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> Thailand Starter Kit, Everything you want to know about Thailand
Paul
post Sep 6 2007, 10:37 PM
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Random travel Thailand websites / info:

http://www.huaikhum.com
A resort in Chiang Rai province.




Self-drive campaign

Five Tourism Authority of Thailand offices in the Central Region are joining the Happiness Group Alliance tour companies, Viriyah Insurance and KTC Bank to promote the "Self-Drive Thailand-Central Region Campaign" via exciting tour packages.

For a price of 3,500 baht for two persons that includes accommodation, fun activities, travel, guide brochures and insurance, you can join a series of caravans along various routes on the following dates.

- September 29-30: Chachoengsao-Samut Prakan.

- October 13-14: Samut Sakhon-Ratchaburi-Kanchanaburi.

- December 8-9: Ayutthaya-Ang Thong-Lop Buri.

- December 22-23: Pathum Thani-Nakhon Nayok-Saraburi.

- December 21-23: Samut Songkhram-Phetchaburi-Prachuap Khiri Khan.

- January 2008, 21-23: Nonthaburi-Pathum Thani-Ayutthaya.

To buy the package and other details, call 02-720-5487/8.
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Paul
post Oct 19 2007, 12:08 AM
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Taxis at the airport - I noticed the metered taxis have moved again. They are now outside level 1.

I also had a chat with the AOT as to why they have the other, more expensive AOT taxis and people always asking the tourists if they want a taxi. She didn't say, but for sure it is partly a extra way for AOT to make a bit more money. But she did say that they are concerned about the metered taxis; that sometimes drivers don't turn the meter on or sometimes they go the long way, or can't speak any English etc. So they end up making Thailand look bad and don't take care of the tourists as much as they should.

I think that is fair enough and maybe if it is your first time in Thailand and you are not an experienced traveler you should perhaps pay the extra for the AOT taxis that will be offered to you.

But there are also buses and someday soon there will be a rail link and a sky train link. So I will try to keep you up dated.

About the airport buses - has anyone used them or got anything to say? I live quite close to the airport so never need one, but it would be good to hear more info about them from someone.
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Paul
post Oct 30 2007, 05:01 AM
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A site for you to learn Thai etiquette before you arrive (yes, I know I live in a dream world and no one is going to do this, but at least I tried):

http://kanchanapisek.or.th/kp8/mthai/indexe.html
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Paul
post Nov 3 2007, 10:24 AM
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Hi - from personal experience - I just noticed that when you book a domestic flight with Thai Air Asia from Bangkok - neither the ticket nor the website in any easy to find way, mentions what airport you are leaving from. Their helpline is only helpful during business hours also.

From a bit of web surfing I have decided it is Suvarnabhummi - I hope that's right - I will let you know if it isn't (after I miss my flight).


Other useful stuff - telephone numbers and websites:

Tourism Authority of Thailand. www.tat.or.th 1672

Tourist Police 1155

National Parks www.dnp.go.th 025620760

Transport Co. Call Centre www.transport.co.th 025765599

State Railway of Thailand www.railway.co.th 022237010

Thai Airways International www.thaiairways.com 1566

Bangkok Airways www.bangkokair.com 1771

Nok Air www.nokair.com 1318

Air Asia www.airasia.com 025159999

PB Air www.pbair.com 022610220-5

One Two Go www.fly12go.com 1126
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xray99
post Nov 20 2007, 01:29 AM
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My wife and I visited Ko Tao nearly 13 years ago, when it was a remote island beyond the usual tourist route of Ko Samui, etc. One of the most tortured trips of our lives trying to get there from Hua Hin, but I still remember waking up on the deck of the ferry with a group of monks sitting behind us and the sun rising over the island. It was beautiful, and we spent 5 glorious days in a hut on a beach with a local family cooking us incredible meals every night. It was one of the highlights of a 6-month 'round the world trip.

I'm returning to Thailand in a few weeks; having limited time, I'll probably limit myself to the north, but now, reading your piece, I'm wondering if I should detour south and return to Ko Tao.
Sigh... so much to see, so little time.

Keep up the good work - Turtle Island is a jewel.

