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Secret Gem of The East

Taking The Sting Out Of High Priced Travel 

Written and Photgraphed by Chris DeVasier

 

Bangkok, or Krung Thep (City of Angels), has long been that rarest of cities: an

international cultural capital where you can live like a celebrity on a paperboy’s

income. There are no entrance fees charged in palaces, museums, and temples.

Locally made textiles and other crafts are as affordable as they are striking. Travel

throughout the city is inexpensive and easy, if not dangerous, by small, motorized

rickshaws. Bangkok is an adult’s playground; you just have to know where to go,

what to see, and how to do it cheaper than other tourists.

With accommodations, like any major city, you have your pick of places at star

levels. Everything from a backpacker’s hostel up to a 5 star luxury property is

found in this sprawling metropolis. Luxury hotels normally going for $800 USD

per night in major western cities are at a bargain here at $180 per night with all

the comforts and premium levels of service. A night at a major US hotel branded

resort and spa could run less than $99 for a stunning river view room.

Getting from here to there in Bangkok can be fun, stressful and very easy

to bargain for. If traveling as a pair, one recommendation is the high speed,

frighteningly maneuverable “tuk tuk” that is found on every city block. Like hailing

a cab in New York City, they swoop in, whisk you to your destination in a matter

of minutes while dodging on-coming cars, hugging city busses and racing fellow

“cabbies.” This form of transportation is not for the faint of heart and the price

should be agreed upon before you depart. Many city blocks, even kilometers,

can be traversed for less than $1.50. A second form of sightseeing and mode of

transport, if time is on your side, is found along the banks of Bangkok’s extensive

system of rivers and canals. Riding along in a long-tail boat is often private and

will make stops at many of the tourist destinations like the popular snake farm,

the Grand Palace, and floating markets. A few hours on these floating taxis runs

for $5 or less. If adventure is not your game, there are traditional taxis, a subway

system and the Skytrain to move you about the city.

Food is, of course, of abundance here. Eating in Thailand is pretty much the center

of everything, which is why the city boasts a stunning 50,000 places to eat. Street

food is one place to find authentic Thai cuisine, just use common sense. If you’re

concerned about hygiene, take a look for yourself. The basic rule of thumb applies;

if the food looks fresh, the oil in the pan isn’t dark sludgy brown, and the food

is thoroughly cooked in front of you, it’s generally safe to eat. Go at lunchtime,

when food is freshest. Avoid eating anything raw as this may have been washed

in contaminated water. Follow these basic rules and go for it. You can sample food

for pocket change all day long if you wish.

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One Comment

  1. nice one.

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