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Two nights in Bangkok

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Jun. 16th, 2005 | 05:52 pm
mood: awakeawake
music: Tool

This will be a multipart journal entry.. I doubt I will finish it all at once!

Me and lesley went on a free & easy package to bangkok, leaving on sunday and coming back on tuesday. It included a half-day tour which we took on Monday morning. We also went to see the "Mambo show" on sunday evening, which is essentially a group of thai drag queens miming to various songs. It was very well done, although a lot of it was aimed at chinese tourists (I think I was the only white guy there). After the show was over, the entire cast stood outside the entrance, saying "40 baaaaht", the going price for a photo with someone from the cast. That's around S$2.

Twice we managed to avoid getting scammed, thanks to having read the guides to bangkok beforehand :) The first time we were standing outside a shopping plaza, when a man approached us. He helpfully explained that there would be stalls here the next day, and gave a few other tips. Then he suggested that we visit a wholesale gem shop he knows, which has a sale on ending today. In fact, it ends only 1 hour from now! He knew a tuk-tuk driver that could take us there for only 10 baht! And it was close to our hotel too.

Having read the book, we knew that we would be taken to a store with fake gems at exorbitant prices, so we politely declined and moved on.

The second time, I told one of the guards at the exit of the grand palace that we were looking for lunch. He pointed out some food stalls down the road, and then suggested that we take a tuk-tuk ride for only 10 baht (standard scam pricing it seems) to some nearby tourist attractions. Since it's a holiday, these tourist attractions had free entry today! And they had food nearby! A great deal!

Having read the book, we were expecting that we would be driven somewhere, and told "Oh no, today is thai national holiday, the attraction is closed. Why don't I take you to a gem shop instead?". Unluckily for the guy trying to scam us, he had accidentally pointed out the food at the end of the street, so we went down there and ate.

Standard taxi fares start at 35 baht (around $2), so 10 baht is always a scam price. It means that there is something they expect to get from you in exchange for the ride.

For the rest of the trip we totally ignored anyone offering a tuk-tuk ride, which made life much easier. They give up if you don't look at them or anywhere near them.

The holiday was a lot of fun overall! Although we ended up quite tired after walking 2km from the grand palace to chinatown, a bad idea in retrospect. In the end we just took a metered taxi back home, just before we got to where we were going.

Photos will be up soon.. and next journal entry will explain where we went on the second night :P

After coming back I feel a bit strange.. in the mornings I have been quite weak, and sometimes later in the day too. Hopefully that will get better after a while..

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