Photo taken from the top of the Sky Restaurant in Bangkok 1KM up
So I have spent almost a week in Thailand now and thus think it is about time I wrote about my “cultural” learnings to date. There is so much going on in Thailand and especially Bangkok that I have just included a few intriguing “insights” from my time here.
It is worth reading if only for having an idea of how insane this place is or just to have a laugh at some of mishaps of getting used to living in a different country and culture.
Read time: Approx 5 Minutes / 2 Minutes Highlighted sections.
Things to know when visiting
Like in most countries, these are the black and white lines placed across roads that, in theory, give pedestrians the right of way. In most countries cars are required by law to stop and give way -
In Thailand pedestrian crossings seem to be entirely optional and 110% of the cars do not stop, under any circumstance.
When crossing the large four and five lane roads, which have an uncanny tendency to separate oneself at some point from vital amenities, there are a few things to bare in mind – 1. There remains only a 50-50 chance you are going to make it across all 5 lanes in one piece so accept it. 2. Don’t presume crossing with other people makes it safer, all it really does is make you a bigger target. 3. Bikes tend to swarm in packs of 50 or more so if you manage to dodge the first one congratulations, but remember the 49 that will follow very shortly after.
I have a theory about exercise in Thailand
Either The heat and humidity will cause you to collapse into a sweat drenched dribbling wreck gasping for air within 30 seconds – or you will become superman
There can be no in between. Let me put it into context; lets say for example that you can run the marathon in a very respectable time of 3 hours and so consider yourself pretty physically fit. Now move your exercise routine to Thailand and you will get exactly 10.3 feet before passing out. Another point worth remembering is to never to run past the vast quantity of stray dogs in Thailand as 1. They generally have rabies and 2. They like to chase anything that is moving quicker then walking pace.
Let me set the record straight. It is not difficult to spot a Lady Boy.
They are the 6 foot 4 individuals wearing heels with a chin line that Arnold Swezzenegar would be proud of and voices that make Barry White sound high pitched.
Enough said on that subject.
Bike Taxis, no wait all taxis and all traffic in Thailand and all the drivers, are insane. Period. You take your life in your hands whenever you come into contact with anything that has wheels.
As far as I can ascertain, if there every were any rules on the road they went out (or through) the window many, many years ago.
Bike taxi drivers are right at the far end of the insane meter, which, normally speaking wouldn’t be a problem except that the first time you work this out tends to be while hanging onto the back end of a particularly fast moving two wheeled machine currently in the process of trying to accelerate and fit through a particularly narrow and rapidly closing gap between two rather large and solid looking four wheeled machines whose drivers are equally keen to not let you through. You have been warned – On the plus side though, they are very cheap.
Thai food is unbelievable and well worth the risk of death while crossing the roads in search of it.
Around One English Pound will buy you an exceptional meal with drinks from the huge amount of road sellers that set up shop all over the place. It is worth while not asking exactly what the meat is and choose instead to just point at the hanging piece of protein goodness whose shape you vaguely recognize and hope to God it is indeed a chicken. Restaurant meals cost slightly more but generally an exceptional three course meal with plenty of drinks will not set you back more than a fiver.
Police are abundant in Thailand and especially in cities such as Bangkok.
They seem to be everywhere but are not seen to serve any real purpose apart from pulling over foreigners and fining them for being alive.
I will delve deeper into this issue as I am sure I will be spending much more time in their company as I am 1. A foreigner and 2. I have the cheek to be breathing.
The greatest thing since KitKats in foil wrapping and dirt cheap. A 2 hours session will cost about a fiver but you can get cheaper. However one should be warned, this cheapness comes at a price – generally your well being. You really are leaving your self open to some horrendous pleasure/pain type scenario – pleasure because its cheaper than a bottle of water back in britain and pain because there is a reason for this. Thai massage girls are pretty “liberal” with their hands while massaging so if you embarrass easy then you may struggle.
There is, however, a big difference between “liberal” and “very friendly” and its a very thin line.
Keep an eye on that line my friend.
An amazing city full of life, incredible bars, restaurants, night clubs, markets, shops, experiences and more. I’ll write a full article sometime in the future to really do it justice.
Beach City of old white guys and young thai girls. Enough said.
There is a surprising abundance of wet concrete in Bangkok and unfortunately the sheer amount of this surprising product is only matched in impressiveness by the sheer lack of any warning signs whatsoever that is there.
During the day but especially at night you are never quite sure that the next place you are about to land your foot is as solid and stable as the last place you lifted it from.
This tends to lead to some lively and highly entertaining dancing from time to time as you end up shin deep in wet concrete which results in many a lost flip-flop. However, on the plus side, I now have left a lasting impression in Bangkok, whether they wanted it or not and for your information, concrete is actually quite easy to wash off as long as you get some water on it before it dries.
The Thai word for right is Qui and the Thai word for Buffalo (which by the way, if directed to a person is the worst insult you can offer) is also Qui only said ever so slightly differently with a flatter tone.
I have now got into the habit of only turning left in case I get beaten by an irate Thai taxi driver who I have just ininvertedly insulted.
If I wish to go right I just take 3 lefts in the taxi, problem solved.
Bangkok is, however, a truly remarkable place full of smiles and I would encourage anyone wishing to experience something different to definitely check it out.