Thailand is a tourist’s playground. Getting around is simple and systematic. Travel agents can be found anywhere to help you arrange your transportation to any part of the country, including to its “isolated” islands. They speak good English. A system of planes, trains, buses and boats are coordinated efficiently and filled with tourists from all over the world. You get stickers and bag tags, and you’re shipped on your merry way on one of these modes of transportation. It’s a little like being on a conveyor belt.
Nonetheless, Thailand is so beautiful and diverse, that it’s with good reason that it developed like this through tourism. But—like I wrote in one of my last posts—this can have its negative side. Thailand has tourists everywhere, modifying the way that Thai people act. For example, cab and tuk tuk drivers were insufferable. All taxis advertised being metered, but as soon as you flagged one down, they argued and requested to be paid 100 baht per person. If you disagree to pay this price—which we did— the taxis simply drive off, knowing that they will eventually land a tourist who would be unbothered to pay about 10 times the real price. In fact they were mad at us for refusing to go along with the status quo. Psh.
Traveling by train was better. Forty baht (and 6 hours later) got us all the way to the Cambodian border from Bangkok, and along the way, I met some beautiful Thai kids I couldn’t communicate with. Still, one can say a lot with a whole lot of smiling and well, I got good vibes from whatever the kid said to me as he jumped off the train. This is one of my favorite memories from Thailand.
Another memorable thing is the food. I can’t rave about it enough. I’ve never been a huge fan of Thai restaurants, but the street food in Thailand is divine. Pad Thai, coconut curries, sliced fruit and smoothies, pork, Chang Beer—these were just some of the delicious things I ate. The meat-on-a-stick—which included everything from chicken to octopus—and the Thai coffee basically sustained me. We nearly missed our flight back to Indonesia for the love of coffee and meat-on-a-stick. Lesson learned: The traffic in Bangkok is intense. Is stopping for meat-on-a-stick and Thai coffee worth the AirAsia penalty? Debatable.
(Thank God for the best hostel owner ever, who hooked us up with a metered taxi that took us through the toll roads, so we could make the flight on time. People like him made me love Thailand even more.)
Lastly, the Floating Market near Bangkok is obviously a huge tourist attraction, as is the Tiger Temple. Though I wouldn’t recommend the Tiger Temple (though I got some awesome pics and got to pet a baby tiger!), the Floating Market is absolutely stunning. That’s a truly unique place—it’s a living work of art. (No surprise here, but the food there is also amazing.)
And last, but not least, the video of Katie, Rachel and I eating the most exotic thing of our entire trip.