A Travellerspoint blog

Bangkok

Friday 21 Sept

Sawadee ka.

We landed at Suvarnabhumi (pronounced Su-wanna-poom) Airport after an eight and half hour flight , or 4 movies later. Airport is huge and full of orchids, very pretty. Looking forward to a better look on Sunday evening when we fly out to Seoul, but our main goal was getting through immigration with hundreds of others in a very warm building. Once we had our bags, we walked straight out with no customs requirement. Very strange after everything you have to go through entering Australia or NZ.

Finding our driver was not as straight forward as we expected as there was a multitude of drivers standing all over the airport with signs and names written on them, but there was plenty of assistance from these drivers as we looked around dumbfounded and they soon directed us to our guy. The heat outside was instantly clammy and the walk to the car soon confirmed I was not dressed for Thailand weather.

Thai drivers are one speed and heavy braking but I felt surprisingly safe as he weaved, tailgated and proved that 3 cars do fit in 2 lanes. It was a fair drive from the airport to the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel and I was glad we didn't need to worry about finding our way there. Motorcyclists are a brave lot here with the cars and trucks and even manage to fit 3 or 4 riders to one bike. Impressive.

The hotel is lovely. We were upgraded, which was very nice, from the 10th floor to the 24th. There's 4 more above us. City lights and plenty of traffic moving up and down the river.

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After a very needed coffee in the lobby lounge, we went for a wander outside but were beaten back by the humidity and the fact that walking is rather difficult when your clothes are stuck to you. Found the gym though :)

Posted by tojoken 07:13 Comments (2)

Finally, the Holiday Begins

Finally, sitting at airport in Air New Zealand lounge, as Thai Airways doesn't have their own.
Had lunch and a couple of drinks and feeling ready to get on with the holiday.

Although taxi was delayed, he went and picked up another fare, we lucked out as the next one was a business class taxi.
Driver very pleasant and courteous, as I expect everyone we met on this trip to be. That's all you ever hear about Asia, how lovely the people are.

Here we come Bangkok.

Posted by tojoken 19:52 Comments (0)

Japan Rail Pass / Korean Train Travel

Booked Japan Rail Passes on-line through an Australian company, JTB Corp. Cheaper than booking through a Japanese website, you paid in oz dollars and they arrived two days later, along with paperwork and instructions needed to exchange vouchers into actual passes when in Japan. Excellent.
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Bit of a fright when I went to organise the Korean train travel as the Korail website said there weren't any trains available. What!
Rang the number to speak to an English speaker in Korea, and they spoke really good English so it was so easy, and was informed that because of a National Hoilday called 'Chuseok', all trains were being released the next day at 2pm Korean time and I could purchase my tickets then, if there were seats left.
Not quite the news I was expecting. But at least I had a day to plan.
I had learned of the holiday early in my planning stage of our Korean trip so had altered our plans so that we were in Seoul over the holiday which I had been informed on many websites and blogs was the best place to be. Over Chuseok weekend, Koreans head home to their families so generally Seoul clears out and the public train, bus and roads are clogged with all the travellers.
Everything I had read talked about a 3 day holiday so I thought I was in the clear but the trains had a 6 day hold and of course, included my travelling days.
I had everything ready for the 2pm release time, credit card, passport and numerous variations on the times I wanted to travel in case my first choice was not available.
Fingers flying over the keys, I keyed in our first train leg, hit enter and was greeted with a picture of 2 Korean bowing and Korean writing. Google translate quickly informed me this was saying that the website was experiencing a large number of users (surprise) and to try again.
An hour later I had acquired all 5 of my desired train trips at the times I needed. Boy, I needed a drink after that. My poor eyeballs.

Posted by tojoken 23:02 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Asahi Beer Factory Tour

Rang the factory in Hakata, Japan yesterday to reserve two places on their tour.
The website was all in Japanese, including the reservation page, with one English sentence advising English speaking people will need to ring to reserve at place. From others' reviews, you must have a reservation or no tour.
Had all my Japanese phrases ready and started with a confident 'Konnichiwa' and received a very happy 'Konnichiwa' back.
So I asked 'Eigo ga dekimasu ka?' to which she happily replied in many Japanese words which I did not understand.
'Ah, do you speak English? 'Yes, a little'
So after many awkward pauses and laughs on both sides, I did mange to booked in.
Lesson Learned If you want to find out if someone speaks English, ask them in English

Posted by tojoken 20:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Accommodation All Booked

overcast 21 °C

Hooray. Finally booked the last of the accommodation in Korea. Have been waiting for the Expo in Yeosu to finish so the restrictions on the accommodation booking websites would be relaxed.
We are staying at the MVL and really looking forward to it. Only thing that worries me about booking directly rom the hotels website rather than using those like Agoda, Hotels.com etc is that you don't get a proper confirmation or hotel voucher. They either send a manually typed email, no letterhead, in broken English welcoming you and confirming your booking or in this case after I confirmed booking details just a confirmation on screen that said 'Thanks your booking confirmed'. There isn't a booking number or anything to print out.
I will be sending emails to all accommodation a week before we leave Australia to confirm they have our reservations since some of them have been booked over 5 months ago. Hopefully this should avoid turning up to find there isn't a booking as I have read on other travel blogs.

Posted by tojoken 23:12 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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