- Peter
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Paul
post Nov 22 2007, 01:23 AM
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A while ago a friend of my mum's was visiting Phuket. I don't know Phuket that well so I asked for advice from another friend who used to live there. This is his response:

Phuket ideas:

Patong is fun for the odd night out, but is massively oriented towards sleaze. It is the Patpong of Phuket! Not sure if this will appeal to your mum’s friend? It does have plenty of good restaurants, shopping. and more normal entertainments, but she will find herself walking through sin city to get to everything. I like the mix, it’s fun to view as a visitor, and you’re not required to partake, but for some people it can be a bit much, especially if stuck there for quite a number of days. Hope she can handle that kind of scene!

Places to head for elsewhere, even on day trips (but recommend overnight stays if she isn’t tied to accommodation deal in Patong):

Phuket Fantasea – it’s a big ‘theatre’-style show, hosted in a large venue not that far from Patong (a bit further North on the island). Great for an evening destination. Heavily promoted in all the tourist ticketing booths everywhere, so very easy to organise a trip there. Hotel will know about it, where to buy ticket, and how to book return transport to the venue.

Seafood restuarants – on the main beach road of Patong. First-class dining, and you get to choose your own food from the live tanks where your forthcoming meal will look you in the eye and swim around. You don’t get any fresher. Full range of interesting / exotic seafood at prices not cheap by Thai standards, but of course very attractively priced for visitors from Australia etc.

Patong being Patong she may find other diners around her of the ‘dirty old man’ category, ie dining with a Thai prostitute a third his age, or sat with a Thai ‘toy boy’. The sight of a sixty-plus-year-old fat lump of garbage with his chosen wide-eyed, fresh-from-the-farm innocent is enough to make me puke and / or want to plunge a fork into his eyeball. I’m sure you know the feeling Paul.

Daytimes:
Head for the south of the island. Extremely beautiful. Kata Beach and all points south. Relaxed, more friendly, stunning. That’s why I chose to live there for a year-and-a-half.

If she’s up for renting a motorscooter at usual low holiday prices then it’s the most enjoyable way to tour the south of the island as she can stop and get off far more easily than with a car. There are cliff-top bars, stunning viewpoints, amazing choices of beaches, lovely shops in charming areas, only some of which are easy to park with a car - many are not or simply impossible. And the motorcycle speed is slow and leisurely, able to let traffic go by you while you climb the hills and enjoy unenclosed the beautiful colours of the seascape that surrounds the verdant green foliage your excellent-quality roads take you through. No congestion at all once you reach that area, completely different from the main roads through the centre of Phuket island which are thick with traffic.

In particular for sunset:
Laem Phom Thep. Furthest southerly point of island. Coachloads of Asian tourists will be there at same time because, quite simply, it is SO good, with great gift shops, an elephant Buddha shrine which is just amazing to see (and very important to the Thai people, who constitute at least half the tourists visiting for the sunset period) and gorgeous scenery to catch the changing colours of the sun as it sinks into the sea below your vantage point. See last few photos of my recent on-line photo album which were taken there last month (you can pass on the link to your mum’s friend if you wish – the other photos are all taken in the south of Phuket island, Kata Beach etc).

The south of the island has many beautiful places, but it would cost a lot to tour by the expensive mafia-controlled taxis (average 300 baht per journey). Much better to rent a motorcycle, or with a car she can see not only the south, but the whole island, and indeed would then be able to drive off the island and over to the stunning limestone outcrop area of Phang Nga Bay and even on to Krabi if she wished. Depending on whether she wishes to relax or to explore.

Two must-do major excursions, which can both be organised for her by hotel or local travel agent shops, from hotel pick-up to end-of-day hotel return:

Phang Nga Bay:
Tour the bay by boat, including a trip out to James Bond Island – VERY much recommended, it is just such an amazing area and will ensure the holiday ends in an unforgettable way

Phi Phi Island:
Same rating in my book, but very different. Phuket is so lucky to have not only its own stunning attractions, but also these two world-class destinations on its doorstep. If she does these two trips she will indeed have seen some of the truly awesome sights of the world, and enjoyed the actual trips by boat at the same time.

Hope she finds these suggestions and comments useful.
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wakingdream
post Nov 22 2007, 09:17 AM
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Ahh, one of my favorite Thai festivals, Loy Krathong is nearing. I've had so much fun making the rafts and releasing them before and I'll really miss it this year. It's such a festive and good spirited time. Apparently there are plans to make it quite sensational this year! Anyone who is in Thailand shouldn't miss the celebration.

