Having lived in Bangkok, Thailand for a year and a half, I feel like I can call it my second home. Going to school in this great city has allowed me the opportunity to live among the locals and be a part of the community, providing me with a totally different experience than just visiting as a tourist. From the hot and happening Khao San Road, to the blissful temples in and around the city, I simply cannot get enough of Bangkok. With the streets always alive and bustling, no one can get bored in this city of smiles.
Here are some affordable tricks to moving in and around Bangkok:
Take public transit.
Bangkok tops the list when it comes to traffic. Whether it is the morning rush hour or as late as 10 p.m., the main streets are always jam packed with vehicles. It may feel like it takes forever to reach your destination. An easy way to avoid getting caught in gridlock is to travel on the BTS (sky train) and the MRT (underground metro rail) instead. Even though they get crowded at times, they are very fast and convenient, which saves you a lot of time to enjoy the sights, rather than sweat in traffic!
Travelling around the city in a local transport can also be a fun experience. Ride a motorbike, a public bus, a song teao (an open mini truck), a tuk-tuk (an open taxi) or a ferry. Negotiate the fare before the ride as most of the bikes and open taxis may leave you charging a hefty amount. Song teaos, buses and the ferries usually have a fixed rate. These vehicles are super-fast and the whizzing speed will leave you with all the thrills and all the chills of attending an amusement park.
Try new foods.
Thai food is quite popular in Western countries and renowned for its spice. But while in Thailand, don’t just limit yourself to the pad thai and green curry from the fancy restaurants and hotels. Keep an open mind and stomach for the strange foods that you may encounter on the streets. Don’t be afraid to try different delicacies while you are there. Many of them may sound and look frightening but they are not as bad as they look!
Visit the beaches in the outskirts of Bangkok.
Other beaches such as Koh Samet, Cham or Hua Hin are cheaper options to the more famous, tourist-filled beaches. They are more local, peaceful and relaxed—and they are just a three to five-hour scenic bus ride away.
Get to know the culture and norms of the Thai people.
Royalty plays a big role within the Thai culture. Avoid offending a local and try to learn about the Royals that they so admire. Dropping a few greeting words such as such as sawadee (“hello”) or khop khun (“thank you”) can help you get that extra helping of food at a restaurant!
So next time you are about the throw the dart on the map, consider aiming towards Thailand.
Shovana Shrestha is a second-year international development studies student at Simon Fraser University. She is originally from Nepal and has an avid love for traveling. She enjoys meeting new people and learning about diverse cultures. She one day aspires to be able to help people in need and raise awareness regarding social issues amongst the youth.Add this article to your reading list