World Travel 2013-2014, Thailand Wrap Up

  • Overall what we did: 13 days split into: 6 days in Phuket and 7 days in Bangkok from 23 November 2013 to 6 December 2013. We didn’t originally plan to stay in Bangkok for so long, but it ended up working out for the best as we had a few rest days thrown in
  • Favourite part of Thailand: Either our time training in Sumalee Boxing Gym, or our day out at Ayutthaya. Bangkok was a bit too overwhelming after a while – it was much more enjoyable to get out of the city in Thailand and experience the beautiful countryside
  • Key tip: If you can, catch the public buses rather than tuk tuks or taxis. We caught them in Phuket, and also Bangkok, and they’re a lot cheaper (and more fun) than the taxis. Bangkok is a very big city so it isn’t always possible to walk everywhere (unless you want to spend hours walking), but the public buses are great once you figure out where they are going to and generally cost around 8 to 13 baht a ticket depending on the bus
  • Cultural points:
    • Taxi: Taxis are everywhere, and haggling is (apparently) required. If you’re walking down the street as we found in Phuket, a honk from oncoming traffic may be a taxi asking you if you want a lift. You can spot them as the car / van taxis will be marked (typically red) and motorcycle taxis will be wearing a red vest
    • Street Vendors: Food and drink costs can be minimised in Thailand by copying the locals and getting your food from the street vendors. In Bangkok they are on every road, and I certainly enjoyed being able to get a teh tarik, or iced thai tea (tea with condensed milk) during our walks
    • Temples: Make sure you wear long or 3/4 sleeved shirts, with pants or a long skirt when visiting temples, particularly the Grand Palace. The guards at the Grand Palace will refuse entry if you’re not sufficiently covered. Oh and as I discovered, any fabric that is even slightly sheer (like my scarf) isn’t sufficient to cover your shoulders. Fortunately I also brought a jacket just in case…
  • Highlights: Wandering the back streets heading towards Wat Arun and then climbing the stairs for the view of Bangkok. It was great to stumble across a Muay Thai gym and soccer pitches hidden under the highway structures along the way
  • Best Experience: All of the kind Thai people who spotted us at public bus stops or on the buses, asked where we were going and provided directions or translated where we wanted to go to the ticket lady to make sure we got off at the right stop. Every time we caught a bus, there was always someone who helped us out which was fantastic. Across the country, the thai people are very friendly and helpful – and we certainly appreciated the help from the gentleman when we were riding bicycles in Ayutthaya. Not only did he see that the chain had slipped off and we couldn’t get it back on, but he then proceeded to get his tools, and not only reattach the chain but tighten the back wheel, chain and all of the screws! The bike ran beautifully after its road side servicing 🙂
  • Worst Experience: Probably the smell, particularly in Bangkok. You would walk down the street enjoying the smell of freshly cooked street food, only on the next corner to find the smell of what was probably human excrement. Not particularly nice, and not something I adjusted to even after a week in Bangkok
  • Must See Attraction: Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn. This temple is incredibly beautiful and has a lot more character than the other glitzy temples and structures within Bangkok. It also has a super cheap entry (50 baht for an adult, or $1.75 AUD), and the view from the second level of the Chao Phraya River and Bangkok is worth the climb.
  • Heading up Wat Arun, Bangkok

    Heading up Wat Arun, Bangkok

  • Most Over-hyped Attraction: Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha, Waaay too many people, and found the buildings just weren’t as interesting as some of the other temples we visited
  • Would I go back? Probably not to Bangkok, but I think visiting other areas in Thailand that we haven’t visited would be great. Had we known that we would be delayed two days waiting for seats on a bus to Cambodia, we would have headed to Chang Mai, but we’ll have to do that next time!

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