Bangkok and Pataya, Thailand
Bangkok is really the "Far East". More than any other city I visited, Bangkok has retained it's old buildings, temples and especially it's culture. But it's overflowing with tourists (from outside Thailand, but most definitely also from within!) who come for different reasons. Most for the normal sightseeing, but others for the sex. And that abounds galore! Please be very careful. Aids is spreading like wild fire. Also: a beautiful girl may not be exactly what it seems. It may be a reconstructed man (Mangirl)! Enough said on that subject. And off course there's the summum of tourism, Pataya, some two hours drive away from Bangkok, if you're lucky, because the roads are usually jammed with traffic. Keep that in mind, if you decide to stay there. The road to the airport you have to take may take a lot longer than you think!
Money: Baht. (One US dollar is about 40 Baht. After the recent devaluation of all far eastern currencies, you may be better off!)
- Voltage: 220
- Time compared to GMT: +7
- Calls to Holland: 00131 -
Health: Check with your health center. Outside the cities, there may be a chance of contracting Malaria.
Activities and tips: Get yourself a taxi (usually a little bus), if possible through your hotel. He will take you throughout Bangkok for about 20 dollars (800 Baht). The driver will arrange a boat trip through the canals and the "floating market" (Wat Sai), drop you off for a visit to a snake farm for about 400-500 baht all in. Naturally, you haggle for the price. Stick to the price you agreed on. The "skipper" will try to persuade you to pay more and tells you that the agreed price wasn't what you gave him. Just walk away! If everything works out, he has dropped you off at the temple complex (Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace with the famous Emerald Buddha (entree 125 baht). The taxi driver should meet you there again and take you onwards after you have strolled around this magnificent complex. By the way: the boats are very narrow and unbelievable fast. They are powered by a huge car engine, which is steered with a helm. The shaft sticks out at least 6-7 feet, ending in a propeller. The wake is something to see!! And the sound is even more impressive! They really speed up on the Chao Phraya River and you may get a little wet. But who cares: this is the tropics and it dries quickly. In the weekend there is the largest market you can imagine on water where you can buy literally everything. Visit a crocodile farm (maybe on the same day as the above mentioned trip with the taxi). There's China Town, especially at night. Shopping on Silon Road and Charoen Krung New Road. Visit the Oriental Hotel for a drink on the terras or a meal. Remember: it is officially forbidden to export Buddha statues! But jade items are on sale everywhere. Get some advice from someone who knows jade. There are many varieties, some better, some worse. Usually the white variety is the most expensive.
Pataya is a conglomeration of buildings and traffic. The only place for a tourist to be, I think, is the road along the sea front. Beach road, divided in South and North. There you can find anything. Don't be bashful. Visit one of the Go-Go bars. It's cheap and very, very interesting!!!! There is a restaurant called Seafood and Steak Restaurant "Right Spot" at 538 South Beach Road, where I would suggest you get yourself a meal. I know, you will be back to sample their food again! The fish and lobsters lie outside on ice. Choose one and they will prepare it for you. The steaks are also something, as are the Crab cocktails. Behind this restaurant is a small square, adorned with beautiful plants and trees and bordered with small houses. These are hotel rooms. I stayed there for nearly four weeks at about 20 US dollars a night. After some days the manager came to me and asked if the room was okay. I said it was, as was the restaurant. But he said that there was something wrong: only one side of the bed was always slept in: don't you know, that your girlfriend can sleep here for free, sir? When I told him that I was married and didn't need a woman, he was astounded: "But sir, you are talking about your wife. I'm talking about your girlfriend!!!"
Do your souvenir shopping there. And haggle!!! Try the Thai way of a pick nick: on the beach with a big lunch. Kin Cow (eating) is a favourite past-time of the Thai, which the farang (foreigner) has little difficulty in appreciating! Sandy beaches, cool sea swims, tasty food, liquid refreshments. Now that's living the Thai way! If you have the time, also visit Jomtien beach, near Pataya. And the Pataya Park Beach Resort. Have fun!
Weather in Bangkok!
Weather in Phuket!
Info from traveldocs
Info from Lonely Planet on Thailand
Info from Lonely Planet on Bangkok
Info from Lonely Planet on Phuket.
Copyright © 1998-2010 Luuk Francken
Created: April 14, 1998. Updated: januari 24 2010