A few days ago, I flew to Thailand for vacations & had an awesome time. However, I realized that I faced some Anxious Moments while doing anything initially.
This was my second visit, the first being in 2008.
But still, I wished I would have done my Home work well. Not that I did not do, I read many articles… But some how all the articles, Blogs I read didn’t really help me.
Now I am back and decided to write one myself. Step by Step, City by City. So here it is. Please feel free to share your Views, Correct me, Make Additions in Comments and I shall Edit the Blog so more people like you and me could benefit from it.
It has been an Intentional Effort to write it in simple language, so just Expect information and not some beautifuly written Experiences
Booking the Ticket:
- Book Thai Airways or other Airlines. Avoid JET: Last time I went in Thai Airways Flight and it was Super awesome in all senses. As soon as you sit in the Plane, You realized that your vacations have begun. But this time, We Booked Jet Airways as it was offering “slightly” lower rates. Jet Airways is one of the best in it’s Class in Domestic Flights in India, so we didn’t think much about it. But this Flight was a Disaster with Non Friendly Staff, Small Aircraft (3*3) & No In-Flight Entertainment.
- Immigration Form: Those you would have travelled Abroad before would know it. But for first timers, you shall get this form almost an Hour before the flight lands. The Form has to be neatly filled and that too Both Arrival and Departure sides. A Common Mistake is to fill one side and hoping that other has to be filled on your way back. But doing this would cause you unnecessary tension and waste your time too. The Filled form would be presented to the Thai Officer at immigration. She would keep one half and stamp and staple the other half with your passport.
Visa: Thanks to a Treaty with Thailand, Indians have an option to Either take a Visa before leaving india, or can take a Visa after Arriving at Thailand Airport.
o One has to reach the “VISA on ARRIVAL office” which shall be easy to find due to signage’s and Information Counters. Once there, Pick up a Form and Fill it and Paste your Photograph.
o Do remember to carry your Passport size Photograph, Otherwise you would have to get in another queue for getting your Photograph and also spend an Extra 100 Baht (At present, 1 Thai Baht=1.91Rs. For easy calculation, you can just Double it).
o Once the form is filled, You can stand in a Queue for Visa. The cost for same is 1000 Thai Baht.
o At certain Times many groups Arrive and the queue may be real long. In those scenarios, you have the option to approach FAST TRACK VISA Counter. They shall charge you 1200 Baht (200 Premium) and Stamp your Visa in 5 Minutes and give back.
o After the stamping you are supposed proceed towards immigration which is 20 steps away and present your Passport and wait for her to punch in and also verify your details. Your Pic is clicked, Passport Stamped and here you go
- Ideally you should not face any problem in collecting your Baggage. However, if you don’t get your Baggage or get it in Broken or Torn form, then Approach the Lost and Found office, which is just next to 12 Number Conveyor Belt. There are around 4-5 officers there and leave no stone unturned to attend to your problem. The Only problem you may face is Language problem, as you have just landed and yet to get accustomed to how they speak English.
- This time, One of my Bag was missing. I approached them and after enquiring, they gave me a Acknowledgement of Complaint, Took a Photocopy of my passport and my original Boarding pass. Since, I didn’t have any Local Phone Number at that time, I just told them the name of the hotel. By the time I reached Pattaya at 10 Pm, which is 2 hours Drive from Bangkok, A message was waiting for me that my Bag has been found and I need to call back. Even before I could call back, another call came at Reception in my presence. They apologized for the inconvenience and told me that they will send the Bag to my Hotel in Pattaya by 3 Am. That was amazing. So, don’t worry if you baggage is missing, They would find it out and even if it’s left back in india, They would ensure that it reaches Thailand by the next Flight.
Exit from Airport and Taxi
- Once done with baggage and immigration we head towards the Exit Gate. If you have not booked a cab already then, go to the Airport Counter at the Exit and depending on the Distance/Number of People, they give you a Slip with Fare mentioned. It is not Prepaid, as we don’t pay anything at Airport Counter. The options of Cabs are Toyota Innova or a Toyota Corolla. If you have Luggage, then prefer to take one with Overhead Carrier for your luggage.
- To go inside the City (Sukhumvit), The Cab Fare would be Approx 500 B. And to go to Pattaya, It would be Rs1800/-.
- If you are going to Pattaya it is almost 2 hours Smooth Drive. In between the Driver may take a Cut off the Highway as there are many Restaurants where you can have your grub and refresh before moving forward. Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, McD’s being a few of them.
- Ensure to have your Hotel Name, Address and Phone Number Handy as he may Read it and Understand it better, rather than you speaking it to him. Prefer staying somewhere close to the Beach. The back lane of Beach has some Good Places at Good rates. And there is where the action is.
