Best Money Exchange Rates at Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The conventional wisdom says it is always a bad idea to change money at an airport because most airport money exchange counters anywhere in the world offer the worst exchange rates for tourists. The premium charged by airport exchange counters varies between 8% and 13% over the inter-bank exchange rates. But to be precise, this kind of horrible rates are offered mostly at exchange counters located in the transit or departure areas of airports. I feel compelled to state an exception here after seeing the several exchange counters at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport that are located neither in the transit area nor the departure area of the airport. These counters are located at level B1 (basement) just next to the Airport Express Train ticket counters. While arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport Bangkok, after you clear visa / immigration, collect your bags, pass through Customs and are heading for the airport train express or city line for going to Bangkok city, you will come to level B1.

Similarly, if you are leaving Bangkok and want to change your left over Thai Baht into another currency, it will be a good idea to come to level B1 before going to the check-in counters. Keep reading...

Discounts on King Power Duty Free Shopping in Thailand

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Let me tell the truth first - "Duty Free" shopping at airports in Thailand is not cheap. I have experience of buying mostly duty-free booze and chocolates at Thai airports from King Power Duty Free and I always felt that I paid too much. When I compare the prices of booze at Thai airports with those at Kuala lumpur (KUL) or even back home at Bengaluru (BLR), the prices at Thai airports are always higher. The so called duty-free chocolates at Thai airports are so expensive that buying them back at home in a local super market may save a lot of money. On the internet there are stories from people who have bought stuff at shopping malls in Bangkok at cheaper prices than those charged by King Power. Anyway, despite all this, there are going to be times when tourists in Thailand may like to do some duty-free shopping. And it is at those times that the extra discounts offered by King Power Duty Free from time to time can (may be) lessen the expense a bit. I am sitting in my Bangkok hotel on December 1, 2016 looking at a Bangkok city map sponsored by King Power Duty Free. And I see discounts on offer...

Now Get Free Visa To Visit Thailand

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

With effect from December 1, 2016 and up to February 28, 2017, Thailand has waived visa fee of 1000 THB for those tourists who apply for visa at Thai embassies or consular offices or through authorised agents like vfs-global. The agents will continue to charge their service fees and courier costs as hitherto. Similarly, the visa on arrival fee between these dates has been halved to 1000 THB from the earlier 2000 THB. It looks like the dates mentioned above are the dates of travel rather than the dates of submitting visa applications. These changes will affect the tourists from 19 countries who are required to take visa before travel to Thailand or have to take visa on arrival. Visa on arrival to visit Thailand is available at 42 designated checkpoints. With this latest reduction in the visa fee that follows doubling of visa on arrival fee in September 2016, Thailand expects to receive more tourists from the 19 countries during the upcoming busy tourist season. However, it is anybody's guess as to what extent a 1000 THB per person reduction in the cost of travel encourages more people to travel to Thailand. Read below for the list of 19 affected countries...

Expert Guided Tours - Another Way To See Thailand

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

There are times when even the most seasoned of travellers need some guidance. The rest of us need it all the time. But Thailand is an easy country to visit. Its so easy that Thailand's tourist return rate is said to be over 50% when it is a mere 5% for Vietnam. Obviously Thailand is popular and there is stuff that tourists here like to see and do over and over again. To an extent, it is also possible that there is stuff that remains undiscovered no matter how many times you visit Thailand. This must be true because otherwise, a tour company like 'takemetour.com' would not exist in Thailand. Keep reading...

Macau Masters Hotel - A Nice Budget Hotel in Macau

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Some time back I wrote an article in this blog on finding a budget hotel in Macau. My conclusion at that time was that it was not easy to find a good hotel in Macau at a budget price. Hotel tariffs in Macau just keep increasing because of the expensive real estate and the fact that almost all the new hotel accommodation is getting added in the 4 or 5 star categories as part of the new casino resorts coming up in Taipa. During my several visits to Macau I have stayed in many of the budget hotels. Unfortunately, for every new visit the previous hotels I stayed in became more expensive. Yet there was one hotel that knew was cheap but did not look so promising to me. That was 'Macau Masters Hotel'. Its average guest ratings were below seven and that worried me. During my September 2016 trip, I had to take another look at Macau Masters Hotel out of a sheer necessity, a price that I could afford. I booked it for seven nights, stayed there and now I feel bad for having avoided the hotel earlier. In my Macau hotel experience so far, Macau Masters Hotel offered me the best value for its price. I paid roughly 50 USD per day by doing an advance booking on Agoda with "pay later and free cancellation" options. Keep reading...

