When I arrived in Thailand 3 weeks ago I had no idea how different the transportation would be. In a way things are very similar but yet very different. Yes there are cars, buses, subways,taxis, sky trains just like back in the states. However there is also tuk-tuks, motor-taxis, and truck taxis. The tuk-tuks are 3 wheeled mini cars almost. The driver rides in the front and there is a bench in a cart like area. Depending upon where you are and where you were going the tuk-tuk seemed to be the best choice except for the fact you can only fit about 3-4 people, 5 if your really feeling crazy. The truck taxis are trucks in which the bed has benches and a cover over you, those were the best way to get around in Chiang Mai, but they are not even really an option in Bangkok. The first night we got to Thailand we decided to put all 18 of us into one taxi-truck it was a lot of fun but it was something that we decided not to do again. When we arrived in Bangkok we were informed that riding on a motor-taxi was an option, and after all the fun I had riding around with the students I was determined to take a motor-taxi, even though it is very ill-advised due to the safety risks. The fact is you ride on the back of a motorcycle, with a total stranger, no helmet and your driving in the middle of cars simply because you can. Transportation in Thailand is crazy, there are cars everywhere and everyone that is driving needs to be ready and alert because everyone is traveling fast. We all would talk about how shocked we were that we did not see more accidents. Navigating and getting around in Thailand is fairly easy, and negotiating the price you’re willing to pay usually works out in the end. At home I believe I am pretty good with directions and thought things would be no different here, I was able to handle myself in Chaing Mai and Chiang Rai but Bangkok was a whole different story. I decided to embark on a little journey to see my friend Faith, I took my map and figured it would be easy to take a tuk-tuk and thought that seemed liek the safest bet, however everyone kept telling me it was to far. I just kept walking down the sidewalk, deep down I was thinking come on Al just take the motor-taxi, but I was to nervous. I kept walking and walking then finally found myself at the sky-train station. I walked up to the counter, luckily had a picture of the address in Thai and English showed the cashier and asked which stop, she told me and I was on my way. The sky train part was easy, however after I still had no clue where I was. I walked down to the street, into a gas station they pointed me and I was on my way. One of the motor-taxi drivers walked up and offered me a ride I showed him the address he knew where to go. I thought to myself wow this is really happening and hoped on the back and away we were. As I was riding on the motorcycle I kept thinking to myself, oh my gosh this is insane, were traveling down the rode going a decent speed, I’m holding on for dear life and were weaving through traffic. I was simply praying I made it there. Nothing looked familiar to me and I was gettting a bit nervous when we finally stopped and we were in a dark street. I look over and see the sign Shanti Lodge. I was so happy, I had successfully navigated my way through Bangkok. The experience was insane, and my heart was pounding but I was extremely proud of myself.
The transportation in Thailand is crazy and unique, but in a way it is a lot of fun. I honestly think that the tuk-tuks and truck taxis should be an option back home, however the motor-taxi I think that may be out of the question.