Thailand

Tag Archives for Thailand.

Now riding 900+ miles on rail through Asia

Currently riding the rails from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok about 1,500 km (930 or so miles) through Malaysia and Thailand. This is about the same distance from Boston to Atlanta or almost as far as Melbourne to Brisbane in Australia or Paris to Warsaw in Europe. A few years ago,  I travelled from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by train. Sadly, the line into the heart of Singapore is no more. The Singaporean government closed it it 2011 after almost 80 years of operation. It has been one of my dreams to do the next stage from…

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Airlines of Thailand receive key safety rating upgrade

In March last year, Thai-registered airlines were placed under “special measures” by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This followed an ICAO audit that found concerns over the  Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand’s ability to manage the air operator certification process. This led to Japan,  South Korea and the USA blocking any new flights by Thai-registered airlines. Now,  Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia are expected to have air operating certificates  re-issued in Februray, 2017 by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. Five more airlines will get theirs by March. A further 17 Thai airlines will get…

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Tips for Thailand during Royal Mourning

Having been to Thailand at least 25 times in the last 20 years,  I have some affinity and insights into the country. Many outsiders are confounded about the very real grief being experienced across the country following the death last week of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). My thought is, imagine if you are staying with a friend and their father dies. You would expect grief and sadness. For Thais, the King has been more than a father to their country. It is only natural and right that there is such grief right now. In…

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All about Visas

Just had yet another discussion with an international traveller who was amazed that  they needed to get a visa in advance for several of the countries they are planning to visit. “I have a passport“, they said. A passport is a document issued by your home country that identifies you as a citizen of that country. A visa is essentially a permission note from the country you are visiting indicating you can enter and stay there temporally. There are many types of visa including: a tourist visa (the most common type of visa) a work visa (this means…

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Mindil Beach Sunset Markets

Whenever and wherever, I am travelling, I always try and squeeze a market in. Just enjoyed a beautiful sunset which accompanies the Dry Season Mindil Markets in the Northern Australian City of Darwin. The setting of these markets has to be one of the most spectacular in the world! There is almost every type of Asian food available, along with exotic meats like camel burgers and croc steak sandwiches, frozen bananas and local mushrooms! Lots of Aussie trouristy type stuff including didgeridoos, crocodile leather purses and wallets, stock whips and local jewellery. Tonight was the first market…

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Hip Hua Hin – Place Report

Few tourists to Thailand include Hua Hin on their agenda which is a shame. At the risk of spoiling the town with a sudden over run of tourists, this beautiful relaxing town 200 km (120 miles) south of Bangkok is well worth at least a couple of days. Far from the “excitement” of Phuek nightlife and Bangkok, Hua Hin has been enjoyed by generations of Thais for weekends and vacations. Originally known as Samore Riang  or “rows of rocks”, it was adopted by the Royal Family as their seaside resort in the 1920s. Today, it is very popular amongst Thais who come…

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Not Smiling with Thai Smile

Thailand has a number of low cost carriers (Orient Thai, Lion Air, Air Asia) plus two popular “Premium Low Cost” airlines: Bangkok Airways and Nok Air, both of whom I have flown in the last year. In 2011, THAI Airways board began THAI Smile to compete in this market. The name came from a competition with 2,229 entries. For this flight, I was keen to discover the distinguishing marks of Thai Smile? Is the brand distinctive? Booking: 8/10 THAI Smile flies to about 13 domestic and one international destinations and is reportedly planning to expand international services. Confusingly THAI Smile use both…

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Place Review: Phuket

There are a few destinations in the world that immediately spell party. These include: Bali, Ibiza, Miami and Porto Heli (Greece). The list also needs to include the small southern Thai island of Phuket which is invaded by 14 million tourists  every year.  They come to get massaged, swim, snorkel, eat, drink and dance. Many do not know why they go to Phuket, just lured by its reputation as a fun place. I first came to Phuket just after the 2004 Tsunami had ripped through. It did not capture my heart! I came back this week to…

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Unique Nok Air – Trip Report

Today, I was one of three “farangs” (foreigners) on a Nok Air 737 completely full of Thai people travelling from Bangkok, Thailand to Phuket. I could not work out if this was a random coincidence or do most foreigners not choose Nok? Me? I have wanted to fly the bright yellow Thai “Premium Budget” carrier for some time and today’s flight gave me that opportunity! Nok is the 90th airline I have travelled with since I started flying in 1968! Nok means bird in Thai. They are largely a domestic operation with an international flight to Myanmar. Booking:…

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Thai air problems knock Nok Scoot

In Thailand Nok means bird. “Premium low cost” domestic carrier Nokair after ten years  of operation commands a healthy 27% chunk of the country’s  domestic market and a healthy profit margin. Nok has not expanded internationally with the exception of a couple of routes. This was due to change this year. Nok has joined with Singapore Airline’s low cost arm Scoot, to form low cost international carrier called imaginatively NokScoot with the slogan: Fly Awesome. Literally the name means: Bird leaves suddenly and quickly!  This new venture is 49% is owned by Scoot and 51% owned by Nok. The carrier aims to link China, Japan…

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