Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.
|Wednesday, March 07, 2018 01:25:01|
China, Thailand to Singapore 2018: 9 Pattaya, Thailand
Sunday, March 4, 2018
A transfer got us to the airport for the flight to Pattaya on an Air Asia A320-200. Khiri Travel wasted a lot of our money by having a guide and driver on simple transfers from airport to hotel or visa versa when all that was needed was a driver. We purchased "hot seats" which were standard economy spaced 3 seats each side of the aisle at the front of the plane, with the only advantage being that as they were more expensive only about 1/3 of them were booked. When the door closed everyone moved to have a set of 3 seats each. Meals are available on the 1 hour 10 minute flight, but only if purchased previously. The rest of us, including in the hot seats, didn't get as much as a glass of water. In a land where a full meal is served to economy class on 45 minute flights, this airline just doesn't make it.
Our transfer to the Sea, Sand, Surf hotel was smooth, and an additional transfer to the Sanctuary of Truth was organized, something Khiri promised us for staying in this hotel 60 or more kilometres from anything we wanted to see or do. Using this hotel also meant an an additional 120 or 130 kilometres to pick us up in the morning to take us to Bangkok.
Our driver into Pattaya did the best he could in traffic, but it soon became apparent that there was no way were were going to have time to see the Sanctuary of Truth, the only thing we planned to see, before it closed, so the driver took us to the place where we were to meet friend Kevin Hughes. Marilynn did some shoe shopping before we all had dinner together. Kevin knew a place with a good band a short walk away, so away we went. After a few more drinks Marilynn was up singing with the band. All and all it was a very good night. A taxi got us back to the hotel where we got hopelessly lost in a maze of trails to various units in the massive hotel complex. Eventually a security guard showed up and drove us to our unit.
We had been told Pattaya wasn't worth visiting, however we found it a lively, friendly city with good restaurants and entertainment. The city has a long, sandy beach near where we were, but not for swimming due to dirty water. Overall, I'd say Pattaya was worth visiting. We would have liked to have stayed longer, but not where we were located.
Monday, March 5, 2018
We had a look at the hotel golden sand beach from the breakfast area – it seemed to drop off into deep water quite quickly. There was no time to swim, as our room was a long way from the beach When we checked out the hotel billed us for the ride into town yesterday, which I refused to pay as Khiri Travel had agreed to provide it. Phone calls to Khiri resulted in them refusing to pay. A guide and driver were there to take us to Bangkok, but it soon became clear that the transfer was not going to happen if we did not pay the bill, so we did. It was double what we had paid for a taxi from the city to the hotel last night. It was made clear to all concerned that we were not happy.
Again money was wasted by having a guide and driver to take us to pick up our winter clothes suitcase at the Chatrium Hotel then drop us at the Hualamphong Railway station to board the Orient and Eastern Express. All she did was chat with the driver. Traffic was light, so we arrived at the train about four hours before it was to leave. Porters were on duty to take our suitcases as soon as we arrived, so we had lunch and beer across from the station after registering.
At boarding time staff were there to help every step of the way. We had booked the least expensive accommodation, the Pullman category, which was only 5 sq meters (53.8 sq ft). It was efficiently laid out, with up an down bunks each over 2 meters long and a well equipped bathroom with an enclosed shower, so we should survive quite well. The 17 coach train is very well appointed. It includes an observation car at the back, a bar car, restaurant car, saloon car (also used for meals) and a lounge car with library in addition to the accommodation cars.
They had a good arrangement for meals. Passengers were seated four to a table with others who spoke the same language, and with different people each meal so everyone got to know each other fairly quickly. Our fellow passengers were an interesting and well travelled group.
We chose the early (6:30 PM) sitting rather than the 9 PM seating, so headed for the bar car after the first of many superb meals. We soon got to know Peter, the piano player, and started singing old favourite songs. A group of about a dozen people from Taiwan were there, so we joined them to sing. It turned out some of them were in a choir, and had beautiful voices. They looked up the words to the English songs on their smart phones, and we followed them when they sang Taiwanese songs. It was a fun night.