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Thailand and Laos (and Myanmar if I can manage it)

Hello, Sawatdee kaa and Sabai dee,

My next trip will be Thailand and Laos, and this is all about the before, the trip and the after - similar to my Malaysia/Cambodia blog. I am putting together from start to finish - tickets, do's and don'ts, tours, where to stay, places to see, things to do, as well as useful extras like transport, good places to eat, what to wear, climate, tourist traps, tricks and tips and whatever else I can think of that will be useful.

If you have any tips or advice, please, feel free to leave a comment and add your bit - whatever you think may be helpful or interesting.

Thailand map

View Bangkok Thailand in a larger map

Playlist - My Travel Videos

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

33. Bangkok Accommodation - Booked

I just booked my accommodation for my four nights in Bangkok. Yippee! I'm glad to have that out of the way - at least I know where I'll be. After weighing up the pros and cons, I decided on Bhiman Inn. Below are photos from their website.

Reason for Choice
Firstly, the location. Although the other two were closer to Khao San Road and cheaper, I realised the one located in KSR itself would be very, very noisy. Now I don't mind noise but seeing their check-in time as being 4.00am meant it could possibley be very noisy indeed plus I don't think the rooms would be as nice.

Secondly, appearance and atmosphere. New Siam II was my original choice but seems to lack a certain something in comparison. A friend advised that Bhiman Inn was in a nicer location and on looking at some maps, it's fairly close to the river and the river taxis.

Thirdly they offer a full breakfast and all rooms have a mini bar.

Above: Front of building

Above: The interior

Above: Map
It would probably be adviseable to print a copy of this to show the taxi driver.

Monday, November 22, 2010

32. Kanchanaburi Accommodation & Map

I have a few places in mind for my two night stay in Kanchanaburi,
PLOY Guesthouse
Pong Phen Guesthouse
and the Jolly Frog Backers. (No website)
Sugar Cane GH which has two - Sugarcane GH 1 and Sugarcane GH 2 The first one is closer to town, the other is 1 km further away. Guesthouse 1 is 2 kms from the River Kwai Bridge, Guesthouse 2 is 1 kms from the bridge.

There is a closer to town raft house called Sam's River Rafthouse but so far I haven't seen a good review.

Just noticed on a website, Sam's River Rafthouse is closed for renovation. Still no closer to making a decision.

I emailed Ploy GH and the Category 1 room is in the single story building and is more open and faces the private garden with the outdoor shower, plus it has a fridge.
The Category 2 rooms are on the ground floor of the two story building. This guesthouse includes morning coffee/toast and offers free pick-up from train / bus station. They don't have a restaurant.

If I choose Pong Phen GH, I'll go for a room in the guesthouse around 500/600 baht and I'd select the one with air con plus they have a balcony.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

31.Bangkok Accommodation

Well now, it looks like I may not be staying at the New Siam II after all. A friend who is well travelled said he was staying at Bhiman Inn and I had a look around their website. Comparing rates, although New Siam is cheaper - 790 baht per night, and Bhiman Inn 1000 baht per night, it also includes a full breakfast. Now by my calculations that works out at $7.15 for breakfast which may work out cheaper in the long run. Not being familiar with food costs in Bangkok, I'm presuming that it would cost me about the same were I to have to buy breakfast.

So now it's a case of

a) Pay 790 baht a night, no breakfast.
b) Pay 1000 baht a night breakfast included.

I somehow like the idea of breakfast included for a number of reasons. It means I can just go down for breakfast in the morning without having to having to go and check out prices either at New Siam or surrounding shops/stalls.

Anyway, I'm not sure which direction I'll go. I have plenty of time to make up my mind, but if the full breakfast includes tea and coffee, then I think it may have just won me over. I'll also check reviews and compare them.

I will need to find out if "net" includes tax and service charge. If it doesn't then I will most likely opt for New Siam II.
Emailed then (Bhiman Inn) and the price includes taxes etc.

Another Alternative ~ Cheaper Accommodation?
I heard from someone who stayed at Siam Oriental Inn on Khao San Road - 190 Khao San Road, cheap rooms for 500 baht. They seemed quite happy with it, then again they are about half my age and are backpacking around over something like 18 months or so. The place is right on Khao San Road and there's a 7-11 nearby with a pharmacy across the road and the police station near by. I think it would be very noisy and not sure if it's where I really want to be, although the fact that it is half the price compared to the Inn makes it seem like a very attractive alternative.

From their website

1-2 persons

C1-C2, 500 baht, fan and air con, hot shower, free american breakfast, international tv, window, plus free tissues, soap and safety box.

There's also 2 persons deluxe for 700 baht which offers the same things. Perhaps the room is a little larger? Or doesn't face the noisy street? Somehow I don't think they will have a lift.

So, it's either 500 baht in the noisy area or 1000 baht in a nicer, quieter area. As this is the very last part of my trip, it might be nice to go for the dearer option and stay in the better location. Looking through the photo gallery of Birhman Inn, I am drawn to staying here. $33.87 a night, making a total of #135.51 add on a few dollars for the international exchange rate etc. say $140 for four nights including breakfast it still isn't a lot of money especially when you compare that staying in a dorm hostel in Canberra is around $30 a night and you don't get breakfast included.

So yeah...I think this might be the one. I'll spend the day or so to think it over before making a final decision.

I just asked Junior (20 yo son) should I stay on the noisy street an pay $67.50 for four nights with breakfast of on the nicer, quieter street and pay $135.50 for four nights with breakfast. His ansewer? The $67.50 one. Given the fact that the cheaper one lists check-in as it 'd likely be very noisy and somehow I don't think I'd really relish the thought of drunken backpackers stumbling in at 4 in the morning. Decions, decisions, decisions. I know if I were to ask people familiar with Bangkok they would say go for the dearer option.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

30. Bangkok Itinerary?

Trying to work out my Bangkok itinerary this is a first draft. I'll probably end up changing things around but at least this gives me something to go on.

The things I know I want to do are Ayutthaya, Pattaya, the temples and a market

Friday 25th - Arrive HuaLamphong Train Station 6.35am. Taxi to New Siam II.
Wat Arun, Royal Palace, Wat Po. Canal excursion? Royal barges?

Saturday 26th - Ayutthaya day trip

Sunday 27th - Jim Thompson's House, Siam Square?, Chinatown, Chatuchak market? Night market?

Monday 28th - Pattaya day trip. Train or bus?

Tuesday 1st - Depart

Palaces and Barges
Ferry at Phra Athit down to the stop off for Wat Pho and Wat Arun.

8.00am ~ Canal excursion
10.00am ~ Taxi to Royal barges on the Pinklao side 10.00 - 11.00am
11.30 Wat Po
12.30 Wat Arun
13.30 Royal Palace
15.30 Return to hotel?

Taxi to Patpong, Silom for the market? Fare around 100 baht using meter.
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