Hello all and thanks for the great resource. The site and forums have been an excellent resource. My life is taking a turn in high gear. I’m quitting my career as a software engineer in a month and heading to Thailand for 2 months from May 17-July17 before I start law school. I just booked my tickets on Saturday. And man I am excited (much to the demise of my family haha). I’ve looked through the site extensively and had some questions I was wondering some of you may have answers for. Some of these are sort of repeated in certain ways in other forums but I don’t believe in the exact context I am asking them. If they are then I apologize in advance. Without further adieu:
1)My flight arrives in Bangkok at 11:00 PM after around 30 hours of total travel so I will be absolutely exhausted. Where do you guys suggest I can get a good night’s rest (that is close by (or not)) and won’t break the bank. And how do you suggest I get there? Taxi? Bus? What service do you recommend if I do?
2)I’m very interested in learning the Thai language and writing system. I’ve been working with some tapes, a book, and some online help, but I’m finding it difficult. I’m a fairly quick learner though in a classroom and I was wondering what you guys would suggest for someone who wants to spend about a week in Bangkok learning the language before I go exploring everywhere. I’d prefer somewhere I can stay or that is near a guesthouse and can have easy access to food. I’m thinking something like 1 week, 5 to 8 hours daily, fairly intensive, for beginners.
3)I called my doctor about shots and he told me to call the health department who told me to call my doctor. Uhh! They eventually said to research and then call them and they will get them ready for me by appointment. Which do you guys recommend? I’m planning on traveling North, South, and for a week through Cambodia to Saigon, Vietnam. 2 months total. I rarely get sick and am in fairly good health if that matters, and I do my best not to take medicine since I usually don’t need it.
4)Trekking up north, I was thinking of a trek with the Akha or Lisu. Anyone have an opinion on this or experience? I realize I’m on my own for not getting ripped off.
5)As a martial artists for the past 5 years I planned to spend maybe 3 to 6 days doing some basic Thai fighting training in Chiang Mai. Anyone suggests a good teacher with good rates who will put me up for the week, beat me into shape, and help me improve my skills? Also, where is a good place to watch Thai fighting and do a little betting? And are there any good places for more of a street fighting atmosphere (not to say that Thai fighting isn’t brutal in itself)? And any monastery while there you would recommend for instruction for 3 to 5 days?
6)Stupid question but what cloths should I bring? All shorts? All short sleeve shirts? All Nylon? What about jeans/long pants? Or should I bring more of what I wear now to work(kaki pants with polo shirts). What do people wear in the clubs? Should I bring a nice pair of dress shows? I guess how decked out should I be if I go out?
7)Everyone says you can get memory sticks for camera’s really cheap. How hard would it be to find a Sony pro sitck duo (the main one for most sony products).
8)What is the average rate to call from your cell phone with a calling card (or SIM card)? I’m trying to budget for calling my lady at least once every day or 2 (or I will be killed on return home!).
9)I’m planning to hit 1 full moon party in late June, what is the “best” island. My idea of best is this: beautiful without a lot of trash on the ground, great dancing, beautiful woman, and partying until the sun comes up.
10)Does anyone want to meet up with me for a couple days? I’m a 24 y/o American going alone.
Like I said, I apologize if any of this is duplicated but I keep finding different accounts so I get nervous about this stuff. Thanks in advance for all of the help anyone provides. And sorry for the long post.
Here is some help :)
1) I would not worry about which place nearby, as at 11pm, you can go to downtown in about 30mins or even to Khao San Rd in about 45+mins. I suggest choose the one YOU want rather than one for convenience of 'nearby'
2)Sorry no much idea for language school, but surf online. Some of the English Language institutes teach thai to foreigners. Or wait for a more knowledged answer. Usually posters about in Khao San Rd area, or check www.stickmanbangkok.com
3) For shots, Hep A and Hep B is advisable. then your choice for Japanese Encephilitis. Malaria is not really a problem in though if you think you need it then you can purchase the malaria propholactics in Thailand very cheaply (doxycycline)at a Boots shop or most chemists.
4)Not sure what you mean with Akha and Lisu. Depending on which trek you take and how many days you will visit different Hill Tribes. There are Akha, Lisu, Lahu, Karen and some Hmong in Thailand it doesn't matter which tribe you visit but more the company you go with. The path less travelled provides the best experience.
5)Sorry i am not sure which training camps are the best in Chiang Mai. But if you decide to change to Phuket or Samui there are many more. There are no real street fights to go bet on, only in the movies. But to see the best fights (can bet on, everyone does, though illegal) are in Bangkok.
6)clothes, well cotton breathes the best, shorts, shirts, jeans. But all can be found at a fraction of the cost in Thailand.....
7)Memory sticks are everywhere....Pantip Plaza in Bkk is the largest computer/electrical store in Bkk (well most famous). though most places you can pick them up, MBK should be ok these days too.
