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.

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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.

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Travel’s golden rule: respect the place and the people

In places across the world, there’s a growing movement to ban or limit tourism.

Barcelona

It took on an extreme manifestation in Barcelona, when local residents spray-painted an anti-tourism slogan on a hop-on-hop-off bus outside FC Barcelona’s Nou Camp Stadium, and slashed its tyres.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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Savour the serendipity

On my first ever solo overseas adventure, I happened to be allocated a seat on a Boeing 747 next to the friend of a friend.

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

We went our own ways in London, but ran into each other in the streets of Bloomsbury just two days later.

In Bangkok one day in June, 2016, I was waiting at the BTS (sky train) station, and when the train pulled up and the doors opened, one of my oldest and dearest friends jumped out at me. Continue reading Savour the serendipity