Monday, September 06, 2010

bangkok, thailand

We LOVE Thailand. Not just because it's the land of smiles, but also the land with less humidity than what we have been experiencing lately! In Vietnam, it was 91 degrees with 90% humidity. In Cambodia, it was 96 degrees with 65% humidity during the rain. In Thailand, it is 85 degrees and the humidity dropped to 55% and we drank it in. We found Khaosan Rd, the backpackers area and found lodging in the middle of the street but much quieter because it is set farther back from the main road.

We spent 2 nights in Bangkok and I am so in love with the city. The street vendors are a bit pushy but nice, and the street food is ridiculously good. We got fresh phad thai, fried rice with egg and chicken, sweet corn, and veggie egg rolls. For 20-40 baht ($0.50-$1.00) per order, it's so hard to refuse!! We refrained from going to nicer places because we couldn't justify the prices when such wonderful things were being sold on the street. The only time we ate in a restaurant was the cooking class... and we got more than what we paid for, tenfold!!!

Standing Buddha temple

our tuk tuk driver took this pic of us thinking we were going to fall for his scam!

We took a tuk tuk around the city the first day. The scam on Khaosan is that they offer to take you to the Standing Buddha, and then the TAT office, and the Royal Palace. The "scam" is when you arrive at the Standing Buddha, a mole was already stationed there to "guide us for free." He warned us of the dangers of Thailand and wanted only to help us from that danger of being robbed or scammed by foreigners. They also try to take you to a tourist agency where they get commission, and from there, they sell you on a package deal for more than it was worth and they get free gas for the whole scam. We didn't fall for the scam because we didn't book anything from them, but did take them up on their offer to tuk tuk around the whole city for the day and then used all the info they gave us to make our own plans via the internet and book our own excursions! When they realized that by the end of the day, we three "naive looking girls" were not going to fall for it, the driver stopped being incredibly nice, and dropped us off on the corner of the industrial district, and told us to take a taxi home. Earlier, he had promised to drop us off at Khaosan after we listened to a tourist agent, and when we didn't fall for it, he just stopped driving us. It didn't matter since we knew how much it was going to cost to get back to Khaosan [$1.50] but we gave him a hard time anyway, and then taxied back. We basically got him to tuk tuk us around the city for free, and we even pulled out money to tip him for all he did...until he became as asshole!!!! We connected the dots later on and the next day...and came to the consensus that the planter at the Standing Buddha was the best scam artist we'd ever encountered. He never sold us anything, or pushed us to do anything, but was looking out for our best interest the whole time. He spoke perfect English and told us he studied at UCLA. Everything he said was believable, and we would have booked at least some sort of excursion with him had the TAT agents not been so scummy and gross. When we referred back to Lonely Planet, the first warning was about the tuk tuk scams. Thank god we didn't fall for it...financially anyway! We took the scam up for the free ride, and then got off when they made us we kind of technically scammed THEM! *_*

We couldn't get into the Royal Palace inner grounds due to lack of coverage, but it was so hot, we spent the afternoon in the park across the street instead. Also, there was a Thai ceremony at the time, so tourists couldn't go in anyway.

we are so tall

he's wearing my pants!

another tuk tuk

This internet cafe was on Khaosan Rd. For a backpacker's area, this cafe was incredibly nice. It reminds me so much of Chaya back home. Books to trade filled the shelves, good coffee, amazing smokey chicken wings, and a separate room with a big table for us to blog, read, and update everyone! They even gave us ipads for menus and checking email!

journaling and blogging while tien skypes

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