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Published: March 4th 2008
Thailand - Bangkok
02/27/08 - 03/01/08
Ah, Bangkok... what a relief to finally get into some warm weather, out of boots and sweaters and into some flip flops and tees.
We found this cool hostel called Suk 11. A little hard to find but the people were decent enough and the rooms were clean and with a/c.
The next day we went to the Royal Palace. This is the home of the king and queen and is very impressive. There is a lot of gold and intricate carvings all over the place. the Palace also houses the famous emerald Bhudda. Actually, it's a big Bhudda carved out of jade and is the largest stone of its type in the world.
Hannah had to get one of her immunizations on one of the days so I headed to the Jim Thompson museum. Jim Thompson started trading Thai silk back in the mid-20th century and basically put Thailand on the map for silk production. He left mysteriously in the 60's on a trip to Cambodia and was never heard from again. Some stories speculate foul play but no one knows for sure.
First impressions of Bangkok:
Real speed boat!
Check out the long drive on the motor!
of tourists everywhere. Mainly Europeans and Aussies but some Americans as well.
-Lot's of backpackers all over since it's a good hub for that sort of thing.
-Thais know that you're a tourist and will try and get you into a cab or a tuk tuk or sell you something ALL THE TIME.
-At night, all the sex workers come out of the woodworks. It's typical to see old, overweight tourists with multiple young thin Thai 'girlfriends'.
-Lots of tourists come just for the sex. In some hotels and hostels they prohibit sex tourists or workers from staying (they prohibited it at ours).
-The sex workers are imported from all over Thailand and attempt to make money that they can then send back home. Some make it out of the cycle, some don't.
-Most Thais speak some English. Caveat: If there is a problem or concern, the Thai person that once spoke great English will all of a sudden selectively forget to speak it! They are non-confrontational after all.
-Some Thais will pretend not to understand what you are saying if you are asking for help so they can sell you a ride in their cab or tuk tuk.
of traffic and crazy drivers (especially motorbikes).
-Lots of smog in the city but not a lot of litter.
-Thais like to bling out with gold and jewelry.
-Thais love their king and his picture is everywhere: on all the money billboards T-shirt embroideries, etc. He is the longest reigning monarch in the world (I think more than 60 years).
Our budget in Southeast Asia is $25 per person per day (compared to $100/person/day in Japan). We heard Bangkok was more expensive than other parts of Thailand... still the prices were good:
-Pad thai noodles (150 B) and a large 700 mL beer (150 B) at a touristy restaurant are about $10.
-Pad thai noodles from a cart vendor (50 B) and the same beer from a store (40 B) are only $3.
-Nice hostel rooms with a/c cost about 650 B, $21.
-Cheaper hostel rooms with a fan and not in a central location are 300 B, $10.
-City bus with a/c typical fare is 16 B, $0.50.
-City bus w/o a/c is 7 B, $0.25.
-City buses don't stop at the bus stops. They stop where they feel like stopping, especially if the light is red. It's
difficult and very frustrating to use the bus system. BUT, it's dirt cheap and rewarding when it works out.
Bangkok was great but Hannah and I are ready for some beaches! Next stop, Prachuap Khiri Khan, a small fishing village about 300km south of Bangkok.
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