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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

Friday, August 27, 2010

26. Food in Thailand

Thai Cuisine
It helps if you know what type of food to expect when travelling overseas to a country for the first time. Dishes from Asian countries are far different to dishes from Australia, or indeed other western countries. And "Asian" dishes in Australia often bear little resemblance to Asian dishes in Asian countries.
When I was in Cambodia, I ate the most delicious Thai food at the guesthouse where I was staying, and the Chinese food I had in Malaysia was wonderful. Coming back to Australia, I have to say the Thai and Chinese meals I've had here are "Western" Chinese/Thai foods. Believe me, they are definitely not the same thing!

Rice - khao, is the staple food in Thailand. In southern and central Thailand, many people eat khao jao (plain rice) with every meal, while people in the north and northeast eat khao nieow (sticky rice) with their hands, sort of what we'd call finger food. The sticky rice is rolled into a small ball then dipped into different sauces. What we would call a main dish or side dish is called gap khao (with rice), so everything is "with rice".

The Four Tastes
There are four main tastes in Thai dishes - hot (spicy), sour, sweet, and salty and it is the combination of these tastes that gives Thai food its delicious flavour.

What if you don't eat spicy foods?
If you don't like spicy food, ask "Phet mai" which means is it spicy?
Chan au mai phet na ka means I don't want spicy please. "Mai phet" translates as not spicy. Mai sai prik means do not put in chillies. If you do happen to bite something that is too hot eating either plain rice or noodles will help as they soak up the spicy oil. Don't make the mistake of drinking water - it only spreads the oil around your mouth and you still feel like you have a volcano sitting there.

I wish I'd known this before, when I'd gone out with friends to an Indian restaurant and ordered what I was told was the mildest dish and not hot at all. Hah! We live and learn eh?☺

Popular dishes
Neua phat bai ka prao ~ Beef, stir-fried with vegetables and Thai basil.
Phat tai (Pronounced "pat tai") ~ Fried noodles with bean sprouts, peanuts, and lime juice, usually not spicy.
Gai phat met ma-muang ~ Chicken, stir-fried with vegetables and cashews.
Khao naa pet ~ Rice with roast duck, non-spicy normally found in shops with roasted duck in window display.
Khao phat ~ Fried rice, usually not spicy.
Kuoi tiaw ~ Chinese noodles, served as soup (kuoi tiaw naam) or dry (kuoi tiaw hang).
Plaa thawd ~ Savoury deep-fried fish, often whole, tilapia or catfish.
Phat pak lai yang ~ Stir-fried vegetables.
Raat naa taleh ~ Wide noodles (raat naa) with a selection of shrimp, squid etc in a light gravy. Not spicy.
Som tam ~ Green papaya salad with hot chilis, lime, tomatoes, peanuts, and a special sauce and a specialty of Isaan, in northeast Thailand.

And something to drink
Cha yen ~ Thai iced tea made with black tea, ice, and condensed milk. It is often served in a plastic bag with a straw for you to carry away.

25. Bangkok Tourist Attractions

What to see in Bangkok
If you decide to do a tour of the temples and the Grand Palace, be aware that the Grand Palace is not included in the temples tour, so if you're on a budget rather than paying two lots of money, if you do book a tour, choose the temples one, then see the Grand Palace by yourself.

Top Tourist Attractions
1. Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
2. Wat Pho (Wat Phra Chetuphon or Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
3. Wat Arun - (The Temple of Dawn)
4. Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple)
5. Vimanmek Mansion
6. Chao Phraya River - take a boat ride
7. Bangkok National Museum
8. Khaosan Road
9. Chinatown (Yaowarat)
10. Chatuchak Weekend Market

The Old City
Below is a map of the "Old City" of Bangkok - you will find many of the temples etc are in this part of Bangkok.

