Friday, August 16, 2013

Thailand vs Turkey

First off, this isn't a competition to find which one as the worst human rights history, no just a look at day to day stuff the tourist will come up against.

Also, before I get the experts telling me I'm wrong. This is just a snapshot from the holidays I had this year.

Getting there.

Tougher than you think? Yes, Turkey is only 4 hours away, against Thailand being a 12 hour flight. The cost per mile means Turkey is a lot more expensive. 4p per mile to Thailand and 16p per mile to Turkey, also take in to account that economy on emirates is far better than cattle class with Thompson. However, the four hour journey gives Turkey the edge.

TR 1 - 0 TH

Price at resort

Due to the pounds weakness and the Thai baht strength, Turkey wins this one hands down. Turkey seems to keep its currency cheap knowing its what attracts people. The average meal for the three of us in Turkey was around £30' in Thailand you'd be looking at over £40. Turkey isn't into street food like Thailand, then again, neither am I.

TR 2 - 0 TH


Thailand is out and out in front. Turkey as good cheap hotels and good expensive hotels. Thailand as good cheap hotels and excellent expensive hotels. It was a struggle to find a 5 star hotel at our resort, in Thailand the global chains are there in force.

TR 2 - 1 TH


Another one for Thailand, easily. The beaches say at Hua Hin compared with Olu Deniz are far superior. The water in Turkey is probably clearer, but you get a better class of Hawkers in Thailand.

TR 2 - 2 TH

Holiday safety.

I have to say that I feel more safe in Turkey. Maybe because its close to Europe and as a lot of standards you would expect in Europe. Thailand outside of Bangkok can sometimes be intimidating.

TR 3 - 2 TH


This year in Thailand we had 12 good days out of 15 and in May/June that's not bad, humidity is the killer in Thailand. In Turkey it was 35-40 C everyday and not a cloud in the sky. The temperature is a lot more bearable.

So the finish is

Turkey 4 - 2 Thailand

It's not as clean cut as that and there are something's like other tourists, local social differences and family that also make a difference, but this is trying to look at it from a tourist point of view.

The beach at Hua Hin

The beach near Olu Deniz

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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Fast Car Hire


On our trip to Thailand we used a company to book our hire car called "Fast Car Hire" (FCH). I paid a deposit in December and the balance at the end of February. We received a voucher to be used with Thai Rentacar (TRC).

A few days before, I contacted the TRC to check all the details and was reassured it was. On the morning I should have picked the car up a shiny new Mitsubishi SUV was delivered, I paid the deposit and waited for the keys. It was then I was told I had to also pay for the full amount as FCH hadn't paid for the hire.

I went back up to the room and checked my FCH account and the was a message saying there had been an error with accounting and I would have to pay for the hire.

I couldn't believe the email!

I had to send the car away, luckily my in-laws loaned me their car and the holiday went on as planned.

To cut a long story short, FCH never paid me the refund or communicated with me again. I had paid by PayPal, they were shocking and did nothing to help. The only people who seemed to be interested were my bank Lloyds TSB. They launched a debit card inquiry and have got my money back from PayPal.

Fast Car Hire seem to be a complete set of con artists, even though the whole incident has been a struggle, I'm determined to get some redress from them and will pursue them through Trading Standards and Watchdog.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thailand two years on

We have just arrived back from a family trip to Thailand.

We have been saving since Christmas for the trip and have been looking forward to it.

This post is more about what I perceive as the changes I saw in Thailand since we were last there two years ago, I'll do a post on the actual holiday at a later date.

I know the Thai baht is at an all time high against the pound, but from what I saw in Bangkok prices have gone up across the board.

It first it me at the hotel, we were staying at the Centara Grand at Lad Prao, on the first night we took my in laws to the food court in Central. Don't get me wrong, the food is nice and up to western standards, the bill however came in at nearly £50! Whilst that is still cheaper than the UK for the same meal, the difference wasn't that great.

