|Floating market Bangkok
Last week in – Part 1 – I gave a few statistics, advice for getting about and what to do in Bangkok.
|Boat propellor at floating market
They have a saying amongst visitors to Thailand – What wat is that? A – wat – is a Buddhist temple. And as you can probably gather, there are lots and lots of them. Nearly 41 000. Any tour will always include a couple of wats. They usually have a special Buddha and space to light incense and worship. You are required to remove your shoes when you enter a temple. It is also plain good mannered to be dressed respectfully. We saw big Buddhas, small ones, an emerald Buddha, a reclining one, golden ones, wooden ones, fat ones and more. They do become the same, only different, after a while. But I loved the spiritual undertones that exist in Thailand. People light incense at shrines in the middle of a busy street.
|Reclining Buddha Bangkok
The floating market in Bangkok was our best. People trade all sorts of yummy food from their boats. They whizzed up and down the canals scaring the life out of me with raised propellers. We got to taste some interesting fruits and snacks. And that brings me to food in Thailand. I usually whine about lack of food for vegetarians when we travel. Thailand has food to die for. For vegetarians look out for egg and tofu stir frys, green and red curries, various types of rice or noodles to accompany the meal and a selection of dips and sauces too. We tied all sorts of exotic fruits we had never seen before. Even tried sprinkling our fruit with salt and chili flakes – as they do in Thailand.
There are food markets all over and they are open early till late as Thais generally eat out. Thais typically eat small portions of food all day long rather than three big fat meals. They like to socialise when eating. Each person gets a different dish and they all eat from each others bowls. Street food always carries the risk of an upset tummy but I was fine. My husband didn’t fare so well but we can’t be sure it was the food. Read this link – for more about Thai street food but the golden rules – only eat where other people eat, only eat what you have seen being cooked, buy drinks that are unopened in a can and avoid fruit and salads that have handled.
While in Chang Mai we did a day trip, taking in a wat en route of course, to see the – Karen hill tribe people. They are also called – long necks – as they wear brass rings around their necks, adding more and more, until they do indeed, have very long necks. They also had trekking, elephant rides and trips across the border to The Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos meet. Here’s another tip. Shop around for tour prices. They can vary considerably and operators are open to bargaining.
|Rickshaw chang Mai
Prostitution is rife in Thailand and a source of revenue for families. In western countries prostitutes are often victims of sexual abuse and/or have substance abuse problems. Thai girls find their way into prostitution mainly because of poverty. They are usually young girls from rural areas who are supporting husbands, children, siblings and parents. Most of their families know what they do but pretend not to for fear of losing vital income these girls provide.
|A selection of Thai fruits
Thai women are slim, attractive and demure. Men fall for them as they have easy and uncomplicated personalities. But these girls are out to make money. a case of that here. They attach themselves to a holiday maker and become his ‘wife’ during the holiday. They lay on attention and give the impression the guy they are with is the best man ever. You see them at the airport crying as the guys are leaving. As soon as the guy’s back is turned, the Thai ‘wife’ is on to the next bloke. She usually keeps in touch, and it doesn’t take long before the Thai girlfriend is needing money for this or that, swearing undying loyalty and love. Meanwhile they are spinning this yarn to every bloke they had.
|A bar with ladies in Patong
I am not going to pass moral judgement on this. What two consenting adults choose to do is up to them. Thais are accepting of the practice and there is no sneering or looking down on these girls at all. Although prostitution is illegal very little is done to put an end to it. There are the occasional raids on the bars, money changes hands and then it’s back to business as usual. What I will mention is that over half a million Thais are living with HIV AIDS – source here.
I was determined to go to a – ladyboy – club to see what ladyboys look like. These guys look just like women. Very pretty women. You would not know they are men. It happens that tourists make out with one only to discover the true gender and get a hellava fright.
Next week in – Part 3 – you can read about shopping and markets, what to do and what not to do.
|Steps to temple in Chang Mai
Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.