If you only read one trip report today, I recommend Sunset_Sammy’s report describing his tour of Thailand.
In addition to a concise yet descriptive style that would make Hemingway proud, what makes this report so interesting are its contrasts. Sammy is a solo traveler who seems to find traveling companions all along the way. He has gone to some trouble to schedule visits to places he really wants to see, but is at ease when things don’t go exactly as planned and perfectly comfortable calling a day short and just going back to the hotel for a shower, a beer and a bit of people watching.
He’s all about using the sunscreen to ward off the harmful rays of the sun, but seems to have no compunction at all about stepping into a cage with a full-grown tiger.
And he’s funny to boot. Describing his first night out in Bangkok:
People are very helpful if you have a question; they also have these young girls that must be employed by the Chamber of Commerce as goodwill ambassadors, you can’t miss them, they wear these short tight red tube dresses and they are very very friendly. A few of them even offered to escort me back to my hotel, probably to make sure I got back without any problems, but the area seemed safe so I passed on their assistance.
On top of it all, he offers some great tips that could be useful to anyone considering a trip to Thailand.
On how to handle scam artists at the Grand Palace:
Now I had been warned of the ploy some “wily strangers” employ on TA, which is they tell you the palace is closed and you should take their tuk-tuk for a tour or to visit a special shop. Sure enough as I was waiting to cross the road a man approached me to say the Palace would be closed until the afternoon do to a special occasion, even as droves of people were coming in and out of the gate. Now anyone that knows me can tell you I have been a master in the art of bovine defecation for almost my entire life, so without missing a beat I looked him straight in the eye and said “of course it’s closed, I am President Obama’s personal ambassador and I have been invited to the palace for lunch with the highest officials of the government”, he just looked at me funny and walked away.
On Chiang Mai:
Chiang Mai has a completely different feel than Bangkok; it has all the bars and restaurants you would expect in a popular tourist destination, but doesn’t have the touristy feel.
On playing with tigers:
I negotiated with a tuk tuk driver for a ride to Tiger Kingdom … The Tiger Kingdom is a place where you can get in the pens with live tigers, they are hand raised from birth, but you still have to stay away from their face and front claws. A trainer accompanies you and since I was alone I hired a photographer to take pictures while I was in there, combined it was less than $25.
Sunset_Sammy separates the trip report into separate threads, as follows:
Off to Thailand
Day 3 Bangkok
Day 4 The Grand Palace
Day 5 Ayutthaya
Day 6 North to Chiang Mai
Overnight in the elephant camp
Back on Skyelark
Thai cooking class
Day 15 A sailing we shall go
Day 16 James Bond Island and Panyee
It’s a fun and light read. Perfect for a daydream to break up your Tuesday work day.