Above: The old city

Another popular pastime is to go to Emporium Park, stroll around the lake or sit one of the seats and feed the doves. Pack a picnic lunch and you're all set.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

24. Food - Thai Travel Menu

Some of the best (and cheapest) food in Thailand I've been told is to be found at the food stalls on the street - food hawkers. The may not have menus written up and chances are if they do, they're most likely in Thai. Which can present a bit of a conundrum for tourists who are unfamiliar with the Thai language, although you could of course point to something on the "menu" and ask the person working there what it is.

Menu Explained
Take a look at this menu board below

Above: Menu board
It has great dishes on there like chicken fried with cashew nuts, fried thousand year eggs with crispy basil leaves, spicy squid in a basil & curry sauce and many others for 20 baht each. Yet many people don't get much way past the fried rice or fried noodles.

Over rice
Many of the items can be ordered "over rice", so including rice. Ordering an indivudal dish over rice is cheaper so probably the best thing when you're travelling by yourself. If you order seperately you get more, but the price will be a little higher.

Chanchao wrote a Thai Travel Menu which you can find here. The Travel Menu is a PDf file and it requires Adobe Reader to open.

Chanchao's travel menu is the copywright of Chanchao and
Many thanks to Chanchao for giving me his permission to use the above information in my blog.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

23. Maylin Guesthouse

The Maylin Guesthouse in Vang Vieng has been recommended to me.

With prices being from 40,000 kip to 80,000 kip per night - ($5.45 to $10.95) this is a pretty good price. It's away from the noisy backpacker scene and tubing corner which is where the "action" happens.
Vang Vieng is fast becoming known for "tubing" - flying over/down the river in a rubber tyre and drinking copious amounts of beer.

Edited to add:
I checked online and put in random dates for check in and check out for this property with two different websites. One gave the price as $33.75 and the other was showing $40 something and that was in US dollars. The dollar amount(s) I gave ($5.45 to $10.95) are Australian dollars. Now it may be a case of being a far higher price if you book online through accommodation websites.

Above: Maylin Guesthouse and bungalows

Above: Vang Vieng town map
As you can see, No 17 is Maylin GH, the red arrow is the Main Highway heading towards the Bus Station. The marked letter T (in yellow) is the High Street. And the broken white line near number 34 (Thavornsouk guesthouse) is the Song Bridge.

17. Maylin Guesthouse

Eat and Meet
A: Erawan
B: Jeska Bar
C: Kangaroo Sunset
D: Luang Prabang Bakery
E: Nazim's
F: Organic Mulberry Farm Cafe
G: Sakura
H: Smile
I: Stalls set up in front of Kang Temple
J: The Rising Sun
K: Viengchampa
L: Viewpoint Restaurant

Attractions and Activities
4: Green Discovery
5: Laos Rock Climbing
6: Tubing Co-operative
7: Wat Kang

2: Bus Station

Vital Information
1: Bank
3: Exchange

Sunday, August 15, 2010

22. North Thailand and Laos

Northern Thailand

The above map shows the main attractions around Chiang Mai and rivers and roads to other towns. I'll be going from Chiang Mai>Chiang Rai>Mae Sai across the border to Tachilek (Burma), the Golden Triangle, back to Chiang Rai then across to Chiang Khong for the border crossing into Laos.

The main cities and towns of Laos. The border crossing Thailand>Laos, Chiang Khong across the Mekong to Huay Xai. From there I'll be sailing down the Mekong with an overnight stop in Pakbeng, then continuing the following day to Luang Prabang and staying there for three nights. Travelling down to Vang Vieng where I'll break my journey then next day on to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Staying here for three nights.
From there it's over the Friendship Bridge back to Thailand and train from Nong Khai>Bangkok.

Maps courtesy of Ian from Ginny Place

Saturday, August 14, 2010

21. Kanchanaburi - Getting There

I've come across a very good website for information about Kanchanaburi. It's called Kanchanaburi and is in English and German. One of the things I really liked about it is not only does it tell you how to get there from Bangkok, it also has the bus timetables. You catch the bus from the Southern Bus Terminal. It gives timetables, bus numbers, duration and fares. There is also information for buses from Kanchanaburi to other destinations in the area.

