Bangkok is a magical place. It’s a bustling and colorful warren of small alleys, grand boulevards and intriguing market places where the air smells of incense and spice. The friendly locals have a zest for life and a very different idea on how to live it. As you drive through the streets-horns blaring and your life flashing before your eyes- you realize that the taxi drivers are high on a little more than life.
Upon arriving at the airport, avoid the masses of cab drivers offering rides at highly inflated prices. Instead, take the bus to town and a tuk tuk to your hotel from there. If you decide to cab it, remember that the price is highly negotiable. The tuk tuk drivers are plentiful and cheap and have a wonderful knowledge of local tourist destinations that they are more than willing to take you to. The motorcycle drivers with orange vests also act as taxis and are a good option if you are alone and want a cheap ride.
If you plan on taking a domestic flight, prepare yourself for just as interesting a trip! Seats are taken on a first come first serve basis. Food and drinks are available, but only on request and at an extra charge. The flights are short, chaotic and hugely entertaining. However, if you are particularly fond of following rules, afraid of flying, or think that children should be seen and not heard, then the bus is for you!
Aside from the incredible countryside and magnificent beaches, one of my favorite things about Thailand is the food. There are many restaurants and eateries that have verandas where you can enjoy the glorious curries, soups and noodle dishes that are Thai food. They are followed by fresh fruit desserts and cooling smoothies. Though you are advised not to eat food from street vendors, try it anyway. The Pad Thai and mystery meat on a stick are among my favorite culinary experiences. Of course, this does not go unpunished, and I have often regretted some of my purchases. In order to prevent this, try to buy from vendors where local people eat and try to clarify what’s in the food; many of the locals speak English, or something like it.
In the streets of the city, women balance baskets of produce on long sticks and the fruit vendors have glass carts filled with crushed ice and a large variety of interesting fruits. Try them all! The sellers are happy to chop up a variety bag for you. The brown spicy stuff they sprinkle on, although tasty, is pure MSG, so be sure to tell them beforehand if you don’t want any. Try the orange juice from the legion of stands you will find in Bangkok. The oranges are small and sour-looking, but the juice is heavenly.