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Soi Dogs And Cats

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Stray cats and dogs are a nuisance in Thailand. Most are either homeless or poorly fed and roam the streets and private land scavenging for scraps. Some are diseased or injured and others may be dangerous. They kill domestic animals and poultry and the dogs often bark for hours at night.

Many people have mixed feeling about these animals, at once angry at their presence and also pitying their plight.

There's a charity in Bangkok that is doing something about this problem for the benefit of both the animals concerned and the people amongst whom they live. SCAD (Soi Cats And Dogs) runs programmes of animal birth control, adoption and education to improve the lives of these animals and, therefore, their owners and neighbours.

This is a charity that benefits both animals and humans. I think it deserves support. At least look at the SCAD website but also consider either donating or helping in some other way. SCAD suffered financially during the troubles in Bangkok in 2010 and now have to fund a move to new premises.

Please take a look at SCAD and the work they do.     Click here.


SCAD Health Centre

Eric Clapton In Bangkok - 2010

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Eric Clapton of Yardbirds and Cream fame will return to Muang Thong, Bangkok for another concert on Wednesday 16 February 2010. The venue is Impact Arena.

Eric Clapton has been on the music scene since 1963 and is still busy touring. His previous concert in Bangkok was a sellout and a great showcase of all his favourite songs. Perhaps his most famous contribution to the modern music scene was as lead guitarist in Cream but, for me, his greatest achievement has been to help keep alive the tradition of blues music.

Impact Arena is an excellent venue, modern and spacious, easily accessible by road with parking and hotels nearby.

A great and only occasional opportunity to see the maestro live in this part of the world.

To learn more and book, visit the ThaiTicket Major website.

Eric Claption Concert Bangkok February 2010
The legendary Eric Clapton playing live at the...

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Shadows Fall.jpg

Heavy Metal fans can recharge their batteries on Thursday 30 September at a performance by the American band Shadows Fall. The venue is the Inch Club in Din Daeng and the entry fee is THB1,200. Take your own ear plugs!

The Inch

Booking and information

Nasa Vegas Hotel, Bangkok

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Nasa-Vegas-Restaurant.jpg
Nasa Vegas Hotel in Bankapi, Bangkok is ideal if you want to stay in a quality hotel for a reasonable room rate and don't need to be right in the centre of Bangkok. The Nasa Vegas is in Bangkapi, just a short taxi ride from the main shopping and entertainment centres whilst also being very convenient for the new airport.

For a change from the bustle of the main shopping areas, The Mall, just 3 minutes away in a taxi, is worth an hour or two of your time. There are two buildings linked by a footbridge. One has individual shops and restaurants (including a supermarket and Boots the Chemist) and the other is a department store.

The Nasa Vegas room rates really are budget for Bangkok and the quality is good.

Here is the  hotel website: http://www.nasavegashotel.com/index.html

Update March 2010:

Things have been changing in and around the Nasa Vegas Hotel.

Probably the most important change for the future is the construction of the Skytrain track right outside with a station across the road. When trains begin to run it will be possible to get directly from the hotel either to Suvarnabhumi or down town.

A road or rail flyover can easily spoil the surrounding buildings but I don't think that will happen in this case. Nasa Vegas has smartened up the approach and frontage and laid on a buggy to run guests to and from the car park.

Another welcome change is the introduction of a buffet style breakfast for THB140.


Update August 2010:

The new overhead rail link to Suvarnabhumi Airport is due to open on 23 August 2010.
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Disney On Ice 2010 - Bangkok

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Disney On Ice 2010

DISNEY ON ICE 2010 a Disneyland Adventure

 

This season's family show at Impact Arena in Bangkok will be Disney On Ice. Performances will run from Friday 26 March to Wednesday 31 March 2010. An ice show in Thailand is, surely, a must see for the children!

