A short Thailand visit

The boys at work

Tonight we are fully booked and have been for a few days… Huh… Imagine that. The main tourist area is empty like a ghost town with hotels sitting empty. We must be doing something right. So sad it will end……….. Anyway…….

I have never been to Thailand and was going because of business. I was to be one of the delegates presenting Vietnam as a tourist destination to world wide tourism professionals. Since I had outgrown my suits, I had one custom tailored in Nha Trang for the occasion. The whole suit cost 180 dollars for 1 jacket, 2 pairs of pants and 2 dress shirts. What a great deal I thought. The material was good quality and the end result was satisfactory though not exemplary. Nghia, Hau and I boarded the flight after a day of meeting to discuss business and of course, sip on more than a few cold ones. We flew Air Asia and I have to tell you (if I have not before) that it is the best airline I have ever flown with. The aircraft are in good condition and the leather seats are very cozy. We arrived inBangkok and proceeded to our hotel. After check in, we assumed that we would be busy so in the evening we headed straight to the backpacker area to do a little gift shopping and have dinner. We were grossly overcharged and taken

Patpong

advantage of by a Tuk Tuk that made the three of us wanting never to take one again….. What idiots these guys are! They would make much more money from repeat business but like inVietnam, they cut their own throat.  Khao San Road surprised us in that is was simply a single street lined by gift stalls and restaurants with not a lot going on. The trinkets for sale probably were great souvenirs for many but the only thing that interested me was a utility belt with multiple pockets made from leather. Unfortunately none were big enough for me… NOTE TO SELF!! We searched for any decent Thai food as we were hungry but could not find what we were looking for. Darn… how disappointing. We returned to the hotel to discover that the taxis were also taking advantage of us…… Sheesh!!… I am beginning to not like this place. Perhaps tomorrow would get better.

The next day we hired a taxi to take us to the trade show an hour drive away to find that we had arrived 2 days early! There was a misunderstanding with the English instructions

Soi Cowboy

so we had unexpected leisure time…. Yee Haw!! Let’s get down and dirty! Bangkok is known for it’s AHEM… nightlife and Nghia, Hau and I decided we would check it out. We headed for NanaPlaza in the afternoon and had a look around. There were a few people hanging around the bars, but mostly like a ghost town. I guess nothing started till after dark, so we did a bit of shopping and later headed to Patpong.. What a mistake that was. It is a street of gift shops, Bars, and the street hawkers were able to convince us into an upstairs bar that had very unattractive ladies that were all about applying pressure for drinks and other things. We disliked the place immediately and angrily paid the silly inflated bar bill trying to escape the cling on ladies…. Whew! Now there is a place I will never return. The next day Hau and I went to Soy Cowboy during the day to check it out. The place was like a ghost town. Again, I was surprised at how short the street was. A person could see how the place worked as all the bars running down the street were set up in a similar pattern designed for people to meet. Were were a little confused and asked why everything closed and got a reply “Buddha”…. Uhhh OK… Anyway…. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at one of the million 7-11 stores to pick up a cold beer when we were horrified to learn that on the special day, no alcohol sales were permitted… YIKES!! No wonder

Nana

Soy Cowboy was closed. We were finally able to find a street vendor willing to break the law and relaxed for the rest of the night. Finally, the day before our trade show, Nghia and I headed to the famous NANA plaza. Hau was sleeping and it was a chance for Nghia and me to discuss some business ideas over a beer. I have to say that there was a lot to see. We felt like we were at a circus with all the action. There were the ladyboys, midgets calling out to customers to enter bars, men chasing women and women chasing men…… Neon glowing everywhere. We could not get up the ambition to walk around and look at things. These was not our kind of place, but were glad to have seen it. We returned to our hotel mission accomplished. I can now say been there and done that…….. almost. All three of us could not see the appeal of these places. Bangkok has a lot to offer for shopping and modern marvels, but I cannot imagine why a tourist would want to spend time there unless they are there for the night life.

Walking street

The trade show went well and hopefully we will find some new business partners. V’Explore Travel has and is building new and exciting travel itineraries and soon I think the travel companies will be playing catch up.

We had one free day left after tear down and off we headed to Pattaya. Wow! I mean Wow!! This place is unlike anything I have ever seen and I was dumfounded. Not only to the different ways the three of us took to this place, but also how Pattaya seemed like a living breathing entity on its own unlike anywhere else. Of course the gyrating girls and openness of the sex trade was obvious, but we were not there for that. What Nghia saw was a place that he did not like. The lights, action, and gaudiness gave him a sour taste. Hau seemed totally indifferent and I was astounded by the amount of entertainment available. I for one would like to return. I saw bars that entertained with Kick Boxing, many excellent sounding bands of all sorts, film, and other forms of entertainment. I would like to spend a few days checking out different venues on Walking street, but Pattaya is a late night town and we were leaving early the next day.

One final comment. I found these areas very different and a bit sad in a way. In Vietnam, if you run into another traveler, there is a chance you may end up in a converstation or joining for a coffee. As you pass by bars and clubs, you can see interaction between everybody. Thailand was different. All of the interaction was between The foreigner and the local. I witnessed almost no foreighners interacting with each other and when I did give them a nod of the head or such, it was mostly ignored.

 

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Owee

Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

13 thoughts on “A short Thailand visit

  1. Owen, you need an experienced Bangkok traveler to show you around. Everyone or so I thought knows about the tuk tuk scam. Also if you try to get a taxi in front of Patpong they will try to stick it to you. Just walk about a block in either direction and hale a passing taxi.
    As you have learned in Vietnam, there is a system that you need to know.

  2. I really didn’t care for Thailand at all on my 2 previous visits. I did do a tour of Kanchanaburi and the Allies Cemetary and the Bridge on The Kwai River. One of the highlights of my visits to Asia.

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