Mar 29, 2015

Posted by in Travel | 0 Comments

Bangkok City Diary: From Bangkok Shopping to Bangkok Cuisine

For years now, Thailand is best recognized to the world with their famous slogan, Amazing Thailand. Having lived in Thailand for more than two years now, I have to say that Bangkok City continues to fascinate me right from the day I arrive there. It is not the perfection, but the imperfection of Bangkok City that truly amazes me. The warm and sincere smile of the Thai people. The rich aroma and aesthetically presented Bangkok Cuisine. The Bangkok Shopping experience.

COMMON STEREOTYPES OF BANGKOK CITY

To some (if not many) people, the mention of Bangkok City immediately flashes a city that is underdeveloped, smutted with slump areas and dangerous to live in. If you are among those, I can understand where you are coming from as I was once in your shoes. After all, Bangkok City is geographically located in Southeast Asia, one of the fastest developing region in the world. Specifically for Thailand and Bangkok City, it is located not too far away from one of the world’s most notorious place, the Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle is a shared border between Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. It is in this part of the world where large portion of the global drug supply originates from.

Bangkok

I was initially fearful of even the slightest idea of paying Bangkok City a visit. My perception of Thailand and Bangkok City took an 180 degree turn from the very first time I landed in Bangkok City. It turned out that things on the ground were not as bad as what some have portrayed it as. I found Bangkok City’s Suvannabumi airport to be of excellent standard. It is definitely not the best airport in the world, but it is somewhat on par with airports in some of Asia’s more developed cities with the likes of Seoul and Taipei. Hiring a cab that will take you to your hotel is easy. Some people recommend making an online cab booking prior to your arrival. I would recommend otherwise. The moment you pass through the Thailand Immigration check point, you will immediately see huge number of counters bearing the AOT Limousine logo. (AOT stands for Airport of Thailand) Simply go to any counter and pick the vehicle type that you prefer. Since it is considered as limousine services, it is definitely going to cost more than the normal cab fare. If normal cab fare from the Suvannabumi Airport to Bangkok City is around 300-350 Baht, the cost of each limousine service is around 1200-1500 Baht, depending on your vehicle option.

Another stereotypes associated with Bangkok City is chaos, unruly traffic and sub-standard public transportation system. It is true that Bangkok traffic is among the most notorious but I found that is mostly occuring during weekdays when traffic is at its peak. During weekends, you don’t generally hit into major jams. This is unless there is major political demonstration by what is known as red or yellow shirts supporters. At other times, Bangkok’s weekend traffic is a huge different from that you see on weekdays.

One of the must-try itinerary during your visit to Bangkok is the Tuk Tuk ride. Remember to take note of few basic things before you set on a Tuk Tuk ride. First thing first, don’t ever forget bargaining. Bargaining is a must, especially if you do not appear and speak as locals. There is no hard and fast rule as to how much you should bargain. Based on my experience, it is reasonable to start the bargaining at 30% of the opening price. So say if the rider asks for 100 Baht, then you should try to go with 30 or 40 Baht. I should say in 75% of the case, they’ll succumb to your demand if you insist hard. Once you’ve settled on the price, remember to make your jump, sit down as fast as you can and try to grab any pole you can get hold on. The rider will not wait for you to sit nicely before stepping on the accelerator. Having said that, it means that pregnant ladies are advised against taking a Tuk Tuk ride.

Tuk Tuk ride can be an exhilarating and an adrenaline pumping experience. But there is one additional thing that you need to be cautioned of. If the rider starts with a price tag that sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Avoid such drivers. These drivers are not genuine and I consider their main job to be preying on tourists rather than real Tuk Tuk drivers. The moment you hop on board, he will not take you straight to your destination. Instead, he will give all sorts of reason and try to bring you around to few ‘trap’ shops. Most of the ‘trap’ shops are jewelry related and most of them are not genuine. They are out to con naive and assuming tourists.

[to be continued ...]

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