Worlds Best Value Hotels are in Thailand

Thailand’s Pattaya, Bangkok and Chiang Mai hotels have recently been placed as some of world’s best value and cheapest according to a popular online booking service.

If you are looking for a great value destination for a vacation then Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya three of Thailand’s most popular destinations have been placed amongst the world’s top 10 for the most affordable accommodations.

Thai Holidays

Hotels.com, who conducted the survey, provide of online hotel booking services around the world. They compared the price of hotel accommodation from 2012 and 2013. They found that the average hotel price had increased by a massive 69% with most of the increased found in Europe.

But three of Thailand’s tourist hotspots stood out as bargains, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya were amongst the destinations offering the best hotel deals and were ranked 4,5 and 8 in the survey.

The best deal was found in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, at only 1,650 baht a night, closely followed by Hanoi and Siem Reap. The most expensive hotels were to be found in Europe’s France with Monte Carlo, Monaco, coming in at GBP £200.00 or USD $300.00 a night approximately.

It also thought that recent political and economic problems in Thailand could be a major factor in reducing hotel prices, as seen in Cambodia and Thailand.

In the meantime there are bargains to be had particularly in Chiang Mai and Pattaya with few reports of political unrest or problems.

Before you go read our blogs on Thai scams and Thailand’s bargirls scene, they may save you a lot of time, money and aggravation.

For a quote on the best deals on holidays to Thailand please contact us.

Cheap Holidays to Thailandugal

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Hiring Jet Ski’s in Thailand

Warning: Beware of the scams going on in Thailand’s Jet Ski Hire Businesses

Jet ski hire in ThailandOn the 9th of February 2014 David Rimmer, a journalist from Hertford, England, crashed his jet ski into a Speedboat while riding it in Phuket BeachThailand and then had to pay 200,000 Baht for the damage he caused.

Thats over £3600 stirling or $6000 US Dollars a substaintial amount of money in anyone’s books!

Mr Rimmer was pulled from the sea and eventually taken to Phuket Hospital and then the police station. Once at the police station there were negotiations between him and the speedboat owners about how much he should pay for the damage. After some bartering a settlement of 200.000 was agreed.

The British Embassy was contacted but said they could not help!

The Foreign Office travel advice for Thailand gives the following advice about hiring a jet ski:

“If you rent jet-skis or water sports equipment, satisfy yourself that adequate safety precautions are in place. Rent only from reputable, licensed and insured operators, thoroughly check for damage before use and insist on training.”

“Don’t hand over your passport as a guarantee against returning a jet-ski. Unscrupulous owners have been known to hold on to passports against claimed damage to the jet-ski.”

Mr Rimmer is now home safe in the UK, he says that because of this incident he will not be able to afford an overseas holiday for a while but feels fortunate that he was not more seriously injured.

Phuket Police claim they have no record of Rimmer attending the police station being involved in any negotiations about compensation for the damage to the Jet Ski and say any such negotiations were handled on the beach by the owners of the jet ski and Rimmer.

My thoughts on hiring Jet Ski’s in Thailand

The Jet Ski business on Thailand’s beaches is run by organised crime (Thai mafia). They make frequent payments to the local police for protection and for them to turn a blind eye to Jet Ski damage scams and extorting money from tourists. In this case the police facilitated the negotiations for compensation and I am sure received their ‘cut’.

Briefly don’t hire Jet Ski’s from the so called licenced bandits who operate on Thailand’s beaches especially Phuket and Pattaya you are just giving money to criminals.

If you MUST then photograph the Jet Ski before you take it out and make a note of any damage.

The Jet Ski scam centers around claiming you have damaged the Jet Ski while you have been using it. If you argue you are quickly surrounded by aggressive gangs of Thai’s and if you call the police they support the Jet Ski scammers rather than you ….they are not impartial.

This is a scam that has been going on for years, everybody knows all about it, large sums of money are involved and the police let it go on.

Thailand is a beautiful country and well worth a visit but like everywhere there are scams going on so take care especially when hiring a Jet Ski..

