Our flights into and out of Bangkok, Thailand was part of the 100,000 American Airlines miles we cashed in on this ‘Round the World trip. These flights were roughly four months apart so all travel within SE Asia was booked and paid for while in the region, these will be reflected on the upcoming budgeting posts.
Travel Budget Thailand
Our Thailand expenses are a little different from other destinations we visited in Southeast Asia, since they were spread out over three separate visits between September 2011 and January 2012. We arrived in Bangkok, and spent about a week there, before heading north by train to Chiang Mai. After another week or so, we head over the northern border into Laos. The next time we crossed the Thai border was via the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge into Nong Khai, in northeastern Thailand. A few days there, and we were headed to Phuket for a mid-RTW rest stop at a Marriott timeshare! A few months later, we returned to Bangkok again just in time for Christmas and New Year’s.
Notes that Affect the Numbers
Places to lay your head are a little more expensive than elsewhere in Southeast Asia, particularly in Bangkok and some of the other major tourist centers. There is a wide range of accommodation levels and styles, from bare-bone hostels to luxury resorts. We usually stayed in smaller guesthouses, while a HI (Hostelling International) branch in the old town, Dusit area became our favorite spot in Bangkok. Our first night on arrival to Thailand we cashed in points at the Bangkok Millenium Hilton. Our Christmas weekend in the Renaissance was paid with points, and as a timeshare owner with them, our week in Phuket was pre-paid as well through annual dues and a small exchange fee.
We bought one airline ticket within Thailand, from Udon Thani to Phuket. The other airfare cost came at the very end, when we returned from Vietnam to Bangkok on Christmas Eve. That ticket was around $150 each, pretty pricey compared to our other flights within SEA. Tuk Tuks in Bangkok should generally be taken once and only once, for the experience. Other than paying for that privilege, it was way too much hassle for us to bargain unsuccessfully and overpay than to get in an air-conditioned taxi for less. We also used the Chao Praya River Boats quite a bit. You get transportation and a view for $.30 to about $1, depending how far you go. The boats made it quick and easy to get from place to place along the river, avoided traffic, and were also lots of fun!
Donny had a bad case of Bangkok Belly (it may actually have been Hanoi Heaves), and we ended up at the hospital for analysis and treatment. He bounced back in a day or two, but there were associated medical expenses of about $100. This was the deductible on our travel insurance policy with World Nomads. He paid this sum separately, and it’s not included above, though it probably should have been. World Nomads’ phone support when we called from Bangkok was pretty good, and they were able to direct us to a nearby hospital they worked with regularly. Getting the claim paid was another story. They didn’t make it very easy to file anything from abroad. It was hard enough to get all the receipts and reports copied and mailed to them. They also came back a month later and said nothing could be processed until they received a notarized statement that he was not covered under any other insurance policy. It was not spelled out anywhere that such a document would be needed before filing a claim, and getting one while in Thailand was pretty much impossible.
Photo highlights from Thailand.