Suvarnabhumi Airport to Kanchanaburi
Reading the information on this page, (Post 8) I will need to get Bus No. 556 from the airport to the Southern Bus Terminal, and then get either Bus No 81 1st class for 99 baht, or Bus No 81 -1 2nd class for 77 baht. The trip takes 2 hours. As my flight lands at 11.40am and allowing at least an hour to clear customs, an hour for the bus ride from the airport plus a good 30 minutes to get my bearings, I should hopefully arrive at the bus terminal in Bangkok around 2.15pm. Another 2 and a half hours or so and I should be in Kanchanaburi by 4.45pm.

Then of course I will have to get to my accommodation place. Not sure yet how long that will take or where exactly the bus stop is in relation to the town.

I'll most likely be staying at the Jolly Frog which is a backpackers and cheap. The rooms I believe are very small, but then so is the price. Unfortunately, they don't have a website, so I can't book online. As the time draws nearer, I may decide to stay elsewhere - somewhere that does have online booking, is close to town and not too dear. The trouble is finding them. One place that was recommended sounds very nice but is about five times more. Something to think about anyway.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

20. Things You Should Not Do In Thailand

There are some things you definitely should not do when you're in Thailnd and it's a good thing to learn before going so as to avoid giving offence.

Criticising the King
The Thai people have a great love for their king and not only is it rude to make negative remarks about the King, the royal family or the institution of the monarchy, it is also a crime. Lèse majesté is enforced in Thailand.

Patting the head
The head is the most important part of the body, so no touching someone's head.

Pointing the feet
The feet are considered dirty - you should never point them at someone, it is considered offensive. And don't point your feet at any Buddha statue.

Visiting a temple
Remove your shoes before visiting a temple.

Getting angry
Raising your voice or losing your temper is a big no-no. Not only will it not get you what you want, the local people won't respect you.

Saving face
It is important never to cause someone to lose face. So don't shout and yell in public.

Palm down
When you hail a taxi, or wish to beckon a waiter or anyone, have your palm down and fingers straight.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

19. Laos Currency

Lao Kip:
Lao money is the Kip which is inconvertible outside Laos. Due to the instability and inflation. You'll find there are too many zeros and too many notes which aren't very pratical for travellers - you'd end up with a fistful and makes carrying large amounts of Kip inconvenient. A friend who lives in Laos said he had a huge suitcase full of Kip when he bought his house! You can use Thai Baht and US Dollars.

Currency Rate:
At the time of writing this (11 August), the actual currency rate is -
AUD $1.00 = 7,481.75 LAK
US $1.00 = 8,235.00 LAK
Thai Baht 1 = 257.880 LAK

Lao Kip (LAK; symbol ₭) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of ₭50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. There are no coins.

Important Note:
a) You can't convert your kip back into dollars or baht when leaving Laos
b) You can't use up your kip at the duty-free shops, as they only accept US dollars and Thai baht.

Below are the most commonly used denominations.

Above: Kip - Smaller denominations

Above: Kip - larger denominations

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

18. Nagi of Mekong

Well, I've just booked my seat on the Nagi of Mekong and had an email confirming my booking.
Sailing down the Mekong to Luang Prabang is something I really want to do. You can go on the ordinary "public" longboats which I suppose the majority of backpackers do and it's a lot cheaper. Around $30, but it's not very comfortable. Hard, wooden seats, no food or drink, and when you get to Pak Ben you have to arrange your accommodation etc.

With the Nagi, it's more like a cruise and you get taken care of. Nice, soft cushioned seats, tea/coffee and fresh fruits, two hot lunches and your accommodation at Pak Ben. Plus, you get to stop off at one or two villages and you also get to do a tour of the Pak Ou cave. Cost is $158 twin share and $178 for single. True it's more expensive, but I think I'll enjoy this so much more.

17. Itinerary - 2

My Itinerary So Far:
The places I will be staying have been worked out, it is now just a matter of fine tuning - what to do, when to do it and in what order.
Day 1:
Arrival at Bangkok International Airport. Bus to Bangkok bus station. Catch bus to Kanchanaburi. Check into accommodation, probably the Jolly Frog. Check out tours for tomorrow.

