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thailand in march april 08

Travel Forums Asia thailand in march april 08

1. Posted by pat10 (Budding Member, 8 posts) 29 Oct '07 06:22

hi traveling to thailand end of march beginning or april for a few months havent really got any plans where to go yet just gonna see where the wind takes us was just wondering if anyone else is planning atrip[ around this time and what there plans might be would be great to chat to someone about it

Post 2 was removed by a moderator
3. Posted by Stewarts (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 26 Jan '08 20:30

Hey Pat,

My wife and I are going with the wind also. Everything I have read says don't book in advance. We want to see culture, dive, snorkel, see things not elsewhere and avoid Mc Donalds. We were thinking about volunteering a couple days here and there if the wind blows us that way, but not pay for it. We were just going to head south when we got to Bangkok. I have a Word doc. of all the good posts on this forum about cheap, cool, non crowded, rooms to stay in, where to meet nice people, etc if you want it. Our house sells Feb 15th so we will be going Probably around March 7th or so for a month. The islands sound like the best for price, relaxation, non city fun. Hit us up if you wanna meet up learn some Thai or have ideas, we just want to avoid touristy stuff/ traps.

best wishes,

Josh and Olga

4. Posted by Erik85 (Respected Member, 274 posts) 27 Jan '08 04:53

Quoting Stewarts

Hey Pat,

My wife and I are going with the wind also. Everything I have read says don't book in advance. We want to see culture, dive, snorkel, see things not elsewhere and avoid Mc Donalds. We were thinking about volunteering a couple days here and there if the wind blows us that way, but not pay for it. We were just going to head south when we got to Bangkok. I have a Word doc. of all the good posts on this forum about cheap, cool, non crowded, rooms to stay in, where to meet nice people, etc if you want it. Our house sells Feb 15th so we will be going Probably around March 7th or so for a month. The islands sound like the best for price, relaxation, non city fun. Hit us up if you wanna meet up learn some Thai or have ideas, we just want to avoid touristy stuff/ traps.

best wishes,

Josh and Olga

I wouldn't underestimate Chiang Mai and the north, especially if you are after non-touristy stuff and culture. Phuket/Pattaya/Koh Samui/Koh Phangan are all quite built up and touristy - keep that in mind! You might wanna stay in the outskirts or lesser known beaches if you go to these locations
I could be wrong here but I don't think that Thai culture is depicted well alongside the beach, as many beaches and beach areas are driven by tourism. At least this was my impression when I went. And of course wherever theres tourists prices increase. Someone might wanna correct me on this one though.

Volunteering should be a great way to get rid of that tourist type relationship with the people though :)
Nonetheless I hope you have a great trip, and wherever you go I'm sure you will enjoy!

Erik

5. Posted by frosty (Full Member, 107 posts) 27 Jan '08 18:28

Quoting pat10

hi traveling to thailand end of march beginning or april for a few months havent really got any plans where to go yet just gonna see where the wind takes us was just wondering if anyone else is planning atrip[ around this time and what there plans might be would be great to chat to someone about it

"A few months" is a long time compared to ordinary tourists that are lucky to grab 2 or 3 weeks away. Depending on the country you come from you may be able to get a free 30 days entry permit and before that time runs out head for a second country like Laos or Cambodia and on your return you will get another free 30 days (depends on your citizenship, US, Australia, Canada, UK, most EU countries no problem.)

Read up on Thailand BEFORE you leave home. There are posts on this forum and other travel forums with good ideas and even simple stuff like how to get from the airport to the city. Plan on staying in Bangkok for a few days at the beginning of the trip and at least one night before you fly out, this way you won't have to worry about making short turn around connections.

In Bangkok, choose a hotel near the Skytrain so you can use that cheap transportation. If you are really young, you will probably end up in the Khao San Road area. No skytrain in the KSR area. Check out Chiang Mai and Phuket.

Link for weather: http://www.guidetothailand.com/thailand-travel-information/weather.htm

You have to plan on how much you can spend, like a budget! You have to figure out how much you have available to spend on hotels and even how to carry money or get money for your trip. Cheap accommodations, like hostels, have shared rooms and shared toilets and showers. Slightly higher priced are fan only rooms, with private toilets. Air conditioned rooms start around 600 baht. Something in the 800 baht to 1000 baht range is not too bad.

Planning will take some time and patience, how to get the cheapest airline tickets, hotels to stay in, best direction to start out at even which day of the week to leave on. Good you are looking into this now instead of a few days before intend to travel.

Good luck.

6. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member, 454 posts) 27 Jan '08 23:06

If you are going for over a month, do some research on Visas....go to your local Thai consulate but don't believe everything they say.

Essentially if you are from any of the 43 countries that have an agreement with Thailand you are allowed to stay in the Kingdom for up to 30 days without a visa...you'll get a stamp in your passport on arrival at immigration in the airport.

It gets confusing after this...........the rule of thumb is that you can go in and out of the country getting a new stamp for 30 days up to a total of 90 days in any 6 months(I think?).

If you have a tourist visa, these rules do not apply........these must be obtained BEFORE you get to Thailand. they are usually up to 60 days...they can be "piggy-backed but beware of re-entry - you may find your visa has expired automatically when you leave the kingdom, whether after 60 days or 3 days!

An alternative is to get a multiple entry 12 month Non-immigrant "O" or a Non- immigrant"B" (business) visa...these require proof of financial status or bona fide intent. The advantage is they are valid for a whole year and allow you to stay in the country up to 90 days at a time. A quick visa run is all you need to get your next 90 days and it can last over the year if you time your visa runs right.

At the end of the day it is the immigration official at the desk in front of you when you arrive who decides whether you come in or not....so bear that in mind.

