In this post Carlos tells us about his first day in Thailand. He had never been to Thailand before.
This was my first visit to Thailand and these are my first impressions. As I got off the plane at Bangkok airport and walked towards the arrivals exit I was overwhelmed by the many beautiful colors of the spledid tropical orchards lining the walkway, not to mention my first sight of the beautiful Thai women.
After going through immigration and customs, I walked over to the travel agent counter to buy a taxi ticket to Pattaya and get a receipt for the taxi cab to Pattaya. I was a bit reluctant to pay as I was told beforhand it should only cost between 1,300 and 1,400 baht. I told this to the lovely girl behind the counter but she assured me that 2,200 baht was the right price for the taxi fare from Bangkok airport to Pattaya.
I can now assure you that it isn’t the usual price, or a fair price for a taxi from Bangkok airport to Pattaya. Click the following link for more details about the cost of the taxi from Bangkok airport to Pattaya, alternative methods of transport and what to look out for.
I begrudgingly paid the 2,200 then was taken out of the airport building past all the authentically decorated taxi cabs over to some area that resembled a car park. There I waited for twenty-five minutes (one quarter of a footie match) for my taxi to arrive. I just wanted to get to Pattaya.
Well I was sure in for a surprise. The taxi I got into would have been at least 10 years old. The driver had to stop at the first service station on the way to inflate one of the tyres that was leaking. The seat belt was worn from over use and the buckle clip needed repair. It just didn’t work. When I glanced into the taxi driver’s rear vision mirror all I could see was a grey blur with no reflection and all this cost 2,200 baht.
As we proceeded down the hiway, and I must say it was quite a good road, I noticed lots of motorcycle scooters no different to the ones in the western world except, there seemed to be a total disregard for safety as most of the Thai riders were hat-less. (No safety helmets). And to my amusement, these people loaded their whole family on the scooters. Mum dad and the 2 kids yes that’s 4 people on one scooter screaming down a main hiway with no helmets passing my old Thai taxi with viewless mirrors.
As I spoke to the airport taxi driver on the way to Pattaya I found him quite friendly and helpful. Telling me things like “Don’t go riding scooters when you’ve been drinking” and enthusiastically giving me a crash course in Thai language. I asked him how to say a few basic things in Thai like “Thank you” and “Where’s the toilet”.
However this was no easy compensation for the feeling that I had been zealiously charmed then ripped off by the pretty face at the airport. Don’t fall for this like I did. Heck it was my first time in Thailand and I just wanted to get to my destination in Pattaya as soon as I could.
My dad was waiting for me at his home in Pattaya and I knew he would be expecting me within say two and a half hours of the flight arrival time. Well after adding on the 25 minute wait in the car park and further delay pumping up the deflating tyre on the ten year old taxi at two service stations, I arrived at my destination three and a half hours after the plane landed at the airport.
I had given the taxi driver the address of my dad’s hotel but I was lucky that I had my dad’s phone number on my person because when we arrived at Pattaya, the driver, after driving around a few blocks, admitted he didn’t have a clue where my dad’s hotel was located.
My dad also told me I should make sure the taxi driver knew the whereabouts of the Pattaya hotel before I jumped into the taxi. I was so excited about being in Thailland I forgot all the advice I was given. Next time I will do better.