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Monday, 04 December 2006

Magical Thailand - Page 2

Written by Nikki Lotz
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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.

If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of Thailand! The oppressive heat and stifling humidity is enough to leave you feeling half-baked and lethargic. Air-conditioning is a luxury here, but if you move slowly and keep hydrated, you will soon become accustomed to the heat’s constant presence. Try to avoid fancy hairstyles and heavy clothing.

Thailand is a hippie backpacker’s heaven and you are sure to meet many fellow travelers, all berry brown and laid back. Getting around is easy as cab drivers are plentiful, but if you feel a little more adventurous, you can take a motorcycle cab or a tuk tuk. The fares (as with all things in Thailand) are highly negotiable. Not sure where to go next? Ask your driver for advice, they know the city best and will be happy to take you from place to place (for a small fee of course). Fellow travelers are also a great source of up-to-date information.

Koh San Road is the most popular market destination. The surrounding areas are full of budget hotels, backpacker’s lodges and cheap eateries. The market is sublime, a place where you can get anything from a university degree to a tailor-made suit and a hundred shades of in-between. Cab drivers have special relationships with many of the market stallholders, especially the tailors, and get a small tip for customers they bring to the store. You can ask your cab driver for advice on where to get the best bargains. Do visit one of the many tailors on Koh San Road; you can have anything made at prices that are truly amazing.

One night in Bangkok is indeed enough to make a hard man crumble and you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you were not to venture out to the jungles, the beaches, the oceans, the waterfalls, and the monasteries that are Thailand.

boatI took my own advice for once and headed off to the alluring beaches of Koh Chang: Thailand’s second largest island after Phuket. Do yourself a favor and find out the ferry times beforehand so that, unlike me, you don’t spent an afternoon snacking from the vending machine and playing fish with a four year old and a deck of 48 cards. The ferry ride is a short 35-40 minutes and then…. Wow! The scenery is tropical island bliss, the bars are plentiful and the beaches are sublime. The Hotels nearest the ferry are expensive, but sumptuous and well worth the investment. The west coast has nicer beaches and clearer water. Most of the development has occurred along this strip, while the east coast remains mostly undeveloped.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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