Bangkok Baby!

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Me and Emile on Khao San Road

Bangkok, the City of Angels as they call it.  I’ve lost track how many times I’ve been here now, at least 7 or 8 times.  Bangkok is the hub for exploration of southeast Asia, so if you are traveling in this part of the world, you’ll need to come here at least once.  There is a lot to see here, palaces, temples, ruins, but now that’s I’ve seen most of the sites in Bangkok, all I find myself doing here is eating and shopping!

Thai food is the best food in the world I think, it’s a mix of the best of Indian and Chinese cuisines and there is definitely is no shortage of food here!  Honestly I think no Thai goes hungry, because there are food stalls everywhere and everything is so cheap and O so good.

Shopping Bonanza on Khao San Road
  The best food is usually found on the streets at the various stalls.  You can find anything type of Thai dish you want there and all for much less then in the restaurants.

For those that worry about eating off the streets, I’ve always stuck to following guidelines:
1. Make sure there are other people eating there (then you know people enjoy the food there), and
2. Make sure they cook it right then and there.  Don’t eat anything that looks like its been sitting there for a while.

That’s it! Those are my rules.  Knock on wood, I’ve always had a good stomach after these meals. Honestly those that get sick, I think don’t follow these rules, or just plain eat something like monkey brain, dog, or scorpion. Basically things they probably shouldn’t eat in the first place! A lot can be said for experiences new foods, but sometimes being plain stupid will get you sick!

After eating there is always lots of shopping to do in Bangkok.

My gadgets: Ipod, Netbook, Blackberry, and extra hardrive in back
  There are big department stores like MBK and then there are the street vendors everywhere and the weekend market at Chatachuk.  This time around I didn’t get to go to Chatachuk Market, but if you are ever there on a weekend, THIS is the place to go.  A shopping bonanza covering 35 acres! You can find all types of things there, shirts, skirts, silks, furniture, souvenirs, even baby tigers and rare birds if you look deep enough!  Of course the latter are illegal to buy or sell, so be careful if you actually do find these items in the depths of the market.

Khao San Road (pronounced cow-san), is the backpacker area of Bangkok.  Its where most, if not, all foreigners travelling through stay and hang out.  Some may think going to a foreign country and staying with other travellers makes no sense. It does make sense, because for those travelling solo you’ll find like minded people, and at the end of the day, after walking around and experiences everything new and exciting, its cool to just come back and chill in something that is a bit familiar and share some stories with your fellow traveller.

Here on Khao San Road you’ll find internet cafes and many, many bars.  Last night I ended first talking with some old Aussie men.  That got a little boring, so I changed bars and ended up meeting with some Irish guys who were travelling through Bangkok on their way to the islands, for the infamous full moon party on Koh Phangan.  Funny enough all four of the guys had spend 3 months, last summer, living in Toronto!  They couldn’t stop telling me how much they loved the city and how much better it was to many other cities they had visited.  Said there was a lot to do and great parties and lots of good looking girls of course!  We ended up hanging out for a few hours, but before I left them, myself very drunk and looking for some Micky Ds, I got them a good deal on a ping pong show!  They were very thankful. 

Getting a good deal in Bangkok, let alone any country where there is no fixed price is a great skill to have.  Just like choosing a food stall I have some rules to getting a good deal anywhere in the world:
1. Walk around and try to gauge the correct price of the item you want.  If you travel, you know the same items are usually everywhere you go,
2. Go first thing in the morning or before noon, for vendors they are more likely to give you a good deal in the morning, because for them they believe it will set the tone for sales the rest of the day,
3. Get a price in your head you would paid, then start at 1/3 or ½ the price they ask you for.  So if they say 1000 bhat, you say 300 bhat,
4. Ever back down too much from your price  If you are not getting your price, sometimes the best thing to do is away.  Guaranteed they will say “ok, ok” and sell it to you or if they don’t just go to the next stall and start at #1 again!

One key I think everyone should know is NEVER EVER feel sorry for them. Why? Never feel sorry for them, because they will never sell for less then they bought the item for!  Trust me.  You can bargain your ass off, but you can be almost sure they still made at least 10% off that sale. Since usually they start at 10000x the price they got it for!  And if they do actually sell it for less then they bought (which you will never know), they will just get the next foreigner that comes along and screw them!  Lol that’s usually one of my tactics.  I just say, hey see that next person there, just screw them and give me a good deal.  I always say that with a smile, that usually works ;) It works, because the next guy will feel sorry and still think they got a good deal. Most likely a good deal they didn’t get, but don’t tell them ;)

Here is a good example of how much they mark-up items.  About 8 years ago in Bali, one of my first trips, I got totally ripped off.  I wanted some necklace, the lady started at 50000 rupiah (maybe about $5 CDN), I got her down to 15000 rupiah. I was so happy I worked her down.  The next day while shopping I saw the same necklace at another stall, what was the asking price? 1000 rupiah! Again, lesson of the day, always shop around first before buying :)  Remember it’s all a game. Also remember at the end of the day if you really want it, don’t haggle on what amounts to pennies in your currency!  And trust me you’ll get so caught up in bargaining, you’ll end up doing this!

My last day in Bangkok came with a good surprise.  I met up with Emile again!  Like I said before Bangkok is a major hub.  He was in town to catch a flight to Yangon, Burma and me, off to Colombo, Sri Lanka.  The last time I had seen Emile was a few weeks back in China in Guilin.  It was cool to catch up and share some laughs.  Since the last time I saw him, he’d been to Hong Kong where he went on a bit of a shopping spree!  He bought a new lens for his camera, a new 2-sim mobile phone, and best of all he bought the same netbook I have. He liked mine so much, he had to get the same one. [I have to say, buying a netbook is one of the best things I’ve bought in a long time.  Its so convenient, especially in the age of wi-fi, to have a little portable computer with you all the time.] 

Anyways, we hung out for a few hours and then we went our separate ways again.  Ah the life of a traveler, always on the go to some place new and exciting.  For me, the next place is the motherland, Sri Lanka……

Ruwan

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Me and Emile on Khao San Road
Me and Emile on Khao San Road
Shopping Bonanza on Khao San Road
Shopping Bonanza on Khao San Road
My gadgets: Ipod, Netbook, Blackbe…
My gadgets: Ipod, Netbook, Blackb…
Bangkok
photo by: Deats