Always amazes you
In late June 2013 we left for a three week trip to Thailand. At first the idea was to explore the inlands but as the holiday approached and the last stretch of work kept on getting heavier, we decided to go for beaches and islands to relax. Island hopping is our thing and has never disappointed us yet so we took the safe road and choose to chill.
We left from Dusseldorf airport in Germany which from Arnhem is sure to be preferred over Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam. Both the outward and return flight meant a stop at Abu Dhabi airport in the United Arab Emirates and I got the great idea that Abu Dhabi was well worth seeing, given the overwhelming advertisements on every single media out there. Andjena, slightly less adventurous, immediately told me she was not to thrilled about taking a long layover on the return journey but I got her to turn her objections aside (stupid me).
Suvarnabumi Bangkok Airport (there are two major airports near Bangkok) is quite oversized and a modern airport. It is, however, a few kilometers from Bangkok. We walked to the lower floor where the Sky Train station is located. Everything looked sleek and neat and the information desk could explain us where our final destination was. As the train travels elevated above the city, you have a beautiful view of the city itself. We usually travel pretty light but if you have a lot of luggage then it is wise to stay in the neighborhood of the doors as after a number of stations the train gets packed and the stops don’t give you much time to get your stuff and get off.
Galleria 10 Hotel, Bangkok is a chic and trendy city hotel for always-on-the-go business and leisure travelers who yearn to stay connected and remain in the loop, both professionally and socially.
From the sky train station, we went looking for our hotel by foot although we had better taken a tuk tuk which would of saved a lot of sweat and irritation. Walking around in Bangkok with luggage while you just traveled halfway around the world isn’t the most fun thing to do.
We spent three nights at the Galleria 10 hotel which aren’t the cheapest rooms available but I think we definitely got a great deal. The outdoor pool on top of the building is lovely with a great view of the city and beautiful lounge areas where they serve delicious dishes. The bedrooms are good and clean and the staff was very friendly.
Three days to explore a capital is in our eyes the exact number of days you need to see as much as possible without getting bored or overwhelmed and again we were glad we stuck to our three day rule.
I recommend you read the Lonely Planet about Thailand before you go to Bangkok. We didn’t have the time and begun to read when we were already there so we continuously and unnecessarily bumped our heads and were cheated several times.
I do not want to create fear but we were cheated several times, in which the amounts were not so bad but the irritation and uncomfortable hours produce unhappy feelings.
Learn the value of the money and make sure you know the difference between the coins and notes. Put the notes with a higher value in a separate compartment from the smaller amounts so you won’t accidentally mistake a note of five hundred for a twenty or worse a tenner for a note of thousand during quick negotiations.
Always haggle on the price for goods or food you will buy on the street were you should keep in mind that 25 % of the asking price is probably the lowest you can get, and where a third of the price is a neat deal. If you pay half their asking price then they probably get a good deal, but given the small sums of money you do not have to feel embarrassed and should feel proud you're making a small contribution to a undeveloped country. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be bought cheap in a Food Corner which are found on nearly every corner in the busier areas. We’ve enjoyed many of our lunches there and the food is pretty good.
Don’t get fooled by a neat or official-looking Thai gentleman who pretends he will help you even if you yourself where the one who asked him a question. Before you know it you are in a tuk tuk traveling across the city to stop where you do not want to be. It often starts innocently enough (their doing you a favor) but ends up in a situation where you do not want to find yourself.
The tuk tuk is ideal for short trips as they are available everywhere and it saves endless walking through the heat and it costs almost nothing . Make sure that you know where you are going, make a clear deal on the total price and do not be persuaded to go anywhere else. Even if the price (50 bhat ) looks great for the multiple sites where he is going to bring you, don’t accept his offer because you will end up where you do not want to be.
Do not tell him that you do not have a plan or destination for the rest of the vacation because once again you’ll end up at a seedy travelling agent. If you're taller than six feet it is difficult to see since the roof of a tuk tuk is quite low. Always keep your handbag in between yourselves so it won’t get stolen by a fast motorcycle / motorbike thief.
You should not haggle on prices for river trips / boat rides at the boarding spot and certainly not with a tuk tuk driver. We went pretty wrong on that one so I do not know how you can arrange the best deal but I think you can ask your hotel for an offer and compare their proposal with prices on internet like the Lonely Planet website.
