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Couple beginner questions for a month long trip through Thailand

  • Zima

    Joined Travelfish
    10th February, 2011
    Posts: 3

    Hi all,

    I'm going on a several month long trip - starting with WWOOFing in New Zealand, then taking a plane to Thailand in June and spending a month there. Then I'll likely be taking a plane to Norway. If i really like it in SE Asia, I'll cross the border and come back to add another week or two.

    My questions -
    1) Glasses or contacts? I have both. Need one or the other. Is either more of an inconvenience while traveling?

    2) Pants and shoes. Something that'll be good for hiking and farmwork. What's the best choice?

    3) $$
    How do most people manage their funds? Is there a international bank I could use? I have bank of america and i have a feeling that doesn't exist in Thailand or NZ.

    4) Places to visit in Thailand. I'd like to have a balance of things - do some hiking through interesting places, absorb the culture a little bit, and also do a bit of partying. Preferably whil avoiding areas that are considered not very safe.

    #1 Posted: 10/2/2011 - 22:34

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6413
    Total reviews: 10

    I'd go with the contacts myself.

    It's June, so it will be warm. Pants should be full length if working on a farm or the like and a quality pair of sneakers should cut it. Remember on the pants, the heavier the material, the baggier it should be to accomodate the heat. I hate shorts because they don't protect you - so you have to decide what's more important in that department.

    Take a debit card. Wiothdrawing funds then should not be a problem.

    I am partial to the Mekong area from Khemerat to Nong Khai, but I live out here, so I am biased. Most people would say hit the big spots - Bangkok, Ayudahya and so forth, and I can't really argue with that.

    Don't worry too much about safety. Just don't be stupid and you'll be fine. It's pretty safe out here.

    #2 Posted: 11/2/2011 - 00:00

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2098
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Glasses or contacts?
    What are you used to wearing the most? Personally, I wouldn't even consider not bringing contacts, but I wear them from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. I hate wearing my glasses at the best of times, and it's even more uncomfortable for me in the heat. But there are others who where glasses full time and don't think twice about it.

    Never had a problem with contacts during my travels in SEA. Solution is easily obtained in Thailand. I carried a normal sized bottle of solution, but also carried a small (110ml) bottle for emergency backup if I was going to be in more remote areas for awhile (eg on the smaller islands) - just in case.

    I just used a normal bank ATM card when travelling, the same one that I use at home in NZ. The bank doesn't have to exist in the country, it's the network that it belongs to that matters. (eg Cirrus). There should be a logo on the back of your card that indicates the network. You just need to find at ATM that accesses that network - and most ATM's cover a wide range. If in doubt, just ask at your bank.

    BTW - what is WWOOFing??

    #3 Posted: 11/2/2011 - 02:23

  • Zima

    Joined Travelfish
    10th February, 2011
    Posts: 3

    I wear them interchangeably, so i guess i'll bring both.

    Do the ATMs charge a fee to withdraw there like they do here? Where i live, if i use any ATM that isn't a bank of america ATM, i generally get charged 2 bucks twice - once by ATM and once by the bank. So every withdrawl from a non bank of america ATM costs 4$

    WWOOF is a network of organic farm hosts and people that want to work in exchange for food and shelter. So basically, you get work on a farm for about 4 hours a day and get a place to stay and food in exchange. Sometimes it's for a few days, others do it for months at one place.

    #4 Posted: 11/2/2011 - 03:44

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2098
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    That happens here in NZ as well - a fee if you use an ATM that doesn't belong to your bank. That doesn't happen when accessing your funds while overseas. You just need to find a bank that is on the same network as yours.

    A bit more info here: http://www.phuket.net/visit-phuket/tips/banks.htm

    The only charges that ever came through on my statements (for each transaction) were:
    - The cash withdrawn
    - a 1.1% fee
    - a 150baht fee (charged by ALL banks in Thailand; wasn't charged in other SEA countries that I visited).

