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New to Thailand

Weymouth, United...
Level Contributor
15 posts
28 reviews
New to Thailand

I have just booked 2 weeks at the Apsara Beachfront Resort in March and am trying to find out some basic info about Thailand. Looking at topics on the forum and internet give confusing details.

I would be grateful of some informed opinions.

Firstly, I understand that you do not need a visa for a 2 week visit but the Firstchoice confirmation email says you need a Tourist card but I cannot find anything about one anywhere else. Does this exist and how do you get it?

It looks like it is better to change money in Thailand rather than at home but where is the best places near to our hotel?

There seems to be some confusion about what is included I the all inclusive package at the Apsara. Can anyone shed any light on what restaurants/bars are included?

Having gone all the way to Thailand, we would like to go to Bangkok if possible. Are there any tours available to go there from Khao Luk?

Many thanks in anticipation.

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
45,458 posts
107 reviews
1. Re: New to Thailand

It seems that it is First Choice causing the confusion not this or other forums at least in relation to visa requirements. Never heard of a tourist card in relation to visas. As a UK passport holder you are entitled to enter Thailand without a visa for up to 30 days under the Visa Exemption Scheme. Your passport will be stamped to that effect by Thai Immigration when you arrive.

First Choice should tell you exactly what is included in your AI package that you have paid for. There are previous posts if you use the search function on the Apsara in general and AI in particular.

As for changing money you should do it in Thailand not in the UK. The best places are the bankks and exchange kiosks in The main townships of Bang Niang and Bang La On which are about 20-25 minutes from the Apsara by shuttle or taxi.

Edited: 28 January 2016, 19:16
Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
45,458 posts
107 reviews
2. Re: New to Thailand

PS

There are no regular tours as such to Bangkok. It is easiest by a just over an hour flight from Phuket which is about 75minutes from the Apsara then book a hotel to suit your budget and dates.

norwich
Level Contributor
1,105 posts
32 reviews
3. Re: New to Thailand

There is a tourist card to fill in on the plane to hand over at immigration/ passport control at Phuket airport.this will be handed out on the plane and attached to your pass port do not lose it !

LINCOLN
Level Contributor
176 posts
11 reviews
4. Re: New to Thailand

I looked into flying to Bangkok with Thai Airways but tbh it isn't cheap - we have done Bangkok before but the children haven't and I do feel a bit sad I can't take them even for a day or two but it's just too expensive for us. There are 4 of us and we'd need to fly around Christmas which obviously bumps up the price!

You may have more luck in March though - have a look at the Thai Airways website. Not sure if there are any other operators - maybe try Skyscanner to see.

Level Contributor
84 posts
8 reviews
5. Re: New to Thailand

Asia Air fly from Phuket to Bangkok just over an hours flight ,however what you need to take in to account is the travel to the airport check in time the flight time and then onward travel in to the city centre ,we flew the other day and we left our hotel in Bangkok at 10 am and arrived at our hotel on Khao Lak at 4 pm . If your looking to visit during your 14 day stay you'll spend 2 days of your holiday traveling if I was you I'd stay in Khao Lak it's a lot nicer than Bangkok.

LINCOLN
Level Contributor
176 posts
11 reviews
6. Re: New to Thailand

Karen, I must say, I know Bangkok isn't everyone's cup of tea, but we loved it. It is frenetic and crazy but that's part of it's 'charm'. I also think the Grand Palace and floating markets are 'must sees' when in Thailand but that's just my opinion of course. There are lots of other amazing places to see in Thailand so you could go on and on.

I do understand what the OP is saying, about visiting Thailand and not visiting Bangkok, especially if this will be their one and only visit to Thailand. But Thailand is a big country and travelling large distances isn't easy. Bangkok is an awfully long way from Khao Lak.

I have been surprised by how much there is to see and do around Khao Lak and as I build an itinerary I find it hard to see how we would have fitted in 2 nights in Bangkok (as you say, you need 2 nights to make it worthwhile with travel etc). Instead, we've decided to spend the money on an overnight in Khao Sok although not sure where we'll stay yet - Garry - maybe this would be an option for you if Bangkok looks out of the question? I know it's not offering the heady heights of Bangkok, but it offers something different and unique instead.

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
45,458 posts
107 reviews
7. Re: New to Thailand

There are a number of airlines that fly from Phuket to Bangkok. Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways which is usually as expensive as Thai Airways and Thai Smile, a low cost arm of Thai airways, use Suvarnabhumi the main international airport (Code BKK), and Low Cost Carrier (LCC) airlines (same as RyanAir or EasyJet) AirAsia, Nok Air, Thai Lion and Orient Thai (not generally recommended because of safety record) use Don Mueang Airport (Code DMK) the LCC airport. Depending on dates and availability you can get a return flight from as little as £37 with AirAsia for instance. For an overnight stay either airport is OK for links to the city.

To get any benefit from a trip to Bangkok though you need at least one night In Bangkok. There are plenty of reasonably priced options for just one night which would allow you to see the "Must See" attractions of the Grand palace and temples. Not sure a floating market is a must see in a short stay as they are just very busy tourist traps. There is plenty of information on Things to Do on the Bangkok Forum at tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowForum-g293916-i3687-Ba…

You can book tours of the main attractions to fit in your time available. We have used Hotels2Thailand.com - see hotels2thailand.com/bangkok-hotels-day-trips… for various tours and prices. They are very good and very reasonably priced but just be aware the first price you see is based on a Child price.

It will be two long and tiring days buy if it is going to be your only trip to Thailand worth it.

Weymouth, United...
Level Contributor
15 posts
28 reviews
8. Re: New to Thailand

Many thanks everybody for the helpful advice.

Going to Thailand was a spur of the moment thing. We were going to Cost Rica but was put off by the bad reviews for the hotel we were looking at. I found the Apsara Beachfront Resort when looking at alternative countries and was impressed by the excellent tripadvisor reviews. I usually do a lot off research about where we go before I book so I am playing catch-up with Thailand.

It looks like Bangkok will have to be a DIY trip so I will leave that 'til another time when we have a better idea about how things work in Thailand. There looks to be plenty of things to do locally to keep us occupied. Any suggestions anybody?. There appear to be plenty of water based tours that we enjoy but we also like to see some of the wildlife and culture of the countries we visit. Are there any nature reserves or temples near by worth visiting? If there are elephant or horse riding places it is important to us that they care about the animals welfare and don't exploit them purely for financial gain.

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
45,458 posts
107 reviews
9. Re: New to Thailand

Khao Sok National Park where you could stay over in a tree house is about an hour north of the Apsara and the awesome Cheow Lan Lake where you can stay overnight in a floating raft house about an hour further north east of that. Lots of tours home for either or both from Khao Lak. Plenty of information on the Khao Sok forum.

Elephant Hills luxury tented camp on the fringes of the NP is regarded as the most ethical elephant camp - no riding, just interaction with the Ellies.

Khao Lak Riding School has horse riding on the beach near the Apsara.

Lots of information about Things to Do in and around Khao Lak including in pictures in the Top Question FAQs on the right of the forum when you view the full site on a PC or laptop.

Glastonbury, United...
Level Contributor
163 posts
40 reviews
10. Re: New to Thailand

If you are also planning to visit Thailand at a later date then it would be worth considering a flight from the UK that goes via Bangkok, you could then have a couple of nights there before going on to another destination. Several years ago we visited Thailand for the first time and stayed in Ko Samui. We used Thai airlines via Bangkok, we spent 3 nights in Bangkok before continuing our journey to Ko Samui. I think Bangkok is definitely worth a visit if you've never been before.

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