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First time travelling to Thailand - goind for 6 months- starting in Bangkok!

  • Kitty78

    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2008
    Posts: 7

    Hi Everyone!
    I'm going to be backpacking solo around Thailand for 6 months starting in Bangkok, October 2008. I have a few questions! :)

    1) I have a friend who recommended Orchid House on Soi Rambutrii Road, in Bangkok, and I am just wondering if anyone else has had any experience staying there- ie: was the staff friendly? were the rooms clean? do you advise trying to book ahead for a room for early October? i'll be arriving in town late at night and am wondering if it will be difficult to get a room at around midnight

    2) Will I have to worry alot about flooding in Bangkok in October? as in dangerous floods? what do people generally do in this situation?

    3) I want to travel to Koh Pangan and Koh Samui, but have heard it will be really rainy until about December/January- anyone else have experience with when the best time to visit these islands is between October and the end of March?

    4) Anyone have experience with doing the yoga courses at Agama Yoga on Koh Pangan?

    5) Anyone else going to be travelling to Bangkok in October? I definitely want to meet people while I'm there, especially other solo female travellers! :)

    Ok that's all... for now... lol

    Any suggestions, tips, advice, recommendations would be extremely helpful and much appreciated!

    Thank you!

    #1 Posted: 11/7/2008 - 00:42

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  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1306
    Total reviews: 61

    3 - Kitty, I'm a weather nerd, been checking stuff out on Thailand for years - it's true that the Phangan/Samui area usually has its wettest period Oct into Jan. Check TRAVELFISH'S great interactive weather map for rainfall amounts and # of rain days (remembering the latter migh be one storm only in the day, perhaps at night).
    Prolonged rainy periods are rare in Thailand, but I have to say that anecdotally the most complaints of this I have read have come from that area in Oct, Nov and early Dec. Having said that, my only trip there in that period (in '97) saw GREAT weather - mega-sunshine, only about two storms in well over a week. Next year I was on Ko Chang in the eastern Gulf and there was a stream of refugees from the southern Gulf talking about lots of rain, big seas, local flooding.

    I reckon if I had your time-frame, I'd hit these island in mid to late Jan, Feb or March. Hell, I don't think any other islands are drier then. Check TRAVEFISH'S stats. I also reckon late Dec would normally be pretty safe - the wet season usually winds down. Xmas and New Year are PEAK PEAK seasons, and that will not happen if the weather is consistently dodgy.

    2 Someone may correct me, but my experience of flooding in Bangkok is local flooding - the sort you get when the drains and stormwater courses can't handle the downpours.

    5 So easy to meet fellow travellers in the travellers' areas around KSR and Sukhumvit.

    #2 Posted: 11/7/2008 - 08:07

  • cookiepower

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2008
    Posts: 19

    Hello

    I lived in koh phangan from end of december 07 to end of april. It is one of my favourite places ever.
    It is drier end of december time to mid january but it did rain really heavy from middle of january to feb but its only showers although sometimes they last a couple of hours and its usually in the evening
    I think coming from u.k. we try to avoid rain but its different there its still hot april was the worst month a lot cooler and it rained for days at a time so i wouldnt worry too much probably best to go end fo febuary time but the best thing to do is when you are thinking about going down that way email a resort on the island to ask them what the weather is like.
    I am hopefully going back in october and will be in bangkok a few days for shopping until going down to south islands i stayed in lamphu house (i think thats what its called) has the best rooms was 395baht for room with shared bathroom best room i stayed in the whole time and i am definitely staying there when i go back lovely staff too

    I hope this helps

    #3 Posted: 12/7/2008 - 20:34

  • cookiepower

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2008
    Posts: 19

    ooh and i forgot to say that phangan seems to escape with just showers but samui seems to get a lot more storms and rain i watched an amazing storm over samui lightening and all but it hadnt rained on phangan for a few days.
    If you are looking to go to the best new years party ever definitely go to koh phangan for new year although you would have some time before to get a room they get full up really quick. god i cant wait to go back ; )

    #4 Posted: 12/7/2008 - 20:37

  • Kitty78

    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2008
    Posts: 7

    Thanks tezza and cookiepower for your tips and advice, I will definitely think about heading to the islands a bit later - around Jan or Feb and email some places on the island beforehand to see about the weather.

