Reading the newspaper today I saw the front page news that Bangkok has been voted the world’s best city as part of Travel and Leisure magazine’s 2010 World’s Best awards. These surveys are always sort of interesting if for nothing more than how contentious they are. How in the world (heh) would Bangkok rank as the best city in the world? Sure, it has a lot of very interesting stuff, but it is so filthy, polluted, crowded and in a state of chaos is disrepair throughout much of the city. Even as a tourist it is sometimes unbearable what a mess it is, and as a resident it doesn’t get better.
It’s always good to look at the criteria used for these kind of surveys. Unfortunately I don’t have the magazine and the story in the Bangkok Post did not go into detail. So how Bangkok was voted tops is a mystery to me. They did say, however, that the survey was completed before the riots in May. If it was done today I’m sure there would be a significant change in rankings.
Meanwhile, on the next page of the newspaper was the story that Thailand has the world’s worst methamphetamine abuse problem. It is so bad that researchers around the world are being drawn here to study this oddity. It is called yaa baa in Thai and researchers from places like Yale University are working with Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University to study the problem in teens and young adults.
So on the one hand we have the world’s best city, and on the other the world’s highest meth addiction problem. The Tourism Authority of Thailand should think about rebranding from Land of Smiles to Land of Contradictions.