Forget the affair of the smile.
Everywhere you go, there are good reasons to smile and also not to. What I expected from a land is real people, sometimes angry or darkened. Only this kind of real places will remain not only in the heart (sometimes overrated organ) but also in the head, in the bowels, and its scent on our skin.
Thailand has remained on the skin of Rachele, who’s lending me her face, her advices and skin (of course); she goes up and down from Thailand and the rest of the world since she was 17 and she definitely knows something about alternative routes.
Arrival and movements
All major airlines have flights to Thailand; obviously direct flights have a higher cost. Among the most economical, we neme Euroflot. Best value for money, Turkish Airlines.
Once you arrive at the airport , the most convenient thing to do is to take a taxi and be routed directly to your accommodation showing the address. A good alternative is the Airport Rail Link train that takes you directly into the haert of the city, at a cost much cheaper; Anyway in this case, considering the fact that you’ll probably have to change train or means and that you’ll be tired and overluggaged, this may not always be the best solution.
First recommendation ( always from Rachele ), for those traveling in My Suitcase style: avoid places like Pukhet, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Pattaya , or the most touristic seaside places (this means, all the places you’ll be proposed by the agencies).
To get infos about better places to go, blog searching is still one of the best solutions (search in google THAILAND TRAVEL BLOG or ALTERNATIVE PATHWAYS THAILAND TIPS).
Something to say about Bangkok: in the capital , there are two main areas, that of the old city, whit smaller buildings, markets at every street corner, tips of the temples springing up between the houses silhouetted against the sky; and then the area of the skyscrapers, full of shopping malls and offices, where traffic often blocks any means of transport , excluding the Skytrain (BTS) , which is the most convenient and fastest way to move around in crowded capital. In addition, they often use the motorcycle taxi, which at first glance might be frightening… given the crazy driving of the Thais .
No rules seem to exist, the scooters whizzing almost crazy in any direction. But drivers know how to handle the apparent chaos, following one principle :
“I hope the others will see me and stop first, otherwise…, come on, I can eventually get it, we will survive”.
(source: a guide written by Rachele, whose stunning sincerity and directness I’ve always crazily loved).
Just for a little while?
A couple of events you should see.
Almost all Thai festivals follow the lunar calendar and are linked to Buddhist or Brahmins rituals, others than sowing and harvesting of rice.
In early May the King opens the season of paddy fields in the north of the country; in the same period, they celebrate the feast of the rockets to wish for the rain that will water the rice fields.
Then there’s the LOI Kratong Festival also known as the “Festival of Lights” in which the entire population takes candles and lamps along the banks of rivers, canals and waterways. The celebration falls on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month.
So, full moon, water and hundreds of thousands of floating lights, with incense sticks, votive candles, flowers drifting in a sign of good omen and prosperity and to pay homage to the Goddess of the Waters. Added to these, the paper lights left fly in the night.
In a couple of days, some more suggestion for Staying in Thailand for longer periods…