- Also Note, That even if your flight lands at night or its’ Dark, You can still go to Pattaya as the Roads are Well lit and the Highway Safe.
- The Best part of Pattaya is that it never sleeps, so you have Food, Drinks, Taxi etc available at any time at any Corner.
- SIM card: One should Invest in a Local Number. The SIM card can be procured from any “Seven Eleven Outlet”. The Number (True More) would be for 49B and you can recharge an additional 100B which would give you calling time as well as free 3 days unlimited Internet Access. PLEASE do get the Internet settings changed from “Seven Eleven” Outlet or from a Company outlet, otherwise you would not be able to access internet. (Whats App, Facebook,Twitter, Mails,Google)
- Transport in Pattaya: Since you shall be staying near the beach, everything would be within walking distance. However, there is big TUK TUK like vans which keep circling around Beach road. You can just hop in along with others and depending on distance pay 10 or 20B.
- There are a few Attractions in Pattaya like the Dolphin Show, Floating Market, Crocodile farm, Elephant Farm, Tiffany’s Show, Para Sailing etc. My suggestion would be to avoid everything that is also available in Bangkok. As in Bangkok, the scale of Similar Shows is Bigger and better.
- Activites/Places Unique to Pattaya:
o Beach: This is not what you shall get in Bangkok, so enjoy at the beach to the fullest. Best time is morning 6 to 11 and then evening 4 to 7 as the tide at this time is the highest and water is clean too. And if you have no intentions to take a dip in beach. Then you can sit on any chair under an umbrella and enjoy your Drink, Buy food from vendors/Hawkers, Get your Arm tattooed (Temporary), Get your Nails painted or your Hair Braided. The charges for these Services would be 100B to 200B. The rent for 2 chairs is Rs 40B and Drinks would be reasonably priced. If you want to go for Para Sailing, then you can ask the Shack Owner and he can arrange it for you. 500B would be cost for Para Sailing. And sometimes an additional cost of 200B per person for the boat that takes you to the Para Sailing Platform.
o Tiffany’s is another show that is Unique to Pattaya. It’s a Dance and Music show performed by 300+ Artists wearing Glitzy Costumes and performed on a Grand Set, which changes every 5 minutes. This cost of this one hour show is 800B to 1200B. But if you can trace a Local/Tout outside the complex then you can get the ticket 200 to 300B cheaper. The Thai Govt has this provision to give a Discount to Thai Citizens on Entry Tickets to all Country owned Entertainment places. This is a Huge Revenue Generator for Locals, and helps you saving some money. We had planned to see the Show for 800B(Mezzanine), but when we realised that we can get 1200 B ticket(VIP GOLD) for 800 B, we went ahead with that and enjoyed the show, sitting in the First Row in the centre. So it is not only about Saving Money, but also to get more Bang for your Buck.
o Also, One place that you Can and should Visit is “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” It’s next to Hotel Marriot in Royal Garden Plaza and has around 13 Attractions to offer. You can choose to see 3 Attractions for 500B or 7 Attraction for 1000B and so on. My Son Hargun saw it and Loved it.
o One More place that is unique to Pattaya is it’s Walking Street(Beach Road). This Street has a Mix of Dance Bars, Pubs “etc etc etc”. This place gets into its full mood post 9 and carries on till early morning. Don’t take your Kids along. Stay Safe and in case of any problem, you shall see a Policeman within 40 Meters.
o As I mentioned earlier, avoid all other shows (Floating Market, Dolphin Show etc.). If you want, you can get to see them in Bangkok at a much grander scale.
o Food: if you are a Non vegetarian and that too a Sea Food Eater, then This place is a paradise. Stop anywhere, eat anything and you shall love it.
o If you are a vegetarian, then you can’t have anything even at Mc Donalds. Then Burger King is the Choice with it’s Vegetarian Burger.
o The best way to enjoy Food is to have it from carts. Steamed Pork Sausages, Fried Chicken, Roasted Fish, Squids, Chicken Rolls, Fruit Salads, Fruit Juices. Everything you Eat/Drink would be great. Along the Beach road, there are a Few Mc Donalds, StarBucks, Burger King, KFC which are open 24 hours. Also, you may find a “Seven Eleven Department Store” every 400 Meters and there you can have Heat and Eat Meals, Drinks, Dry Cakes and much more tasty stuff.
Shall Add some more information in my Next Blog. That would Include, What to Eat, Where to Eat, Knowledge of Currency notes, Where to shop, How to Travel, Important Thai Words to remember etc. etc.