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Subject: soc.culture.thai Travel FAQ

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Archive-name: thai/travel Soc-culture-thai-archive-name: travel Version: $Id: travel,v 2.2.1 1996/12/20 17:49:08 trin Exp trin $
The "soc.culture.thai Frequently Asked Questions" periodic postings are divided into 6 parts plus an index. Requests for inclusion, correction or update can be made by posting a public message or follow-up to this FAQ. The current release of these FAQs can be fetched by anonymous FTP from rtfm.mit.edu (or its mirror sites) under directories: /pub/usenet/news.answers/thai /pub/usenet/soc.answers/thai /pub/usenet/soc.culture.thai The current copy of the FAQs can be viewed by appropriate tools at the URLs http://www.nectec.or.th/soc.culture.thai/index.html ftp://ftp.nectec.or.th/soc.culture.thai TABLE OF CONTENTS TRAVEL FAQ Tourism and Travel information * Travel information T.1) Royal Thai Embassies T.2) Visa information T.3) Where to get tourist and travel information? T.4) Which credit cards are accepted in Thailand? T.5) Car rental T.6) General observations and recommendations T.7) North (revised) T.8) Northeast/Isan T.9) East/Southeast T.10) Greater Bangkok Metropolis T.11) Bangkok accommodation ---------------------------------------------------------------------- TOURISM AND TRAVEL INFORMATION This part of the soc.culture.thai FAQ outlines information and possible sources of further information pertaining to Thailand tourism and travel information. ------------------------------ Subject: T.1) Royal Thai Embassies Below is a list of the Royal Thai Embassies in various countries: Australia 11 Empire Circuit Yarraluma Royal Thai Consulate General Canberra, ACT 2600 3rd Floor, 75-77 Pitt st, Tel (071) 731149 Sydney, NSW 2000 Tel. (071)(02) 241 2542-3 Austria Belgium Weimarer Strasse 68 Square Du Val De La Cambre 2 Vienna 1180, Bruxelles 1050, Tel. (047)(0222) 348361 Tel. (046) 6406810 Canada China 180 Island Park Drive, 40 Guang Hua Lu, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y OA2, Beijing, Tel. (021)(013) 7224444, 7295235 Tel. (085) 5321903 Egypt France 2 E1 Male El Aldal St, 8 Rue Greaze, Zumalet, Cairo, A.R.E. Paris 75116, Tel. (091) 3408356 Tel. (042) 47278079 Germany Botschaft des Koenigreichs Generalkonsulat des Koenigreichs Thailand - Kanzlei Thailand Ubierstr. 65 Podbielskiallee 1 D-53173 Bonn D-14195 Berlin Tel. (0228) 355065/8, 351085 Tel. (030) 8312715, 8314574 Honorargeneralkonsulat des Honorargeneralkonsulat des Koenigreichs Thailand Koenigreichs Thailand Koenigsallee 27 Rossmarkt 14 D-40212 Duesseldorf D-60311 Frankfurt Tel. (0211) 8382247 Tel. (069) 20110 Honorargeneralkonsulat des Honorargeneralkonsulat des Koenigreichs Thailand Koenigreichs Thailand An der ALster 85 Prinzenstr. 13 D-20099 Hamburg D-80639 Muenchen Tel. (040) 24839118 Tel. (089) 1689788 Hongkong India 8 Cotton Tree Dr., 56-N Nyaya Marg, 8th Floor, Fairmont House, Chanakyapuri, Central Hong Kong, New Delhi 110021, Tel. (0802) (5) 216481-5 Tel (081) 605679 Indonesia Japan 74 Jalan Imam Bonjal, 14-6 kami-Osaki, 3-chome, Jarkarta, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141, Tel. (073) 343762 Tel (072) 44-1386 Malaysia New Zealand 206 Jalan Ampany, 2 cook st., Karori, KL 50450, P.O.Box 17-226, Wellington, Tel. (0804)(03)2488222 Tel (074) 768618-9 Netherlands Buitenrustweg 1, Royal Thai Consulate General 2517 KD Den Haag, Emmastraat 40, Tel. (070) 345 2088 1075 HW Amsterdam, Tel (020) 6799916 Norway Saudi Arabia Munkedamsveien 5913, A1 Maa'ther St., 0270 Oslo 2, P.O. Box 94359, Riyadh 11693, Tel. (0495)(01) 4826002 Singapore Sweden 370 Orchard Rd., 5th Floor Sandhamnsgatan 36, Singapore 0923, P.O.Box27065, Stockholm 10251, Tel. (087) 7372158 Tel. (054)(08) 672160 Switzerland UK 3rd Floor, Eigerstrasse 60, 29-30 Queen's Gate, Bern 3007, London, SW 7 5JB, Tel. (045)(031) 462281-2 Tel. (051)(01) 5890173 Switzerland (for french speaking) (for german speaking) Consulat de Thailande Thailaendisches Konsulat R. Jean-Senebier 20 St. Alban-Graben 8 1205 Geneve 4051 Basel Tel. (022) 781 33 66 Tel. (061) 271 68 67 USA 1024 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Royal Thai Consulate General Washington, D.C. 20016, 35 East Wacker Drive, Tel. Suite 1834, Chicago, Tel.(0230)(312) 2362447-8 Royal Thai Consulate General Royal Thai Consulate General 801 N.La Brea Ave., 53 Park Place, Los Angeles, CA 90038, New York, NY 10007, Tel. (0230)(213) 971834-9 Tel. (0230)(212) 7328166-8 Royal Thai Consulate General Royal Thai Consulate General 2801 Ponce De Lion Blvd, Ste. 650 3980 Quebec Street, Rm. 214 Coral Gables, FL 33134 Denver, CO Tel. 305-445-1477 Tel. 303-320-4029 Royal Thai Consulate 205 SE Spokane Ave., Suite 350, Portland. OR 97228-5516 Tel. (503) 232-7079 ------------------------------ Subject: T.2) Visa information 1. Requirements to obtain visas 1.1 Valid passport. 1.2 One visa application form (duly filled in and signed by applicant). 1.3 Two passport size photographs (color or b&w), 2"X2", front view. 1.4 Visa fees (for each entry) are payable in cash or money order only: Non-Immigrant Visa...................US$ 20, Maximum stay 90 day. Tourist Visa.........................US$ 15, Maximum stay 60 day. Transit Visa.........................US$ 10, Maximum stay 30 day and for transfer to third country only, a photocopy of confirmed onward air ticket must be submitted when applying. 