Monday, September 8, 2008

Bangkok en transit

Went through Bangkok as part of the stopover from Beijing. From Beijing, as of September 2008 there are three main ways to get to Kathmandu:
1) via CTU-LXA: very expensive and potential Tibet Travel Permit concern
2) via CAN: infrequent via China Southern
3) via HKG: many airlines. Royal Nepal flies this route, but you cannot book outside of Nepal... nor would you want to given their record
4) via BKK: my route, courtesy Star Alliance

Went via EgyptAir, a very nice carrier to BKK. At BKK, did a stopover at Queen's Garden Resort at River View, which is a 10min taxi drive away; BKK immigration took less than 10 minutes. Booked through Web Sawadee, which I recommend although I am uncertain about the prices. One-way transfer free, return 150 bhat. Bring USD or GBP, as exchanging RMB is horribad rates!

The view from the window. Suprisingly, the hotel is not bad.

A suprise in the morning, however - if you leave the airport, prepare to pay a 700 bhat "Airport Tax"! In hindsight, I would have probably slept in the airport - which is actually decently nice - or checked in my bags before I left / got my boarding pass, and then left the airport to avoid the tax. Otherwise, BKK is a ripoff for food (Burger King is 2-3x NYC prices), but it's a pretty airport. Free wi-fi outside the OneTeam lounge! Good to know, as this trick has worked at PEK also.

Note: Thai airlines is amazing. The ample alcohol, meal and snack, and drinks, along with the new planes and very good flight attendants made this my most pleasant flight yet! Unlike on AirTran, when a couple with a crying baby was evicted from the plane, here the situation was taken care of with a quick toy to a crying child during takeoff. US Airways, get learning!

Thais love their king!

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