Five years have passed since my last visit to Thailand. It’s time to find out what is Thailand today? A lot has changed to Thailand. Now in Thailand new king and the economic situation has worsened. The Suvarnabhumi Airport, which once delighted travelers, lost its luster. This is not all that I want to talk about, but about everything in order.
I arrived in Bangkok at the height of the high season. During the flight I caught a cold. It’s often happens when you fly from a cold region with low incomes. But, to my regret, I did not understand this right away. Passed passport control and the first thing that caught my eyes was the airport, which had lost its gloss. He did not impress me anymore.
I exchanged my money. The most advantageous rate was at the exchange office on the ground floor at the elevator leading to the Airport Line ticket offices. This time I appreciated the food court of street food, Chinese dishes were very good!
An hour later I was at Siam Paragon. I planned to buy a new camera, it turned out that in Russia it was more profitable to make such purchases. To clarify, it was because of conditions for the sale of goods by companies in Thailand. If go into details, you cannot buy a camera without a remote control in Thailand. And with a remote control, a camera will cost much more than a camera purchased in Russia. Therefore, I put off this idea until better times.
At the exit from Siam Paragon, I was met by students from the journalism department from one of universities Bangkok. They want took an interview, questions were about Thailand, why did I choose a trip to Thailand from many other options, and what do I like in Thailand? As you know, it was not a burden for me, and I was pleased to tell them what led me to the truly amazing Thailand. After that students stayed to shoot their material, I got in a taxi and went to the bus terminal.
In the morning I arrived to Phuket, now I know that I am so drawn to this island? I will tell about this a bit later. From the bus terminal to Phuket town, I reached by Songteo for 25 or 35 baht. Even before I had time to leave the vehicle at the final stop, local taxi drivers immediately bombarded me with questions. Like, where are you going, what are you looking for? On the road I listened to one song. By words from which I answered: “I’m looking for the summer”.
One of the taxi drivers told me where to find good food, in the family cafe of immigrants from China. The food was extremely good. After I found an overnight stay where I had to stay a few days, a cold make themselves feel. I categorically do not like it. My health worsened due to the common cold. In this hostel like to use air conditioning. This ultimately forced me to leave this hostel. I was not healthy yet.
In the Patong city I booked a Full stop hostel and hoped that the air conditioning will not bother me so much. But I faced with a banal theft. I don’t know why, most likely due to feeling unwell. I paid for a few days at the hostel and went up to my room.
It was necessary to first see what I’m dealing with. The room turned out to be very small, a lot of beds, scattered things of the guests, low ceilings, the lack of windows. And the air conditioning I hated, right above my head. That was not all, when I opened the door to the shower room; I realized that it was a cesspool. I won’t even write about it, so as not to injure your psyche.
After that, I am returning to the reception, although it is said loudly. The reception in this hostel is a separate from a building meter-by-meter cabin where you do not come in, but stand on the street and communicate with staff through a window. And there is a reason for this. I demanded my money back, which included a reservation. And the receptionist-fraudster closed in his cabin and did not perceive my arguments. Which made me very angry, and I demolished a signboard of this hostel.
Booking.com was unable to help me refund because I settled in cash. This was my first negative experience when I lost my money on a trip. What really pissed me off, it hurt my pride. Thinking about it, I went to the hotel. And I decided to look into the police station, find out how to get my money back without breaking the law.
Police Station of Patong
Where the police station is, I already knew. From the moment I was fined for riding without a helmet. At the police station, I had to wait for the very officer whom I met on my way. Having explained the essence of my claims, and having heard the officer’s response, which made me even angrier. He told me that he needed to listen to two sides of the conflict of interest at once. And then he decides who to believe and who not. This is complete nonsense, I tell him. If I forcefully drag the other side to the station, it will be an abduction and violation of the law.
The officer did not want to check the facts and check the guest book. However, he contacted a colleague from the tourist police who advised me turn to a lawyer and file a lawsuit. But him immediately made a reservation that I would hardly return the money.
