Part 5: Shanghai, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Dalian, Beijing
15.10: Shanghai -> Hangzhou
Golden City Hotel Hangzhou, No. 286
Yan'an road, Hangzhou, Tel. 0571-87036888. 396 yuan for a nice elegant
little suite, with everything, but a very poor Internet connection (way
slower than dialup). Near the lake.
Weather: sunny with clouds and warm
in Shanghai. More fresh in the evening in Hangzhou. No rain the whole
I wake up at 8:30am, get ready, check my mails and process some photos
until noon. Starting from 12pm the reception calls three times on the
phone within 20 minutes, asking when I'm checking out. Very persistent.
Never mind, at 12:25pm I finally check out and then the trouble begins.
The receptionist only pays 122 yuan back, although my deposit at the
hotel was 400 yuan and I payed another 100 yuan at the airport (total
is 500 yuan and the room rate is 278 yuan). They claim that the 400
yuan written on the deposit receipt of the hotel already includes the
100 yuan I paid the airport, which is nonsense. A couple of phone
calls, lots of discussion and the situation goes on for 25 minutes.
I wonder what I should do, because it's not that much money (100 yuan =
10 Euro), but I'm losing my precious time on this discussion. It's
however very irritating, because I hate being cheated. Should I go to
police? This would take hours, would probably be inconclusive and I
just don't have the time. On the other hand the amount is small, so
sueing with a lawyer makes no sense. And if they refuse to return the
money, there is nothing I can do, as I cannot force them. Also, since I
need to leave the bags at the hotel, as I will
stroll a bit in Shanghai before leaving for Hangzhou, I can't afford to
start a big argument with the hotel.
In the end I decide that
I will keep a copy of the receipts and post a complaint with the
tourist authorities or with the police. It will probably be a hole in
the water, but I should at least report this incident.
Generally speaking, it is very easy for a tourist to be cheated in
China because of
the language barrier. I haven't been cheated so frequently during my
China, only because Chinese people are overall very honest, but such an
accident could have happened at any time.
I also decide to avoid leaving cash deposits in Chinese hotels in the
instead use the credit card to secure the room, because in that case it
much more difficult for any hotel to cheat.
So at 12:55pm I leave the hotel and walk to the Bund. I look for the
KFC restaurant, which I find after some walking. I eat there because my
time is limited and I know what I get (am not in the mood for new
surprises right now). After some walking around, at 2:30pm I walk back
to the hotel, get my bags and take a taxi to the train station.
At 3:15pm I'm at the huge and crowded train station of Shanghai. It's
very easy to buy a ticket to Hangzhou. Surprise, surprise, the next
train to Hangzhou only leaves at 5:34pm. That's over two hours of
waiting time and I start regretting not to have taken a bus. After I'm
told that I may not go to the soft seat waiting area because the ticket
is for the hard seat, I change the ticket into a soft seat ticket. The
additional fee is 17 yuan for a total of 50 yuan - still very cheap
considering the distance. Still I'll probably try to avoid using trains
in China in the future, because of the time you lose at the train
station and because of all the mess and noise at the train stations.
Then I walk to the soft seat waiting area, where I wait for about two
hours in the cafe. The drinks are not cheap, but there is a power
socket, so I can review the photos I took today with the notebook
computer. Some promising panoramas of the Pudong new area.
The train station is modeled a bit after an airport. It's not as open
as a train station in Europe. There are security checks (bags have to
be X-rayed) and you are only allowed in if you have a train ticket. You
may only proceed to the platform 10-15 minutes before your train is
leaving. Overall the train station is clean and well organised.
The train has some delay, only leaving at 5:41pm, instead of 5:34pm.
The wagons of the train have two levels and the train is quite full. On
the train they sell some dinner (10 yuan for rice with chicken and
vegetables - good value).
The train arrives in Hangzhou around 7:40pm, without any intermediate
stops. The next challenge would be to find a hotel, because I have no
reservation. I wanted to make a reservation at the Shanghai airport,
but the guy there told me that there was no need, as there were lots of
agents in the Hangzhou train station and I could make the reservation
there. He also gave me a toll free number I could call to make a
Well, there are no hotel reservation counters at the train station in
Hangzhou and the number the guy gave me is not toll free, at least not
on my mobile phone. The problem is also that I have almost no money
left on the phone, so I can't make a reservation on the phone (I do in
fact call, but the operator has no suitable options).
