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Cell phone coverage in Thailand Getting Married in Thailand | Sunshine | Is a visa required to enter Thailand?Can you exchange Canadian Dollars in Thailand? | Hotels in the Phi Phi Islands? | Cooking classes in Thailand? | Getting from Singapore to Phuket | Transfer to Hua Hin? | Clothing Questions - What to wear! | Clothes sizes in Thailand | Flights to Phuket? | Where is Khao San Road? | Clothes sizes in Thailand

Bangkok

 Bangkok Stopover | Accomodation in Ayuthaya |Taxi costs from Bangkok Airport into Town? | Fruit Markets in Bangkok |

Koh Samui

| Phuket versus Koh Samui | Flights to Koh SamuiCheapest Way to Koh Samui | | Phuket versus Koh Samui | Flights to Koh Samui | Cheapest Way to Koh Samui | Travelling to Koh Samui in summer? Malaria in Koh Samui? | Night Market in Koh Samui? | Mystery Island? | Koh Samui in December? | Accomodation on Koh Phangan

Northern Thailand

 Chiang Mai in Summer? | Hill Tribes | Markets and Restaurants in Chiang MaiElephant tours in Chiang Mai?What is the best way to get from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui? |

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Cell phone coverage in Thailand

Q: I'd like to know if it is possible to use cell phones on Ko Samui.

A: Thailand has GSM 900 Networks,  i.e. an American or Japanese phone will not work, but European ones will. Mobile phones are very popular in Thailand and the coverage is quite good, with the exception of the remoter areas of the North (Lanna) and the Northeast (Isan).

Phuket versus Koh Samui

Q: I am travelling to Thailand between  June 4 and 20 and was wondering if you could give me some destination advice. I have the choice of spending  about 6 days in either Koh Samui area or Phuket area. Which will have  the better weather at this time of the year?

A: Probably the weather in June will be better on Koh  Samui. In Phuket this is already the beginning of the rainy season (monsoon).

Flights to Koh Samui

Q: Do you know the names of some of the airlines which fly from Bangkok to Koh Samui, as we have contacted one via the web and have had no response?

A: The flights to Koh Samui are operated (exclusively) by Bangkok Airways. There is no other airline that goes there. You can purchase tickets when you arrive in Bangkok (Risky! The flights are often sold out early) or book in advance.

Hill Tribes

Q: I would appreciate information about day trips to visit hill tribes by car or bus from Chaing Mai.

A: The so-called hilltribes (Yao, Meo, Karieng, or Akha) don`t live near Chiang Mai, but in the hills near the Laotian or Burmese border (i.e. near Chiang Rai or Mae Hong Son, respectively). It is a relatively long way from Chiang Mai to these places. Nevertheless, if this is not an obstacle for you, visits are recommended. Some people are shy about going to these villages because they believe this means "looking down" on the hill tribes and treating them like an "ethnic zoo". The hill tribe people themselves do not feel this way (they are very proud and do not feel in the least inferior to Westerners !) - they appreciate visitors, especially if the visitors respect their customs concerning "decent" clothing, and like to sell souvenirs to them or provide elephant rides or other services against payment.

Q:  I thought as such. We are considering flying to Mae Hong Sun if we can do day trips from there, but are concerned about political  conditions close to the Burma border. What are your recommendations  regarding the feasibility and safety of day trips from Mae Hong Son?

A: There are no problems that I know of. Of course, you should take care not to accidentally cross the border, but a local driver will know how to avoid this. Day trips from Mae Hong Son are perfectly safe.

Cheapest Way to Koh Samui

Q: Can you tell me which is not the fastest, but the cheapest way from Bangkok to Koh Samui?

A: Cheapest is going by train to Surat Thani and then taking the ferry. This is a very,very long train journey, the train ride takes between 8 and 12 hours, the ferry ride another 3 (and you will probably have to wait some time in between). Nevertheless, if you have sufficient time and and would like to travel like the local people do, just try it! It can be fun.  The trains are safe (though often crowded) and Thai travellers are usually quite friendly. This can be an interesting and rewarding experience.

