Since our popular Webmastering buddie here, the certain…Mr Richard has decided to start up a bit of a funky series on travelling in Thailand I thought I’d complement his fine work with a blog along similar lines ….oh well, kind of!
Of course, ‘Unseen Thailand’ is a bit of an exaggeration! Thailand’s Tourism Board has been using this slogan for a few years now but have failed to do little but point every single tourist in the same dull direction. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to steal this catch-phrase and point yous all in a far clearer direction.
>Do on eat on the street, perhaps the best food to be had – you have just as much chance of coming down with a case of the ‘Indian-belly’ at the nearest 5 star hotel.
>Do visit a local morning market – a truly unforgettable experience of smelly meats, loud vendors and a fleet of vegetable carts waiting to run you over.
>Do take a motorbike-taxi ride, speeding through the traffic like a Loony Tunes character you’ll be in for one darned… ‘scary experience’.
>Do try the local speciality ‘Papaya-Pok-Pok’(Somtum), if not… then the Thais will say ‘You have never truly been to Thailand’.
>Do, even if you don’t speak a word of Thai, stay in the middle of Nakhorn Nowhere or Buffaloburi for a few days , better than experiencing some corny episode of ‘Survivor Series’.
>Do pop over the Thai-Cambodian border into the border town of Poipet for the night, some folks may say it’s the worst border town dump in the world – but it’s one heck of an unforgettable wild-west experience.
>Do have a bevvie at some shack upcountry karaoke bar, can witness the local drunkards fighting over who is going to sing the next song.
>Do venture into Bangkok’s very own slum district of Klong Tery at 2 in the morning, completely off the tourist track…no further explanation necessary.
>Do hang around South Pattaya for the evening, great fun seeing all the newly-arrived naughty Arab males being chatted up by a 6 foot 2 ladyboy they think… is an actual girl.
>Do take the countryside train, even though the journey itself may feel like it takes a lifetime, it’s a great way to get a real feel for the rural Thai ways.
>Do take up the opportunity of staying with a Thai family, another great way to experience the life-style of the locals.
> Don’t go to a Farang infested beach, go to a Thai-style one – excellent place to see the locals stroll along the beach in long-sleeved jackets, huge huts and 50 proof sunblock plastered all over their faces.
>Don’t, as a male, bother buying some over-priced drink for a girl in a bar – completely pointless, just pop along to your nearest dept store and you’ll find lotsa lovely sales-assistant girls waiting to be chatted up for free.
>Don’t take one of Bangkok’s spanking new yellow air-con buses, enjoy the thrills and spills instead in one of the capital’s little green doorless three and a half wheeled ones, a truly manic experience.
>Don’t go on one of those pricey hotel tour-boat rides up the Chao Praya River, for the grand sum of nine baht – take a ride on the local express boat, you’ll get exactly the same view!
>Don’t spend all your time hanging around the usual tourist-haunted temples, go to a local upcountry one instead and you can chat to all the resident monks about ….football, latest Nokia models and the newest DVD releases.
>Don’t stay in and write postcards all night, enjoy an evening of ‘All the fun of the Temple Fair’, meditation and chanting are out – darts, bingo and bouncy castles are in.
>Don’t waste your valuable time at boring Farang discos, Bangkok’s massive Thai-style ones are one heck of an eye-opener.
>And don’t sacrifice any more of your precious time applying for a long-term visa in Thailand, the authorities in charge are highly experienced in wasting as much of your time as heavenly possible.
>Don’t fork out for a pricey ticket on Thai Airways, just take Air Asia instead – even though you may be delayed for an average of four hours you’ll be saving a small fortune. Even Thailand’s very own Prime Minister himself once said “Our national carrier is over-priced and a load of rubbish”.
>Don’t hang around some gory guesthouse watching movies all night, check out the local TV Soap Operas, great insight into the mentality of the ‘Thai family life’.
>And finally, don’t spend all your time in the city, at the beach or a tourist-orientated hill resort – take a trip into the countryside of Thailand’s very own ‘north-east’ (Isarn), lotsa rice whiskey, grilled chicken, sticky rice and friendly locals – not to be missed.
As usual, just a bitta fun and not too be taken too seriously – if you can think of any more advice to …..truly unseen Thailand… i’ll look forward to reading them in the comments below.