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.

Why Read

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

Pedestrian crossings

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.

Exercising

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.

Lady Boys

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

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.

Food

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

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.

Massages

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.

Bangkok

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.

Pattaya

Beach City of old white guys and young thai girls. Enough said.

Wet Concrete

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.

Turning Right

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.

30 Comments

  • September 21, 2009 Reply

    www.betrulyhappy.com

    Lady boys? Haha I wasn’t expecting that.

    You’re lucky to travel like this though. It’s my dream to travel the world. I just went on my very first vacation and I’m ready for more!

    • September 22, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      I like to keep people who visit my site guessing. I am indeed very blessed to have the opportunity I do at this time in my life. I would encourage you to read Tim Ferris’ book “The Four Hour Workweek” if you wish to travel the world. It was the book that inspired me to do what I am doing. Highly recommended.

  • September 22, 2009 Reply

    www.google.com

    Nice blog. Sounds like your having good time.
    I especially like the three lefts in the taxi, genius!

    • September 22, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Toby you need to get yourself out here as it is indeed both awesome and insane.

  • September 22, 2009 Reply

    www.google.com

    U need to fix tht coding! still cnt post without website

    • September 22, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Noted but I dunny not have the power captain…or put more bluntly I simple can’t work out how to do it. The code is not playing ball.

  • September 22, 2009 Reply

    http://www.upgradereality.com

    Heya Jonny!
    Wow, really cool blog you have here, the design is stunning and your content is awesome. I’ve never been to Asia, and my friend has just come back from a 5 month trip from Asia. Im really excited and planning to go next year, so really enjoying your first hand experience.

    Once again, awesome blog!
    Cheers
    Diggy

    • September 22, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Diggy, I have just got up and read your comments which has now made my day so thank you.

      From my relatively small experience so far in Thailand i can confidently say that you are right to be excited as it is truly a spectacular place to be. I would recommend, if possible, that you spend at least a month or two over here and really immerse yourself in the local culture for the very best experience. I look forward to hearing about your travels one day.

      Again, thanks for the comments.

  • September 22, 2009 Reply

    www.stylethroughintelligence.com

    Your brining back some good memories for me with this post Jonny.

    Bangkok and KL are by far my two favourite cities in Asia.

    PS great call about the fine line when it comes to the cheap massages…dont show them that you have an extra 100 baht in your pocket otherwise they will go that extra distance to get a tip.

    Cheers,

    Schmidty

  • September 22, 2009 Reply

    Jonny

    Schmidty, It seems you speak from experience ;).

    What does KL stand for? and I really enjoyed you post on “What is style?”

  • September 22, 2009 Reply

    www.reachourdreams.com

    Heya Jonny!
    Great post! I love Thailand, it is such a great place isn’t it? and so identify with all your points especially the crossing roads in Bangkok! :-) Really inspiring to hear what you’re doing and that you got the idea from Tim Ferris’ 4HWW. Look forward to hearing more!
    Jen

  • September 23, 2009 Reply

    Jonny

    Hi Jen,

    It is indeed. I owe a lot to that book and so cannot promote Tim enough and his book “The Four Hour Workweek” enough. I will definately be putting together more posts on my experiences out there that I hope you will enjoy.

    All the best

  • September 23, 2009 Reply

    http://ivancampuzano.com

    thanks for the tips..I plan on heading over there next year…hope all is well…thanks for your comment about me on aboundlessworld.com…maybe we can help each other out in the near future…we have very similar ideas and lifestyles…

    • September 23, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Ivan.

      You should definately come an experience life over here as it is amazing and you will not regret it.

      I am sure we can help each other out in the future as we do indeed have similar ideas and lifestyles. Keep up the good articles mate.

  • September 24, 2009 Reply

    http://findyourselflost.com

    Hilarious! I love it! This post (and all it’s wild witty anecdotal comments) have succeeded in torturing me in the fact that I am rooted state side for another 17 months. Thank you very much. I will continue to live vicariously through your travels as I am subscribing right…..now. Done.

    • September 24, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Thanks Kristin, you comments made me smile. You sound like an incredibly interesting character and I look forward to keeping in touch. Don’t worry, 17 months is not that long and for the record, your subscribing has just let me meet my subscriber goal for the first month of the blog – and just in the nick of time so thank you for that.

  • September 25, 2009 Reply

    http://www.thrillingheroics.com

    Hey Jonny, I love your writing style man. Keen and hilarious observations of life in Bangkok. Stumbled! Look forward to catching a “quiet business drink” with you here soon…

    • September 25, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Cheers Cody, look forward to that drink.

  • October 22, 2009 Reply

    scogginsdd

    Hey there Buddy,

    Good site. Some useful and knowlegeable comments man :) I know, I am creeping,lol. Hopefully I can produce something like this myself. Which site did you buy your templates from?

    Hopefully one of you folks may be able to help me out a little here. I am looking for someone who I was reliably told was a member here. They used to use the name ‘snoopylaffs’.

    Because I am wanting to start my own website on health related content for stuff such as: laser teeth whitening prices (hence the where did you get your templates from,lol) but am having realllll difficulty getting hold of dropshippers for these goods. I had been in touch with this guy but my PC got stolen and unfortunately had all my contact details on it (I know, I know, should have backed it up :( )

    So if you guys have heard or seen anything of him could you send me a message please? Failing that maybe one of you people knows someone?

    Also, which hosting do you use as I keep informed not so good things about the host I am considering of hosting my site with. Plus any other helpful tips you can give re starting up my website would be useful and very appreciated.

    I do hope that someone has helpful info about this

    Thanks Buddy,

    • October 23, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      I use GOdaddy for hosting and I find them great. Can’t help you with snoopylaughs though my friend.

  • October 29, 2009 Reply

    Dean – fearlessroad.com

    You forgot to mention the possibility of getting electrocuted if the world class cabling falls on your head :)

    Thailand rules was in Koh Tao two months ago.

    Thanks for this funny post, loved it!

  • January 18, 2010 Reply

    Alexandre Guertin

    Miss Thailand…

    -By the way just a tip, if you think Lady Boys are only tall dudes, you might have already hooked up with a few. Most of them are small, incredibly pretty girls with girls part. There’s only one way to find out and I won’t right it on this blog lol.

    -Didn’t know the thing about Right, quite funny.

    -Pad Thai, probably the most delicious meal in the world

    -My favorite beach was Railay Beach in Krabi, amazing rock climbing, very chill, and the monkeys come out at around 4pm

    -Loved Chiang Mai and trekking in the mountains.

    Have fun !!

    • January 19, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Mate,

      Fortunately I met a stunning german girl when I was out so wasn’t in a position to make “mistakes” with the locals. I never actually made it to Railay beach which was unfortunate. Never mind, I will just have to go back.

  • June 2, 2010 Reply

    flower tattoo designs

    Good work, keep us posting, you are good writer.

  • June 16, 2010 Reply

    Marie

    Hi! I just wanted to say your website is one of the nicely laid out, most inspirational I’ve come across in quite a while. Thx! :)

    • June 16, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Thanks Marie, though I have a sneaking suspicion this might be spam mail. However it made me smile so it gets to stay.

  • September 25, 2009 Reply

    Jonny

    Mucho Gracious

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