyler: ok, I will order something else.
A little spicy usually means it burns. We both pour hot sauce on our food at home, so we are not over exaggerating here.
You name it, they have it. Most of the goods are counterfeit, but according to the shop owner, they are authentic. A North Face 60 Liter backpack for $40. The English errors on the tags are a big give away.
I am sure most of us know that Bangkok is the street food capitol of the World. Well if you didn’t know, know you do. We stayed away from street food. Yes, lots of people eat it daily and they don’t get sick, and I am sure the vast majority of stalls are clean (ish). But we did not want to take the risk. We did however, enjoy the smells and the sights at the food carts, we just had to imagine to taste. If you walk past after meal time, you can see them doing the dishes on the ground, beside the road, yes they appear to be using soap, but it really makes you wonder…. I smelt some things walking in Bangkok I have never smelt before, and they were not nice smells.
It is best not to discuss the King while in Thailand, technically if you say the wrong thing you can end up in Jail.
The Constitution of Thailand States:
“The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action.” Thai Criminal Code elaborates in section 112: “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.
Aya had this grand idea of visiting a local market to see how Thai’ shop.
It started out very nice, fresh fruits and veggies everywhere.
But then, we rounded a corner and were punched in the face with the smell of flesh, blood and death. Animals probably slaughtered here earlier in the day were now being butchered. Internal organs littered the blood soaked pavement. Live fish flapping around in tanks, splashing passerby’s with who knows what. To sum it up, it was disgusting, I contemplated becoming a vegetarian.
Table after table of raw meat baking in the 30 degree Bangkok sun.
Once we made it back out to the sidewalk, we both needed a few minutes to regain control of our senses.
Don’t worry, none of the restaurants we ate in shop at that market…. yeah right!
No visit to Bangkok is complete with a visit to the red light district- Soi Cowboy. the Movie, Hangover part two, was filmed here. It is filled with go-go bars, strip joints, ladyboys bars and pretty much you name it. We went early in the day, everything was closed.
Dinner before boarding the overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai (15 hours north)