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Paul
Hi. I live in the outer suburbs of Bangkok and often do some work in Chiang Rai. Each day I am pleasantly amazed and how friendly, kind, compassionate and welcoming the Thai people are. It really is a great pleasure to live here and Thai culture is without a doubt one of the warmest, most hospitible on the planet.

But, sadly when chatting to some tourists on the typical backpacker trail through Thailand I am reminded that not everyone gets to experience what I have discovered is so typical and normal in Thailand. The happiness and friendliness.
Some places and people and experiences make people feel like they are being ripped off or constantly hassled or unsafe or that they are a walking ATM. crying_anim02.gif

So, in order to aid new people that are in the process of planning their trip to Thailand, please write in with short posiitve and negative experiences. Where have you felt that you aren't really valued for much except your money? And where have you experienced the amazing warmth of Thailand? Give us some little details to help the next lot of travelers plan to avoid the crappy parts/experiences and gain the most of their time in Thailand.

Thanks
thellie
i would have to say that i didn't enjoy my stay in koh samui too much, although to temper that it should be said that i stayed near big buddha pier 2/3 times. touted too much, overpriced accommodation, even in the low season. not a huge amount of smiles around either.

i was pleasantly surprised by bangkok, as i expected this to be the worst place for touting, walking atm's etc. the most irritating touting is by the suit salesmen - how many backpackers want to by a suit, and it gets a bit much when you have to walk down a line, each one asking when they can see you say no already... tuk tuks and taxis tout all the time, but this doesn't bother me really. i love bangkok - i've made some great thai friends here, especially at the sawasdee guest house on soi rambuttri in banglamphu. they remembered me when i returned after a month away, share their food with me, drink with me, and moon took me to her friend who gave me the best massage i've had here so far. i didn't take to khao san road either, but it's a good place to dip in and out of. and if you're vegetarina, and even if not, take a trip to mai kaidee's restaurant near khao san road - so friendly and the food is delicious.

ban tai, koh phangan - i stayed at copa cabana, a family run bungalow setup - incredibly friendly and generous family, with beautiful children and a deck right on the beach to watch the sunset. next door is moonflower bungalows, run by a dutch family - again, utterly friendly, laid back and helpful.

the train journey to/from bangkok - surat thani is another plus. the staff go out of their way to help, smiles everywhere, good atmosphere and (2nd class lower berth, if poss, fan cabin) the comfort level has to beat a bus seat hands down for 12 hours.

i could go on and on about the good parts, and even koh samui which has been the worst is still head and shoulders over many other places i've been to for civility etc...

i love this country. i knew it after only two weeks here, and it continues to blow my mind day in and day out. i hope you enjoy it as much as i do wub.gif
thellie
sorry, what i forgot to say is that it is quite understandable, i think, that the thai's who spend more time interacting with travellers - backpackers, 2-week tourists, whoever - are more likely to be jaded by the experience than ones who are less involved with the whole 'industry'. it's not always the case, by any stretch, but it is understandable.

i even loved the ping pong/patpong experience, which was money grabbing in a way, but i felt in control at all times... that's in a journal entry too

angel1.gif
Paul
Here is some from me:

Good & Bad Thailand today.

Here are some experiences from today. They don't necessarily relate to the average tourist experience but they show some different sides of Thailand.

We drove out to a waterfall today to have a swim. As we entered Saraburi province a couple of policemen waved as down. They said we were speeding and asked for 100 Baht. We weren't speeding and clearly these 2 were corrupt cops collecting some spare cash.

Anyway we had a good day and drove home. When we arrived Kanchana opened up the rubbish bin lid to throw something in it. But there was a mother crab and many babies in the bin. Apparently Kanchana's mum had rescued the crab from the road and kept it in the bin so as to take it to the pond later. We asked the kids to take the crabs and release them, but they were more interested in watching TV. So we did it.

This is pretty normal Thai behaviour. We have collected or tried to collect all sorts of animals to be released. Spiders, mice, insects, snakes ...that have come into the house. Pretty much only mosquittoes get a death sentence for entering the house, other animals are treated gently. Everyday across the road in the park I witness people giving food and water to the stray dogs and cats and families go to give food to the fish. Thais are amazingly compassionate like that.

