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  1. #1
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    My first visit to Thailand - A Report

    Just got back from our maiden voyage to Thailand last week and I have so many things to say about it. Firstly, I’d like to thank members of this forum for all the helpful tips and advice in my previous, probably annoyingly naïve, postings here. A lot of it was spot on and really helped us during our stay. I found myself going, “Oh…….yeah” several times recalling things said here on TeakDoor.

    The big trip’s purpose was twofold: One, to get an initial orientation with the country and it’s culture; to get a feel for the place (well, as much as you can in 2 weeks anyway) and see if we truly want to follow through with our idea of moving over there for an extended time period to attend college later this year. Secondly, to just do the “tourist” thing and enjoy our vacation. I’m happy to say our first visit to Thailand fulfilled both of those things beautifully.

    I’m going to try and write this thing in chronological order and I apologize in advance if I get too wordy. When I’m feeling inspired about an experience I’ve had, I tend to get keyboard diarrhea writing about it. I also want to preface my report by providing a little background on myself for those that may not recall or have read my initial postings here months ago.

    I’m a 31 year old American, 10-year Army veteran, married to a lovely Filipina girl for 4 years now. (my 2nd one I’m bashful to admit). I separated from the military almost 3 years ago now and have been running my own web design and online marketing business since, enjoying the freedom self-employment has to offer versus years of authoritative submission. Currently living in the northeastern U.S., I spent 7 years living in South Korea, during which time, I literally made about 80 trips to the Philippines of varying lengths. I was without a doubt, what you could call, a “PI Junkie”.

    Over those years, I had many friends and acquaintances always telling me I should visit Thailand; guys who had visited or lived in both places and had nothing but great things to say about the latter. They all, to a man almost, said Thailand topped the Philippines in so many ways: better food, better hotels, better beaches, better infrastructure, better quality of life, etc. The one thing the PI had on Thailand was better spoken English, which in turn, for those, ahem “sportsman”, like me at the time, made for better “companionship” experiences if you will. So mainly for that reason alone, I stuck to the PI during all my years in South Korea. But time inevitably changes things and people…

    About 8 months ago, an ex-military friend of mine emailed me one day to reconnect and said he was living in Thailand, using his GI Bill to go to school. Soured and bored with life in the States, my wife and I were really intrigued by the idea ourselves and began to research things more and more. So researching forums such as this, watching youtube videos, reading lonely planet books, and everything else we could find about Living in Thailand became part of our daily routines. We quickly decided an initial “scouting” trip was in order before even considering such a drastic life maneuver.

    So tickets were bought, hotels were booked and the trip to find new frontiers in life was all set for mid November.

    And then the rains came.

    Having to postpone everything until February was a major disappointment after so much built-up excitement. We both felt very deflated at that point, having to wait 3 more months, but the time went by and the big trip was finally upon us again.

    Since we were to be in the same hemisphere, we decided it would be nice if my wife’s mother could join us on the trip from Manila. So we booked her tickets and accommodations as well. Added to that, another American friend living in the Philippines would be coming with his wife also. So now it was a full-fledged group tour, with about only 11 actual days on the ground and so much to see and do.

    The winter had been unseasonably mild for the Northeastern US to that point. Temps in 50s and 60s in December and January. Naturally, the day we set out to fly came the first snowstorm of the year. The first flight left on-time ok, but the second flight from Detroit to Tokyo was delayed about an hour as we sat on the runway being “de-iced”.

    Not to stray too far off on a tangent, I must say after years of flying on Korean Air, Asiana and Philippine Air, making this entire trip on Delta made me downright embarrassed as an American. Horrible….horrible in-flight food. Older, crappy looking planes. No “personal entertainment” things in the headrests for watching movies to kill time on the 13-hour flight to Japan. Rather “robustly” built, crotchety-tempered flight attendants aged not much better than the visibly “matured” 747 we were on.

    But it got us there nevertheless. Flight from Japan to Bangkok was another grueling 6 or 7 hours. That trip is never easy. I can’t imagine making it with a young child, or as an older, larger or unhealthier person. You never really can sleep. You’re just in this weird state of semi-consciousness, trying to get comfortable, shifting again and again, but never getting it right.