Each person designs his or her own raft from a banana tree trunk. Then it's intricately decorated with flowers and other adornments. Once the sun is down the community, or group heads to the nearest waterway and releases the rafts together. This is in honor of Lord Buddha and also symbolizes the releasing of bad grudges, anger and other bad things and starting a new. The festival happens annually in the 12th month of the lunar calendar. Some people also call it the Festival of Lights.

During a volunteer stint in Kao Look Chang I had the pleasure of being taught how to make my own little raft and even got to release it with hundreds of others. Loy Krathong. It was alot of fun. Our friend Noi showed us all the intricate folds which were actually pretty hard! It was a really fun day.


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'Yesterday's the past and tomorrow's the future. Today is a gift - which is why they call it the present.'
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Paul
post Nov 22 2007, 09:36 AM
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Oh - good point.

It is on the 24th this year. So on that day you should definitely make your way to the nearest waterway and check out what is going on. You'll probably find some krathongs for sale there if you want to take part. It is quite a pretty festival.
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thellie
post Nov 22 2007, 09:55 AM
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yep, i'm making my krathong on saturday for a sunday launch - apparently it's over two days...
just returned from the first full day of the 13th friendship festival, and will return tomorrow to take pictures.
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Paul
post Nov 24 2007, 10:50 PM
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Tell us more about the 13th Friendship Festival - and did you make any friends? hug.gif
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thellie
post Nov 24 2007, 11:08 PM
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i won't go into detail, as it'll be all in my next entry...

but yep, made new friends, especially the girls at the stand next door who came from one of the local hospitals and were giving free medical massages. also met an american retiree who knows jon morris.

me and pooki were joking about how many bottles of water it would have taken you to put out all the fire lanterns going awol. those, and the ridiculously dangerous amount of cheap dodgy fireworks being thrown about by all and sundry - i had one land next to my backside and explode while i crouched taking photos at he waters edge... didn't bother me but pooki 'did a paul' and was ready to lay into the person that threw it... i was pissing myself laughing smile.gif

saw the volunteers, of whom john and claire were completely wasted, angela hadn't touched a beer at that stage and kirstie looked a little embarrassed... pan and geed looked fantastic, and phi was having fun helping children to walk (fall off) the bamboo stilts...

loads of krathongs in the water, lanterns in the sky and candles everywhere made it a beautiful spectacle. but the crowds were too much so after a couple of hours we retired to easy house for food and a beer.

that'll about do it, i'll see you tonight i guess?
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Paul
post Nov 25 2007, 05:47 AM
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Yeah.

The lady at my guest house said, that there is a big Krathong being launched tonight on the river. She said in Chiang Rai, last night was for little personal krathongs and she said there is a big krathong tonight.

Anyone with ideas about that?

I won't go, I want a break from crowds and people. See you at the pub later?
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Paul
post Feb 4 2008, 07:14 AM
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Hi thanks for that. I just bought a bike, so I may ask you a question or two in the future. I hope others will also.

Take care.
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hansba
post Feb 18 2008, 10:30 PM
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HI PAUL,
WANT TO GO SEA KYAKING WHEN IN HUA HIN.
STAYING AT HILTON. WHERE CAN I GET INFO FOR DAY OF SEA KYAKING AT LOCAL NATIONAL PARK?
ALISON
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Paul
post Feb 19 2008, 12:08 AM
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QUOTE(hansba @ Feb 18 2008, 10:30 PM) *

HI PAUL,
WANT TO GO SEA KYAKING WHEN IN HUA HIN.
STAYING AT HILTON. WHERE CAN I GET INFO FOR DAY OF SEA KYAKING AT LOCAL NATIONAL PARK?
ALISON



Hi Alison - I have no idea - but I reckon you can ask the people at the Hilton. You are paying them enough that they should be more than happy to point you in the right direction. They will know much more about that area and what is available than I. Have fun.
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Paul
post Mar 31 2008, 09:12 AM
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Hi - the train track from Bangkok to Laos has been finished. So far it makes it just into the Laos side and that is due to open in May. Extending that to Vientiane is planned.

The newspaper today said the government has outlawed people dressing as soldiers. So make sure you don't wear too much if any camo stuff when you come here.

