Thailand for Inexperienced Travelers

Bangkok's Khao San Road Goes Upscale [NY Times illustration]

Over at the New York Times’s Travel Q&A Blog, David G. Allan recently pointed out some resources for two inexperienced travelers coming to Thailand. I was happy to see that my Khao San Road story was among the highlighted articles.

I am 18 and not a terribly experienced traveler. I have traveled in the United States, Spain and Portugal. This May a friend and I are braving our way to Thailand. The tickets have been purchased, but the itinerary is not yet set, and we have our anxieties, as do our mothers. Do you have any advice on where to go? We are doing the trip on a budget, and we are looking for a very cultural, and exciting, experience.

Polly Peterson,
Olympia, Wash.

Thailand is quite safe in terms of crime, very inexpensive and culturally exciting. You should have an experience that eases your (and your mothers’) anxiety by sticking to well-worn travel paths yet avoiding any elements that cater to foreign tastes in illicit sex or drugs (which is strictly prosecuted).

You will no doubt fly into Bangkok, and you should stay long enough to visit such sites as the Grand Palace and Wat Arun and take a boat ride along the Chao Phraya. If you want to meet fellow backpackers, you might explore Khao San Road as Newley Purnell did in “A Hippie Haven Goes Upscale” (Aug. 19, 2007). For good (and inexpensive) food options, read “Street Smarts in Bangkok” (Jan. 6, 2008) by Joshua Kurlantzick, and for a glimpse into the lives of the city’s up-and-coming artists, read “To Be Young and Hip in Bangkok,” by Matt Gross (Nov. 20, 2005)…

There’s more info in the complete blog post.

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