1.5 The following applicants should call the Thai Embassy for additional requirements: a) Holders of US passport or Re-Entry Permits and were born in Cambodia, Vietnam or Loas b) Holders of passport: -Middle East Countries -New Zealand and Sweden -People of Republic of China -Other communist countries 2. Validity of visa for entering Thailand 2.1 Visa will be utilized upon arrival at port of entry 2.2 Visa must be utilized within 90 days from the date of issuance; 6 months in case of 2 or more entries. Note: Do not apply for visa more than 3 months before your visit. 3. Long stay: more than 90 days Applicant must obtain an approval from the Immigration Division in Bangkok, Thailand. Procedures for such a visa can be carried out in 2 ways: a) Applicant may submit the applications through the Royal Thai Embassy or consulate abroad. b) Company and firm in Thailand where alien wishes to work may represent an alien by applying directly to the Immigration Division in Bangkok, Thailand. 4. Exchange control a) A person travelling to Thailand's bordering countries or to Vietnam can take out Thai currency up to 500,000 Baht without authorization. Persons travelling to other countries may take out Thai currency up to 50,000 Baht without authorization. Foreign visitors or persons in transit may freely take out of the country all foreign exchange which they had brought in (and declared) without limit. Updated by col@megadata.mega.oz.au (Colin Newell) Message-ID: <1995Jan27.065555.20082@mega.com.au> Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 06:55:55 GMT These amounts of baht and dollars are *only* for cash. "Currency instruments" like checks are not included -- which means there is no restriction on these. Updated by alan.dawson@wov.com (Alan Dawson) Message-ID: <9501261202566382@wov.com> Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1995 22:51:00 GMT b) To bring foreign exchange into the country, residents are required to surrender foreign exchange received to an authorized bank or to deposit the same in a foreign currency account within 15 days from date of receipt. Residents don't need to surrender the foreign exchange if it is "to service external obligations". Foreign visitors and persons in transit do not have to do so. In addition the total amount of balance in a Thai person's foreign currency accounts must not exceed US$500,000 - there is no such restriction for non-residents. Updated by col@megadata.mega.oz.au (Colin Newell) Message-ID: <1995Jan27.065555.20082@mega.com.au> Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 06:55:55 GMT 5. Citizens of the following countries are exempt from paying visa fees Denmark, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Norway, Sweden, Singapore and Tunisia 6. Entering Thailand without a visa Holder of valid passports from 50 countries listed below with a proof of confirmed onward ticket may enter and stay in Thailand within 30 days without "visa run", i.e. applying for Transit Visa at Port of Entry once entering Thailand. Holders of valid Denmark, Finland, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden passports are granted with 30-day transit visas. The regulation is under re-evaluation process whether 90-day transit visas can be granted. Passport holders of another 50 countries are granted with 30-day transit visas which can be extended at a maximum of 10 days. These countries are: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Djibouti, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Mauritania, Myanmar, Netherlands, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Yemen. ------------------------------ Subject: T.3) Where to get tourist and travel information? Two Gopher servers are now offering travel information. Gopher.chiangmai.ac.th offers travel information related to northern provinces as well as recent weather forecasts. Gopher.kku.ac.th offers travel information for northeastern (Isan) provinces. gopher://gopher.chiangmai.ac.th/11/.TOURISM gopher://gopher.kku.ac.th/11f%3a/isan http://www.nectec.or.th/WWW-VL-Thailand.html http://www.nectec.or.th/rec-travel/asia/README.html http://emailhost.ait.ac.th/Asia/infoth.html In the USA, write to: Thailand (USA,CA) Tourism Authority of Thailand 3440 Wilshire Blvd #1101 Los Angeles, CA 90010 213-382-2353;; FAX 213-389-7544 Thailand (USA,IL) Tourism Authority of Thailand 303 E. Wacker Dr #400 Chicago, IL 60601 312-819-3990;; FAX 312-565-0355 Thailand (USA,NY) Tourism Authority of Thailand 5 World Trade Center #3443 New York, NY 10048 212-432-0433;; FAX 212-912-0920 ------------------------------ Subject: T.4) Which credit cards are accepted in Thailand? Here's brief information about the system in Thailand ATM Plus, Star and Cirrus system cards work. It is also possible to get money from Visa, MC, AmEx, JCB, Diners at exchange booths and banks with a fee. Credit Cards Visa, MC, AmEx, JCB, DC at most of the large retail establishments, restaurants, hotels and travel agents. A surcharge of between 3 and 5 percent (sometimes more) is almost universally applied. Traveler's Cheques There is a fee (7 Baht per cheque) and a tax (3 Baht per cheque). Money exchange booths with competitive rates are open at all hours, everywhere. Change