How to catch a Taxi in Bangkok

Here I am. Back in Bangkok,  Thailand. This time staying with a mate in the old town part of the city. Meaning no BTS sky train or MRT station nearby. The only way to get from our hotel to Downtown Bangkok with all the shopping malls (like MBK, Siam Paragon and others), are taxis. Unfortunately many Taxi drivers don’t speak English. So I used the “Bangkok method” to get around.

Getting from hotel to downtown/other places

First look for a small business card of the hotel at the reception desk. This will later be important when you want to go back to the hotel. Most hotels can give you a business id card which contains the address of the hotel in Thai letters and/or a small map of where the hotel is located. DONT FORGET TO TAKE ONE BEFORE LEAVING.

The easiest and simplest way is to ask the reception desk, or if available, the bell manager for a METERED Taxi and tell him/her where you want to go. He/Her will then use his radio to hail a cab for you and tell the driver in Thai where you want to go. This helps to avoid lost in translation situations. 😉

After entering the car make sure the driver turns on the meter. If he doesn’t, insist on it or you may end up with a “special price”, which can be twice or triple the official amount. Side note: One of the drivers offered us 200 THB special price, we insisted on the meter and ended up with 68 THB (rounded up to 70)

When you arrive at your destination round up the price to the next 5 or 10 baht. The drivers often dont have change and apprechiate a small tip.

 

Getting back to the hotel

Hailing a taxi on the street is an almost impossible mission.
Here’s the easy way: Just go to the next shopping mall.

Most shopping malls have a so called “taxi queue” or taxi stand at the ground level. When arrive at the front of the line give the taxi coordinator the card from your hotel. He will then ask all taxi (or tuk tuk) drivers nearby if anyone wants to take you to your destination. Jump into the one the he/she points at. Other drivers may try to pursway you by smiling or winking at you to take their taxi/tuktuk instead. Be careful this could lead to either a very expensive ride or a trip to an unknown destination.

After entering the taxi handover the card from the hotel to confirm your driver got the right address and double-check that he/she turned on the meter.

When you arrive at your destination round up the price to the next 5 or 10 baht. The drivers often dont have change and apprechiate a small tip.

Tips

  • Make sure you have a business card of your hotel
  • Double-check that you have all belongigs before leaving the car. Getting it back is an impossible mission.
  • Write down/take photo of the vehicle number (often a sticker on the inside of the window) if you want to report any bad incidents to the taxi queue service
  • Taxis have different designn (pink, yellow-green, orange), but the metered rates should be the same

 

 

Visiting an Automobile graveyard in Sweden

Back in October 2014 I went on a short trip to Oslo, Norway and an very old automobile graveyard in Sweden. This mysterious and little spooky place is located in the middle of nowhere in Bastnas, Varmland county.

You definitely need a car other other form of motorist vehicle.  We stayed at a motel in Töcksfors – you can find it by the name Victoria GrĂ€nshotell. There’s not much to see in Töcksfors except several brand new shopping malls and outlet stores, but it’s a good base for a daytrip to an automobile graveyard. The drive took us approx. 30-40 minutes each way, depending on weather and road conditions. The last part of the road is not paved.

Take note that there’s almost no cell reception at this spooky place, I got 1 bar at best.

You can find the place on Google Maps, if you enter:
59.360989, 11.838341

Here are some photos I took

Abandon car and bicycle
Abandon car and bicycle
Cars and abandon house
Cars and abandon house
Abandon car
Abandon car

Cardiff Hotel, London Paddington – Review

This spring I decided to have a short city trip to London. After searching several days for the right hotel, I decided to book 4 nights at the Cardiff Hotel.

Location

It is conveniently located only 5 minutes from Paddington station. Paddington is one of the main train stations in London (City of Westminster). Both Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect depart and arrive from this station. So if you have an early flight out of Heathrow, this is the right area to stay in London. Several Underground lines stop at Paddington station, which makes it a great starting point to explore London and the surroundings.

The room

I booked a Single room on a online booking site. When I arrived I got the info that I got upgraded to a Double room on the 1st floor. The room had a “typical size” for B&B’s and hotels in old buildings. The bathroom was quite small though. The room featured a double bed, a desk, a closet and a flatscreen tv attached to the wall. The en-suite bath room had a small sink and shower area. The room is okay for a short city trip, but please in mind that it is an old building and has little heat/noise isolation. The hotel offers free WiFi throughout the hotel. I was able to check my emails and Facebook on my tablet both in my room and at the breakfast room down stairs.

