Joshua Kissi : This being our first Travel Etiquette series in Asia, one of the most frequently asked questions was “Why not Japan or Korea?” Although Korea was one of our first choices when we thought of traveling to Asia we opted to do something different than what others were doing in our immediate circle — ideally tell a different story. Because who likes to be told the same story repeatedly anyhow?
We received this cool opportunity in collaboration with Creative Council — as we gave our readers the chance to vote where we should go in the previous post. CC is a great program run by UGGs Australia as they work with various creatives from art, photography, food and fashion.
Right now I’m in the notes app on my iPhone scribing this entry 40,000 feet suspended in the air, squeezed in a frigid cold middle section aisle seat and disrespectfully close to what appears like heaven in the first class / business class section. We’re on our way back from a two week excursion in Thailand. I find writing when the experience is most fresh on your mind is the best route, and considering we have about 23-25 hours of travel time until we head back home, what other choices would I have to burn these hours away productively?
Yeah so Thailand? Think of this before we get into the meat of our experience, Thailand in 2012 was the #1 most visited country around the world and as soon as we landed in Bangkok that statistic started to make perfect sense. The grandeur of Bangkok– hundreds of skyscrapers, Rolls Royce’s, Mercedes Benz were a common sight, with what seems like hundreds of more buildings being built as the days went by and a 7 eleven on every corner. Let’s put it this way, tourism is a big economic grip for Thailand and they capitalize from it on every level, as they should.
With roughly two weeks in Thailand we could only spend two to three days in various cities and towns across the country while ending the trip in Koh Phangan, where the infamously famous Full Moon Party takes place monthly. The mission was to experience as much as we could in this two week period. We stayed in top of the line hotels, hostels, hole in the wall joints, and bungalows with all providing their own advantages/disadvantages depending on what type of trip you are looking for. The various accommodations did just the trick because we wanted to see life in the city but also outside the city to get a realistic view of what it’s like living in Thailand.
That realistic view couldn’t have been any realer once we branched out of the metropolis city of Bangkok, as two African American guys with skin tones not too far away from the typical sun kissed Thai citizen. With immediate comparisons to Barack Obama, being called “strong chocolate man” or people just curious as to what our hair texture felt like, the Thai people outside of the city were extremely nice, kind and well just curious.
“Where you from?” was a constant question that was echoed throughout the trip from all types of people – street dwellers, cab drivers and other travelers we met on our excursion in Thailand. That’s the thing I loved about Thailand the people had a worldly concept outside of their own country/culture and were curious to know everything about where YOU came from, even with as much little English as they may have known.
The exchange rate seemed too good converted from any westernized currency to Thai Baht that you could easily consider yourself “balling” in this foreign paradise, but not so fast. Considering you’re now in a foreign place with a knack for receiving backpackers, business men and world travelers alike if you’re used to being “extra charged” for being foreign best believe if you’re not a least bit fluent in Thai, you’re going to be charged a friendly fee of 2 to 3 times a normal price unless listed otherwise.
If you can overlook what has been said above and the price surcharge on certain things you’re going to have an amazing time in Thailand because it is surely the land of smiles. Personally for us growing up in New York City, where everything seems to be about a hustle we could only be fooled about once or twice before challenging the antics with some Canal St experience (ha)
Other than posting some odd 60-70 photos throughout our trip on Instagram, the social media platform gave us an upper hand on meeting very cool likeminded people who lived in Thailand. Thanks to Jeed, Orada and Nadia who we met in different parts of Thailand for showing us the best of where they lived, as I swore to do the same if they should ever make that 20+ hour trip to New York.
This Travel Etiquette trip more than any trip upped our ‘Travel Etiquette’ in every way possible. We usually travel to places with a predetermined itinerary whether work, or play and stick to it. In Thailand everything that was planned happened as soon as our plane hit the runway in Bangkok. Thailand has everything from great weather, food, clothing and nightlife it can definitely be seen as an adult’s playground especially when you have the right amount of cachee’.
Unfortunately authorities seem to turn a blind eye to most things. This can be a major negative to some, or positive to some people but as tourism dollars are poured into Thailand I can only wish that the people, the citizens of Thailand style of life only makes turns for the positive. As we had an amazing time and would certainly come back to spend my time, energy and experiences with all of the great people there.
All images taken and edited by Travis Gumbs of Street Etiquette
All video footage shot and edited by Joshua Kissi of Street Etiquette