Friday, December 04, 2009

BANGKOK IN BRIEF

I'd like to take some time off, maybe I'll do that during the Holidays, to write about Thailand and Bangkok in particular. I know many things comes to one's mind when one hears the word Bangkok. For some it is a place for fabulous and cheap (if you know where to go) shopping, for some it conjures up images of hundreds of Buddha temples and there are those who use Bangkok as a short stop, a transit point to go further to their favorite resorts of Thailand.

(Bangkok skyline along Chao Phraya)

There's a lot more to Bangkok than just the many number of notable temples, great shopping and night life. That surely deserves another blog where I can flog lots of photos that I have taken. There are trips that I have made as an extension to Bangkok, going by road to Ayutthaya in the North, the erstwhile capital of the Kingdom of Thailand to visit the archaeological sites there and then coming back to Bangkok on a long leisurely lunch cruise, in a large river boat, observing life along the river. I am of course talking of the famous Chao Phraya river. Chao Phraya river deserves a blog by itself, being the lifeline of Bangkok and forming an important transportation link as well. I'll do justice to this later.

(Hotels on the Chao Phraya river)


(Chao Phraya River taken from top of Hilton)

This blog shows a bit of this river, as seen from the top of Hilton Millennium Hotel, where I went for a meeting a few days back. The pictures show parts of Bangkok, a small part of it actually, because Bangkok is quite a large city and sprawled out. While I wait to blog about the details of Bangkok, I do suggest travelers to Thailand to take a couple of days off to visit this vibrant city and enjoy the myriad delights it has on offer. These photos are from my phone and not the greatest, hope you like them.


As always, click on the pictures and you will get an expanded view of the same.


(restaurant on top from where I took the pictures of Chao Phraya and Bangkok skyline)

An important update about Visa On Arrival facilities in Thailand. Indians and citizens of various countries that are eligible for Visa on arrival facility can now apply for visa on arrival for free. There was a Thai Baht 1,000 fee earlier and one needed to carry this amount in Thai Baht. That fee has been waived for all till March 2010 with the aim of encouraging tourism in Thailand. Other conditions of the visa on arrival still remain. One must fill up a simple form on arrival, have a valid/paid for return ticket, stick a pp size photograph and also demonstrate (in cash) that you have at least 10,000 Baht for your stay or 20,000 baht if you are traveling as family. equivalent amount in other convertible currencies is fine. Producing your Credit/Debit card will not help. Do check the complete requirements on this Government website However, please note that this website has not been updated about Visa fee waiver yet. However, it is a fact, and this info can be found on any other travel website. I took 1,000 Baht with me this time without knowing that there was a waiver and they have put up bold signs at the visa on arrival counter that clearly mentions this fact.

To add: This info is for visa on arrival nationalities only. If you are from the USA, EU and other Visa waiver countries, you do not need to go through this process.

Once you come out of the Aircraft, you will find signs that say "Visa on Arrival" as you proceed towards immigration. First go to these counters and get the visa on arrival stamp on your passport (as mentioned above) and then go to immigration counters with this stamp on your passport along with the arrival/departure card (that the Airline gives you on board before arrival in Bangkok). After you clear immigration and get an entry stamp, you may proceed to baggage claim at the same level to get your baggage. Note that Visa on arrival takes time, especially if there are many applicants waiting. If there are any questions related to this, please ask me on this blog and I will try and address those based on what I know and experienced.

23 comments:

wineye said...

tht was quite informative..I've been to thailand thrice.. i ab loved tht place.. You are so right about Bangkok, there is so much to do in tht vibrant city.. now with the visa fee waiver.. it tempts me again :) n great pics captain :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks wineye. I forgot to mention food, I just love that Thai food. As you know, we have some joints in Sing that have Thai food but not the same right? I am sure you went all around SE Asia when you were here. BTW I plugged your Royal Mysore Walk on someone else's blog that was about a heritage walk in Hyderabad. I mentioned in their comment section that you do this in Mysore very well.

Swaram said...

Wow! Gr8 post again :)
I luvvv thai food :)

Superb pics esp. the Chao Phraya River one :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Hi Swaram, thanks a lot, wineye is the guy doing the Royal Mysore Walks BTW: http://www.royalmysorewalks.com/

Thai food needs a blog by itself right? The minute I landed there, I had to eat seafood Phad Thai! I think my phone cam lens is a bit grimy at times but you are right, the one that I took of Chao Phraya looks bright and clear!

Swaram said...

