Saturday, November 08, 2008

Thailand Part 1: Bangkok

This week, my post-Sweden life began by stepping off a plane in a part of the world I had never before experienced, South East Asia. While I had been to Shanghai as a teenager (back when going to China wasn’t cool), I had never been this far south on our globe - quite the shock after having never been that far north in Sweden.

My vision of Bangkok before arriving was a huge, chaotic, congestion-filled, dirty, hot and unruly city that would be, well, quite a change from Scandinavia.

This perception is accurate, but I’ve already learned to get past the initial traumatic welcome to one of the world’s biggest cities (10 million live in Bangkok) and discover what lies behind the big city organized chaos.

Two things strike the unsuspecting visitor to Thailand: Warmth of climate and warmth of people. For those of you in Sweden, brace yourselves. Thailand has been hovring at about 30 degrees this week (88 Farenheit). Yeah, it's tropical. Yeah, it's nice. Yeah, even for someone who generally prefers the cooler weather, it's not so bad.
More importantly though, even in the big city, due to the friend I am visiting here, I have been able to connect with Thai people in a way that surpasses what travelers usually experience. This has made all the difference in my first week in Thailand. The Thai people on the street and in the home are quick to smile, quick to laugh and display a warmth and friendliness that touches the traveler from the beginning.

My advice when travelling to any part of the world: Get past the initial impressions of the place, be they positive or negative, and get to know the people. After just five full days in Bangkok, the warmth of hospitality and welcome that Thai people have developed a reputation for is clear.

Check back next week for more from Thailand and what my post-Sweden life is bringing…

Pictures above:

1. Thailand’s flag.
2. Temples abound throughout Thailand, but the most illustrious and ornate are found in the heart of touristy Bangkok.
3. More mesmerizing temples.
4. Three examples of transportation in Bangkok: Taxi, bus and “tuk-tuk,” the tourist’s favorite way to get from point A to point B in Bangkok.
5. Welcome to Thailand, Sean.


Todd said...

Judging by the lack of comments, looks like Swedes only read blogs about Sweden, Sean. Don't worry, I'll always read your blog...and by always, I mean if I remember.

And by the way, when the Thai people are quick to laugh...they're not exactly laughing WITH you.

dan said...

how did the sermon go?

Bangkok Hotels Thailand said...

First of all, i must say that your family is very lovely. Many thanks with your good story. If i have a chance to visit in Bangkok again , i will go to Grand Palace and looking for the hotel around Kaosarn Road. I think that Kaosarn Road is good for young travellers. Around the street, there are a number of old buildings and temples, some of which have been transformed into restaurants and even tattoo parlours, although you will still find quiet family homes if you look deep enough. Aside from some interesting architecture, Banglampoo shows the mix of peoples and heritages that is the character of Bangkok. There are Muslims, Buddhists, Mons, and of course a great number of foreigners in this small area. All of this makes the area an interesting place for a glimpse of Thai life. Thais also appreciate the area for the many types of traditional kanom or Thai snacks and desserts available and the cheap clothing available in the Banglampoo Market.