Day 2:
Ride on the Death Railway, see Hellfire Pass. Museum and World War II Cemetery. Boat or raft cruise if time permits and finances allow.

Day 3:
Afternoon train to Bangkok. Bangkok Railway Station for overnight train from Bangkok-Chiang Mai, air-conditioned compartment - lower sleeping berth.

Day 4:
Arrive at Chiang Mai Railway Station. Bus to town, check into accommodation.
Tour Wat Phathat Doi Suthep one of the most important temples of Chiang Mai. The tour includes a climb up some 290 steps to the temple on the summit of the mountain (Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep). San Kamphaeng to visit some artisans' workshops to observe the creation of Chiang Mai's most famous products - celadon, pottery, umbrellas, silver and wood carvings, paper-making and silk and cotton weaving.

Day 5:

Day 6:
A short distance outside of Chiang Mai City, watch elephants perform their work hauling and stacking the teakwood logs. You can observe them taking their daily baths along with their babies-and can even take a ride around the compound on one of the them. Orchid Farm for lunch?

Day 7:
Early morning leave for Chiang Rai overland (183 kms. away) across mountain, valleys and picturesque landscapes. Check into accommodation. Bus to Mae Sai, cross border to Tachilek into Myanmar for some shopping of the local handicrafts. Bus back to Chiang Rai.
? Lunch at a restaurant by the Mae Khong river in the golden Triangle area. Visit the opium musuem and some old monuments in this old capital of Lanna Kingdom called Chiangsaen.?

Day 8:
Visit to “Doi Tung”? Hmong hilltribe village and local market? Bus to Baan Nai Sra, dinner and overnight at House In The Pond.

Day 9:
Leave Baan Nai Sra for Chiang Khong pier and after immigration formality, cross the Mekong River to the Laotian side for the same. Board the Nagi of Mekong - boat leaves from Houi Xai main pier at 09.00, tea & coffee and fruits served, after two hours of the relaxing cruise, a stop is made at a ethnic Lao village along the river where you may observe primitive way of life of the people. Hot lunch is served on board, afternoon arrival at Pak Bang and check in at Petch Chokxai hotel or similar. Total distance traveled to day is approximately 150 kilometers, about 80 nautical miles, in seven hours including a stop for sightseeing at village along the river.

Day 10:
A walk to the nearby local market is a "must" return to hotel for breakfast and check out, boat leaves the dock at 08.00, another stop is made at a village by the river prior to hot lunch on board. A stop is also made at the famous Pak Ou cave just before arrival at Luang Prabang main pier around 4 PM. Total distance traveled to day is approximately 180 kilometers or about 97 nautical miles in eight hours including stops for sightseeing at village along the river and Pak Ou cave.

Price in twin sharing is THB.4,600 per person.

Single occupancy surcharge is THB. 600 per person.

Included in the cruise prices are:

Special chartered boat with soft cushion seats, modern toilet and safety equipments on board.

Room and breakfasts at Petsokxai hotel or similar in Pak Bang.

English speaking staff & admission fee at Pak Ou cave.

Hot lunch on both days of journey, tea & coffee, fruits in season.

Day 11:
Rise early to witness the age old tradition of morning alms giving to the monks. Visit the local market.
Trip to the Kuang Si Falls?

Day 12:
Morning half day city tour which will include the highlights of this old Capital of Laos such as Wat Xiangthong, Wat Vi Soun, The Royal Palace of the former King of Laos, Baan Pha Nom, the weaving village and the local market. Afternoon at leisure for own exploration of the city or optional tours.

Day 13:
On the road today taking a spectacular mountain drive through breathtaking scenery to the riverside town of Vang Vieng. Surrounded by limestone karsts scenery. Check into accommodation.
?Visit the local caves and take a local boat ride up the Nam Song River?
Watch the sunset and have a drink.

Day 14:
Bus to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Check into accommodation.

Day 15:
City tour - temples, Patuxai, based on the ‘Arc De Triomphe’ in Paris.

