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Traffic! Temples! Food Stands!

A bit about what we’ve learned so far about Bangkok:

Within 24 hours of our arrival in the city, we witnessed all the tourist traps materialize right in front of us:
1)  The expensive cab drive from the airport – As my friend Falguni and Lonely Planet warned us, the best way to get to your hotel after you arrive is to catch a local metered taxi.  Ironically, the “official” cab booth located by luggage claim quoted us 1400 baht (around 46 USD) and a 50 min wait!  We walked out and joined other travelers at the local taxi line.  We walked in and the guy refused to turn on the meter, but Diesel won the fight and we ended up paying 400 baht.  Today I also jumped on a cab and noticed that though the meter was on, the rate was not going up at all.  5 min went buy and the meter still showed 35 baht.  I asked the driver if the meter was on.  He kept pointing at the radio and nodding.  When I asked him a second time, he again started pointing at radio and repeating “radio, radio.”  At the point, I reached over and hit the “start” button on the meter.  The driver smiled (after all, this is the land of smiles) and the meter started
2)  Unwanted tours – On our way to get tickets Wat Phrat Kaew (where the Emerald Buddha resides), a nice man in a suit informed us that the attraction was closed for a few hours.  Hesitating a bit, D and I kept walking only to find out that the place was open.  We’d heard about such well dressed men, some even in policeman or official-looking uniforms), trick naive tourists into going on lame tours.  We later bumped into a couple who asked us if the Palace had been open the whole time.  They’d been duped into believing that the Palace was closed and were taken on a cheap tour

Street food at its best – Food stands line the busy streets of Bangkok and provide delicious, general portions at a great value.  The going rate for a meal is $1.50 and our favorites so far are fried banana (my fave) and chicken skewer (T’s fave).  I’ve also been getting a lot of fresh food from the stands, which I suppose might not be wise.  Subconsciously, I’m still hoping to get some diarrhea to shed the extra poundage, but no such luck so far.  One thing that we have avoided, however, are the communal trimmings.  At the skewer stand, for ex, 3-4 men were standing around the cart, double dipping not only the skewers into the various sauces, but also their whole entire hands, which were thoroughly licked with each bite.

Bangkok is surprisingly clean and completely tourist friendly, even for people traveling with children.  We’ve seen several couples (mostly Frenchies) traveling around with their toddlers


One Response

  1. Take the bus!
    You know, the bus system in BNK from the airport is pretty good… comparable to must public buses, and they run quiet late. Maybe you can try it on the way back to the airport.

    Given the cooler weather, hopefully the smog will be less of a problem. The city can get quite congested at peak hours , which makes riding in open transportation (are Tuk-Tuks still allowed to operate there?) or walking a bit strenuous.

    But you have to love this place, with all the tourist traps and all, the people really is what make Thailand such a pleasant place to be. Enjoy!

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