Impact Arena in the Muang Thontani district of Bangkok is an excellent venue with hotels not far away. It's also a popular venue so I recommend that you book early for what promises to be a lovely family trip. There is some parking available at Impact Arena and it's worth considering taking your own transport - the taxi queue after performances can be a bit of a scramble.

Tickets are available on line from Thai Ticket Major.



Flights to Bangkok, Thailand

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Bangkok, Thailand, is a popular flight destination for travellers from around the world. Suvarnabhumi Airport can rightly claim to be a major 'hub', as the linguistically fashionable might put it. But which airline would you choose? My flights to and from Bangkok usually have Heathrow, London at the other end and I have by no means sampled all of the flight offerings on that route. I always fly economy because the fares for the other classes are too high for just a few hours' extra comfort.

Here are my experiences so far in case they help someone choose:

1. Thai Airways, Thailand's national airline, seems to have lost its way. I used them so often that I built up useful points with Star Alliance but they never appear in the low fare range now. The aircraft are old and the legroom is not the best on offer. I hear that they still manage to fill the seats with passengers but I don't know anyone who uses them nowadays.

2. EVA offers newer aircraft than Thai and are much cheaper. This is one of the most popular airlines on this route. Each seat has its own dvd screen from which you can make your own choice of movie or watch the flight's progress on a map. The food is quite acceptable too. The legroom is better than on Thai. One drawback of EVA is that flights from Bangkok start from Taiwan and so even an early check in might fail to get you your favourite seat.

3. Qatar Airways' flights are also cheap. There's a short stop-over at Doha which some passengers might find welcome. It's a small airport but you can buy a coffee and snack or pick up some duty frees. The aircraft are, like EVA's, quite new and passenger have individual dvd screens.The food is acceptable but Arabic food is not my favourite and airlines do like to offer versions of their national cuisine, don't they?

4. Emirates has been suggested to me for some time as an excellent airline and, having now used them, I can agree. The fares are low, the food, though Arabic, is good and the cutlery is metal (in economy!). Legroom is good. The aircraft are newer than those of the other fleets and they look it. There's a stop-over in Dubai, a new and comfortable airport.

The cabin crew on all of these flights are satisfactory but not perfect. There seems to be not quite enough of them on a full flight and service can be slow.

Good luck with your own flights!

Suvarnabhumi Airport Scams

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Two organised scams are being practised at Thailand's main airport near to Bangkok.

One involves arresting foreign passengers on suspicion of stealing from the duty free shop. They are threatened with imprisonment, kept in a nearby hotel and forced to pay a huge 'fine' for their release.

The second scam is this. Arriving passengers, couples and groups presumably, leaving their planes are advised to put their duty free purchases in one bag. After the customs check, they are stopped and their bags opened. They are told that they have too much in duty free goods. The goods are confiscated and they are fined.

This is an evil scam aimed at vulnerable tourists and transit passengers who have no idea about the law in Thailand and no idea where to seek help. It's a disgrace that it has taken foreign news reporters to expose this and force a response from the government. Don't be reassured, by the way, that this will be stopped any time soon.

My advice is that travellers should stay out of the airport shops. If you are bringing in duty free goods from another country, make sure that you are not over the limit and keep your purchases separate from those of other people, even your companion's.

Here's some more information:

BBC

Andrew Drummond

Rod Stewart in Bangkok

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Are you a Rod Stewart fan and likely to be in Bangkok on 4 March 2009? Yes? Then you have a treat in store because he will be in concert at the Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani on that day.

You can buy your tickets here:

http://www.thaiticketmajor.com/concert/rod_stewart_eng.php

Enjoy!

Nancy Chandler's Map Of Bangkok

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Nancy Chandler's Map Of Bangkok and it's supporting booklet are the best guide to Bangkok that I have found. It's detailed, factual and packed with stuff that the visitor wants to know. There is no glossy prose or any of the other nonsense that more conventional guides offer - just straightforward and concise information and support from the Nancy Chandler office in Bangkok.