After that I spoke with a lawyer and concluded that the game is not worth the candle. A lawyer takes fifty thousand baht for doing business in court. This amount is necessary so that a person can defend his rights in a legal way. That is, this privilege in Thailand is not available to everyone. And then I caught myself thinking that you cannot live where the law is not respected.
I was also offered one shady enterprise, a bluff in its purest form. The lawyer draws up a certificate in the police station that I am filing a lawsuit in court, and notifies the defendant of this with an official letter. This is a bluff, a gamble or another scam. I did not want to mess with this. According to the lawyer, this often works. True, he does not give any guarantees, but simply takes five thousand baht from you.
The surest way to not lose your money is to pay only when your expectations are one hundred percent satisfied and no other way. Only this rule works in Thailand today.
Thailand which I like
Forgetting at the lost one hundred dollars, I went to one small cafe, located not far from Nanai Road. Enjoyed by authentic local cuisine and not overpaying at the same time, I went to the Calypso Patong Hotel and rented a room there. It was necessary to improve health, sleep off and put me in order. I manage to do it. The hotel is very good, if you stay at this hotel, then you will be able to relax.
Three days later, feeling better, I moved further south of the island. I didn’t want to stay in Patong. After a few minutes of not a long walk, I realized that I was in a hurry and had to stay here for a couple more days, but at a different hotel. The randomly selected The Best Patong Hotel pleasantly surprised me with its spacious and quiet rooms with huge beds and a large shower. The hotel is better than the previous one and room rates are lower.
In high season, local beaches are very dirty, the water is calm, and there are no waves, sand mixed with plastic and a huge number of tourists. I had to leave for Karon Beach. After a couple of days, I hit the road; I didn’t want to rent a motorbike, because of heavy traffic, huge traffic jams and not experienced driver-tourists. To the taxi drivers I announced a boycott because of their greed. In addition, I planned to look into the boxing gym located on a hill on the road to the Karon Beach.
Sly taxi driver
Having made a halt in a roadside shop, I met compatriots, a married couple with children. They looked for a cleaner beach, but they were not allowed into grounds of hotels and they went to the Karon Beach. Someone misled them, and they were sure that in five minutes they would reach the beach.
At noon the island is very hot, the sun is hot, and the road with constant ups and downs. For children, the task is not easy. After going forward five hundred meters, I stopped several taxi drivers and reach agreement with only one that he would take us to the Karon Beach in two hundred baht.
It was a tuk-tuk driver and he asked for five hundred baht. Which is very much, his services are not worth so much, because left two and a half kilometers to the beach. Once again, I forced the driver to say that he would take us two hundred baht, after which the driver said ok and made a characteristic sign with his hand. At this moment, my fellow travelers caught up with me, I agreed with the head of their family and we hit the road.
Arriving at the place, I went to the driver and gave him two hundred baht, and he tells me three hundred and shows this sign with his hand with three fingers protruding. In general, I explained to him where the squirrel has a fifth point and sent a friend to free swimming. After that I said goodbye to the guys and went my own way.
The greed of expats
Seen enough on greedy expats, owners of hotels and hostels, I saw how Thailand has changed. Greed and thirst for profit blinded them.
But there have still people who understand what the salt of life is. They do not live at someone else’s expense. And these are real people.
I stayed on the Taina Road at The Lucky Kata Hostel. This street is a kind of concentration of people of the old school, who know the price of decency. Old Thailand, however, is not without exception; this does not apply to local ones. I want to note the owner of the pharmacy that was for sale, the owner of a small store, and family cafes with restaurants, in one of which, I often had a meal, very tasty and welcoming, all at affordable prices and without cheating.
Speaking of exceptions, the so-called Russian pharmacy, here the expression that Russians do not deceive Russians is one hundred percent suitable. They sell with huge margins, which in a neighboring pharmacy is much cheaper.
This hostel has a fairly convenient location, close to all the famous beaches.
It is located in a place where there is available transport infrastructure. Nearby have two stores 7eleven and Super Cheap Minimart. The low price of the room and the friendly staff made my stay on the island comfortable. I noticed that our tourists were the most cultured and tidy of the guests.