    I think I may try to get up to Chang Mai in November or possibly over to Pattaya. Or maybe even Hua Hin by December? Since it's on the way south to the islands. LoL As you can see I really have no set plan and will kinda just wing it once I get there. (which I think will be part of fun!) :)

    #5 Posted: 15/7/2008 - 20:50

  • cookiepower

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2008
    Posts: 19

    If you're going to chiang mai and spending some time in bangkok i would definitely reccommend buying nancy chandler maps on both places i never used my chiang mai map but the bangkok one was fabulous i used to use mine to count the stops until i had to get off the bus it has all the landmarks on it its fantastic they were around 250 baht i think in december they are brillant if you're a terrible map reader like me

    #6 Posted: 16/7/2008 - 03:56

  • mic59

    Joined Travelfish
    30th July, 2008
    Posts: 107
    Total reviews: 5

    I'm going to be travelling to Bangkok in October but I doubt if you'll be there at the same time as I'm intending to go straight on to Chiang Mai. I've been to Bangkok and while I found it a great city to visit I found that it could be a bit difficult to get around. And I want to see as much of Thailand as I can see in the time I'm there, without doing one of those "If it's Tuesday this must be Belgium" trips. Some of the reading and looking at websites I've done has led me to considering such places as Soppong, Chiang Khong in the northeast, Kanchanaburi, Cha-Am, Hua Hin, Koh Chang and Prachuap Khiri Khan. I'm jealous of you having 6 months for travelling; if I had that time to myself I'd definitely visit all those places I listed and more. You might try Trat as well. When I was there It looked like a bit of a dead and alive town but looks were deceptive and I really enjoyed my time there. I particularly enjoyed speaking to Thais who did not speak a word of English.

    #7 Posted: 2/8/2008 - 17:24

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
    19th April, 2008
    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    with 6 mths to spare the last thing u need to worry about is weather.

    "Any suggestions, tips, advice, recommendations would be extremely helpful and much appreciated!"

    Get out of the tourist traps like pha ngan, samui and visit the trang islands, ubon, surin, nong khai, loei, umphang, nan etc

    #8 Posted: 6/8/2008 - 08:04

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
    19th April, 2008
    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    "If you're going to chiang mai and spending some time in bangkok i would definitely reccommend buying nancy chandler maps on both places i never used my chiang mai map but the bangkok one was fabulous "

    Those maps are terrible. They look like they were draw by an elephant. You can get better free maps in the airport.

    #9 Posted: 6/8/2008 - 08:06

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
    19th April, 2008
    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    " think I may try to get up to Chang Mai in November or possibly over to Pattaya. Or maybe even Hua Hin by December"

    Pattaya is the sex capital of thailand. That's the good news, apart from that it's terrible. Shocking beaches, noisy, filthy place.

    Hua Hin is average at best. South of Hua Hin is better.

    Chiang Mai is another tourist trap. Go to Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao.

    #10 Posted: 6/8/2008 - 08:11

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  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    Here's a check list - you might find some points useful....

    Here are 20 things to think about when visiting Thailand…

    1. Bring a cell phone “unblocked” and buy a Thai SIM card for it on arrival, they’re cheap (apprx. 50 baht) and include some credit already on them - e.g. - International calls to UK are about 5 - 8baht per min…

    2. Money - Bring ATM and/or credit cards. - check fees and tell your bank your are going abroad. - Take Travellers cheques only as back-up. Bring very little cash (Baht) – you tend to get a better rate of exchange here than any home country. You can change money on arriving at the airport..

    3. Bring very few clothes – they are cheap here and you’ll only bring stuff that is too warm anyway.

    4. Very little luggage – this makes you more mobile if you need to be and less vulnerable to taxi touts and undesirable men….Before you go home you can buy any extra luggage (cheap) to take souvenirs etc.

    5. Internet access is everywhere – even on the beach… you can get all your photos copied to CD - If you have a lap-top you can connect it (broadband even wi-fi) at most cafes.

