Posts Tagged Thailand

Volcanic ash leaves me stranded in Bangkok

Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand - betw...
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been one of the poor unfortunates caught up in the whole flight cancellations due to the volcanic ash across Europe.

My wife, 2 year old daughter and I arrived at the Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday in Bangkok, well aware that there could be difficulties with our flight home. Before we travelled to the airport we tried numerous times to get through to Etihad Airlines phone line without luck. After checking our flight details online and noticing it was possible to check in for our flight online, we had no choice but to drag all our belongings to the airport and see what was going to happen.

We travelled to Thailand with my wife’s family and friends who were there for a wedding. We decided to stay and little longer than them. Their connecting flight was cancelled when they arrived in Abu Dhabi from Bangkok and the airline had been putting them up in a 5 star hotel with 3 meals a day. So we thought, if that was our only option from the airline, that we would do the same rather than being stuck in Bangkok with no accommodation arrangements etc.

When we got to the airport, we headed straight for the Etihad customer service desk. Of course, it had one of the longest queues in the airport. We queued for about 45 minutes, when a shout came from behind the service desk that “anyone travelling today can go straight to check-in�. We thought to ourselves “right that means we are being sent to Abu Dhabi at least�.

After queuing for another 30 odd minutes, we were ushered to a separate check in desk for people hoping to travel to Dublin. When we got there, the Etihad check-in girl, handed us a piece of paper with new flight dates and said “goodbyeâ€?. The flight was for 10 days later, the 27th of April. I asked her was this all they were doing, well aware of the rest of my wife’s family’s plight. She said yes and walked off to talk to the next unfortunate soul. I know it wasn’t her fault, but you would have expected a little more help from the airline – even some suggestions on where we could stay, what we should do etc etc. Luckily for us, my wife’s brother lives in Bangkok and he was able to help us organise somewhere to stay.

The first thing I did was gain access to an Internet connection, when on myt first port of call was my travel insurance company – I won’t say much about them now, but let’s just say, the first call I was told to ring my broker as they are being told they are not covering anyone for this Volcanic event.

So now 3 days into my extended stay things are starting to look up – but I have to admit, Bangkok city isn’t the place to stay with a 2 year old. There’s very little to do after spending more than 10 days here already added to the fact that a lot of the main shopping areas are closed because of the Red Shirt protests.

My baby turns 3 on Sunday, we had a party organised for her that she still talks about – looks like it will be a small happy day with the 3 of us! :)

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Baumanburi Hotel, Patong, Phuket, Thailand

View of the Patong Beach facing South.
Image via Wikipedia

One of the hotels we stayed in on our trip through Thailand was the Baumanburi Hotel in Patong, Phuket. The hotel is well located if you want access to amazing nightlife as it is just a 5 minute walk away from the famous Bangla Road on Patong Beach.

The hotel itself is pretty nice. The rooms aren’t too bad, with my only complaint being that the bathrooms are in much need of an upgrade. Other than that they are pretty standard and good for the price of a stay at this hotel.

The pool area of the hotel is probably the nicest part of the hotel. Surrounded by large palm trees, there is one large pool and one kids pool. In the main pool, it separates nicely to give different ambiances and feels depending on what area you are in. There’s also a fantastic pool bar that my 2 year old wanted to constantly swim to, to get a drink (of soda of course!). Overall, it was a nice hotel – not worthy of the 4 star rating in my opinion, but I’ve stayed in worse.

Now for the negatives and it comes in one word “staff�. Not all the staff were bad, but be very careful when ordering food or drinks by the pool or even in the main bar area.

There were a number of staff who would simply steal from you. I admit it wasn’t all of them, but it was easy to pin point those that did. They stole from us in two different ways. One was to give you the bill and return the wrong change. A simple trick that can look innocent initially, which you’d probably let go. But then you see them doing it with everything you purchase, you know there’s something not right. You should always check your receipt and change before tipping them.

The other trick they had was not to present you with the actual bill at all. For example, when you asked for the bill, they would go off for a few minutes, come back and tell you a price without giving you the actual receipt. Insist on seeing the receipt as it’s very likely they have added extra to the actual cost. Every-time they tried this with us, they had added at least 50-100 baht to the price of the bill. I know it’s not much, but they are ripping you off.

With all that said, I would recommend this hotel for a place to stay in Patong, Phuket. The hotel is nice and reasonably priced. But like everywhere else in Phuket, you have to have your wits about you or run the risk of overpaying for everything.

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