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Thread: Thailand travel advice

  1. #16
    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    As usual, I have nothing to add, but I do hope you have a great time and share lots of pics. I travel vicariously through my internet friends. lol I'm so sad. I was supposed to actually go on a real trip out of the country in March but I just couldn't get it all to come together. Maybe soon, though.

    Anyway, I know this is very touristy and not up your alley, but a few weeks ago I fell down a hole after reading some story and found an expat who walks around Bangkok and films everything with one of the best camera setups I've ever seen on youtube. Again, I know these are bar districts and beaches and stuff, but they're nice to watch...my favorite travel shows and videos are the ones that are kind of boring but show normal people doing normal things.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjP...hkBrGTAa4gUfdw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7DtqbEUZAs

    Seems like he has different places in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, etc.
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    "AND WHEN YOU BECAME DENISE, I TOLD ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES, THOSE CLOWN COMICS, TO FIX THEIR HEARTS OR DIE."

  2. #17
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Sputnik,

    My BIL just sent me what he and his wife put together. It's pretty detailed and some stuff you probably won't need to do (like the travel from airport to hotel thing). It's long enough that I think I need to do paste this in multiple messages:

    AT THE AIRPORT:
    If you can arrange transportation from the airport to your hotel prior to arrival is the best option. (Major hotel chains offer transportation from airport-to-hotel and back to airport for departure.
    In case you do not have the option for transportation from airport-to-hotel do not take a street taxi from the airport to your hotel. (I have heard of tourist scams from street taxis at the airport)
    If your hotel does not provide transportation, I highly recommend you to arrange a shuttle from a company inside the airport terminal. Company name = AOT Limousine
    https://www.aot-limousine.com/veh_camry.html
    (I personally use this company when coming back to Bangkok from the US. Price should be around 50 USD to your hotel area.)
    Depending on what time you arrive and the exact location of your hotel – It might be a long drive (1hr+) so I highly recommend you to use the restroom before you leave the airport or better yet as soon as you land on the way to passport control. For comparison, DC rush hour traffic is how normally things run here in the city. Rush hour here can be grid lock in city streets…

    PHONE SIM CARD FOR YOUR PERSONAL PHONE:
    Bring a paper clip with you. When you arrive at the hotel you could walk to the nearest 7-11. (I am sure you have one right outside your hotel, there’s a 7-11 in just about every corner). Purchase a local SIM card. I recommend you to purchase a Tourist SIM from a company called TRUE this SIM card provides data and voice calls to the US at a very reasonable price.
    I highly recommend you to utilize a local SIM if you can, it is much lower than roaming and you could use cellphone data while in Thailand. After you change your SIM keep the US SIM card safely with you somewhere you can definitely find it once you go back home. I usually put my SIM card with the paper clip in a small Ziplock bag inside my carry-on bag

    TAKING A TAXI AND AROUND THE CITY
    Bangkok is a safe place, people are calm, helpful and respectful. However, I am sure like every other mega city around the world you need to observe and exercise caution.
    You can get around the city safely and at various times of the day, you could use apps called GRAB or TaxiVIP or ThaiTaxi.
    Alternatively, you can utilize a street taxi, just check that it is a metered taxi and that the meter is turned on.
    If you wish to take a Tuk-Tuk you can take it for a short ride and it should be around 50 Baht – 100 Baht for a mile or two. Tuk-Tuk taxi fare must be negotiated before you ride.

    CURRENCY EXCHANGE:
    You can exchange currency (Thai Baht) at the airport inside the terminal almost immediately after you land or when you go out from the baggage claim/customs area. When you exchange you can ask to exchange a 500 Baht bill for small bills (20s, 50s, 100s) because you might need to purchase small items like snacks water, drinks or tip the hotel staff.

    TIPPING (GRATUITY) AT RESTAURANTS/HOTELS ETC.:
    Big chain restaurants, restaurants in shopping malls, restaurants in hotels, or normally higher end restaurants include gratuity in the bill, you should check before you pay that gratuity is included, if it is included it will normally be 10%. If this type of restaurant didn’t include gratuity a 10% tip is sufficient.
    For small sit-down restaurants (open air or street side) normally they do not include gratuity in the bill, normally a nominal amount like 20 or 50 Baht tip should be sufficient.
    At the hotel or airport shuttle if you tip for baggage handling or other similar services 50 Baht should be sufficient. (unless you are traveling with a lot of bags, then should be higher)

    Saturday (Feb. 8 is a national holiday ‘Makha Bucha’ and it will be observed Monday. So there might be places closing early or closed. You will need to check online for holiday hours.

