Finally, I had a chance to visit Bangkok, Thailand. It was just a short visit of 5 days but I believe with a lot of take away for me.
What I liked about Bangkok:
1. In most places service is outstanding. I didn’t expect that much but Thai service in many ways reminded me of Japan and Korea.
2. People are nice. Mostly. There are money oriented individuals who affect the image of the country but generally, I found Thai people to be very open, kind, and sincere. Probably the most pleasant to deal with of many countries that I visited. This one is especially surprising given how many tourists Thailand gets every year.
3. Good public transit. Metro reminds that of Taipei – very efficient, safe and clean. They even have free buses for people that can’t afford to pay for the public transit, running through the city. Surprisingly the boarding and unboarding are also very organized, no one is pushing or skipping the line. And that’s in the city with millions of people commuting every day.
4. There is a boat running through the city that can be boarded with regular tickets. Very interesting experience and totally recommended to try it out.
5. Good prices. Mostly. With so many tourists visiting every year, big malls and more popular areas adopted western prices. For example, I paid $15 CAD for a brunch that consisted of two eggs, two strips of bacon, and a cup of coffee.
6. Accommodation is cheap and offers good value for money. It is possible to book a luxury condo through Airbnb in the centre of the city for as low as $80 Canadian dollars.
7. If you like Thai massage, you will love Bangkok. A 2-hour Thai massage at a high-end salon will set you back approximately $25 CAD.
8. Thailand is an emerging market with growing consumerism. There seems to be a lot of opportunity for business people and investors.
What I hated about Bangkok:
1. Weather. And I guess this one is my fault for booking the visit in May, but still. For me, it was a hell on earth – hot and very humid.
2. It feels like offline affiliate marketing was invented in Thailand. People take you from place to place and get commissions for doing so. It happens with anyone and everyone including security, bartenders, drivers, guides, and who not.
3. Expect to frequently be treated like a bag of money. Especially in touristy areas. I have to say that the absolute majority of people were very respectful and kind. However, if you visit you will also encounter a few scumbags that will be interested only in your money.
4. Unfortunately, I witnessed an ambulance trying to get through the traffic, and… no one gives a damn.
5. Cars first. Always. Even when green is yours. Always check your surroundings, don’t assume that if you have a green light the right of way is yours.
6. Bad sidewalks. In addition to being observant on the road, you need to look where you are walking. Many times there will be holes in the pavement, or just not pavement at all.
7. Talking about the king is not safe. I tried chatting with locals about the monarch and was told: “it is not safe to talk about it”. I didn’t try my luck again, but lack of freedom of speech is there.
Overall Thailand and Bangkok are definitely high on a list of places that I visited. This is for sure not the last time for me and the country is totally recommended for traveling.