Category Archives: Travel

Holidays are just getting better

Gatwick airport

Over the years I’ve definitely become better at going on holiday. Through trial and error, tips from friends and experience I’ve learned a few things that have meant each holiday I go on is slightly better than the last. On my first holiday I don’t think I even took sun cream and now I pack travel toilet paper and insect repellent. Needless to say I’ve learnt a lot and I’m a pretty good holidaymaker now. However, by no means have I reached the end of my holiday learning.

I recently discovered the joys of booking into an airport hotel before my flight. I check-in the night before I’m due to depart and get to enjoy all the fun of a cosy hotel and an extra day of holiday rather than sitting around stressing about holiday details. My first experience like this was at one of the Stansted airport hotels and then I tried one of the hotels near Heathrow. Both were great, really top notch hotels with amazing facilities and excellent food. I could have stayed a lot longer that’s for sure. A friend of mine spends a lot of time in the Dublin airport hotels and assures me they’re second to none, so it seems that wherever you’re flying from airport hotels are fantastic.

Airplane

Image Thos Gee via Picasa

It’s a great way to start your holiday because it removes the stress and hassle that you’d normally go through on departure day and instead you just relax and unwind in the comfort of a lovely hotel. It’s like getting a head start on your holiday. Next up I’ve booked a Gatwick hotel and parking and I think the parking probably counts as the next lesson in better holidays. I got the same deal I’d usually get but at a much better price when I booked with the hotel, in my mind that’s pretty good news.

I genuinely think that booking into an airport hotel is one of the best improvements I’ve made to my holidays. Granted, sun cream has to top the list but airport hotels aren’t far behind. I get great pleasure from making the most of the hotel facilities for an evening and settling in for a bit of wining and dining while I think of the stress and panic I used to endure. I now start each and every trip with a smile on my face and a belly full of breakfast rather than rushed off my feet, irritable and grumpy. I’ll never book a holiday without an airport hotel again.

This has been a sponsored guest post from HolidayExtras 

 

5 Great Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand

Things to do in Bangkok -- Wat Pho Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Things to do in Bangkok

Looking for exciting things to do in Bangkok?  There’s plenty to keep you busy in this Asian metropolis.

Check out our list below, and if you have even more exciting things to do in Bangkok, let us know in the comments section below.

Things to do in Bangkok — #1: Wat Arun

Things to do in Bangkok -- Wat Arun

Wat Arun, which is also called Temple of the Dawn, lies on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river.  It was started in 1809, and is one of the central landmarks of the Bangkok skyline.  To save money in Thailand while getting there, take a river ferry for 10 Baht (around 30 cents) from the dock just a short walk from the next of our things to do in Bangkok…

Things to do in Bangkok — #2: The Grand Palace

Things to do in Bangkok -- Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is one of the must-see things to do in Bangkok.  It is the former residence of the King of Thailand, and it is marvelous.  Open from 8:00 until 4:00 daily, the cost is 350 Baht (about 12 US dollars).  Warning though — do not listen to the “official” looking people outside. They will tell you it is closed because of a special holiday.  They are only trying to get you to go on a scam tuk-tuk ride.  Also, no need to rent or buy pants from the ladies outside the Grand Palace — they are available for free inside.  Stand your ground, and just walk right in.  If it is closed, the guard in the army uniform will tell you so, and the gates will be closed. After your tour of the Grand Palace, it’s a short walk to the next of our things to do in Bangkok…

Things to do in Bangkok — #3: Wat Pho

Things to do in Bangkok -- Wat Pho Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.  It’s only 100 baht to get in, and is open daily from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. Wat Pho is so much more than just the famous reclining Buddha though.  Take a walk around the expansive temples grounds and look in awe at the thousands of images of Buddha.  This temple also has some bragging rights — it was the birthplace of Thai Massage. You’ll need one after lugging around your loot in the next of our things to do in Bangkok…

