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Thread: Thailand 2014

  1. #1
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    Thailand 2014

    Just back from my usual October trip, actually been back a couple weeks, so just wanting to post a few updates that might be of interest to some:

    Emirates

    Really very good as usual. The A380 is a real step up for peasant class travellers like myself, the 777/300s are quite a bit more cramped and much more like hard yards. I have lots of options from Manchester now so If i can't upgrade to business class the A380 is the one to pick. Upgrading with miles is possible on the aircraft as I found on the way home ( fat guy stinking the place up and spilling over his seat onto mine - I would have paid good money to get away from him but 35000 miles did the trick ). It's a lot more to upgrade on the A380. My plan going forwards is make sure my second leg is on the 777/300 and upgrade; 400 cash or 35000 miles but it really takes the pain out of the tough leg of the trip.

    Fast Track Immigration

    I wanted to try this as soon as I read about it on the forum, that queue is the worst part of my trip by a long way. I booked it before I left home and was only half convinced it wasn't a scam, there was a guy waiting at the gate with my name on a card though and it worked like a charm. We went past the immigration queue, which was huge and moving as slowly as I've come to expect, and across to the diplomat/vip lane which was literally empty. Immigration took me 5 minutes to walk from the aircraft and 2 minutes for processing; totally painless and an absolute bargain at 1100baht.

    Bangkok Airport Fast track Immigration service with VIP Meet & Greet service.

    Swampy Taxis

    I was more than a bit peeved when I saw the barrier they put up to stop us catching taxis that have just dropped off upstairs. It didn't seem to be a huge problem though because the taxi operation there is pretty slick; I'm not worried about taxis at Swampy any more.

    Don Mueang Taxis

    Total clusterfuck; they just don't seem geared up to cope. When I saw the queue I turned tail and paid for the 'limo' service at 700baht. There seems to be a massive expansion program on the go at DM, I'm sure other people know more about this than me, but if they are going to be accepting more traffic then they really need to sort the taxi situation out.

    Nok Air

    I took 5 Nok Air flights on this trip and every single one was late departing. I'm sure it won't bother some but for me it irritates. Air Asia always seem to get away on time and also seem far more professional. They can be dazzlingly cheap though so maybe I should learn to live with 20 minute delays.

    DM to Pattaya

    I had a few Pattaya days as usual and can't say enough good things about these taxi people, Meow Ponchai: meowponchai@gmail.com, 1300baht for the trip and very reliable.

  2. #2
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    I prefer Air Asia
    The planes are so new

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    Ead

    I caught up with Ead on the way through Bangkok and am really pleased I did. Nicke wasn't a close friend but he was a friend and Ead was his wife whether they were fighting at the time he died or not; I wanted to say hello and see how she's doing.

    We had dinner at Gullivers and she seems ok. She's not bitter or angry, at least she wasn't to me, about the fallout over Nicke's passing and seems to have accepted that life has dealt her a fairly shitty hand just now. It's tough for her at the moment but she's not complaining.

    Without wanting to dredge it all up, one of the things that stood out to me was that Ead told Nicke's parents that the kid's school cost 100,000baht a term and there was a feeling that she was trying to gouge them for money. It seemed like a big number to me at the time but we talked about schools and she told me exactly the same thing. I wasn't questioning, we were talking about kids' education generally, and she told me that it cost 100,000baht a term for their kids to go to school in Phuket.

    I've not got an opinion on the rights and wrongs of Ead's relationship with Nicke's parents ( or with Nicke ), i just see her as a single mum now trying to bring a couple of kids up on her own.

    If you are going through Bangkok it might be nice to drop in and say hi.

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    Senior Member Thin White Duke's Avatar
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    My ex gal is now telling me that her father may need a liver transplant.

    Also her estate in Phangnga needs refinancing to the tune of 3 000 000 baht.

    I am in an absolute quandary as what to do.....would love to help so I reckon all my spare cash will be going that side

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thin White Duke View Post
    My ex gal is now telling me that her father may need a liver transplant.

    Also her estate in Phangnga needs refinancing to the tune of 3 000 000 baht.

    I am in an absolute quandary as what to do.....would love to help so I reckon all my spare cash will be going that side
    I have no idea what that means...

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    Senior Member Thin White Duke's Avatar
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    Well it's a touchy subject so I will rather just leave it.

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    My stepson goes to a fairly good semi private school in BKK and it is about 80k for the whole year for 1 person
    Phuket being Phuket I could see 200k baht for 2 kids for the year be on the mark

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    'Well it's a touchy subject so I will rather just leave it.'

    Umm, couldn't you have done that to start with?

    I realise people will have their opinion over Ead and the whole thing with Nicke's parents. I don't. I just caught up with her in Bangkok and she seemed like a woman struggling in a set of circumstances that seemed pretty shitty. How she got there, and any mistakes made along the way, are not relevant; it's just a comment on the here and now.
    Last edited by Steve@thaib; 9th November 2014 at 07:02.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc26 View Post
    My stepson goes to a fairly good semi private school in BKK and it is about 80k for the whole year for 1 person
    Phuket being Phuket I could see 200k baht for 2 kids for the year be on the mark
    It was just a conversation we had and I remembered the numbers being a scandal. I believe what she told me in the same way as I believe what you would tell me. There's just no reason to tell me anything other than the truth.

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    We went through the fast track immi also this year, we (my family) were actually given a comp card on the aircraft, didn't even ask, sure makes that part of the trip quick and easy.

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    Senior Member Thin White Duke's Avatar
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    Thanks Snowy can sleep easy now

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thin White Duke View Post
    Thanks Snowy can sleep easy now
    No worries mate, hope all works out ok for the ex father-in laws liver etc.