I have read so much inaccurate rubbish in guide books to Bangkok and Thailand that it was a real treat to find this little treasure!

Make sure that you buy the latest edition. Much of the shopping information is so detailed that it soon gets out of date.




John Burdett's novel, Bangkok Eight makes pleasurable reading. It's main fascination for me is the information that he reveals about the world of bars, bar girls, katoeys, police and the background to farang hangouts in Bangkok. Burdett manages to reveal a wealth of information about the murkier side of Bangkok life without overwhelming the story line.

Any visitor, or even expat resident, who wants a taste of what lurks behind the facade presented by the city would do well to read this novel. An enjoyable way to gain some knowledge!



The pantomime Cinderella is in Bangkok from 16 to 21 December starring Lea Salonga. Miss Salonga has starred in Miss Saigon in London's West End and Broadway. The performances will be in memory of the late Princess Galyani Vadthana.

The venue is the Muangthai Ratchadalai Theatre at the Esplanade Shopping Centre in Ratchadapisek Road.

For full information and booking, go to the Thaiticketmajor link below.

Information and Booking at Thaiticketmajor


Chay-Ka-Restaurant.jpg
Chay Ka is a new restaurant and entertainment complex just 2 kilometres from Bangkok's  Suvarnabhumi International Airport. It's right next door to Valentine Resort and just the place for an evening out before or after your flight.

Chay Ka is a typical upmarket food and entertainment spot. The Thai food menu suits the Western palate as well as Thai and there's live music as the evening progresses.

A thoughtful feature for smokers is the air conditioned smoking room. Instead of standing outside, you just leave your table, enjoy your smoke in a private room and return.

Chay Ka is where King Kaew Road meets On Noot Road. As you leave the airport, keep left and follow the King Kaew signs. To the left you will see upturned boat hulls around the building, distinguishing it from surrounding buildings.
Valentine Resort, situated close to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, this is a very convenient place to stay for those with an early departing flight or who are too tired to travel on after landing. Rooms are simple and basic but clean and include air conditioning, television and a fridge.

The standard room rate is THB900 and you might be able to negotiate this down to around THB600. Breakfast is basic and at extra cost. Next to the building, in the parking area, is a Thai restaurant for breakfast, a minimart and an ATM.

For an evening meal, turn right from Valentine and walk about 100 metres or so to enjoy a Thai evening with live music at the huge Chay Ka restaurant.

There is no website at present. You will find the resort where King Kaew Road meets On Noot Road 2 kilometres from the airport exit. The simplest way to find it is by leaving the airport keeping left and following King Kaew Road signs.

The 'Valentine' sign is not easily seen so look for three buildings with the word 'Mansion' in the names. Valentine Resort is in the middle building named 'PA Mansion'.

Contact details: 02 175 1686/1687        081 458 7232

For an English speaker, call Peter 081 485 1949

The address is: 51/18 m.7 King Kaew Road, Bangplee, Samutprakan, Bangkok.

Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

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Suvarnabhumi-Airport-1.jpg Suvarnhabhumi International Airport airport is to the east of Bangkok close to Highway 9, the Eastern Bypass. Road communication is good but the overhead rain link is incomplete and few long distance coaches serve it at present.

If you want to take a cab, ignore the taxi touts and head for the taxi-meter rank outside. Taxis are cheap but make sure that the meter is turned on. A ride into town should cost around THB250.

The inside appearance of the terminal building is stunning at first site but the greyness and long walks soon take over from the initial impression. Let's face it, this airport is not everyone's cup of tea. There have been complaints about the shortage services and the high prices in the rather few restaurants. However, it functions well and there is no shortage of helpful staff.

Use this official Airports of Thailand website for more information about this and other Thai airports: 

                    http://www2.airportthai.co.th/airportnew/sun/index.asp


The English version charmingly and typically refuses to translate itself fully but I guess they'll get there in the end.

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