Thanks for the link Captain :) Wil share it on the post :)

avdi said...

The blog is informative as usual. Perfect.

Now about the title.

There was a sardarji who was taking an exam. Suddenly he got up and started taking his clothes off till he was wearing just his underwear. He sat down again and started writing his paper. Upon being asked by his startled examiner, he showed the first question which asked 'Answer in Brief .. '

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Avdi: LOLZ! So, in other words, my Bangkok blog is all about exploring Bangkok wearing briefs! This is the funniest comment I have ever had! I can't stop laughing!

wineye said...

oh yeah..thai food is the closest to our indian spicy khana :) plus a great veggie option.. miss thai express :)

n thx once again for pulling in Royal Mysore Walks :)

avdi said...

yes anup.. hehe.. something like that.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Wineye: If you are in Singapore when I am here, a meal at Thai Express is on me! You are welcome about the Royal Mysore Walks plug, the word must be spread because you do something very interesting and informative and also gives the City a good image among visitors. The visitors are also enhancing their experience. So it is a win win for all.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Avdi: I can assure you I wasn't wearing only briefs during this brief visit (nor when I blogged about it, briefly!). I can't get that image out of my head, the one I created when I read your comment, about wandering the streets of Bangkok in briefs. One would not be out of place in some areas of Bangkok dressed like that!!!

YOSEE said...

Very informative. I agree its impossible to put Bangkok "in a brief !" ( Avdi : That's a scream !)

Lived for a year just outside Bangkok ( Nakhorn Chaisi)and kept running to Sukhumvit and Pahurat every weekend for essentials,( and to THe Emporium for gawking !)crossing the bridge over the lively Chao phraya. Never got around to doing the river cruise.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Yosee: I am sure you had a good time there. Sukhumvit has become glitzy over the years. Near Paragon, the entire area has become one huge series of glitzy shopping, a mini Orchard Rd of sorts (starts from Siam station on the Skytrain and continues past Ploen Chit, Nana, Asok and so on). They have a well connected skytrain that goes on tow differemt lines and recently they opened the underground MRT train that is just as neat as Singapore. So, between the two, one can manage good parts of Bangkok these days. The trip to Ayutthaya and back on the river boat is worth it, the food is OK not great but the river side life and scenery is great. The boat is airconditioned with huge windows and for those who want to go above deck and bask in the sun, there's options to do that also, complete with Ssn deck chairs. Bangkok can never been done in brief!

crystaldewdrops said...

Hiiii :) howz ur trip going on..?? Christmas time almost..am so excited..! :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Dew: Its been busy, working right into Christmas, i have year end meetings again on 29th-31st, not much of a holiday this time. Planning on trips to the US and India for the next few months! Happy Christmas and Seasons Greetings Dew!

crystaldewdrops said...

hey captain!!! Longggg time! Hope all's well with you :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Hi Dew, all izz well! I have been so busy from the start of this year that I have not had time to blog or read other blogs even. My tweeting has reduced a bit but when i take short breaks, I do tweet, takes my mind off things...thanks for asking, will be trying to relax this weekend and read some blogs..hope you are doing well also, will visit your blog soon! Take care and thanks for asking...

Baron's Life said...

Sorry I'm late but a summer riding accident had actually put me out of commission longer than I would have liked.
I wish you and your family a Happy New Year
All the best for 2010

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Baron's Life: Sorry to hear about the accident. I guess you have recovered well by now! All the best for 2010, have a safe year!

Baron's Life said...

There is a lot more in Bangkok than what you mentioned. The night life...which I don't like myself...but Patpong is not a place for the Tourist to miss

ami de manila said...

Great pic of the skyline.I have just been to macau and I read ur amazing article on Hac Sa Beach. Got great infos on Visa on arrival Thanks!.Army Granada (amidemanila.blogspot.com)

ami de manila said...

Great pic of the skyline.I have just been to macau and I read ur amazing article on Hac Sa Beach. Got great infos on Visa on arrival Thanks!.Army Granada (amidemanila.blogspot.com)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Ami! For visiting my blog, and leaving a nice comment. I've blogged 4 times on Macao between 2007-2009 and only after reading your comment, I actually went back to to the archives and read what I wrote back then! Incidentally, I've not been to Macao since 2009 and even a trip back to Thailand has eluded me since 2010. I've only done India and Malaysia this year! I hope, when you have the time, to go through some of my old blogs with stories from far flung Iceland, Greenland, Egypt and so on. I will soon visit your blog as well! Have a wonderful weekend.