    So we arrive into Bangkok finally and getting off that plane was the only thing on my mind for starters. Head to immigration and it’s packed full of foreigners of all ages and nationalities. We get through, get our luggage, but then had to wait for my mother-in-law, who’s plane arrived about 20 minutes after ours did. Of course she had to go through immigration also, so it was another 45 minutes of standing in the baggage claim area waiting. Original plan was to have her fly in the next day, but this saved us another trip back to Suvarmabumi, which was best in hindsight.

    So she got through with no issues, we got her bags, changed about $300 into Baht and headed out the door. This is where the actual trip report begins believe it or not.

    I momentarily recalled some of the advice on here and the advice from my buddy living there, then pretty much forgot all of it. It was about 1 a.m. local time at this point and we were so deathly exhausted we just wanted to get to our hotel. I initially brushed past all of the touts asking where we were going and if we needed a ride. It’s the same type of scene in Korea when you walk out of the arrivals area so no surprise there. So we went downstairs and outside to the “public taxi” area and were shocked to see a huge line of people waiting with their bags. One of the touts, a female, who followed us out there door, said “see? No taxi now” with a devilishly delighted grin on her face that just made me laugh in resignation. I guess due to the late hour, there was not as many taxis as there were tired foreign travelers, so you had to wait in line there by the curb for Buddha knows how long.

    Being it was our very first time in the country, how uber-fatigued we were, and having her mother-in-law in tow, I turned to the woman and said those infamous two words: “How much?” I remembered my friend saying it shouldn’t be more than 300 or 400 so when she said 1200, I laughed out loud. I replied with 500, and she pointed to the stagnant, snaking cue of smelly foreigners waiting for cabs that weren’t coming. Ok, 800? She agrees and motions us to come with her to an awaiting car.

    Even an ice-cube filled bathtub with our organs missing sounded comfortable to me at that moment, so I took the risk and we loaded our stuff in the car with the steering wheel on the wrong side. Strange sitting in the seat where I’d normally be driving, but I had experienced it once before in Hong Kong. Don’t think I’d ever be able to drive there myself though. So we head towards the city and there’s no traffic of course since it’s 2 a.m. or so by now. We are booked at the Woraburi Sukhumvit for the first 4 nights of our trip which I based on decent reports from sites like TripAdvisor and Agoda.

    What I wasn’t ready for was the route our driver took to get there. Now as I alluded to earlier, I’m no stranger to “playground” type of areas what for my previously-led “sporting” lifestyle in Korea and the Philippines, but remembering this is literally the Mecca of such things, and having my mother-in-law in the car with us, it was quite a “welcome to Thailand” sight driving through what we later learned was Nana/Soi 4 at 2 a.m. (*I think*) to arrive at our hotel only a few blocks away. Let’s just say I found my “second wind” at that point and was wide awake all of the sudden.

    We check in to Woraburi and I liked the open-air, patio-style lobby & restaurant/bar area there. We are shown to our rooms, but are hungry so we head downstairs. I have my first Singha with a meal of beef-something & rice. The waitress speaks to the wife and her mother in Thai and looks befuddled when they don’t even acknowledge. This would be a comical, awkward, and sometimes unsettling occurrence the entire trip. Everywhere we went, they assumed my wife, her mother and my other friend’s Filipina wife (they would arrive tomorrow) were Thai and reacted with disdainful, almost offended expressions on their faces when the ladies did not respond or react to their words.

    Looking back up at this monstrosity of what I call a trip report so far, I see now that my keyboard has once again had loose-bowel syndrome and feel it needs a break to make for an easier read, if it’s to be read at all. So I’m cutting this off here at the end of our first “night” in Bangkok and will continue the report in segments; hopefully breaking them down in some reasonably logical fashion.



    But then again, probably not.....

  2. #2
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    sunsetter's Avatar
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    not bad, keep it coming, got any pics?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fareastcoastmover
    I’m a 31 year old American, 10-year Army veteran, married to a lovely Filipina girl for 4 years now.
    Come on, say the truth ! You're not really American, are you ? If you are, you are a freak. Your English is far too good. Did your wife write the piece ? If she did, tell her from me that she's very, very good

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by can123 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fareastcoastmover
    I’m a 31 year old American, 10-year Army veteran, married to a lovely Filipina girl for 4 years now.
    Come on, say the truth ! You're not really American, are you ? If you are, you are a freak. Your English is far too good. Did your wife write the piece ? If she did, tell her from me that she's very, very good
    Ha, being an American and writing in English well isn't so much of stretch is it? I think the 10-yrs-Army thing would be more unbelievable in that regard, haha.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fareastcoastmover View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by can123 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fareastcoastmover
    I’m a 31 year old American, 10-year Army veteran, married to a lovely Filipina girl for 4 years now.
    Come on, say the truth ! You're not really American, are you ? If you are, you are a freak. Your English is far too good. Did your wife write the piece ? If she did, tell her from me that she's very, very good
    Ha, being an American and writing in English well isn't so much of stretch is it? I think the 10-yrs-Army thing would be more unbelievable in that regard, haha.
    Not hard to believe at all, after the last 10 years there are a lot of soldiers who burned out and left the service (not saying you did).