But I also saw drunk and junkie boobies in Patong. One almost begged me for gingerbread, but he could hardly stand on his feet. So, I am walking along Potong in the morning, and see one alcoholic without pants sitting the alley, or trying to get up.
Apparently, in one of the bars he was pumped with psychotropic drugs or some other muck, robbed and thrown into the alley.
In the process changing money and talking with the staff of the exchange office, this eccentric, looking in my wallet, starts to pronounce, some kind of unconnected nonsense. Seeing that I do not react to him and continue to do my own business, he sends me. Here my patience is over. He ran away from me and let’s complains to local taxi drivers. I look at him and I understand if I poke it with your finger he will fall dead. So I left him to taxi drivers and went my own way.
It was necessary to correct my physical form and nothing better for this than hiking had not yet come up with.
Heavy traffic and traffic fumes is the scourge of Phuket, along with construction sites. Phuket Island will soon turn into Mumbai. There are traffic jams from Patong to Karon, which you overtake while walking on foot. What I was convinced. As a result of the accident from Patong to Karon was big traffic jam. The stream of cars stood for an hour and a half. On the east coast, the situation is even worse. There is simply nothing to breathe. By the time you get to Phuket Town you will feel bad. I constantly used masks, it helped to me.
In a country with such an abundance of sunny days, it is necessary to develop solar power engineering, and use electric transport, rather than hydrocarbons.
An excess of plastic waste is one hundred percent likely to destroy the resort and, more importantly, the region’s ecology. Particles of plastic in the sand tell us all that we ourselves are poisoning our home – the coolest spaceship in our solar system. Everyone has long known that there is a source of energy that surpasses all others in terms of their potential, prospects and impact on the environment – this is the sun. The age of hydrocarbons is the past. If humanity is interested in development, then we need to look to the future. It’s time to get resources in space and it is necessary to protect our common home.
Do good deeds and throw them into the water
Once I did a good deed and helped one girl perform a surgical operation in order to correct an unsuccessful operation on the nasal septum. I paid the expenses, and we agreed that the money will be refunded when she will be rich.
And that’s when it came to pass. I decided to check if she remembers the good deed. It turned out that no, moreover, sent me to the police. I was not going to the police. Do good deeds and throw them into the water. And I did. It is clear that not all people are greedy; poverty pushes weak people to deceive. After this incident, I decided that I would never deal with people interested in money.
My walks introduced me to various not rich money people. These were fellow travelers and owners of local Reggae bars with friends. This time I realized what attracted me to Thailand – this is the sea and its islands.
A month later, I returned to Bangkok. Bangkok is truly a city of contrasts. Since I touched on the topic of fraud, I will continue to develop it.
My trip to the sights of the metropolis revealed a huge number of not honest people and situations.
From Phaya Thai BTS Station to Wat Pho Temple i got by taxi paying ninety baht. A huge crowd of merchants and tourists beat off my desire to visit this temple again. And I went to the pier to cross the river and visit the Wat Arun temple.
At the pier you can buy various souvenirs at affordable prices, the quality of the goods is excellent. On the other side of the river you too will not be deceived, the prices are right.
After Wat Arun, I went back and tried to catch a taxi to Wat Saket. This is halfway to Phaya Thai BTS Station. It would seem that the oldest temple in Bangkok, Wat Pho is the personification of Buddhism, and deception is taboo there. But no, taxi drivers turn into greedy grabber. They overstated the fare. Everyone has one answer to the question about the counter, my shift is over, and I’m moonlighting. Then I ask how this situation is consistent with the place where we are and the Buddhist paraphernalia in the taxi, the drivers left in silence.
I reached the temple of Wat Saket on foot and only there I could catch a taxi. The driver, having driven me in circles, nevertheless drove me to Phaya Thai BTS Station. I paid a hundred baht for this trip.
What we have today
Thailand today has changed a lot. You meet a lot of deception and greed, it’s not inspiring optimism. And despite all this, still hope for the common sense of people. Perhaps we can all understand that this path leads to the degradation of society.
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