Breakfast

Breakfast was included in my rate and I used it every day. The breakfast buffet offered English breakfast standards like bacon, baked beans, sausages and tomatoes as well as toast, fruits, cereals and juices. Huge thumbs up!

Verdict

I like the hotel. It’s perfectly situated near Paddington station, has free WiFi, free breakfast and is nice for a short city trip.

 

Vibe Hotel Sydney – Review

I stayed at this hotel for 3 nights during the last days of my Australia 2013 trip. I really enjoyed staying this hotel.

Location

The Vibe Hotel Sydney  is located in Goulburn St, which is part of the CBD. The two nearest city rail stations are Central and Museum. The Central station is about 10 minutes by foot away, Museum station only 5 minutes. he airport link train also stops at these stations. Because the hotel is in the CBD you’ll can find almost anything you need nearby. Mini marts, Bars, restaurants and coffee shops are only few steps or minutes away.

The reception staff was very friendly and upgraded me to a “Deluxe Suite Queen and Sofa”, which was really nice.

Room

The bedroom features a queen size bed flat screen and an alarm clock. The seperate living room a coach and a desk and a second tv.

Vibe Hotel Sydney - Bedroom
Vibe Hotel Sydney – Bedroom

The bathroom has a bath tub with shower.  I believe I stayed at the 7th or 8th floor. The suite has a friendly and warm interior and was  clean. It was very quiet thanks to the high floor. WiFi is not included. I didn’t try it, because I had connectivity through my smartphone with integrated WiFi hotspot.

I haven’t tried the breakfast, because I prefere to enjoy it at my favourite coffee shop chain. There’s also a pool on the roof

Can I recommend this hotel? Yes, it is a great option for your stay in Sydney. Especially the location is a huge plus for exploring the city by public transport or getting to the airport.

This review and all the other reviews on this blog are not sponsored.

Katherine Northern Territory, Australia

Katherine Gorge, Australia
Katherine Gorge, Australia

Katherine is a small town in Northern Territory, Australia. It’s about 320km south of Darwin.

In this post I want to highlight the Katherine Gorge which is the main attraction at the Nitmiluk National Park. The gorges can be explored by canoe and flat bottomed boat. We opted for the latter and did a 3 hours long cruise a long several parts of Katherine Gorge. In the middle we had to do a bit of a walk to get to the second boat. Between them we could see ancient aboriginal arts and learn something about their history.

Katherine Gorge, Australia
Katherine Gorge, Australia

See series of sandstone gorges carved over millions of years which stretch along the Katherine River. This is definitely one of my hights of my Australia 2013 tour.

My tip: If you want a relaxed afternoon on a boat while you’re in Australia, then spend some time in Katherine and do a cruise. Or do a canoe tour along the Katherine river.

More info: Australia’s Outback

Kakadu National Park, Australia

Me at Kakadu National Park, Australia
Me at Kakadu National Park, Australia

Welcome to Kakadu National Park. In my opinion one of the most beautiful national parks on our planet.  It is a protected area in the Northern Territory of Australia, about 170 km southeast of Darwin. So it’s best to plan a long drive or even stay at a hotel near the park area.

I took the opportunity and did a short scenic flight over the park area with Kakadu Air. The whole park has covers an area of 19,804 km2 (7,646 sq mi), so it’s a convient way of seeing at least a part of it.

Kakadu National Park, Australia
Kakadu National Park, Australia

The best time to visit Kakadu is end of October or later, because then all the waterfalls should be filled with enough water to create an amazing landscape.

We were at beginning of the wet season when we visited the place. Therefore most waterfalls didn’t had enough water to flow, but it is still one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve seen.

If you plan to visit the Northern Territory, make sure you visit Kakadu. The photos don’t show the whole beauty, because it’s hard to take vivid photos while flying at speeds of several hundred kilometers an hour.

More info: Kakadu Air

 

Kakadu National Park, Australia
Kakadu National Park, Australia

Travelodge Mirambeena Resort Darwin

Welcome to my first hotel review in Australia this year.

In October 2013, I stayed at the Travelodge Mirambeena Resort Darwin. This resort offers both “motel” and “hotel” accomodation. In this review I focus on the so called “motel room”. There’s also a so called “budget motel room”, which I wont describe in this post.

Room

I got a motel room with Queen size bed and a second bed on the first floor (one level above ground floor). The room featured a flatscreen TV, an A/C and a small table. The bathroom was clean and had a shower. There also a small fridge in the room and a in-room safe with digits pad.

