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Everything posted by thaiophilus

  1. Very sensible indeed. Never throw away documentation until you are on the next phase of your travels! Some airports even demand your baggage receipts before you can take the bags. (The boarding pass inspection is probably because a recently arriving flight was a stopover that didn't terminate there, so they need to be certain that confused passengers to wherever didn't get off in the wrong country. It happens.)
  2. It might be worth pointing @young11 to a certain Massage Explainer for more details of how it all works 😉
  3. The proverbial hundredmillion-dollar hamburger. I wonder who was on board? 🤔
  4. One possible difference: is the ATM billing you in baht or your home currency? If it's kindly offering to do the conversion for you, the "dynamic currency conversion" rate you get will be far worse than if you insist on being billed in baht and letting your home bank do the conversion at the mid-market rate. Just say no!
  5. "The Men of Thailand" 7th edition from 1999 lists A-Bomb, Ambiance, Le Cafe Royale, BBB, Toy Boys, which all still exist in some form.
  6. Glad to hear he's still in business. His farewell massage was my last encounter before departing in 2020 🙂
  7. Is that Gun who was at the Ambience for a while and before that at Narcissus on Pattayaland 1? If so, I second the personal recommendation. Otherwise I found Scandic as Macaroni says, though to be fair I haven't been there for several years and they may have improved.
  8. There was certainly a breakfast room when I was last there in January 2020. I can't remember which floor it was on. Maybe a covid-related closure?
  9. The Japanese lack of street names is logical (to them!): "why would you want to label the empty spaces between buildings?" 😵 Because of this, they have small district police stations all over urban areas, whose main job is to give directions: https://jref.com/articles/koban-japanese-police-boxes.199/ "If you want to know the way, ask an omawari-san".
  10. You're expecting consistency and correctness. TiT so it isn't going to happen. People make mistakes when transliterating unfamiliar languages. Google Maps regularly gets things wrong outside of California, and is slow to correct them. Given a mixture of letters and numbers that it doesn't recognise, it's likely to guess that you want what someone else recently searched for. There is no single satisfactory romanization of Thai, so everybody makes up their own. (There's an official romanization but it isn't satisfactory: it doesn't even distinguish short and long vowels, never mind tones) The 'r' sound is fluid. It's a marker of the Bangkok prestige dialect but in other parts of the country it becomes 'l' or disappears altogether. And at the end of a word it's pronounced 'n' . In this case the Thai spelling has no 'r' symbol ร, so 'intramara' is just wrong. 'inthaamara' would be a better representation (h after t means it's aspirated - a 'breathy' T, not the English "th" sound) and the second vowel is long. A canonical address would be something like "<plot number>/<house number> thanon <street name> soi <number>" but there are many variations HTH 🙃
  11. ATM limits are typically 10 000 to 30 000 B. Or just hide them somewhere else in the system. It's a safe bet that the bank will not be the loser.
  12. Not sure if that's what you meant, but don't buy baht until you arrive - you will get a much better exchange rate in Thailand than back home. Use exchanges (Super Rich, TT or similar, not banks.) Don't exchange money in the arrivals area of Suvarnabhumi, go down to the basement (Airport Rail Link) level where the rates are better. Be aware that the ATMs will charge you 220 baht (around $6) per transaction. That's on top of whatever your home bank charges for foreign exchange and use of foreign ATMS. ... and if hotel are not paid in advance you may find that sometimes they insist on cash. "machine broken, no card" (which may not be the real reason!)
  13. Fortunately, despite the assurances of the (more?) dreadful Rees-Mogg he has chosen not to stand even though he still thinks he's the best person for the job. That probably means that an Invisible Hand made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Anyway, Prime MInister of the day is now Rishi Sunak. Can he beat 45 days in office?
  14. ... and she's gone, setting a new record. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-politics-63309400 One of the things that first fascinated me about Thailand was its bizarre politics, with so many parties and and a continuous succession of new scandals, new governments, new constitutions. Where else would a PM (Sarit, 1952) launch a coup against himself? Where else would a party bring down the government by not standing for election? (Abhisit, 2006) TiT, I thought. Couldn't happen anywhere else. Little did I know...
