Maybe it’s because I grew up in Southeast Asia but there’s something about being in Thailand that feels very familiar. The tropical weather, people’s warmth, and the general setting of stores, streets, and shops remind me of the Philippines. Moreover, the smell of Thai food seems to hang in the air and whets my natural appetite.

When I’m in China, I know enough Chinese to get around, even hold basic conversation. When I was in Turkey and Greece, I was with a group and there were enough people who spoke English that I did not have too much trouble with getting what I needed. Today, I had my first encounter with culture shock. I tried to go downtown using public transportation and realized that I know nothing of the Thai language, not even the numbers. For the first time in a very long time, I resorted to sign language, motioning, and even grunting. It did not feel very good.

The most common (and least expensive) transportation around here is the “song tau” (that’s how it’s pronounced in Thai). It is like the jeepneys in Manila, only they are not as well-decorated and every single one is colored red. Unlike the ones in Manila, they do not have a definite route but go where their passengers ask them to go.

song tau

I flagged at least two of them but I had such difficulty communicating that I could not tell them where I needed to go (much less bargain the price down). I had a piece of paper with the name of the place but they did not understand me. Finally, this seamstress on the sidewalk (who was clearly a lady boy, by the way) had compassion on me and helped me get a tuk-tuk. He/She talked to the driver and gave him directions. She also got me the local price for the fare. Later, I found out that I was charged for half the price they usually ask most foreigners.


The food here is so good that I’ll be blogging about what I eat for every day that I’m here. Tonight: Pad Thai.

shrimp pad thai

3 Responses to “Transportation”

  1. Elbert Chang says:

    Pad Thai… Mmmm…

  2. mbcohao says:

    Amen! :-)

  3. Marilen says:

    Tuk tuk – a very fancy tricycle I see 😉

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