Independent Travel To Thailand
Thailand or to give it it’s correct name, Kingdom of Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia with coasts on the Andaman sea and the Gulf of Thailand. It borders Burma to the Northwest, Laos to the Northeast, Cambodia to the Southeast and Malaysia to the South. You can find almost everything here: thick jungle, crystal blue waters and food that can make your taste buds dance. Thailand is exotic and yet safe, cheap, and yet equipped with every modern amenity you could ever need. Thai people are warm and loving people who love to smile and help, I have been to Thailand 3 times now and I have never felt threatened, ripped off or in danger.
Today I want to show you how easy I find it to book an independent holiday to the land of smiles and more specifically Bangkok (Your now thinking you’r reading a blog of a sex pest), but not everyone who goes to Thailand is a sex pest, infact I honestly don’t think Bangkok is any seedier then most large city anywhere else in the world. Yes there are areas that working girls will be present but you will not find it intimidating in the least.
I think you will be very surprised how cheap it can be once you have paid for you flights to Bangkok and from there, other parts of south east Asia are just a short hop or if your adventurous it’s an exciting minivan journey through jungle or coastal roads.
When I am planning a holiday I always make a mental list of where I want to go and then look at all the different permutations. Flights, bus, trains, everything. When you decide the actual date you want to travel, just book your flight as soon as possible to Bangkok this will get your main cost out of the way. Look at flights from London, Manchester etc and then look at flights from your local airport (Mine are Newcastle, Teesside and Leeds). If you flight is more then £200 cheaper from London or Manchester I would book from one of these. I will always do a quick check on Skyscanner for live updated prices and then ring around companies like Travelbag, Trailfinders, and Flightcenter. Ask them what would their price be for the same flight because they might have a special price with a certain airline. One thing you must factor in is credit card charges because this could add 2 to 3% to the cost of your flights. (Trailfinders do not charge credit card charges).
Please find below 3 examples of flights from 3 UK airports on the same day with roughly the same flight durations, you can get them a little cheaper if you have time and don’t mind taking in a couple of extra changes.
Bangkok airport and visas.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport opened in 2006 and is the main international hub for Thailand. The airport is modern, spotlessly clean and is brimming with shops and places to eat.
On your arrival in Bangkok just do like you would in any other airport, pick up your bags and head for the exit gates. The only difference is that you will require a tourist visa to allow you to enter. This is not a problem unless you have been a naughty boy or girl, the visa is a 30 day tourist visa and is issued on arrival. Below is a section from the Visa Department of Thailand.
The Visa on Arrival has had many changes over the past 5 years in Thailand, Many conditions attached to it and many changes made to numerous to mention. Here are the basics for a Visa on Arrival. The Visa on arrival was intended to allow person into Thailand on the basis of a short visit.
This was allowed for a period of 30 days IF you came from a country that was listed as one allowed to arrive in Thailand without a visa. Those have remained however the time allowed in Thailand has changed. If you arrive by air you get 30 days on your visa on arrival. If however you come by road, you only get 15 days. This has not changed in the past year and if in doubt, obtain a Thai Tourist Visa before coming to Thailand.
The process is that you fill in a small form, you show it to the customs agent, he or she will give you a stamp in your passport and then it is Welcome to the land of smiles. That’s it your now in Thailand Woop! Woop!.
Transport to the city.
JUST GET A TAXI it’s cheap and not worth messing about with .
Suvarnabhumi airport terminal is approximately 30 kilometres (19 miles) east, half an hour from the Bangkok CBD area, depending on traffic and time of day. The most direct route is via the raised freeway between, which incurs toll of 70 Baht and airport tax of 50 Baht – total 120 Baht (£2.50) There are alternative routes but they will take much longer in the Bangkok traffic, which can sometimes appear to be a permanent traffic jam as there are about 13 million vehicles in Bangkok.
Public taxi stands are located on level 1 (one level down from the Arrivals level). If you select a metered taxi the driver may ask you to provide the toll fees en route – the booths have plenty of change. Alternately you should be able to negotiate a mini bus taxi which will hold about 4 people plus luggage for around 1000 Baht (£20) or a regular taxi for 2 people plus luggage which should cost no more than 600 Baht (£14) including freeway tolls and taxes, which is still pretty cheap door to door transport. Airport Express operates buses on four routes for 150 baht – there are hourly buses from 5:00 am in the morning to midnight. Airport Express Counter is located at Level 1, near entrance 8. If this is still more than your budget allows, a 24 hour bus service outside Arrivals on the second floor will transfer you to the Transport Centre for 35 baht, where you can choose from about 11 bus routes to the city areas.
There are numerous hotels in Bangkok, ranging from luxurious chain hotels to the small back packing hostels. To be honest I have never stayed in a Hostel mainly because I don’t need to but my son has stayed in them and the ones he slept in were fine. Just have a look on the great websites like Bookings.com or Agoda Asia and go from there, I am sure you will find a Hotel or Hostel within your budget. When I have been to Bangkok with the family it has cost approximately £80 per room per night in the lovely Rembrandt hotel (executive floor) or £60 when I stayed in the Courtyard by Marriott with just the kids. Both hotels were excellent hotels and the staff was outstanding in every way. My son Tom as also stayed in the Khosan Palace Hotel for just over £20 per night and has been very happy with his stay right in the hustle and bustle of the Khosan Road.
