Get to know the people. And I mean all the people. The backpackers jammed into hostels, the American and Australian English teachers living in Bangkok, the expats who have found wonderful families here, or the Peace Corps volunteers who have served in this beautiful country for the last 50 consecutive years.
Let’s talk about travel travel travel. Currently, I’m serving in the United States Peace Corps but I have had the wonderful pleasure of serving in a country with endless, beautiful places to travel. I’m going to start writing posts about my recent journeys around Thailand and share some of the amazing things I have seen through my photographs. There are literally thousands that fill my hard drives.
Interested in traveling around Thailand and want an insider’s perspective? You’ve come to the right place. I live in a tiny, rural village where I speak Thai everyday and blend into the conservative norms. When I travel on vacation I prefer to go to some of the quieter locales with few tourists. I like to get to know locals and you will find that Thai people are almost always hospitable and generous. I’ll talk about how to get the most of Thai culture while you are here and make some friends for life. Now, there are some incredible places to travel where tourists cannot be avoided, for instance, almost all the breathtaking beaches, but in those places I feel it is worth it.
Let’s start with my recent vacation this past April. Most travelers, including my parents who arrived in April, will arrive in Bangkok through the Suvarnabhumi (pronounced soo-wah-nah-boom) airport. If your flight lands between the hours of 6 am and midnight then you are in luck.: there is a very convenient Airport Rail link that connects to the Bangkok BTS skytrain. Just go down to the lower level of the airport and follow the signs to the rail link; the station is attached to the airport.
You can take the express rail link or the standard rail link. If you are not in a hurry, you can save the extra dollar and opt for the cheaper standard rail link. It only takes about twenty minutes longer than the Express. If you head straight to the BTS (you can also get to the MRT from the Airport Rail Link) you will arrive at the Phaya Thai BTS stop on the Sukhumvit line.
If your flight arrives late, like my parents did, don’t worry, you can take a taxi to your hotel at any hour of the night. It’s helpful to have a map of the hotel and the hotel name in Thai printed out for your Taxi driver.
Here’s a hint: when you get to your hotel or hostel, pick up a business card. They all have tiny maps printed on the back and usually the name of the hotel in Thai somewhere. You’ll be glad you have it when you need to get back to the hotel and find your Thai language skills aren’t as refined.
The taxi will run you 300-400 baht depending on where your hotel is. Trade a small amount of cash at the airport if you can for local currency, called baht. This is one of the only acceptable instances where your taxi driver will not turn on the meter to charge you (sometimes they will though, and it saves a couple of dollars). However, in all other taxi trips, insist that they turn on the meter by pointing at the box that rests on their headboard and saying mee-tuhr (go up in a high pitched voiced on the last syllable tuhr). If they refuse, feel free to tell them to stop, get out of the taxi and try the next one. No harm done.
In my next post I will talk a little more about things I like to do around Bangkok. I can debrief you on some of the major tourist attractions but I should admit that I’ve only actually been to one, JJ Market (Chantujak). I’ll talk about delicious restaurants, wine bars, places to go dancing or clubbing, and nice but inexpensive places to stay. I’ll often come back to things to do in Bangkok since I find myself there often.
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