We thought we could just wing it and make a deal in the harbor ultimately ended in a very short but over priced ride along the river getting dropped off somewhere on a pontoon where we had to pay even more.
Getting into a fistfight with a bunch of wiry Thai dockworkers for not paying a additional landing fee didn’t seem to be a good plan at that time but you might understand that the situation did not contribute to our holiday mood.
During our short boat trip we passed the oversized Wat Arun Temple and landed on a pontoon in front of the Grand Palace where we were brushed off as new be tourist with the excuse that the Grand Palace was closed and we would be better off going on a sightseeing tour with a tuk tuk driver for 50 bhat where we would see three touristic hotspots…
Eventually after seeing one and a half touristic places and spending a lot of time in two spousy travel agencies we had enough and we left our whining tuk tuk driver. Although the day was fun, the continuous scamming changed our view of the Thai people in Bangkok in a negatively way.
The next day we went to the Grand Palace after we had a delicious lunch at the Thai market nearby. Let me warn you in advance that the dress code at the Grand Palace is closely monitored.
I thought I would get inside with my baggie army shorts which covers my knees but after buying a ticket you get thoroughly inspected by a couple of soldiers at the end of the queue. Since I wore a T-shirt that fell over my shorts, I thought I could fool these guys by pulling my shorts down so the trunks almost came to my ankles but they called a General that pulled up my T-shirt and showed me out grinning all the way as it was rather painfully clear that I wasn’t wearing underwear.
At the entrance of the palace they rent ridiculous looking pants for a small amount so that's why I look like a clown running around the Grand Palace if you were wondering about those pictures.
The Grand Palace consists of several beautiful temples and Buddha's and of course the magnificent palace of the king. That’s another good tip, do not say anything about the royal family because they are as proud as a peacock for those guys. If you read my blog entries you should know by now that I have no love lost on dictators, holy men or royals or anyone else who are not appointed by the people for their luxury positions since they have a tendency to fall into abusing the population and stink by conceit in the process. Anyway, it looks like the vast majority of the population appears to have been quite impressed with their royal family so I’ll keep my weary thoughts to myself.
In the evening we enjoyed swimming and eating on the rooftop of our hotel with a stunning view over Bangkok. Of course we have only seen a small part of the city but in our opinion the rule of spending three days applied again. The last day of our three week holiday we had a long walk in the suburbs of Bangkok and had a delicious dinner in a market place where very few tourists go, so we did get a clear and complete picture of Bangkok City.
After those first days in Bangkok we took another plain and departed for...
The island’s ‘sin city’ of Patong is the biggest town and busiest beach. It’s the ultimate gong show where podgy beach-aholics sizzle off their hangovers and go-go girls play ping-pong…
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and enjoys a rich and colorful history and is covered for two thirds with mountains and the rest consists of plains located in the central and eastern parts of the island. The western coast has several sandy beaches, while on the east coast beaches are more often muddy.
One of the most popular (and overcrowded) tourist areas on Phuket is Patong Beach on the central western coast, perhaps owing to the easy access to its wide and long beach. Most of Phuket's nightlife and its cheap shopping is located in Patong, and the area has become increasingly developed.
Other popular beaches are located south of Patong including Karon Beach, Kata Beach, Kata Noi Beach, and around the southern tip of the island, Nai Harn Beach and Rawai. To the north of Patong are Kamala Beach, Surin Beach and Bang Tao Beach. These areas are generally much less developed than Patong, and sought out by individuals, families and other groups with a preference for more relaxed and less crowded environs than Patong.
There are many islands to the southeast, including Bon Island, just a short boat trip away. There are several coral islands to the south of Phuket, the Similan Islands lie to the north west, and Phi Phi Islands to the south east.
We booked a complete travel package from Phuket to Phi Phi Island, Aonang and Samui Island... Read More >
Tropical Phuket is a paradise for sun, sea and sand lovers.
Phuket is situated at the Andaman Sea in the Indian Ocean, and is also known as the 'Pearl of the South'. It consists of coves and bays and is famed for its tasty seafood and picturesque beaches. Yachting enthusiasts love Phuket, which is popularly considered to be the prime yachting destination in Asia, and it is host to the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta - the largest sailing event in Asia. There are a number of other water-based activities in the Phuket area, such as speed boating, deep sea fishing, surfing, snorkelling, kite surfing and scuba diving.
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