Blogger Guides – Featured Blogger Mark Weins – Migrationology.com
by Alyssa Ramos
– What made you move to Bangkok?
I originally came to Thailand to eat, I just wanted to explore the food. Really, it was as simple as that. I got a ticket to Thailand, with next to zero life plans, but a hunger to eat and travel. After traveling around SE Asia for a few months, I ended up returning to Bangkok to connect with a friend, and eventually I ended up teaching English for a year. During my year teaching, I grew to love Bangkok through many explorations and experiences.
– How would you describe the people?
Thai people are, for the most part, very friendly and caring. Around certain touristy areas, and in some of the bigger public markets, some people are not the kindest, but get out of the touristy areas, and many people are extremely hospitable and eager to smile and talk to you.
– What are the must see touristy things to do?
Grand Palace / Wat Phra Kaew – The most famous attraction in Bangkok, and the most sacred temple in Thailand
Wat Pho – Famous reclining Buddha
Chatuchak Market – A huge market where you can find just about anything you’re looking for, from clothes to souvenirs.
Chinatown (main area is very touristy, but get off the trail and the district is mostly non-touristy) – Go for the open air markets and street food
– What are the must see non-touristy things to do?
Bike around Bang Krachao (Phra Pradaeng) – A great place to rent a bicycle and cruise around
Day trip to Koh Kret Island – Just north of Bangkok, in Nonthaburi, there’s an island in the Chao Phraya River. On the weekends there’s a market to visit.
– Any tips for keeping a budget?
1. Eat local Thai food instead of at international restaurants
2. Fill your water bottles at vending machine filter stations (you’ll find them in Bangkok neighborhoods), instead of having to buy all your water (it will be 1 Baht per liter, instead of about 10 – 12 Baht per liter)
3. Take buses and local transportation
4. Don’t try to do everything when you’re in Bangkok, do the things you really want to do and are most interested in
– Most important safety tip?
Overall, most central areas of Bangkok are safe, but that being said you should always be on guard and here are a few tips.
1. Pickpockets – It’s not something to be paranoid about, but like any big and busy city, always keep an eye on your pockets, especially when you’re in crowded places.
2. Taxis – Remember that all taxis are supposed to use the meter. So if you try to get in a taxi and the driver offers you a set high price, like says 300 Baht, don’t take it, but just wait to find a taxi who will use the meter.
3. Scams – When you’re in popular tourist areas, like around the Grand Palace, beware of usually tuktuk drivers who say attractions are closed, so that you’ll use their service to go somewhere else (even if the attraction is actually open).
– What’s the claim to fame food favorite?
There are so many delicious things to eat in Bangkok. One of the most popular Thai street food dishes for locals is a dish called pad kra pao, which is your choice of meat (shrimp, pork, chicken etc.), stir fried with garlic, chilies, and Thai holy basil. Pad kra pao is served over a plate of rice, often with a “kai dao,” or fried egg on the side. Also in Bangkok, boat noodles, little bowls of rice noodles in a spiced pork broth, is extremely popular (http://www.eatingthaifood.com/2013/05/thai-boat-noodles-doy-kuay-teow-reua/).
– What stereotypes from The Hangover are completely false?
I think the biggest misconception from the movie is the proximity of Bangkok to the beach. In the movie, they take a boat in Bangkok and arrive on a beautiful beach in the next scene, but that place (Krabi) is actually about a 12 hour bus ride, or 1 hour plane flight away.
– If I wanted to volunteer for a day, where would I go?
I have a friend, Dwight Turner, who started In Search of Sanuk (http://insearchofsanuk.com/), an organization that aims to help people while having fun. He’s not always looking for short term volunteers, mostly longer term help, but he occasionally organizes fundraising events, where he could use help or that you can attend. Check out his website or facebook page (http://facebook.com/insearchofsanuk) for current projects.
– How and in what language do people greet each other?
Thai is the language, and here are a few important phrases:
Hello (if you’re male) – Sawadee krap
Hello (if you’re female) – Sawadee kha
Thank you (if you’re male) – Kop khun krap
Thank you (if you’re female) – Kop khun kha
Males use the word “krap” after nearly every sentence to be polite, and likewise females use “kha” after most sentences to show politeness.
– What is your typical day like?
As an independent food, travel, and video blogger, my days are quite varied. Some days I spend the entire day exploring Bangkok, and checking out restaurants I’ve never been to. Other days I sit at the computer all day and write or edit videos. Whatever I do, I’ll often wake up early in the morning, do a bit of work, then walk to the market, get some food for breakfast, then either go out for the day or work at home. In the evening I try to do some exercise, normally jogging, and then have dinner. At night, I rarely go out anymore, but mostly keep blogging and editing videos, and sleep quite early. When I’m traveling in Thailand though, I tend to go out exploring during the early morning, then come back to my guest house / hotel during the midday heat, and then venture out again in the evening.
– How popular/involved are people in social media in Bangkok?
People are very involved in social media in Bangkok. Facebook is probably the biggest and most widely used social media site, but mobile Instagram is also huge. Also, YouTube is extremely popular, many people watch videos.
– If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
Learn and strive to improve in whatever you do. Never give up learning.
Alyssa is a self-made, full time travel blogger who loves adventure and typically travels the world solo. She's been to 53 countries and 6 continents so far, and believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!