Day 16:

Day 17:
Songthaew to Nong Khai for overnight train to Bangkok. Airconditioned compartment - lower berth.

Day 18:
Arrive Bangkok 6.30am. Taxi to accommodation.
Temple tour and/or grand palace tour?
Home of the Kings of Siam of the Chakri Dynasty. Originally built by King Rama I, it served as the royal residence until 1946. Today the palace is still used on certain occasions for visiting royalty or special guests of the Kingdom. Adjoining the Grand Palace you will find the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Keo), this is probably the best known of the royal temples. It is regarded as the most important temple in all Thailand and it is the venue of many of the numerous religious ceremonies in which the King participates, especially at the beginning of each of the three seasons when His Majesty personally changes the elaborate robes of the Buddha image, carved out of a single piece of emerald-green jasper.

Day 19:
Day trip - train to Pattaya?

Day 20:

Day 21:
Day trip to Ayutthaya - you can go by train and do it yourself. For tours, there's a bus tour or cruise there. Bus is cheaper.

Day 22:

Day 23:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

16. Chiang Mai Thai House

The fourth accommodation place I'm looking at in Chiang Mai is Chiang Mai Thai House which according to the website, is in a quiet lane between the main city gate and the night bazaar area and is more "boutique style". It also has a pool.

Above: Chiang Mai Thai House

a) 700 Baht - $24.29 per night for double room with air con.
b) 950 Baht - $32.95 per night for deluxe room with private garden.

They also offer a number of tours plus transfers to your next destination as well as transport to Laos including the slow boat to Luang Prabang.

To lift or not to lift?
From what I can see, I don't think any of these guesthouses have lifts. This one has what looks like four floors and I can't risk getting a room anything above first floor. (Bad knees - arthritis). Although their rooms with private garden could be ground floor.
The alternative is to go for a more expensive property that does have lifts, but then I'd probably be paying a much higher price which would be way outside my budget. With this in mind, I think I'll go for the cheaper one(s) which have only ground floor and first floor.
Alternately, I could email them for information and ask about the viability of getting a room on the first floor. Something to think about anyway.

Above: Location map

15. Awana House

The third accommodation place that I'm considering in Chiang Mai is Awanahouse which is located at
7 Ratchadamnoen Road, Lane 1, Thapae Gate, Chiang Mai 50200. All their rooms have air-conditioning, television and a fridge. Some rooms have balconies, some have mountain views and some have street views. They also have a couple of rooms on what they call the "Panoramaroof" - which are cheaper but have a fan only, no air-con.

Pros and Cons:
One of the pros is you can rent a laptop for 60 baht an hour (the most you'll pay is four hours).

ON the flip side of the coin, I'm not very happy with their form of payment - you can either transfer money to their Dutch bank account in Euro currency, transfer to their Thai Bank account in Thai baht currency or use Paypal. From reading their website, it looks like you can only use a credit card if paying with Paypal. It seems a long drawn out affair making payment - if you live outside the Netherlands, you have to have a code, and a BIC, then you have to go to a bank and have the money deposited into a their account. A bit too much trouble if you ask me.

Another thing I thought a little odd - "For Awanahouse it is important that the Dutch (European) accent continues in the guesthouse, one of the wishes of meanwhile deceased Jan van Delft. That’s why Ron Bertsch, Dutchman, is the new supervisor and host since july 2007."

Above: The guesthouse

a) Double room - TV. fridge, balcony with mountainview, 650 baht, (750 Jan - March)
b) Double room - TV. fridge, balcony with streetview, 600 baht, (700 Jan - March)
c) Double room - TV. fridge, 500 baht, 550 high season
d) Single room - TV, fridge and balcony with streetview, 500 baht, (550 Jan - March)
e) Room on the Panoramaroof with fan and double bed, 1 person , 225 baht, 2 people 350 baht.

The higher rates shown are from 20th January to 20th March - what we would call "shoulder season". I've not listed all the rooms and rates, only the ones that I would be looking at.

