Category Archives: Travel Feature

How to use MRT in Bangkok

The MRT subway is a convenient way to get around. The fares start at 16 baht for a single journey.

Take the stairs from street level to the station. Upon entering you have to go through a metal detector like at airports.
Go to a ticketing machine. You will find there a touch screen with map that displays, how much the fare is when you select your journey. After you payed your fare you will receive a small plastic coin. This is your ticket.

Bangkok traffic
Bangkok traffic

Most ticket vending machines accept coins and also bank notes. Day passes are also available. You can purchase them only at the ticket counters located at some stations. Go through the fare gate by placing your coin/token on the scanner.

The system works similar to public transport in Europe, look for a sign that tells the name of last station of the line. This will show you in which direction which train will take you. Board the train. On the train they will make announcements about the next stop both in Thai and English. Get off at your designated stop and exit the station through the fare gate.

There’s currently 1 line running through the city. The government of Bangkok is still working on extending the existing network.

Here’s a video by DiscoveryThailand, which explains the system pretty detailed.

How to use BTS Sky train in Bangkok

The BTS sky train is a convenient way to get around. The fares start at 10 baht for a single journey.
It runs on tracks above the streets of this vibrant city. Take the stairs from street level to the station.

Bangkok - Nana BTS station
Bangkok – Nana BTS station

Go to a ticketing machine. You will find there a map that displays, how much the fare is for your selected journey. Also look for the name of last stop of this train line, this is important as you will see later.Press the button with the right the fare for your route, pay and receive your paper ticket.

Most ticket vending machines accept only coins. There are some machines that accept also bills, but only at selected stations. Day passes are also available for 150 baht. You can purchase them only at the ticket counters located at some stations.Go through the fare gate.

Next, take the stairs or escalator up to the trains. The system works similar to public transport in Europe, look for a sign that tells the name of last station of the line. This will show you in which direction which train will take you. Board the train. On the train they will make announcements about the next stop both in Thai and English. Get off at your designated stop and exit the station through the fare gate.

Some train stations are also connected to nearby shopping malls by a overpass.

There are currently 2 lines running through the city, you can use your ticket on all lines.

The government of Bangkok is still working on extending the existing network. E.g the trains don’t run to the northern districts yet.

Here’s a video by DiscoveryThailand, which explains the system pretty detailed.

Temples in Bangkok

Wat Pho

Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in the world and one of the most visited attractions in Bangkok.

Wat Pho
Wat Pho

At times the temple can be very crowded. Trust me, I’ve been there. It is a must see anyways.

The easiest way to get there is to board the BTS sky train (Silom line) and get off at Saphan Taksin (S6). Take Exit 2 and go to Chao Phraya River Express Boat Pier.Take boat heading to Tien Pier (N.8)
The boat ride costs 20 THB.

Please be aware of Tuk-tuk drivers in front of the temple, they offer “tourist rates” like at other popular tourist spots.

The Golden Buddha

Bangkok - Golden Buddha
Bangkok – Golden Buddha

known as Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon is the home of the world’s largest solid gold statue. Less visited than Wat Pho is it a good alternative.

You can get there by MRT and a bit walking. The MRT station is Hua Lamphong. From there you have to go west and follow the Talat Noi road. I recommend to use a map or a smartphone with Google maps app, because of MRT related construction sites it’s not as easy to find.

 

SilverKris Lounge – Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Welcome to my review of the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge in the international area at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. It is a Star Alliance Gold lounge at Concourse A.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport - SilverKris Lounge
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – SilverKris Lounge

After presenting your boarding pass and Star Alliance Gold member card to the lounge agent. You find yourself at the buffet section of the lounge. You can find here an intensive selection of hot and cold food. Hot tomatoes, bacon and eggs in the morning. Fresh fruits like water melons, papaya and pineapples and biscuits can also be found.

A selection of alcoholic, and non alcohol drinks in the fridge, are available.

There’s also a coffee machine which makes espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiatto and other.

Suvarnabhumi Airport - SilverKris lounge - Coconut
Suvarnabhumi Airport – SilverKris lounge – Coconut

There’s something special in the fridge: Coconut juice ready to drink from a coconut.

Want to  check your emails? Singapore airlines offers free WiFi throughout the lounge.

Also check out the view over the airport garden from your seat, while enjoying a cup of ice cream.
It is a small lounge, but it offers plenty of relaxing armchairs and a warm atmosphere.

Overall this lounge is a good place to spend some time before your next international flight.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge (international) – Munich Airport

Welcome to my review of the Lufthansa Senator Lounge in the non-schengen transit area at Munich Airport. It is a Star Alliance Gold lounge near gate H22. Unfortunately I can’t provide any photo, because the lounge was too crowded to take photos.

