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Amazing Thailand!


Before I got married in 2013, the last country I came to visit was Thailand. Yes, I go there almost every other year yet the country never ceases to amaze me. This will be my husband's first Eat Pray Love Adventure on our next trip to Asia. The only difference is, I'll be leaving him for 10 days to stay in the temple with the monks (Nope. We are not kidding) He wants to go on a Buddhist retreat and experience not speaking for 10 days (No worries, I will keep you posted when that happens - big grin. )

Let me give you a few of my reasons why and a few tips should you decide to visit the Kingdom of Thailand:

Visa friendly:

Nationals of the United States of America and 41 other countries are eligible to travel to Thailand, for tourism purpose, with the exemption of visa and are permitted to stay in the Kingdom for a period of not exceeding 30 days.

Therefore, you do not need a visa. However, please make sure that you are in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months, a round-trip air ticket, and adequate finances equivalent to at least 10,000 Baht per person or 20,000 Baht per family. Otherwise, you may be inconvenienced upon entry into the country.

Furthermore, foreigners who enter the Kingdom under this Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme may re-enter and stay in Thailand for a cumulative duration of stay of not exceeding 90 days within any 6-month period from the date of first entry.

The list of the 42 countries could be found at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand’s website.

At the Airport:

Considered one of the busiest airports in the world, Thailand emerged from being one of the worst places to be in to being one of the best tourist spots in the world. How they did it was simple: Lower criminality. They executed drug lords, kidnappers and thieves in public. If that won't scare you, I don't know what will. Then peace and order followed so they focused on Tourism to generate revenue and promote jobs.

Their airport services about 70 airlines that have acquired licenses from the Thai government.

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi (meaning Golden Land; pronounced as “sue-wanna-poom) Airport (BKK) serves as the primary  International airport in Thailand for numerous international airlines, most with direct flights from abroad landing in the Thai capital. However, some chartered flights and international service from nearby Asian nations may land at one of the other, smaller international airports within Thailand such as Phuket (HKT), Chiang Mai (CNX), Hat Yai (HDY) and Koh Samui (USM) International Airports.

There are many ways to get to the City from the airport. Primarily, expect heavy traffic – and I mean really heavy traffic. It takes approximately 51 minutes to and from the airport from the city (not rush hour). If you’re used to travelling in the highways of North America, multiply your patience and expectation by 10 X. I remember attending a meeting and being stuck in traffic for 2 hours. Only to find out that my destination was just 10 minutes away walking distance… But I promise you, Thailand is worth it.

Airport Transfers and Fare

•Airport Link - Express Line 90 baht.

•Airport Link - City Line 15-45 baht depending on distance.

•Transfer Buses between BKK and DMK - free of charge.

•Airport Buses serving Suvarnabhumi 24-35 baht.

•City Buses (Don Muang) 6.50-21 baht depending on distance

•Commuter Trains (Don Muang) 5-22 baht

•Taxi costs around 250-380 baht including tolls.

Where I stayed:

During my last visit, I stayed in the fabulous So Sofitel . It is a 30-storey urban design hotel in Bangkok, created by a reputable Thai Architect and five Thai interior designers, linked to French elegance by Monsieur Christian Lacroix, Sofitel So Bangkok offers themed accommodation inspired by the Five Elements; Water, Earth, Wood, Metal and Fire. Adjacent to Lumpini Park, business and entertainment districts, with easy access to Lumpini Subway and Saladaeng Skytrain station. The hotel is located 25km from Suvarnabhumi airport.

My Room had a Metal Element theme overlooking Lumpini park.

My favorite: The spa experience.

 Since my last trip was a business trip and my uber fabulous boss, Ms. Eun Mee Kim (We were an all-female company then)treated us to a special spa experience. I so miss her and her gracious generosity. One of the very few people I have worked for and with who just wants the world to be a better place (with heels :-)).

Places I visited:


Probably the most visited and remembered landmark of Thailand where every visitor must pay a visit at least once in their lifetime. The construction of the Grand Palace began in 1782 during the reign of King Rama I, the founder of Chakri Dynasty, to become a royal residence, and it has been the utmost architectural symbol of Thailand ever since. The Grand Palace served as a significant royal residence since 1925 and is now used for ceremonial purposes only.

The Dome

Lebua at State Tower: I wouldn’t have known about this place if not for the Movie Hangover 2 which was shot mostyly in Thailand.

We had dinner at Sirocco -Breathtaking view of the city

Elephant Ride: Approximately $44.00 (you can inquire from your hotel front desk) price indicated is apart from travel cost to get to the location which is about 45 minutes from the city.) .) I recommend taking this with another tour like the Floating Market.

My first time riding an elephant. I just usually see them crossing the street of Bangkok casually. My last time to ride before I became more aware of PETA. I have a higher respect for them after this experience.