Getting Married in Thailand

Q:   I am looking for information on weddings in Thailand because my fiancé and I would like to get married on Ko Samui  but I looked for information and found none except for the North of Thailand which we do not want to do. Please help I would be very grateful if you could write me back.

A:  There is a lot of paperwork involved with getting married in Thailand (you need to bring marriage certificates from your local (home) government office, residence certificates from your home town, if one of you should be divorced, even more must be done, etc.)  Why don`t you get married at home and have only the wedding reception on Samui?  Most hotels can arrange a nice room for a reception and a wedding party for your guests.

Bangkok Stopover

Q:  I have a stop-over in Bankok for 8 hours and would like to get around  the city.  Could you please write to me about

1.  How to get in to the city from the airport and how to come back to  the airport
2.  Places of interests to see
3.  Is there a place to store luggage at the airport.
4.  any general advice

I thank you very much in advance

A: Well, 8 hours - that is not so much!

1. You must calculate about 1 hours for immigration and luggage, at least 1 hour on week days  (45 minutes on sundays or at night) for the drive into town and another hour for the drive back to the airport (the cost is between 400 and 500 Bath per way by taxi). And you need to be at the airport one hour before your flight. That leaves you four hours!

2.  You can either go to Wat Phra Kaew (open only until 3.00 pm) or Wat Pho (open until 5 p.m.) or do a klong tour. It is described in our Bangkok Travel Guide in Bangkok by Boat. If you want to try the klong tour, book the boat at the counter at River City Pier (Si Phraya). It is inexpensive and the boat drivers are reliable.

3. There are left baggage counters both in terminal 1 and terminal 2 where you can store your bags. Leaving your luggage there is safe.

4. General advice: beware of touts and anybody else who offers you "free tours" or special, today-only discounts for whatever!

Accomodation in Ayuthaya

Q:  I would like to stay in ayutthaya for about two nights. From the 12th of May to 15th May for two people. I would be looking for a five/four star hotel with leisure facilities. If you please could give me some information about this I would be really greatful. Could you also tell me how long it would take to travel from Bangkok to Ko Samui by car. Thank you.

A: Sorry, believe it or not, there is no such thing in Ayuthaya. There are hotels, of course, but nothing luxury style. Clean and quite o.k. is for instance the KRUNGSRI RIVER Hotel (56 US$ per night). You could rate it middle class. The hotel cannot by booked online. Why don`t you stay at a nice hotel in Bangkok and make a day trip to Ayuthaya? Driving time is between one and two hours, and most of the interesting sights can be visited within one day.

Koh Samui is an island! If you want to reach it by car, you must drive south to Surat Thani (around 8 to 12 hours, depending on traffic) and then take the vehicle ferry from Don Sak (3 hour ferry ride). We recommend flying. Bangkok Airways offers 10 flights per day to the island (about 150$ US$ roundtrip).

Sunshine

Q: I'm travelling to Thailand on th 3/6, it may sound a silly question, but how many hours of sunshine do you get a day, what time does it get dark??

A: There are no silly questions, only silly answers! In Thailand it starts getting dark around 7 p.m. Don`t worry, there will be plenty of sunshine!

What is the best way to get from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui?

Q: Which airlines fly from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui? I would like to combine these two destinations on my next trip to Thailand.

A: You cannot fly directly from Chiang Mai to Samui, there is always a stop in Bangkok. Chiang Mai - Bangkok can be done with Thai Airways (recommended! there are a lot more flights) or Bangkok Airways; Bangkok-Samui only with Bangkok Airways.

Cost for should be something like 125 US$ (Chiang Mai -Bangkok-Samui, one way) per person. You can look up the prices at Bangkok Airways's Homepage http://www.bkkair.co.th. (P.S.  It is also possible to fly from Bangkok to Surat Thani instead of Koh Samui, and tpo take from Surat Thani the ferry to Koh Samui, but this is more complicated.)

Travelling to Koh Samui in summer?