Upon entering and presenting your boarding pass you’ll find yourself in the dining section of the lounge. You can find here a great buffet selection with cold and hot delights like German meatloaf, pretzels, hot tomatoes and bacon, cheese and a selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge (international) - Munich Airport
Lufthansa Senator Lounge (international) – Munich Airport

There’s also a coffee machine which makes espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiatto and other.

When you go further you’ll find a huge bar including bartender who can mix you almost any drink I know.

There are two more sections. The first is a relaxing areas with leather chairs, a selection of newspapers and a TV set. The second is a work area with sockets and desks. The lounge offers free Wi-Fi.

 

Overall this lounge is a good place to spend some time before your next international flight.

 

5 Things I Love About Singapore

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay

Gardens By The Bay is a brand new attraction in Singapore.

About 1 year ago Singapore finished the construction of a garden with gigantic super trees and two fantastic flower domes.

The entrance to the garden is free, but if you want to either visit the flower domes or go on top of the super trees then you have to pay admission.

Tip: You get a discount when you present a Singapore airlines boarding pass at the ticket counter.

 

Chinatown

This is a must visit district in Singapore. Chinatown has a unique atmosphere. lots of little shops and restaurants. It can be conveniently reached by the SMRT on the North-south line.

Tip: Do a “Original Singapore walks” tour on Friday nights. It’s amazing!

Singapore Flyer

The tallest Ferris wheel is not in London. It’s in Singapore! Welcome to the Singapore Flyer – the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. It’s located across the Marina Bay Sands hotel. On top you can enjoy a view of Gardens By The Bay, Marina Bay Sands, The Esplanade and the Singapore Skyline. Breathtaking views – worth the admission fee.

 

Concert at The Esplanade
Concert at The Esplanade

The Esplanade

The Esplanade (Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay) is  an amazing event location with indoor concert hall and outdoor theatre. The outdoor areas often feature free concerts and plays.
There are also retail and food spaces at the Esplanade Mall.

You can visit this place easily by SMRT,  look for station CC3 – Esplanade. 10 minutes walking from there.

 

Changi Airport

Singapore Changi Airport - Terminal 3 - Shopping area
Singapore Changi Airport – Terminal 3 – Shopping area

Singapore Changi Airport is one of the most awesome airports.

It features lots of leisure and business facilities. Also, you can dine and shop at over 300 stores and restaurants. All terminals have several gardens.

For example you can visit the butterfly garden in terminal 3. It contains more than thousand different butterflies.

Other highlights are free WiFi, phone charging stations, TV and entertainment areas, free movie theaters and a swimming pool on the roof of terminal 1.

Tip: if you have at least 5 hours, do a free Singapore city tour. Counters can be found in all terminals.

 

Free WiFi at Singapore “Changi Airport” (2012/2013 Edition) – How to

[note color=”#FFCC00″]Info: Updated guide! Changi Airport now offers 3 different ways for free WiFi.[/note]

The team of Changi Airport offers international travellers free WiFi  in all terminals. Just connect to the WiFi and you’re online? There are several ways. Read this guide for details

Method 1 (December 2012)

On my latest stopover 2012 I discovered another option for Free WiFi at Changi Airport. It’s much better to use than the other options.

Changi is calling it a beta test when you login. I tried it and it’s amazing!

  • Connect to the network “#WiFi@Changi”
  • Read the terms and conditions
  • Click on the big button below the terms & conditions
  • You’re online!

 

Method 2 (January 2012, verified in Dec. 2012)

step 1 – check requirements:

  • You need your passport
  • Your Netbook/Notebook/Tablet/Pad/Smartphone oder other WiFi enabled device

Okay, let’s start.

  • step 2:
    Go to any information desk in the transit area, you can find them every few hundred meters in all terminals.
  • step 3:
    Ask for the “Free WiFi Pass”.
    The staff of the information desk will eventually ask you for your passport to note the details.You get a piece of paper with login details.
  • 4th step:
    Connect your WiFi device with the access point “Wireless@SG” (SSID). As soon as you want to visit the first website, you will be redirected to a login form.
  • 5th step:
    Enter your the login details from the paper and submit. Now you’re online!
    Select as service provider “M1net”. The username contains @m1net.com.sg. The password is uppercase.

I’ve used this WiFi in Terminal 3 at Singapore Changi Airport a couple of times. It should work the same way in the other terminals.

[note color=”#FFCC00″]Info: The access for each Username/Password combination is limited to a few hours.[/note]

Method 3

Method 3 requires a Singaporean Sim card. I haven’t tried it, but it’s not as easy as the methods 1 and 2.