money Money exchange booths with competitive rates are open at all hours, everywhere. Every major currency is accepted. Most will not exchange Baht for other currencies. Banks will, but only during regular banking hours. Some banks have an exchange window that is open at other hours. POSTCHEQUES (This info. is kindly provided by Khun Ralf Von Gunten) With POSTCHEQUES one can get money in every post office. With one POSTCHEQUE, one can get up to 5,000 Baths, which is much enough for a while. I used successfully POSTCHEQUES (February 92 and July 92) in small places like Khun Yuam (near Mae Hong Son) and Si Chiang Mai (near Vientiane, Laos). All the small banks there didn't accept my VISA Card or something else. What's better, with POSTCHEQUES: It's free of any charge and the exchange rate is often more favourable. People who wants to use POSTCHEQUES should ask the closest post office. bobwal@casema.net pointed out that in July 1998, one can get POSTCHEQUES up to 8,000 Baht. ------------------------------ Subject: T.5) Car rental From: goletz@netcom.com (Eddie Goletz) Date: Tue, 11 Jan 1994 03:15:06 GMT I rented a car when I went to Thailand last September and I used it to drive around the provinces. Car rental is a little expensive, but it is fun and it gives you a great deal of freedom. I think having a car also impressed some of the people I met there. I don't think there were any rental places at the Bangkok airport. I rented through Hertz, and they delivered the car to the airport for me, for a 400 Baht charge. Avis was another company that rents cars there. I made my reservations through their toll free number while in the US. I checked the prices with both Hertz and Avis, and found their prices to be comparable. Rates from the Hertz brochure are: +----------------------------------+ | Self Drive | Self Drive | | Economy Rates | Unlimited Km | --------------------------------------------------------------------------| Car Group | Make & Model | Daily | Plus | Daily | | | | per Km | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------| Super Economy | Mitsubishi Champ 1.3 | 800 | 4 | 1200 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------| Economy | Toyota Corolla 1.3 | 1000 | 4 | 1400 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------| Luxury Economy | Mitsubishi Lancer 1.5 | 1100 | 4 | 1500 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------| Medium | Toyota Corona 1.6 | 1200 | 5 | 1600 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------| Luxury Medium | Toyota Corona 2.0 | 1500 | 6 | 2000 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------+ There are also Executive, Super Luxury, Touring and Truck Car Groups and Chauffeur rates as well. [........] Collision Damage Waiver insurance is 150 Baht/day and Personal Accident Insurance is 100 Baht/day. A friend read in a guide book about some rental places that were very cheap, around 500 Baht/day, but that the cars are so old that you spend all your time worrying about the car breaking down. My Hertz brochure states that drivers must be between ages 23 and 60 and have at least one years driving experience, hold a valid driving licence and an international driving permit if the licence is not in English. I read in some guide books that the international driving permit is always required. I don't know if any insurance is required, but I highly recommend it. I found out that the automatic insurance that goes with those gold credit cards is not valid in Thailand. I haven't visited the places you mentioned. I know from experience that in general Thai drivers are comfortable with, shall we say, a lower margin of safety in driving that people in America are used to. I was involved in or close to what looked to me like some close calls. However, I never saw any collisions or even cars with dents in them. I don't remember the rates, but I recall [gasoline rates] were very reasonable, on par with US prices. Manual transmission are the norm. If you want an automatic, be sure to state that this is a requirement when you make your reservation. No maps came with my car, and the airport shop did not have any road maps. I did purchase a road map at a museum on my second day. It was a road map atlas of all of Thailand, written in both English and Thai, published by the Roads Association of Thailand. It cost 150 Baht. The ISBN is 974-7653-31-1. This map was very helpful to me. It also made asking directions much easier because the maps were bilingual. Perhaps you could buy one of these maps by mail before you go. The address and phone number is: Roads Association of Thailand Department of Highways HQ. Si Ayutthaya Rd., Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400 Tel.