Q: We are planning to go to Koh Samui next summer, and we have been looking forward to this for a long time (we are two families from the cold Skandinavia). We are freezing here in Sweden and we really want some warm and sunny weather, thatīs the reason why we want to go to this island, we have heard that the weather is perfect in June to August. But, however, we have been doubtful for the last weeks,  because everyday we have been looking at the weathercast at a couple of sites and everytime it says that there will be thunderstorms or rainy or cloudy. Is that so? We have to know, because we donīt want to spend three or four weeks in rain...then we might as well go to Bali were it seems to be nice weather. Could you please answer me, is it bad weather this year in Koh Samui, or is it normal that it is raining all the time there in the summer???? Looking forward for yor answer Sussi

A: The months from March to September are - usually - the "dry Season" in Koh Samui. Even if it rains, it rarely rains all day - and it is always warm (between 30 and 40 degress Celsius!)

Is a visa required to enter Thailand?

Q: Will I need a visa for Thailand? I plan to stay for 3 weeks.

A: Whether you need a visa depends on which country you come from. Nationals of the following countries can travel to Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa: 

Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Burma, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Indonesia,  Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand,  Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of   Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey,UAE, USA, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Yemen, Yugoslavia.

Taxi costs from Bangkok Airport into Town?

Q: Can you tell me how much we should expect to pay for a TAXI from the International airport to downtown, Silom Road area? We're staying at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza. Thanks very much!

A:  It costs between 400 and 500 Baht. The fare as such  is something like 350 Baht (depends on traffic)  plus highway toll - in the end something between 400 and 500.

Can you exchange Canadian Dollars in Thailand?

Q:  Will we have any problems converting Canadian dollars in Koh Samui? Thanks so much for your help.

A: The banks and their money exchange counters handle all major currencies. However, traveller`s cheques are safer than cash and in Thailand, the rates for them are better.

Night Market in Koh Samui?

Q Hi!  I'd like to first compliment you on your excellent website and travel guides. I hope you can also help me with this question :  where (if any) are the night markets in Samui, similar to those in Chiang Mai / Patong?  Where should we stay if we want to be  close to these night markets? Many thanks for the information!

A: There are "nightmarkets", so to speak, in Chaweng - there are lots of little shops and street stalls and so on.

Hotels in the Phi Phi Islands?

Q: We have been looking at your net site and trying to find a list of hotels on the Phi Phi Islands or in Krabi, with no success. I am sure I am doing something wrong, can you assists?

A: We list hotels on the Phi Phi Island in our Phuket section. Sorry for the confusion. Hotels in Krabi are listed at PlanetHoliday.

Chiang Mai in Summer?

Q: Hello,I shall be travelling to Chaing Mai, Bangkok and Phuket in June 2000. What will the  climate be like and what sort of clothing should I bring with me. Thanks,Andrea from MALTA (Europe).

A: June is in Thailand the monsoon season, i.e. hot and wet! Bring light summer clothes - and an umbrella! (Don't be discouraged, it rains mostly only in the late afternoon. the trip can be nice nevertheless.)

Mystery Island?

Q: Dear Sir, One of my friends has recently spent a nice time on one of the Islandnamed like COMPANGAL or KOPMANGAL . It is 1 hour from Bangkok by plane! Where is it? Can you help me? Thank you and regards, Edo.

A: Dear Edo, the island is called Koh Phangan (and very nice indeed). It is very close to Koh Samui and ist best reached by flying to Koh Samui  and then taking the ferry (from Bophut pier in the north of Koh Samui. There are two ferries per day, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon, but I don'to know the exact schedule).

Cooking classes in Thailand?

Q: Hello, we are looking for resorts in Thailand (Phuket or Koh Samui) that offer a cooking school for guests.  I am having major difficulties finding anything when searching the net. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Megan.

A: Most of the better resorts offer cooking classes as part of their "entertainment" programs. A
very good one in Phuket, for instance, is "The Boathouse", a charming little boutique hotel with an excellent  chef.  (See also Phuket Hotel Guide and Koh Samui Hotel Guide.)

Getting from Singapore to Phuket

Q: Can you please give me info on how to take a train or train bus combo from singapore to Phuket?