    Keep us up to date, may be able to help other bm's if they're in a similar predicament.

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    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    I found a cheaper way to use the fast track... as you're walking off the plane, if you're sitting near the front there will be a sweet young lady handing out the fast track vouchers to business class passengers. Just smile confidently and extend your hand.

    Personally, I didnt know about any of it, tbh... I was just in the front row and as I was walking off, the gal handed it to me. Only a few yards later did I put 2 & 2 together. And honestly, it only saved me time going through the actual immigration folks... I still had to sit there and wait for my checked bag like everyone else. I just had time to take a whiz and exchange some money now.

    I'm purposely not commenting on anything else as I'd like to hear anything else you'd like to add about your trip, rather than this thread getting sidelined via drama.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve@thaib View Post
    It was just a conversation we had and I remembered the numbers being a scandal. I believe what she told me in the same way as I believe what you would tell me. There's just no reason to tell me anything other than the truth.
    does depend largely on the school....some of the private farang run schools here on Samui are double (+) that

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve@thaib View Post
    'Well it's a touchy subject so I will rather just leave it.'

    Umm, couldn't you have done that to start with?

    I realise people will have their opinion over Ead and the whole thing with Nicke's parents. I don't. I just caught up with her in Bangkok and she seemed like a woman struggling in a set of circumstances that seemed pretty shitty. How she got there, and any mistakes made along the way, are not relevant; it's just a comment on the here and now.
    To be honest.....Ead is one of my least favorite people I've met in LOS but I don't think anyone should pass judgement on her relationship with Nicke or what may or may not have transpired

    No one ever knows what is going on in someone else's household

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    Quote Originally Posted by WarProfiteer View Post
    I found a cheaper way to use the fast track... as you're walking off the plane, if you're sitting near the front there will be a sweet young lady handing out the fast track vouchers to business class passengers. Just smile confidently and extend your hand.

    Personally, I didnt know about any of it, tbh... I was just in the front row and as I was walking off, the gal handed it to me. Only a few yards later did I put 2 & 2 together. And honestly, it only saved me time going through the actual immigration folks... I still had to sit there and wait for my checked bag like everyone else. I just had time to take a whiz and exchange some money now.

    I'm purposely not commenting on anything else as I'd like to hear anything else you'd like to add about your trip, rather than this thread getting sidelined via drama.
    My last couple of trips have been the guts of an hour in the immigration queue so I jumped at the fast track thing as soon as I saw it. I find the trip pretty tough these days so anything to take a bit of pain out of it is welcome, there was quite a wait for my bag though

    I discovered lounges this time too. It's one of the perks I get with my bank account now and I'm a big fan already, lounge access can really take the pain out of an airport like Dubai which I find really cold and never has enough seats.

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    Chiang Mai

    I hadn't been to CM in around ten years so was fairly easily persuaded to go take a look but I only had a couple of days in hand so it was a very short visit. I figured it must have something going for it because so many of the guys who used to live on Phuket have pitched up there and it has; the climate seems great. It was just cool enough to sleep without aircon and that makes a world of difference to me.

    It feels like a regular, fairly industrious, Thai city that happens to have a bit of night life rather than a place that has grown up around nightlife; more Udon than Pattaya. I quite liked it for that. Midnight closing seems a bit draconian but it didn't affect me overly, I'm sure it would be a big deal to some though. There are plenty of temples to point the camera at, will post some pics later.

    It's not a brilliant place to be a pedestrian, I have to say. The one way system keeps the traffic moving but it does make your Starbucks trek first thing in the morning a much livelier adventure than it ought to be. That aside, I can see the attraction of CM and it's a place I will go back to for a longer visit for sure.
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    Patong

    Interesting to read Bill's take on Patong in the Stickman piece. I don't have the same rounded view visiting only once a year but I do see the changes, particularly the changes in the people going there, and I find it suits me less each time I get there. Patong isn't a bad place, I just find that I want a bit of tranquility these days and Patong isn't the place to find it.
    Every time I pitch up in Patong these days I think that they must have finished developing because there's nowhere else to go, and every time I'm amazed at the amount of construction still going on; and the size of the bites they are taking out of the hills in order to build.

    As far as the people in Patong goes now, again Bill has a more rounded view and his observations around Bangla being more a circus than anything else are more objective than mine. I kind of see the death throes of the bar scene that we used to know and mourn its passing. I also struggle with some of the folk that are getting there now.

    Families are very easy to share space with for me but what I call the 'Bali demographic', loud and lairy youngsters, I struggle with. I'm sure that's as much me getting older as anything else but, regardless of the reason, I find them hard work to be around.

    I also find some of the Asian people hard to be around ( I know you can't say this anymore but... ), Chinese people in particular seem to have no concept of personal space. I don't know if it's them or me but we are so different I find it hard to deal with. I'm stood at the baggage carousel, Chinese kid comes and stands directly in front of me with his backpack literally in my face. I stand my ground, he inevitably bumps into me and nearly falls onto the conveyor and looks around as if somebody has not understood the rules and should have got out of his way. I don't get overly annoyed about it anymore but it does tick me off. I've struck visiting China off my bucket list now.

    One bunch of people who seem to be shrinking in numbers is Russians. This might be delusional on my part but there seemed to be less of them and I noticed the go-go bars were down to one.

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  19. #19
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    I really like your 'reporting' style Steve, objective, very even and honest, somehow I think you're summing up what most of the 'older' Phuket and PI travellers are feeling also.

    I had a ton of fun in Patong years ago, but don't really have any interest in getting back any time soon, (older and family)

    Look forward to more of your trip info.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Re Chinese and personal space you are 100% correct, Indians too, must be something that happens when you hit the billion people barrier.

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