 Floating Market: Approximately $20.00 (you can inquire from your hotel front desk) price indicated is apart from travel cost to get to the location which is about 45 minutes from the city.) I recommend taking this with another tour like the Elephant ride.

I am still amazed how the boats don't bump into each other.

My thought bubble: Uhmmm... I hope we don't hit another boat. Ooops! I think I saw a nice maxi dress over there...

The Reclining Golden Buddha

Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha), or Wat Phra Chetuphon, is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and a must-do for any first-time visitor in Bangkok. It's one of the largest temple complexes in the city and famed for its giant reclining Buddha that measures 46 metres long and is covered in gold leaf. It’s an easy ten minute walk between here and the Grand Palace.

Entrance to the temple costs 100 baht ($2.50) and you can visit any time between 08:00 and 17:00

 •Ayutthaya Boat cruise with buffet lunch: Starting at $23.00. One of the first tours I have experienced that really wowed me back in the 90’s.

This trip also took us to the King of Thailand's summer palace.


Day trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, former capital of Siam

Spectacular ruins and intact temples

Wat Chai Mongkol's Reclining Buddha statue

Riverboat cruise along the Chao Phraya River from Ayutthaya

See Wat Mahathat and Buddha's head entwined in tree roots

English-speaking licensed guide

Air-conditioned transportation

Pickup and drop-off from central Bangkok hotels

My Trip to Phuket

In one of my vacations, I went to Phuket and totally tanned my self brown! I took an Air Asia flight from Bangkok and basked in the Thailand sun for 3 days.

Phuket beach was fabulous. The sun, the wind, the sand.... and food ofcourse!

The beach is full and crowded during the summer. But there's always space for everyone. The good part is, everyone's a tourist so their only concern is to have fun and be respectful of everyone's space.

You pay for beds every time. It's about BHT20.00 ($.50)

Shopping at the Weekend Market in Chatuchak

Chatuchak (Weekend) Market – If you’re looking for the best bargains in town, this is the place to go. As a matter of fact, this is where most buyers/ merchandisers go from all over the world to purchase their stocks. Be it clothes, shoes, novelty items, rare finds and even furniture! If you look close enough, you would even see a small kiosk where they accept parcel and shipping to anywhere in the world.

How to get there: Hop on the skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station, take exit no. 1 and follow the crowd until you see rows of canvas stalls selling clothes. Turn right while continuing to follow the crowd and you will see a small entrance that leads into the market (clothing section).

Another option is to take the subway (MRT) to Chatuchak Park station (exit no.1), then follow the crowd until you arrive at the small entrance that leads into the market (clothing section). For the plant and flower section, get off at Kampheng Phet MRT station (exit no. 1).

The weekend market is open on Saturdays and Sundays, 09:00 - 18:00, and Fridays 18:00 - 24:00. Plant sections are also open on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 07:00 - 18:00.

Fashion Shopping at Platinum Mall

Thailand’s largest wholesale and retail shopping mall. A total of 6 floors of shopping items. So when I tell you, shop ‘til you drop, be ready for a foot massage or a full body massage (available at the higher floors)

How to get there: On Petchburi Road, in the area called Pratunam, is the heart of fashion business both wholesale and retailing. It is convenient to get by a variety of public transportation.

Pratunam Market

Pratunam Market: Literally a market so don’t expect any air-conditioning here. The best part is that you can haggle for the price. The best deal I ever got? A maxi dress for only BHT65.00 or $1.80 – You can get great deals from street vendors and haggle as much as 60% off their price.

How to get there: walking distance from Platinum Fashion Mall (across the street)

FOOD: They are just everywhere. The point in travelling is to explore. Thailand is one place in the world where you will find food in every street corner. When my kids and I travel to Bangkok, we seldom eat at a restaurant. I want to expose them to different cuisines and how it is prepared and served.

If you’re adventurous enough, you can try the insects (scorpions, grasshopper, caterpillars etc.) Word of caution: Not for those with sensitive stomach and if you always need to check how spicy it is. Their definition of mild is flaming hot and spicy for me.

Crispy Insects, anyone?

Make sure you check first if you can take the spiciness.

The key in any travel (except for business. When I travel for business, I am usually time constrained so my itinerary is limited to airport, hotel, local office and a restaurant where I dine with the local team – so contrary to what many may perceive business trips to be) is to be open minded and explore. I make sure that one of my parenting goals is to expose my children to different places, culture, cuisine, tradition and language. I believe that a well-traveled child has a better understanding and grasp of how the world can be their oyster. Likewise, well-traveled children are more broadminded and respectful of other people in general.

So what are you waiting for? Get that passport and explore the world!

Deinthāng doy s̄wạs̄dip̣hāph! (have a good trip!)

Kitt Villasis - Corbin

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