    TAKING OFF YOUR SHOES AT TEMPLES OR PUBLIC PLACES
    I recommend you to take with you a collapsible tote bag you can fold and keep in your bag when you need it, this will be helpful when you visit temples and public places.
    I highly recommend you to place your shoes in the tote bag and carry your shoes in the tote bag with you and do-not leave your shoes at the shoe rack at the busy temples in the city. I’ve heard of tourists losing their shoes at those busy temples because someone walks away with their shoes!

    DRESS-CODE AT TEMPLES
    Most temples ban sleeveless shirts (tank-tops) and shorts or skirts above the mid-calf or knee. So if you would like to wear shorts or skirts above the knee you will need to cover-up with a sarong or

    SHOPPING BAGS
    Another reason you need a collapsible tote bag, because recently the Thai government banned plastic shopping bags at super markets and major shopping centers, including 7-11 convenience stores. So it would be helpful to have your own re-usable bag with you.
    For example:https://www.walmart.com/ip/Reusable-...tote/611816328




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  3. #18
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Thanks mo!! Great advice! I think someone will pick me up at the airport when I arrive but I’ll be on my own for the flight back
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  4. #19
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    TRADITIONAL & RELIGIOUS PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE CITY:

    Grand Palace (Probably among the best architectural samples of Thai religious and classic architecture, including neoclassic Thai architecture, Royal coronation hall)
    https://goo.gl/maps/2bdBYMzTyEwKi6Qi6

    Emerald Buddha temple (inside the grand palace compound)
    https://goo.gl/maps/9mhEUSDwvJERjMdp7

    Wat Pho
    (short walk from grand palace)
    https://goo.gl/maps/GtsyuGHgNZ5e7Lw58

    Reclining Buddha (same compound as Wat Pho)
    https://goo.gl/maps/MfxJyYnW5GnSbXv28

    The 4 Kings Maha Chedi (same compound as Wat Pho)
    https://goo.gl/maps/ucfq443PPFANm9Nd8

    Wat Arun
    (across the river, there are boat ferries at certain locations or if your hotel is located at the river they might have a boat ferry to the temple)
    https://goo.gl/maps/zVLUYzkmGLQzWBqP8

    Wat Saket (golden mound temple)
    https://goo.gl/maps/rKgakyEYhboJ7tGC6

    Wat Benchamabophit
    https://goo.gl/maps/3cDhEmCEVCbo2gwH8

    National Museum
    (in the area where you plan to stay)
    https://goo.gl/maps/YqbgDAGBqdz4V6yn7

    Wat Traimit
    https://goo.gl/maps/Cqc85DoFvNttJDNB9

    National Museum of Royal Barges
    This place is a little far-off the area where you are staying but uniquely Thai and because of the far-off location not many Tourist go and even most native Thais have never seen the royal barges in person at this place.
    https://goo.gl/maps/mmS3L1aKpVfvY8RFA

    National Gallery
    Classic Thai art gallery
    https://goo.gl/maps/nycfJKUGp9oGT1di7

    Bangkok Railway Station
    not sure you like places of this nature but the location and uniqueness of the environment will make contrast to railway stations in the US and will make nice photos too.
    (accessible by Hua Lamphong station @ MRT)
    https://goo.gl/maps/5cnzAsfmgKhChjYn8

    Erawan Shrine
    (cool urban place to visit at night. Easily accessible from the BTS train station Chit-Lom)
    You could watch the action from the pedestrian bridge of the BTS train and take photos of the busy streets contrasting the traditional shrine.
    https://goo.gl/maps/UxRYW4cJtfowSNDK7

    Chatuchak Market (Shopping)
    (open market accessible by subway station. Kamphaeng Phet Station @ MRT subway)
    Best time to visit is on the weekends so you might consider this location for your Saturday/Sunday places to visit.
    You can find anything but the highlight is hand-crafted items (clothing, shoes, accessories, leather goods, etc.)
    https://goo.gl/maps/iKPXn4uA6hKg8pnc6
    TRADITIONAL SPA/MASSAGE

    Let’s Relax Spa
    This company is a large chain of Japanese Spa, they have lots of locations. This particular one is large. They have a large Japanese onsen section and you could have a massage session of several hours or the entire day if you wish.
    (The onsen is divided by gender. Entirely separate sections for female and male)
    https://goo.gl/maps/t4Ltjbt2wPWZa2EL7
    I’ve been to this location and its nice, there are definitely other very exclusive and luxurious places in Bangkok but I have found that the overall service experience may not necessarily be substantially better

    The Oriental Spa
    (located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel)
    https://goo.gl/maps/2amyvbULGLgDaKzM9

    The Banyan Tree Spa
    (Located in the Banyan Tree Hotel)
    This place is also nice
    https://goo.gl/maps/Uc2jeGMh4E3waZF99