  6. #6
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    Carry on...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by happynz View Post
    Carry on...
    Yes, please carry on before this is turned into a thread dealing with veterans.

  8. #8
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    get some pics up pls

  9. #9
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    Quite an exhilarating start to your journey, rolling in to the environs of Nana in the wee hours. You should probably have had the females follow you a couple of days later, so you could make sure the local area was safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fareastcoastmover View Post
    This would be a comical, awkward, and sometimes unsettling occurrence the entire trip. Everywhere we went, they assumed my wife & her mother were Thai and reacted with disdainful, almost offended expressions on their faces when the ladies did not respond or react to their words.
    Bola bola!!

    More please with pics too.

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    "and reacted with disdainful, almost offended expressions on their faces when the ladies did not respond or react to their words"



    Yeah, my wife gets that a lot, and she's Thai.

  12. #12
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Nice report. I look forward to your further adventures. I am also an American, married to a Filipina, who currently is on year 15 in the Philippines, but spent six years in Thailand prior to my move (back) to the Philippines.

  13. #13
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    My first visit to Thailand - A Report - Pt 2

    I booked my stay at the Woraburi using some discount vouchers from Ensogo which my friend living there pointed out to me. It was all paid for in advance and I just gave the Ensogo vouchers to the front desk upon check-in. Went pretty smooth, but since my Mother-in-Law was with us, had to pay an extra 500 Baht per night for an extra bed they moved in the room.

    Yes, yes, I know, sharing a room with my Mother-in-Law. You’re probably thinking I’m a cheapskate or a weirdo but that’s not the case (or is it?). It’s more to do with the fact that my wife (who’s 23 by the way) is a complete “Momma’s girl” (needs to talk to her mom on Skype every single day) and hasn’t seen her in a year so I knew it would’ve been a waste to get her own room because they’d just be together the whole time anyway.

    Sleep was ok, but I still felt like I needed more after that excruciating trip. I forced myself up out of bed because a breakfast buffet was included with the room which I didn’t want to miss. There’s nothing quite like that first morning in a brand new place, is there? You wander out like a curious little Dorothy wandering out into colorful new Oz. The three of us got a table in the restaurant area and the first thing I remember noticing was the smell of incense in the air. I later saw it was burning at some type of religious shrine thing with golden elephants at the front of the hotel. I really loved that smell in the morning, not sure why exactly.

    So we have our breakfast buffet there and it’s pretty good. The quality of the “western” style breakfast foods was better than what I’m used to finding in the Philippines, where everything just seems to be “off” or of a much lower quality. I noticed all of the different types of people sitting around us. Picked up the sound of several different European dialects being spoken and was surprised to see “family” type groups after riding through “the jungle” on the way here last night. When you’re this close to those areas in the Phils, the only types of foreigners you really see are of the grey-bearded single male variety.

    Took a shower after breakfast and therein lay one of my complaints about the Woraburi. There was no proper shower “stall” in the bathroom; just an electric water heater unit in the corner which I’m terrified of. Long story short: Near-death experience with one in Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines one time. Luckily I was standing outside of the “lip” of the shower stall where water was running when I got zapped or I’m not here to write about it probably. But that wasn’t the worst thing about this Woraburi shower. It was the actual shower-head fixture which sprayed the water in a very wide pattern; so wide that it was hard to completely wet yourself but at the same time everything else in the bathroom got wet. Toilet seat, toilet paper, your clothes and towels, etc. Yes, we tried to adjust it but there was nothing to adjust. My later-arriving friends’ room didn’t have that problem as they had a proper bathtub so just a matter of what room you get I guess.

