After a wonderful week experiencing what Bangkok has to offer it almost time to say goodbye to this place. Last night was the our farewell dinner at Vertigo Skybar in the Banyan Tree hotel in Bangkok. The experience was amazing and we got to share it with our new friends we made during our visit here.
This blog will be on my first experience on a vehicle know as the Tuk Tuk. The Tuk Tuk is a unique taxi services offered in Thailand. It is very popular with tourist due to their novelty value. The Tuk Tuk gets its name from the sound of their engineers they are motorised rickshaws. The vehicle can fit up to 3-4 people depending on size. My adventure on a Tuk Tuk was accompany by Rose and Valerie. we decided to a take a Tuk Tuk from the BKM mall back to our hotel, Sofitel. It was a pretty wild adventure as at one point we was traveling through a dark back road and noticed a number of local families with children, roaming dogs and not one tourist in sight. We were traveling in this area for at least a full 5 mins. Once we got back onto the main road, we were driving on the wrong side of the road over large hills for a period of time, going at least 25-35mph. The driver seem like he knew what he was doing during the entire trip but I know that us three were hanging for dear life. We were all good once we reached our hotel. Overall, the driver was very nice from beginning to end. The ride was a bit scary but I would totally do it again. I can’t speak the same for the other two traveling with me though.
Please see the following mini goofy video on the Tuk Tuk.
This blog will be about my first Thai massage also known as Thai yoga massage in Bangkok. I have received massages before in many different places through out the United States. One thing I was planning on doing is trying out a Thai massage. I decided to try one at a nice establishment that was with in walking distance of my hotel, Sofitel. The place was named Lavana. Trying this place out with me was Rose, Tom, and Ashley. At the beginning of the experience they take you to an area to wash your feet. After spending a few minutes their, they take you to a room where the massage takes place. In this room, I had to change into a Thai outfit for the massage as I will be wear this through out the massage. Therefore, oil will not be used. It all takes place on a padded mat on the floor and the one room has four mats therefore four people can be getting the Thai massage at once. During this hour long massage, the therapist uses her hands, knees, legs, and feet to move me into a series of yoga-like stretches along with the traditional massages to my legs, arms, back and neck. After the massage, I am directed back to the lobby to relax with a cup of hot green tea and a shot of strawberry mousse. The Thai massage was 450 THB, which was a little more than 13 USD. The entire experience was fantastic. I actually enjoyed so much that I booked another massage for the next day! Please see photos from the experience.
Experiencing the Thai massage for the very first time!
Today was the day we didn’t know what to expect. We were given the option to drive 2 hours outside of Bangkok to ride an elephant. Sounds crazy.. and it was.
First off – It was amazing watching the scenery as we drive through Thailand outside of the big city of Bangkok. Just from driving through you can pick out the many differences. The homes, the style, the arcutecture, the markets, etc. all very different! I also should mention throughout this trip we had an incredible tour guide- Tong! We were so grateful to her and as we traveled off to side trips like Tokyo and Hong Kong we very much wished she was there. Ok back to the elephants… Right when we get there we see all these amazing elephants and thankfully a chair on top. It was two to an elephant and you had a guide who helped steer.
Riding the elephant!
Enjoying the elephant ride!
Enjoying the elephant ride experience!
Posing with the elephant!
This was out of this world. You really had to plan your weigh distribution – we kept tipping over but never fell off! It was so cool! we even went through the water. Some of the cohort took it even farther and bathed with the elephants. This pictures came out amazing and the elephants seemed to love it – many of the cohort feed the elephants bananas. Turned out elephants don’t peel the bananas and they eat more than 5 at a time!! Amazing day and a great way to end our travels in Thailand!”
Please watch the following video to see the students in action while riding the elephant!
I’d never considered sight to be a vital sense involved in the dining experience, that is until I ate a meal in complete darkness.
Before entering the restaurant we selected the style of cuisine we preferred: western, eastern, chefs choice which combines the two or vegetarian. As we entered the restaurant, we were guided into the darkness by our waiter, Neil, who is visually impaired. Once seated, we relied on our sense of touch to locate our utensils, water and each other. As each of the four courses were served, we had no idea what was in front of us. We talked through each bite. What are you tasting? What do you think of the texture? What is this crunchy stuff?
To conclude the experience, we returned to the light and we were showed photos of what each dish looked like and what components were in each.
Our experience at Dine in the Dark was unlike any other and I highly recommend it for any foodies and adventurers. Don’t be afraid of the dark.
I’ve never seen anything like it before. There was even a cute little girl loving the fishes on her feet. If she can do this… Then anybody can!