I lose time and at 8:20pm I finally jump into a taxi and ask the driver
to bring me to a hotel. Some driving here and there, and finally at the
second attempt, before 9pm I am settled in a hotel. The transfer took
too much time - from hotel to hotel six hours have passed. I decide to
avoid if possible to travel by train, in any case check the timetables
in advance, and to have hotel reservations in advance.
In the evening I walk around a bit through Hangzhou, in the west lake
area. This is an elegant, chic and expensive area, with lots of shops
with luxury western goods and five star international class hotels.
Looks like this is the Montecarlo of China, home of all rich and
Golden City Hotel Hangzhou. Despite the
slow Internet connection speed, it is possible to make phone calls
with acceptable quality with Skype, which is strange, because I'm not
able to surf the net and download my emails with the room net
connection and instead have to rely on a dialup connection.
Weather: warm, sunny sort of a light
blue sky, but very poor visibility. Today the air over Hangzhou is not
clean. No rain.
It seems that Hangzhou really shines at night, because during the day,
the city does not look so impressive. The major problem is the air
which is not clean and therefore limits the visibility. There may be
tons of temples in the area around West Lake (Xi Hu), but they are not
that special, if compared to other temples elsewhere in China and
abroad. But at night Hangzhou looks great with all those lights and the
Around 11am I get out of the hotel and look for a place where to have
some food. I head towards the Pizza Hut restaurant in the road parallel
to the lakeside road and have a pizza. The pizza is ok, but pricey at
58 yuan (more or less the same price as in Germany).
After the lunch, around 12:10pm I get out of the restaurant and take a
taxi to the Lingyin temple. The temple is, well, so-so. Another me-too
temple, if you have already seen lots of Chinese temples before. But
this one is less nice than other temples I've seen before. And the
entry tickets are pricey. You have to pay 35 yuan just to be allowed to
walk into the Lingyin compound. Then you have to pay another
30 yuan to visit the temple, for total cost of 65 yuan. The LP China of
mentions a ticket price of 20 yuan. So they must have more than tripled
their ticket prices in just four years.
At 2:10pm I take the cable car to Bei Gaofeng (Northern peak), from
where I hope to have a nice view over the lake and Guangzhou. Not a
chance, the dirty air limits the visibility considerably and in the far
distance everything looks like a homogeneous grey. By the way, the
cable car costs 40 yuan (go and return).
Around 3:30pm I'm down and try to get a taxi. I'm not the only one,
there are also some Chinese who are waiting for a taxi. Obviously the
Chinese don't queue and don't care who arrived first. So it takes some
effort and time to get a taxi. I'm back in the hotel at 4pm,
then get out again around 4:30pm.
Around 5pm it is starting to get dark. I continue to walk around the
lake and am back in the hotel at 9pm. On the way back to the hotel I
meet a Chinese guy who lives in Canada who says that Dalian is a
beautiful city. Should I stop there?
Hotel Santiago, somewhere along the
coast in Qingdao. 600 yuan for a huge suite, which at first sight looks
luxurious (do I need so much luxury?). At second sight it appears that
this suite is old and in desperate need of renovation. There are two
TVs, but no Internet line in the
room. The 16300 dialup Internet access also does not work.
Weather: sligthly overcast in the
morning in Hangzhou, warm, the sky becomes more overcast at the
airport. Fresh, windy and overcast in Qingdao.
After getting up at 8am I get ready and at 9:10am I'm down in the
reception asking where I can buy a plane ticket. The receptionist
checks with the travel agency he knows and says that the 12:30pm flight
is full and that there are only seats available on the 5:45pm flight.
But this flight is too late and I would arrive after dark in Qingdao. I
have some breakfast then look for a travel agency. In the end I find
one in a higher class hotel near my hotel. There I buy a ticket on the
CZ6765 China Southern flight at 12:30pm - 1st class for 1460 yuan
(hopefully my wife is not reading this), because the economy class is
At 10:30am I take a taxi to the airport (95 yuan), arriving there at
11:10am. The check-in procedure is fast and smooth. In the China
Southern first class lounge they have a computer with Internet access.
The plane takes off with some delay at 12:45pm and is quite full. It's
an old and decrepit MD82 and the overhead compartments above the first
class seats are full with emergency and
training stuff, leaving no space for bags of the 1st class passengers.