    Still a bit weary and feeling lazy we just sort of hung out in the room using the wifi & watching TV through midday until around 2 p.m. when my friend and his wife from the Philippines were set to arrive. At that time, we headed out to the restaurant area and chose a table near the street to see them pull in. While waiting and having a drink, we noticed a condo or something across the street. Looked pretty nice with large balconies and good security. The thing we really noticed though was that many of the people going in and out had dogs walking with them.

    One of our biggest concerns about moving there is the fact that we have a 6-pound Maltese who we are not leaving behind. My friend living in Thailand said we might have some difficulty finding a place that allows dogs. So we told ourselves we’d walk across the way before we left Woraburi and inquire about that place to just get an idea.

    Not too long after, our friends from the Philippines pulled up in a cab. We greeted them at the desk and waited in the restaurant while they got checked in. They did better than we did last night, only paying 400 baht for the ride after standing in the public taxi line which was undoubtedly moving faster than it was at 2 a.m. They came down from their room and we had lunch, catching up on things since last year’s Philippines trip. It was their first time to Thailand also so this would be a nice adventure for all of us.

    After a few more hours of rest, it was high time we actually ventured out of the hotel and saw something. What’s the first place 3 Filipina women in Thailand want to see? Why, the mall of course! We had heard about the “MBK” on youtube so decided to head there and check it out. I pulled up the google maps on my iPad and tried to figure out the best way there. Saw we were near the Nana BTS station and the station near MBK was only a few stops down so we weren’t too far.

    Setting foot off the porch of the Woraburi, the 5 of us made a left down the street. We had to remember to look to the right first since the traffic is coming from a different direction than we’re used to. I recalled almost getting squashed in Hong Kong one time. We get about a block and half down and can see that we’re getting closer and close to that “jungle” area of neon madness. Being a little apprehensive about walking through there, especially with wives and mother-in-law, we chose to experience our first tuk-tuk ride to MBK instead of taking the BTS. Now I had heard and read all about how the tuk-tuk driver mafia were so bad and how they overcharge falangs all of the time, so I was already on-guard for it. It’s really the same way in the Philippines’ tourist areas with the widely despised trike drivers.

    But we wanted to experience a ride in one nonetheless so we got 2 of them for the 5 of us which I think charged us 150 each tuk-tuk for the ride to MBK. I’m horrible at remembering prices we paid for things by the way; especially when I’m in “vacation-mode”. I have to say it was fun riding in one of those things for the first time. I still vividly remember my first ride in a Philippines trike at the age of 19, it was such a unique and colorful experience. Whizzing past the bustling, festive looking “sporting area” was fun and I caught another glimpse of a scene I would not be partaking in anytime soon, heh.

    Once out on the main road, which I later learned was Sukhumvit, we soon saw what all the fuss was about regarding Bangkok traffic. It certainly was no worse than Manila at this hour though, with long waits at the intersections sometimes taking several light changes to get through. When we did get going, the wind-in-your-hair tuktuk ride weaving in and out of cars was interesting. Observing the vehicle’s minimalistic construction, I can only imagine what happens to passengers when a tuk-tuk “zigs” when it should’ve “zagged”.

    They drop us off at the MBK finally and we entered into a sea of people. Then went up several flights of escalators after asking someone where all the cell phone stuff was. My wife wanted a new case for her iPhone 4 and my friend needed a touch-cover for his Samsung. Oh, and we needed local sim cards too. I forgot to mention, that was the main purpose of our trip to the mall actually. We had stopped in a 7-11 near Woraburi initially, but they didn’t have the “micro-sim” required for an iPhone 4.

    So we randomly pick one of the seemingly endless stalls of cell phone accessory places and they get what they need. I had to then text my friend living there to let him know we had arrived all well and good. He was in class the next 2 nights but we’d meet up with him on Wednesday before heading to Krabi on Thursday. We walked around window-shopping a little while longer before finding a Starbucks to sit and have a cup in.

    I wanted to try the BTS for the ride back but remembered hearing it gets jam-packed at this hour (ala Seoul subway during rush-hour) and didn’t want any part of that. Figured it would be better to try it for the first go around at a less-hectic time, especially with a party of 4 other newcomers along. So we again found some tuk-tuks and these two in particular happened to be quite the speed-racer wannabes which made for a harrowing ride back to Nana. You wouldn’t get that much of a “thrill” ride at most amusements in the States, wow. My wife had to pry my fingers off the canopy frame once we stopped. Yes, I'm pretty much a wussy.

