Mobile phones
Getting around

Part 1: Introduction

Continued from the Malaysia 2013 travelogue

Overview and overall impression
This was a simple and not too ambitious one-week trip to Thailand, consisting of four days in Khao Lak followed by three days in Bangkok. The beach in Khao Lak is endless - it extends for km and km. What is missing a bit, is an infrastructure of cafés and restaurant on the beach, where you can stop for a drink or some food. The sea water wasn't too inviting, but this might be due to the late season (monsoon approaching).
Regarding Bangkok, having been there several times, I wasn't expecting too much of my Bangkok stay. I mostly avoided the standard tourist traps, preferring to visit some place I hadn't seen before and places not too frequented by tourists, such as malls frequented by locals. Overall I was positively impressed. The days in Bangkok was quite pleasant and I got some very nice shots. The food was also very good. My wife told me she wants to visit again Bangkok on our next trip.

This wasn't exactly a low budget trip, as we chose to stay in some nice resort in Khao Lak and chose a nice hotel in Bangkok. Still I have to say that the cost level in Khao Lak is pretty high. Probably part of the problem is that if you are in an isolated resort which is 10km away from the village, the cost of the food will be higher, because it costs time and money to get to the village with the cheaper restaurants. In Bangkok costs for everything are lower, probably because of the competition.

We enjoyed a wide variety of dishes in local restaurants. Overall the food was delicious. In Bangkok we ate in the food courts of shopping malls, and in open air food stalls in a number of places.

This time we stayed in quality hotels and resorts, in the 3500-5500 Baht/night range. These offered comfortable rooms with all amenities.

Money  / Exchange rate (August 2013)
1 Euro = 41.5 THB
1 Euro = 1.33 USD
For current exchange rates check the Universal Currency Converter.

ATMs are everywhere, so that you can easily get cash with a Cirrus/Maestro ATM card. ATMs in Thailand charge a fee of 150 Baht per withdrawal. The only ATMs which do not do so apparently are ATMs belonging to non-Thai banks.

Mobile phones and prepaid cards
I bought a SIM card from AIS in a petrol station for 50 Baht, with 15 Baht of airtime on it and a two recharge of 300 Baht. I realised later that the instructions were written almost completely in Thai and that AIS offers a confusing number of Internet+voice packages.

Internet access
I used the WLAN network in the hotel and the smartphone to access the Internet.

We have been lucky with the weather, because during our stay in Khao Lak the weather was mostly good. A couple we met in the resort told us that it had been raining for the past week. Not surprising, since August is somehow monsoon season in this area. In Bangkok the weather was good, mostly sunny with blueish skies.

Health / Vaccinations
The usual set of tropical vaccinations. I didn't refresh any immunisations for this trip.

VISA / Entry requirements
VISA on arrival for all ASEAN nationals and nationals of many western and developed countries.

No issues here. Thailand is a very safe place.

Recommended things
  • The Wat Benchamabophit marble temple in Bangkok
  • The Siam square shopping malls in Bangkok
  • The Khao Sok NP probably is interesting and worth a number of days.

Things to avoid
  • Should you stay in Khao Lak, it's better choosing a resort or hotel close to a village and not a totally isolated one.

Getting around
We relied on flights to cover the long distances and taxis or tour operators for local transport or daytrips. We flew via Surat Thani rather than Phuket, because the flight was much cheaper.

Copyright 2013 Alfred Molon