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Old 01-12-2012, 04:20 PM
 
8,266 posts, read 10,721,779 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Not as bad as the Chinese cities, though. The worst I've ever seen.
I think the biggest advantage of large Chinese cities is they have traffic tools in place specifically for pedestrians. Whether it is pedestrian or bike tunnels that go underground, traffic lights (as you mentioned often lacking in Vietnam they seem to favor intersection chaos or a roundabout where motorbikes go both ways) or even designated crossing guards who blows whistles at pedestrians who dare try to cross when they shouldn't. I've had whistles blown at me in China for walking on grass in the freaking park.

China is also better with nice wide sidewalks, Thailand/Vietnam haev no problem with merchants/restaurants/etc. building right out onto the sidewalk with product displays, tables, or even vehicles for sale. Often in Thailand it is a rare treat to be able to walk a block without having to go into the street to get around something.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:55 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,464,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
I think the biggest advantage of large Chinese cities is they have traffic tools in place specifically for pedestrians. Whether it is pedestrian or bike tunnels that go underground, traffic lights (as you mentioned often lacking in Vietnam they seem to favor intersection chaos or a roundabout where motorbikes go both ways) or even designated crossing guards who blows whistles at pedestrians who dare try to cross when they shouldn't. I've had whistles blown at me in China for walking on grass in the freaking park.

China is also better with nice wide sidewalks, Thailand/Vietnam haev no problem with merchants/restaurants/etc. building right out onto the sidewalk with product displays, tables, or even vehicles for sale. Often in Thailand it is a rare treat to be able to walk a block without having to go into the street to get around something.
Haha tell me about it, that made navigating the streets of Saigon and Hanoi even more hazardous. Best to do what the locals do.
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:24 AM
 
5,097 posts, read 8,079,187 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I agree with the congestion. It's more of a problem in Bangkok and KL than Saigon or Hanoi. I think it's to do with the motorbikes in Vietnam - they just weave in and out. In Saigon they even use the footpaths as an 'express lane'! I also think that, since most Vietnamese don't work office jobs with regular hours, there's no 'peak hour.' It's always busy, but traffic is not funneled into certain times of the day. Pollution in Bangkok seemed pretty bad too, there was a light haze across the city. Not as bad as the Chinese cities, though. The worst I've ever seen.
With regard to Bangkok, I agree it can get pretty smoggy, but it seems to be better than it was 20 years ago. I remember years ago when flying between Don Meung and Chiang Mai, rising up above the haze and looking down at how thick and brown it looked. The skytrain and subway were suppose to reduce traffic congestion and smog, but I'm not so sure it's worked out quite as well as originally envisioned. The main roads going in and out of the city still seem as crowded as ever. Part of the problem is the ever-going process of new construction of more high rises (trappiing heat and smog in the city) and more industrial parks outside of the city. Cities in Thailand may be better off in terms of congeston and smog, in comparison to cities in China, but then Thailand isn't as large and heavily populated as China. It really is amazing to see how much Bangkok has grown over the last 20 or so years.
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:46 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
22,592 posts, read 12,357,889 times
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The thing that sets Bangkok apart from the others is that it is "grander" and more "historic" than the others ... it is a Royal City. I'll explain later.

This is not to dismiss the fact that BKK is very hot most of the year, has air quality problem, is very congested, and not as clean as some of the cities mentioned. BKK in terms of size and population - about 8 million people - is the largest in SE Asia.

Now you mentioned the Grand Palace and the Wat Arun temple ... but it seems to me that you really only scratched the surface in terms of exploring the city. There are hundreds of temples and shrines and at least a dozen really worth visiting for their architectural splendor. BKK also has the best museums of any of the SE Asian cities. There are also other palaces and mansions and parks (besides Lumpini) that are gorgeous. Most people visit a place for 4,5, or 6 days and think they properly saw it. Not true of any great world-class city such as Paris, Mexico City, London, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Istanbul, etc.

As I said before, BKK is a Royal City, so there is an element of grandeur and spectacle about it ... the golden royal dragon barges on the Chao Phya River, a performance of the traditional Siamese royal Khon ballet and opera, the parades and processions, religious festivals, the dancers at the Erawan shrine in their golden Siamese costumes, etc.

Most tourists don't bother.

Most tourists haven't ascended to the top of The Golden Mount, or visited the Little India or Chinatown or Malay Village. Not many have visited the glorious Wat Benchamabhopit (The Marble Temple - a tour de force of 19th Century Rattanakoison architecture) and the incredibly elegant and manicured gardens surrounding it. Instead they are taken to mediocre restaurants no Thai person would ever eat in, visit the touristy and overpriced night markets like the one in Pat Pong, and mostly remember the skyscrapers and elevated freeways.

Sad.
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:46 PM
 
8,266 posts, read 10,721,779 times
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Hey man Pat Pong is great people watching. When in town the wife and I almost always have on night where we take the el there, get a nice table out on a patio with a good view of the foot traffic, and watch the freak show while getting completely **** faced.

Great times.
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:55 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,464,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Park View Post
The thing that sets Bangkok apart from the others is that it is "grander" and more "historic" than the others ... it is a Royal City. I'll explain later.

This is not to dismiss the fact that BKK is very hot most of the year, has air quality problem, is very congested, and not as clean as some of the cities mentioned. BKK in terms of size and population - about 8 million people - is the largest in SE Asia.

Now you mentioned the Grand Palace and the Wat Arun temple ... but it seems to me that you really only scratched the surface in terms of exploring the city. There are hundreds of temples and shrines and at least a dozen really worth visiting for their architectural splendor. BKK also has the best museums of any of the SE Asian cities. There are also other palaces and mansions and parks (besides Lumpini) that are gorgeous. Most people visit a place for 4,5, or 6 days and think they properly saw it. Not true of any great world-class city such as Paris, Mexico City, London, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Istanbul, etc.

