Tag Archives: Bangkok

9 Really Dumb Things I Used To Do During My Travels That I Don’t Do Anymore

I’ve been traveling on a large-scale around the world for the last decade or so. With that, I’ve made plenty of dimwitted mistakes and committed piles of ignorant acts back in my earlier days of exploration. Looking back now—things that make me cringe!

Don’t do what I did.


1. Touch The Boobs

I was persuaded to go to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Bangkok with a couple other backpackers. I didn’t want to because I thought it would be boring, but they kept on insisting. So to make it entertaining for myself, I thought it would be hilarious to fondle many of the wax celebrities and peek underneath their clothes, much to the horror of all the other museum patrons. I was so annoying.

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2.   Climbing Sacred Religious Monuments

I had (and still do have) an urge to climb things that aren’t meant to be climbed on. So when we went to a religious Buddhist park in Laos, I couldn’t resist the itch to climb on all the statues. Even worse, there were monks around praying while I acted like a damn monkey climbing all over the park. The photos I got were amazing, but looking back on it…I was such a dick.

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3.  Run From The Law

Speaking of Laos, it was there where I also ran from the cops to escape a ticket. While riding a motorbike for the first time in my life, I accidentally drove past a red traffic light. An officer on the side of the road (who was on foot) whistled for me to pull over, and so I complied. He asked me a bunch of questions in broken English, in which I pretended I couldn’t understand him. He then asked me to wait a moment. When he went into his office several meters away to get some information, I took off at the speed of light to avoid the ticket. I could have gotten in some SERIOUS trouble if I were caught.

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4.  Hike a Mountain With A Flu

Kilimanjaro was (and is still) the most formidable hike I’ve ever endured in my life! I began the trek with a godawful flu. The hike cost around $1,200, so flu or no flu, I hiked it to get my nonrefundable money’s worth. I was challenging death during summit day. I fainted, passed out, nearly froze to death, and had to be given oxygen from an emergency tank…but I made it! However, it’s a risk I won’t tempt ever again.

5. Jump Into a Tidal Pool of Ferocious Water

Another dumb thing that nearly killed me. I led a group of clueless volunteers to a destination I dubbed as “The Rock”; a gigantic towering boulder about a mile down the Pacific side of Costa Rica’s western coastline. As we trekked, we came across a giant pool of water, with angry waves pummeling against an enormous rock wall. Stupid, dumb me thought that if we swam against the wall, then the waves can’t possibly slam us into said wall. The others told me not to but I didn’t listen. Confident, I jumped in any way and immediately was sucked out into the water and picked up by an oncoming wave, repeatedly slamming my back against the wall! Stupid, dumb me also had a tendency to overpack, so thank goodness that my backpack I was wearing absorbed most of the impact. Also, thank goodness there was a professional rock climber among the volunteers who were able to miraculously grab me and save my life.

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6.  Prebook Random Flights Because It Sounds Like A Good Idea

While at home in Michigan, I had an upcoming three-month long trip all over Africa. I thought that I would break up my Africa trip by booking a flight to Paris for a few days and then return to where I left off. When it came the time in Tanzania to fly to Paris, I couldn’t be bothered with another long plane journey to an expensive city for four days by myself, only to return right back in Tanzania again. So I simply skipped the flight and my hotel in France. That was $1000 I’ll never get back, right down the drain of stupidity.

7. Video Record the Women in the Red Light District

Stupid, naive me thought the Red Light District in Amsterdam was famous because of its cool red lights everywhere, not because of the prostitution and sex-oriented businesses that infamously ran rampant there. So as I strolled through, I had my phone on record, documenting everything I saw, including all of the scantily clad women in the glass windows offering a peep show. So you can understand why I was startled when one of the women suddenly popped out of the window and ordered her security to retrieve my phone. He couldn’t catch me and I still have my video. Won’t try that again though, now that I know what the red lights really mean…

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8. Flash My Stuff Around An African Shanty Town

I already knew better than to do this. I was volunteering at a school in a township in South Africa for a while. I left the school early one day and walked back to my homestay. I felt comfortable enough in the township to listen to my iPod on the way. Minutes later, two lanky, scraggly men approached me and tried to take my iPod from me. I was prepared to fight (they had no visible weapons) and I felt I could take them on. And so, they backed off once they saw that I stood my ground. I got off lucky, but I never flashed any fancy object in any poor township ever again after that.

