Thursday, April 07, 2005

2 Days in Bangkok

There is much to like about Bangkok, from its modern Skytrains, the thoughtful Skywalk to the simple 25baht a meal by the sidewalk. I was there on a time limit, with the thought of either kicking back to relax or to explore as much as possible. Strangely enough, I managed to do both.

Exploring is one of the many interesting habits that one can pick up in a foregin land, along with learning the language and observing your surroundings, it allows you to come within close proximity to the lifestyle and the people. But of course as a foreigner, one must always be prepared to pay a lot more, for a lot less. But our mindsets are such that in retrospect we tend to convert to our local currency and think 'ah! This is cheap!'.

One thing I learnt this trip was...'You can always get cheaper!' You do this with a few methods. One is the theory of halves. This means that whatever the price has been quoted to you, half it and work from there until you come to a satistactory price. Its even better if you can speak a little Thai. The second method, is just to walk. I went to the market at Chathuchak and thought that some of the handicraft were way cheaper than the ones in the city, but as I walked into the market, the deeper inside you went, the cheaper it became, up to a point where you don't even want to be bothered to ask for a discount, even though you could. But of course I did! The market is unlike any I've seen, you want food? Drinks? Wood craft? Lamps? Pets? Pet food?? Just go to the market.

Massages are one of the more well known things you can experience. Traditional Thai massages stretch the muscles, your spine, and your acupunture pressure points. When you get out of it you'll go 'huh...' and wonder what really happened, but you're going to feel much better later in the day. This you can find at about 250baht, where I think in KL nobody will even touch you for 250baht.

Of all the things that is Bangkok the scariest of all was...the tuk tuk. Its funny how annoying they are, and rides range from 20baht to 100baht, depending on how desperate you are. In the middle of the night when you really want to get back, its 100baht, naturally. And they're CRAZY. You're just hanging on the dear life while they laugh at your incompetence. Yes of course they can laugh because they can always jump out from either side in case anything happens. And of course the next day we found out that for 100baht you can get a taxi to send you to the hotel. A nice, safe, Corolla Altis, for the same price. But again we the middle of the night, tuktuk drivers can sense desperation.

Its a beautiful place, with equally stunning people. Would I go back? Of course I would...I haven't even finished shopping yet.