My Travel - Thailand.
I traveled outside India for the first time, and that was to this beautiful country with beautiful, gorgeous, lovely, humble, polite, respectful, and content people. Thailand. I really dared to travel I would say (for the kind of person I am). Been to Bangkok with my mum from 29-Aug-'13 to 05-Sep-'13. I had completely researched on my own, to make it the best possible. Thanks, to the Internet, especially, a DesiYatri Blog.
Second Visit to Thailand
The second time I went from 12-Mar-'14 to 20-Mar-'14 alone to Bangkok and Krabi (South Thailand). One of the most notable things about this trip was that this was the last Pune to Bangkok direct flight by SpiceJet. They scrapped their flights thereafter. Hardly 5-6 of us were on that plane. Nevertheless, it was a superb experience to travel directly from PNQ to BKK, and I hope that this service starts again in the future.
This second visit was during the year Madhuri Dixit's 'Gulaab Gang' released, so, I associate some of those songs with this trip. First, I reached Bangkok, and stayed in Bangkok City Inn for a couple of days. Did some shopping (which is a must), and then headed south to Krabi. In Krabi, I stayed at the Ao Nang Beach's Zabava Guest House, with the beach at a 10 seconds' walk. Stayed here for just 2-3 days, and returned to ibis, Siam Square, Bangkok, where I stayed on the highest floor until then, 16th. Shopped again! I always go to Thailand with one bag, and return with two. There are just so many lovely things to buy there.
Unfortunately, sex is the only thing that people talk about (directly or indirectly) when talking about Thailand or Bangkok, but during all my visits to this wonderful and cultural country, I have done everything that some people can never even begin to understand or imagine. I haven't been to "Gay" places or even Pubs, for that matter. Never indulged in sexual massages, and this is something that I really do not need to prove, clarify, or justify to anybody. Thailand keeps attracting me for its culture, colors, and shopping, and that's all I need to do there.
The third time I went from 26-Sep-'14 to 26-Nov-'14 alone to Chiang Mai (North Thailand).
The better your research, the easier & smoother is your trip. Continue reading for my reviews, details, and experiences of the places. I keep updating this page regularly from my memory. Remember that this is only a memoir about my trips during the times I visited. Things may have changed a bit since the time I visited the places, so request you to refer to the latest and official sources.
An important tip (from a shopping-lover like me) while going to Thailand. Go with empty hands. Literally! Just take lots of money in your pocket. Carry discardable clothes, if any. Products you buy in Thailand are of good quality - even the simple (low cost) ones. You will return with minimum 1 extra baggage from Thailand - that too a new bag, because you will find so many creative and beautiful things there. So, better to go without any. You do not need to carry even the travel adaptor there or spend thousands of rupees in getting it in your country. You get a basic one for 100 Baht. You get clothes, innerwear, outerwear... and bags too to keep it all. At the end, get your bag wrapped for damage-safety (@ 150 baht per bag of any size) at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, and you'll be fine.
There are innumerable beautiful and lovely things to do in Bangkok, and not everything can be covered in a single visit. I did a lot of shopping, moving around sight-seeing, traveling in BTS Skytrains, walking across the bustling streets, and sometimes merely sitting at the Ganapati Shrine near the Central World to just rest the legs. A few things that I planned but couldn't do are visiting the Lumphini Park, and the list mentioned in the article "10 Things to do in Bangkok when it Rains". Hope to do those during my future trips.
Thailand's VISA can be obtained on arrival. You can find all details on the same on the blog which I've linked above. However, these are some of my experiences.
On getting down from the flight, we had to walk at least half a kilometer before coming across the "VISA on arrival" counter on the left. There are proper arrows and directions that can be of help. Don't worry, there are Travellators (conveyor belts to transport people).
A few tips:
a) Download the VISA on arrival form from the official sources on the Internet and fill it beforehand
b) Paste a passport-size photograph on the VISA form at home itself. Not sure if there is a photograph counter there. Even if it is there, it may cost too much.
c) Carry extra (1 or 2) passport-size photographs
d) There are two VISA queues (General - costs 1,000 Baht & Fasttrack - costs 1,200 Baht) My suggestion is to take the Fasttrack VISA Counter only if the General queue is too long, not required otherwise. I took a Fasttrack counter during my first Bangkok trip, because I was with mum, we both were too tired. Our Fasttrack VISA took not more than 3 minutes. The second time, I thought of saving 200 baht, and took the General Queue. There's a token system and queue. You are given a token number on your form, and once it's displayed, you have to go to the officer. It took me around 5-10 minutes for the General VISA Queue, but depending on the traffic, one may be required to wait longer.
The checked-in luggage can be picked up only after VISA is obtained. Random checks are done by officials to cross-check that you've picked up the correct bag.
e) Follow the directions towards the City Line (metro train's name) and catch the metro to your desired destination. Express Line (another metro train's name) is many times costlier than City Line, plus it does not go to Phaya Thai. Phaya Thai is the station from where you can catch the BTS Skytrain to anywhere else in the city.
Never plan your travel without checking the weather of that place first. Read Thailand's Weather Overview and the Daily / Weekly / Monthly Weather Forecasts for Bangkok / Thailand as well before making your plans.
Here's the list of websites I use or have reliably used for making my bookings.
I use www.asiawebdirect.com for booking hotels in Thailand. If you are directly in contact with the hotel (via Facebook or email), they may give you discounts on your subsequent visits / bookings. Do check with them if you will still get the discount if you book through this website (instead of theirs).
I use www.cleartrip.com for booking most of my flights. I had booked my flight from Bangkok to Krabi with Bangkok Airways. www.airasia.com (specific to Asia) and www.nokair.com (specific to Thailand) are low-cost airlines and very affordable.
Important: Check the currency in which the amount is displayed on those websites very carefully.
♦ The best-kept secrets of gay Thailand that make it an essential destination for 2017
♦ Thailand Traveler Articles - Written for Travelers by Travelers.
♦ Thai Meteorological Department gives real-time information on its weather.
♦ This is the interactive guide to BTS Skytrain's Service Routes.
♦ A website named http://www.thailandguru.com/ also has elaborate information on almost everything about Bangkok/Thailand. It's a huge read though.
♦ Pay duty on flat panel TV imports from August 26 2013
♦ Mei Zhou Phuket Hotel
♦ 10 Best Gay-Friendly Hotels in Phuket - Phuket’s Best Hotels For LGBT Travellers