After almost 2 years for reasons that were undesirable I went back to Thailand.
I won’t go into the reasons for why I went but I am happy to recount my experiences with you.
I did alot of checking online for tickets using sites like Kayak, Priceline and a few others before going.
My first choice for an airline was EVA. Their ticket prices were not the lowest but they had great reviews online which swayed me very heavily toward them.
Ultimately though I did not end up going with EVA. I instead got a package from Travelocity that cost me about $800 total. For this price I got a China Airlines roundtrip plane ticket, hotel in Bangkok for the entirety of my stay and a private taxi from and to the airport.
I was not excited about the airline as its reviews were not stellar when it comes to customer satisfaction but luckily I did not encounter any of the issues I have read about.
Appearently China Air had acquired a few Boeing 777s in their fleet. The plane was large, the seating was pretty spacious in economy and looked more so further up, everyone had a nice touchscreen and the attendants were fairly nice in my opinion. This made the the voyage to my layover destination pretty enjoyable.
Unfortunately we were switched over to an older Boeing 747 upon getting to our layover destination and things were much less enjoyable. The seating was cramped, their were televisions in the seats but they were remote operated and much as you would expect from a remote with years of service under its belt it barely worked.
The positive? The food was good on both the Boeing 747 and 777, the movie selections were for recent movies such as Warcraft or Finding Dory.
You may be wondering what kind of hotel Travelocity got me for my package. Nothing great. I stayed at the Buddy Mansion in Ramkhamhaeng.
There is nothing wrong with the this hotel if your not picky and understand its just a place to sleep while you go adventuring.
They offer washing machines, wifi, televisions and American style toilets.
The problems with this hotel are entirely due to its location. Its not located near the BTS station. Meaning you can’t just walk down the street and catch the BTS to any major tourist spots such as Wat Pho, Asiatic or even MBK.
Due to this your stuck relying on taxis and tuk tuks. While getting a taxi out of Ramkhamhaeng was easy it was often expensive. Generally between 300-500 baht (it was about 34 baht to a dollar when I was there).
Making matters worse most taxi drivers don’t turn on their meter. If you want them to do so then prepare to argue. I’m not good at that so I just paid….
Getting a taxi back to the hotel was a challenge each day. Nearly every taxi driver was unfamiliar with this hotel/area. Even after giving them a Thai business card with the address we got lost several times and one taxi driver openly complained to me about how far Ramkhamhaeng was from MBK for the duration of my ride even though he was already getting paid double what he should have.
Ultimately I ended up checking out of Buddy Mansion early and opted to stay at a hotel closer to the BTS and MBK that was only around $20 USD per night. Getting around town became much easier after this.
Tip: If you are good at haggling with people and can convince the driver to turn on their meter or just plain luck in to hailing a taxi that uses the meter you can expect to pay much lower rates.
Was the package worth it?
Ultimately I don’t feel this package was worthwhile. Why? I am solely basing this on the hotel and taxis.
The hotel was much too far from anything fun and exciting. So far that I probably spent a few thousand baht in 2 days (that’s right a few thousand ) just getting around to the MBK area and back to my hotel.
Additionally the “private” car that Travelocity got me cost a total of $60 usd. This is way more expensive than it should be. The hotel I decided to stay at was actually further from the airport than Buddy Mansion was however on my way back to the states I just got a random taxi and was only charged $15 to go from my hotel to the airport.
Live and learn right? So the lessons from this post? China Air is okay. Ramkhamhaeng is far away from touristy fun. And Taxis are expensive.