    6. Food - Thai food is very unlikely to give you food poisoning but can contain more chillies than you ever thought possible….Street food is usually safe (and delicious!), check for numbers of customers and general looks of the stall. Western (“farang”) food is much more likely to give you food poisoning – fridges are not part of Thai cooking lore yet…beware of Western Fast Food outlets and hotel buffets - food that has been out for over an hour or so. Thailand is not used to fridges/chill-serve etc.

    7. Always carry a pack of tissues - they don’t supply free tissues (if there is a vending machine at all!)

    8. Drink bottled water - not tap water. Even consider not brushing your teeth with tap water. Ice is usually safe in drinks and for anything else.

    9. Use common safety sense – it is easy to relax too much here…when it comes to petty crime the rate is certainly lower than in places like the US/Europe etc…but every country has its share of con-men and psychopaths…..beware of fellow travellers!

    10. Don’t be afraid to go to Pattaya – it is the sex capital of Thailand but they don’t jump out at single women and couples and it has good, cheap hotels, shopping and food. Not a bad place to start off for Koh Chang, Koh Samet or Cambodia.

    11. Bring an international driving licence – although most national ones are accepted by motorbike and car hire companies and anyone else who wants to hire you something….you may not be insured without an IDL! In Thailand they drive on the left - cars are Right-hand-drive. However driving is really only for the experienced. Be especially careful on a motorbike - Samui has the highest accident rate in Thailand.

    12. Public transport is cheap. Planes, Trains, Buses, Minibuses, Taxis, from town to town. If you’re in a minibus or taxi, tell the driver you’ll tip him if he keeps the speed below 90/100 kmph! National speed limit is 90kph (120 on motorways)

    13. Around Bkk try to use meter taxis with the meter on...it’ll be cheaper than the tuk-tuks. Take a tuk-tuk once for the experience then use meter taxis. Don’t let the drivers take you out of your way...they’ll try to take you to some (relative’s) store where they get commission.

    14. Medical - Check out a few “jabs & medications” - Hep “A” & “B” require a long course before leaving and are a pretty good idea – don’t bother with the malaria ones – too heavy! You can get tetanus or rabies here if you’re bitten by a dog - it’s cheap. Most medicines (including antibiotics) can be bought over the counter without prescription and are cheap. A pharmacist will give you what he considers right for your symptoms but you can just as easily see a doctor at a local clinic for a couple of hundred baht. They usually speak a little English.

    15. Check up on Thai manners and customs – this will earn you more respect from the locals. - Keep up some dress sense – how you dress in Thailand is quite important. Don’t go topless without checking out if it’s acceptable where you are – usually it’s frowned upon. You’ll notice that Thai women (even sex workers) are very modest in public –they usually swim fully clothed.

    16. Check out table manners – Thais tend to eat from communal dishes in the centre of the table – don’t pour everything onto your own plate!

    17. Don’t knock the royal family – even in jest.

    18. Body language - Don’t point your feet at people – the body is seen as hierarchical and the feet are the lowest part and should not be waved about (this is like a “fingers up” sign. Before entering someone’s home you must take off your shoes; this also applies to some shops and businesses. - Never take a shoe off and wave it at someone – this could lead to violence.
    On the other hand it is impolite to touch people on the head.

    19. It’s not necessary to “Wai” people - the Thai greeting - as you’ll probably get it wrong. If they Wai you, you might try a wai back.

    20. Remember, this is the Land of Smiles and you will find everything goes much better when you have a smile on your face - whatever the situation….

    #11 Posted: 7/8/2008 - 09:22

  • Kitty78

    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2008
    Posts: 7

    Thank you everyone for all of your advice and recommendations, I will take everything into consideration!

    The other thing I was thinking of doing was taking a short Thai language course in Bangkok, has anyone had experience with this and if so which school might be the best to start with?

    #12 Posted: 7/8/2008 - 22:51

  • sirhalberd

    Joined Travelfish
    30th December, 2007
    Posts: 295

    You have some good information on Thailand. One question I have is what type of visa do you have that allows you to visit Thailand for 6 months?

    http://www.mfa.go.th/web/2482.php?id=2490

    In the past tourists would get the free 30 days stamp in their passport and make a border run or visit another country every 30 days to get another free 30 days on their return. That has been changed and there are limits on how long you can stay with that type visa entry. I am sure you have your visas all sorted out anyway - just a double check before you leave.