    Momma was tired and wanted to lay down, but the rest of us were ready to go find some "real" Thai food somewhere. Having no clue where to go, we just walked left from the Woraburi once again as that’s where everything seemed to be. Towards Sukhumvit as it were. After passing several places, we finally settled upon some Seafood place about a block or two short of all the bar madness. We later saw it was actually attached to a bar with pool tables and such inside. They had things other than seafood which was good for me as I’m not a big fan.

    One of the things my wife and I always loved getting at the Thai restaurants we frequented in Seoul and Osan was “Thai Iced Tea”. It’s that “orange” colored tea with the condensed milk (*I think*) they pour in it over ice. Really tasty stuff that we had been looking forward to having once in Thailand. We looked for it on the menu but didn’t find it.

    Then came the awkward communication between my Filipina wife and the waitress who gave off this, for lack of a better word to describe it, shitty look on her face as my wife spoke perfect English to her instead of Thai. Now my wife actually has a very “American” accent, not your typical “Pinay / Taglish” type of enunciation. The people at her job in the States, and everyone else who meets her, can’t believe she’s been here less than 2 years. Everyone assumes she’s American born. I can’t explain it either because she was like that when I met her at age 19. A decent education might explain it, but then I’ve met plenty of college educated Pinays who still had that very identifiable, clucky Filipino English.

    I couldn’t tell whether it was because they assumed the girls were Thai and just another group of bargirls floozying it up with falangs or because they thought they were Thai but insisting on speaking English to “show off” or something. It was an interesting encounter to watch the entire vacation really.

    So my wife is continuing to ask about this “Thai tea” but getting nowhere. The waitress calls a guy over and he thinks he knows, telling us it’s called “Cha Yen”, but that they didn’t have it there. So no Thai Iced tea for now, but the food was pretty good anyway. We order some take-out for Momma and head back to Woraburi. Still fairly jet-lagged, we decide to call it an early night and catch-up on some rest. Didn’t have any concrete plans, but tomorrow we’d go find something to actually see and do for real.
    Last edited by fareastcoastmover; 03-03-2012 at 07:03 AM.

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    Not being funny, but why couldn't you post in the same topic as you did before. I can now see you'll end up doing 10+ more topics like this.

    Anyhow, whinge over, i'll have a butchers at your post.

    You said you dreaded going on the skytrain cos you heard stories of over packed sardines. Well if you have been on the ones in the Philippines when its packed tenfold all day long, then you have nothing to worry about. They are also nicely a/c too.

    As for the Thai staff give your misses the cold shoulder, i think i would of just explained that "my wife isnt Thai, she's filipino. But i'm sure that would be a never ending story no matter where you go.

    Just like i was in the philippines. Its hard trying to explain to everyone that we non american whites dont like being classed as American joe's.
    Last edited by WujouMao; 03-03-2012 at 07:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WujouMao View Post
    Not being funny, but why couldn't you post in the same topic as you did before. I can now see you'll end up doing 10+ more topics like this.

    Anyhow, whinge over, i'll have a butchers at your post.

    Ooops, sorry. Should I just do that? I didn't know the protocol for such things.

  16. #16
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    no protocol . he's just being a miserable sod. probably got a Hang over..

  17. #17
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    ^^^ or Aussies

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    Quote Originally Posted by adzt1 View Post
    no protocol . he's just being a miserable sod. probably got a hangover..
    Whinger with earache. I guess this is what filipino's mean when they say i'm strict. Well, my gf does anyhow.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fareastcoastmover
    “Thai Iced Tea”. It’s that “orange” colored tea with the condensed milk (*I think*) they pour in it over ice.
    It's about as Thai as roughly 20% of the population here- it's Chinese. In Cantonese (such as in HK) it's called 'lai cha', ie milk tea. You can have it hot or poured over ice.
    Quote Originally Posted by fareastcoastmover
    “Cha Yen”
    That just means cold tea.

    Did you have fun finding this 'Thai tea' in Thailand. It isn't Thai, neither is it particularly popular here. Your best bet would be Chinatown. Either that or be fobbed off with a Liptons teabag (or worse) and condensed milk. Real lai cha is basically stewed with the tea leaves, as opposed to our western method of steeping the tea/ teabag for a few minutes.