(02) 246-1971, (02) 246-1122 Ext. 2276 Many of the road signs are in Thai only. Also, the roads are not marked as as well as I am used to here in the US. Highway driving, however, is generally pretty easy. You just can't go very fast. ------------------------------ Subject: T.6) General observations and recommendations Date: Fri, 28 Jan 1994 08:59:01 -0800 (PST) From: Putnam Barber <pbarber@eskimo.com> > What's the local currency converted to US dollars? Thai baht are stable at a little over 25 to the US$. [Editor's Note: In mid-1997, the Bank of Thailand floats exchange rates for the Baht currency. The "mid" rates for forex can be found at the URL http://www.bot.or.th/financial/fer.html ] > What's the normal price to pay for a room? In Thailand, rooms can range from 60 baht to several thousand. The key variables are (1) air-con or not, (2) bathroom (and style thereof) or not. We have had the best luck staying in 20+ year-old poured concrete hotels near the centers of towns and taking the non-air-con room with a private bath. These usually cost 150 to 250 baht per night (outside of Bangkok) with one bottle of water, two towels (thin) and a roll of toilet paper, maybe the tiniest bar of soap you ever saw. You sometimes need to ask for one or another of these 'amenities'. The "Lonely Planet Travel Survival Guide - Thailand" lists one or more of this style hotel in nearly every city. > How's the food? Good/bad, expensive/cheap? There's every imaginable choice. Sold from carts. Sold from open-air storefronts. Sold in outdoor garden restaurants. Sold in air-con restaurants with menus in English, Chinese and Thai. When you feel brave, go to the open-storefront restaurant where police, military or bank people are eating. When you feel cautious, look for a food court in a department store -- they serve basically the same food, but in a place with much more visible surface sanitation and (usually) air conditioning. The food courts I saw worked with coupons. You buy them at the door and pay the food vendor (there are usually several). Any unused coupons can be redeemed where you bought them (I think). Air-con restaurants are cold, and usually quite expensive, and a nice break from the hustle of the street. The street vendors specialize. Noodles _or_ rice, seldom both. One kind of meat or fish, sometimes two. You make your selection by choosing which cart to go to depending on the food you prefer. I recommend chicken with noodles in a thin soup and banana fritters. Most things to eat in Thailand are quite inexpensive. A signal exception is beer, which costs 45 baht a (large) bottle in small stores and can be up to 100 baht ($4) in restaurants. I'm amused to say that in my notes from our recent trip there are many days where beer is nearly half of our total day's expenses -- :-) . > Any nice places to stop by on the way? Lots. There are too many wonderful places to have much fun trying to cover 'all' the territory in a short time. It depends what you like. I suggest the "Lonely Planet" (or another detailed) guide as a good pre-trip read. And best is choosing one or two places to stay for 2-3 nights and days before moving on if you have to. I love wandering the streets and markets of Thai cities -- each has a different character which takes a while to see under the bustle, the 'coke' signs, and the crowds of minibikes and pickups. The countryside is harder, there aren't very many places to stay, transport takes flexibility and creativity (sometimes something close to courage, too). The distances can be quite surprisingly long. There are though lots and lots of buses and wonderful helpful people. Plus taxis are surprisingly cheap and people sometimes use them for very long trips (I saw one from Bangkok with a couple in the back a few kilos outside Buriram, nearly 500 K from 'home'!). Of course, some people go to Thailand to spend time on beautiful beaches at relatively low prices. That's a very sensible thing to to do. The beaches are beautiful. The prices are relatively low. After some time there, though, I've come to enjoy the communities more and more. I guess I'd encourage everyone to save a little time for exploring one of the cities outside of Bangkok. From: Alan Cooper (alan@care.ac.lk) Date: Unknown South: I recommend avoiding resort/tourist areas during holidays. We visited Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan last month during the New Year holiday. It was *very* crowded and difficult to find lodging, transportation (plane, train, bus or boat). Prices (especially in Phuket) were inflated 2-3X. At the dock in Surat tourists were being warned not to go to the islands (Koh Samui & Phangan) if they didn't have prearranged lodging. On the other hand, holidays are a good time to tour Bangkok. Fewer people and less traffic. Something I've seen no mention of on SCT is drug use in resort areas. I realize that this is part of the attraction for some but others are looking for places to take families. They should be advised that this sort of thing goes on. At the resort where we stayed on Koh Phangan an employee was openly selling marijuana to mostly young foreign guests. These guests would then smoke it every chance they got including in the restaurant during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other Thai and foreign families staying there agreed that this made it a not very desirable place for a family holiday and would not come back. The owner was aware that there was more profit to be had from vacationing families vs. young foreigners, but apparently did not see the connection between their promotion of marijuana use and discouraging family vacations. I wish they would have at least advised discretion and not allowed marijiuana smoking in the restaurant. Only once did I see someone suggest to a tourist that they put out their joint. A waiter at a dockside restaurant on Koh Phangan pointed out to a table of tourists