In October 2016, I booked a 10 day trip to Bangkok and Phuket Island. This was our second trip to Southeast Asia. I decided to come back to Asia because I truly fell in love with the culture in Asia. Bangkok is a good introduction for a first time tourist visiting Southeast Asia because everything here is cheap and its easy to explore, and generally safe and it is rich in culture. Bangkok has been the most visited city in the world for the last three years. The local people of Bangkok and Thailand are exceptionally friendly to tourist. It’s called the Land of Smiles for a reason. People are friendly, respectful, and go out of their way to help you and assist you whenever they can. The customary greeting I’ve encountered is for locals to press their hands together at their chest with a slight bow saying “Hello, Welcome, or Thank you.”
Forget everything you know about normal meals. In Bangkok, you eat whatever you can stomach. Well, this was my experience, it may not be yours. There is food whenever and whatever you want. Most of the food options is street food vendors. If you want to treat yourself to a nice dinner, there are plenty of options for Pad Thai noodles. “The tuk tuts (motorcycle type taxis) were the best way to get around in the city. There are multiple ways for transportation including trains but I recommend this way because its fun and exciting and its cheap! “Bring cash, bring cash, bring cash! The market and trains only accept cash. Bangkok’s many markets are major tourist draw when visiting. Make sure you visit the Chatuchak weekend market and a must see my favorite Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. You can find almost anything and everything for your friends and family back home and take beautiful pictures of the bustling floating market.
It is very important to abide by Thailand’s laws to avoid getting into serious trouble. Never disrespect Thailand’s King or Queen by insulting them or defacing images of the monarchy (such as stepping on bank note) is a serious offense that can result in 3 to 15 years in prison. Illegal drugs (using or carrying) is punishable by death. Do not litter in Thailand or throw chewing gum on the ground. If caught, there is a hefty fine and you can be jailed. On our last day in Bangkok while traveling to Phuket by air, we received word from the locals the King Bhumibol Adulyadej had died. He was 88 and had ruled for over seventy years. The palace asked all civil servants to wear black clothing for a year as a sign of mourning.
Most tourists who visit Thailand dedicate a good portion of their trip exploring the country’s islands. The most popular Island has to be Phuket. Not only is Phuket the largest island in Thailand, but it’s also the most popular amongst international visitors. If you’re like me who enjoys lounging on gorgeous beaches, then you’ll love Phuket as much as I do. A day trip out to Phang Nga Bay aka James Bond Island is an absolute must. It may look familiar if you’ve seen the movie ” The Man With the Golden Gun.” One of the rock formations was featured in the movie and appeared in “Star Wars III.” Totally a Instagram moment!
There’s no doubt that Thailand has a major problem with animal cruelty. Elephants all across the county have been terribly abused for tourism. Paying a visit to one of the elephant sanctuaries is definitely one of most rewarding things to do in Phuket. The second must do attraction is Monkey Island. Just keep an eye on your belongings, the monkeys are professional thieves. If it happens, you’ll have to bribe them with fruit to get your stuff back!