Oygevalt! Feckless TukTuk drivers, much like people who invite you to play Candy Crush, are out of control and must be stopped. Oh, if only these ancient cultures and civilizations could just crumble already and adopt the metered taxi. I mean, 200 baht to take three people across town? Dream on, my dude! Unless your TukTuk can turn into a pumpkin, Iâ€™m only prepared to offer (cash!) 80 baht. Take it or leave it. Money talks; bull$!t walks! My chief negotiation strategy is this: you can leave here with 80 baht in cash right now, or leave with nothing. Take notes, mon frÃ¨re: you shouldnâ€™t bite the hand that feeds you. Itâ€™s just heinous to extort your customer base. But, these Pavlovian drivers just donâ€™t get it. For every driver we shook down, two shook us downâ€¦ finally we realized weâ€™re either going to end up stranded or starving. Welcome to Thailand! Where you will hear more German than Thai and the extortionist TukTuk drivers will take you for a ride (literally and figuratively).
Rather than provide a comprehensive (or helpful) trip review, I will offer a few â€œlessons learnedâ€ that can give you a tiny insight into Thailand and how to make your next sojourn abroad a little more entspannend.
Lesson 1: Thailand is NOT Japan â€“ there WILL be affordable accommodation.
Thailand, despite its mega tourist numbers, has got its bases covered (take note, Japan!) and there are literally hostels and hotels stacked on each other. The sheer glut means prices are generally reasonable and there is almost always a bed. But, as a pseudo-Type â€˜Aâ€™ personality, waiting until arrival to figure out where Iâ€™m staying is going to get my lateral septum in an uproar. So, I prefer not waiting and seeing whatâ€™s â€œavailable.â€ But, if thatâ€™s your shtick, then go for it! I could have waited and maybe saved a little money and not booked everything before arriving, but I also saved a few hours wandering around with heavy backpacks asking if thereâ€™s room at the inn. I would say if youâ€™re in Thailand for the long haul (at least three weeks), then ditch the itinerary and take it day by day.
Lesson 2: How late you go to bed is directly correlated to how early someone in your hostel will get up at 5am and rustle plastic bags for no fewer than 30 minutes.
Staying in hostels is an exercise in tolerance of all these wandering schmegeges. People haveuncanny knack for waking up at the crack of dawn and rustling plastic bags, unzipping things, and slamming doors as loudly as possible. You have two solutions, deal with it and carry on with your life or promptly tell them to go to hell. But, you are more than likely going to meet some interesting people and the next thing you know, youâ€™re having a secret Santa with them. So, forgive and forgetâ€¦ and make sure your secret Santa item doesnâ€™t come in a plastic bag. And save your â€œgo to hellâ€ for that insufferable TukTuk driver preying on your desperation at 2am.
Thailand is a fascinating place and the people have been known for their hospitality. Granted, service is nowhere near Japan-level (well, nobodyâ€™s is), but walk up to any random food cart or street market and someone will be there to serve you, if not slightly goad you into buying everything on the menu. So, find a market, waltz in, start pointing, sit on the benches with local Thai people, take in the delicious smells and sights and remember that you just had an international exchange for about $1.20. Little things. Throw in a â€œkhabkhunkaâ€ (â€œkrabâ€ if you are a gentleman) to smooth things over at the end. Tourists abound, but even in the swelling metropolis of Bangkok, you can find places off the beaten path â€“ and you should if you want to save your budget.
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Anyway, this was probably not really helpful to you. Thatâ€™s because you can never do justice to a destination on someoneâ€™s behalf. If you want to know what itâ€™s like in Thailand, then you should go! Donâ€™t take my second-hand experience as expertiseâ€¦ just go, get lost, eat a little, drink a little, and make it your own experience. It has a ton to offer.What I can say is that Thailand was surprisingly developed in many ways, but still had that air of chaos; a real sense of â€œto each their own.â€ That means there is plenty of jaywalking, provocative sexuality, and street-side urination.Oh, and the obnoxious TukTuk drivers. Iâ€™d put them in the same class as the umbrella peddlers in Rome: not to be trusted and avoid unless necessary. Take the bus. That aside, Itâ€™s a place that seems comfortable with its traditions, yet open to letting visitors take a peek! Itâ€™s definitely on my â€œbest ofâ€ destinations list.