There are more details on how to avoid the Thai Jet Ski scam and others on our previous blog on the Top 10 Thai Holiday Safety Tips.

Visiting Chiang Mai gets easier!

Chiang Mai opening new tourism routes linking 4 more countries to the North.

CHIANG MAI, 3 January 2014

The Chiang Mai Tourism Association has unveiled a new master plan to for extra tourism routes which will connect Northern Thailand with China, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma) and help boost the local business, tourism and trade.

Visit Chiang Mai ThailandSarawut Saetiao President of Chiang Mai tourism board said his association had been in discussions with the local government and private sector units about the launch of new tourism routes into the North Thailand region. The new routes will link the eight provinces of Northern Thailand with, Southern China, Northern Laos and Myanmar. Local business, trade, tourism and investment are all expected to benefit as a result of the new deal.

Statistics show that this New Year holiday period, Chiang Mai province and  Northern Thailand has seen significant increases in the numbers of both Thai and Chinese visitors and tourists, with  tourism revenue  expected to grow by 10%.

There is a  national Thailand goal to achieve an annual increase in tourism revenue of 2.2 trillion baht in the year 2015, the Tourism Association is very confident that the Chiang Mai region and other provinces in the North will be able to make a significant contribution, estimated to be up to 80 billion baht of the total amount.

Vacations to Thailand are relatively cheap for western visitors so if you are considering a holiday in Chiang Mai or as part of a tour of Thailand please feel free to contact us for more information and assistance in planning your vacation, whatever your budget!

Why Do Middle-aged Men Holiday, Live and Retire in Thailand?

Well why do so many middle-aged Western men, known locally as Farang move to live, work and retire in Thailand?

A question often asked and often incorrectly answered usually by those that are neither middle-aged and no nothing about Thailand. So what’s the problem with these people? Why is there so much, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, every time a male announces he’s flying to holiday or live in Thailand… ‘The Land of Smiles‘?

It’s all about the Leg over – STUPID!
Okay, many of you will probably be shouting at the screen something like “It’s the sex of course stupid!”. But is it, is it really? Isn’t it a bit unfair to tarnish every male visitor or resident as a sex tourist of ill repute, or screwed-up old men that weren’t able to make things work back in their own country? Well of course it’s not!

No it’s the beautiful Country and its wonderful People – STUPID!
Visit ThailandNot all men, middle-aged or otherwise, go to Thailand on their own and spend their evenings and nights walking dark alleys searching out the meat racks of Pattaya, Bangkok or Phuket.

A very large percentage of foreigners staying in Thailand are made up of couples and families that work. Visit and retire there. These people wouldn’t recognise a sex den or house of ill repute if it slapped them in around face!

There is so much more to this beautiful cultured country than the sex and debauchery, which by the way, is only a small fraction of the overall diversity that this ancient land has to offer.

Let’s take a long look at amazing Thailand from another angle and reveal what it truly has to offer.

The Thai Climate
Thailand is a country located at the middle of the Indochina peninsula, South East Asia, and as a result has plenty of warm weather, sunshine, tropical sandy beaches in the south of the country, and lush green mountainous jungles in the North. Furthermore, the people are always welcoming and really friendly with a friendly attitude, which all adds hugely to the magical lure of this faraway paradise.

What about the Thai Food?
Thai cuisine is amougst the finest in the world, and loved by both Thais and tourists alike. It has developed over time by merging and adapting a number or regional styles. Most Thai meals are lightly prepared with strong aromatic components and chilli. Typical Thai dishes incorporate the four major taste of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.

Although it can sometimes be a bit spicy and hot, there are few people who don’t enjoy the taste, flavours and sensations of Thai food. Meals, whether buying-in or eating-out, are still incredibly cheap and inexpensive. All major towns and cities will have lots of international restaurants to choose from, which cater to the pallets of most nationalities. The Thais truly love their food and as a consequence Thailand really is a food lovers paradise. Perfect!

Thai Culture
Holidays to ThailandAbout 85 per cent of Thai people are Buddhists. Buddhism is perhaps better described as a philosophy rather than a religion. There is no specific god to worship, just precepts, when followed the thoughts help maintain spiritual balance, well being and direction.