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I dived my feet right in. Immediately it tickled. I had my mouth open in laughter for the first 5 min. The experience is for only 15 minutes and costs 150 baht (approximately 5$ and change).
Unfortunately, the fish spa isn’t as popular in Bangkok and I had expected. I had to take two trains from my hotel to the location. This spa is located at a popular tourist destination called Asiatique. It reminds me of Pointe, Orlando off International drive.
The journey to the fishes was worth the time in travel. This was a fun and unique experience.
Traveling in Bangkok certainly poses a number of challenges when it comes to iconography. The symbolic representation of images for other objects or actions is a pretty common in most cities and countries. It creates a visual short hand to quickly communicate information.
Here in Bangkok the use of icons helped us to find everything from trains to taxis to restaurants. However, searching for the restroom at a while detouring through a shopping center created more questions than answers.
Where are the……..restrooms?
I took a quick survey of my cohort members and the majority of them felt that none of these images was a accurate representation of using the restroom. We followed the sign and made our way to a dead end in our path. There was no restroom and assumed we simply misinterpreted the icons. That is until one my my more observant peers saw the following hiding in plain sight.
What appeared to me to be a store front for a some futuristic postmodern international Abercrombie & Fitch, was in fact the ever elusive restroom we were seeking. While traveling in Bangkok it became clear that one’s world view is not necessarily the view held by the rest of the world. In the end we were a little wiser and pleasantly relieved.
His name is Bhumibol Adulyadej, but no one calls him that. He goes by the title of King. Thailand is legally a constitutional monarchy, much like the UK, with a King as more of a figurehead leader. Officially, he has no giverning power but he is one of the predominant binding forces keeping the Thai People together. Thailand has experienced many political coups in the past decade and is currently under martial law with talks of elections in the future. With all of this political turmoil; however, The Country of Thailand is a stabilizing force in Southeast Asia. Bangkok has become an economic powerhouse in the region and draws in tourists, trade, and culture from all over the world. Something didn’t seem right to me though. How could a country be both politically unstable and a region stabilizer at the same time? The answer is two fold: the king and Buddhist ideals of balance and peace. The king is widely adored by his people. The city is covered with images of both the king and his eldest daughter who recently celebrated a birthday. This adoration and respect for the king is pervasive and is seen in almost every aspect of Thai life. Take the movies for example. After the previews the theater plays the king’s anthem and a tribute video. During this video the entire audience stands silently in respect of the king. When political unrest begins to boil and a coup unfolds, the king is there to give his blessing to the new government.
The king and queen have four children. The eldest child, the one who traditionally would ascend to the throne after his father’s passing, is unfortunately not liked by the Thai people. He is not celebrated or really even mentioned. This brings me to the elephant in the room. What happens when the king, who is 87 years old, passes? This is the million-dollar question. Will the prince be king? Will the king appoint his eldest daughter as the Queen breaking tradition but in doing so perhaps provide more stability? Will Thailand cease to have a king? The princess is loved by her people and could bring stability to the region, but if the prince is coroneted as king there is a very real possibility that Thailand could be heading for some rough waters ahead.
Just one of the many monuments to the king that can be seen all over the country.
One of the many banners around Bangkok celebrating the Princess’ birthday.
By: Britteny Freemyer, Jessica Zaucha, Joseph Iglecia-Scholl and Karla Powell .
On Wednesday, June 24th, our class met with JT who currently works with Human Resources for McDonald’s in Thailand. Our class learned about McDonald’s brand ambitious an traditions utilizing three key ares: good food, good people and good neighbor. JT also went through some of the new initiatives the company is establishing here in Thailand including, the McEasy. This is an electronic system that allows the customers to select their meal choices all with an click of a button. This system is all throughout Thailand stores and is moving across the world.
We had the opportunity to tour their facility and see different area of the McDonald’s center. Like most businesses there were offices, cubicles and conference rooms, but there was more. In one rooms there was a play room with pool tables, game pods and large chairs to relax. Throughout the building there were also smaller McCafe and soda machines from the restaurants. It was interesting to see their space and learn about their training programs and initiatives in the country of Thailand. One such initiative is helping the senior leaders of the company to “get their hands dirty’ and see a day in the life of a front line employee. Once a year, one of the restaurants is selected to host the senior leaders. The leaders trade their suits and ties for a McDonald’s uniform and spend a day training and working in various positions around the operation. This helps to keep the executives in touch with the needs and desires of the customers and employees.
McCafe and soda machines from the restaurants located hroughout the building!
Students learning about McDonald’s brand ambitious and traditions utilizing three key ares: good food, good people and good neighbor.