    #5 Posted: 11/2/2011 - 05:45

  • Krabiman

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd January, 2011
    Posts: 223

    1) Glasses or contacts? I have both. Need one or the other. Is either more of an inconvenience while traveling?

    What a strange question. Whatever you normally wear - it's not Mars.

    "2) Pants and shoes. Something that'll be good for hiking and farmwork. What's the best choice?"

    Shorts and sneakers.




    "3) $$
    How do most people manage their funds? Is there a international bank I could use? I have bank of america and i have a feeling that doesn't exist in Thailand or NZ."

    Cash and cards


    "4) Places to visit in Thailand. I'd like to have a balance of things - do some hiking through interesting places, absorb the culture a little bit, and also do a bit of partying. Preferably whil avoiding areas that are considered not very safe."

    Read the site. Plenty of reviews of places or buy a guidebook. Attractions all over Thailand.

    #6 Posted: 11/2/2011 - 06:52

  • Krabiman

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd January, 2011
    Posts: 223

    WWOOFING is looking for wolfs in the wrong country.

    #7 Posted: 11/2/2011 - 06:53

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    Is this your first time travelling? Just say so and people won't think your questions a tad silly and skip the thread. We don't bite! If you are worried about cash bring a few travellers checks for emergency..if lost or stolen they are replaceable. Other than that, if you are American you should (as in many countires I assume) let the bank know you will be withrawing funds outside of the states. I have personal experience with frozen accounts. Very annoying. There is a small fee for cashing TT but the rrate is good and it is worth it if you are a worrier. Use $100 denominations.

    Bring your glasses. You may need them in a pinch. As another said why the question? If I had a dime for every traveller who needed them because of contact issuees.........

    Read up in a Lonely P regular guidebook (not discovery) and there will be info you need to know about scams, ATM's etc. Figure out where you are volunteering and then see where you can go. Lots of maps. This site has info on ALL the major stuff. Use the site. Get and idea of what you may want to see an then ask in detail. Then we can give better advice.

    #8 Posted: 11/2/2011 - 07:12

  • Zima

    Joined Travelfish
    10th February, 2011
    Posts: 3

    Thanks for all the helpful replies!

    Thomas, you guessed correctly - it is my first time. The most travel i've done in the past decade is a road trip to Florida and one to Toronto. So, that explains some silly questions.

    #9 Posted: 11/2/2011 - 22:31

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6413
    Total reviews: 10

    Zima,
    The only silly question is the one not asked.

    #10 Posted: 11/2/2011 - 23:41

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  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    Go to REI. the convertible pants they have are good. Yes they are not cheap but worth it. easy to hand wash and some offer good sun protection. They are easily washed by hand and dry quick. I would DEFINITELY invest in a pair (or two). One of my best purchases before my first big trip years ago. For shoes you need something a little better than a sneaker or flip flop. Save the ff for the beach and get a good approach shoe. If you are changing terrain something that is rugged and comfortable and breathable. A good approach shoe is good for the city and light hikes. You won't need heavy boots. A good rugged trail running shoe would be OK. Some type of Merrill brand or similar. My favorite are Saloman Techamphibians. The best shoe I ever bought. They are light for water sports with a hiking feel and very sturdy bottoms. They dry out quick in the sun and the back heel goes down if you want to flop around in them. Lasted me several years through SE Asia and Japan.

    http://www.zappos.com/salomon-techamphibian-2-sand-dream-burro?channel=25&mr:referralID=647d52e7-366e-11e0-9f53-001b2166becc

    #11 Posted: 12/2/2011 - 13:11

  • Krabiman

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd January, 2011
    Posts: 223

    "A good approach shoe " sounds like a tennis shoe

    you dont need special shoes for thailand and you can buy some there if your feet arent too big. you can also buy lift cotton clothes for the hot days.

    best to bring as little as possible

    #12 Posted: 12/2/2011 - 13:15

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