    When you get to Thailand pick up a small English - Thai dictionary. It will come in handy and it will fit in your bag pretty easy. You can also pick up a small cheap Thai to English dictionary if you want 2 way conversation. If you need to get a point across just point to the word and the Thai person can read the translation and vice-versa. I always have a small dictionary with me in Thailand.

    You really don't need a laptop, if that was your intention to bring one. You can use a portable hard drive or several memory sticks to keep photos. There are lots and lots of internet shop. You can even use a Flash Drive with Firefox or Opera on it and have the same favorites you have on your laptop.

    When I read backpacking I immediately think that you will be staying in cheap places. If you have a laptop you will either always have to take it everywhere with you or worry about it being stolen from your hotel or hostel. My opinion, the cheaper the place you stay in the less security you have. It is not the hotel staff that may steal it (if you don't drop it and total it out) your fellow backpackers may steal it from you!

    Have a good trip.

    #13 Posted: 7/8/2008 - 23:12

  • sirhalberd

    Joined Travelfish
    30th December, 2007
    Posts: 295

    Have you figured out how to carry or get your money while on the holiday? You can use debit cards and withdraw cash from ATM's during your trip so you don't have to carry lots of cash with you. Make sure you notify your bank that you will be overseas if you use credit or debit cards. If you don't tell your bank that you are overseas your withdrawal may be declined because of suspected credit card fraud. If you have a lot of cash and you stay in cheap place you can't leave it back in a dorm where it get stolen by a backpacker and it is not that wise to walk around everywhere with thousands of dollars with you either!!

    For safety, make sure you notify your friends and parents where you are and with whom you are traveling with. You meet all kinds of people on holidays, most of them are okay but some people you meet make their living off of lonely women traveling alone. Some of the women who were assaulted and even murdered in Phuket were by local men that they were inviting back to their hotels or taking long walks with, in the bushes, late at night! Be very careful!

    Pattaya is okay for a nice place to relax at. Hotels are cheaper than Bangkok, a cheap hotel will be the same price as a hostel in Bangkok. In Pattaya you will find three cheap modern movie theaters, lots of travel agents for tours, many malls, cheap transportation (10 baht by baht bus) and lots of malls, street vendors and restaurants. Yes, there are bars - but no one forces you into a bar! There are bars in Patong and Bangkok too - with a "no bars" stipulation you will miss out on lots of places to visit. Pattaya is popular with families, often you see family groups wandering around all the time. Some people who say don't go to Pattaya have never even been there or they have some kind of sex hang-up.

    In Pattaya you can also visit Koh Larn Island, take the ferry from the Bali Hai pier in the Walking Street area. The beach is okay for sunbathing, walking, shopping, malls, street vendors and restaurants but tourists do not swim there. Tourists can go to nearby Jomtien Beach for swimming for only 20 baht on a baht bus. Many cheap hotels have pools.

    As far as booking a hotel ahead of time in October - maybe you ought to. Having a definite address to go to late at night will make it easier for you. Wandering around the streets around midnight isn't the best thing to do. Book one night and then the following morning look for something different if you want. Here is a couple links. Sawasdee Hotel Chain is: http://www.sawasdee-hotels.com/
    Suk 11 Hostel is: http://www.suk11.com/

    A hotel in Bangkok near the Skytrain route will make it easier to get around town. No Skytrain in the Khao San Road area. The Ekamai bus terminal is off a Skytrain stop, bus to Pattaya is around 120 baht, buy ticket inside for the 2 hour ride. Make sure it is the VIP bus to Pattaya and not the milk run bus that takes 4 or 5 hours.

    Good luck.