A: There is no train service to Phuket. What would be best is probably a train from Singapore to Surat Thani, and from there you can take a bus. The trip takes 6 to 8 hours and costs about 250 Baht per person.

Good Snorkelling areas in Ko Samui?

Q: I think your website is beautiful and easily interactive, very "user friendly". Thank you!  (Im not very computer saavy)

I'll be in Ko Samui soon and I really wanted to know which side of the  island is the best for snorkeling?  Do they have beautiful coral?.  I have  heard that it is amazingly colorful under those waters?  Do you know????

A: Lamai beach (on the east side) is known as good for snorkeling, but there are other places as well. If you are interested in diving and snorkerling, don`t miss the Anthong Marine park. There are daily regular  boats to the island, and also organized suba diving tours  - just shop around at the small travel agencies on harbour road in Nathon. (See also Watersports in Koh Samui).

Accomodation on Koh Phangan

Hi, im travelling with my husband to Thailand in December.What we really want to find out, is prices of accomodation on Koh Phangan at this time, so that we can book ahead - that is book now before the 'mad rush' at Xmas....

But we are having difficulty in finding accomodation to suit our needsand budget. Currently, we are attempting to live on a  budget of 5pounds sterling ( we think this is equivalent to approximately 300 bahts, but this information is 2 years old.

A: At the site http://www.kohphangan.com/ you can find several bungalows and guesthouses, where accomodation can be had for around 300 Baht per day.

I must say that think 300 Baht for both of you for everything, not just accomodation, is probably not enough, though.

Malaria in Koh Samui?

Q: Is there a Malaria problem in Koh Samui in Sept/Oct.? I am visiting at that time this year.

A: You do not need medical  malaria prophylaxis for Koh Samui.  However, it is always a good idea to avoid getting mosquito bites  - just to be sure and they can also easily become infected in the warm and humid climate. Apply a generous dose of Autan or something like it both in the mornings and the evenings and everything should be o.k.

Markets and Restaurants in Chiang Mai

Q: We've enjoyed your website and are planing a trip to include Chiang Mai.  We have a question about the markets and restaurants.  We are adventurous eaters and enjoy eating out nicely as well as locally.  What are you thoughts about eating fresh fruit?  Is it ok in the restaurants, and is it ok in the fresh markets?  Also, how do you feel about eating at food stands in the markets? 

A: Eating in international hotels should be safe (including fruit). If you buy fruit in the market, wash it and peel it. And be careful when eating at street stalls - sometimes the food is not prepared hygienically (the cooks are clean but the dishes and cooking utensils are sometimes washed in river water). Eat only food that is thorougly cooked. 

Elephant tours in  Chiang Mai?

Q: We were told to take an elephant tour in Chiang Mai, but we did not see anything about that at your site.  Any information on this would be appreciated.  Is it fun at all? Thank you, Lisa and Dave.

A: Elephant rides are very pleasant - highly recommendable! We suggest the Pong Yang Elephant camp near Mae Sa Valley - they offer very good elephant rides into the countryside. If you have the time take the two hour ride.

Transfer to Hua Hin?

Q: I will stay at Feb. 1. at "Inter Conti Siam" and need a transfer from the Inter Conti Bangkok to Hua Hin. May I ask, can you help me for transfer and how much could it cost.

A: The cost for transfer in a private car (chauffeur-driven) is about 1600 or 1800 Baht. There are also normal buses that are much cheaper.  Air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal (Tel (02) 435-5032, 435-5097, 435-7455) 36 times daily between 4.20 a.m. and 4.20 p.m. (40 minute intervals).The transfer takes about 20 hours. Ask the concierge at the Siam Interconti for details about how to get a ticket.

Clothing Questions - What to wear!

Q: I am a woman travelling to Bangkok and Chiang Mai next week.  My question is about what kind of clothing is acceptable for women to wear.  I noticed on your web site that you said tops that cover the shoulders and skirts or dresses that cover the knee are acceptable ... Are shorts acceptable for women to wear in Thailand?