  15. I've had a look through my collection of ancient guides and have unearthed these maps from 1994-1997 (those are the publication dates, so they may already have been obsolete by then. Apologies for the unclear text on some - it's difficult to scan pages that won't lie flat. In that little alley the 1994 map has Khun Bar, Golden Cock, Super A, Lucky S, Super Lex Matsuda and Mama Sun (which was karaoke bar) 1994 (Thai Scene/Notcutt), 1995 (The Men of Thailand 5/Allyn) 1996 (TMOT6) 1997 (Thai Scene) 1999 (TMOT7)
  16. Then there was Nicky's Gay Pattaya/Thailand/... - another valuable source of information until he retired and took up writing novels.
  17. Another couple of good but not fancy Thai restaurants in south Pattaya: ฟ้าพัทยา: Fra Pattaya, on Pattaya Tai between Second Road and Walking St. The speciality is duck but if you ask for any Thai dish they can probably provide it. The menu used to be written on the walls in Thai only, but nowadays they have a huge picture menu. ผักบุ้งลอยฟ้า: Pak Bung Loy Fah on the corner of soi 13/3 and Second Road has a good menu of seafood and other dishes. They don't throw flaming morning glory across the road any more but that's the origin of the name. Both do excellent กุ้งแช่น้ำปลา
  18. Agreed, and I make a point of getting myself lost and randomly exploring any new city I visit. But not before breakfast. Not so... My first experience of BKK culture shock was in a taxi. After traversing what looked like a modern city with multi-lane elevated roads and high-rise buildings, and a litany of strange place names on the signs - Chatuchak, Din Daeng, Rama IX, Ngam Wong Wan, Chaeng Watthana, Sukhumvit, - the taxi turned off the expressway and dived into the bowels of the Khlong Toei intersection, which appeared to have trains mixing with the cars, and suddenly I was in what felt like an impossibly narrow canyon of decomposing concrete with festoons of wires draped everywhere... Of course, that was before the ARL, MRT and BTS existed, and meter taxis were still a rare novelty, so the challenge of negotiating a taxi or tuktuk for every journey was part of that first impression.
  19. PS Make sure you see the taxi driver turn the meter on! It should read 35B to begin and increase by around 5B per km or 2B per minute if stationary. Suvarnabhumi-Silom is about 30 km via the expressway.
  20. For the first-time visitor I'd still recommend using a taxi. The train journey requires you to buy tickets, find your way on foot between stations and then from station to hotel, with luggage, in the heat, in a non-English-speaking environment with a weird alphabet, after a long flight, in the wrong time zone... At some point culture shock is likely to strike. The "old hands" posting otherwise good advice here may have forgotten what that was like 🙃.
  21. Using a local SIM (especially if you want internet access) is usually way cheaper than paying international roaming charges on your home phone. BTS (Bangkok [Mass] Transit System) is the Skytrain (elevated as the name suggests). MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit) is the Metro (underground). ARL (AIrport Rail Link) is the elevated train from the airport to the city centre. TiT[1] so they don't properly connect and there's no cross-ticketing, so there is no simple rail route from the airport to Silom. Yes, a taxi from Suvarnabhumi (pronounced "suwannapoom" [2]) is probably the easiest way to get to the hotel. Ignore touts trying to sell you overpriced "!limousine" services, go to the public taxi counter just outside the terminal building. You should be given a form which is the taxi driver's registration details in case of complaints. Make sure you keep it! The driver will ask you for cash for the expressway tolls (~70B unless they have gone up recently?) and on arrival you pay him (THB cash, no cards!) whatever is on the meter, which should be less than 350B, plus a 50B airport surcharge To get cash for your taxi fare, don't change money at the overpriced exchanges in the baggage hall, go down to the basement level (signposted "airport rail link") and use one of the money exchange booths there. (And don't buy your baht before you arrive, either - you'll get much better rates in Thailand than elsewhere.) [1] "This is Thailand", a phrase that can only be understood by experience... [2] aka "Swampy", but that's not a name a Thai would recognise.
  22. Not a "violation". Wrongly accused of violating their "SPAM policy" though I can't imagine how. As he says, "I could be accused of a lot of things, but spam is the last thing that comes to mind. I asked for a review of their action and hope to be back online soon." See recent postings on Gaybutton's blog.
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