Special Rates:
This is what would be called "peak season" and the dates as follows -
1 July - 20 August
20 December - 20 January
9 - 16 April (Sonkran)
You can find them on their website.

Above: Awanahouse logo
Awanahouse also runs a number of Tours.

Above: Map showing location

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

14. Ginny Place

One of the accommodation places in Chiang Mai is Ginny Place located in the heart of the old city and in a great location.

114/1 Ratchapakinai Road
Tambon Phra Sing
Amphoe Muang
Chiang Mai 50200
Phone: (0)6 587-6249 / (0)5 30272009

Above: Ginny Place Bedrooms
Bright, colourful cheerful rooms although basic, are all scrupulously clean. The guesthouse provides a towel and hot water is available in both shared bathrooms and private ones.
The guesthouse is very popular with budget travellers with rates from 100 to 300 baht per night. I was hoping to stay here but they don't take online bookings, meaning you can't pre-book, so you just have to try your luck and hope they have a vacancy on the day you arrive.

I have heard the people who run the place are very friendly and helpful - Tee also runs a travel agency and can help arrange tours and sightseeing and answer questions like "Where do I get the bus to such-and-such a place"? and Ian will quite happily sit with you and have a drink.
They have wi-fi available as well as television.

Above: Ginny Place

There's a cafe called The Be Bee Cafe at Ginny's which serves reasonably priced meals. Below is a sample menu:


Big Breafast - 150 baht
The big breakfast consists of 2 Sausages, 2 rashers of bacon, 2 eggs (fried, scrambled, or poached), baked beans, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, french fries, toast with butter/jam, orange juice and tea or coffee.

Aussie Breakfast - 120 baht
Also sounds delicious with 2 sausages, 2 rasher of bacon, 2 eggs (fried, scrambled, or poached), baked beans, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, toast with butter and jam, orange juice and teoa or coffee.
The only difference between the two is chips.

Omelet - 80 baht
Served with cheese, ham, onion, tomato, butter and jam

Plain Pancake - 40 baht
Pineapple Pancake - 50 baht
Banana pancake - 50 baht
All pancakes are served with syrup

Toasted Ham and Cheese - 65 baht
Toasted Tuna - 60 baht
~ combination of chunky tuna, onion, and tomato

Grilled Chicken Supreme - 75 baht
~ grilled chicken, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, thousand island dressing

Club Sandwich - 120 baht
~ ham, cheese, fried egg, bacon, tomato, and lettuce and served with french fries

Chicken Sandwich - 60 baht
~ grilled chicken, tomato, onion, cucumber, and lettuce.

Above: Chiang Mai town map showing location Map courtesy of Ian from Ginny Place.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

13. Travel Inside Bangkok

Public Transport:
Public buses and air-conditioned buses are plentiful and inexpensive within metropolitan Bangkok. The red and grey air-conditioned microbuses are for longer urban journeys. A bus route map can be obtained from most hotels and bookshops.

Taxis and Tuk Tuks:
Hotel taxis have fixed fares. Public taxis are air-conditioned, comfortable and have starting fares of 35 Baht for the first 3 kilometres and approximately 5 Baht for every additional kilometre. Be sure the driver resets the metre every time you enter the vehicle.
Tuk Tuks, three-wheeled taxis, are a symbol of Thailand. They are popular for short journeys and can cost anywhere from 20 Baht to 150 Baht, depending where one chooses to go. Important - Fares must be bargained for before the journey is undertaken as there is no metre.

Mototcycle Taxis:
The fastest way to plod through the traffic congestion of Thailand's major cities is by motorcycle taxi. Look for the driver with the coloured vest. Fares are negotiated before departure. Hold on tight.

River Taxis:
There are many types of boats that navigate the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. Private "cigarette long - tail boats" are fast and available for tours of the city's huge canal system. A 2-hour private tour runs about 500 Baht. Public river taxis run from dawn till dusk from Khlong Toei to as far north as Nonthaburi. The journey takes over an hour. Smaller trips between other landings can cost as little as 9 Baht.

