Flying into a rage
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Flying into a rage

For those who can afford it, travelling has become one of life's essentials.

The Grand Tour, a coming-of-age trip across Europe taken by upper-class Europeans from the mid-1600s to the mid-1800s, was restricted to those of a certain social status.

But travelling is now more accessible than ever — air tickets are becoming cheaper, and with websites like Air B'nB, so are accommodations — and Thais have been getting itchy feet — I see on social media and through abundant promotions that more and more people are travelling.

At its best, travelling opens up your world. If you can do it with convenience — as new-age as I sound now — I strongly recommend travelling as a way of self-enhancement and getting in touch with your spiritual self. Thanks to my parents and my job, I've always been fortunate in this department, ever since the title on my passport was dek ying (little miss). On a personal level, I appreciate how travelling has shaped my perspective of life. But I am not looking down on those who can't do so — there are many more means to broaden your horizons than hopping on a plane.

Lately I've noticed a new practice among young Thais — writing travel "reviews" on the popular web forum Pantip. I browsed through some of them and was mortified.

I don't quite understand why there are so many people — most with no idea as to the cultural, political or social background of their destination — taking time to poorly write lengthy accounts of basically nothing interesting or new. No, the fact you've been to Europe two or three times does not make you a seasoned traveller. And what is it about Japan that makes Thais go crazy reviewing the same places over and over again? I am not saying all these Pantip reviews are nonsensical, but the bad ones are terrifying.

Judging from the overwhelming amounts of reviews, economical travelling seems to be in vogue. Many posts begin with something like: "I spent 30,000 baht for my 10 day, nine city trip to Japan. READ."

The budgets mentioned are sometimes incredible, often broken down into daily spending amounts with photos of bills, tickets and receipts.

I'm all for saving money, but when you're torturing yourself by walking until your feet want to commit suicide, living on biscuits brought from home and sleeping in the park, what's the point?

Also, visiting as many cities in the least amount of days possible is a flawed plan. Not everyone can afford 10 luxurious days in Berlin, but maybe use the budget you have toward quality rather than quantity, allowing yourself to dig bit deeper than the surface level of your chosen destination.

Another type of travel blogger and reviewer I've noticed are those prone to filter-frenzied, random life observations. Come on, the meaning of life isn't going to manifest itself on your one-day train trip to Ayutthaya, nor is a long bus ride to Chiang Rai going to unearth the Holy Grail.

On the other hand, flaunting your first-class plane ticket, taking a selfie in business class  or dropping hints of how expensive that Noma meal was are also not OK in my book.

When the world is ridden with poverty, be kind and stop reminding people that you are willing to shell out 200,000-plus baht for a round-trip air ticket to Europe. It's just crass to display wealth in that manner.

I really don't know why some people travel at all. Are they doing it to boast about the fact that they can pinch pennies with the best of them? Or to write useless reviews? To tag themselves in as many cities as possible? To inform their Facebook and Instagram friends of their shallow opinions and lack of knowledge? To take heavily manipulated photos that show their profound intellect?

Do we not travel because we want to learn new things? If so, why do we not cherish those moments for ourselves?

I should just stop clicking on those Pantip reviews and hide annoying "experienced" traveller friends from my Facebook feed.

Believe me, I've done so ever since I came across, "My BF and I spent 1,500 baht for two days in Hua Hin. READ."

No, darling, I won't.

Onsiri Pravattiyagul is a writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.

Onsiri Pravattiyagul

Entertainment Editor

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