Or are the two like oil and water???
I’d have to say it’s more like tap water and fake olive oil!
I have had a nice introduction of Bangkok but it’s certainly time for me to move on. I will soon be heading to Chiang Mai where I intend to stay for a week (including day and possibly overnight trips)!
After a 16 hour bus ride plus 3/4 transportation changes, I arrived in Bangkok from Phnom Penh, Cambodia last Saturday!
The ticket purchased in Phnom Penh was also negotiable(some don’t know this) and includes either 1) free pick up from a well known guest house or 2) reimbursement if you take a $2 moto to the bus station.
Some people did not know pick up was included, but in principle the travel agencies and/or bus companies are supposed to provide this service. I took a bus called Virak, which was apparently a tourist bus for that particular route with close to 100% foreigners. I was the only Black person on all of the buses/vans.
Most of us were lead to believe it would be a 12 hour journey with only ONE change of bus. Ha ha… Welcome to Cambodia!!!
Fastforward to Bangkok,
I could feel an immediate difference from Phnom Penh. Of course BKK is a huge city filled with tourists and more developed than it’s neighbor. I was surprised to see many Thai females of all ages dressed in attire which clearly displayed legs, cleavage and in some cases mid sections and other parts!!!! I still can’t get over that. I’ve never had any prior exposure to Thailand. Somehow I thought it would have been more conservative.
Overall I did not feel the same friendly vibe as I did in Phnom Penh. It seemed like many Thais in Bangkok were nice cause they ‘had’ to be (i.e. Tourism) whereas the Cambodians seemed more genuine with their hospitality. That’s just my take on things strictly from a Bangkok perspective. I guess it’s like saying New York is not the most friendly US city when there are other places to visit!
I will be in Chiang Mai and other northern cities and I’ll give y’all an update!
The first two nights I stayed in a guesthouse with a Russian I met from Cambodia. The following two nights I stayed with an African couchsurfer and now I’m staying the last two nights with another African couchsurfer! Why so long in Bangkok you may ask? I had a few things to take care of which prolonged my stay!
From what I understand, the Africans are mistreated here and are subject to discrimination and to police corruption. Last night I was walking in downtown with my host and another African and we had to turn around and make a detour because the policemen were checking the IDs of Blacks. Apparently they harass Africans and try to get money out of them. My friend’s resturant was ‘inspected’ by the police for nothing other than attempting to extort money.
Additionally, I saw many African prostitutes to my surprise and lots of African brothers hanging around some shady areas. There were, however, many Africans playing soccer, teaching and owning businesses as well.
Some people still stared at me, but not like they did in Cambodia!
I found the bus system to be the most confusing thing on earth for a complete novice. I sort of got the hang of things after a while. By the way, please take the air conditioned YELLOW buses (usually 12 baht or more on some buses, still did not figure that one out) because traffic is madness and you’ll be burning up.
Sometimes the bus drivers would stop, other times they’d keep going. Overall I found them incompetent and inconsiderate! On the other hand, the taxis were honest, reliable, inexpensive and plentiful and this is coming from someone who usually hates taking taxis!
Overall, Bangkok is an overcrowded, hot and humid place worth skipping unless you love big and polluted cities and/or have an actual purpose (friends, family, other business) in the city.
So far I am still searching for the ‘Land of Smiles’. I am ready to move on to my next destination.
P.S. I apologize for the typos as I’m tired!
Pink- Thailand, February 2011.