Tag: thailand travel

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Thailand Launches Tourist Court to Help Stop Scams, Improve Tourist Safety

September 9, 2013 at 8:45 AM | by | Comments (0)

Regardless of how this all plays out and whether or not you believe it's the best way to go about it, you’ve got to hand it to them: Despite the fact that most tourists have no problems in Thailand, that certainly isn’t stopping the country from taking complaints seriously.

Last week, in what could be a benchmark move for the travel industry, a pilot “tourist court” was launched in Pattaya to help mediate “small claims” from tourists. While there have been a few mainstream cases to come out of Thailand over the past few years, this court will be responsible for handling more mundane disputes, including rip-offs and robberies. “Serious” offenses, like getting your tail whipped by a gang or something, will still be handled by the regular judicial system.

This move comes in response to the ever-growing amount of problems with tourists being scammed by tourism operators, including jet ski and car rental companies, taxi drivers and tuk-tuks.

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Thailand's Famed 'Full Moon Party' Island to Finally Get Its Own Airport

Where: Thailand
September 4, 2013 at 10:18 AM | by | Comments (0)

Tucked away on Thailand's fifth largest island, Koh Phangan, are the usual tropical temptations: sandy beaches to soak up the best Equatorial sun Southeast Asia has to offer and backpacker-friendly beachside bars. But then, once a month, the island becomes host to tens of thousands of revelers during the Full Moon Party.

Currently the only way to reach Koh Phangan is via sea ferry from nearby island Koh Samui, but all that will change thanks to the deep pockets of Thai entrepreneur Sompphon Sooksanguan. The businessman is dabbling in aviation and has fronted 200 million THB of his own money (roughly, one fifth of the total cost) to build an airport to service the island and bring happy little party-goers to their destination.

The runway of Koh Phangan will hopefully have the capacity to bring in around 1,600 passengers per day come September 2014, with flights from Bangkok and other regional cities no more than 80 minutes away.

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New Airline Alert: Asia Atlantic Airlines

Where: Thailand
August 8, 2013 at 11:38 AM | by | Comment (1)

If you've made it through all of the alliteration in that title, we are excited to bring the news of a new airline based in Thailand. The fresh-faced carrier is a mixture of Thai and Japanese travel companies and will bring a 'New Dynamic Force' in chartered tour groups between the two countries.

Capitalizing on the country's leisure market, the airline will be based in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport and flying their two Boeing 767s from the Thai capital to Tokyo Narita and Osaka. Each of the planes will be equipped with both the cushy seats of business class and the cheaper seats of economy.

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'Wat' to Know about Bangkok's Wat Arun

July 29, 2013 at 2:01 PM | by | Comments (0)

On the banks of Bangkok's Chao Phraya River sits one of the city's most dramatic temples, Wat Arun. It's really hard to miss if you've hopped one of the tourist boat rides up or down the river, and virtually impossible to ignore if you're staying in one of the riverside hotels dotting the banks.

"Wat Arun" translates to "Temple of Dawn" and, if you are lucky enough to see the temple glisten in the rising sun's light, you'll understand why. Thought to have been originally built in the 17th Century, the Khmer-reminiscent towers can be spied from most everywhere in the neighborhood as they keep a watchful presence not only over the river, but the Bangkok Yai District.

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Flight Review: $130 from Singapore to Bangkok on Scoot

Where: Singapore
June 26, 2013 at 11:23 AM | by | Comments (0)

We talked at length last year about Singapore Airlines’ low-cost off-shoot airline called Scoot, which promises low fares and lots of Scootitude all around Asia, giving travelers a full review of a journey from Australia’s Gold Coast to Singapore. Almost a year on, we've now given Scoot another whirl on a shorter leg, from its base in Singapore to the Thai capital of Bangkok.

We ended up on Scoot for a number of reasons: the late afternoon departure fitted our schedule perfectly, ScootBiz (the airline’s business class product) fares were not far off economy fares on other carriers, and there was of course the novelty factor of trying yet another airline.

Our experience in a few words? A deserted ScootBiz cabin, young and enthusiastic staff, decent seats and space, and—like last year—uninspiring food and moderate cleanliness. Read on to find out more.

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Flight Review: In the Unlimited Legroom Sweet Spot on JetStar Asia

June 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM | by | Comments (0)

Getting around Asia on a shoestring is easy, courtesy of its plethora of low-cost carriers. It’s worth doing a quick investigation into the airline’s reputation and safety record if you’ve never heard of them before. Affiliation with major international carriers (in this case, JetStar has ties to Australian flag carrier Qantas) always helps. Navigating your way onto the right seat may be a bit daunting, but break it down in steps and you’ll be off in no time.