that a policeman was nearby and smoking marijuana was inadvisable. The tourists got the message. Isan: Towns along he Mekong river between Ubon and Nong Khai have always been favorites of mine. Mukdahan has a thriving riverfront tourist market with lots of goods from from Laos, China and Vietnam. The (rebuilt) temple at That Phanom has a well organized museum with many signs in English as well as Thai. I don't remember there being any museum when I first visited That in 1973. Nakhon Phanom remains relatively untouched by tourism. There is a new tourist-class hotel, the Mae Nam Kong Grand View which may mark the beginning of change, but Nakhon Phanom remains a great place to sit and watch the river. ------------------------------ Subject: T.7) North General travel information on Thailand northern provinces is available on a Gopher server at Chiangmai University's gopher server. gopher://gopher.chiangmai.ac.th/11/.TOURISM Webmaster@infothai.com has suggested on December 20, 1996, that travel information related to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai areas can be found at http://www.infothai.com/wtcmcr/ From: ssg9328@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu (Samart Srijumnong) Date: 12 Jan 1994 01:47:13 GMT First of all, one weekend would not be enough for hill tribe village tour. The shortest trek tour takes four days. Chiangmai and other areas close by along should comfortably fill the whole two-day/two-night trip. As MBA students, they may want to look for some "selling points" from the things they see, e.g. local arts, tourist attractions, people's attitude and tastes. If this is the case, it would not matter much where they go anyway. Concerning the place to stay, here are the places listed by Joe Cummings, in his tourist guide...THAILAND, (1990), under "top end" category. Chiang Inn Hotel, downtown, from 920B Chiang Mai Hill, 18 Huay Kaew Rd., from 726B Chiang Mai Orchid, 100 Huay Kaew Rd., from 1210B Chiang Mai Plaza, 92 Si Donchai Rd., from 950B Chiang Mai President, 226 Vitchyanon Rd., from 847B Dusit Inn, downtown, from 1000B Poy Luang, 146 Superhighway, from 886 Rincome Hotel, 301 Huay Kaew, from 1331B Suriwong Hotel, downtown, from 1089B The followings have some rooms with airconditioning (middle class?) Anodart Hotel, Ratchamankha Rd., 280-480B Bualuang Hotel, 16 Huay Kaew Rd., from 350B Chang Phuak Hotel, 133 Chotana Rd., 250-400B Chiang COme Hotel, 7/35 Suthep Rd., 300-500B CHiang Mai Phucome, 21 Huay Kaew Rd., 550-880B Diamond Hotel, 33/10 Charoen Prathed Rd., 400-930B Iyara Hotel, 126 Chotana Rd., 450-550B Little Duck Hotel, 99/9 Huay Kaew Rd., 400-500B Muang Mai Hotel, 502 Huay Kaew Rd, from 420-480B Nantana Pension, 72/76 Tipanet Rd., 250-350B New Asia Hotel, 55 Rachwong Rd., 220-1200B I also mentioned YMCA in other posting. The price is quite reasonable there. I have not given the phone as you may only want to use the number to estimate the trip cost. When you are in Bangkok, you can acquire their number and contact them. To book room for big group like this should get some discount which sometime up to 50%. ------------------------------ Subject: T.8) Northeast/Isan General travel information on Thailand northeastern provinces are available on a Gopher server at Khon Kaen University's gopher server. gopher://gopher.kku.ac.th The http://www.nectec.or.th/WWW-VL-Thailand.html consolidates all known references to information related to Thailand including the above gopher. Date: Fri, 28 Jan 1994 09:04:27 -0800 (PST) From: Putnam Barber <pbarber@eskimo.com> Northeast Thailand (Isan) The roads to northeast Thailand climb through spectacular scenery on their way to the plateau. Often the unusual geological features on these steep climbs have been the focus of temples and parks -- Wat Thep Pitak Punnaram on route 2 east of Saraburi is one example, the mountain with a hole through it at Khao Chagan on route 317 south of Sra Kaeo is another. Issan itself is largely flat, with an occasional isolated mountain rising through the plain. At Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung, southwest of Buriram off route 24, a spectacular 1000+ year old temple complex has been extensively restored on the top of one of these mountains, with views across the flat rice-growing plain in every direction for great distances. It's a spectacular, fascinating and beautiful place. Many Thai people visit Phanom Rung. There is a large parking lot with many vendors offering food and souvenirs near the entrance to the temple complex, which is managed by the Department of Fine Arts. There is also a hotel complex with nice looking units across the road from the entrance, but I have no information on how to book rooms or what the rates are. The Lonely Planet guide has a good introduction to the features of the temple and recommends buying "The Sanctuary Phanomrung" by Dr. Sorajet Woragamvijya from one of the vendors outside the gate (20 baht?). The museum 'shop' inside the complex has a disappointing selection of books about other Thai landmarks; there is very limited signage, almost none in English. This ancient and fascinating place is well worth the journey to its out-of-the way location. Northeast of Nakorn Ratchasima (Korat) is Prasat Hin Phi Mai, much more accessible than Phanom Rung but not on top of a mountain. The new