Let’s Go to Thailand! Currency Info -‐As of 7/8/11 • 1 Thai Bhat=.033 US Dollars • 500 Bhat=$16.50 • $100=3,023 Bhat o In 2008 a 1.5 liter bottle of coke cost 23 Baht, $.76 o In 2008, carton of 12 eggs cost ~30 Baht ($1.00) • According to LP you should be able to get by on ~6-‐700 Bhat/day ($20)-‐ outside of BKK and major islands. I would take that # with a grain of salt…-‐-‐ http://goo.gl/Z4Lpn • ATM’s are plentiful, and you shouldn’t count on using credit cards outside of major cities. • Tipping is not really expected. Leaving behind change if <10 Baht is customary.. or leaving behind some change at restaurants. Warnings/Precautions “Travel Alert: The security situation in Bangkok has become more stable and life has mostly returned to normal. The security risk on the border with Cambodia and in the southernmost states remains high. Check Safe Travel for the latest advice.”-Lonely Planet (LP) Summary: in 2010 there were protests in BKK resulting in deaths and injuries. In as recent as April 2011 there were violent clashes resulting in death and injuries on Cambodian border. The elections happened July 3, so I’m assuming things have calmed down. They advise to be extremely cautious near borders of Cambodia and Burma. Just avoid protests etc., and keep your eyes open. -‐ At popular tourist destinations, foreigners may be charged 10x more for admission. http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1040.html U.S. Embassy, Bangkok 95 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand Telephone: 66-‐2-‐205-‐4049, 02-‐205-‐4049 (within Thailand) Emergency after-‐hours telephone: 66-‐2-‐205-‐4000, 02-‐205-‐4000 (within Thailand) Facsimile: 66-‐2-‐205-‐4103, 02-‐205-‐4103 (within Thailand) U.S. Consulate General, Chiang Mai 387 Wichayanond Road, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand Telephone: 66-‐53-‐107-‐700, 053-‐107-‐700 (within Thailand) Emergency after-‐hours telephone: 66-‐81-‐881-‐1878, 081-‐881-‐1878 (within Thailand) Facsimile: 66-‐53-‐252-‐633, 053-‐252-‐633 (within Thailand)
FLIGHTS (organized by least expensive) Option 1: 20 days
CITIES—disclaimer, I used Lonely Planet for travel info/things to do, and Trip Advisor for accommodations. 1. Ko Tao/Ko Pha-Ngan/Ko Samui a. Summary—Beautiful Islands off East coast of Southern peninsula. Ko Tao is Lonely Planet’s #1 pick for all of Thailand. Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui are ferry rides away from Ko Tao, and come highly recommended by friends who recently traveled there. FYI—This is far from Bangkok. You would have to fly from BKK to Ko Samui. ($215-300 in August, or $214-$268 in September.) i. Ko Tao—huge diving crowd. Beautiful reefs, cheapest and easiest place in world to get scuba certified. Chill island, lots of out door activities and beach relaxing. 4-‐wheelers may be primary mode of transportation around island. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/lower-‐southern-‐ gulf/ko-‐tao i. Things to do: http://www.bigbluediving.com/highest rated diving co on LP.(They have a picture of a passed out dude in a pile of garbage on their main page… but try and ignore that.) ii. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/lower-‐ southern-‐gulf/ko-‐tao/things-‐to-‐do iii. HOTELS: Looks like B&B’s are the way to go there. The first 13 highest rated on TA are B&B’s. (http://goo.gl/9tNCC) 1. La Cigale-‐-‐ #1 although it seems like kind of a trek from main areas of town. (http://goo.gl/7vmRo) 2. Amanjirah-‐-‐#2 seems brand new-‐ clean and nice facilities. Some reviews noted unprofessional service. (http://goo.gl/blIN0) ii. Ko Pha-Ngan—Known for partying (Full Moon party is here 8/14 and 9/12). Lots of backpackers, nature lovers. Less luxurious, but there are many secluded beaches. “a sort of hippy fun-‐loving vibe, where backpackers still dominate the tourist trade.”—Lonely Planet(LP) http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/lower-‐southern-‐ gulf/ko-‐pha-‐ngan i. Things to do: Lots of outdoor stuff like water sports (the first listing seems uber pricey though) night markets, yoga, eco day tours, etc. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/lower-‐ southern-‐gulf/ko-‐pha-‐ngan/things-‐to-‐do ii. HOTELS:
a. Seaview Bungalows—#2 on TA. My personal fav review “No TV, No Pool, No BULLSH*T” This is bare bones(cheap!), home cooked meals, small resort with a small but private beach. It does not have wifi, and I don’t think they even have electricity during the day. Off the beaten path. “a treasure” (http://goo.gl/NtoVX) (http://seaview.thansadet.com/) b. Sunset Cove—#3Mid, top price range—great location, more amenities than Seaview. Pools, etc. (http://goo.gl/8AYg5) iii. Ko Samui—Largest of the three islands and seems like most “touristy”. Caters to backpackers as well as wealthy travelers. Can get beachfront mid-‐top range lodging. “From July to October it can be raining on and off… On the other hand, many travellers have reported fine weather (and fewer crowds) in September and October”—LP. My friends rode elephants, played with baby tigers here, and really enjoyed the island. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/ko-‐samui a. Things to do: Lots of great restaurants, as well as a Marine park (setting of the movie Beach with Leo) and waterfalls. Interestingly, #8 on this list is volunteering time or money at a Dog Rescue…? http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/ko-‐ samui/things-‐to-‐do b. HOTELS: Being the largest island, they have the more expensive resort style hotels, starting at $150 and up. B&B’s seem the best choice here also. 1. Amarina Residence—“a gem” #1 B&B, cheap. http://goo.gl/rhWXd, http://www.amarinaresidence.com/ 2. L’Hacienda-‐-‐ #3, seems ideal for shorter stays. Rooftop pool, street market very close by, which can be good or bad depending. Cute. http://goo.gl/xbkux, http://www.samui-‐ hacienda.com/ 2. Chiang Mai a. Summary—One of Thailand’s “must-‐see’s.” It’s 435 miles north of BKK. Tons of temples to see. “Chiang Mai is a dynamic and modern city, which has successfully managed to combine its rich history and traditions with its increasingly modern side. However, a result of this rapid development has been the rise in traffic and pollution”-‐LP In a nutshell: shopping, food, and proximity to natural treasures.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/chiang-‐mai-‐province/chiang-‐ mai b. Things to do: i. Elephant trek and Ping River Rafting Trip. http://www.viator.com/tours/Chiang-‐Mai-‐and-‐Chiang-‐ Rai/Chiang-‐Dao-‐Elephant-‐Jungle-‐Trek-‐and-‐Ping-‐River-‐Rafting Tour-‐from-‐Chiang-‐Mai/d752-‐ 3685CNX28?eap=lonelyplanetmain ii. Food-‐ As you can see from this link, almost the entire first page is dedicated to food. Dig in! http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/chiang-‐mai-‐ province/chiang-‐mai/things-‐to-‐do iii. Thai Farm Cooking-‐-‐This isn’t too far outside of Chiang-‐Mai, and sounds really cool to me. http://www.thaifarmcooking.net/home/ c. HOTELS: Bigger city=more expensive hotels, and B&B’s. These are your best bet. i. Pak Chiang Mai-‐-‐#1 B&B. Perfect location, great reviews. http://goo.gl/ZV0ak ii. Dreamcatchers B&B-‐-‐ #2, “a 5 star place with 3 star prices”. The owner, Anabele, sounds awesome. http://goo.gl/oNIJf iii. The Chedi Chiang Mai-‐-‐ #1 Hotel, starts at $145, but if you’re looking for something nicer this seems like the place. http://goo.gl/NEa5E 3. Bangkok--So the intro on the LP page makes BKK sound pretty awful… just a massive self-‐absorbed city. But I figured since you will be flying in here and it’s the capital there will be some cool things to see a. Summary— “Bangkok is an urban connoisseur’s dream come true.”-‐ LP. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/bangkok b. Things to do: i. See the Temple of Dawn http://www.watarun.org/index_en.html i. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/bangkok/sight s/religious-‐spiritual/wat-‐arun ii. Market shopping for days http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/bangkok/shopping/m arket iii. Vertigo Grill & Moon Bar—this seems a bit pricy, but totally worth it for the amazing views. http://goo.gl/MHRTu i. http://goo.gl/g0mOt (images) c. HOTELS—Pricier here. i. The Bhuthorn-‐-‐ #1 B&B, priciest B&B (start at $80/night). Within walking distance to major sights, patio for breakfast, hospitality. http://goo.gl/BI9Ld
ii. Hansaah-‐-‐ #2 B&B, half the price of Bhuthorn. Home made food by very talented chef. Cozy home in busy BKK. http://goo.gl/BI9Ld iii. Be My Guest B&B-‐-‐ #3, in an authentic neighborhood, so farther from touristy stuff. Nice roomy rooms. http://goo.gl/c81bC