    FOOD AND DRINK:

    Thipsamai
    Local open air restaurant (very touristy place that opens at night and stays open from 5pm 2am)
    Famous for their Pad-Thai
    https://goo.gl/maps/DXwDVE4Ej6WnUNyz5

    Rann Jai Fai
    Local open air restaurant famous for Thai Crab Omelet (recently awarded a Michelin star for their crab omelet)
    Next door to Thipsamai, you could go to both places in that same night. Go hungry for the huge omelet
    https://goo.gl/maps/n8gPxt8hZ7R89iBE8

    Hua Seng Hong
    In case you make it into Chinatown…
    (local Chinese / Thai restaurant in the heart of Chinatown. The highlight dishes are roasted duck, large river lobster/shrimp, crab cakes, shrimp with clear noodles.)
    https://g.page/huasenghong-ct?share
    (accessible by Wat Mangkon station @ MRT)

    Scirocco
    (Roof top restaurant outdoor tables are the best that offer amazing views of the city. Best time to visit is after sunset or during sunset)
    https://g.page/siroccobangkok?share

    Salathip
    (Traditional Thai restaurant located at Shangri-La Hotel)
    You should request a terrace table so you can have a view of the river and you could take the boat ferry at Shangri-La to the new shopping mall Icon-Siam if you wish to see the new local shopping mall.
    https://g.page/salathip?share

    Nahm
    (Fine Thai Cuisine – Traditional recipes modernized by famous Thai Chef)
    https://goo.gl/maps/QZYWpKce3bE4uCtK9

    Mae Varee Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango
    (Local food stall specialized in mango and sticky rice)
    One of the best places to eat Thai Mango and Sticky rice in Bangkok
    https://goo.gl/maps/nXyaHXnE3623uRVA6

    Watthana Panich (Beef noodle soup)
    Local food stall specializing in Chinese style beef noodle soup
    This place is well known because of the huge pot of beef stock boiling at the entrance and the flavor is among the best in Bangkok.
    https://goo.gl/maps/ZuE6BuLKciE2e61L9

    Pizzeria Mazzie
    (If New York style pizza is your craving you could go to this place. This place is run by a guy from NYC, he imported the pizza oven from Naples, Italy and makes a daily batch of natural leavened dough.)
    https://g.page/pizzeriamazzie?share


    ROOFTOP BARS/LOUNGE

    Sky Bar Bangkok
    Roof top bar at state tower. This place has amazing views of the city, especially at night or sunset
    (Part of Scirocco @ State Tower) (this place was in the movie ‘The Hangover’)
    https://g.page/skybarbangkok?share

    Red Sky
    Located at Centara Grand Hotel
    https://goo.gl/maps/YeGvSffZ7d7NVjYD6

    Vertigo
    Located at Banyan Tree Hotel
    https://goo.gl/maps/tWNu5dt1WkjDXcAXA

    Three Sixty Lounge
    Located at Millenium Hotel
    https://goo.gl/maps/eRBXEGMVEr1vT58Q9


    BARS/LOUNGE

    Sing Sing Theatre
    https://g.page/SingSingTheater?share

    Iron Balls Saloon
    https://g.page/iron-balls-sukhumvit-45?share

    The iron Fairies
    https://goo.gl/maps/s1zFXaUHNETbhCjy7


    SHOPPING

    Chatuchak Market (Shopping)
    (open market accessible by subway station. Kamphaeng Phet Station @ MRT subway)
    Best time to visit is on the weekends so you might consider this location for your Saturday/Sunday places to visit.
    You can find anything but the highlight is hand-crafted items (clothing, shoes, accessories, leather goods, etc.)
    https://goo.gl/maps/dRe7DNVrN6bBuMAv7

    Platinum Fashion Mall
    If you enjoy shopping and/or would like an entire new wardrobe without spending too much…
    This place has 3000+ boutique clothing shops. -Locally manufactured clothing and accessories. There are thousands of shops in this 8 storey shopping mall. Most items are very affordable and prices are negotiable specially if you purchase 2 or more pieces
    https://goo.gl/maps/K7bpn1UrxrsYH5CC8

    Custom tailor made suits / clothing
    If you like tailor made business suits or dresses
    https://www.nickermannstailors.com/womens/

    SIAM @ BTS Train Station
    Shopping malls accessible by Siam BTS train station:
    Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, Siam Square, MBK, Central World
    Bangkok’s large shopping malls, some of these shopping malls have very luxurious interiors and offer unique environments. Sometimes interesting places to visit during rush-hour 5-8pm.
    Also, if you wish to eat Asian fusion food you can also find good restaurants in these shopping malls
    https://goo.gl/maps/p6TiPYNSMYK7kMS67