During the booking process, pay close attention to the difference between base fares advertised in huge font on the homepage and total cost, which gets pushed up by taxes, surcharges, fees, and myriad options for add-on packages. For our JetStar flight from Phuket to Singapore, we maximized bang for our buck by paying 800THB ($25) to select a premium seat in row 1, resulting in the bliss of limitless leg room, all the way to the cockpit door.

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Flight Review: A Small Flight in a Big Business Class Seat on Thai Airways

June 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM | by | Comment (1)

Ok, before anyone starts berating us for the unfair comparison of intra-European business class with what we found on our domestic sector between Bangkok and Phuket, hear us out. We know comparing a short-haul, single-aisle plane that’s flying, say, London to Rome, is pretty much guaranteed to come up short in the space and comfort department against the wide-body Airbus A330 Thai Airways used for our flight. We know the dynamics of the business class market in Europe are vastly different from domestic/regional Asia traffic.

But still, anyone who has forked over the substantial cost of a European business class ticket and found themselves with the "luxury" of exactly the same seats as in coach bar the empty seat in the middle, a curtain separating the cabin that might as well not be there looking at the amount of traffic that finds its way from said coach cabin to the forward washrooms, and a hardly inspiring "meal" service, will agree that it can be a bit of a lackluster experience. In contrast, there were lots of things to like on our short 1.5-hour hop from Thailand’s capital to one of its main beach destinations.

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Buddhist Monks Hop a Private Jet, Ignite a Controversy

Where: Thailand
June 17, 2013 at 6:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

What do you call three Buddhist monks with Louis Vuitton luggage in a private jet?

You call them not a joke.

That's right—the following video is real, just as real as the cool attitudes and Evian waters of the monks traveling in style, complete with aviator glasses. The video is currently creating quite an uproar in Thailand, enough to make Nopparat Benjawatananun, Director-General of The Office of National Buddhism, clarify to the AP that the monks have been reprimanded and instructed "not to repeat the lavish behavior."

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Foreign Grocery Friday: Three Exotic Potato Chips of Thailand

Where: Thailand
May 31, 2013 at 11:48 AM | by | Comment (1)

When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!

We can now add to our (growing) list of exotic potato chips from around the world. The latest additions come from Thailand, and this time it wasn't just one flavor that caught our eye, but we found three quintessential Southeast Asian flavors for snacking: Lobster Hot Plate, Crab Curry, and Sweet Basil.

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When in Southeast Asia, Keep Some Coins Handy for the Commode

May 24, 2013 at 3:52 PM | by | Comments (0)

A pocket-full of coins isn't something we would want to have when traveling the world, but it might just get you out of some awkward situations in Southeast Asia. On a recent trip through the region we noticed plenty of public restrooms in popular areas like open-air food markets, hawker centers and public parks. This is great for when 'nature calls' and you're nowhere near your hotel or a major mall. One caveat is that these 'public' facilities are pay-per-use, at a cost of a few small denomination coins.

Most of the time we noticed that the cost was on the honor-system and sometimes, even if there was an attendant, we weren't refused entry until we paid. Before you think it's outrageous to pay to pee, let us say that the facilities were clean and fully stocked so there were never moments of asking others to 'spare a square.'

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Our First Time at Bangkok's Cabbages & Condoms

May 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

Don't let the title put you off, this post isn't NSFW. Cabbages & Condoms is a portfolio of restaurants in Thailand that serves up delicious Thai cuisine while nonchalantly discussing the importance of safe-sex and sexually transmitted diseases.

Okay, we agree this might not be the best dinner-party topic, but it's all for a greater cause.

We recently checked out the Bangkok outpost and were pleasantly surprised to find mannequins outfitted in fashion made from condoms and birth-control pills—kind of like Project Runway meets a local clinic-turned-restaurant. Seems like a natural progression, right?

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Traveling in Thailand: Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport Versus Don Mueang

May 7, 2013 at 11:37 AM | by | Comment (1)

If you've been to Bangkok in the past 6 years, there's a pretty good chance you flew into the flashiest airport the city has to offer, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).

The predominately concrete, metal and glass building of BKK is simply massive and it's obvious why it ranks as the 6th largest major airport in Asia; it even claimed the title of the most Instagrammed airport in 2012.

On the other hand, if you traveled to Bangkok before the middle of 2006, you most likely landed in the city's other airport, Don Mueang (DMK), which has since given up the official airport code of BKK to the newer, larger counterpart. Now, the airport is primarily home to low-cost carriers such as Air Asia and Nok Air.

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