On your left! On your right! Above you! Between the legs! They are everywhere in Thailand – tourists. The phrase “crowd control” is clearly not in the Thai vocabulary. When I visited the Royal Palace in Bangkok, the pictures I took should have looked like this:
But instead they looked like this:
It was a beautiful palace, but with 1,000 people wandering the site at any given moment in the day, the Disney Land atmosphere made me light-headed and nauseous.
Thankfully, many of my experiences so far in Thailand have been “tourist reduced,” so hopefully the following can help other travelers in similar situations.
Go to local events. Yes, there were a few tourists at the Muy Thai fights I attended, but 97% of the audience was Thai, and the roar of the gambling frenzied crowd reminded me of that every 30 seconds.
Eat local food. Once again, there were a few tourists at the floating market I ventured out to, but it was only one small tour bus group, so not a big deal. And the Thai mango salad was kick-ass.
Walk with the locals. Most tourists in Thailand are, well, let’s be honest, lazy. Taxis, tuk-tuks, the skytrain, etc. are the norm. If you are traveling a long distance, then I understand the need for some form of transportation other than your own two feet (especially if you have your backpack with you). But barring this situation, please walk around the city. There are so many nitty-gritty details you will see that a taxi ride
will never reveal.
Do local errands. Thailand is the epicenter of medical tourism in Southeast, if not all of, Asia. So when I took advantage of this dirt cheap anomaly one day (i.e., dental check-up and cleaning, routine blood work, etc.), the number of tourists I saw were less than the digits on my hand.
Forgo normal sleeping options. The national park I went to was crowded, but only during the normal operating hours. So by pitching a tent in the park for two nights, I had beautiful waterfalls virtually to myself when the day-trippers dispersed.
There are plenty of other ways to ditch the herds of sightseers, but I just wanted to share a few personal examples.
As for all of the non-travelers out there, take this post as a lesson in thinking outside the box. Or a lesson in not being afraid to do something a little offbeat. I understand there will always be a way that most people are performing an activity, but there is no reason for you to follow in line like the rest of the sheep. A man who ventures towards the unconventional returns a man wiser of the conventional.
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