    Phrom Pong - BTS Train Station
    Shopping malls accessible by Phrom Pong BTS train station:
    Emporium, Em-Quartier
    (Besides the high-end shopping that these malls offer you will find really good European food restaurants and you will be surprised at the food-courts at these places. I frequently visit the food-courts at these malls because the food stalls are provided by locally renown places.)
    https://goo.gl/maps/Wwev58FtcAktLwcu5



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  5. #20
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    shit, mo i hadn't seen that last post, thank you!! bad news though, my conference was cancelled because everyone is freaking out about the coronavirus

    even though there aren't any travel restrictions for thailand and the organizers made sure not to buy tickets going through china, a lot of governments and organizations are basically restricting their employees travel to asia and there was just way too much panic. I started to suspect it might get cancelled when I got an email monday with like 3 pages of crazy measures being taken to keep everyone safe - we were going to have to take our temperature before being allowed to get on the shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and again every morning of the conference before being allowed into the conference room, handshaking and kissing was discouraged and instead we were all supposed to greet each other by bumping elbows, they were going to be distributing hand sanitizer like crazy, etc... i guess it wasn't enough to keep people from freaking out and yesterday morning they officially postponed it.
    i'm super disappointed but i'm going to try to go later this year on vacation, and try to include vietnam and either laos or cambodia in the trip as well.
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  6. #21
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    shit, mo i hadn't seen that last post, thank you!! bad news though, my conference was cancelled because everyone is freaking out about the coronavirus

    even though there aren't any travel restrictions for thailand and the organizers made sure not to buy tickets going through china, a lot of governments and organizations are basically restricting their employees travel to asia and there was just way too much panic. I started to suspect it might get cancelled when I got an email monday with like 3 pages of crazy measures being taken to keep everyone safe - we were going to have to take our temperature before being allowed to get on the shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and again every morning of the conference before being allowed into the conference room, handshaking and kissing was discouraged and instead we were all supposed to greet each other by bumping elbows, they were going to be distributing hand sanitizer like crazy, etc... i guess it wasn't enough to keep people from freaking out and yesterday morning they officially postponed it.
    i'm super disappointed but i'm going to try to go later this year on vacation, and try to include vietnam and either laos or cambodia in the trip as well.
    I hate to say it, but I expected, fairly early on, that something like this might happen. By the way, Thai people apparently think of Vietnamese people as the most obnoxious and pushy in all of Southeast Asia.
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  7. #22
    czb
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    interesting they have that opinion ... my japanese SiL says the japanese don't like the koreans. and also consider the vietnamese obnoxious.
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  8. #23
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    in my experience (i.e. anecdotal evidence from asian friends and diplomats), all asians dislike the japanese. even my japanese friends recognise this and a lot of them understand why, given the history. though these days they're not liking the chinese much either, especially indonesians.
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  9. #24
    czb
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    that doesn't surprise me (about asians not liking the japanese). but that isn't my SiL's opinion.
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  10. #25
    Gold Member Fran's Avatar
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    Seeing this reminded me that i saw a horrible video of a herd of monkeys attacking another monkey because someone gave him a banana. Apparently the monkeys in Thailand are starving because the tourists usually feed them...

  11. #26
    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    I just saw a FB video of monkeys totally fucking with tigers. Pulling their ears and tails from above the trees. They're NUTS dude

  12. #27
    Elite Member holly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fran View Post
    Seeing this reminded me that i saw a horrible video of a herd of monkeys attacking another monkey because someone gave him a banana. Apparently the monkeys in Thailand are starving because the tourists usually feed them...

    I saw this too. This is why we really shouldn't feed wild animals. It makes them unable to be self-sufficient. Very sad.

  13. #28
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Holly, from personal experience I can tell you people are probably not actually feeding them in Thailand stop. They come and get that stuff for themselves right out of your hands

  14. #29
    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by czb View Post
    interesting they have that opinion ... my japanese SiL says the japanese don't like the koreans. and also consider the vietnamese obnoxious.
    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    in my experience (i.e. anecdotal evidence from asian friends and diplomats), all asians dislike the japanese. even my japanese friends recognise this and a lot of them understand why, given the history. though these days they're not liking the chinese much either, especially indonesians.
    I concur with both of these points, anecdotally.

    I feel really bad for the monkeys in Thailand. They don't know any better and they're scared. I hate seeing animals pushed to that. Humans, too, but a lot of humans suck, so...meh. Those monkeys are pretty pushy, like seagulls, so this is probably how tourists came to feed them. Sad situation. That first day I worried that no one would come in and feed them.
    "AND WHEN YOU BECAME DENISE, I TOLD ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES, THOSE CLOWN COMICS, TO FIX THEIR HEARTS OR DIE."

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