Tips and advice for travelers in Thailand

Thailand

I don’t intend to write a sophisticated or professional travel analysis, just try to make the reader aware of a few points.

We went to Bangkok, Changmai and its jungle, Ko Samui and Kohphangan.

First, you will have to take the taxi from Bangkok airport to your hotel. The driver will tell you a price exceeding 100 Baht. Don’t listen and find a taxi with taxi meter. The taxi meter should start at 35 and the overall price shouldn’t exceed 50-60 Baht.

Bangkok was a quite dirty city, at least the area around Kao San road which is the main attractive street for tourists. Don’t go to touristy restaurants and find the thai places in smaller streets, a normal meal should be between 40-120 Baht.

Remember something: Thai people are really unfriendly and they won’t be nice to you unless they want money from you. You might think the prices are low for the West but they are not for Thailand and you shouldn’t promote Thai people to keep increasing their prices and taking tourists for idiots.

In taxis, 7 elevens, they tried to fool us not giving us back the right amount of money so always pay attention. We wanted to buy coats from a store and the lady had just put a sticker on the 20 baht original price making it double (instead of just removing the original price). Fortunately, they are not smart and it is easy to realize they’re fooling you if you pay attention.

(almost) None speaks English.

If you are given a price you should at least bargain to get less than half.

There was this really bitter experience we had in BK that’s worth telling. We were looking on the map and a nice looking short lady with a smile came to us asking if we needed help.

She showed us on the map where all the temples are and she seemed really kind and told us that we were lucky because that day was Buddha day and the taxis were half price and temples free. She also advised us to avoid booking with local agencies because they would fool us and she told us to go to the government agency which was also written on the map and its name was TAT. She said near the last temple there is a clothes factory and we could get cheap suits and clothes that day. We were really pleased and even took a picture with her. There was a ‘tuktuk’ (motorbike taxi) stopped there so she asked him to take us to all these places for only 20 Baht (because of Buddha day).
He was really smiling and brought us to each temple and each time we were welcomed by someone with a big smile saying it’s Buddha day and there is no entrance fee for the temples.
We went to the agency and surprisingly it was written ‘TIT’ on the door and not ‘TAT’… Inside, they tried to sell us really expensive tickets of thai box (40 Euros) so we just left.
We went to the clothes factory (the first floor was full of thais trying to sell us ‘jewellery’ and the second was full of fabrics) and a friend got a custom made suit for like 90 Euros. He paid with credit card and the suit would be ready one week after for pick up.
We then went to the last temple but we couldn’t find the tuk tuk anymore (who was supposed to bring us back to our hotel and get his money) so we asked another tuk tuk. And ! this tuk tuk driver had like 50 cards in every language and he gave us the one in English. It was written that our tuk tuk had left us and got his money from the stores we went to.
This guy (the first tuk tuk driver) and his whole network (or mafia) were amazingly stupid because the fact he left us made us start doubting, so we asked people if it was Buddha day and they all said no !! And we suddenly realized that the whole daY was just a scenario and trick just to make us go to the agency and the factory and spend money they would then all share (the first bitch, the stupid driver, etc.) !!!!!! Fortunately my friend had paid with his credit card and he called the bank to cancel the transaction so we actually just had a free one day bangkok tour ;)

We then took a tuk tuk back home and the driver said he has to bring us to a suit store so that they give him free gasoline. I was really tired of the fact there was no sincere relation between people and everything was about fooling and getting money. So, we went to this store and I did as if I was interested and I actually took advantage of this by asking the guy to give me a (free) beer I drank and said ‘actually Im not interested, bye’. I advise every tourist in Thailand to do this and fool the foolers ;)

We booked a tour for 3 days trekking in Changmai with a travel agency in Bangkok and I strongly advise every traveller to avoid agencies. We paid like 2000 baht for going to changmai with a bus and 3 days trekking there and then come back. The trekking was so exhaustive and bad (we were sleeping on the ground of a dirty hut with no proper bathroom and no shower) everybody (including us) gave up after one night and went back to the city.
We then realized that the agency had actually not booked any bus back to bk for us and we had to do and pay it ourselves. The bus was actually really better than the one the agency had booked up for us.

The city of Changmai was a cleaner, classier and more comfortable place than Bk, that’s all I have to say. We were staying in hotel m changmai which was quite good.