    Enjoying the report, keep it coming.
    probes Aliens

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    Cool Day 3

    So we wake up fairly early the next morning and have the Woraburi breakfast buffet. Had to pay extra for Momma because it only includes 2 persons per room they tell us. (didn’t mention it the first morning) After eating, I was trying to remember the long list of suggested attractions to see in Bangkok and was feeling a little indecisive about what to do and how to go about it. Everyone in the group was looking to me for an answer, and after fiddling through my Lonely Planet book and my iPad a little, I took the easy route by going to the “tour desk” right there in the Woraburi with all kinds of package tours and brochures displayed.

    The lady there starts pitching all of the different packages to us, and we quickly settled on two that sounded extensive and interesting enough. First, the “Bangkok Temple Tour”, which would take us to 4 different stops to see a variety of Wats and Buddha’s. Getting this out of the way would mean nobody could ever say I didn’t soak up some of the “culture” a bit. It was years later, after copious amounts of “single male” gallivanting in both Korea and the Philippines before I did anything “cultural” whatsoever. So nice to get it out of the way early here in Thailand I thought.

    After the temple tour, they would then drop us off at Siam Ocean World, and the package price included specific things once inside there as well. So all told, it was around 1700 baht per person if memory serves me. But I’m probably wrong about that, so don’t quote me on it. I warned you I’m terrible at remembering exact prices I paid for things whilst on holiday. The transportation and entrance fees to and from all of the temples, and the entrance fees with extras for Siam Ocean World were all included in the package, so a pretty complete sounding deal we thought, understanding we’re probably paying a bit extra for convenience on our 2nd full day in this country.

    The tour van would pick us up at noon, so we had some time to kill. We decided to walk across the road to inquire about that condo that appeared to allow pets. When we walked up to the gate nobody really greeted us or anything, so we just meandered our way in and waved at what appeared to be security guards sitting on chairs further back in the car-park. We walked inside to the lobby area and nobody was behind the window. We had to knock on the glass until an older woman appeared.

    Before we said anything, she blurted out “We only do longterm rent”. I said, “Yeah, that’s what we wanted to ask about”. She then said, “What’s your budget?” Kind of caught off-guard by this, I replied with “Well, what’s the rent here?” She said, “Starting at 65,000 baht”. Still getting used to the conversion rate and trying to do it in my head real fast, I figured that to be around $2,000 U.S. and we said “thank you” and walked back out. This place was obviously way out of our price range. We’re looking for something more in the 10,000 to 15,000 baht price range, furnished, that allows pets, and is close to a BTS if possible. Other details like good internet, pool, gym and laundry facilities would be nice too, but secondary to the pets, location and price range issues.

    So our tour van shows up and we pile in. There were a handful of other people in the van already, and we made yet another stop to pick up more at a different hotel. On this ride I could really see why people complain about the traffic so much. A lot of sitting and waiting, and waiting some more. Still, in my opinion, it was more orderly and less jumpy than Philippines traffic. It was far quieter and less chaotic feeling also. I noticed the absence of that incessant horn-honking which you hear ad-nauseam in the PI traffic. I personally didn’t mind the long rides between stops because I enjoyed observing the street-life of this new place I was in.

    I can’t tell you which order we saw them in, but we stopped at 4 different temple sites. I believe the first was the “Golden Temple”, in which we walked up some stairs to an elevated Buddha shrine area. I remember we took the care to pack long-pants and shoes specifically for this day, after reading all of the advice about needing those things for temple visits. I then recall how that day was extremely hot and how long pants and leather shoes made it worse. That would have been fine for me, except when we looked around and noticed everyone else wearing sandals and things other than proper long pants. You had to take off your shoes before going in side the temples and shrines anyway, and most people were barefoot after slipping out of flip flops and sandals.

    We also saw the “Reclining Buddha” which was rather neat looking. This immensely, long massive golden Buddha laying down on its side; pretty interesting one to see. We also saw the “Golden Buddha” and “Standing Buddha”. I forgot the exact names of the actual “Wats”, but I know we covered at least 4 of them. What we did not see was the “Emerald Buddha” and/or the “Grand Temple/Palace”. Those were separate tours they told us.

    Our tour guide was a funny (gay?) little Thai guy who imparted us with some rudimentary Thai language instruction during the van rides. Explaining how to say “Sawatdee Ka” if you were a lady versus “Sawatdee Krap” if you were a man. Don’t get them mixed up he said or else they’ll think you’re a “Ladyboy”. That drew obligatory snorts from the multi-national group on the tour; undoubtedly the same “joke” he regurgitates on a daily basis, but cute nonetheless I suppose.

