Bangkok:Transportation, dining, safety.
Bangkok:Transportation, dining, safety. Reviews
Feb 22, 2007
Transportation: With the new Skytrain (BTS) and subway system it is, for the most part, much easier to get around in Bangkok than it used to be. It's still often necessary to take other modes of transportation to reach many parts of the city. It would be "sanook" (fun) to take one of the old klong (canal) boats just for the experience.
I've found that one of the fastest, cheapest ( and most exciting) ways to get around almost everywhere in Thailand is by motorcycle taxi. But, be warned, this isn't the safest way to travel.
Then there are Thailand's famous "Tuk tuks". If you're half way good at bargaining, you can usually negotiate a much better price than you'd pay for a taxi. I like to take tuk tuks when I've got luggage with me.
Be advised that many first time visitors get scammed by tuk tuk drivers who get commissions from gem dealers etc. for bringing them customers. Then, if you don't buy anything, they might leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. And, naturally, tuk tuks don't provide the safety you'd have in a taxi, or protection from the rain or from Bangkok's sometimes awful air pollution.
Although I've taken tuk tuk's on some of Bangkok's major highways, it's usually best to take a taxi for long trips, such as to the airports or the Northern Train Station. Always make sure first that the driver turns on his meter. He might need a little extra change to pay tolls, so, don’t feel that you’re being ripped off if he asks you for a few extra bhat. If he does a good job.....be generous with your tips......these people work very hard for so very little.
Dining: Most Thai dishes are very spicy. When ordering a dish in a restaurant I always ask , “Pet mai?” (Does it burn?) If they answer, “Mai pet”, it’s usually something I can eat without having to call for assistance from the local fire department. Many restaurants serve both Thai and Falung (foreigner) versions of the same dish.
Some of the better hotels offer good buffet meals for quite reasonable prices. One of the most delicious Thai meals I’ve ever tasted was buffet style at a hotel near Chinatown several years ago. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of that hotel.
Unless you have an exceptional constitution I think you can pretty much expect to experience at least one episode of food poisoning during any extended stay in Thailand (or most other tropical, third world countries I would guess).Visitors to Thailand are not likely to have the immunity to local pathogens that indigenous people have. Food products spoil very quickly in the hot tropical climate, which provides harmful bacteria in them them with a perfect environment in which to grow. Personally, while I like Thai food occasionally, I prefer to eat western style food at chain restaurants such as “Outback”, “Sizzler”, or “Subway”. These places are all over Thailand and usually aren’t hard to find.
Safety: Unless you're an expert motorcyclist, you're exceptionally brave, or you have suicidal tendencies I would advise against renting a motorbike in Thailand. They drive on the “wrong” side of the road over there (at least from an American point of view), and too many drivers seem to have little or no regard for traffic devices. I've seen many, many "falungs" there hobbling around on crutches, or with an arm in a cast. Not difficult to figure out what happened to them!
Even walking across many Thai streets can be a harrowing experience....with sometimes six or more lanes of roaring, fast moving traffic coming from several directions at once. In situations like this I’ve learned to wait on the curb until some Thai people show up and then I let them lead the way as we cross the street together.
Compared to some other countries I've visited Thailand seems to be a fairly safe place to visit as far as violent crime is concerned, at least for tourists.
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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