Ir is tempting to head into Bkk as soon as you arrive....I think in some cases it is worth looking at the options elsewhere and leaving Bkk to the END of your trip if you can. It's easier to handle Bkk opnce you've got a bit more used to the country in general.

THe easiest option other than Bkk from the airport is the Eastern seaboard.....namely Pattaya (1.5hours by taxi) or maybe non Western touristy Bang Saen or Sri Racha.
Pattaya has a plethora of good value hotels in all price ranges - from Sheraton to Shagwells. The taxi and bus services from the airport are excellent and it's a good place to find your feet before setting off around the country - plenty of shops restaurants etc and more English language per square foot than anywhere in the country.

As for McD's - it's pretty hard to avoid wherever you are as is 7/11 and some of the most disgusting Pizzas in the world......eat street food!!! It's delicious and not that poisonous.

in the meantime.................Here are 20 things to think about when visiting Thailand…

1. Bring a cell phone “unblocked” and buy a Thai SIM card for it on arrival, they’re cheap (apprx. 250 baht) and include some credit already on them - e.g. - International calls to UK are about 5 - 8baht per min…

2. Money - Bring ATM and/or credit cards. - check fees and tell your bank your are going abroad. - Take Travellers cheques only as back-up. Bring very little cash (Baht) – you tend to get a better rate of exchange here than any home country. You can change money on arriving at the airport..

3. Bring very few clothes – they are so cheap here and you’ll only bring stuff that is too warm anyway.

4. Very little luggage – this makes you more mobile if you need to be and less vulnerable to taxi touts and undesirable men….Before you go home you can buy any extra luggage (cheap) to take souvenirs etc.

5. Internet access is everywhere – even on the beach… you can get all your photos copied to CD - If you have a lap-top you can connect it (broadband even wi-fi) at most cafes.

6. Food - Thai food is very unlikely to give you food poisoning but can contain more chillies than you ever thought possible….Street food is usually safe (and delicious!), check for numbers of customers and general looks of the stall. Western (“farang”) food is much more likely to give you food poisoning – fridges are not part of Thai cooking lore yet…beware of Western Fast Food outlets and hotel buffets - food that has been out for over an hour or so. Thailand is not used to fridges/chill-serve etc.

7. Always carry a pack of tissues - they don’t supply free tissues (if there is a vending machine at all!)

8. Drink bottled water - not tap water. Even consider not brushing your teeth with tap water. Ice is usually safe in drinks and for anything else.

9. Use common safety sense – it is easy to relax too much here…when it comes to petty crime the rate is certainly lower than in places like the US/Europe etc…but every country has its share of con-men and psychopaths…..

10. Don’t be afraid to go to Pattaya – it is the sex capital of Thailand but they don’t jump out at single women and couples and it has good, cheap hotels, shopping and food. Not a bad place to start off for Koh Chang, Koh Samet or Cambodia.

11. Bring an international driving licence – although most national ones are accepted by motorbike and car hire companies and anyone else who wants to hire you something….you may not be insured without an IDL! In Thailand they drive on the left - cars are Right-hand-drive. However driving is really only for the experienced. Be especially careful on a motorbike - Samui has the highest accident rate in Thailand.

12. Public transport is cheap. Planes, Trains, Buses, Minibuses, Taxis, from town to town. If you’re in a minibus or taxi, tell the driver you’ll tip him if he keeps the speed below 90/100 kmph! National speed limit is 90kph (120 on motorways)

13. Around Bkk try to use meter taxis with the meter on...it’ll be cheaper than the tuk-tuks. Take a tuk-tuk once for the experience then use meter taxis. Don’t let the drivers take you out of your way...they’ll try to take you to some (relative’s) store where they get commission.

14. Medical - Check out a few “jabs & medications” – don’t bother with the malaria ones – too heavy! You can get tetanus or rabies here if you’re bitten by a dog - it’s cheap. Most medicines (including antibiotics) can be bought over the counter without prescription and are cheap. A pharmacist will give you what he considers right for your symptoms but you can just as easily see a doctor at a local clinic for a couple of hundred baht. They usually speak a little English.

15. Check up on Thai manners and customs – this will earn you more respect from the locals. - Keep up some dress sense – how you dress in Thailand is quite important. Don’t go topless without checking out if it’s acceptable where you are – usually it’s frowned upon. You’ll notice that Thai women (even sex workers) are very modest in public –they usually swim fully clothed.

16. Check out table manners – Thais tend to eat from communal dishes in the centre of the table – don’t pour everything onto your own plate!

17. Don’t knock the royal family – even in jest.

18. Body language - Don’t point your feet at people – the body is seen as hierarchical and the feet are the lowest part and should not be waved about (this is like a “fingers up” sign. Before entering someone’s home you must take off your shoes; this also applies to some shops and businesses. - Never take a shoe off and wave it at someone – this could lead to violence.
On the other hand it is impolite to touch people on the head.

19. It’s not necessary to “Wai” people - the Thai greeting - as you’ll probably get it wrong. If they Wai you, you might try a wai back.

20. Remember, this is the Land of Smiles and you will find everything goes much better when you have a smile on your face - whatever the situation….

7. Posted by Paul3879 (Respected Member, 212 posts) 28 Jan '08 02:00

I actually agree with Wildfk!
Be careful with the whole Visa thing and don't believe everything people tell you and everything you read. Speak with your local Thai consulate then speak with them again and again to make sure you understand what they are telling you and they understand what you are telling them.
Also do Bangkok at the end of your trip is good advise for two reasons (1) You can handle the "in your face" selling tactics they have and (2) You don't have to carry around with you whatever you buy for your entire trip.