    Oh, I failed to mention today was Valentine’s Day also. So on our last stop before Ocean World, they took us to this “Gem Gallery” place for “free refreshments”. They gave us soft-drinks upon entering, then herded us, awkwardly, through this large sweat-shop looking room where people where banging away at rocks with chisels and hammers. Through there we were led to this gigantic jewelry store; that’s basically what it was, with rows and rows of jewels in every shape, size and karat. I was reminded several times by the attendants behind the counters that it was Valentine’s Day as my wife ooooh’ed and ahhh’hed at all the different rocks. Thank you very much.

    We then sat in a comfortable lounge area for some free coffee, before being led once again into a large souvenir shop, where the Pinays purchased some “pasalubong” (Tagalog for “gifts from abroad”) for friends and family. I somehow always seem to find and point-out the fornicating sculptures for sale in such places, which drew disapproving looks from the Missus. Hey, I didn’t put them there, I just pointed them out. Does that make me the perverted one? She answered in the affirmative.

    It was (thankfully) finally time to go, and our tour guide rounded us all back out to the van. We were dropped off at the Paragon(?) mall where Siam Ocean World was located, but my friend needed to have another smoke before entering, which is something he did at every single stop, multiple times. Only this time, he did it right in front of a sign that said “500 (or was it 2000?) baht fine for smoking” and a security guard yelled at him and pointed to the sign. So he quickly put it out and we went inside the huge, fancy looking mall. We decided to eat first and chose Subway at the Food Court since my friend is deprived of such in the Philippines. Well, the women went off and got KFC themselves. Filipinas love their chicken and rice.

    We head into Siam Ocean World after giving them our vouchers from the package tour and we learn the “glass-bottom boat ride” and “3D movie” are included. So we walk around the aquarium and see the different exhibits which was nice. Although, personally speaking, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all when it comes to aquariums. Baltimore, Seoul, Camden, etc., same same. What was a little different was the glass-bottomed boat ride. Just how it sounds, a boat with a glass bottom to see the fish, including sharks, down below. You’re able to purchase a bunch of shrimp to throw overboard and feed the swarming fish, so it was pretty fun for us all to be honest.

    Then on to the 3D movie thing which I could’ve done without really. It was very much just a cartoon thing for children. They had these live-action effects in line with the story though. Like wind blowing in your face and your seats lurching forward and backwards, or just oddly vibrating underneath your bottom. All in all, we were fairly satisfied with the day’s events, feeling like we got our money’s worth for $50(?) or $60(?) per person all told. Though I’m sure some of the long-timers better in the know might disagree. If I took a trip just to save money and haggle over prices for 11 days, I would’ve “just stayed in Kansas” I think. We’ll have plenty of time for baht-pinching and crying over of the price of Singha (in our Singha) later once we move there.

    Another general observation I had after this day was just how much of a “machine” the whole tourism thing is there. They really have it down pat compared to other countries I’ve been to. There’s countless people from all over the World here, ferried in and out and around all of those tourist attractions like a well-oiled revolving door. It’s really well-organized and laid out; a refreshing contrast to my experiences in the Philippines and even Korea to some extent. A giant, moving “machine” is truly the best way to describe it there. Expecting less to be totally honest, I was impressed at how efficient and well-developed it all appeared to be.

    For the ride back to the Woraburi, I decide it was time to try out the BTS. We headed up the stairs and needed to make change for the ticket machine. My wife and I had done our due diligence by way of Youtube videos and learned exactly how it worked long in advance. So we get our coins from the window person, select the number of stops we need to travel, and receive our tickets. Pretty straightforward and very similar to the rail lines in Korea. We get off at Nana and decide to just walk back to the Woraburi, briefly checking out a few of the numerous trinket and t-shirt stalls and shops along the way.

    The “jungle area” was only just getting ramped up at 6pm or so, but was still an intense walk-thru with the wives and mother-in-law nonetheless. You feel like 1000 sets of alien eyes are upon you, but we made it back to the Woraburi without incident and freshened up before meeting for dinner.

