This farm is not huge, but has a choice selection of snakes, with informative shows twice a day. It's about 60 baht if you go at the time of the show, otherwise it's free. Watch out, it can be gory if you go at feeding time. Also go here if you get bitten by a dog or snake during your stay - the Institute Pasteur on site provides anti-rabies vaccinations and other anti-venoms - bring the offending snake or a description of it if you can.
At one end of Henri Dunant road; take a short cut from Saladaeng Skytrain station across Soi Thaniya and cross Rama 4 road. Also near the subway station - the stop before Hua Lampong station.
This applies especially around the back of Soi Rambuttri near Khao San Road. Every morning I go for my muesli and a group of travellers will be haggling for a trip to the railway station. They're just standing there, looking like they've been just standing there for quite some time and in the interlocution I can just make out "100 baht each" or something ridiculous. For me this isn't a great way to start the day!
These drivers are time-wasters, not interested in using the meter, very interested in taking you for more than just a ride (definitely in the case of the tuk tuks), and getting in the damned way and making nuisances of themselves.
If you want to take a taxi:
1) Haul your bags over to the main road. For our group above that would be either Chakrapong or Phra Athit. Perhaps 50 metres. Yes, the hardships.
2) Flag down a taxi. This is easy, they're coming down the road in a constant procession.
3) Open the door, get in, tell him where you're going.
4) He'll switch the meter on.
5) Get to your destination, pay the fare, get out. (If you need to, you can wait a few seconds for your change. They offer change to the nearest five baht these days.)
While all this is happening your counterparts over at Soi Rambuttri will still be standing around engaging in useless banter with a dead-beat scam merchant who is not interested in turning on the ignition for anything less than a 500% markup.
For your information the trip to the railway station costs 50-60B - that's for the *car* not per person - taxis never charge per person.
That's the drill for taxis now...
If you want to take a tuk tuk:
They're filthy and they spew noxious pollution. That's the drivers I'm talking about. There's no need to take one in Bangkok for any kind of journey. The taxi will always win in terms of price, safety, speed and comfort. Do the locals a favour and help to consign these evil menaces to the scrap heap.
Back to taxis: I find the yellow ones to be a lot nicer than the blue ones. The purple ones are good too.
First time I arrived in Bangkok, a friend who arrived with me went to the shop in the airport and bought 20 Krong Tip cigarettes (these are very cheap). He then threw away the cigarettes but kept the packet. He then filled the packet with his British cigarettes. He explained to me, that when we visited the bars that night, the girls would see him smoking Thai cigarettes and assume he had no money and leave us alone. If they see you with British cigarettes, they assume you`ve just arrived in Thailand and have plenty of money with you.
Sure enough, that night in Pat Pong, all the girls stayed away from him.
When visiting Bangkok and some other cities in Thailand you may come across the exotic sight of an elephant walking down the city streets. The chances are the mahout (elephant keeper) will sell you bananas to feed the elephant, get the animal to perform a simple trick or charge you to have your photo taken. It is a simple transaction and the sight of an elephant in an urban environment something exciting that will add to your holiday.
However street elephants suffer the most terrible health problems, many are ill and drugged with amphetamines. The street begging is a racket played out at the elephant’s expense.
Please think twice and refuse to give the mahout money. If street begging with elephants stops being profitable it will stop.
If you are visiting Thailand and do want to have an elephant experience there are some much better alternatives. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Both men and women need to be covered up respectfully to visit the Royal Palace. Men must wear trousers and short-sleeved shirts at minimum. Women must have their shoulders covered and wear a skirt below the knees or trousers. Open-toed shoes are also not allowed.
You can hire sarongs and shoes and buy socks at reasonable prices but the queue is huge. It's best to be prepared.
Don't buy the suits that people often charm you into on the streets. In such areas such as Siam Square, they are often badly cut. But do have a chat with the people trying to sell them, as they will tell you lots of useful tips and places to go.
On our way to the grand palace, we got stopped twice by Thais telling us that it was closed. Do not believe them, this is just a scam to get you to go somewhere in a tuk-tuk. The grand palace only closes once or twice a year.
Don't let fear of getting ripped off stop you taking a taxi. Just be prepared to insist they use the meter, rather than giving you a flat-rate quote. Some drivers may refuse, if so, just try another. At least you get air-con when the traffic's bad.
Incidentally, the taxi drivers with Buddhist texts written on their cabs’ ceilings, seem to be more amiable - just an observation.
This is a horrible place. Along with the crocodiles there is also a zoo with very unhappy looking and exploited animals. We were aware that they used the crocodiles for their skin (well, it is a farm) but were unaware of the tiny enclosures some would be kept in.
Definitely a place to be avoided.
Always remember that Thais do not normally approach strangers and engage them in conversation. So watch out for people who approach you with something along the lines of: "I am a policemen, it's my day off, what are you looking for?"This always leads to shopping advice and before you know it, you're in a tuk-tuk, heading for a jewellery store. The scamsters hang around the Skytrain terminal in Siam Square and pick out first timers as they read the signs and look for the exit.Another scam involves con-artists convincing tourists that the grand palace is closed and and then attempting to take them on a "shopping" trip.
In my experience, Bangkok is a much more enjoyable place to return to than to arrive in.
It can be a bit of a shock to the system when you arrive fresh off the plane, for this reason I would recommend getting out of there quickly but giving yourself lots of time to explore it properly when you inevitably have to return.
After spending time in Thailand you will find Bangkok makes a lot more sense and becomes somewhere that you really want to explore.
For some time the authorities have been on a drive to keep Bangkok tidy, and like nothing better than making an example of a tourist. I once dropped a cigarette butt just outside the main railway station and it was all I could do to avoid serious trouble from the guards lying in wait.
Just don't do it anywhere! An old 35mm film container makes a handy receptacle for fag ends; anything else you can carry, can't you?
"Hello, I take you anywhere, many temple, jus' twenny baht!" So begins one of the oldest scams in Bangkok's voluminous book; I still fell for it. What the driver really wants is a petrol token, which will be given to him by someone at the tailors' or jewellers' shop he will inevitably bring you to after a short tour of the neighbourhood's least spectacular wats.
Outside most of Bangkok's main attractions.
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