Go to Razzle Dazzle welcome page. Bangkok, Thailand
 

Bangkok


Bangkok   |   Palace   |   Wat   |   Chinatown   |   River   |   Khlong   |   etc.

June, 2004

Thailand photo.
1. Bangkok traffic
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Thailand photo.
2. Tuk-tuk
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Thailand photo.
3. Street-side food
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Thailand photo.
4. Bhuddist monk

 
— Index —

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Bangkok is a large, congested city of 7 million (or more) people. It has an amazing mix of new and old, rich and poor, holy and profane all jumbled together. The city is famous for its traffic jams (see photo #1, at left) and for its smog. It is still growing. We found it to be quite intimidating at first. After a few days, however, we worked out ways to get around without getting caught in traffic. Mostly, we used the river ferries and the sky train. When we had to take taxis, we went early in the morning.

Bangkok is fairly well equipped for tourists, but there are a few hassles to be aware of. The tuk-tuk drivers (photo #2) can be aggressive and dishonest — we used taxis instead. We are frequently told that there are a large number of pick pockets here. We haven't had a problem. In fact, people have been quite friendly and helpful. The biggest issue we have faced is the Thai language. Both pronunciation and alphabet are so completely different from western languages that we can't make out anything at all. Many people who work with tourists speak a little English, but communicating can still be a challenge.

Perhaps the best known aspect of Thai culture is the wonderful food. We have eaten at a variety of places from upscale restaurants to street vendors selling grilled fish and satay. We ate chicken satay (those are ours on the grill in the last picture) and found it to be very good, and cheap. We only paid 40 baht, about $1, for our satay. There are even street-side bars.

The street-side restaurants (photo #3) serve a variety of interesting dishes. They are generally cooked ahead and then displayed on tables along the sidewalk. We have been a bit leery of eating food that we weren't sure had been handled properly. In fact, the risk is probably low as the food seems to sell quickly. So far, though, we have only eaten food that was cooked for us and served promptly. The streets are frequently lined with food vendors selling everything from drinks to full meals to desserts, most of them crowded with patrons. We have begun to wonder if any Thai people ever cook at home.

More traditional sit-down restaurants are also common in Bangkok. We have been particularly fond of Ricky's Coffe Shop. It is close to our guest house, has wonderful food, and is very affordable. We typically pay about $5 dollars for a meal for the two of us. Our favorite foods are tom yum gai (chicken soup seasoned with red curry, ginger, and lemon grass), pat thai (fried rice noodles), and stir fried vegetables with rice. Our most interesting restaurant so far was the Cabbages and Condoms, owned by a family planning organization that uses profits from the restaurant to support its programs. This was also the best place we've eaten, and the most expensive at $15 for two. They have a gift shop that sells clever gifts like these condom flowers.

To read more about our experiences in Bangkok, just follow the links at the top of the page, or in the index below the thumbnail photos at the left. After two weeks in Bangkok, we are on our way to Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand, by train.

 

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Jim and Jamie Richter, http://gotouring.com/razzledazzle/
Website designed and created by Lois Richter, expanded by Jim.
Created 6/2004. All photos are © 2004 Jim Richter.