The Spa at Deltin Suites Goa

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hotel Deltin Suites is a good property on Nerul-Candolim Road Goa which is a popular Beach destination. There are two other attractions on Deltin Suites premises - a casino, and a spa. I was not too impressed with the casino at Deltin Suites but "The Spa" there was really impressive. It seemed very popular too because advance reservation was an absolute must to be able to get a massage there. One reason for the popularity could be the 20% discount on the spa prices for the hotel guests. But after visiting the Spa and getting their 'Signature Massage', I knew that even their prices without discount were very reasonable. The quality of service & facilities and the skill of the masseuse were all top notch, very comparable with or even better than Snip Salon & Spa Goa. The Spa at Deltin Suites opens daily from 8.00am to 9.00pm and is open to both hotel guests and outsiders. Keep reading for more...

Red Planet Hotel Pattaya Review

Monday, October 3, 2016

Several times in the past I came across Red Planet Hotels (previously Tune Hotels) in my hotel meta search engine while searching for a hotel in Thailand, but I never booked one of them. Tune hotels just had too many bad reviews about them. There were complaints, or maybe just rumours, of limited hours during which A.C. can be used in the room, no towels provided for guests, no free water, no free Wi-Fi, tiny rooms, and rude staff, etc. Why get into such a mess? So, I avoided Red Planet hotels completely. Then, in March 2016 I got into a much bigger mess when I accidentally booked a "Tailor Master" hotel in Bangkok. Let me first explain what a "Tailor Master" hotel in Thailand is. Till a few years ago, bespoke tailoring was huge business in Thailand. Western tourists used to consider buying a tailored suit an essential part of their Thai holiday. Tailors in Thailand, mostly immigrants, fully exploited the trend and became very rich. An erstwhile tailor in Bangkok told me that sometimes they used to sell a suit for 10-15,000 THB that was made using a fabric that cost them just 150 THB per metre. Such was the extent of the profitability and a lot of that money got invested into real estate. Then competition came from tailors from some other nationalities, and at the same time the Western customers became smarter. Buying 'ready made' was the new trend which resulted in a general decline of the tailoring business in Thailand. However, the money previously made was still with the tailors along with the real estate that they had invested in. Looking for new avenues to make money, tailors started opening hotels. I stayed in one such hotel in Bangkok - Smart Suites on Soi 11. It was a horrifying experience. I had been taken in by fraudulent Tripadvisor reviews and so I decided never to stay in a "Tailor Master" hotel again. Now the problem is, how do I know the hotel that I am looking at is a "Tailor Master" hotel or not? Red Planet is my quick solution to the problem because there are Red Planet hotels in both Bangkok and Pattaya and I know for sure that these are not owned by any tailor masters. Keep reading...

Travel Club Priority Pass Lounge Mumbai Domestic Airport Terminal 2

Monday, September 19, 2016

Some time back I wrote an article about the worst Priority Pass lounge in India which happens to be at the Dabolim Airport in Goa. Not much has changed there since I wrote that article, not that I expected an article in a blog to mean anything to the vast empire that Priority Pass is. But even my direct complaint to Priority Pass people had failed to move them. They merely pointed me to the bank that had issued me my Priority Pass card. I still have the card and it is paid for as part of the annual fee that I pay on my credit card. I keep using Priority Pass and sometimes do feel very good whenever I come across a well managed lounge. I have been to Priority Pass lounges in several airports in the major cities in India and have seen both bad and good lounges. Dabolim Airport's Priority Pass Lounge is no doubt the worst that I have seen but till recently I never thought of declaring one that is the best at least in my experience. Now after having been to the Travel Club Priority Pass Lounge at the Mumbai Domestic Airport Terminal 2, I am ready to make that commitment. Keep reading...

Are Indian Tourists Really Welcome in Thailand?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I guess not! My previous trip to Thailand, I landed at Don Mueang Airport Bangkok in the last week of August 2016. Something had changed. The old document check & Visa on Arrival (VOA) counters were deserted and there was a signboard pointing incoming visa seekers to a new area. This new area seemed like an improvement because I immediately noticed a new queue system complete with token numbers appearing on LCD screens. I felt good about that but only for a brief while. I was in a long queue. The only flight that had landed there at that time was the AirAsia flight from Bengaluru and apparently almost everyone in the VOA area at that time was Indian. It must have been a good crowd because the wait time to the first preliminary document check counter itself was 45 minutes. It was hard to wait standing in an almost stationary line after having spent a sleepless night in a flight. If you don't already know, AirAsia's airplanes have seats without any lower back support. AirAsia could have used curved seats without adding anything to the cost but perhaps that would keep them from selling some pillows onboard. Anyway, everyone waiting there along with me appeared tired and wondering what was going on. For the first time visitors to Thailand, it must have been a rather unpleasant experience. For the rest of us, it was just routine. That's what I was thinking but when I finally reached the document check counter, I was in for a new shock. There was a notice on display telling everyone that the Thailand Visa on Arrival fee would be increased to 2000 THB per person from September 27, 2016. Keep reading...
 

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ABOUT ME

I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is desiyatri.com. I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh. (Email: desiyatri@gmail.com)

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