I travelled to Thailand a while ago for work. Have always wanted to share my experience there but never knew I had a platform. Now I know and here it is :-).
I was there for work and most of the time was spent doing work and visiting the factory so we didn’t really have a chance to visit other places like Phuket and we stayed in Bangkok throughout. Also, I didn’t really have money for Phuket. Will do this next time.
Where to start with Bangkok. Firstly, it’s an incredibly beautiful city. It feels like each building, each piece of road is deliberately built to be appealing to the eye while still being preoccupied by whatever business has brought you there.
The traffic is crazy but very well organised. But still crazy. On Saturday morning at about 11 a.m. the roads are jammed with traffic. And they have a very well oiled speed rail system.
The culture and religion is a huge part of life in Bangkok. You see this whe you visit the Palace of the king. Or when you step outside your hotel. Or when you’re making your to the MacDonalds down the road.
Speaking of which if you have to resort to MickeyD’s then you haven’t really experienced the food culture in Thailand. Food in South Africa is very spicy. This is due to the spice trade, the large Indian community and the even larger western influence on our culture. These things have meant that a new culture that embodies all of these elements was born. Now, Durban curry is spicier than Mumbai curry. Cape wines are as good if not better than any wines in Europe. Thai food reminded me of home. The first meal/dish I had there was a soup. Full of flavour although lacking in body.
There is your typical restaurant cuisine next to the fast food joint, but the locals and any brave visitor prefer the road side delicassies. And these roadside braais are very mobile. The pavements are empty during the day and then at about 16:00 you see people setting up tables and starting fires and bringing out the meat. By the evening you have a row of cookeries and the sweet smell of cooking meat fills the street. You just have to be careful of the elephants on the road as you walk there!
And if you’re a guy travelling on your own or with a group of other guys, then I suggest you stay away from the red light district. Things can get a lot rougher than they show in The Hangover 2. Unless that is to your appetite of course, then things can be a lot smoother. The street right outside your hotel is filled with shouts of ‘Free look! Free look!’ Should you show any interest you are then bombarded with samples of exactly what it is you’d be looking at for free!
Strangely enough the most vivd memory I have of Thailand was this:
I’m on the train coming back from dinner and seeing some of the night life. A girl walks in. She looks to be in her mid-twenties. She’s wearing a skirt with a light coloured sweater. She looks small in that sweater. She also looks tired as if she has just put in the longest day at work. Her eyes are red as she sits down. Before I leave the train I look at her again and see tears going down her cheeks.