museum nearby has good exhibits and informative labels that place the temple complex in the context of what is known about the history of Issan and the construction of these Khmer monuments. There is also a beautiful book of color photos (240 baht) available from the museum book counter; its text is in Thai but there are captions in English that are very helpful. Prasat Hin Phi Mai is an easy day-trip by public bus from Korat; the 'ordinary' bus leaves every half hour from the bus terminal -- it and the one to Bangkok are both labeled in English. It stops for a long time at a small market east of the north city gate -- just south of the city moat. It's certainly more efficient to catch it there than to make your way to the bus station only to be driven back to town to wait while vendors offer all sorts of goodies and the local people fill the rest of the seats. Korat has several fascinating (newer) temple complexes right in the city, plus the active Thao Suranari Memorial near the east city gate (which is actually near the center of the present-day town). Khun Ying Mo is seen as a patron by many Thais, especially women, and people with special requests bring them to her all day and well into the night. Plus, when these requests are successful, people hire groups of singers to perform near the statue as a token of appreciation, which makes for a lively scene for other on-lookers as well. They make several distinctive snack foods in this area that are not easily available (as far as I could tell) in Bangkok. One, Khao Deng ('red rice') is a tasty cracker-like food originally made from rice that stuck to the pan while making other dishes. It comes in a square celo bag about the size of a brick, is yellow-orange in color and quite delicious. Another is a flat cake of 'puffed' rice, sesame seeds, and sugar-syrup -- vaguely reminiscent of cracker-jacks but no-where near as overwhelmingly sweet. Both are sold, along with many other treats, by roadside vendors and small shops near the busstops and elsewhere. ------------------------------ Subject: T.9) East/Southeast Date: Fri, 28 Jan 1994 09:03:13 -0800 (PST) From: Putnam Barber <pbarber@eskimo.com> Southeast Thailand The main route to everywhere south of Pattya -- route 3 -- is under construction for much of the way to Chantaburi. It's a strong argument for taking the air-con bus if any part of the journey will be on that road. Offshore from Sri Rachaa is the fascinating island Koh Si Chang. The town on the island, where the ferry docks, has accomodations of all sorts, including a new luxury hotel. We stayed in Benz Bungalows, closest accomodations to the site of the former palace at the south end of town, and particularly enjoyed the food at Wichaira Seafood, just a short walk up the main road. (Dispite what the Lonely Planet Guide says, there is no "ring road" on the island -- many town streets, a single route north and south on the east side, through town, and an unpaved road across to the beaches on the west.) The tuk tuk drivers will offer a tour of the island, with time to visit all the attractions, for 150 baht. We didn't take it, preferring to walk. But there are definitely a lot of interesting places to go, and the swimming from Hat Sai on the west side is wonderful -- take the dirt road to the right heading south from town just after an auto repair business and before the entrance to the research station at the palace site, go up the steep hill to the second right turn, and across the island through the mango plantation. When the road turns to the north (after passing a sharp turn to the left) watch for paths to the left that lead down to the beach. Exploring the fields and rock formations at the end of the road is also fun -- especially before a swim. Still on Koh Si Chang, there are monkeys that live in the pavillion housing the Buddha footprint at the top of the Chinese- style temple at the north end of town -- another reason, in addition to the spectacular view, for climbing the long flights of concrete steps leading to it. And be sure to save energy for exploring the many shrines in caves throughout the temple grounds. Lastly, the newly created gardens in honor of Princess Sirikit's birthday (just a little way west of this temple, at the top of a saddle through which a path leads to the sea on the west, but not beach) are peaceful and very beautiful. Both Rayong and Chantaburi have streets of wonderful older urban buildings, lively markets, and lots of good food from street vendors and noodle shops. Chantaburi also offers the "largest Christian church in Thailand" -- an imposing building at the end of a footbridge across from the heart of town -- and the glamour of being surrounded by an active trade in sapphires and rubies. If you know what you're doing, you can probably do some wonderful trading yourself -- everyone in town is ready to deal! There's a little antique store, with a great collection of Victorian clocks from all around the world, on Tessaban 3 Road near the intersection with Sroisuwan[sp?] Road (three blocks from the market). I mention it because it's the only antique store I saw anywhere in Thailand outside of Bangkok. Downhill from the antique store on Tessaban 3 Road a couple of blocks are two or three airconditioned restaurants that aren't mentioned in the Lonely Planet