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Thailand - Exotic, Bizarre, and Wonderful!

Bangkok Thailand is truly one of the great cities of the world. To live here is to experience Asia in its fullest. To visit here is to experience life in ways quite unique from a western perspective. The Buddhist culture instills friendliness and tolerance. Thailand really does have the warmest smiles, the most gracious hospitality and world class service. As Pat says, "the worst thing about going to Thailand is having to leave".

Some cool images of Bangkok

Recommended hotels

Some recent Bangkok attendee comments

Orientation:

If you are new to Asia, particularly Thailand, I recommend you get together with me for some pointers on the area before venturing out and about.

Visas:

Most visitors are given one month visas on arrival. No hassles, no problems.

When you arrive:

There's a money machine outside of customs that can be used to convert Dollars or other major currencies into Baht. You'll get a better rate in Bangkok later but changing $100 to start is a good idea.

You can arrange for a car to pick you up through your hotel (a little expensive) or visit the taxi booth just outside of customs and baggage pick up . The booth personal will ask where you are going... You say your hotel name or Sukhumvit, Soi 11. Soi is street in Thai. The booth operator will then hand you a paper so that the driver knows where you are going...you take a taxi, (about 250Baht). Instruct your driver to take the expressway, (about 40B extra). Tell him you want the meter turned on. If he frowns and pleads tell him again (with a please) or agree to no more than 300Baht. They can get into trouble if they don't turn the meter on so they won't refuse, but it's really up to you.

Shopping:

Bangkok is a great place for shopping. While it has beautiful, modern, air conditioned malls, there are also lots of sidewalk vendors to haggle prices with. Then there's the Jatujak weekend market, touted as the world's biggest flea market. I think it must be true since after many weeks of valiant efforts I still haven't seen all that is has to offer. Handicrafts, beautiful furniture, glassware, stainless steel tableware, flowering orchids everywhere, lotus flowers, baskets, antiques, wooden carvings of monks and elephants, ceramics, Thai silk fabric and wall hangings from Nepal, precious stones, jewelry of every description. Many buyers for shops around the world come to this market to stock their shelves. Around the next corner, you never know what you might find. One weekend I heard beautiful music and I thought that someone was playing a record. It turned out to be a little instrument shop, mixed in with all of the clothing vendors. The proprietor of the shop, an old Chinese gentleman was happily playing a violin.

Weather:

Thailand is hot, then it gets hotter, and when you think it couldn't get any hotter than that, summer starts. Thailand is humid, then it gets more humid. The hottest time of the year is April. The coolest is December. October through February is pretty bearable, but if you're from a cold northern climate, you may be uncomfortable. There are rainy seasons but just plan on it raining anytime.

If you handle yourself the way the Thais do, you'll be OK. Drink tons of water, eat small meals, walk slowly, include salt in your diet. Air conditioning is everywhere so if your feeling wilted just get cool. There is an energy and electrolyte drink I highly recommend, available for a few Baht. It's particularly good after a night on the town.

Plan on shorts in the daytime… a T-shirt is fine. At night, long pants and a collared short sleeve shirt is best. Shorts , tank tops or spaghetti strap tops are not acceptable dress when visiting temples.

Boy's Night Out:

Bangkok is legendary for its night life and you'll get a first hand look. This goes on after every seminar. Prerequisites apply and you'll be advised of these when you get here. I realize it's not politically correct but one prerequisite is being male. It can be pretty wild. So far we've all made it back in reasonable condition but, although I'll look out for you, this is not part of the seminar and you are "on your own". If you pass out and get run over by a truck we will all morn but it's your responsibility.

Tailors and Dressmakers:

Jessie the tailor ( Rajawongse Clothier on Sukhumvit near soi 4) is ready and able to make the best suit you have ever had for about $250. He does all the Embassy work here and truly is Bangkok's best. Shirts made to order and of the best material are also available for about $20. Want cheaper?…no problem, $49 for a suit but not at Jessie's.

For the ladies we have a wonderful dressmaker and if you have a picture of an item you'd like to have made she can put it together for you. Fabric may be a bit limited at the shop but there is a fabric shop within walking distance of the tailor and dressmaker's shop.
We have a connection for ladies clothes as well. Made to order and the material of your choice.

We'll introduce you!

Medical considerations:

I suggest Tetanus, Hepatitis A, and if you can arrange it, Hepatitis B (a good idea if you live anywhere in the world). You can talk to your Doctor but Yellow fever, Malaria, Typhoid, and shots for other scary stuff is not typically recommended unless you are into trekking in the jungle. Travel to any remote land can cause stomach issues. The food in Thailand is very clean (part of the orientation) but I recommend intestinal cleaners like Metamusal or Sea Cleanse. Acidophilus capsules that don't require refrigeration are also recommended. Theses are usually available in health food stores. One brand is called PB8.

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