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Travel guide to Thailand


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Travel guide to Thailand

  1. 1. 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…-­‐-­‐       • 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.      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)  
  2. 2. FLIGHTS  (organized  by  least  expensive)      Option  1:  20  days  
  3. 3.    Option  2:  14  days      
  4. 4. Option  3:  23  days            
  5. 5. 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.­‐southern-­‐ gulf/ko-­‐tao   i. Things  to  do:   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.­‐ 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.   (     1. La  Cigale-­‐-­‐  #1  although  it  seems  like  kind  of  a   trek  from  main  areas  of  town.   (     2. Amanjirah-­‐-­‐#2    seems  brand  new-­‐  clean  and   nice  facilities.    Some  reviews  noted   unprofessional  service.  (     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)­‐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.­‐ southern-­‐gulf/ko-­‐pha-­‐ngan/things-­‐to-­‐do   ii. HOTELS:  
  6. 6. 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”  (   (   b. Sunset  Cove—#3Mid,  top  price  range—great   location,  more  amenities  than  Seaview.    Pools,   etc.  (     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.­‐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…?­‐ 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.,   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://www.samui-­‐    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.  
  7. 7.­‐mai-­‐province/chiang-­‐ mai   b. Things  to  do:   i. Elephant  trek  and  Ping  River  Rafting  Trip.­‐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!­‐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.   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.     ii. Dreamcatchers  B&B-­‐-­‐  #2,  “a  5  star  place  with  3  star  prices”.     The  owner,  Anabele,  sounds  awesome.   iii. The  Chedi  Chiang  Mai-­‐-­‐  #1  Hotel,  starts  at  $145,  but  if  you’re   looking  for  something  nicer  this  seems  like  the  place.    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.   b. Things  to  do:     i. See  the  Temple  of  Dawn   i. s/religious-­‐spiritual/wat-­‐arun     ii. Market  shopping  for  days arket   iii. Vertigo  Grill  &  Moon  Bar—this  seems  a  bit  pricy,  but  totally   worth  it  for  the  amazing  views.     i.  (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.    
  8. 8. ii. Hansaah-­‐-­‐  #2  B&B,  half  the  price  of  Bhuthorn.    Home  made   food  by  very  talented  chef.    Cozy  home  in  busy  BKK.   iii. Be  My  Guest  B&B-­‐-­‐  #3,  in  an  authentic  neighborhood,  so   farther  from  touristy  stuff.    Nice  roomy  rooms.