Overall the China Southern first class does not give you a first class
The plane lands in Qingdao airport at 2:10pm, 20 minutes later than
planned. I walk out of the plane and retrieve my suitcase, then look
for a hotel reservation counter. There is no such thing at the Qingdao
airport, and while I walk around and look for it, I get adopted by a
lady who sells taxi trips. She will bring me to a hotel in Qindgdao for
80 yuan (that is, her husband).
Now begins the odissey. It's about 2:30pm and it will be 4pm before I
am settled in a hotel in Qingdao. It looks like there is a conference
or convention in Qingdao and all rooms are booked. In any case I end up
spending 600 yuan for a huge suite.
At 4:30pm I fetch a taxi to the Huashi Lou. It's along the beach and
around there there are lots of wedding couples doing photo shooting. It
appears that Qungdao is a beach resort for the Chinese, who are
attracted by the colonial architecture. The setting is not bad, with
the sea and all those beaches, but the city is not too attractive, and
certainly can't compete with a European beach resort. There is no
pedestrian area for instance, with shops and restaurants. The beaches
are nice, but not that big, and the sea ground is rocky and full of
At 5pm I take a taxi to the Qingdao Ying Binguan building (ticket is 15
you don't have to go inside the building, there is nothing to see
anyway, and you can save the money). This is supposed to be one of the
most astounding pieces of German architecture in Qingdao, according to
the LP guide, but in reality it's not so special at all.
After that I walk towards the town centre and at 7pm I have a dinner in
a restaurant. They ask me to pay in advance for the food -
unbelievable. Then I slowly walk back to the hotel, arriving there at
The 16300 dialup Internet, which worked fine in all places where I had
been before, does not work here in Qingdao. Don't know why, the
telephone number is fine, but you cannot use "16300" as ID and password
Hotel Merro, Zhongshan road 112, Tel.
0411-83631991, Dalian. 348 yuan for a room, relatively small, but quite
comfortable. Good quality, price seems reasonable. The Internet
connection (Internet through the powerline) does not work when I check
in, but works on the next morning. The
16300 dialup Internet access also does not work (you
get an invalid used id message).
Weather: more or less overcast the
whole day in Qingdao, with the clouds
cover occasionally thinning up giving a
blueish sky and the sun poking through. But for most of the time the sky is
covered by a clouds layer. Fresh and windy in Qingdao, but you can walk
around in a T-shirt. 18°C in Dalian.
I wake up initially at 8am, then sleep again and wake up at 10am. I'm
ready by 11:30am, then go down and briefly check my mails in the
business centre of the hotel. At 11:55am I finally check out. I meet
again Kevin (the hotel guy) and ask if I can book a plane ticket. Yes,
it's possible, we do that in the business centre of the hotel. I get a
plane ticket to Dalian, leaving at 10:50pm for 380 yuan. Through Kevin
I also book the hotel in Dalian. Then I ask Kevin if he knows a seafood
restaurant. Oh, didn't you know we have a seafood restaurant in the
hotel? Ok, so I have some fresh fish with rice. I try to order some
vegetables, but can't manage to do that, due to communication problems
(what are "cold" vegetables?). Overall Kevin is a friendly guy, just in
one case he says I should eat the fish with the chop sticks because we
are in China here. Have you ever tried to eat an entire fish with chop
It's 1:30pm when, after the lunch, I finally manage to leave the hotel
and start exploring Qingdao. I take a taxi to the TV tower (entry fee
is 30 yuan). Nice view over the Qingdao peninsula, but today the sky is
misty so the visibility is limited.
At 2:20pm I'm down again and walk towards the road, where I catch a new
taxi. This time I get off next to the German Protestant church.
Interesting to find such architecture here in the Far East. In the same
area there are several buildings in colonial (German) style.
Until about 6pm I walk around in the area. Lots of Chinese (probably
tourists) walking along the promenade, but I'm the only westerner,
except for another guy who apparently also got lost in Qingdao. It
looks like Qingdao is very popular among the Chinese, but pretty
unknown among European travellers.
At 6pm I have a dinner in a Japanese restaurant in the Bestejahre
building near the train station. Again I have to pay in advance, which
is strange. By the way, I can't find any Chinese restaurants in
downtown Qingdao, only outlets of fast food chains. After that, at 7pm,
I do some shopping in the nearby shopping complex, then fetch a taxi
initially to the hotel where I take my bags and then to the airport.
At 8:35pm I'm at the airport. Since it's too early to check in, I
download the images to the computer. Surprise, surprise, there is a
free WLAN access point at the airport. Until about 10pm I process my
emails, do some web surfing and process the images. Then I check in.
