Bangkok is a challenge. It’s easy to get stuck in a traffic jam there, get lost in its chaos, get scammed. And even if you manage to avoid these pitfalls, the city carefully guards its secrets and only unveils them to those who know where to look. If you’re looking for someone to help you with that difficult task, you’ve just found him.
Thailand became a part of Maciek Malewicz’s life more than 10 years ago. And now, since he moved to Bangkok a few months ago he helps other visitors to truly experience this dazzling place. Read on to find out how to visit Bangkok to truly see, feel and understand it.
For starter tell us who are you and where do you come from?
Maciek Malewicz: I am from where I am and I am what I experienced and managed to learn 🙂 I currently live in Bangkok but I come from Warmia region of Poland where I was born and grew up. Who am I? I’m a lucky guy!
How long have you lived in Thailand, what brought you here and what made you stay?
I’v been living in Bangkok for a couple of months now but I must have spent at least a year here, on a and off, visiting my family and traveling as a tourist. My wife is Thai and she was born in Bangkok. We’ve met a decade ago in Moscow where we were both studying Russian. We lived together for 9 years in Poland where our two daughters were born and they were one of the reasons why we moved to Thailand, we wanted them to get to know their Thai family better and to learn the language.
I like this city a lot. It’s vibrant and very diverse. I’ve always felt good here.
What do you do in Thailand
I run two companies here. One focusing on tourism – The Sense of Bangkok – and the other supporting Polish business in Asia. The sense of Bangkok offers guided tours of the capital, hotel booking, and transportation. We offer exceptional deals on hotel nights.
I guess you know the city like the back of your hand. Tell what was it like to discover it?
On the one hand, it’s true, I can say I know this city. But on the other, I’m still discovering it and I’m also discovering that I’ll never discover it completely. Exploring Bangkok is all about interactions with the locals, diving deeper and deeper into narrow Sois. All this is fueled by curiosity.
Bangkok is massive, constantly changing and often astonishing. It’s important to know a lot of people here, people who will help you stay at to top of the game. My Thai family helps with that a lot, through them I learn more about daily life here.
Are your tours different from those offered by other tour agencies?
Our standard, 5-day program is a perfect way to discover the best this city has to offer. Each day has its own theme. Culinary Mondays are all about local food. On Soul Tuesdays we meditate with months. Art Wednesdays are an opportunity to admire local your art scene. Sport Thursdays include Muay Thai training with local champions. Curious Fridays are all about the out of the ordinary – Thai tattoos, ghosts, sex tourism, etc. Out guests can pick all or any of the days. The groups are always small (not more than 7 people) and we take them to places no other tour operators do. We know this place and we can show it to you with no stress and hassle.
You don’t do it alone but with the help of a Thai team. Tell me more about them.
I work with them because they are the best! Pom is a manager at an exceptional hotels chain and thanks to her we get rates better than anyone else; Jip is an organizational mastermind and she helps manage our cooking classes; Jantra is a tour guide with 30 years of experience and she has the courage to speak about things few other guides dare to mention; our Tai Chi and Wushu sections are three lovely ladies (Pet, Joy, and Mat) while Saenchai is a Muay Thai champion. If this is not a dream team than I don’t know what it.
Let’s play a little game. Tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the world Bangkok.
Delicious food, heat, smile. But also traffic…which you can beat if you know how to 🙂
Keep going, what about Bangkok smells?
I think Bangkok tastes better than it smells. They call it the Big Mango but it smells more like a durian. But it might change, Thai are tasting air purifying equipment next to one of the shopping malls and if the trial run is successful we might see more of these devices elsewhere. Fingers crossed!
Is there a place in Bangkok which you think is completely overrated?
I’m not sure if it’s overrated but for me personally traveling on a boat on the canals isn’t great. I prefer the river transport. Khao San is another place that I think lacks originality. There are other party spots more popular with locals, fill with live music and real fun.
But I think that most of Bangkok is very interesting. The point is not to just check them off a list too but dive deeper. It’d like reading a book. You can take a peek at the cover and put it back on the shelf. But it’s not the same as getting lost in the story. Only then you can say that you truly experienced the book. Experiencing Bangkok in that manner is very different from snapping random photos of things you don’t even understand.
What are the most common mistakes tourists make in Bangkok?
Being in a rush is something best avoided. Especially considering the high temperatures. Walking long distances might not be recommendable, it’s better to take the sky or underground train. If you take a taxi always ask the driver to turn the meter on, and if he refuses, change the taxi. And watch out where you’re walking, traffic can be deceitful here.
To wrap it up, what would be a good souvenir to take home from Bangkok?
When you come here come armed with an open mind and a big smile. When you leave? Take en even wider smile! As far as souvenirs go, the city feels like one big shopping mall so that should be easy, but for me the best souvenirs are photos. Photos of you with Bangkok locals, of places you truly experienced, of moments that will become lifelong memories. And that’s what I wish anyone who visits Bangkok!
A drink on us! Keep Calm and Travel On readers get a free dink on top of a Bangkok skyscraper! Book a tour with the Sense Of Bangkok, mention the name of the blog when booking and enjoy a cocktail with this view! I get a commission for every booking – Thank you!