Monday, June 30, 2008

Interesting things about Bangkok

  1. The Bangkok airport is called Swarnabhumi – a very Indian name
  2. Bangkok infrastructure (roads, buildings and technology in general) is awesome. The cars are all cutting edge – many you don’t see in other developing nations. In general, their usage of cars can be compared to that of the US. If Bangkok was extrapolated to the size of the US, it would be a humongous consumer of gasoline!
  3. Bangkok is cramped for space!
  4. Traffic discipline in Bangkok is exemplary! Even in highly congested situations, rules are always followed – even a honk is not heard! A co-commuter (my dad’s colleague) was commenting about this. India can take a leaf out of Bangkok’s book. Traffic jams are not avoided here – but it is proof that there is another way to drive!
  5. Massages! Every odd street in Bangkok will have 2-3 massage centers. It is so common here! Foot massages, “Thai” massages, Aroma therapy and other unique kinds. Often, you can find people who make a pitch for a "different" kind of massage!
  6. A colleague of dad remarked that I should have come to Bangkok without my dad!
  7. It is quite easy to find (expensive) Indian food in Bangkok.
  8. You can get by with English in Bangkok. Occasionally, you can get by with Hindi too. But to really enjoy the place, you must know the Thai language.
  9. Car number plates are written in Thai.
  10. “Pranti Plaza” – is a six storeyed building – a big one at that. It exclusively sells computer products. Another massive shopping mall is MBK (or MKB ?!?) center.
  11. Bhat (Baht) is Thai currency. 1 Bhat is approximately 1.3 INR and 1 USD is approximately 32 Bhat. Exchange counters abound and it is very trivial to change USD to Bhat.
  12. Cost of living in Bangkok is high. I also heard that the rise in prices is quite recent. To give you an idea, a 2000 sqft apartment costs 32000 Bhat per month. I presume the tourist attraction caused the spike.
  13. Bangkok is extremely well connected by public transport. Three rail systems link the city – one underground and two air train systems. These are also connected across junctions.
  14. Our Chennai auto equivalent is called a “tuk tuk”. It looks more like the auto but has a lot of leg room. One thing that is the same is the haggling before you can agree on a price. On one trip, we were able to negotiate the price from 200b to 100b!
  15. Taxis are more standardized and can be easily found. The price is also reasonable – about 8b/km.
  16. The king of Thailand is highly respected. His birthday is a celebration all across the city.
  17. 24 hour supermarkets are very common.
  18. Internet Browsing centers are very common.
  19. Road side food shops are very common.
  20. High rise buildings are very common.
  21. Parking space is very limited.
  22. Population of the city is moderate.

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