Buddhism is peaceful, you will never hear of Buddhists blowing people up indiscriminately or martyrdom in the name of their faith. Buddhism is not like that at all.

Some other major faith groups could learn a thing or two from Buddha’s teachings. The focus is always on how to live a peaceful and harmonious life on Earth with all its peoples, irrespective of who they are, what they believe or where they come from.

In the areas lived in and frequented by foreigners, most of the natives speak a little English, so there’s no real language problems. In fact, cultural differences are more likely to cause difficulties than language.

For those who wish to learn Thai there are countless language schools and private tutors dotted all over the country.

The Cost of Living in Thailand
Although the cost of living has defiantly gone up over recent years, it is still be an incredibly cheap place for foreigners to reside (especially outside the main tourist areas). This is just one more of the many reasons why so many western men of middle age take early retirement and move to Thailand to live.

Thailand Accommodation
There is a great variety of accommodation available from 5 star deluxe resorts to basic rooms in people homes and especially if you are travelling on a budget you will have plenty of options. World of Transport Travel have access to many and can offer excellently priced deals including flights and accommodation all pre booked.

If you are considering the longer term apartments can be rented in central Bangkok for as little as 7,000 Baht per month for a studio, with rents sometimes even lower than on the outskirts of the city. The spacious one bedroom Bangkok condominiums will probably start at around 15,000 Baht per month., reaching up to 22-35,000 Baht /Mo. for the high rise units.

Thai Holidays

Getting Around
Bangkok has probably the cheapest taxi’s in the world, with fares starting at around just 35 Baht ($1.14). Other towns and cities around the country are likely to use tuk tuks (a share open backed taxi adapted from a pick-up truck), rather than the taxi driven on a meter.

Bangkok has the Sky-Train which is cheap and can transport you from the airport to the centre of the city.

Other Modes of Transport
Another great way to get around the capital is by using boat taxis. The taxis and long tail-boats run up and down the waterways from dawn to dusk.

Those who want to dice with death can try on one of the thousands of old buses zipping dangerously in and out of the Thai traffic and there is always the motorbike taxis, usually operated by young men who tout for business on most street corners smoking cigarettes

In Summary
Thousands of middle aged guys go to Thailand for retirement, work, long stay holiday, either on their own or with family and friends. The local culture, friendly atmosphere, natural scenic beauty, easy going way of life, warm weather, delicious spicy food, cheap accommodation, and great geographical location in the heart of South East Asia, make it a very attractive and sought after destination.

Yes, there will be a lot of single men that end up marrying younger Thai women but so what if they do? If both the Thai girl and her older male partner are happy with their arrangement, then there is absolutely nothing wrong, bad, illegal, or sick about any of it. They just have to take precautions and make sure they always have enough money to get home.

It’s the same for the gay community. North and North Eastern cities are becoming increasingly popular with western gay men settling down with their Thai boyfriends, and good luck to them, that’s what I say.

Away from the Crowds – Sanibel Island

In today’s Away from the Crowds report we take a look at Florida’s Gulf Coast and the beautiful Sanibel Island a perfect holiday resort in its own right or an ideal two centre destination combined with Orlando, the best of both worlds!

INSTEAD OF ORLANDO…..TRY SANIBEL ISLAND
Take leave of Walt Disney World and treat the family to a wild, natural beach holiday with a lazy Caribbean vibe off Florida’s west coast. Sanibel’s lengthy white-sand beaches with clear, shallow waters are perfect for safe swimming and paddling. Swap Mickey Mouse for manatees, as these protected “sea cows” swim close to the shore, along with the dolphins.
Sanibel Island Vacations
 
WHAT TO DO ON SANIBEL?…..
At the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, one of the top ten birding sites in the US, youngsters can cycle or kayak, spy on egrets, pelicans and even a crocodile. Take a boat trip from Tarpon Harbour for manatee spotting, or trawl the beach for rare shells, and learn more at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum
Sanibel Island Holidays
 
CUISINE…..
Seafood at the Thistle Lodge, looking over swaying palms and the Gulf of Mexico, or a chilled out lunch at RC Otter’s Island Eats.
 
