Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
diesel1973

suggestions

Recommended Posts

Will be doing a 2 week land tour in Thailand in 3 weeks. Does anyone have any suggestions or warnings that I might need to know about? TIA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Independent or an organized tour group with a fixed itinerary?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sign up for the US State Department STEP program for the countries that you will be visiting for the warning part.  Suggestions is a very broad question.  You need to give more information. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a 15 day guided tour group. Just looking for some do's and don'ts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Off the top of my head...

 

-buy bhats when you arrive.  use ATM or take notes in good condition and exchange them at a currency store in or bank.  There are banks branches at the airport but avoid the Travelex type currency exchange booths at the airport.

 

-if you use the ATM, use bank ATMS.  There are several in BKK airport as well as two bank branches.   Keep in mind that when foreigners use an ATM the local bank with charge you about $6.50 each time in bhats (just reduced the amount of bhats that are dispensed vs a charge on your bank account).  Make each ATM withdrawal worthwhile.

 

-do not confuse the bank notes...especially 100 and 500 bhat notes

 

-eat the local food, it is wonderful.    The night food markets are lots of fun.  We eat there regularly.  We have never been sick.  The one time we were sick in five winters was at a western style restuarant on Phuket!  

 

-never put your feet up on a table, take shoes off at door (you will see others doing the same)

 

-learn some Thai words...like thank you. Smile.  Thai people are incredibly friendly and proud.   We keep going back despite the travel time to get there.

 

-we always take our own sun screen. 100ml

 

  We pack light-carry on only.   One pair of slacks for the plane, the shorts. (you will not need as much as you think)

 

-tuk tuk drivers in Bangkok love to take you to jewelry stores or expensive river cruises.   Public transport in BKK is excellent-spend some time on the river and canal boats.

Edited by iancal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Random do's and don'ts:

  • Don't insult/disrespect the royal family.  This includes their images like on currency.
  • You need cover shoulders & legs when visiting temples and royal palace.  There are sometimes rentals (ick).
  • Taxi's (and transportation in general like tuktuk's and songthaews) can be pretty scammy.  Install Grab app.  Or confirm meter usage or set price before entering taxi.  Lot of nuances with the local transportation in various parts of the country.
  • Don't over wai everyone. 
  • If in the north, try the khao soi (coconut curry noodle dish)
  • Don't rent a jetski 
  • Check out the night markets

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the response (especially Woldridge) Some very interesting info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look out for the Ladyboys!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You will be fine with taxis...certainly in Bangkok.  They are inexpensive.  The trick is to make sure that the taxi meter is ON.  Taxi from BKK to downtown areas should be anywhere from 350-500 bhat.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, crimlaw@ecentral.com said:

Wow, Woldridge - that is extremely helpful information.  I don't suppose you have any similar tips for Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia or Hong Kong?

 


Bag snatching and pick pocking are prevalent in Vietnam so get yourself a small daypack and be vigilant about keeping it with you.  Do not walk down the street with your smartphone in your hand.  I met a man at the airport who was using Google Maps to navigate and had his phone snatched out of his hand by a motorbike driver.  I personally had my bag snatched in a public park in HCMC and I consider myself a seasoned traveller.  

Singapore and Hong Kong are safe to drink the water but otherwise always drink bottled water, avoid salads, ice and fruit unless you are at a luxury resort or hotel and confirm their water is purified.  

Don't rent a motorbike unless your travel insurance covers accidents.  Motorbike tours are really common but most travel insurance excludes them.  I had a coworker go bankrupt because his father got into a motorbike accident in Bali and was needed to medically evacuated.

Singapore - Download Grab or Comfort Del Grove app to book taxis or you can use Google Maps to navigate buses and the MRT train (it is clean and efficient).  Eat at a Hawker center (you will need cash for this).  East Coast Seafood Village is great for seafood and grilled satay (meat on a stick).  Bah Kuh Teh is a pork soup that is especially delicious.  There are some authentic shops on East Coast Road that sell Peranakan clothes, ceramics.  Google Rumah Bebe and head there and lots of nice food and picture taking at the shophouses nearby.  IF you do that go eat at Sin Heng Claypot Bak Koot Teh at 439 Joo Chiat Rd and bring cash.  

Most museums are free and interesting, hit the Peranakan one to learn about mixed race marriages and how that influenced the culture.  The Indian Heritage Center, Malay Heritage are centrally located and worth a visit too.  But go to Little India only on weekdays otherwise it's a madhouse.  Haw Paw Villa is an older amusement park with murals worth a visit and is free (lots of walking).  I found the HDB Gallery also really interesting.  It is the apartment showroom for local families to pick out government housing.  Singaporeans love their food and that culture is a big deal.  Book a food tour on Klook or something similar.  The longest lines at food stalls are supposed to have the best food.  If you're not into the non-air conditioned food courts, you can go to any mall and either in the basement or top floor will likely be a slightly nice food court.  For upscale local food you can try Papa Rich (google locations but in many malls.  expensive for what it is but they will take credit cards, have air conditioning and comfortable seats).  You can ride a water taxi for a few dollars It is 5 dollars only if you have an EZLINK card which you can buy at the MRT (subway) train station with cash.  http://singapore-river.com/docs/river_taxi.html

Hong Kong - Uber works in HK and the public transport is reliable.  