9. Put My Valuables Underneath a Bus In a Developing Country

This is another instance where I felt “invincible” in a foreign country. While traveling all over Vietnam by bus, I normally kept my carry on bag with my valuables on my person. Well, one day I decided “screw it” and placed my carry-on bag in the undertow of the bus. Later, I discovered my iPhone was missing. I thought I just misplaced it, until I discovered photos on my iPad that were newly synced from my missing phone. Selfies of that dirty bus driver, who obviously swiped my phone from my bag. There was no way of getting it back, as I was long gone in another country. No one to blame but myself…

I tried to find a tenth dumb thing to end this list on a nice, even number, but I couldn’t think of anything substantial. I’m sure I’m guilty of plenty more dumb travel related things…just as you probably are too!

What stupid things have you done on your travels? I wanna know!

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That One Time in Bangkok…

I usually don’t like to mention my intoxicate antics after nights out on the town on here for a few reasons. One, because no one wants to hear it (I don’t want to read it!). Two, I might usually have done embarrassing things. And three, I may not remember it clearly. But since part of Bangkok’s culture is its crazy, out there, wild night scene, I feel I should include it on here. So here it goes…

I first met up with Clint in the evening at KFC (which has become our go-to meeting spot) and we went to go to a nearby bar on Khao San Road. Khao San Road is where all the “magic” happens in Bangkok. As a matter of fact, a lot of what happened in the movie The Hangover 2 was filmed here. It’s that same area where they found the smoking monkey! After a couple of drinks, some locals came by with a crate of scorpions…to eat! I didn’t have the balls to eat a scorpion just yet, especially since I was about to eat normal food soon. I did fetch myself a snazzy new wallet that another local brought up that has a map of Thailand on it that lights on fire. I needed a new one bad. Later on, we met up with Viola and went to this place:

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They don’t I.D. here, that’s their motto. They are also known for their cheap buckets of Samsong Whiskey, Red Bull, and Coke. We had a few. Some people had too much.

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This kid was up waaay past his bedtime

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The place was filled with mostly intoxicated backpackers, dancing to Gangnam Style and other upbeat songs I usually hear back home in the States. It was here I saw western guys holding hands with questionable looking Thai women, being led to alleyways and corners nearby. When I say questionable I mean a completely obvious ladyboy. You are gonna regret that in the morning! These guys had no idea! Or maybe they did? Who knows.

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Clint, Myself, and Viola chuggin away

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We were joined by two other random backpackers, who sat at the table with us. Their names are Leonoor (Netherlands) and Thom (Netherlands). They joined in on our fun! After a few buckets, another local with a plate of scorpions came. He held them right in front of my face. I picked one up. I just had to do it. “How much?” I asked. “Eighty Baht” he said. I held the scorpion in front of my eyes and examined it. It was a big thing, with a shiny black body, big pincers and a menacing looking tail that pointed right at me. It had everything still in tact: the head, legs, torso, everything except for the stinger of the tail which was venomous. It looked practically alive. I went in and started with the right pincer…and then the left.

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Crunchy…a touch salty…

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Then I went for the head and next the tail. Then the legs. The main part of the body was the toughest for me to bear, it was the fattest chunk. But eventually I powered through it as the others cheered and looked on. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad. It was crunchy and didn’t have an extremely horrible taste. Definitely a mind game. I bought another scorpion but made Clint eat it. He too ate it like a champ. Soon Leonoor and Thom gathered the courage to eat one too! We’re disgusting individuals! Viola already ate one on her first outing in Bangkok!

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So this is the part I didn’t want to mention. But have you ever heard of a ping pong show? Not this kind.

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But in Bangkok, a ping pong show is a “show” where women with little to no respect for themselves do special tricks with a particular part of their body. Let’s just say it’s impossible for any guy to do these “special” tricks. None of us are into that stuff (promise!) but were so horrifically curious – like a car wreck or a house on fire, it’s a bad thing but you want to have a look. So we walked along Koh Sao Road where there were tuk-tuk drivers who were eager to take us to these shows. There was six of us piled into one tiny tuk-tuk, including a chatty random backpacker from Paris who wouldn’t stop telling me how much he loved the L.A. Lakers. We rode for about ten minutes to a different area in Bangkok, to the back of a bar where we paid the guy at the door 350 baht to get inside, plus a free drink. I didn’t need another drink as I was already pretty good, but hey I’ll take it! Inside the building was a crowd of about 40 or so tourists, backpackers, and locals surrounding a stage with four poles, one on each corner of the stage. The six of us managed to get front seats. We are here so might as well! From what I saw, I think my jaw was on the floor the entire time.

