Tiliman’s Weblog

July 19, 2008

Thailand, not so nice after all

I recently got opportunity to go to Thailand and stay in Bangkok for a month. Actually, I am writing this entry from Bangkok.

Thailand is considered a very good tourist place but I find it hard to believe that Thai people really care about tourists. Here is why

Worst home internet ever

Thailand has probably the worst internet in one of modern countries. I am not myself from a very modern country (Pakistan) but still we get much better connection and more bandwidth (international) than Thailand. Our lag in Pakistan with servers around the world is much lower than Thailand. I mostly have to do remote management of servers in Europe and ABC Islands.
Thailand internet service providers (ISPs) mostly give you packages on ADSL from 128Kbps to 2Mbps. In reality the bandwidth is really different. When they promise 1Mbps you only get 256K  for international traffic and 1Mbps is applicable for traffic within Thailand. 256K or even 512K is pretty low in modern world specially when you have to pay for 1Mbps connection, 650 baht (20 USD) for first 6 months and 1000 baht (30 USD) after first 6 months. My SSH sessions are really painful to work on. The connection after midnight gets much better.

Over 95% Cheating Taxi drivers

I have had some experience with taxi drivers in different countries including China (Guangzhou, Shenzhen) but I have not seen such cheating taxi drivers ever.  The drivers will always take you the long way. When you are new in city, you will not notice that as you will not recognise different streets and the area where you are residing.  After 2-3 times of going out you will notice that you will be on the road where your residence is but driver will take left/right turn and then will circle around the area of your residence before taking you to your residence. The idea is simply to make more money of course.  This is not rare and I won’t be exaggerating to say that this happens 95% of the time. I have tried shouting at driver to take left or right when I saw the road to my residence but Mr Driver would either show a blank face pretending to not understand even the basic hand gestures or will try to explain in 1 to 2 words that there is more traffic this way. This is really bad and discouraging for tourists indeed.

Language Barrier

This is one of the biggest issues in Thailand. Just like China, very few people speak English and even a lot of sign-boards, instructions, maps and ingredients (note: halal and kosher food seekers) are in Thai. People even in shops don’t speak much English and use of calculator is important while negotiating for price. I know this can be interesting but for most part this is frustrating as when you really need to go somewhere and nobody can explain proper directions.
Thai websites are mostly in Thai only. Even big companies like AIS (Mobile/Internet company) have English sections but when clicked half of items in flash remain in Thai. A lot of websites only put Under Construction for their English version of website. Even the 404 pages are in Thai. Happens a lot with buddybb.

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