For tours we have done this Victoria Harbour tour that includes cheap beer and wine.  It lasts about 1 hour and is fun and the sites are quite beautiful.  https://www.klook.com/en-US/activity/53-evening-harbor-cruises-hong-kong/

There is a Science museum at Victoria Harbour that is free for kids with a paid adult.  It's interesting for kids and has some fun educational rides they can experience.  https://hk.science.museum/en_US/web/scm/gi/ti.html

We also did the Big Buddha tour and it was a lot of walking but lovely scenery if you have a full day to experience it.  https://www.getyourguide.com/hong-kong-l174/buddha-walk-with-crystal-standard-np360-cable-car-t147222/

Hong Kong Disney is experiencing very low attendance.  Consider going if that is something that interests you.  You can buy tickets online or through an approved agent.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, crimlaw@ecentral.com said:

Thank you Unreal Heather - those are very helpful tips!

 

No problem.  Other tips as I am thinking.  

Trip Advisor is a pretty good site to get a sense of popular attractions.  I always check out the things to do and see what is recommended.  

When traveling in SE Asia, do be mindful of petty crime.  If you get lost and don't know where you are going, and need to check a map, I have found you can pop into the lobby of a 5* hotel and quietly do your research no questions asked.  Also fancy hotels are a nice place to take a quick break with some air conditioning and comfortable chairs.  

Asians don't wave but tend to use the underhand gesture to call someone over.  That takes a while to get used to, but if you're not traveling with small kids it's probably not a big deal.  

I've been to Bangkok a lot for work and a few suggestions I left off
If you are there a week, you can get some clothes custom made.  I have used Mohan's Tailors for men and Nickermann's for women's clothes.  Getting your teeth whitened can be really cheap in Bangkok as well.  We've used bangkoksmiledental.com and they have a few locations.  

Traffic is really bad in Bangkok and if you're fit, the best thing is to use the train and walk to your destinations otherwise you'll spend forever in stop and go traffic.  

Big C is a hypermarket (think Walmart) with everything.  We love buying cheap children's clothes, dried fruit, they also have a huge selection of freeze dried fruit.  The children's clothes are so cheap I'd bring an extra suitcase and fill it with girl's dresses that were less than $5 each when converted.

Jim Thompson House is a very interesting museum and worth a few hours to explore.  

Bangkok Art and Culture Center is free and has a vast collection of folk art and prison art and quite fascinating.  

It's also the thing to get a massage in Bangkok.  Avoid the hotels, unless you want to spend 100 dollars on a massage.  Health Land is a popular chain but there are even cheaper places.  I've used The Touch: ttp://www.thetouch1.com/info.html

Also a friend recommended Myth House.  

For a strange dinner experience, you can try Tawang Dang.  It's a German brewery that sells local food and also does rock and roll stage shows with drag queens.  http://tawandang.com/ . It's very loud and fun but not suitable for quiet conversation.  

As a rule of thumb related to site seeing.  Don't ride elephants, go to orphanages as these are considered impolite and also unethical.  Don't feed the monkeys unless you want to get attacked.  Find some slip on shoes that are easy to walk in.  If you visit temples you'll be taking your shoes on/off a lot.  Bring an umbrella as rain is unpredictable.  

Don't be afraid to hire a local guide off Klook, Get my Guide etc for half day tours.  I have found this really helpful when traveling to have a guide.  Expensive but it takes the pressure off planning every little thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks unrealHeather - more very helpful things!  Unfortunately we will only be in Bangkok overnight, but we do have a guide so hopefully can see a lot.  I have pretty severe arthritis in my feet, so I always try to have a guide with a car, but some days I am fine.  I just never know day to day.  Humidity tends to make it worse, so I am preparing for that.  Great tip about going into hotels.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might want to do some research.  We been spending winters in Thailand.   Even so, each year we do a little more research to understand some of the new places we are going.  Same for Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore.  It made our travels much easier and more enjoyable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, iancal said:

You might want to do some research.  We been spending winters in Thailand.   Even so, each year we do a little more research to understand some of the new places we are going.  Same for Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore.  It made our travels much easier and more enjoyable.

For what it's worth this was a great book about the cultures in Asia.  

Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Guide to Building Trust, Inspiring Respect, and Creating Long-Lasting Business Relationships 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SZ633FK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It's a business book but it also is useful understanding social interaction.  

The chapter on USA was fascinating to see the culture broken down and how it differs from Asia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/7/2020 at 8:24 PM, crimlaw@ecentral.com said:

Wow, Woldridge - that is extremely helpful information.  I don't suppose you have any similar tips for Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia or Hong Kong?

 

Sorry, no.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you haven't already the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide series are good places to start for travel information.  There's usually a SE Asia one that will give a bit of info for each country.  For a comprehensive look, but the full guide to the country.  Or for free advice, I find Trip Advisor is good on "things to do"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wanted to offer up a few other handy travel reference sites that don't get referenced often.

The first is wikitravel.org  which has a similar layout and feel to wikipedia.  It has great information on getting orientated in the city such as where the airports are, how to get into town, local transportation, neighbourhoods, etc.  It also has info on attractions, places to stay, places to eat, etc. and while I utilize it for a basic guide, I find better info elsewhere.

The second is travelfish.org which is a travel site specifically for southeast Asia.  I don't love the layout for easily sourcing information.  I find it better serves as a resource for planning/researching your destination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...