Evening Culinary Tours Of Chinatown & North Beach Travel to Thailand Made Easy

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Travel to Thailand Made Easy

Thailand’s appeal to Aussies remains strong. Just six hours from Perth and eight or so from the East Coast, Thailand has great beaches, tropical forests, temple mountains, great shopping and some of the best food in the world. Add to that the seedier aspects of prostitution and the popular full moon parties and you have a fun mix that leaves some wanting more while others may be happy to never return.

It’s a popular first for backpackers because it’s easy to get around, English is widely spoken and finding good and bad times is not difficult. There are also great beaches for lounging on the patio or just dancing in the sun.

Weather/time to go

Thailand is hot and humid almost all year round. The best time to visit is November to March. It rains very little and is not very hot. The peak tourist season in Thailand is around this time and in July and August.

The rainy season lasts from July to October. The rainy season gets a bad rap; during this time the most popular beaches can be littered with debris after heavy rains. Despite this, the rain can be relieved by the heat, and the countryside is lush and green. October tends to be the wettest time of the year.

April – June and September – October usually see the cheapest room rates and the highest number of visitors. Consider these times if you want to travel very cheaply from many groups in the long season.

Finding cheap flights from Australia to Thailand

If you are planning to book popular options for a few days in Bangkok and five or more in Phuket or Ko Samui, it is worth looking around to get money from travel agents in Australia. Like Fiji, it is one of the few places where booking this way through an agent can be cheaper than booking online. Companies will have cabins and seats on their preferred airlines that can be sold at very low prices.

If you are booking on your own don’t expect Jetstar (which flies directly to Phuket) to be the cheapest. Thai airways, British airways and Singapore airlines will have this special service to Bangkok from Australia. From there you can reserve your own domestic transport to any of the islands (see below). From the East Coast recent prices are as low as $600 return plus tax to Bangkok in low season (British Airways or Thai).

For students it is important to check with STA or Student Airlines as there are often cheaper fares on this route.

The most popular option would be to fly into Bangkok, stay a few days and then go to Phuket or Ko Samui (or both). Expect to pay around $1200 inc tax for all three in the low season, while it’s around $2000 inc tax at Christmas (for flights).

Price

On a loan repayment budget allow $30-50 dollars a day in low season. It is less expensive than other countries in South East Asia but it is worth it. For a relaxing vacation, $100 a day will get you a nice hotel and a comfortable stay.

Domestic Flights

Try these carriers to get you out of Bangkok and to the famous islands and other parts of Thailand.

Thai Air Asia – Fly domestic and international routes

Nok Air – Flies Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Krabi, Trang, Loei, Udon Thani, Phuket and Nakhon Si Thammarat

One Two Go – Budget carrier with similar Nok Air lineup. They also have free snacks on the patio.

Bangkok Airways – Flying since 1986 Bangkok air is a popular choice that flies to more than 20 Asian cities. Best for Bangkok – Phuket – Ko Samui flights. You can book online and their website also offers a small discount on accommodation.

Destination Air – A small company that offers scenic flights via seaplanes and day trips around Phuket and surrounding islands like Ko Pi Pi. Minimum mounting requirements are appropriate.

Getting to Bangkok Central from Suvarnabhumi Airport/what happens when I arrive at the airport in Bangkok?

Once you arrive it’s easy to exchange Aussie dollars into local currency or use an ATM (at very good rates).

As soon as you leave customs you can be set up by locals offering you a taxi into town. Be cool and ignore these attractions as the bus to the city costs chicken $9.00AUD and runs from 0430 to 0030. Taxi will be more expensive. Just walk outside and look for the bus signs, it’s that easy.

Most travelers will be staying on or near the famous Khaosan Road, just tell the bus driver where you are going. If you’re arriving outside of peak bus times (and most flights from Oz) it’s easy to get a taxi. Make sure the driver opens the meter; it starts around 35B. Get out of the cab if the meter is not on. Be firm about this – like anywhere else it’s a common trick for cabbies to make a price on arrival. You will have to pay a toll if you enter the city by taxi – then you will be asked for more money on the way. The taxi fare should not exceed $12 or Aussie dollars into the city. The airport is about 30km or 45mins by road from the town centre.

If you consider booking a transfer in Australia it’s about $40 Aussie dollars one way, so it’s easier and cheaper to just take the bus when you arrive. If you arrive late then a taxi is cheaper than booking a transfer in Australia.

If you are staying in Khaosan Road: When you get off the bus or taxi at Kao Son Road, walk to the end of the road where the Monastery (Wat) is, there is a police station on the right, walk that way, pass. down the street and into the red brick street called Soi Rambuttri (the monastery will now be on your left). This area is much quieter than the main drag.

Accommodation options in Khao san Road

In Bangkok Ko Shan Road is often the first port of call for many travelers, usually budget travelers. Lately luxury hotels seem to be popping up everywhere. Outside of peak times it’s easy to pop into this small area and make a reservation – even during busy times or if you don’t want to book in advance making a reservation in advance is easy.

Viengtai Hotel is a popular choice for young Aussies. Expect to pay around $10-30 a night.

Rambuttri Inn (15-20AUD) is a popular and comfortable place with a pool.

MyHouse Guesthouse-($10AUD) One of the cheapest guesthouses that is nice and quiet by Bangkok standards.

With any guesthouse in the area be sure to check the rooms first, but most will be good because of the low price.

For a better search, many popular hotels are represented in Bangkok. If you have the money the most famous hotel in the city, East is the place to stay. If you can’t afford it the Royal Orchid Sheraton down the river has great views at a very affordable price.

Some areas of Bangkok are nice to live in; see Chinatown and the Sukhumvit road area.

Khaosan Road is great for first-time travelers going abroad or shopping and a good place for other travel arrangements such as visas and train tickets.

Around Thailand

Train/Bus

Thailand has excellent trains and buses that are cheap, fast and easy to use. You can buy tickets from many local agents, although it is cheaper and easier to buy them yourself on the bus or train. The cheapest way to get around is to take short or medium-distance ‘fan’ buses – just leave early in the morning to avoid the heat. The cheapest rail option is third class, which can take longer than the expensive AC buses but is a fun way to get around.

Destination Beach

Phuket

This island with half a million people is the most visited in Thailand. It is well served by airlines from Asia and has a good mix of destinations to choose from. Staying in the heart of Phuket town on the beach will be expensive, while staying a few blocks back or 15 minutes down the road to Karon Beach are the cheapest options. This is a place that you can easily visit on islands like Ko Pi Pi (from the movie The Beach).

Koh Samui

Once a budget destination Ko Samui is now a sustainable island. All of the major hotels are here, with places as expensive as they are. For a beach holiday Phuket or Khao Lak, an hour north, is a better bet. Many Aussies will come to Ko Samui by going to Ko Panyang for the famous full moon parties. Click the link below for a full page on how to get and run on this popular and always free game. Parties are a fair trade these days, but they cost a trip.

On the beaten path

There are more dunes in Thailand than Bangkok, Phuket and Ko Samui. It’s easy to get around, so with less time, exploring places like Khao Sok National Park, Ko Chang and the Similan Islands will take you away from the crowds. Avoid the southern town of Pattaya; package guests, pimps, members of pedophiles sans frontiers: not good.

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