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  1. #1


    Slow Traveler

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    634

    Help with Thailand

    I'm planning a two-week trip in March and need some guidance.

    I want to spend a few days in Bangkok, but most of my time will be in smaller cities a few hours to the NW.

    I normally use ATMs for money, but FOREX has been recommended for Thai currency exchanges. Does this make sense?

    What's the best way to handle the 20+ hour flight? Break it up, or just bite the bullet?

    What else?

    I've been to Europe many times, so I'm familiar with international travel. But I need to know what's different about travel to Thailand.

  2. #2
    This year will be our third year spending part of the winter in Thailand. We do the air in one shot. Better this year since we now only have one connection. Prior years have been 2 connections. Most NA flights connect through Tokyo Narita.

    We get money from bank ATMS. I like Siam Bank because they will give us larger amounts. I am careful to use an access card that does not charge us the 2.5 percent hidden FX uplift that is so common with North American banks.

    We love Thailand, especially the beaches on the Andaman Sea. Last year we worked our way south through Malaysia and then to Australia/NZ and home via Hawaii. We are leaving later this year, in mid Feb. We will spend two weeks in Thailand, then head north to Cambodia and then a month or so in Vietnam. Back in mid April.

  3. #3

    Slow Traveler

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Centreville, MD
    Posts
    108
    I did the air in one shot. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. Although coming back my jetlag was horrid. We flew Korean Air and I found it a very nice airline with a decent amount of room in economy. Drink lots and lots and lots of water to help with jet lag. I also took some electrolyte tablets on the flight.

    For money, I used ATMs.

    Thailand is wonderful. We spent our time in Chiang Mai and in Bangkok. People are very friendly and respectful. In Bangkok we hired a private tour guide for 2 days, it was extremely inexpensive. We booked it through "Tour with Tong" The first day we did the sites in Bangkok using public transportation (you can choose a more expensive option to have a private car) Second day we took a full day trip to Ayutthaya, that was in a private car. Our tour guide "Tammy" spoke English and was loads of fun. I highly recommend it!

    If you have any specific question I may be able to answer, please ask.

  4. #4


    Slow Traveler

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    941
    I live in Toronto and went Toronto to Taiwan on EVA Air (which was really good) and then transferred to a flight from there to Bangkok. EVA air expedited my transit through Taiwan and it was very seamless and easy.

    I got baht in advance at a foreign exchange place in Toronto. Because they don't deal with a lot of it, the exchange rate was bumped up a bit (unlike Euro or US $ which I can get at very competitive rates here). I did not use an ATM while there.

  5. #5


    Slow Traveler

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Phoenix
    Posts
    3,185
    Schwab gives ATM fee refunds and the best exchange rate. Get their investor checking. Other brokerage firms may have similar deals. Watch out for cruddy exchange rates as well as fees. BTW fees at most ATMs aare now 600 baht. Be prepared to take out $300 US or more at a single shot because of fees and Thailand is cheap but it is an all cash economy. Only the largest and most western of stores, restaurants take credit cards. Many have $50 minimum charge.
    I can't do the flight in a straight shot anymore and remain sane or sober. I have 2 options from Chiang Mai (where I now live). Number one is Korean air with a 9 hour layover in Seoul. There you can rent a room and sleep/shower or catch one of several dozen tour buses that take you into Seoul for 5 or 6 hours. Number 2 is China Air through Amsterdam then code share Delta Tom US. 12 hours to Amsterdam layover 24 then 8 to USA. As someone else mentioned jet lag is a bitch. We are 10 to 14 hours different from US continental time zones. Literally when you are awake we are sleeping and vice versa. Huge call center industry because of that here in Thailand.

  6. #6


    Slow Traveler

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Phoenix
    Posts
    3,185
    BTW no foreigners who live here use Forex at least none of the 100 plus I know. Think of it as millenials version of American Express.

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