Air Taxis:
A special package tour which allows tourists to experience a beautiful view around Bangkok and provinces nearby. For more information - telephone 66 2504 3839-40, or go to Royal Sky.

There are two lines in operation: the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line. BTS Skytrains run daily from 6.00am to 12.00pm with frequent services throughout the day, particularly during rush hours. The fare is based on the distance travelled. For more information, visit their website Bangkok Metro

The MRT Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line has 18 stations and operates from 6.00am throughout 12.00pm and connects many of the top tourist attractions with the accommodation areas, and the business district. The fare is based on the distance travelled. For more information, contact their website - Bangkok Metro

Canal Boat:
Khlong Saen Saep canal boats operate from Banglamphu across the city to Ramkhamhaeng University. Tickets are bought onboard. Note that the piers are a little hidden away, which makes them sometimes difficult to find.

Monday, August 2, 2010

12. Merry V Guesthouse

Bangkok Accommodation The Merry V Guesthouse
The third in the series of suggested accommodation places in Bangkok. Have heard if you want something nice at Merry V, you need to get a room in the back part. The rooms in the front section are a bit tired looking plus they only have share bathrooms. Also, I've been advised to pay for an air conditioned room as the ones with fans are hot and stuffy. They are larger rooms and the price difference so I'm told is around 300 baht.

The service personnel is reported to be friendly and helpful and you should take your own padlock for your room as there have been reports of theft.
The location is very good, being only a short walk to Khao San Road, but the amenities sound pretty basic.
33 Chana Songkram, Bangkok
T: (02) 282 9267;

Room rates:

Double fan share bathroom - 200 baht
Dobule fan private bahtroom - 400 baht
Single fan share bantroom - 140 baht
Single fan private bantroom - 250 baht

Single air-con private bathroom - 350 baht, that's AUD$11.92 per night
Double air-con private bathroom - 500 baht which is AUD$17.05 per night.
Triple fan share bathroom - 270 baht
Triple fan private bathroom - 450 baht
Triple air-con private bathroom - 600 baht

If I do decide to stay here at the Merry V, then I would either get a single with air-con and private bathroom, or a double with air-con and private bathroom.

Mind the stairs!
One young chap said he had to go up three lots of stairs.

Above: Merry V

Sunday, August 1, 2010

11. Rambuttri Village Inn

Another post on accommodation in Bangkok. Rambuttri Village Inn, a few minutes walk to Khao San Road.
I liked the look of this place and after reading from their website, thought this could very well be it! Reading the reviews though, made me a little wary, they weren't all that crash hot, and the common theme seemed to be the staff were unhelpful and very rude.

Nevertheless, I emailed them asking for their rates for the dates I required - I had decided on a Deluxe room as the Deluxe rooms have a fridge, complimentary water and a garden view, but mainly because of the fridge. That meant I could keep some fruit or something and drinks in it, plus I could make tea and coffee if I bought along a small travel electric kettle. But it did also depend on whether there was a lift.
The return email - "For one person cost 650 baht/night.
Please take superior single room cost 650 baht/night 1st,2nd,3rd,4th,5th floor have elevator too.
For deluxe single don't have elevator and don't have first floor only stairs."

This was very disappointing and I must admit I found this confusing - how can the superior room have a lift but the deluxe one doesn't? Remember too, the deluxe room is a higher price than the superior. It looks like this is probably out. Some of the photos I've seen show rooms with windows facing the pool. I think I'd much prefer a garden view.

Above: Entrance

Price: Nov 01, 2010 - Mar 31, 2011
a) Standard Single Room - 600 Baht - $20.85
b) Superior Single Room - 650 Baht - $22.55
c) Deluxe Single Room - 750 Baht - $26.10
d) Junior Double Room - 780 Baht - $27.10
e) Superior Double Room - 880Baht - $30.53

Security Deposit:
1000 Baht - $34.69 per room at check in to guarantee payment of any incidental charges. It will be returned when checking out.
#You have to leave your room key at reception when going out.

Above: Map showing location

Above: Room facilities

Above: Street entrance view
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