As I said before, BKK is a Royal City, so there is an element of grandeur and spectacle about it ... the golden royal dragon barges on the Chao Phya River, a performance of the traditional Siamese royal Khon ballet and opera, the parades and processions, religious festivals, the dancers at the Erawan shrine in their golden Siamese costumes, etc.

Most tourists don't bother.

Most tourists haven't ascended to the top of The Golden Mount, or visited the Little India or Chinatown or Malay Village. Not many have visited the glorious Wat Benchamabhopit (The Marble Temple - a tour de force of 19th Century Rattanakoison architecture) and the incredibly elegant and manicured gardens surrounding it. Instead they are taken to mediocre restaurants no Thai person would ever eat in, visit the touristy and overpriced night markets like the one in Pat Pong, and mostly remember the skyscrapers and elevated freeways.

Sad.
I agree many of the temples, pagodas and palaces look very grand. Everything is gilded in gold and the detailing on some of the buildings is impossibly ornate. The Royal Palace was very impressive, I must say, it's a pity we weren't allowed to view the actual building. I hear the King and royal family doesn't spend as much time there anymore though.

I ascended the Golden Mount (I wouldn't have had not a Tuk-tuk driver shown me around), saw about five different temples/pagodas, and I visited Chinatown, which didn't have a very Chinese feel compared to most Chinatowns I'm used to. I hear the Chinese are very integrated into Thai society so that might be it. A lot of Thais are of part or full Chinese ancestry and are basically Thai now.

I stayed in Khao San road which is extremely touristy. I also went to Pat-pong...now I'll know to avoid all those stripper/hooker bars. I must have dropped close to $100 in one night and I didn't even get with a prostitute. That was not my intention anyway.

I'll probably return to Bangkok some day, though. Would be nice to see more of Thailand, I've only been to Bangkok and Phuket.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:59 PM
 
Location: Earth
24,639 posts, read 24,854,418 times
Reputation: 11319
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Park View Post
The thing that sets Bangkok apart from the others is that it is "grander" and more "historic" than the others ... it is a Royal City. I'll explain later.

This is not to dismiss the fact that BKK is very hot most of the year, has air quality problem, is very congested, and not as clean as some of the cities mentioned. BKK in terms of size and population - about 8 million people - is the largest in SE Asia.

Now you mentioned the Grand Palace and the Wat Arun temple ... but it seems to me that you really only scratched the surface in terms of exploring the city. There are hundreds of temples and shrines and at least a dozen really worth visiting for their architectural splendor. BKK also has the best museums of any of the SE Asian cities. There are also other palaces and mansions and parks (besides Lumpini) that are gorgeous. Most people visit a place for 4,5, or 6 days and think they properly saw it. Not true of any great world-class city such as Paris, Mexico City, London, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Istanbul, etc.

As I said before, BKK is a Royal City, so there is an element of grandeur and spectacle about it ... the golden royal dragon barges on the Chao Phya River, a performance of the traditional Siamese royal Khon ballet and opera, the parades and processions, religious festivals, the dancers at the Erawan shrine in their golden Siamese costumes, etc.

Most tourists don't bother.

Most tourists haven't ascended to the top of The Golden Mount, or visited the Little India or Chinatown or Malay Village. Not many have visited the glorious Wat Benchamabhopit (The Marble Temple - a tour de force of 19th Century Rattanakoison architecture) and the incredibly elegant and manicured gardens surrounding it. Instead they are taken to mediocre restaurants no Thai person would ever eat in, visit the touristy and overpriced night markets like the one in Pat Pong, and mostly remember the skyscrapers and elevated freeways.

Sad.
You're just trying to get me to cut my holiday to Chiang Mai short by a few days, aren't you.
I so love Thailand.
Inexpensive yet delicious foods, accommodations, transit; lovely, lovely people.
History and archtecture.

Clark, thanks. I'm currently in northern Thailand and really appreciate your post.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,356,272 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bideshi View Post
I wholeheartedly agree with you on Dhaka, but please tell me about Katmandu.
Katmandu simply didn't seem to have any vibe. It was just a medium sized Asian city, a little bit on the dreary side, and bordering on the sleepy.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:50 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
22,592 posts, read 12,357,889 times
Reputation: 15500
Interesting fact:

The Number One tourist destination in the world is not New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong nor Tokyo.

It is Bangkok.
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Old 10-06-2013, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
59 posts, read 82,197 times
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Hong Kong/Macau/Guangzhou - I did all three in one trip before jetting off to the Philippines. I loved them all, although I have to say I liked Hong Kong and Macau more than Guangzhou. I felt the former were more clean and safe than the latter, and they had more to offer to a tourist. I did, however, love exploring the backstreets of the Chinese city.
Taipei - This was like Tokyo to me; I liked it a bit, but not overwhelmingly so. I find the modern, fast pace of life quite confusing and a bit odd.
Singapore - The food, accommodation and experience I had here was equalled only by Hong Kong. Felt clean, safe and the scenery from the top of my hotel was breathtaking. I liked the green spaces dotted in between the genuinely overwhelming skyscrapers, and exploring some of the smaller islands before they are turned into another office block was great.
Kathmandu - Whilst not in Southeast Asia, some people have discussed it so I'll go ahead and say it is a very different experience to all others. I prefer it as a base to explore the Himalayas and Northern India and Nepal than as a city to stay and spend your whole holiday in.
Bangkok - Did not like Bangkok at all. Definitely felt quite seedy.
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