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Ä list of things these girls can do

How can I explain what I saw without sounding too vulgar? Well, the first girl on stage pulled out a never-ending flow of Christmas lights and tempted to lasso it around customers. Ew! Then she went off the stage and the next girl came one, danced awkwardly for a bit, and then proceeded to pull out a banana and cut it in half with her womanhood. Then another girl came out, laid her back on the floor, blew up a balloon and shot a dart at it with the precision of a professional. Then another girl came out and gave us paddles to deflect the ping pong balls she shot at us from her thingamajig. Then another girl swallowed a whole bottle of water (not with her mouth) and “spit” it back out, but this time it turned into a dark brown color! What the?!? I feel pretty dirty as I write this, so I am going to stop the descriptions right here. But just in case you were wondering, these are some of the things they do:

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I actually left the show early and sat outside while I waited for everyone else. I was all set! I couldn’t help thinking how I felt pretty sorry for those girls. What a degrading and miserable job! Definitely only go here though after a few a lot of drinks!

After all of that “fun”, the night wasn’t over for us. We decided we wanted to go to a club at 3 am, so that’s what we did. We tore up the floor for a bit and then bounced. The others had an urge for balloons. Not any ordinary balloons, ones filled with laughing gas. These balloons were sold all over Khao San Road. What the heck is laughing gas? I’ve never heard of such thing, and I couldn’t fathom why anyone would pay for a quick fix of gas that made you laugh for a few seconds. Some in my group managed to find some cheap balloons, while I decided that I should find my bed. A task that proved to be a bit difficult when your hostel is the furthest away than anyone else’s and throw in the fact it’s 4 am and I was still pretty gone. I do remember seeing packs of hungry ladyboys whistling and making more smooching noises at me on the way back to my hostel. One proceeded to grab my hand as I walked and asked me to come to his/her bar. Then he/she threw a little hissy fit when I turned his/her offer down. On the way I saw more westerners getting cozy with obvious prostitutes and ladyboys along the alleys and corners. It’s still something that baffles the mess out of me. Dude, it’s a dude! It was a walk back to my hostel full of peculiar characters, odd happenings, and bizarre situations. Definitely, underlined all the things I’ve seen with my own two eyeballs tonight. It didn’t take me long to accept it and just take it for what it is. And that my friends, is Bangkok, Thailand.

How Do You Say Hello in Thai?

You know what? I’ve been in Thailand for a couple of weeks now and still have no idea how to say “hello”. I think the first time I asked how to say it, I couldn’t understand the person, so I just immediately gave up on the spot. I really need to step up on the language department, especially since I’ll be in Bangkok soon! But before I could go there, I had to make a run for the border to extend my visa an extra 15 days. It’s a common practice amongst backpackers who enter Thailand overland. If I had flown into Thailand, I would automatically receive 30 days; overland is 15 days. The closest country to me to extend my visa was Myanmar, formally known as Burma. It took seven hours to get there. I arrived at the border, walked through the other side of the gate into Myanmar, gazed around for a few minutes, then walked back through the gate to Thailand and presto! I had a new stamp in my passport with 15 extra days. Also, a Myanmar stamp. My passport is becoming filled with quite the collection!

The border of Myanmar.
The border of Myanmar.

It took about six hours to get back to Pai and from there about three hours to Chiang Mai and about nine hours to Bangkok. Whew! These overland buses are tedious and time consuming but loads cheaper than flying so I don’t mind. I arrived in Bangkok in the wee hours of morning, around 3:30am with no hostel booked in advance. I walked around with a German girl I met on the bus to find a place and we found one nearby the bus stop. Luckily, guesthouse we found had one more single bedroom available, but with no air conditioning. My room was small and basic, basically a room with a bed but with no sheet or blanket to tuck inside to. Come to learn that I really didn’t need one. Even at night, Bangkok tends to be a bit warm.

