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.