Trip Start Jan 15, 2009
Trip End May 06, 2009

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Thursday, March 19, 2009

We really enjoyed Thailand.  It was a pleasant experience, with only 2 exceptions.  On the first day we visited Sri Racha Tiger Zoo.  No surprise that the highlight was the tigers.  We watched a show with 9 tigers in a ring.  My memory of Barnum & Bailey Circus is that it has only a handful of tigers in the ring at one time.  These tigers in Thailand were HUGE, a little unruly, and fun to watch. 
Next we went to the crocodile show.  Pretty creepy.  See photos.  We wondered if the crocodiles were trained or sedated.  Or both.  
We skipped the elephant show and went to see baby tigers instead.  Great photo of the kids holding a juvenile tiger across their laps, feeding it a bottle of milk.  The zoo did not make us sign a waiver or liability release either!   The zoo also had camels and elephants.

One regret was how we planned our one night in Bangkok. 
We hired a van to take us from the resort to Bangkok. The trip took about 3 hours and arrived late in the afternoon.  By the time we were checked into the Radisson, it was nearly dinner time and we had little opportunity to see the city.  It's a huge place and takes awhile to get anywhere through the traffic.  The next day we had to get to our bus stop by 1:00 pm.  Hauling our luggage via shuttle, then via foot took us all morning.  All we saw of Bangkok was traffic and some upscale shopping malls.  Bad planning on our part, but we didn't know enough at the time we made our plans. 
Compared to India, Thailand is clean, organized, prosperous, and pleasant.  I was really impressed with the road system.  There are four and six-lane divided highways; newish and in good condition.  And most drivers stayed in their lanes!  Our shuttle driver spoke a little English so I asked him about cars in Thailand.  He told me that all imported cars are subject to a 200% sales tax!  So if you want to buy a $30,000 Honda Accord, you pay $60k to the Thai government and $30k to the Honda dealership.  This policy explains why the roads are so good....they are funded by the automobile sales tax.  Interesting tax policy.  Reduces traffic and pollution too. 

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