The plane leaves on time at 10:50pm. The flight is quite rough, lots of
The plane lands in Dalian at 11:20pm, after just 25 minutes of flight.
Then everything goes very fast. By 11:37pm I've retrieved the luggage,
skipped the touts who sell taxi trips (long queue of taxis outside
waiting for customers anyway) and am in a taxi to the hotel. At 11:55pm
checking in at the reception - wouldn't have imagined that things go so
Qian Yuan International Business Hotel,
No 19 Dongzhimen Nongcheng, Beijing, Tel. 84001999. 520 yuan for
a nice room in a very new and elegant hotel. The room is high
class, complete with a high speed Internet connection (really high
speed, fastest I've experienced so far in China), there is even an LCD
TV hanging on the wall. Despite the price the room is a bit high, good
recommended. Very functional room, easy to do work at the computer. If
you are a businessman travelling across China, stay at this hotel.
Weather: in Dalian overcast and then
heavy rain in the morning until almost noon. Around 2pm the sky opens
up and becomes blueish (not really blue, but what can you expect from
China?), then closes again. Quite fresh at 16°C and it becomes
colder in the evening.
I wake up initially as usual at 8am, then sleep again and wake up at
9am. The sky outside does not look that great (is heavily overcast) and
it soon starts to rain heavily. The Internet connection in the room
works surprisingly well this morning and is also quite fast (downloads
possible with around 30 KByte/s sustained), so I finally download the
access logs of the past five days and process my emails.
I'm not feeling too well this morning, probably because of all the cold
wind I caught in Qingdao yesterday. I slowly get ready and check out at
11:10am. Then I book a flight to Beijing in the business centre
of the hotel (500 yuan, leaving at 8:20pm).
It's now almost noon and it has stopped raining, so I start my tour of
Dalian. Dalian has wide streets and huge buildings, with interesting
architecture. The city is clean and sort of pleasant. The standard of
living appears to be relatively high. Surprisingly there is a 20 yuan
entry fee at the Laodong park, which is high given that the park has no
attractions. Lots of socialist architecture here and there. I also see
a good number of buildings in western style, perhaps in Russian style
(later at 6pm, when driving to the airport we pass by some houses which
The city may be neat and clean, but there is a lack of sights and
historic buildings. I can't find a single Chinese temple for instance.
So it's strange that the Lonely Planet guide lists Dalian as a primary
attraction in China. Dalian looks like a modern American city with lots
of skyscrapers and wide streets, but is by far not as nice as for
instance Seoul or Montreal, which have some historic and cultural
sights and are much more livable (shops and restaurants are spread
around these cities instead of being concentrated in a few locations as
is the case with Dalian).
I can't manage to find a single Chinese restaurant in the entire centre
of Dalian. Don't know why. So I end up (as usual) having some food in
fast food chains (Pizza Hut and a Japanese noodle restaurant chain). In
the entire afternoon I only spot a small side road with food stalls and
a small food market.
Overall Dalian is clean and looks impressive with all those skyscrapers
and western brand shops and ads everywhere, but is not that livable.
There are for instance almost no cafes or pubs around - you have to go
and look for them, they are few and well hidden in some shopping
In the entire afternoon I only spot six western (Caucasian) people, of
are Russian (probably tourists). Otherwise there are only Asians here
At 6pm I take a taxi to the airport, arriving there at 6:30pm. Since
it's still too early for checking in, I process the photos of the day.
At 7:20pm I check in and proceed to the gate. At 8pm somebody announces
that our flight is delayed, from 8:20pm to 9:10pm. This is the first
delay I experience on this trip.
By the way, as I write this at 8:44pm, I still have no hotel booking
for Beijing, but hope that at the airport in Beijing there is a hotel
At 10:10pm we touch down in Beijing Nanyuan "airport". This
may be an "airport", but what kind of airport! There is nothing here,
empty building. There are no conveyor belts, so you have to pick up the
luggage as it is unloaded. Outside some taxis and
private cars are waiting for customers. There is also a shuttle bus
which fills up soon. And
there is no hotel reservation counter. All I understand is that we are
about 30 km southwest of Beijing.
A man with a car agrees to bring me to Beijing for 100 yuan (I guess I
could have paid less, but never mind). I explain that I have no hotel
booking. No problem, several phone calls while he is driving and I'm
booked in a four star hotel in Beijing in the Dongzhimen area for 520
yuan per night, not exactly cheap.