    Again, Momma was tuckered-out from the long day so she stayed in the room while the 4 of us went to eat. It was Valentine’s Day after all. My friend had to get cash and used the ATM right outside the Woraburi. No problem using ATMs with American VISA cards here, and they were quite literally everywhere you looked. We strolled down the same direction as last night, going a few places further and settling on yet another outdoor seafood place. This one was appropriately more “romantic” looking in its decor, with some nice lights and candles set about. I can’t recall the name of the joint but the food was surprisingly good. I had a steak and it was fantastic.

    After dinner, we decide to have ourselves a taste of the local nightlife and start off slow by entering a small bar nearby named “Jersey Bar”, which looked to be attached to the place we ate the night prior. We had a few Singha’s there before heading further down, past an open beer-garden looking place, to another smallish bar with an open-front porch. We did some shots there, joked around a bit, then found an indoor pub-style bar for more drinking of the night away.

    My friend and I both liked the taste of Singha, finding it similar to San Miguel Super Dry in the Philippines. The ladies drank their cocktails, and started to get goofy. My wife is almost allergic to any form of alcohol, and really can only finish one or two Pina Colada type drinks, souring her face if she tastes too much of the actual liquor. That can be kind of a buzz-kill while out in a drinking situation, but we rarely drink at home, and a non-drinker probably makes for a better wife than a lush does.

    I was half-way observing some of the bargirl/punter interaction and recalled the things I had read and been told about this place over the years. You get only a very elementary level of communication with the (working) girls, who are all mostly very “business-minded” anyway. Compare that to the Philippines where you can relate relatively closely with the women, and receive that (semi)genuine “girlfriend experience” if you will.

    In our case, my friend and I had gone full “wife experience” and I couldn’t help but feel we had the best of both Worlds. After abhorrent amounts of philandering and canoodling around Asia, I have to say having solid relationships with women you can communicate well with is something to be valued and grateful for. It really became blurry after that so we stumbled home to the Woraburi to call it a night. Tomorrow I’d meet my friend Tim living there who could tell and show us more.

    But first, some pics....











  21. #21
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    steevee's Avatar
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    Hmmmm maybe there can be some forgiveness for first time visitors to Thailand. But a mall, Starbucks, KFC and McDonalds on the first day? There is so much more to this country than that.

  22. #22
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    sunsetter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fareastcoastmover View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by WujouMao View Post
    Not being funny, but why couldn't you post in the same topic as you did before. I can now see you'll end up doing 10+ more topics like this.

    Anyhow, whinge over, i'll have a butchers at your post.

    miserable bugger, why didnt you put all your picture thread pics in one topic..... dont answer, on with the thread

    Ooops, sorry. Should I just do that? I didn't know the protocol for such things.
    you do what you want, work out how to post pics too oh its brad and angelina on teakdoor,cool!!
    Last edited by sunsetter; 05-03-2012 at 10:41 AM.
    ketamine-only fools and horses

  23. #23
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    WujouMao's Avatar
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    Yeah, after a well scripted topic thats bigger than ive ever seen, i was sorely disappointed in the trips to MBK, 1st stop, KFC for same shit back home. a tourist temple tour with a gem scam thrown in for good measure. And yea, Brad and Jolie at kiddy ocean world.

    Do you have their permission to use their likeness or you just dont want to show your Marine face on a public forum?
    Last edited by WujouMao; 05-03-2012 at 10:15 PM.

  24. #24
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    when i went there first time i did ocean world too, y not, and btw u picked a good hotel, nice rooftop pool, good massage service too, but unfortunately you are geared up with family

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by WujouMao View Post
    Yeah, after a well scripted topic thats bigger than ive ever seen, i was sorely disappointed in the trips to MBK, 1st stop, KFC for same shit back home. a tourist temple tour with a gem scam thrown in for good measure. And yea, Brad and Jolie at kiddy ocean world.

    Do you have their permission to use their likeness or you just dont want to show your Marine face on a public forum?

    LOL, ever the crotchety old one, aren't we?

    I'm sorry you were disappointed with how we spent our vacation so far Sir. We'll try to do better with you in mind. I truly seek after your approval.

    Maybe you'd have been more impressed if I spent the first 3 days in Bangkok in my hotel room on the internet making snarky replies to honest trip reports on obscure internet message forums, ya?

    I don't need Branjolina's permission to use their 1000's-times-over used likenesses for my own non-profit purposes, but if you feel the need, I'm sure they'll take the time to listen intently to some whiney tattle-tale report from some burnt-out cantankerous old westerner rotting away in Thailand.

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