Guide. They obviously have broader menus than the streetside vendors can provide. Further south, offshore from Trat in the Gulf of Thailand is Koh Chang which is well worth the difficulty of getting to it. There is direct mini-bus service from Bangkok, which we didn't use (and which is described in guidebooks). Otherwise, the route is bus to Trat, song thaew to Laem Ngop, and ferry to your beach of choice from the pier. We stayed at Hat Sai Khao (White Sand Beach) in the Sun-Sai Bungalows -- very well kept and friendly. They have bungalows on the beach and across the road on a hilside. We paid 200 baht for one with a hong nam but away from the beach. There are many other accomodations at widely varying prices on that beach and others. People who had been there before complimented the resorts along Hat Sai Khao for their daily diligence in clearing away any trash and it certainly showed. Less developed beaches, ironically, had more plastic bags and pop cans drifting around because there's no-one to take responsibility for policing the area. Phlu waterfall, down the road a piece and up the river by a track and jungle trail, is a wonderful excursion and a great place to swim in fresh water. Just outside the gates to the national park there is the Waterfall Resort, an unlikely place with bungalows far from any other attraction, and the Waterfall Restaurant, where I had a very nice meal in short order when I was the only customer in sight. No need to carry a picnic. The island itself is so beautiful and exotic that's it's hard not to see it as the set for a movie, instead of what it really is -- the place the set designers study in the faint hope of catching its special quality. But a really, really long trip from Bangkok! From: chomchal@baboon.ecn.purdue.edu (Jaray Chomchalao) Date: Sun, 30 Jan 1994 21:59:13 GMT The transportation to the East Coast is provided by "BOO- KhOO+ SOO+ at Ekamai. The fare six yrs ago from BKK to Chantaburi (about 300 kilometers (200 mi) was B40. You can also take an airconded-bus costing B150 six yrs agao. There are at least four air-conded bus lines to choose from. Pick the one with the best looking hostess and you won't regret it:=) K. Putnam said Chantaburi and Trat are too far from BKK. Well, 4 hrs to Chantaburi, 6 hrs to Trat, provided that you take the air conded bus which travels by the "Saai+ mai' road (the new route), or the BKS buses that use the new route. Make sure that you get on the BKS bus that use "Saai+ mai'" road if you don't want to spend another two hours detouring to Sattahip. Chantaburi and Trat: Watch out when dealing jewelry in Chantaburi. Take my words for it (I'm from Chantaburi and Trat and Chonburi, my three homes), even professionals who deal with ruby every day sometimes fail to distinghish natural from man-made ruby! Ruby is very expensive. If you buy a cheap ruby, you are "tuun+"ed definitely. Buying them at the jewelry stores in Chantaburi is safer. Don't ever buy from a jewelry market! Chantaburi is best visited around April-July. In April, mangoes are very abundant and in variety. Ripe mangoes and cooked sticky rice with coconut milk is what a taster must not miss. After April, mangoes are gone. Then in Mid June a variety of NgO' (rambutans) and Durians are ripe and appear in the markets everywhere. Those who can stand the strong smell of durians will enjoy the fruit, eaten with or without sweet-coconuted milked sticky rice. Chantaburi is famous for its rambutans and durians. Especially, during that time, many orchads will offer a "all you can eat" walk thru event, where you pay a small sum and are allowed to walk thru the orchads, picking the best rambutans from the tree and eat all you like, provided that you take none with you when you leave. The roadside view during that time is also very pleasant since the trees are full of colorful fruits, and the fruit trades are everywhere on the roadsides. The Phlu waterfall is in Chantaburi, about 30 kilometers from the City along the way to Trat. The description above could very well fit the attribues of Chantaburi's Phlu waterfall, but I think Put nam meant to say Thanmayom waterfall on Ko Chang since he's talking about the island. ------------------------------ Subject: T.10) Greater Bangkok Metropolis Here are some suggestions: The main ground ( sa-naam+ luang+ and the nearby area) 1. The Grand Palace. There are different types of architectures and structures in the Grand Palace ranging from the Dusit Hall which is a pure Thai castle to the Jakri Hall which is in half Thai half western style, the Dhebidorn Hall which is influenced by Khom's arts, and the Chinese Garden which is influenced by the Chinese culture. ( Most of the construction were built in the reign of King Rama I upto King Rama V) You can also visit the Emerald Budha Temple which is the only temple inside the palace. Inside the temple and on the corridor's wall around the temple, you can see the Thai mural paintings and pearl-in- laid door which is a kind of popular fine arts in the early Ratanakosin period. The entrance fee is around US$ 4 for the non-residence of Thailand. The ticket also includes the fee for entering the Wimanmeek Hall which is a museum for the gifts that the royal family received from abroad. 