    #14 Posted: 8/8/2008 - 05:00

  • cookiepower

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2008
    Posts: 19

    travelrock i like the nancy chandler maps they are cute I am the most awful map reader ever but these are so simple and yes very colourful and cutesy and scribbly looking but they worked for me

    kitty if you would like them id be happy to send you my bangkok and chiang mai ones i did think the bangkok one helped me a lot and the chiang mai one is unopened im not planning on going to chiang mai when i go back so they're free to a good home :)

    I will be in bangkok on the 31st of october now yippee i am counting the days already

    #15 Posted: 9/8/2008 - 04:30

  • cookiepower

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2008
    Posts: 19

    oh about visas i got a dual entry visa from hull embassy in uk although the first one is the one you use when you arrive there gives you 2 months until you have to do a visa run we did one which gives you another 2 months and then we got a months extension from koh samui immigration thai immigration are lovely i found

    #16 Posted: 9/8/2008 - 04:34

  • cookiepower

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2008
    Posts: 19

    sorry yet another post from me i just saw you have a triple entry visa for thailand so im guessing you did get yours from hull ;)

    #17 Posted: 9/8/2008 - 04:43

  • clb76

    Joined Travelfish
    21st September, 2008
    Posts: 8

    I'll be traveling in Thailand in Dec - January. I'll be in Bangkok, Chiang Mia, Chiang Rai, Koh Samui, and where ever else my travels take me. I also want to meet people while I'm there, especially other solo female travellers!

    What does your scheudle look like?

    Carrie

    #18 Posted: 21/9/2008 - 09:50

  • thaiyaikit

    Joined Travelfish
    20th September, 2008
    Posts: 32

    Hi Carrie!

    When you're in Chiangmai, check this place out www.therealcentreoftheuniverse.com It's a private swimming club but you can buy a day pass - if you stay in a guesthouse without a swimming pool, this is the best place to go to chill out during the day time. You'll get to meet some of the members -Thai and expats - who we found to be very friendly and helpful. On their recommendation we ate at some really good restaurants very cheaply - and there were no other foreigners in sight.

    #19 Posted: 21/9/2008 - 14:38

  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1306
    Total reviews: 61

    Your schedule looks okay to me, clb.
    Note that Samui is more a package/midrange/high-end destination these days. Nearby Phangan and Tao are more orientated to budget/backpacker/independant travellers. TRAVELFISH deals with all 3 well.

    #20 Posted: 21/9/2008 - 17:07

  • Gorey

    Joined Travelfish
    26th March, 2007
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 58
    Total reviews: 3

    Not alot i can add other than to say dont bother with Hua Hin, especially during december/january time. Its probably one of the most expensive parts of thailand nowadays , if not THE most and feels more like benidorm or some costa in spain overtaken by expats and is heaving during that period. Cha-am isnt much better, i found it a bit of a wasteland when i was last there just lots of hotels lining the beach basiaclly, though some of the best snack/bbq food ive had in thailand and theres a asmall cafe doing western food and if you have chips you get to choce which potato who want them made from, pointles but very charming.

    Other than that id say dont recklessly get on a mo-ped, despite what alot of people might tell you unless you have experience riding them, and riding them in the uk or whereever is entirly different to using them in thailand obviously, i saw alot of injuries and accidents caused by people getting tempted by cheap daily prices and no liceances required signs, last thing you want a week into your holiday is coming off one and doing yourself some damage.

    hope you have a great trip too!

    #21 Posted: 26/9/2008 - 01:47

  • Kitty78

    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2008
    Posts: 7

    hey everyone! haven't been on here in awhile- been madly trying to get everything organized and moved out of my place in time to leave the country by next week!

    thanks for everyone's advice and recommendations!

    cookiepower, i got a triple entry visa from the consulate in vancouver, and thank you for the offer for the maps but i will be ok there.

    carrie, i'm going to be in bangkok starting next week but may not stay there for too long and will probably start heading south towards surat thani by november, or possibly head over to trat and the islands there for a bit but hope to be down on koh phangan by december. :) is there a way for me to send you a private message with my email? that way we could be in touch during our travels and see if we end up in the same place at the same time! :)

    #22 Posted: 26/9/2008 - 02:12

  • clb76

    Joined Travelfish
    21st September, 2008
    Posts: 8

    Sounds good! What's your email and I will send you my contact info.