The next day, I woke up and went on the computer. Viola wouldn’t arrive in Bangkok until tomorrow so I had the whole day to myself. While on Facebook, I noticed that Lucy, and my gang from Laos (Tristan, Abe, Megan, Si, Meg) minus Claire were all in Bangkok! Not together, but separate on a weird coincidence. Lucy and Megan came together from Chiang Rai, Abe has been here for a while, and Si and Meg must have came here from Pai. I was surprised to see that Tristan was in Bangkok. He was supposed to be biking his way across Vietnam. Apparently his brother, whom he was supposed to ride with, fell ill so he cancelled the trip. I contacted them and made plans to meet up with Abe and Tristan at the cinema at the mall in Bangkok. I went over and couldn’t believe how massive this mall was! Definitely the biggest mall I have seen thus far in my life. Abe messaged me earlier saying to meet at the highest floor of the cinema, so thats where I went and waited for over an hour. No one showed and I had no way of reaching them since I had no phone or internet access. So I just went back to my room. Apparently there are THREE malls all next to each other with their own cinema. I guess I went and waited at the wrong one. They were waiting for me for about an hour too! Ooops. Later on that day, I met up with Lucy and Megan in Khao San Road in the epicenter of Bangkok. Along with them was a backpacker who shared the same dorm room as them. His name is Clint (Ohio, USA) and he met the girls the night prior. We all went to go grab some grub where we would be able to catch up. Lucy and Megan have both just finished up volunteering for a week teaching English in Chiang Rai. Lucy said she felt volunteering there was more rewarding than it was in Vietnam and South Africa. And amazingly, everything was free! Food and accommodation was their “payment” for helping out. What was next on Lucy’s plate? In a couple of days, she would be heading to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to visit Lex. Remember Lex is one of the volunteers we met in Saigon, who also writes a blog. After we ate and chatted up a bit, Lucy and Megan went off to do something while Clint and I decided to go grab a drink or two somewhere else. Clint is studying in the medical field and just took his MCAT exam the day before he came to Asia. This is his first time going abroad and has big intentions on traveling more so after. I shared with him some stories of my previous tales around the globe which I think just made him more pumped to see what else the world has to offer. We decided once Viola arrives in the morning, that we would meet up and hangout.

I still had intentions to meet up with Tristan and Abe the next day, but apparently we were all in complete opposite directions because the city of Bangkok is so huge! So for the time being, I went to the KFC on Koh Sao Road to meet up with Clint. On the way there, completely out of blue, I ran into Abe! It was great to see him again, and with good timing because he had to leave to the airport in about an hour. At KFC, Viola was also there waiting for us. Clint, Abe, and Viola didn’t know each other and so I introduced everyone. Everyone got along pretty great. Afterwards, I said goodbye to Abe (again) and the rest of us took a cab to the monster sized mall. The plan was to catch the 5:15 showing of “The Wolverine” at the IMAX Theater. I led them to the same cinema I went to yesterday but came to find out, it wasn’t the IMAX one. Whoops. It was in the theater in the mall across the street! We actually got lost inside both malls and ended up being too late for the movie. The malls were not only gargantuan, but built like a maze – a sneaky ploy purposely built to trap shoppers inside to buy things forever and ever! It was a ploy that worked on us. There was a Dairy Queen that was calling my name. And there was a wax museum that caught Viola’s eye, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum to be more precise. It was a bit pricey to get in, 800 baht. But Viola brought up the fact that sense we didn’t spend any money at the movies, that we should just spend it here. Clint and I could tell from each others “unenthusiasm” that we weren’t really interested in going, but Viola had this gleam in her eye that wouldn’t let us budge. So in we went!

I’ve had several opportunities to go into Madame Tussauds wax museum in the past in New York, Las Vegas, and London but never found them quite interesting enough to go in them. It was actually pretty fun posing with all the eerily accurate wax icons and I’m glad Viola and Clint were all about being as silly as possible as I was.

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There was even a part where we got to be inside a video game. It was us versus a sumo warrior who never fought back. We kicked his butt about ten times!

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After some more time goofing off in the wax museum, we left the mall and went back to Koh Sao Road. Viola needed a nap and I needed a shower.

What we all did later that evening…well…I’ll tell you about it on the next post. Don’t judge me.