I am heading to Bangkok on 4th Sept and have a few queries. I'm sure you will have seen and heard them all before but, as a first time traveller, I could really do with your help!
1. I will be in Bangkok for two weeks before heading off on a trip around Cambodia and Vietnam and will return to Bangkok by air from Vietnam on 10th Oct. Am I right in thinking that, as long as I leave Thailand before 10th Nov (I plan on travelling south through Malaysia and Singapore) I do not need to sort out a visa as at no time will I have stayed in the country for longer than 30 days?
2. Pretty repetitive one this...can anyone recommend accommodation in Bangkok for a 25 year old male who likes the occassional alcoholic beverage but who is likely to be shattered after his flight! Looking at somewhere in the region of £10 per night max.
3. What would people advise is the best way to go about keeping in touch with home? I spoke to a work colleague who said her friend simply bought a local mobile phone in each country she visited and just used that - would anyone recommend this? If so, I think I would prefer this option and the extra cost than sitting in internet cafes using Skype.
Hope this all makes sense. Please forgive my newbieness! Anyone off to SE Asia around the same time give me a shout!
I can help you on a couple of points:
1/ If you arrive on 04/09/09 your 30day "Visa Exemption" will last until 04/10/09, so as long as you leave Thailand by that date you will be fine. When you arrive BACK into Thailand after visiting Cambodia & Vietnam BY AIR you will receive another 30day "Visa Exemption" which is valid (no guesses here) for 30 days, so based upon the plan you have explained your timings will be fine, and you will not need any other form of visa for Thailand.
3/ For staying in touch, you do not need to buy a "local mobile phone", all you need to do is buy a THAI SIM CARD that can be purchased from ANY 7/11 store anywhere in Thailand, they work perfectly well in your existing mobile phone, you get a pre-paid amount of airtime with the sim card, you can then buy "pay as you go" cards again from 7/11 as you require.
Have a great trip !!.
Try Soi Rambuttri or Khao San Road for cheap accommodation, and also backpackers cafes, good street stalls, second hand book stalls etc. Personally I prefer the Soi Rambuttri area and it's only a couple of blocks from Khao San. In these areas you should be able to find a room with ensuite within your budget.
Yes -get a SIM card - 49 /50 baht - no worries.
Q1 - I agree with Kevin RB.
Q.2 - I agree with Bex76.
Q.3 - I agree with posters re buying a SIM card in Thailand. However suggest you send a message to KevinRB to clarify/advise re Cambodia and Vietnam. It is my understanding that in Cambodia you need to use one of their SIM cards which you have to get a local to buy for you. I would assume VN also has its own SIM cards. I may be wrong hence my suggestion you message Kevin.
You are absolutely correct in your questioning regarding my answer to Q3, it related to Thailand ONLY which is the only country that I am really qualified to answer about.
I would suggest that the systems in cambodia & Vietnam are the same, but the original thread poster needs to seek exact clarification.
Thank you for all your input, most helpful! My tour of Cambodia and Vietnam lasts 21 days so I'm not sure a Sim card will be necessary for those places, I imagine the majority of my time will be spent in Thailand so it's nice to know just how cheap it is to get one!
Thanks for the advice on the hostels, I have had a look and definitely like the sound of the Soi Rambuttri area as apposed to Khao San Road. Can you suggest any hostels in particular in this area I should look into/steer clear from?
This place is awesome, and the pool on the roof really makes it perfect. 580bt for a single with ac and tv
Rambuttri village Inn
OP - if your phone is from the US - you had better find out what kind of frequency it operates on - many US phones wont work anywhere else.....I'm sorry I can't give you the technicalities on this.