I had other travel things to tell you - but I forget.

See ya
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starlagurl
post Apr 2 2008, 02:07 PM
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Wow fascinating, no camo! Thanks for that tip, good to know!


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suzanne27
post Apr 3 2008, 08:27 PM
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wow cool. really good tips I may say. Thank you I will surely keep that in mind.
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sk1008
post Apr 7 2008, 01:17 PM
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Hello Paul
never come across such detailed info on a blog. tks fr all yr efforts. i have afew qs if no problem
-i plan to come with my family in june/july. we are a couple and a child of 8 years. no of days no problem.plan to spend 4-5 days in bangkok and want to spend some days in south too. a bit confused about how much time to spend and where. heard a lot about phuket. but some suggested to stay in krabi province (ao nang, railey, phi phi_) better than staying in phuket. but then which of these i should stay. some say that if travelling with only a couple and a child , these places may get "dull" as in this season it's a bit slow and not lively. so your suggestion on where to spend how much time at these places will be useful.
thanks
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Paul
post Apr 14 2008, 11:56 PM
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I copied this from another website, as it seems a good little overview:

Thailand covers an area of 513,115 sq. km. in the heart of South East Asia, and shares its borders with Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Gulf of Thailand and the Indian Ocean.

Thailand itself is broken onto four natural regions, a) The North cool.gif The Central Plain or the Chao Phraya River Basin c) The North East (Korat Plateau) and d) The South or Southern Peninsula.

The Northern region is mountainous and full of forests, ridges and spectacular valleys, the main city of this region is Chiang Mai, a very popular tourist destination.

The Central Plain, a rich valley is the most fertile and extensive rice producing area of Thailand, and has often been named the 'Rice Bowl of Asia'. This is the region where Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is situated.

The Southern peninsula is a gem unto itself not only for the beauty of its beaches and landscape, but also as this is where many ores and minerals are to be found. The landscape is hilly to mountainous with lush virgin forests. This is also where the main rubber producing take place, and the cultivation of many other tropical crops.

But who are the Thai people and where did they come from ? It was originally thought that the Thai people may orginate from the north-eastern Szechuan Province of China about 4,500 years ago before they migrated to their present homeland. This idea though has recently be put into question by the amazing discovery of pre-historic artifacts such as bronze metallurgy dating back some 3,500 thousand years. These artifacts were found in the village of Ban Chiang in the Nong Han District of Udon Thani Province in the Northeast. These amazing finds, indicate that the Thais may well have originated in Thailand, and themselves moved into other areas of Asia.

Thailand until 1939 was known as Siam, and again between 1945 and 49, but May 11, 1949 put an end to the confusion and Thailand became officially known as 'Prathet Thai' or Thailand. For anyone who has been to Thailand they will not be surprised to learn the word 'Thai' means free so Thailand actually means The Land of the Free.

The population of Thailand is around 60,000,000 with an annual growth rate of around 1.3%. Although there is absolute religious freedom 95% of the Thai people follow Buddhism, and the King of Thailand under constitution and practice is patron of all religions embraced by the people.

Thailand is a hot and rather humid tropical country. In fact many people living in Thailand joke that it has three seasons, hot, hotter and hottest - this is easily believed. The climate is monsoonal, marked by a rainy season lasting from about May to September and a relatively dry season for the remainder of the year. The rainy season will amaze many a tourist as it can rain very heavily sometimes for up to just 10 minutes a go, but the sheer volume of water is incredible. Temperatures are highest in March and April and 'lowest' in December and January. The average temperature is about 23 to 35 Celsius.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the Thai people is their respect and enormous love for their monarchy. It is very unwise and actually could lead to serious trouble to say anything bad about the monarchy. They are loved dearly, and you will never hear a Thai utter a bad word.

The National Flag of Thailand is composed of five horizontal bands of red, white and blue. The outer red bands of red represent the nation, and the inner bands of white evoking religion. The blue band, which occupies one third of the flag is symbolizes the monarchy. This tri coloured flag was first designed by King Vajirauadh (Rama VI) in 1917, and it succeeded and earlier design which had a white elephant on a red background.

Thailand truly is an amazing place, with so much to offer tourists. The regular and most popular destinations of Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Samui, Chiang Mai etc are only a small part of the country, and there are so many more undiscovered charms to be found.
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