One, or rather three nights in Bangkok, and the world is your oyster!

Well, as I wrote in the last post, there’s more to the Bangkok trip than just the meeting with all the different companies that offer internship possibilities. The meeting with all the sponsors was the kick-off to the rest of the night which took the majority of the class to different places around Bangkok. One group went to Khao San Road which is the backpacker capital of Thailand and offers really cheap beer and party. Another group went out with a few of the sponsors and actually ended up club hopping until the wee hours of the morning.

The view from our hotel, The Rembrandt on Sukhumvit Soi 18
The next morning when it was time for the breakfast at the Rembrandt hotel there were more than a couple of people who were really hungover, so a really nice hotel buffet breakfast was much appreciated. After having re-stocked the bodies’ supplies of energy, salts and fluids it was off to do some shopping. A big group of people went to one of the more interesting shopping malls in Bangkok, namely the insanely big and maze like MBK. 7 floors so big you can’t see from one end to the other that are bursting with fake goods and souvenirs of all different types at prices that need serious bargaining. Despite the astronomically high asking prices the final price that you actually pay(if bargained correctly) is usually surprisingly low. I bought a bunch of t-shirts at 150 bht each which is equivalent to roughly 30 SEK or USD 5 for the international readers. A pair of Dickies shorts were also bought at the very reasonable price of 50 SEK(USD 8).
A night in Bangkok just doesn’t feel complete without a beer or three so for night two the brave bunch of the class went out for a couple of beers. A much more chilled night than the first night at a much slower pace, seeing how everyone was quite worn out from the night before. During one of the rides in a taxi we had gone past a street that looked like a really nice bar street with lots of neon lights. The neon lights and proximity to where we were staying made it an obvious choice. Little did I know that I was taking everyone to Soi Cowboy, one of the more infamous red-light districts of Bangkok. We rather soon discovered that we had navigated to somewhere where we did not intend to be and thus settled down at one of the two bars on the end of the street that did not offer any shows. The next place we ended up in was probably the most interesting place of them all as it was something that is extremely foreign to us to have temporary bars on the sidewalk next to the biggest street in town. It was a really cool experience and definitely something to recommend! The night ended early as we had planned a much earlier start the following day.

Hotel breakfasts are the best. They serve up the biggest array of food that one could wish for. Everything from eggs any style and bacon to yoghurt to fresh fruit, you know the feeling. Thanks to an early night in people were up much earlier and really enjoyed the breakfast. The plan for the day was sightseeing in the afternoon with no scheduled activities for the morning. I had taken on the mission of ensuring that everyone had the literature needed for the logistics course and therefore I had to go ahead of the group and catch up with them later. I met up with Roy to try to get a good deal on a boat trip for the sightseeing and we reckoned that we could get a good discount on the trip because we were a large group.

Long-tail boat cruising on the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok
The original asking price was 650 bht/person for a trip lasting an hour on the Chao Praya river and the adjacent canals that would drop us at a pier close to Wat Pho(home of the reclining Buddha) and the Grand palace. We were happy with our bargaining skills when we managed to cut the price to 350 bht/person almost half of what the original asking price was. When Håkan arrive to finish off the deal it rather soon became evident to us that we would  have been seriously ripped off if we would have settled for that price. Apparently the going rate for a long-tail boat is roughly 1000 bht/hour and we would have been paying triple that.

Khao San Road - the backpacker mecca of Bangkok
After discovering that the Grand palace had shut half an hour before we arrived we made our way yet again to Khao San Road for a dinner which everyone attended. As per tradition this was not the last stop for the night and after the next stop on Kh San Rd it was off to an English pub to gather everyone together and after the pub there were two different teams, one that went home to the hotel and one that went on to one of the bigger night clubs, Narz which is short for Narcissus.

The Sunday was totally dedicated to shopping and the main attraction was the Chatuchak weekend market which is one of the crazier shopping experiences that Bangkok offers. Almost 5000 small shops are crammed into one enormous shed-looking building that gets really hot on a sunny day. The market offers close to every single commodity that money can buy at very reasonable prices. If you set out to walk down every isles and just look at every shop it would probably still take you a full two days to do so, so to go through the shops to find what you’re looking for is a tremendous task. If you ever go to Bangkok, you need to visit this market, no visit to Bangkok is complete without seeing JJ market(short for Jatujak(another spelling of Chatuchak)).

