Justins World

Musings of mine

Today was a travel day to Singapore. Originally I was going to spend a week in Thailand but decided I could not do justice to Thailand in a week and had no inkling of spending some quality alone time in Phuket. So I decided to come home via Singapore, a place I’ve been to in the past but never spent much time here, so another 2 nights here will be great. Before I get onto my musings, I have to talk about Singaporean Taxi drivers. Again another great driver who was friendly, talkative, asked about me, talked to me about his holiday in Israel, and just was a nice friendly driver. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but doubt it as many others have said the same about taxi drivers here. In fact i opted for the taxi today because I knew it would be good and in fact only $20 singapore to get to my hotel (less in aussie $$$). The train would have had 3 changes and a good walk, so the taxi was worth it today!
My first musing is about backpackers. I consider myself a backpacker of sorts, but far from the sterotypical one. I’ll travel as cheaply as I can while maintaining a level of comfort. The reason I’ve had some thoughts about this, is because Bhutan’s tourist policy is to keep out the cheap skate backpackers. This is something Noel took some offence too I believe, however our guide said if he is in Bhutan he is not a backpacker in Bhutan. In Bhutan i was never hassled by a local to buy anything, never lied to about a temple or shop being closed,, none of the negatives at all associated with the asian countries it is in proximity to. This is something I enjoyed immensely and to some extent why Bhutan is so different.
In Thailand, people try to coerce you onto tuk-tuks, tell you places are closed or try to shepard you into their restaurant. The backpackers have dress standards of as little as possible, guys seem to think shirts are optional and girls tend to think showing their midriff is preferable. Yet Noel who is also a backpacker has very little in common, other than staying in cheap places and travelling cheaply. He certainly doesn’t drink like the backpackers do and he dresses conservatively. Of course not all the youth are like this either, so you can’t really put a label on it. I do believe Bhutan is in a good position to maintain its policy of charging travellers $200-$250 a day to visit, the locals all seem happy, they get free health and education, they all have land. My thoughts are that the wealthy travellers tend to not give a toss about any country they visit, they just go because its trendy to be seen there. Bhutan needs to target those that want to visit their country, so perhaps offering an option of staying in cheaper accommodation while still paying the royalty could be worth while and would probably only reduce the fee by say $50 a day, but it would be a good option. That said the crowds on the Tigers nest walk could be unbearable in the future and we will get to the point that you need tickets to visit the monastery, much like many other places in the world.
Onto Bangkok as a single traveller. It is pretty boring to be alone in Bangkok. I did watch some of the Asian Draughts Championships in the hotel, saw a kickboxing match across the road next to the mall, visited as many temples as I could take and rode on the water transport of Bangkok, which was the best part for me. In HK and Singapore I can entertain myself, but in Bangkok it seems to be about the bars and the partying. I probably won’t head back there any time soon, despite the cheap tasty food! The Bangkok train is good though from the airport to the city. Worse case you then get a taxi from the city terminal of the airport train.
Well i’m off to see the gardens by the bay at night in Singapore, something I missed last time. I haven’t decided about what to do the next 2 days, but have many options!

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