Contiki Beaches and Reefs Tour – Review

Party in Australia

Lets’s review my first Australian Contiki Tour. The Beaches and Reefs tour is part of the bigger Aussie Explorer tour in Australia.

If you’re interested in doing the Aussie Explorer tour this article maybe right for you, as it features about 60% of the tour you’re going to do.

Aussie Explorer is a 2 part tour. The East Cost from Sydney to Cairns and the second part from Alice Springs to Darwin (or reverse).

The Beaches and Reefs Tour goes from Sydney to cairns (or reverse). My first Australian Contiki starts in Sydney.

 

Itinerary

Day 1 An early morning. After filling some forms and handing our tickets to Justine (our tour manager), we loaded our baggage in the coach. Then we took our group photo in Sydney with the Harbour Bridge in the background. At lunch we headed to Port Stephens for a nice dolphin cruise. Then we enjoyed the afternoon at the Shoal Bay Resort and Spa. And yes, we had a room party 😉

Day 2 we drove to Coffs Harbour, stopping in Port Macquarie for lunch. At this place we stayed at a Surf Camp in little containers and had our first surfing class. Our container didn’t have a toilet, therefore we received a voucher worth 150 AUD for photos and a free T-Shirt.

Surf Camp

Day 3 we headed to Surfers Paradise, stopping in Byron Bay for a few hours for lunch. On our way to Surfers Paradise, we stopped at Cape Byron which is Australia’s most eastern point. Then, we crossed over to Queensland and visited the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where we pet kangaroos and took photos with Koalas.

Day 4 was a day for optionals and free time at Surfers Paradise. I spend the morning jumping out of a plane. Sky diving at the Gold Coast with a landing on a beach. It’s just amazing.  In the afternoon I spent some time at Billabong and took lots of photos. Then we went out to Sin City with the whole group.

Day 5 we stopped at Brisbane, capital of Queensland for a few hours to experience the city. We also saw a presentations about opals. The we drove to Noosa, a trendy beach town.

Day 6 most of us booked the optional 4WD Fraser Island Day tour which took us all through the island’s sandunes, rainforests and freshwater lakes. Swimming at McKenzie Lake and a nice BBQ afterwards.

Day 7 After a night in bunk beds we headed to a country homestead in the heart of Queensland. Most of us dressed up in our western gear for our big roast dinner and then Karaoke night!

Sailling at Whitsunday Islands


Day 8, 9, 10
involved sailing around the beautiful Whitsunday Islands on a racing sail boat. This was not the relaxing yacht ride that many of us thought we were in for. When we were sailing, the boat sat at a 45 degree angle so we would all have to sit at one side of the boat. Sailing included us hanging our legs over the edge, taking in the beautiful views of the islands. We also stopped at a few places where we got to snorkel and see lots of amazing fish. We enjoyed Whitehaven Beach. A few of us even tried sleeping out on the deck under the stars the first night, but it started to rain. The third day in the Whitsundays we stayed at Daydream Island. it’s a big island resort and spa hotel.

Day 11 we continued our journey to Cairns, stopping in Townsville on the way for lunch.  It was also Australia day. Party time!

Fun at Whitehaven Beach

Day 12 started bright and early. A few of  of our group (including me) headed to AJ Hackett for bungee jumping and Minjin Swing. I opted for the Minjin swing.

Day 13 the whole group went on an optional Great Barrier Reef cruise where we spent the day snorkelling and scuba diving the most beautiful reef. At night, we went out in Cairns to the Woolshed for our last night as a group.

Day 14 we made a stop to the rainforest village of Kuranda to see an Aboriginal Experience. We also got to throw a boomerang. Then we made our way back to Cairns Colonial Club Resort. We enjoyed some refreshing Australian beers and said goodbye to some tour mates in our group.

Verdict

This tour is just awesome. You see so much from the East Coast of Australia and you also have fun at night with night clubs, Karaoke on a farm and a nice sleep under the stars.
My personal favourite is sailling between the Whitsundays and going Sky diving at the Gold Coast.
You have to do this tour!

Rating: 5.0

Star Alliance Gold – Check-in

You may have read by articles about the benefits of Star Alliance Gold and how to get Star Alliance Gold status – The Fast Way.

 

In this post, you can see photos of Star Alliance Gold Check-in counters from different airports.

I update this post, when I check-in at an airport, that is not listed in this article yet.

Star Alliance Gold Check-in LH at Munich Airport
Star Alliance Gold Check-in LH at Munich Airport
Star Alliance Gold Check-in for Thai at Munich Airport
Star Alliance Gold Check-in for Thai at Munich Airport
Star Alliance Gold Check-in for South African Airlines at Munich Airport
Star Alliance Gold Check-in for South African Airlines at Munich Airport