Only in Bangkok, Thailand

Last January, I went to Bangkok, Thailand with 5 other friends. It was my first out of the country trip. I never expected the difference...

Last January, I went to Bangkok, Thailand with 5 other friends. It was my first out of the country trip. I never expected the difference between interacting with foreigners staying in the Philippines and actually being a foreign land left a big impression on me.

Packing for Thailand; Shopping in Thailand

I talked about what I packed for Thailand in a separate post and it looked like I overpacked. My little sister told me to do some massive shopping when I get to Thailand. She learned from other people that clothes were cheaper than the ones sold in the mall here in Cebu. The cloth used would be better. Most of the ones sold at the malls here are from Thailand. Fancy blouses were sold for around 100 -200 Baht per item. If you buy 2 or more, you can haggle. If you buy 5 pieces of the same blouse, you can have each item for as 60 Baht each! 1 Baht is equal to 1.36 Php (May 4, 2016, rate). Pretty cheap huh. If you like fancy clothes, try to bring an empty backpack if you go to Thailand. Just bring some clothing allowance and you come back home with new outfits. As for me, I'm more of a cotton shirt person. I'd rather shop for weird snacks in Thailand.

The Platinum Fashion Mall is a haven for girls who like to shop for cute outfits. There are a lot of little stores on every floor and it was really crowded when we got there. If you decide to come here with your friends, make sure you decide on a place where to meet up later on. Anyone can easily get lost here.

Language barrier can be intimidating

The biggest challenge we experience while roaming around was the language. Good thing our friend's cousin (a Filipino) speaks a bit of Thai and his girlfriend is a Thai who speaks good English. We had a translator with us. Google translate was available, but it's not very accurate. On our last day, I traveled solo going to a mall which I fancied during our first day in Thailand. Transportation was not a problem since it was only one bus away back and forth from our hotel. The problem was telling the bus conductor where I am going. Lucky for me, I took a photo of the mall when we went there before and that was all the conductor needed to know to issue me the correct ticket. Going back to our hotel was another problem. I forgot to take a picture of where our hotel was. I told her the location. She didn't understand me. I tried to speak a little Thai. No luck there. I showed the location on Google Map. She still looked confused. In the end, she waved her hand at me and pointed to the exit of the bus. I willingly exited the bus. It was the correct bus and I started to become worried. Good thing, the next bus knew how to read Google Map. Some Thai feel bad about not being able to understand Thai. Instead of trying hard to understand you, they will act snobbish towards you. That's why most Thai become really happy and relieved when you try your best to learn their language.

Thai Greeting

Thai greetings often involved a wai, pressing your palms together at chest or nose level while bowing slowly. If you're a foreigner who does this Thai greeting to any Thai, they will be very happy seeing you try to do something very familiar to them. You can even accompany Sawadee ka (women) or Sawadee khrap (men) while doing the wai. Want to thank you, but you don't know the words? Do it with a wai. Forgot the word for goodbye or see ya? Do the wai. Don't forget to smile, though. Even mascots like McDonalds do the wai.

Respect the King. Respect Thai bills and coins

You can be imprisoned by stepping on a Thai Baht paper bill or coin. Why? Because the beloved King is on the bill and coin. This information has been stated on every blog about Thailand. Our friend's cousin even told us this information on our first day. Dropping a coin or a paper bill will make Thai heads turn to you. That's what I noticed when one of our friends dropped a coin. Aside from being careful about how you handle Thai Baht, make sure you don't make any negative comment about the King's photos either. Better yet, don't make any comment.

Religion plays a big role in Thai Culture

Mini Shrines decorated with gold ornaments and other fancy items are found everywhere you go. Tourist planning to purchase Buddha items for souvenir purposes is prohibited. When you go the temples, you will see posters informing people Buddha items are sacred and are only bought for spiritual purposes.

Coupons and Cards are used for purchasing food at malls and food courts

Food courts are the best way to experience cheap Thailand cuisine. The first food court we visited was during lunch IT City. There is a booth near the food court where you exchange your Baht for paper coupons. These coupons are then exchanged at the food stalls for food. Unused coupons are returned to the booth to be exchanged for Baht again. Our 2nd food court experience was at Terminal 21. I guess bigger malls use cards instead of coupons.

7/11 can be found on every corner 

This is probably the only place I trust when it comes to purchasing quick snacks, drinks, and essentials items. Sim cards and load can also be bought here, in case you need one for mobile data when finding a wifi spot becomes tough. Before leaving for the airport at dawn, I stopped by here to check out what their microwave foods are and shopped for weird Thailand snacks.

Food is extremely cheap in Thailand. Look at those microwave food at 7/11!

Spicy Thai food is best paired with Milk Tea

For good reason. You can't live without it when you underestimate Thai spice. The spice they have are not a laughing matter. One of our friend who loves Korean spicy food couldn't tolerate the strength of Thailand spices. Milk tea can be found in any food court.

Since we're already talking about food, I'd like to add that their street BBQ is rather different from the Philippines. Seafood BBQ with really big portions of some aquatic animal!

Bottled and canned drinks come with a straw

Don't be surprised if you buy a bottled water from 7/11 and you are automatically given a straw. Almost every kind of drink comes with one. They would be more surprised if you try to drink it straight out of the bottle. Rude or not, it's cool to try a different way of drinking.

BTS Sky Train from the Airport

The best bit of transportation information I learned from Thailand is the existence of the BTS Skytrain which is connected to Suvarnabhumi Airport and anywhere in Bangkok. If you just arrived in Thailand, go to the lower part of the airport and you will find the Sky Train.

Scams and Pickpockets exists

Before our trip, I read about scams in Thailand. The most known scam was a Thai person would tell a tourist the temple is closed, but he will offer to be a guide for another temple in exchange for some money. We didn't encounter anyone like that, but we experience something similar with a Tuktuk.

After visiting the Grand Palace, we wanted to go to Khao San Road. Not familiar with the place, we asked a TukTuk driver how to get there. He offered to take us there for 100 Baht per person. That was absurd. Khao San Road was somewhere near the Grand Palace and there's no way it can be that expensive. Good thing we decided to decline and relied on Google Map. It took us a few minutes of walking and checking the map. It was indeed very near to the Grand Palace.

Markets have sign boards for warning people that pickpockets are rampant in their area which added to my fear while traveling alone during our last night.

Do I want to go back to Thailand?

Of course, I do! The next time I would visit Thailand, I have to make sure I only bring a few clothes and a nice pair of walking shoes. We may not have fully explored Thailand, but experiencing a different environment was really awesome. My first international travel was really worth it.

You Might Also Like



Flickr Images