8)Telephone sim cards you can purchase in 7/11 once you arrive. if you dial 009 or 007 before the number instead of the usual international code out of thailand (001) you should pay 9 Baht per minute.
9)Well the biggest full moon party is Koh Pha Ngan island near Koh Samui.
10) sorry mate, if you were female then i might take the time off work......haha
Thanks so much for all of the help. I'm getting more excited as the days go by.
1) Yea I will probably pick a little nicer place downtown for the first to crash and prepare for the next 2 months. I'll be going cheap the rest of the trip.
2) I'll look into the schools a little more, I was just fishing for suggestions.
3) I had read hep A and B were standard which I think I already got when I went to Nicaragua.
4) Where is the least traveled path for hill tribes (or in you experience) around Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.
5) I am excited to see the Thai fighting. I will look into training in Phuket. I was just nervous about the Tsunami damage there.
6) Will probably buy lots of clothing there to save on carrying too much.
7) Good, I will want many memory sticks for many memories!
8) Not a bad rate, I guess I'll be spending a $US3 or $US4 a day to talk to my lady back home!
9) See you there!
10) Totally understand! I can see that!
Thanks for all of your help. I had one more question I thought of last night. I'm into herpetology (snakes, etc.), where is the best park,island,etc to see a lot of different reptile species? Thanks again man!!
shaolndoman--perspective from Phuket:
1) For staying a couple of days in Bangkok, I think the most convenient place is the Asok area because there is both the SkyTrain and the Metro for easy travel. Khao San Rd is popular for cheap places to stay, but it takes forever to get anywhere else in the tangle of Bangkok traffic. Sukhumvit Soi 19, right at the Asok station, has a bunch of places to stay ranging from guesthouse-type places to 4-star high rises. A decent three star place is Honey Hotel.
2) There are five well-regarded language schools in Bangkok:
American University Alumni Language Center (AUA)?Address: 179 Rajadamri Road Bangkok?Tel: (02) 252-8170?AUA is mostly an place for Thais to learn English, but they also offer Thai classes.
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
Perspectives on Thailand course
Address: 7th Floor Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration,Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
This is a four-week, intensive Thai language and culture program.
Union Language School (ULS)
Address: CCT Building, 109 Surawong Road, Bangkok
Tel: (02) 233-4482
The Thai language course runs for four weeks (eighty hours of instruction).
Nisa Thai Language School
Address: YMCA Collins House 27 Sathorn Tai Road, Bangkok
YMCA/Siri Pattana Thai Language School
Address: 13 Sathorn Tai Road,Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: (02) 286-1936
3) If you are going into the rural areas for trekking, also get some prophylactic malaria preventative.
4) Mae Sai area (golden triangle)
5) I train Muay Thai at a very good camp in Phuket. http://www.rawaimuaythai.com/
A good mix of locals and foreigners.
6) Locals all cover up with long sleeves and long trousers. You can buy simple lightweight cotton clothing very cheaply all over Thailand.
7) You can also burn CDs at most photo shops.
8) You can also buy prepaid international phone cards.
9) Like he said--Koh Pha Ngan. But they party all the time there. Now there's even a "half-moon" party twice a month in addition to the "full moon party".
10) If you want to do some scuba diving, come to Phuket and dive with me.
11) Snakes: You will want to visit the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute in Bangkok. It is the main snake farm where antivenom is produced in Thailand.
1871 Rama IV Street, Bangkok 10330 Thailand
+66 2 252 0161 x4
Hours8:30a-4:30p M-F, 8:30a-noon weekends and public holidays
Quero,thanks so much for all of the help.
1)Sounds more like what I want for my first couple of days.
2) Great list thank you. I will research them.
3) Already taken note for this one.
4) Have taken note of it. Thanks.
5) I checked out the school and it looks awsome. I think I may put this down on my calendar for a wekk of training if they will allow it.
6) I had a feeling about this. When I was in costa rica is was burning hot in the rainforest but all locals were covered head to toe due to mosquitos.
7) and 8) thanks for confirming this again.
9) It's on my list
10) I'd really like to scuba dive but honestly I have no expereince. I'm an ok swimmer (can save myself!) but nothing great. I'm not sure of where to even start. I figured not being a great swimmer would hurt my chances of trying it or it would be too dangerous. Suggestions? I'd be up for trying it though if I found a good place to get me a certification.
11) That is very exciting to hear. I'll be sure to check that out in my first week.
completed a four day diving course on koh tao. my swimming skills are not impressive either but that was no problem at all.
i found a great website for learning some basic thai words and phrases which really helped me out in thailand: www.learningthai.com
vaccinations: i'm from holland and besides hepatitis shots i also had to get diphtheria, tetanus and polio shots. my docter recommended malaria prophylatic for cambodia, but not for northern thailand. apparently the musquitos up there are resistent to the medication. so now use taking them (or so my docter advised).
#6 MJS has been a member since 27/10/2006. Posts: 19
For more advice Look at Thaivisa.com
#7 susannakhana has been a member since 8/1/2007. Posts: 3