By 11:20pm I'm settled in the hotel. The room is quite nice, can
recommend it. But I wonder if I could have got a lower rate with
a better reservation.
Qian Yuan International Business Hotel, Beijing. This hotel
has a good shower.
Weather: totally overcast
the whole day in Beijing and really cold. I didn't expect such a low
I get up at 9am, have a look outside of the window and since the sky is
heavily overcast, I'm not in the mood for rushing to get ready. So I
end up leaving the hotel only at noon. Then I have a lunch in a nearby
restaurant (Yunnan style), where the food is good, but the waitresses
At 1:30pm I jump into a taxi to the Summer Palace, since I don't have
any better plans for the day. It takes a bit over half an hour to reach
the place and the entry ticket is 30 yuan. The Summer Palace is
actually very nice and interesting and today it is full of tourists
(many tour groups). It is not a palace, but a big park around a lake
with many palaces and pavilions. I guess this place would really shine
if the sky were blue and the sun shone. The Kunming Hu lake is big and
there is a ferry boat which connects the place below the pavilion on
top of the hill and the arched bridge connecting to the small island.
I spend almost three hours at the Summer Palace, then at 5pm I fetch a
taxi to Tiananmen square, arriving there half an hour later at 5:30pm
(58 yuan). Tiananmen square is a very interesting and photogenic place.
However it gets dark pretty soon, and I start looking for a restaurant
where to have dinner. That's not an easy task, because there are no
restaurants at the southern end of the square where I am. It is also
complicated to cross the street because the entire square is fenced
(and by the way, the entire square is constanty monitored by the police
or the military).
While I'm looking for a restaurant a Chinese girl approaches me and
asks if I'm American. No, I'm not American, bye bye. But wait a
minute... this girl could help me find a restaurant (and has a friendly
face). So I approach the girl and
ask her about the shopping street with restaurants which should be near
the Tiananmen square. She is delighted that I'm approaching her. She
shows me on the map where the street is (Wangfujie) and then suggests
that she will walk with me there. Well... ok.
So we start walking there. She studies English at the university and
wants to practise her English. I'm not a native English speaker but my
English is fluent and in any case, this girl desperately needs to
practise her English. It has happened frequently to me in China that
girls or young women have approached me trying to be my guide etc. and
until now I've rejected these offers because they could be scams (for
instance, girls bring you to a pub or restaurant and order expensive
drinks). But this girl makes a honest impression and it's entirely
plausible that she wants to practise her English. There are lots of
girls like her in Beijing and probably not enough tourists or
In any case we finally arrive at Wangfujie and here she suggests that
we should go to a tea ceremony. Hmmm....? She suggests that she will
pay my dinner and that I pay for the tea ceremony. I make another
proposal, suggesting that I pay
for her dinner and that we skip the tea ceremony. Well no, she insists
on going to the tea ceremony. So is it after all the expensive drinks
scam? I also wonder what this tea ceremony is. The last Chinese tea
ceremony I attended was when I married my girlfriend. So we split, and
I spend the rest of the evening walking around Wangfujie (very elegant
shopping street by the way), having a dinner and get back to the hotel
Hotel SC Park Hotel, 474 Praditmanutham
road, Bangkok. 1800 Baht for an oldish room. No Internet connection in
the room and the A/C has no thermostat. Also, this place is quite far
from the airport.
Weather: overcast in Beijing the
whole day, it even starts raining at the Beijing airport at 4pm. Quite
cold in Beijing.
I wake up initially at 9am, then sleep again and am woken up by the
alarm clock at 10:30am. You might think that I get a lot of sleep, but
the reality is that I've been sleeping for the past week or so every
night at 1 or 2am. All places I've visited were so interesting that it
was difficult to get back to the hotel in the evening before 9-10pm (in
fact I could have easily been out every evening until 2am or so). When
I'm back in the hotel, I hook up to the Internet, process the emails,
surf the net, download and pre-process the images of the day and write
the travelogue. All this computer work easily keeps me busy for up to
three hours or even more. So when I have some waiting time at the
or when I'm flying, I use it to process the emails and
write the travelogue.
This has been so far an extremely interesting trip, but not
exactly a quiet and relaxing one. Just consider that I've covered over
12000 km over the past three weeks with nine flights, a boat trip, a
train journey, a bus journey and two car trips within China and today I
have a 3500 km flight from Beijing to Bangkok.
