We’ve had both good days and not-so-good days here, but if I could sum up the experience in 10 bullet points then here we go:
(P.S. It’s important for me to note that the below is based on MY experience in Bangkok, but it might not necessarily be everyone’s.)
1. Tuk Tuks and Taxies will target you. To them you are the “ignorant westerner” who will pay anything to get a ride somewhere. They will often pull up beside you when you’re walking on the pavement to ask if you want a lift. And then follow you for a little bit, in case you change your mind.
2. If you’re in a male/female couple and you’re haggling, they will nearly always make a deal with the man in the relationship. I hardly ever got to haggle because they just looked to Steve. Which is fine, as long as we get the price that we wanted.
3. You will probably get ripped off at some point during your time there. For example, we overpaid for our first taxi ride. Always ask for the meter or always agree a price BEFORE you get in. You should aim to get 50% off what they ask for. If they don’t like it then they’ll won’t take it, but the next taxi (normally lined up behind in case you could be their potential customer) most likely will!
4. Local Thai’s who speak English and who come up to you to start a conversation are nearly always trying to sell you something. We gave them the benefit of the doubt many times, only to have to end the conversation when they attempt to sell you a Tuk Tuk tour. (Which is actually a scam!) No thank you.
5. The BST skytrain is the best way to get around. It’s fast, convenient, air conditioned and you get to mix with the locals. They also have an underground, and the trains go as often as the London Underground.
6. Every time you see someone Western looking and looking reasonably pale, you’ll automatically assume they’re British. Did you remember that other Europeans can travel too? Nope, of course they must be British.
7. Crossing the road is a nightmare. The pedestrians at the crossing have right of way but the cars/motorcycles rarely slow down or stop unless you take the chance and just go for it.
8. Speaking of motorcycles, they are EVERYWHERE! They weave in and out of traffic, in and out of pedestrians on pavements and normally with their family, daily shopping and a puppy on the back. (Seriously!) It’s both fascinating and scary all at once.
9. In case you haven’t picked it up already, there are a LOT of cars and motorcycles. The traffic in Bangkok is unreal! You’re better off getting the train around, if you can. It’ll be faster, that’s for sure!
10. Oh, a thing about the trains: they have security scanners at nearly every train station. They also sometimes call you over after you’ve gone through ticket barriers to scan your bags. It freaks you out a little at first, but it’s oddly reassuring too.
We’ve already made some great memories here and the experience of it all is next to none. Fortunately, Thai people are always friendly, smiley (after all, it’s the land of smiles!) and very polite so they balance out their bad traffic and slightly overpriced market stalls. 😉
Bangkok, you’ve been fun. But it’s time for us to move on to somewhere a little more relaxing!