Tag Archives: South East Asia

The first day in Bangkok, Thailand (part 2)

By the time someone came up it was mid-afternoon and we still had the entire day ahead of us. So instead of chilling out by the pool or going to an air-conditioned museum, or something else that would ease us into this completely different culture, 90 something percent humidity, and the mid forty degrees weather, we went sightseeing. We took off first tuk-tuk of the trip to Wat (temple) Pho, aka reclining Buddha number 1 out of 7 I think. The ride there taught us some valuable lessons in the unspoken traffic rules of Thailand and for the most part South East Asia. Such as:

  1. If there is an open space, be it your own lane, the oncoming traffic’s lane, or a sidewalk, you are free to use it.
  2. If the light is red you don’t actually have to stop, just honk a bit as you go through to make your presence known.
  3. Stopping for pedestrians to cross will cause an accident, instead weave around
  4. Just an extra: Tuk-tuks are like roller coaster rides, minus the safety

Image result for bangkok traffic

Around 3 pm, even after a popsicle, I was really beginning to feel the humidity, heat and lack of sleep. Luckily we were done sightseeing for the day and headed back home for a quick dip in the pool, which was quite refreshing. After, a bit before 6 pm, we ventured out to look for someplace to eat. There was a restaurant on the top flour of our hotel but we wanted to go someplace different for dinner. Since Thailand is so close to the border the sunset around 6 pm year round so we were walking around in the dark, finding all the restaurants to be closed… at 6. Yes, there were roadside stands with meats of a sort cooking over a fire, however, it was our first night in Thailand and we weren’t feeling all that adventurous just yet. Accepting failure and too tired to continue looking we headed home to the restaurant on the top floor.

This brought us to about 4 hours of sleep in the last 30 hours, 24 of which were spent travelling, add to that the culture shock, heat, and humidity my brother and I were exhausted. The restaurant was basically empty. My brother and I were more tired than hungry so we just decided to order chicken and cashew nut at out mom’s recommendation. (This lat became my favourite dish to eat in Thailand. I often had it at least once a day.)

The food came around 7 pm and I really didn’t care that much. Sleep had overtaken my thoughts, our lack of thoughts since I was starting to doze off, only to awaken multiple times with my mom trying to get me to eat. At some point, she figured my brother and I had had enough, let us roll out heads back a fall asleep for a bit. At which time she took a picture of us, heads back, tilted to the left and mouths wide open. bangkok city

We went up to our room and I was ready for bed, but I still had to brush my teeth, so toothbrush in hand I decided to just lie down, only for a few seconds, on my bed on the way to the bathroom. So I fell I sleep, toothbrush in hand, face planted on the side of my bed. I was woken up just enough to get me to roll on the way onto it and that’s where I slept at 7 pm.

Only to wake up 4 am in the morning. Safe to say I was a little jet-lagged and stayed that way for a good weak. That being said it did help us get an early start on the day, which meant being back home by that time the afternoon heat came around.

 

 

The first day in Bankok, Thailand (part 1)

And by day I mean 48 hours, except because of the timezone difference it was more… or less. Safe to say I was 15 years old and confused as heck, over the time zone change.

 

The flight was not until 12 pm at night, which meant we- my family- had the entire day to pack and try to remember if we were forgetting anything. My brother still ended up forgetting his retainer and me my favourite capris, but that’s fairly minor.

 

After boarding the flight I was fully prepared to go to sleep. It was midnight, I was tired, but what I was not was hungry… for airplane food. And yet at 1 am that is what they came around to serve. I mean I ate the fruit, obviously. By this time I was past the point of tiredness and was feeling that second wind, so I watched a movie. finally, I felt tired and was able to turn the “T.V.” off, put the remote into the slope of the armrest, the inside of the arm armrest, and go to sleep

Only to be woken up every time I moved, which, on a regular basis, is a lot. This was because, as I mentioned earlier the remote was on the inside of the armrest, therefore every time I moved, subsequently bumping it, the bright blue screen in front of me would turn. Safe to say I got about three hours of sleep out of the 13-hour flight.

At Taipei, Taiwan we switched flights for the last six hours of air travel. Getting off the plane we were immediately hit with the immense humidity and heat of Thailand, and we hadn’t even stepped foot outside the airport yet. Driving in from the airport the first thing I noticed there was an abundance of was giant billboards. Not the small to medium ones you’d see driving on a highway in North American, these things were 2-3 times the size of those billboards. 

prince palace hotelWhen my family travels we tend not to book things ahead. We arrive in a new place, “set up camp” at a cafe and search around for a good place to stay. The only time we book a place ahead of time is if we know we will have travelled most of the day and will probably just want to go “home” (where ever we happen to be sleeping that night) and chill out for a bit. 

On our way up to our hotel room, we passed this 3-foot wide jade cabbage. It was magnificent. My dad found it hideous and tacky, so naturally, I save it on his phone as the lock screen and the home page. He did not know how to change it back.

I guess our room hadn’t been cleaned yet, so my dad ended up calling down to get someone to clean. However, when you got someone on the line he began to talk around with the corded phone in hand, which in turn cause the phone to fall off the table every time. And by every time I mean, he did this a total of four times.

 

How to: Bargaining- the basics

This is a how-to, for a beginner, for a beginner. Yes, I’m lacking in experience, but I am also lacking in bravado. Again one would probably be wondering how lack of experience and lack of bravado is at all a good thing. Well, it isn’t really, however it is useful in attempting to relate this post to other similar to me. No experience scared to ask for a lower price.

Note: in reference to a bargaining I am not talking about Western-style shops. Please don’t go into Garage and start low balling the cashier on a $20 tank top. Most, okay, all my bargaining experience is from countries in South East Asia. 

This is my usual go-to strategy

  1. Once you see something you like, pay very little attention to it. Once the sale person knows you want something they’ll budge very little on starting price. I find it best to act fairly indifferent towards the desired object. Once you know what you want and are looking at other things in the store.
  2. Start thinking about how much you’d pay, then mentally convert that into the country’s currency. If you don’t have an already basic currency conversion knowledge for the country you’re in then, well, you should. You really should. 
  3. If anyone asks if they can help you I go with the usual “just looking” This again shows lack of interest and also gives you so more time. Or you could ask pricing for other things in the store
  4. Finally, when you mentally have everything together point to what you want and begin the negotiation process by asking “how much”. It is always best to look a little surprised when they say the first number, and pretend that it was so high you are willing to walk away

 

Note: If you really want something and you most likely won’t be able to get it anywhere else, just get it. Even if the price is a bit higher than you wanted.

Note #2: Do not, I repeat do not, get caught up in I-will-not-pay-that-much mode. Like if the pants are, let’s say 100 Thai Baht ($4) and you want to pay 80 Baht ($3.30). It is a 70 cents difference, if you want it, just get it.