ACCOMMODATION ON SANIBEL AND CAPTIVA…..
The plush South Seas Island Resort, just north of Sanibel on the adjoining island of Captiva, is situated on a 330-acre wildlife preserve and sanctuary, where you’ll see osprey, dolphins, pelicans and skimmer birds. Activities include para sailing, paddle boarding and kayaking. Sanibel Sea School is designed for 6-13 year olds offering hands-on nautical fun – like cast netting and catching crabs. Also available are coconut painting, music parades and tie-dye T-shirt making. Teens will love the arcade with an air hockey table and Guitar Hero. 
Visit Sanibel and Captiva
GETTING TO SANIBEL ISLAND…..
American Airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic all have daily, or multi-daily, services from London Heathrow to Miami. Carriers from all over the world, also fly there, directly or indirectly from your local airport.
TRANSFERS…..
It’s an easy, quiet, two hour drive from Miami to Sanibel and the Island of Captiva is located just to the north of Sanibel and accessible via a bridge.


Hopefully this article on Sanibel Island has whet your appetite and will encourage you to explore some of the beautiful islands and beaches on the Florida Coastline. If you would like more information on holidays to Florida including two centre holiday ideas perhaps other combinations with Orlando please feel free to contact me.
Wottravel Quote Us ButtonThis article on Holidays to Sanibel Island is part of a series of posts on Away from the Crowds resort ideas; 

Away from the Crowds – Tulum

Today in the Second of our series of Away from the Crowds destinations we review the Mexican resort of Tulum.

The aim of this series of posts is to give families and the more romantically inclined travellers some safe and less crowded holiday destinations to consider as an alternative to the more popular mainstream resorts in the same area.

INSTEAD OF CANCUN…..TRY TULUM
Ditch the all-inclusive properties located further north in Cancun and embrace the rustic charm of Tulum. Open spaces abound – children can run wild on long white beaches, gaze at exotic fauna, and splash into underground cenotes.
Visit Tulum
WHAT TO DO IN TULUM?…..
Children of all ages will love cenotes (cave-like pools for swimming) and play hide and seek in centuries’ old Mayan ruins on the Yucatan peninsula. Meanwhile, adults will find no shortage of low-key restaurants, bars, galleries and boutiques selling local artefacts, instead of fluorescent beach towels.
At Casa Cenote you can also kayak, snorkel and scuba dive – equipment is available on-site. The crumbling walls of the beachside Mayan ruins, on the northern edge of the town, date back to the 1200s. UNESCO World Heritage site Sian Ka’an offers boat trips through nine ecosystems, where you’ll see birds, sea life and alligators if you are lucky.
For a day trip, head to Vallodalid, an old Spanish colonial town just an hour from Tulum, passing the Coba ruins and several cenotes along the way. There is a taxi rental service in the city and most hotels offer tours with transport included.
 
CUISINE…..
Try the uber-green open-air Hartwood restaurant, located on the jungle side of Tulum’s beach road, which is built around a tree and uses no electrical appliances.
 
ACCOMMODATION IN TULUM……
Hotel Esencia is located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, welcomes children while liberally dishing out grown-up treats – tasty ceviche, margaritas – and providing multilingual nannies. I suggest booking a garden suite with its own plunge pool. As well as the main pool, kid’s pool and nearby beach, there are children’s yoga and cookery classes, and chocolate spa treatments for them too.
Holiday Deals to Tulum
I can also recommend the that you try eco chic at Amansala, or push the boat out at a Nalum private retreat.

HOW TO GET TO TULUM…..
If travelling from the UK, both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic offer direct services from London Gatwick, to Cancun several times a week. Indirect flights are offered by a variety of other airlines.
 
TRANSFERS…..
Tulum is a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Cancun airport most larger hotels offer transfers at an additional charge, or you can take a private taxi or rent a car.
If you require more information on Holidays in Tulum or other resorts in Mexico please feel free to contact me for a no obligation quote!
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