A: No. Sorry. But no. Shorts (like mini skirts) are  accepted only on the beach, on the tennis court etc. Not in city environments and NEVER when visiting a temple (they just won`t let you in). Wear a not-too-tight fitting summer dress (with sleeves!) or a long cotton skirt with a nice cotton or silk blouse (or a polo shirt). This is honestly just as comfortable (I am a woman myself, so I am qualified to say that!), looks nicer, the locals treat you a lot better and you`ll get less sunburn.

Clothes sizes in Thailand

Q: We have been told that the clothing, (ready made) is only small sizes in Bangkok, is this true or false? As we need to buy clothes on our way to Europe.

A: In general, clothing is indeed made with the Thai customer in mind, who is small and slim. The  more touristy places (e.g. River City Department Store) also offer silk blouses, shirts,  etc. in bigger sizes.

Koh Samui in December?

Q: Your web site is very informative and interesting.  I am interested in visiting Koh Samui with my family in Mid December.  However, I heard from friends that it is the monsoon season and is not advisable to go because of the frequent and heavy rain and rough sea.  Please advise us.  We plan to rent a car and drive around ourselve, is it safe to do so? We (two adults and two children) plan to stay there for 3 nights.  Where are the places that we must not miss and are there interesting places for children (age 8 and 3)?

A:  December is in the monsoon season - it will probably not rain all of the time (THAT is in November), but probably (NO guarantee!) only one or two hours per day (mostly in the afternoon). Driving in Samui is safe if you are used to driving on the left side AND used to driving on less than perfect roads. Your children will probably enjoy the beaches; there are also coconut monkey shows, butterfly gardens, or elephant rides.

Where is Khao San Road?

Q: Could you tell me where "Khao Sahn Rd" is in Bangkok?  I know it's in the Banglamphu area, but what "major" street is it near, one that I could find on an online map?  The reason being I'm travelling to the city soon (for the first time) and meeting a friend on Khao Sahn Rd.  I've been looking all over the internet but have so far come up short.  Your help is greatly
appreciated.  Thank you.

A: Khao San road is a "backpacker" spot. It is in the middle of Bangkok. Getting there from the airport: 

Taxi - the easiest, but most expensive way (total cost around 400 Baht) There is a public taxi kiosk outside at the
airport. The taxis have a meter  and a surcharge of around 50B is applied for the airport service.If you travel by expressway there will also be a toll charge (40-80B) Note: The  limousine services (inside) are far more expensive!! 

Airport Bus (Cost 60 to 70 Baht) An air-con airport bus with 3 routes into the city. Bus no.A2 to Sanam Luang stops close to Khao San Road  (A1 to Silom area,  A3 - Sukumvit area) Operating from 5:30am - 12:30am.

Train (not sure - something like 10 Baht)Across the highway from the airport is a station with trains to  Hualampong (central station).You will also need a taxi (or a good bus map!) to reach Khaosan (around 60B). 

I recommend the airport bus if money is an issue and a taxi if it is not.

Fruit Markets in Bangkok

Q: Your site is very interesting...however I hoped you would be able to recommend places where you can shop for food (almost like a local farmers market)...something like small mom and pop's stall where there is alot
ofthem selling their food or where is the floating market that you see allthe time in pictures...overall I just need a place where there is a large selection of fresh fruits ...where do you find them in Bangkok. 

A: There are markets and small shops all over Bangkok, and a large selection of fruit stalls all over the place  that sell sliced pineapple, pomelo, jackfruit, you name it. For instance, take the express boat to China Town (Tha Rachini) and look at the shops in the small alleys.  There is also a wet market in China Town.

The floating market is in Damnoen Saduak and not very interesting, as it is now entirely an event for tourists - the locals do not buy there anymore. 

Flights to Phuket?

Q: I will be landing in Bangkok airport within this month.I would immidiately like to continue my travel to Phuket as I have limited time and I want to spend all of it there. What is the flight schedule from Bangkok to Phuket and how much it will cost  for one way travel, as from Phuket I want to go to Hongkong. 

A: There are hourly flights from Bangkok to Phuket, a one-way trip is about 50 US$. However, the flights are frequently sold out early, so that it might be better to book in advance.


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