The following day, whilst sitting round the pool, Elizabeth had a can of coke and I had a can of Chang. The bill came to over £8, this I thought was way to much. This could have been more to do with the hotel pricing policies rather than expensive Thailand. I've never paid anything like this at an hotel anywhere.

Petrol as gone up from around 30 baht to 36 baht, although name a country were it hasn't gone up? To me though I used to pay 60p a litre now the price is nearer 83p.

The standards and quality of Bangkok in general seems to have got better and restaurants were we went to on our last trip have all expanded and turned in to bigger concerns. Food in the classic restaurants are still excellent, I was disappointed with some of the chains. It seems that quantity is taking over from quality, meals at Sizzler, Pizza Hut and Pizza Co were definitely bordering in-edible! A plastic sweet taste that didn't seem real.

Maybe because of my diabetes and the lack of sweet things in my regular diet I found a lot of food in Thailand way to sweet, I don't know why so much sugar as to be added. I had a lemonade, wanting something sharp to take away a first. Unfortunately, you guessed it, it was super sweet.

Outside of Bangkok, things are a bit more real life. Prices are a lot better and again the quality of food and attractions seems to be a lot better. Dual pricing is still a bit of an issue, I do wish the UK would adopt this policy, free for locals and charge tourists extra.

Overall, I was really pleased with the way Thailand is going, there is still the massive difference between rich and poor and I saw plenty of times how the rich treat the poor. This will never change....

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Working Away From Home

In my latest job, I have to work from home on average 1 or 2 times a week.
I've worked away from home in previous jobs but never for this long. The hotels that I have stayed in range from horrible small flea pits in Oxford to palatial executive suites in Reading.
Several excellent hotels stand out in my mind.
Crowne Plaza at Chester. This by itself is a very good quality hotel, but in with that for price of £30 you can upgrade to the club suite. This means a better room and use of the Club Lounge, this as free alcohol and food most of the day. Also a superb breakfast.
Hallmark at Carlisle is another example of an excellent Hotel, part of a chain of old railway hotels. They aren't the most modern hotels but have an old world charm I would recommend to anyone.
I've stayed in some pretty bizarre hotels including hunting lodges in the Scottish highlands and out of the way secluded hotels in North Wales. Both of which were superb hotels and come highly recommended.
Below are some of the views I've had from my hotel rooms. However, no matter how good the hotel is, it's always good to get home.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Moral Bus keeps on coming

Just when you thought that moral outrage as hit Def Con 5, along comes the new Nok Air calendar. Following on from the very recent Saturday Night Live Sketch showing a spoof of a Rosetta Stone video for sex tourists this is too much for some in Thailand.

Nok Air is the Easy Jet of Thailand, being owned and run by Thai Airways. Their new calendar as raised many eyebrows! Showing scantily clad ladies with several of their aircraft.

Prisana Pongtatpitakkul, the Ministry of Culture's Permanent Secretary is throwing a fit, explaining that this calendar is an afront to womens dignity. I believe, this is something else that certain people are trying in vain to dictate what Thailands image is oversea's. They may be able to censor the press and public at large in Thailand, but not what people think overseas.

Also at the end of the day, it is only a calendar. When I usd to visit some of my previous engineering clients, the calendars on the wall were far, far worse. Some even made me blush! This is just a marketing calendar and in all fairness, all of this publicity is antastic marketing for Nok Air.

(Does anyone know where I can get one please?)



Friday, February 08, 2013

Latest outrage in Thailand

This week In Thailand the main news as been the reaction to a YouTube video released by the US comedy program, Saturday Night Live.

The sketch is basically a parody of a Rosetta Stone advert. Rosetta Stone being a language software company that teaches people to learn the worlds languages.

In the sketch, there are several geeky looking American white males learning phrases that will help them on holiday in Thailand. Phrases such as "How much for short time?" You get the picture.

It is a funny sketch, one that pose fun at the American bloke going to Thailand for sex. Unfortunately, certain members of the Thai government have taken exception and are very angry that this video will tarnish Thailands image. What!