And on that bomb shell it’s time to end this post.

So until next time, peace out!

// Sebastian


Bangkok weekend getaway

So, after a few days of settling in Hua Hin it was time for an excursion to the capital of Thailand, Bangkok. This was a trip destined to be both for pleasure and business. Let’s do the business part first, shall we??

One of the key persons behind the project of studying in Thailand is Håkan Alm who has his own business here in Thailand and at the same time works at the School for business and informatics at the University of Borås. He also has a position with the Thai-Swedish chamber of commerce here in Bangkok that enables him to interact with Swedish people working in Thailand as well as Thai companies doing business with Sweden. Every first Thursday of the month there’s a group of people that gets together for a relaxed social gathering at a local pub. For the first meeting of the year Håkan had arranged for all of the students to join in.

The meeting began at six o’clock and continued for a few hours where we had a few beers, some really good food, but most importantly made new contacts with people who are either executives or owns a business in Thailand. The time in Thailand aims at developing us as individuals as we are put into a position where many of us has not been before, far away from home where it is hard to communicate because of language barriers, where your best friends and family are far away. The meeting we had on Thursday aimed at trying to get us students in touch with some of the people who might be able to help us out with internships for those who wish to stay a few extra months and gain some invaluable knowledge and experience. To the best of my knowledge the meeting was a great success and some serious networking took place. I know that a few people have already sorted out where they want to do their internships and some have almost sealed the deal! Companies that were represented at the meeting were Nordea, SEB, Oakwood hotels, Oriflame and ScandAsia, just to mention a few.
Stay tuned for an update regarding the rest of the weekend in Bangkok!

For now, peace out!


Thailand 2012

You know how you look forward to something that you know is going to happen and as it gets closer you get more and more excited? This trip to Thailand is exactly like that. For the students in the International Business Engineering programme it is an integrated part of the course and therefore we have known that we are going to Thailand for nearly a year and a half. There’s been lots of talk about it, lots of speculations and expectations and now the time has finally come and it is still quite unbelievable that we are here.

The original plan was to study in Bangkok, but due to the flooding of Bangkok and northern Thailand we have had to move to Hua Hin instead as the campus in Bangkok was severely affected by water damages. This obviously means that there will be a little more hassle with the practicalities concerning school. So far everything has worked a charm and no problems at all just because everyone is working really hard to make everything work well. The switch to Hua Hin has so far only been for the better as Hua Hin is a beach resort on the Thai gulf coast. And Bangkok is a 2.5 hour bus ride away, so I’m not complaining! The beach is white and lined with palm trees and nice hotels and houses, so it’s a picture-postcard city!

My name is Sebastian Dahlström, I’m 25 years old and I was born and raised in Borås. I have volunteered to do some blogging from our time in Thailand and try to give a representative view of what studying in Thailand is about. My main interests are action sports and photography. I do quite a bit of mountain biking and my biggest passion is backcountry skiing. I also enjoy diving and mountaineering. I feel that Thailand presents ample opportunities to practise all of the above activities, apart from skiing obviously.

The first couple of days in Thailand have been a lot about sorting out practicalities such as buying stuff that we didn’t bring from Sweden namely fans and water boilers and towels and so forth. We’ve also spent quite a bit of time figuring out how life in Thailand actually works with transportation and timing and well, just about everything that we need to know. The first couple of days were less than easy, but that would happen anywhere. You don’t know where you’re going or how to figure it out. After five days in Hua Hin we feel that we have a much better grasp of how things work than we did when we arrived and it’ll only get easier from here!

The past two days have been spent on the beach by the majority of the students that are here from UB. The weather is spectacular with low 30s temperature and clear blue skies all day long with a light breeze. So to spend two full days at the beach laying in the sun, or the shadow depending on skin tone, isn’t too hard to do. The food on the beach is also amazing! You get a proper thai fried rice for around 15 SEK, and that is considered rather expensive!

Tonight ( Sunday January 8th) we’re all meeting up with the teachers downtown for dinner and some information about the upcoming week! I will write more when I know a little bit more about how everything works with school.

So, for now, peace out!

// Sebastian from Hua Hin