This trip has has only
been possible due to the availability of cheap flights within China,
bookable on short notice. In Europe flights are more expensive and if
you book them on short notice, you have to purchase a business class
Anyway, since it's late, I rush to get ready and am down in the lobby
for check out by 11:50am. I then take a taxi to the Hilton hotel where
David, the brother of my wife, is going to meet me for lunch. The
Beijing Hilton has undergone
extensive renovation and now has some very cool new restaurants and
bars. Some of the women who work there are very attractive and could
easily work as fashion models. It's overall a very luxurious place.
We keep talking, talking and talking, and could have done so for two or
three more hours, but I'm on the TG615 5:25pm flight with Thai and was
actually thinking of doing some shopping before leaving Beijing. So
around 2:30pm I break off and jump into a taxi to the Wangfujie
shopping street. By the time we are there it's almost 3pm and there is
practically almost no time left for shopping. I only manage to quickly
buy some cakes at a bakery, before at 3:05pm I jump into the next taxi
back to the hotel. There I fetch my bags and we continue driving to the
airport. The drive to the airport only takes 30-40 minutes.
At 4pm we are at the airport. I check in, pass through the customs,
health, immigration and security checkpoints (lots of controls!)
and around 4:30pm I'm at the gate. Then it's a long wait, because the
Thai Airways flight is delayed. What a big contrast in comparison to
the super-efficient Chinese carriers. At 5:15pm they finally start
boarding the plane (instead of 4:55pm). Then it's a long wait inside
the plane. At 6:17pm, almost one hour after the planned 5:25pm
departure, the plane finally takes off. The plane, an oldish Boeing
747-400 "Jumbo", is very full. So many
people flying from Beijing to Bangkok this Saturday.
The plane lands at 9:50pm with 40 minutes delay in Bangkok. Then it
takes a very long time to retrieve the luggage. I only manage to get
the luggage at 10:40pm, then proceed with Shirley and Alissia (we meet
again here) to the exit. Outside the arrival area is smallish and full
of people. Luckily there is a hotel reservation counter where we get a
hotel booking. As it turns out this hotel is not near the airport, as
we asked for, but is somewhere in Bangkok, and in fact it takes almost
one hour to get there by taxi - we check in almost at midnight, having
left the airport shortly after 11pm. The taxi drive costs a whopping
300 Baht, including the highway tolls.
Welcome to Thailand, the country of the inefficient people. If the Thai
people keep on like this, Thailand will always be a developing country.
China is quickly becoming a developed country, because the Chinese are
hard-working and efficient. I haven't experienced such a mess as here
at the airport in Bangkok while in China. 40 minutes delay, then 45
minutes waiting for the luggage, then almost one hour driving looking
for the hotel. We were supposed to land in Bangkok at 9:10pm, but in
the end only managed to check in in the hotel at midnight. In a Chinese
if the arrival time was 9:10pm, I would have been in a hotel max. one
Home, sweet home
Weather: sunny and hot in Bangkok,
but the sky is only light blue (some very thin clouds layer)
I wake up at 7:30am local time, then try to sleep again but can't
really. At 9am the alarm clock goes off and we get up. The shower in
the hotel is actually very good. At 9:30am we have a breakfast in the
hotel (the buffet breakfast is not too bad), then check out and by
10:30am we are in a taxi to the airport (165 Baht, less than
yesterday's 300 Baht), and arrive there at 11 something am.
This morning there is no queue at the airport and the check-in
procedure is fast. When I change the remaining Chinese yuan into Euro,
the bad surprise comes. For the 3200 yuan they only pay out 255 Euro -
that's a loss of 65 Euro if compared to the interbank exchange rate and
approx. 75 Euro if compared to what I payed for these yuan. It's a 23%
exchange rate loss - very, very heavy. But I have no other option,
because in Munich it's unlikely that I will be able to exchange these
yuan into Euros.
After this comes the next unpleasant surprise. We have to pay a 1500
Baht service charge fee, even if we are just transiting through Bangkok
and our tickets already include the airport tax. It also doesn't matter
that Alissia is only two years old - they want 500 Baht also for her.
Next to us is a couple of tourists,
also transiting through Bangkok, who arrived earlier this morning and
made the mistake to briefly get out of the airport. They also have to
I'm getting tired of Thai Airways and Bangkok. Thai plane tickets are
ridicolously expensive and then there is this service charge fee
nonsense. I'll try to skip Bangkok in the future.
The plane leaves about 20 minutes late and is almost full, which is
surprising given that we are in the low season. The flight leaves with
a small delay, then lands on time in Munich.