Five things first-time visitors should know about Thailand

Thailand is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, and it’s one of my favourite places.

Regardless of your interest — be it exploring temples, fine dining, water sports, jungle trekking or bar-hopping — you are more than likely to have a good time. But there are a few things you should know before you set out.

Continue reading Five things first-time visitors should know about Thailand

How TripCase went all trippy on me

When I travel, I often use an app called TripCase. It usually works like a dream. I just forward my flight and hotel booking confirmation emails to TripCase, and my journey shows up on all my devices. Flight delays and other information is updated in real time.

I’m not looking for New England ..,

On my most recent trip, however, something went awry.

When I sent it my booking confirmations for Cathay Pacific flights CX713, Bangkok to Singapore, and CX712, Singapore to Bangkok, TripCase decided that I was going to New England in the United States.

I have actually been to Augusta, Maine — for Thanksgiving, no less — and I had a wonderful time. But I’m not sure how I could go there twice on successive days starting from different Southeast Asian airports.

The taxi driver who’s laying down the law to passengers

Social media in Thailand has gone a little crazy over a sign in a taxi setting down rules for passengers.

The Bangkok cabbie and his rules. (From Radio JS100 on Facebook).

According to this report, the Thai-language sign comprises a list of “don’ts”, including don’t chew toffee, don’t have the volume up when playing games on smartphones, and don’t spray perfume or powder in the cab.

Continue reading The taxi driver who’s laying down the law to passengers

Don Mueang: the low-cost airport in Bangkok that’s doing its best

July 31, 2017 update: Roadworks outside the terminal are to begin shortly, and traffic delays may make you think twice about choosing Don Mueang in the immediate future.

August 7 update: This post may be jinxed. Reports now are coming through of waits of more than four hours at Don Mueang Immigration. Seems it may be best avoided until they sort a few things out.

Continue reading Don Mueang: the low-cost airport in Bangkok that’s doing its best

I’m back, and based in Bangkok

There’s a good reason for the absence of fresh posts on this blog for the past week. I’ve been busy relocating myself from Brisbane to Bangkok (via Taipei).

Here are a few pictures of where I’ve been in recent days. Words will follow in due course (translation: when I get the chance to write them.)

Continue reading I’m back, and based in Bangkok

Is your travel provider really paying attention?

I once read an article about the apparently ridiculous “riders” that touring bands have in their contracts, such as asking for the red M&Ms to be excluded from the dressing-room snacks.

View from the seventh floor

It turns out that they serve a function other than pandering to the ego or perceived power of the band members. And that reason can be useful to travellers.

Continue reading Is your travel provider really paying attention?

Up, up and away … this time I’m off to Taipei

For reasons that will become clearer in future posts, I have to be in Bangkok by the last week of this month.


I checked my Qantas frequent flyer points* with the view to making a direct flight from Brisbane. But I discovered that for about the same number of points I could go first to somewhere I’d never been before — and I’m always up for that.

Continue reading Up, up and away … this time I’m off to Taipei

The world’s favourite cities

Which city is the favourite with tourists? Well, it depends which source you believe.

Hong Kong’s water reservoir

Hong Kong is — again — the most popular city with tourists, according to the latest survey, which notes that London has been overtaken for second place by Bangkok.

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A perfect 10?

After their hotel stays, many guests receive an online survey asking them to rate the service and facilities.

I have a problem with these surveys — they are often too detailed, too long and too time-consuming; they often demand answers to questions that are irrelevant to the respondent; and they require some of us to think in ways we may not normally think.

Courtyard by Marriott, Bangkok
Courtyard by Marriott, Bangkok

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Diary: Three days in Bangkok

Given the recent death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, I was expecting the mood in Bangkok to be more sombre than on my past visits.

Bangkok 2016
Bangkok 2016

Indeed, many people are wearing black and dark colours, and many of the billboards on the road from the airport were black, with pictures of the King and plainly written, heartfelt, tributes from companies and government bodies.

However, Thai hospitality persists, and both the taxi driver — who, regrettably tried the old “meter broken” trick (which I handled by offering him the fare I knew was correct) — and the hotel staff were friendly.

I stayed near Siam, at the Marriott Courtyard (more about that in another post) in Ratchadamri near Central World, which is well located for the BTS (Sky Train) and taxis (although the roads are impossibly clogged most of the day and night).

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Review: Oman Air experience

Oman Air B787 business class
Abu Dhabi-Muscat-Bangkok-Bangkok-Muscat-Abu Dhabi
May, 2016

My decision to go to Bangkok with Oman Air was made at the last minute. After my original plans fell through, I was looking to spend two weeks at an affordable destination, but with a high level of comfort.


Oman Air fit the bill, with a business-class fare less than two-thirds the price of the big regional operators, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar. I was expecting that the standards would be a little lower than the other airlines but was delighted to discover that it was very high indeed. Continue reading Review: Oman Air experience

Review: Holiday Inn Express, Bangkok

Holiday Inn Express, Sukhumvit Soi 11
Bangkok, Thailand

This was the cheapest per night of the three hotels I stayed in during my recent trip to Bangkok. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a bad choice. In fact, the hotel has a lot to recommend itself, not the least being its location at the end of buzzing Soi 11, home to some well-known restaurants and bars, including the famous Cheap Charlie’s.


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Review: Novotel Fenix Silom

Novotel Fenix Silom hotel, Bangkok
Stay: May, 2016

A nice welcome and attentive, efficient staff made check-in a joy. My flight arrived very early, and I was at the hotel before 7am. Although they didn’t have a room for me then, I was safely ensconced by 9am – which is an excellent five hours before normal hotel check-in time.


The hotel is located at the far end of Silom, closer to Surasak BTS (sky train) station than to Sala Daeng, which is at the heart of the Silom / Patpong tourist area. Continue reading Review: Novotel Fenix Silom

Sixth time’s a charm

What you do on a repeat visit after you’ve already seen the sights?

Like many travellers, I like to visit new places but there are destinations that I find myself in again and again for various reasons — to see friends and family, or because I’m on the way somewhere else, or it’s a port of convenience.


My recent trip to Bangkok was one of those occasions. Continue reading Sixth time’s a charm

The F word

Before I start, I want to say that I love Thailand and the Thai people. I’ve lived in Bangkok and would do so again if the opportunity arose. And, even though I’ve just finished a holiday there, I am keen to go back as soon as I can.

The sky train (BTS) in Bangkok
The sky train (BTS) in Bangkok

However, there’s one thing that always concerned me when in lived in Bangkok, and it surfaced again on my most recent visit.

Continue reading The F word