Just read the Tripadvisor reviews and pick one.
Shopping in Thailand
Thailand and Bangkok in particular is a shoppers paradise, whether you are drawn to night markets Like Patpong or Silom, classy boutiques, fascinating little shops packed with antiques and handicrafts, and glitzy mega-malls with every brand name you can imagine! Thailand has it all when it comes to shopping, no matter what you are looking for. And no matter the destinations you visit you will find exciting shopping, whether in the big cities, in the resort towns and on the islands, off the beaten path and in the local communities. Bustling outdoor markets that give you an insight into the Thai way of life. Cool precincts where you can envisage an entire new lifestyle for yourself. Enormous shopping and lifestyle centres where there are playgrounds for the kids and leisure action such as bowling, skating and the cinema. In the markets you can try your skill at bargaining. In the curio stores you can buy intriguing gifts to take home. In the malls you can find everything.
Day trips from Bangkok
There is many day trips that can be had from Bangkok and if you just want to sit back and enjoy the day without getting trains and busses, Just book a tour with a local agent. I can’t recommend highly enough www.tourwithtong.com we used Tong to book the following itinerary :- JEATH War Museum / The Bridge Over The River Kwai / Train ride along the Death Railway / Bathing with the Elephants . Although it was a long day (9 hours) it was our highlight of the holiday and the day for 3 people with car and driver was about £90. If you wanted to do something along the same lines just drop Tong an email with your itinerary and she will give you a price. It does take a couple of days to get back because Tong actually takes trips. Check Tripadvisor for Tong’s reviews.
Vaccinations for Thailand
To be honest, I have never had any vaccinations for Thailand but I risk assessed my own situation and decided I didn’t need have them, However I have attached the advice from the NHS website www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk . It might sound a bit daunting but if your worried then pay a visit to your doctors and get the jabs, it is your choice at the end of the day. When it comes to Malaria tablets, I have spoken to people who say they feel awful after taking them so check out the Malaria maps on line and again make your own decision.
Advice for All Destinations
The risks to health whilst travelling will vary between individuals and many issues need to be taken into account, e.g. activities abroad, length of stay and general health of the traveller. It is recommended that you consult with your General Practitioner or Practice Nurse 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets. This is also a good opportunity to discuss important travel health issues including safe food and water, accidents, sun exposure and insect bites. Many of the problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other preventive measures need to be taken.
Measles occurs worldwide and is common in developing countries. The pre-travel consultation is a good opportunity to check that you are immune, either by previous immunisation or natural measles infection.
Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. UK travellers visiting other European Union countries should also carry the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as it entitles travellers to reduced cost, sometimes free, medical treatment in most European countries. Online applications normally arrive within seven days. Applications may also be made by telephone on 300 330 1350 or by post using the form which can be downloaded from the website.
For Travel Safety Advice you should visit the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
A worldwide list of clinics, run by members of the International Society of Travel Medicine is available on the ISTM website.
- Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain – including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
- Courses or boosters usually advised: Hepatitis A; Tetanus.
- Other vaccines to consider: Cholera; Diphtheria; Hepatitis B; Japanese Encephalitis; Rabies; Typhoid.
- Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for all travellers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Notes on the diseases mentioned above
- Cholera: spread through consumption of contaminated water and food. More common during floods and after natural disasters, in areas with very poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water. It would be unusual for travellers to contract cholera if they take basic precautions with food and water and maintain a good standard of hygiene.
- Diphtheria: spread person to person through respiratory droplets. Risk is higher if mixing with locals in poor, overcrowded living conditions.
- Hepatitis A: spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.
- Hepatitis B: spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.
- Japanese Encephalitis: spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. This mosquito breeds in rice paddies and mainly bites between dusk and dawn. Risk is higher for long stay travellers to rural areas, particularly if unable to avoid mosquito bites.
- Rabies: spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.
- Tetanus: spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A total of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine are recommended for life in the UK. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
- Typhoid: spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.
- Risk is present in forested and hilly areas mainly towards the international borders, all year round. There is low to no risk in the cities of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pattay and Phuket, the islands of Ko Samui and Ko Chang and the River Quai bridge area.
- Malaria precautions are essential. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
- Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets.
- Prophylaxis: Since mefloquine resistance is now common, Atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline is usually advised for those visiting the borders with Cambodia and Myanmar. For all other border areas, Atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is advised throughout the year.
- If you have been travelling in a malarious area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly. Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
- If travelling to high risk malarious areas, remote from medical facilities, carrying emergency malaria standby treatment may be considered.
In conclusion, booking a trip to Thailand is very easy with today’s internet access. I hope you have picked up some tips and courage to give it ago and if anyone needs any help please just drop me a question and I will try to help you out.
I will get back soon with a bolt on from Bangkok to Cambodia and Vietnam
“Love you long time”