Two And A Half Weeks In The Land Of Smiles
I just got back from Thailand, and here are my thoughts. I’ll use sub-headings so it’s easier to read.
It was my misses 40th birthday so I told her I was taking her to Phuket. I paid for the hotels and said that was her present. For $600 AUD for 6 nights I thought that was a good way to treat her.
Phuket is not my cup of tea. I fell in love with the place 9 years ago and then when I went back 6 months later I failed to see what the attraction was. Now, I think, man, how it has changed in 8 years! Now keep in mind, I did arrive a few days before Songkran (8th April) so what I write can be a bit skewed from what usually happens being just before Songkran. The place is too expensive, it’s way too commercialised. As an example, my misses went there when she was a 10-year old girl and she was blown away at the development since then. Places where there were dirt tracks (like the southern most point of the island to watch the sunset) are now run with restaurants, cafes and tour bus after tour bus arriving.
I enjoyed it as it was a relaxing time and we spent 2 days touring around the Island getting out of Patong. Having a car with you is easier and it is affordable to rent one. I think Rawaai and Katong beach are a lot more pleasant and cheaper also. We didn’t do any of the islands as we’ve both done that in the past.
Bangla Road? OMG, where have all the hookers gone? Now, it may be that the girls have started to go up-country for Songkran but I seriously would struggle to find a bargirl to take home if I was single. Definitely fewer bars than before. Perhaps some have relocated to the back streets? Not sure, there are families of Aussies everywhere including the hotels. That was always a popular destination for us Aussies. They should rename Patong Gold Coast #2.
I wouldn’t go back there in a hurry. Great time with the other half but she could see where I was coming from where I said it was just too developed.
Been there done that. Now it’s just annoying for me. People with water guns squirting everyone. I mean really, it’s ridiculous. Once you’ve seen it once or twice, you’re over it. My other half hates it. She reckons it’s a bit of a mockery to being Thai. They’re supposed to sprinkle themselves with a little water and go to the temple. She says you’re not supposed to get drunk, run amok with music and soak everything that comes even near you. I see her point but let’s face it, the second way is more sanuk I can see how some people get locked up in their houses or condos for the few days. It’s just warfare everywhere in the tourist areas and the tourists I reckon get more involved than the Thais.
When we got back she still had 3 days before she had to go back to work and wanted to get out of the city so she suggested Pattaya. I said what? I told her she won’t like it but she hadn’t seen it. We stayed in Jomtien, away from central Pattaya. She loved the food! She reckons they had better and cheaper seafood than Hua Hin and Phuket. That’s coming from her, I wouldn’t know not being a seafood eater. Jomtien is nice, heaps of Russians and Asian tourists but it is a bit more relaxed than Pattaya.
Walking Street was quiet (not sure whether the Songkran weekend had anything to do with it) but the bars aren’t what they used to be. Didn’t make it down to Soi 6. I’ll have to check it out next time.
Stayed in Salaya so didn’t get to see much of central Bangkok. However, a mate of mine flew in from the Philippines so I entertained him for a few days in central Bangkok.
In Hooters in Soi 4 I don’t think there was one Thai amongst the female hostesses. They’re all from the Philippines! They’re pretty and well-proportioned. I found that out by speaking Thai to one of them and got a completely blank look! It was my friend’s first nights so we had dinner there. But for 2 rounds of drinks and 2 meals coming in at 2,500 baht I wouldn’t go back there in a hurry. It’s a bit pricey.
Popped my head into a handful of bars at Nana Plaza. Disagree with your comments regarding Mandarin, could be the line-up that night but they weren’t the happiest lot of the bunch. Where did the smiles go?
Out of all the bars one bar stood out which my mate fell in love with – Billboard! Nice bar but too commercialised. In the hour we were there I don’t think I saw one girl getting barfined. Who would want to leave a bar where men throw little money at you consistently during the night without having to do much? Too commercialised for me.
The Nana Hotel is wonderful. It really is. There’s been some talk on Stickman about some people saying how run down it is. Big deal, for that price across the road from the plaza it really is good value! Breakfast is now on the 4th flour, and it’s delicious! It has everything I want and I’m gluten intolerant. A good, decent buffet! Swimming pool is great and the price per night is just right I’d say. I’d recommend it for sure. The only complaint I have is there were way too many cockroaches in the bathroom. A bit sok-ga-brok!
Scala is a great cinema.
Soi Cowboy. Been there once before and I wasn’t impressed all that much. Unfortunately the same view remains now 5 years later. Few bars worth having a drink in but that’s about it. Tilac not bad, same as Dollhouse. Others had a quick glance in and wasn’t too impressed. Crazy House was my favourite. Very hardcore. I can see why people like it. A bit annoying getting banned from not using your phone in fear of photos being taken. The staff is pretty strict about not using phones in the bar and I don’t exactly want to get thrown out by a couple of Thai guys so I complied. The guys at the front look like they’re not scared about roughing someone up.
What’s with all the guys in motorbike club colours walking around? There’s way more there than my last trip to the bars. I guess that some clubs from down under have invested in bars. If anything it’s not a great look on the whole scene. People can become intimidated and I can see why. They seem like decent people but the club colours are intimidating.
PS – Sam’s 2000 is a great place as Stick has recommended to watch the ‘freak show’ and the food and service was great! Probably the best bar I went to and it isn’t even a gogo bar!
Overall, I had a great holiday. Bangkok isn’t cheap though. My misses wants to buy a condo closer to Bangkok. She does 2 days a week in Hua HIn. There’s a few condos going up at Bang Wa station. I haven’t looked what they;’re like inside but a 2-bedroom condo would go up for around 140K AUD (3.5 million baht). Now, ok, it’s affordable for the middle class westerner BUT it is the outskirts of Bangkok! It takes 30 minutes on the skytrain, and God knows how long by car to get to central Bangkok. Condos in Bangkok are affordable yes, but is it worth it? Maybe to some it is. I’m not so sure it is for us.
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