The hotel/motel offers two swimming pools and a bristro area. I enjoyed spending some time relaxing at the pool and reading my newest novel, which I bought at the Darwin Bookshop. A fitness room and internet terminals are also on location.

Location

The hotel is conviniently located at Cavenagh Street. There’s a Woolworth supermarket located across the street. Want to send a postcard home? There’s also an Australia Post office on Cavenagh Street, just a 5 minutes walk from the hotel. Want to go on a shopping spree? Downtown Darwin is just a 10-15 minutes walk away. There quite a few smaller shops and a few shopping malls.

Breakfast

I only tasted the continental breakfast option, which was good. All the standards were on offer: coffee, tea, toast, vegemite, jam, cereals, fruits.

Photos

Sorry, no photos this time. Check out the photos from the official website, they’re pretty accurate.

http://www.travelodge.com.au/travelodge-mirambeena-resort-darwin/hotel-images

 

Darwin, Australia – Capital of the North

Welcome to my new series of posts about Australia.

This time I travelled from Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory in Australia to the centre “Alice Springs” and Uluru/Ayers Rock. Plus bonus: 2 days in Sydney.

To start off my new series: An article about Darwin.

Darwin, named after the naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin is a “small” city of approx. 129,000 people. It’s only about 4 hours flight time from Singapore and many other major Asian cities. So head out into the Territory!

Attractions

Darwin has a a lot to offer. Period. Here are some examples.

Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

This amazing museum and gallery features collections of different animals of the past, aboriginal art collections, paintings from Arnhem Land and dot paintings from the desert.
Also they give the opportunity to learn more about Cyclone Tracy , in a multi-room display with movies, pictures from the life before and the recovery phase and also features replica homes from the time before Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin.

admission: free

Crocosaurus Cove

The Crocosaurus Cove is located in the heart of Darwin city, allows visitors to view Australia’s iconic Saltwater Crocodiles. And more the extra brave there’s an opportunity to Swim with the Crocs or to holding a baby Saltwater Crocodile. Many of y travel mate spent some time there and enjoyed it!.

admission: $26 AUD – $160 AUD (depends on package you choose)

Florence Falls

Go swimming at Florence Falls, just a 2 hours ride from Darwin
Go swimming at Florence Falls, just a 2 hours ride from Darwin

How about a relaxed afternoon by a water fall. Then head out to Litchfield’s Florence Falls. A place where you can swim under a waterfall and enjoy the sun or the shade under the trees.It’s a 2 hours ride from Darwin’s city centre.

admission: free

 

Food tips

You like pizza? Try “il lido“, a Spanish restaurant, at the Darwin Waterfront. Their pizzas are amazing! Trust me.

more info: www.illidodarwin.com.au

You’re a bit in party mood? Try Monsoons Restaurant & Party Bar. We enjoyed their interpretation of the Oktoberfest to kick-off our tour through the Northern Territory.

They have a massive list of food and beverage options. And I am pretty sure the massive bar area will serve your needs.

more info: www.monsoons.net.au

Hotels

The hotel prices are a little bit above Australian average (I searched for hotels in several places in Australia). You can find accommodation from hostels, 1 star little motels up to 5 star luxury hotels with bay view. I stayed at the 3/4 star hotel/motel “Travelodge Mirambeena Resort Darwin”. They have both so called “motel rooms” and hotel rooms. A had the opportunity to stay at a “budget motel room” and at a “motel room”. My tip: Definitely spend a bit more of your bucks and upgrade to the motel room. More details in one of my upcoming reviews.

Most hotels in downtown Darwin are in the walking distance of restaurants and Woolworth or other grocery stores. If you stay at the Travelodge Mirambeena Resort Darwin, Woolworth is just across the street.

Climate

Darwin is situated in in the tropical area of Australia. This means Darwin has a wet and a dry season. The wet season begins in early October which is also the beginning of Spring.

During my stay end of September/early October I had temperatures of up to 33°C during day time. In the summer you can expect temperatures of 40°C+. Keep in mind that you can exspect more rain during the wet season. The wet season begins in October.

 

Stay tuned for more about the Northern Territory in the coming days!

 

Announcing next trip to Australia

I am very happy to announce my upcoming trip to Australia.

My trip starts September 28th in Munich. From there I am travelling to Darwin, Australia and make my journey to Alice Springs and report about

  • hotels
  • airports
  • airport lounges
  • attractions
  • much more.

After my tour in the Northern Territory, it’s time for Sydney and the Blue Mountains.