2. Wat Prachetuphonwimonmangklararaam (Wat^ phoo-) Wat pho was built in the reign of King Rama III and is admired for its architecture which is called yoo"mum- maay^ sib' sOOng+. Every structure in this temple was built in square form with 12 angles There is also a big statue of the reclining Budha image inside the temple. Admission: less than 50 baht. 3. The National Museum The National Museum is situated in one part of the Palace (wang- lang+) A lot of Thai arts are on displayed there. Admission fee is required. 4. The National theatre. The National theatre was built around 50 years ago. It is a kind of mixed structure between western arts and Thai arts. 5. Rachadumnern Avenue This avenue is one of the best designed avenue in Thailand. All the buildings on this Avenue are built in the same style. Some people mentioned that it is an imitation of Champ Elise in Paris. 6. The Golden Pagoda The Golden Pagoda is in Wat Sra'ket' which is at the entrance of the Rachadamnern Avenue. The golden pagoda was built on the man made mountain and can be clearly seen from distance. You can climb up to the top and see the bird eye view of Bangkok. 7. The Metal castle. The Metal Castle or loo-ha'praa-saat' is in the Rachanadda Temple near Wat Sraket. It is the replica of the Lohaprasaat that Nang Visakha built to honour Lord Budha in India. There are only three of its kind in the world: in India, Sri Langa and Thailand. Amporn Garden Area. 1. Anantasamakom Hall. Anantasamakom Hall was built in the reign of King Rama the fifth. It was built with the marble from Italy. The architecture is in Renaissance style. It was once used as the Thai Parliament. 2. The Marble Temple. The Marble Temple or Wat Benjamarachabopit was also built in the reign of King Rama V. The architect is Prince Narisaranuwatiwong who was the great architect at that time. The Marble Temple is admired as the best designed temple in Ratansakosin period. There are a lot of Budha images from different period around the Temple corridor. The reflection of religious belief in each period of Thai history depicted in these images are worth noticing. 3.Wimarnmeek Hall. Wimarnmeek Hall was once the summer palace of King Rama V and now was turned into the museum by the kindness of the present Queen. The Hall is a three storey building situated in a pond. English guide tour is provided everyday. 4. Pitsanuloke Estate This estate was built in the reign of King Rama VI in the western style. The Ancient City If you have not much time to visit the important places around the country, you can go to one place and see it all. The ancient city is the biggest outdoor museum in Thailand. It is in Samutprakarn, the nearby province. The replicas of all important places in Thailand are displayed there [...] ranging from the temple in the northern part of Thailand, the stupa from the South, the Cambodian style castle, the palace both from the Thonburi and Ratansakosin period and the Thai style house. The admission is US$ 2 dollar for one person or US$ 8 for the whole car. Have fun with your travel in Thailand. ------------------------------ Subject: T.11) Bangkok accommodation Gwyn Williams made an extensive compilation for accomodation in Bangkok. Due to the length of the list, it is not included in this FAQ but is made available for anonymous FTP at ftp://ftp.nectec.or.th/soc.culture.thai/SCTinfo/hotels/bangkok-01.txt Introduction: This is a compilation of budget and economy hotels in Bangkok for the soc.culture.thai FAQ and for general distribution. If you can recommend hotels or guesthouses or add information, please send details (hotel name, address, tel, fax, telex, price, quality, comments, etc) to: Gwyn Williams Contents: 1. Guide Books to Thailand 2. Partial List of Bangkok Hotels 2.1 Economy Class (under 300 Baht - U.S.$12.00) 2.2 Tourist Class (300-600 Baht - U.S.$12.00-24.00) 2.3 First Class (600-1500 Baht - U.S.24.00-60.00) 3. Bangkok Don Muang Airport: Alternative Hotel Accommodation ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Acknowledgements The original soc.culture.thai FAQ was proposed, put together and initially maintained by Thanachart Numnonda (thanon@ccu1.auckland.ac.nz). This part of the soc.culture.thai FAQ could not have been completed without information from the following contributors: Alan Cooper (alan@care.ac.lk) for T.6; Alan Dawson (alan.dawson@wov.com) for the exchange control part of T.2; Brenda Peters (bpeters@oasys.dt.navy.mil) for T.1 update; Busakorn Kakanumpornwong (9310482q@ntx.City.UniSA.edu.au) for T.10; Colin Newell (col@megadata.mega.oz.au) for the exchange control part of T.2; Donald H. Fisher for T.1 update; Eddie Goletz (goletz@netcom.com) for T.5; Ekkehard Uthke (euthke@siam.muc.de) for T.1 and T.10 updates; Gwyn Williams for T.11; Jaray Chomchalao (chomchal@baboon.ecn.purdue.edu) for T.9; Putnam Barber (pbarber@eskimo.com) for T.6, T.8 and T.9; Ralf Von Gunten (VONGUNTENR@EZINFO.vmsmail.ethz.ch) for the postcheques part of T.4; Samart Srijumnong (ssg9328@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu) for T.7; Sarayuth Kunlong (sarayuth@mis.mua.go.th) for T.1 update; Trin Tantsetthi (trin@nucleus.nectec.or.th) for transit visa update in T.2; Thinakorn Tabtieng (tabtiength@woods.ulowell.edu) for T.2; and Sincere thanks also go to those who contributed to T.1, T.3 and T.4 whose names were not recorded in the previous versions of the FAQ.