The image of Thailand that I believe most people have is one of it being a world player in the sex industry, although as a normal tourist, you probably won't see to much of it, it is out there and in certain parts is very much in your face. Also, for every bit of prostitution you see as a tourist far more goes on for the local Thai population. Anyway, the cultural minister as summoned the US Ambassador to give he a talking too and they have tried to get the video clip banned on YouTube.

Banning and censorship seem to be a Thai pastime at the moment, being as they just came 135th in the world league table for the freedom of the press.....

Anyway, below is a link to the video clip. Make your own mind up.

The Video

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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Annual Baht value moan

Every time we have an upcoming trip back to Thailand I begin to monitor the value of the Thai baht against GB pound.

At the moment the pound is very strong and the pound is very weak! Not the best combination.

I always go back to 2005 when a pound was worth 75 baht, now it's around 48 baht. That's a 40% difference, which is again not a good situation. I tend to equate things like this to beer. Beer used to cost around a pound a pint, bearing in mind that prices have gone up with time and that same pint with inflation and the exchange rate is around £ 1.80. That's some increase...

The trick is to book any Hotels and Car Hire in pounds, providing the baht strengthen and the pound weakens then this is a safe bet.

This said we are still booking five star hotels for £80 a night and hiring a very smart SUV for only £32 a day, so Thailand is still a good value place to visit.

More on our trip later...

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Monday, January 21, 2013

My take on Lance Armstrong

This week, my cycling hero fessed up to have been a cheat.

This as been news for the last six months. Ever since LA (Lance Armstrong) decided not to cooperate with an USADA inquiry, everyone thought the worse. I decided to give this bloke the benefit of the doubt.

In 2002/3, I myself was very ill. All the time I thought if LA can come back from cancer then I should be able to get back to the level of performance that I was at several years earlier. Lets put things in to some perspective. LA is a Premiership team like Man Utd, in comparison I would be playing in the Unibond League for Belper Town.

Unfortunately, I was and have never been able to get close and this at times as made me mad with myself. I just couldn't commit to the level of dedication that LA showed in his books and DVDs. ( Which I own, but thats another story).

However, after the interview the other night with Oprah Winfrey in which LA partially came clean and admitted doping, a few things dawned on.

These are the parts of the LA recovery that I didnt complete:

Be part of the largest ever doping circle in the history of pro sport
Take Human Growth Ormones
Take EPO
Take Steroids
Have complete blood transfusions
Have the backing of $100,000,00's of sponsors funds
Manipulate people close to me to my advantage

Maybe, just maybe if I Had been able to have a part of these cheats, then who knows. Maybe I could have been a contender?

In short, LA totally disgusts me, Jail will be to good for him. The very least he needs to do is apologise to all the people he abused, tell the full story of his doping history and then give all the money he gained during the doping era needs to be either given back or given to the Lvestrong Foundation.


Never been let down like this before.......

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Death and Re-Birth

For a year now I've been struggling with putting posts up on this blog.

I've used excuses like time, not much going on in my life, nothing going on in the world etc etc...

After a long think, I believe the main reason is the new and growing social media craze. Blogging was my first venture in to this world and before the likes of Facebook and Twitter came on the scene blogging was the best way to get your message over to the rest of the world, or any one who was bothered to look at it.

I've posted nearly 800 times and some of the blogs if I say so myself have been good and attracted a lot of attention. However, I reach more people and the people I want to reach with Facebook, the whole experience is easier and you can get your message over in fewer words and the use of photos makes things way brighter.

So I've had a bit of think and my blog in its current form will be coming to and end. This is not the end of my blogging days, this blog started off has a blog about my life in Thailand. Thailand is still close to my heart and thoughts. So, I'm going to concentrate on all things Thailand, be it travelling, Thailand blogs, Expat life seen through my experiences and people who live there and Thai life.

Over the next dew weeks, I'm going to archive the old blog and bring the blog up to date. The name will stay the same and the ,ink through my own website will also remain, I will also notify people on my Facebook and twitter accounts.

Below are links to myself


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