In Bangkok, we took the night train to the south and that was the worst travel experience of my life. Apparently, the thai standards are really low and the train had obviously never been cleaned, it was full of stains on the floor and the restroom was just a small hole in an empty room.
It had cockroaches and I actually got up from a cockroach on my nose (!!!).

In surat thani, the agency had told us the bus to the pier would come pick us up at a time which was 1 hour 30 earlier than what it actually was. The bus was actually waiting to fill itself and make the most money it could with just one travel. When I complained to the buses responsible about this saying customer had not much importance in his country he got really upset and I thought he would punch me :)

The bus took us to the pier where we took a boat to ko phangan and there, we took a bus to our beach (than sadet) and the road was the worst I have ever experienced (it was like in a roller coaster). We got to the beach and realized there were only really simple bungalows in the area and no electricity for most of the day… we were staying in a ‘hotel’ called seaview. There was only electricity from 6pm to midnight and there was no city (shops, pharmacies, markets) for kilometers around. However, the place was really relaxing and had a great ambiance.
I just got up each night by the sound of a different animal I had never heard before and it was quite scary. There were worms and spiders in the rooms.

One night, we got lost on our way back from the beach in the jungle and passed in front of a snake… ! That night, we were so afraid we were sweating and shaking all over. We found a house with a family cooking and we asked (no, we begged !) the lady if she could show us the way to our hotel but she just said “5 minutes walk 5 minutes walk” even though we were begging her to show us better than this. We tried to then go but got lost again and came back to that house and this time we really begged her to just come a bit out of her house and show us the actual way we have to take. She just repeated “go up, 5 minutes” … if it was in any country, the person would have just come out and shown us the way, as it is not a big effort from someone living in that district for years.

The lady working for the seaview bungalows was from Laos and was the greatest person we met in Thailand and actually had a sense of humor.

You can try something funny there, ask everyone you find nice where they come from and the answer is never Thailand :)

We then moved to Ko Samui (chaweng beach) in a good hotel called first house which has a pool and a beach. However, because of the naive tourists here, the prices are almost like in Europe. Their restaurants are wannabe classy but people still have the uneducated character that you find so frustrating in Thailand: almost aggressing you to get you to buy or consume from them.
The ‘classy-looking’ restaurant costed 25 euros for two people and some parts of the meal were replaced by other things because of the lack of the original food without telling us in advance and the bill was 200 Baht more expensive than what was on the menu (they tried to fool us).

To go back to our countries, we took a boat back to surat thani and took a bus for 150 Baht to the airport the agency had told us. We got there after maybe 1 hour. The airport was really bad, there was just one place to eat at and I asked the employee if the chicken was spicy and he said no but it was so spicy i gave up eating after 5 minutes.
The food my friend took tasted bad so she didn’t eat it.
We then went to check in and they told us that there was no seat under our names (!!). They called the agency and realized they had actually only booked the travel without buying it even though we had asked for it and they thought they had done it. After 1 hour of argument and stress (there was no flight with empty seats to Bangkok and we had to be there in the evening to take our flights back home), the agency booked us a flight from another airport.

We took the cab to that airport, it lasted 2 hours and we had to pay 2200 Baht (!!) and we managed to catch our planes. We wanted to go to the agency to get reimbursed for all the additional fees (bus changmai-bkk, taxi to the airport, interests for the stress and waste of time) but we didn’t have time.

We then realized the agency had taken twice the actual price of the tickets from us :)

In conclusion, I have to say I was really disappointed by this place. All my friends that had come here had told me how amazing this country is but I come to believe that the reason was that they hadn’t travelled to too many countries. The beaches, places, do not look any better (actually look less good) than any place close to Middle East or Europe or the US. Personally, I would tell you to never come to this place to avoid putting your money in such crooks’ pockets. If you are looking for beaches, go to Spain, Italy (cinque terre for example), Southern France, Turkey (Antalya), Egypt (Sharm el Sheikh), Morocco, Tunisia, Greece.
If you are looking for clear water go to Sharm el sheikh and check the red sea which is the most amazing piece of water I have ever seen (it’s undescribable, the water is literally blue and transparent, the coral reefs are beautiful and the fishes so colorful and amazing and you can see until the deepest level under the water).
If you are looking for kindness and friendly people, try these http://opentravel.com/blogs/5-friendliest-nations-on-planet-earth/
If you want parties, try Majorca, Ibiza.
If you want jungles, I don’t know, google it.
If you want good food, try Italy (Rome is really good).
If you want big mosquito stitches, come to Thailand.

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