There is even a nice story about the Thai king who was driving his car along with his large motorcade. One of his security staff noticed blood dripping down his neck. The concerned staff member mentioned this to the King. He pulled over which of course caused the whole motorcade to pull over. The King got out, walked over to a tree, gently took off a leech that was on him and placed it on a leaf, before driving off again.

Overall for the day - Happy 95%. Unhappy 5%
lisartw
I love Thailand, but when I first arrived I didn't see what all the fuss was about. It took me a while to get used to the noise, the traffic, the way people are, just the way things are done here.

Thailand is full of friendly people, the only place where maybe they're not as friendly was Phuket.

think the best advise I would give anyone is to SMILE. Even if someone looks at you in a suspicious way, is short or abrupt with you, or doesn't seem (to you) to be happy, just SMILE at them and it works wonders.

Thailand isn't like your home country, don't expect it to be and you won't be disappointed.

I remember one time in Krabi town when we went to the market for some pad thai, the lady cooking looked a right battleaxe, so miserable, but she did our food, we said out thank yous (in Thai) then left. It was delicous food, so on the way back we told her (aroy mak i think is very delicious in Thai), smile at her loads, put our thumbs up and said thank you in thai a few more times and she actually looked a bit flustered but smiled back at us - it was so funny!

I think learning how to say hello and thank you also help a bit as well. It's amazing how far a tiny bit of effort to learn these two things, plus a smile, will get you. I guess a lot of Thai people have to deal with rude and arrogant tourists so get a bit jaded, understandably, just try not to be one of them!

I'm sad to be going home tomorrow but I'll be back - hurrah!!!
curt1591
I have been visiting and living in Bangkok for just over a decade.
In this time, I have seen a marked change in the interaction of Thais and foreigners.

All the guide books will address the modesty of Thai society.
Thai culture considerations are typically discussed.

With the proliferation of internet, most of these considerations aren't strengthen, but rebuffed.
There are many examples of wisdom passed on by 2 week experts that spend most of the time at bars.
"I see Thai girls wearing short skirts and strappy tops all the time!"
"It's too hot! Wear shorts and tank tops all you want."
"It's your holiday. Do want you want!"

When in Bangkok, I avoid Silom after dark and Sukhumvit most of the time.
Most of the rest of the city hasn't developed tourist resistance syndrome.

The only real exception is the boys-in-brown and their traffic traps.
But, most tourist won't be bothered because they aren't driving.

Typically one will be treated as his/her appearance seems to merit.
It's a matter of being welcomed or simply tolerated. crying_anim02.gif
Paul
"tourist resistance syndrome" (TRS)

Ha ha - I like that - I may use it i it is OK

Overall - Thais are still very friendly people. I would like to tell you all to please please please get away from the Lonely Planet and all its suggestions - the most popular places in there are the ones that have developed TRS to the greatest degree - or they seem unfriendly as I put it. There is so much to see and do here and the majority of people are so nice.

But on the other hand - I sort of hope the tourists just keep going to the same old places so as they don't have too much effect on the rest of the country or cause TRS symptoms to spread.
thellie
hmmm, i have some very bad news which my girlfriend (don't say anything, paul - i know, i know!!!) has just told me about...

one of the surgeons at the hospital she works at in chiang rai was found stabbed to death in the carpark.

more details here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/160707_News/16Jul2007_news15.php
Paul
I wrote another reply to this but it disappeared as the connection at Mirror buggered off again.

Anyway I did hear that news. People sad and disturbing. Did Pooki (your gf - HA HA HA) - know the Dr?

Khun Moo knew her and had been examined by her.

They flashed the picture of the guy that did it up on the screen during tonight's news.

Funny that you should be keeping in contact with Thai news Thellie and interested in Chiang Rai - have you got something you like in that area. Maybe a Girlfriend?
thellie
yeah pooki worked with her practically everyday. she was a theatre op radiologist, and pooki is in charge of all the theatre nurses, and assists during ops.

so they caught him then? or is it that they just know who he is?

oh, and... unsure.gif ...i'm not listening, lalalalalalalalalalalalala... shut up! tongue.gif
Paul
If you hadn't mentioned anything I wouldn't have even noticed you used that term. It's not as if it is news to me. dance.gif

I don't know if they caught him. I suspect not as when they catch people they usually show them being dragged into the police station and interviewed, but this time they showed a file pic.

We didn't get round to discussing if he was caught. Won't be long probably.

Hope Pooki is oK and not too freaked out or sad about that.
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