    Carrie

    #23 Posted: 26/9/2008 - 06:45

  • wheeladvent-
    ure

    Joined Travelfish
    26th September, 2008
    Posts: 6

    how fantastic. i love bkk. hopefully you make it up to chiang mai.

    i've been to thailand about 5 times. it's easy to meet people, especially just hanging around the hotel or bars where people are leisurely.

    khao san road would be a great option to meet others . . .

    #24 Posted: 27/9/2008 - 01:01

  • tlm44

    Joined Travelfish
    25th September, 2008
    Posts: 11

    Kitty, I am excited to have found you. I am heading to Thailand and ? on about October 10th. I live in Calgary but am flying out of Vancouver. I am planning to fly into Chiang Mai (but I am flexible) to see an Uncle.

    I am completely flexible on this trip so I would love to connect. I am trying to figure out how to give my contact info without it being too exposed to spam.

    #25 Posted: 27/9/2008 - 08:08

  • clb76

    Joined Travelfish
    21st September, 2008
    Posts: 8

    Thanks everyone for the travel tips!

    #26 Posted: 27/9/2008 - 08:36

  • Kitty78

    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2008
    Posts: 7

    i sent an email to the travelfish helpdesk asking about whether there is a way to send another member a private message with an email address, but so far i haven't heard anything back......

    #27 Posted: 28/9/2008 - 07:09

  • tlm44

    Joined Travelfish
    25th September, 2008
    Posts: 11

    I didn't want to look like I was doing any self promotion but you can reach me at the emails here:

    http://www.tracylynmoland.com/

    #28 Posted: 28/9/2008 - 11:11

  • cookiepower

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2008
    Posts: 19

    hi just wanted to pop by to wish you good luck with your trip i will be in koh phangan from middle of novemember if anyone wants to meet up im a solo female traveller first time i have ever done it but will be meeting up with friends along the way

    take care

    #29 Posted: 1/10/2008 - 19:21

  • Kitty78

    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2008
    Posts: 7

    hey carrie, tracy and cookiepower :)
    i never heard back from the travelfish desk about being able to send messages privately with my email address so i created a new email address specifically for my travels. please feel free to email me and maybe we can meet up along the way! travelsoap@gmail.com

    #30 Posted: 2/10/2008 - 22:54

  • tlm44

    Joined Travelfish
    25th September, 2008
    Posts: 11

    I have posted 2 times and they aren't here. So this is a test and my gmail address - TLMraces@gmail.com

    #31 Posted: 5/10/2008 - 19:44

  • tlm44

    Joined Travelfish
    25th September, 2008
    Posts: 11

    And the newbie is so new that she forgot her email address.. tlmdances@gmail.com

    #32 Posted: 5/10/2008 - 19:49

  • steffanmath-
    ias

    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2008
    Posts: 7

    I know this is a little off topic, but have you considered expanding to outside thailand? Laos is right next to Thailand, and has a in some ways similar, but in someways very different culture. Camboida is also right next door, and vietnam very close, and then malaysia to the south. 6 months just in thailand *could* be a long time, but i guess that depends what you're into...

    #33 Posted: 20/10/2008 - 02:19

  • cookiepower

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2008
    Posts: 19

    i have to say almost 6 months in thailand was too little for me i loved the place although i would have liked the going to different countries around bit i couldnt afford it at the time and i probably wont be going this time either not going back to thailand til end of november now :(
    was supposed to be a week from today but unforeseen circumstances and all that :(

    #34 Posted: 20/10/2008 - 19:43

  • dawntlc

    Joined Travelfish
    25th February, 2009
    Posts: 17

    Hello! I have read the posted messages and i am going to Bangkok and Kanchanabury on March 3 to 7.. I am searching on the net where budget hotel/hostel to stay in Bangkok. I have a short list made can you help me decide which one to choose: Suk 11, HI- sukhumvit, Sawasdee sukumvhit inn,Bangkok centre sukhumvit 25, pinnacle sukhumvit..wendys house, PHongs apartment.. i want one near the train station and near the shopping malls like MBK.. or if you have other suggestion please let me know..

    #35 Posted: 25/2/2009 - 01:22

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    This was interesting reading, and I'd love to see a trip report on how it went.

