Monday, November 19, 2007
I went to Bangkok 2 weeks ago. It was a business trip cum personal holidays. This is my first time stepping my foot on the Land of Smiles. I and couple of my colleague landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 5pm local time. From there we are ferried to Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit which is situated along the famous Sukhumvit Road.
During the journey there was an elephant walking along the highway from the airport, what a scenery. Thais are really nice people, the ordinary girls are very cute, even for a Skyline counter agent (equivalent to our LRT), they always smiles and greet you with that friendly 'Sawadikap' tagline. No wonder tourism contribute 6% to their GDP.
Language could be a 'lil' bit challenging, as long as you don't talk to them with a heavy vocabulary and grammar, they will understand what youre trying to say. Their signboard will all have the equivalent english language, which make travelling from a to b a breeze.
Shopping is a must, when there is a lot of good merchandise to offer; handcraft, woodcraft, clothing, shoes, fruits, etc. One note for tourist, bargain is a must. The first price they offered you can sometimes be 100% more than the price itself. Bargain politely and if you didn't get the price that you want, walk off (sometimes they called you back and agreed). There are a lot of Sikh and Thais Tailor shop, they make really good suit. I couldn't spare myself from buying one.
There are various kind of transportations to choose from; taxi, skytrain, subway, tuk-tuk, bus and even motorcycle. Take taxi if you want to go to airport or during non-peak hours. Make sure they use meter or negotiate the price upfront. From Sheraton to Suan Lum night market shouldn't cost you more than 500 Bath. Skytrain and subway is another convenient way to travel, as long as your destinations are along the train lines. One station cost 15 Bath and so on. Tuk-tuk is the trademark of Thailand, take it with extreme care. The driver sometimes offer your a very cheap price to tour around Bangkok but would end up visiting various merchants; tailor shop, gems shop, travel agent, etc. Negotiate the locations and price upfront. Motorcyle-taxi, distinguished by their orange safety jacket is a good mode of transportation during traffic jam. I saw a 'Mat Salleh' with his big luggage riding a bike. The cost is a lot cheaper then taxi.
Night entertainment are varies. From exotic pole dancer to legal prostitute, Bangkok has everything to offer. Pat-Pong is one of the places where your can find those entertainment BUT beware with con-man and overly charged club. Asked the price with the 'mami' before you drink anything from the club. The more friendly neighborhood would be Nana, although it offer less hardcore entertainment. Massage parlor is everywhere and one should try Thai massage and loosen your stiff muscle. As usual negotiate the price.
Sightseeing at the palace, floating market and buddhist temple also a good idea. Although i miss it.
Beware of pickpocket, keep an address of your hotel and always smile. I think Bangkok is a safe city as long as you have minimal street-smart skills. It was a wonderful experiences and i'm sure i would love to visit Bangkok again.