Readers' Submissions

There Is More To Bangkok Than Bars



How many people reading this drink while on vacation in Bangkok? Probably everyone. Maybe you frequent beer bars and drink all day or keep it classy with a few Johnnie Walker Black Label and Coke. Maybe you watch your weight and drink San Miguel Light. Whatever your drink of choice is, please put it down and go see as much of Bangkok during the day. I really feel sorry for the mongers that come here on vacation and spend the whole time going from one bar to the next. Your mongering should enhance your vacation, not be its sole purpose. Here are some things you can do other than the touristy things you probably did on your first trip.

Food:

Go take a Thai cooking class. You can go to the Oriental or Khao San. You might actually learn a useful skill so you don't have to pay for overpriced Thai food back home. If you can master it then you could even start your own class back home and use it to pay for your trips to Thailand. Understand the essence of Thai coffee. Thailand has some of the best coffee drinks you can find. Only Vietnam can give it a run for its money. Next time you have a street coffee look at the precision used to make it. <And the multiple tablespoons of sugar which will put you on the fast track to diabetesStick> Why not be the first Westerner to study Thai coffee preparation? I bet that's a novel idea for a cookbook that would sell well in the West.

Language:

Take some Thai language classes. Do you keep coming back to Thailand each year but can only say hello, thank you and goodbye? Your possibilities open up greatly when you can speak the local language. You can even practice it with your bar girl companions. Plus, wouldn't you like to know what they are actually saying about you? Maybe not, but at least you can try and stop the two tier pricing for farangs at certain establishments. Just tell them you were born in Thailand and if you weren't how could you speak Thai so well. I also bet you didn't know that many of the Thai language schools can arrange study visas so you can stay in Thailand for quite some time.

Kickboxing:

You've probably already seen some fights in your time so why not go and actually train? It's a great way to get into shape and your libido will increase from the higher levels of testosterone. No more little blue pills and hopefully no more high cholesterol and diabetes pills. You don't need to actually fight someone and injure yourself. You just need to take care of your body as I'm sure years of drinking and a sedentary lifestyle has taken a toll on you. The daily routine will make you more energized and your joints will be more flexible. If you think it may be too stressful for you to start then go for a walk around a park or even at one of the air conditioned malls.

Volunteer:

You've probably done your share of wrong things so why not do some good? I don't know of a lot opportunities to volunteer but there are some. I saw on TV a program about a Westerner that volunteers with the local police to help respond to motorcycle accidents. There are a lot of accidents everyday and police may not respond in time which can be the difference between life and death for someone in an accident. I bet you would feel really good saving a life. Another thing you can do is give some food to monks when they are doing their morning alms. Make sure to give food and not money as they aren't supposed to take any money. You probably see them walking in the morning when you're stumbling back from Thermae. There are free walking tours for certain sections of the city. Why not spend a day or two showing around some new visitors? They might even buy you a drink after.

Conclusion:

You can drink yourself silly or you can be productive on your vacation. Just remember that it is a choice you make and you are the one that has to live with the consequences. I'm not telling you to stop drinking. I love drinking myself. Just try to be sensible with the amount you drink. The likelihood of being robbed by a bar girl will drop and you will be able to live a couple of extra years in the land of smiles.


Stickman's thoughts:

I think the idea of doing a Thai cooking class is an excellent idea – but I would dismiss the Thai coffee idea immediately!

For me, one of the great things to do in Bangkok during the day is just walk. Walk beyond Sukhumvit, venture deep into sois and you can discover fascinating neighbourhoods and communities, see interesting sights and encounter genuinely friendly, and puzzled people. Don't be afraid – Bangkok is VERY safe during the day.