Things to do in Bangkok — #4: Chatuchak Weekend Market

Things to do in Bangkok -- Chatuchak weekend market

Of all the great budget tips for Thailand the most important is this: BARTER! It is expected especially here. You can get all kinds of souvenirs here to take to the folks back home. You can get anything here — clothing, food, jewelry, live (and dead) animals, pottery, and the list goes on. Allow half a day to explore the market, and remember, it’s only open on weekends.  Bus 53 and 54 will take you to the Chatuchak Weekend Market from the Khao San Road area, and it costs only 24 Baht. After all that shopping, you will have earned the next of our things to do in Bangkok…

Things to do in Bangkok — #5:  Get a Thai Massage

Things to do in Bangkok -- fish massage

Or any type of massage for that matter — neck massage, foot massage, oil massage, and yes, even fish massage — they are all readily available on almost every street corner in Bangkok.  Price and quality vary, so ask around — your hotel will be a great resource. If you’re so inclined, you might want to also check out a Ping Pong Show while you’re in Thailand.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Bangkok?

Top 5 Budget Travel Thailand Tips

River ferry in Bangkok Budget Travel Thailand

Budget Travel Thailand

Asia has long been known as a great budget travel destination, but there are some easy ways you can stretch your precious dollar here even more with these budget travel Thailand tips.

Leave a comment below if you have even more tips for saving money in Thailand.

Tip #1:  Don’t Buy Bottled Water

That doesn’t mean drink the tap water. There are  drinking water vending machines located throughout Thailand where you can refill your bottle. Bangkok has tons, especially near the budget backpacker area known as Khao San Road.  And there are plenty located throughout the rest of Thailand as well. Only 1 Baht for 1 litre, and 5 Baht for 5 litres. One US dollar is currently equal to 30 Baht, so that is definitely good value.  This YouTube video shows what they look like.  Sorry, but it’s in Thai…

Tip #2: Take a Taxi

I know what you’re thinking — Thailand is the land of the tuk-tuk.  But if you’re traveling on a budget, a tuk-tuk is not always the best deal.  First of all, they often rip you off.  Second of all, all taxis in Thailand are metered so you know you’re getting charged what the locals do.  I took a tuk-tuk from the Khao San Road district in Bangkok to the train station, and it cost 150 Baht.  I did the same trip in a taxi a few weeks later and it cost 90 Baht.  And it was air-conditioned. Now that’s a better way to budget travel Thailand — a place where the heat and smog can be oppressive.

Tip #3: Ride like a Local

There are a couple of ways to save money by riding like a local:

Tip #3A: Take a Bus

Local buses are cheap in Thailand.  And locals are usually pretty willing to point you in the right direction.  In Bangkok, most buses can get you anywhere for about 24 Baht.

Tip #3B: Take a Boat

Boats are a great way to see Thailand.  And if you’re in Bangkok in particular, they can save you a stack of money.  At only 14 Baht for most destinations along the river, they will happen you stay on your budget.

River ferry in Bangkok Budget Travel Thailand

Tip #4: Eat on the Street

Budget travel Thailand doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself. Thai food is among the best in the world, and the same goes for “street meat”. If you’re into great food, but keen on budget travel, Thailand is a dream come true.  Usually, as long as you can see the street vendor cooking it, you are in the clear.  And if it’s meat you’re after, then make sure you get it very well done.  I usually cut open the meat at its thickest part before I dig in — just to make sure it’s done all the way through. But try to stay away from veggies that look like they have been washed — they’ve probably used tap water.  And ending up in the hospital with some weird stomach bug will surely ruin your budget.

Tip #5: Research Before You Go

Thailand on a budget is easy, but made a lot easier if you do your homework.  Use websites like Agoda or HostelBookers to compare prices on where you want to stay. LateStays.com is another great site for Asia.  They will all give you and excellent idea of what hotels fall within your budget.

We’d like to hear from you!  Do you have any tips for Budget Travel Thailand?