Friday, 28 June 2013

Back to Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is a lot more civilized since I first visited the polluted sprawling mess in 2004.  It's practically night and day from back then but mostly in a good way (from a tourist perspective). It's a shoppers paradise and a food lovers delight with a deviants heaven thrown in for good measure (not that there's anything wrong with that - within boundaries). Photos below..











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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Four Seasons - Chiang Mai, Thailand

We deserved a little treat as bus weary backpacking road warriors so we headed to the Four Seasons resort outside Chiang Mai which did not disappoint.  I'll let the photos below do the talking.










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Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Long Neck Tribe - Chiang Mai, Thailand

While headed to North of Thailand, we visited the Karen hill tribes (Long Neck or Padong) who originally lived in Myanmar (Burma) but now occupy a rather tacky touristy village near Chiang Mai and sell souvenirs while still demonstrating how life used to be lived in the village and maintaining their long necks via metal rings over the years.  It was all kind of sad and fascinating all at the same time.










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Friday, 14 June 2013

Thailand - Koh Samui

As one of Thailand's most popular and most expensive islands, my best advice here is to arrive off-season where the good hotels will negotiate for nightly rates. We originally planned on staying at a Lonely Planet recommended dingy backpackers for USD $30 for a double room but got a 3.5 star private beach front resort bungalow with swimming pool / jacuzzi down the road for $50 per night.  Needless to say it was well worth the extra $20 per night.










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Friday, 7 June 2013

Thailand - Khao Phing Kan

Made famous by the James Bond movie 'Man with the Golden Gun' Khao Phing Kan is a big tourist draw for it's signature mushroom rock. It was fun but a tad tacky touristy for our liking. I would have loved to have trekked this area about 20 years earlier to avoid the crowds.
photo above courtesy wikipedia

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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Thailand - Ko Phi Phi

The real gems are the islands near Ko Phi Phi reachable by long boat (small narrow one engine boat) where the turquoise water and pristine white sand beaches are spectacular. The island of Ko Phi Phi itself is a victim of it's own success and disappointing (polluted beaches).






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Sunday, 2 June 2013

How much does it cost to upgrade from Economy to First Class

I've noticed AA are now aggressively offering upgrade offers as you book online.  I recently booked a ticket for my family (me, wife and son < 2yr old) on American Airlines from New York to Buenos Aires for the upcoming (7 months away) Christmas / New Year high season. The wee man pays 10% of the fare as a lap infant. 

Off-peak will cost ~$1,200 per adult but a direct flight for peak holiday season is ~ $1,800 per adult, 11 hours and expensive and not easy with a child. A connecting flight would add hours and unwanted complexities to the experience albeit cheaper for approx ~$1550. Copa Airlines (not recommended due to leg room) and AeroMexico had ~$1,400 fares but layover times were not reasonable.  

I decided to go for the direct flight ~$1,800 per adult which is way more than I ever paid for a ticket before but it's an important annual trip and award availability was not showing anywhere as it did last year for the dates I wanted.  

American Airlines now offers upgrade availability as you are purchasing online and offered an upgrade to First Class for $880 pp for the return only.  I've flown business on AA several times but never First so I decided to make the extravagant splurge. First class on AA is for the first 4 rows only. On reflection an additional ~$2,000 for the 3 of us for the return flight only is a tad excessive and I likely won't do it again unless I win the lotto but you only live once. Anyone who has been stuck in economy for 11 hours with a baby should be able to empathise. By January 2014 the wee man will have flown business / first no less than 4 times - not bad for toddler. RyanAir this is not - Spoilt - never! 

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