    I did disagree with this:

    "6. Food - Thai food is very unlikely to give you food poisoning but can contain more chillies than you ever thought possible….Street food is usually safe (and delicious!), check for numbers of customers and general looks of the stall. Western (“farang”) food is much more likely to give you food poisoning – fridges are not part of Thai cooking lore yet…beware of Western Fast Food outlets and hotel buffets - food that has been out for over an hour or so. Thailand is not used to fridges/chill-serve etc."

    First of all, maybe because I live here and eat it every day, I think Thai food is over-rated. I prefer German frankly.

    Secondly, you most certainly can, and a lot of people do, get food poisoning from street stalls. They are not subject to any health inspection and ingredients are easily contaminated.

    Thirdly, Thailand is well and truly in the 21st century and most people and establishments have refrigerators. Eating western food is not going to put you at more risk than Thai food, and I have never gotten food poisoning doing so, but I me and my friends have gotten food poisoning on plenty of occassions eating Thai.

    Other than that, a lot of good tips here.

    #36 Posted: 8/6/2009 - 01:02

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    MADMAC - what you say is pretty much true - but you seem incapable of drawing any inferences from it.
    I live in Thailand and although I still sometimes eat "comfort food" my diet is more or less exactly the same as my Thai colleagues.

    I'm well aware that there are fridges everywhere in Thailand - just as there are cars and computers etc - but whereas Northern European cultures have developed cooking methods over the last centuries using refrigeration in one form or another, this does not apply to Thailand. Many untrained or poorly trained staff do not appreciate that Western style food is extremely susceptible to bacterial infection especially inthe high aily temperatures in Thailand.
    Street food on the other hand is the result of centuries of cooking in Thailand - if it gave everyone food poisoning at an unacceptable level, it would have to stop - but it doesn't. Now I could go into why/hows about this but quite frankly, you can work it out for yourself with a little knowledge of how food poisoning works and Thai cooking methods.

    #37 Posted: 8/6/2009 - 08:36

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    khunwilko
    I don't want to deviate too much from the thread, but I live in Thailand too, and I'll just say we'll have to agree to disagree. Most places where I've eaten western food, the standards of sanitation are pretty high, and I've never gotten sick. Neither have my friends.

    Eating Thai, however, we ALL have gotten sick at one point or another, and this includes my Thai wife and her friends as well. If you leave chicken out for too long, there's a real risk of developing food poisoning from the product, I don't care whether the food cooked is Thai, Chinese, Russian or German.

    Additionally, having your ingredients exposed to dust and car, truck and bus exhaust all day isn't doing anything to improve their quality as well.

    Now, admitedly I live in provincial Thailand (hence I don't get much "comfort food" - we have a pizza place out here and that's it for "falang food") not Bangkok, but basic principals of food preparation still apply all over the world.

    #38 Posted: 9/6/2009 - 02:52

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    I'm afraid you don't understand the first thing about food poisoning and are just shooting off assumptions.
    Now I'm NOT going to enter into a lengthy discussion here. I have written about food poisoning before and if you do some searches on Google you'll find out how, where when and why of it all.

    #39 Posted: 9/6/2009 - 08:02

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    khunwilko
    If you read this it doesn't take a genius to see how some of these causes EASILY apply to road side food stalls.

    Like I said, I don't want to deviate too far on the thread, so we can just agree to disagree.

    Bottom line: In my experience it's easy to get sick from road side stalls and small Thai restaraunts. I don't know one person living out where I am who hasn't, and that includes all my Thai friends. It's part of living out her.

    #40 Posted: 9/6/2009 - 12:06

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    What you can "easily see" is in fact largely incorrect assumptions about how we get food poisoning.

    If you want to know about it - start another thread rather than perpetuating mis-information in this one.

    #41 Posted: 9/6/2009 - 15:08

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    #42 Posted: 9/6/2009 - 16:14

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    #43 Posted: 9/6/2009 - 16:19

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    Mac - i'm qualified to talk about this - start another thread!

    #44 Posted: 9/6/2009 - 16:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Personally I think we've beaten the horse to death. I say eating at food stalls can make you sick, you say they don't. I say the food isn't all that, you say it is. Where can you go from there?

    #45 Posted: 10/6/2009 - 01:15

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