Budget Wise :: NE Thailand Supplement

30 03 2009

When we left Thailand back in December the country was about to start their new Visa on Arrival. What used to be a free 30-day Visa for Americans is now only a 15-day Visa. Luckily, it is still free, but this does put a little cramp in a schedule if you’re expecting a full 30-day Visa. (If you fly into the country, I believe you still get the initial 30 days, but any land crossing after that now only gets you 15 as far we understand.) Although we didn’t have as much time in the country this time around, we did still manage to visit three new cities in Northeast Thailand on our way down to Bangkok from Vientiane, Laos. Therefore, the following is meant as a supplement to the original Budget Wise Thailand.

Our 12 day daily average :: $28.87 USD (for two people: one couple) :: 1 USD = 35 THB (baht)

Since this was the end of our Southeast Asian tour and also our international trip we did relax a bit on our budget, but also on our motivation to get out and do things as well. At this time of the year, it is HOT in this region, so our main priority was a room with A/C and some near by tasty grub.

Nong Khai $27.73 (3 day average) :: Khon Kaen $26.20 (3 d.a.) :: Korat $27.17 (3 d.a.) :: Bangkok $34.37 (3 d.a.)



:: Budget Breakdown Supplement ::

Since this is just a supplement to the original Budget Wise Thailand, I will spare you all the details and just explain the differences we noticed in this region of the country. First of all, guesthouses were about the same price in this region and we paid anywhere from 400-600 Baht for a double A/C room. We did get free WiFi in our guesthouses in Nong Khai and Khon Kaen, but we had to pay for it in Korat (1 Baht/minute) and Bangkok (50 Baht/day). The cost of meals and drinks were pretty much the same as well, but we didn’t see as many good food-hole or food market options as we did on the West side of the country – or maybe we just got lazy. We only really did tourist-like activities in Nong Khai because we couldn’t pass up visiting the Salakeawkoo Sculpture Park. This was well worth the visit and only cost us 20 Baht per entry ticket. We rented some bikes from our Guesthouse, Ruan Thai, for 30 Baht for the day and just rode out there. Make sure to visit the Mutmee Guesthouse (a cool place also) to pick up a map to the park which also includes a diagram of the circle of life inside the park. We traveled to each city by bus and the costs were as follows: Nong Khai to Khon Kaen for 110 Baht/ticket, then to Korat for 125 Baht/ticket, and finally to Bangkok for 198 Baht/ticket.

For more detail on budget traveling in Northern Thailand, check out the original Budget Wise Thailand post. We hope this helps. Enjoy your travels.


Phnom-enal Crisis

27 12 2008

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We showed up in Phnom Penh with little idea of what we were going to do in town. After doing all of the temple touring in Siem Reap, we were all toured out. We would have probably spent a lot of time lazing about in our room at the Grandview Guesthouse if it weren’t for the fact that it was more like a closet than a room. The place had only room for one big bed and a 3’x6′ walking space, so it induced more feelings of claustrophobia than comfort. I couldn’t even get a picture to capture the size of the place. Of course at $4 a night we hardly had room to complain (or move). Read the rest of this entry »

Ancient Angkor: Part 2

25 12 2008

Siem Reap, Cambodia

First thing in the morning (aka 8am) we drove out to Banteay Kdei, a short, cleaned temple with a few different sections to wander through. Gage chafed at the various fallen stones that had been stacked back up and placed in the middle of a courtyard, making the ruins look more like a colorblind kid had attempted to stack some Legos. There was an awesomely gigantic tree in one courtyard that consumed one temple wall and dwarfed everything around it. The only other noticeable feature of Banteay Kdei were the various kids wandering about trying to sell postcards, scarves, table clothes, and drinks. Although we would soon find that that was at every temple. Read the rest of this entry »

Ancient Angkor: Part 1

24 12 2008

Siem Reap, Cambodia

The fun started as soon as we pulled into the harbor. Gage and I looked up to the riverside and saw a horde of tuk-tuk drivers hauling in the direction of the dock. Before the boat was even tied off, drivers were jumping on board and quizzing people down about who needed a ride. Having made reservations we were unintimidated and safe. Or so we thought. Due to a slight miscommunication our hotel had failed to arrange a pickup at the docks. We looked for our name on a sign board but saw nothing. After a few minutes of pushing the drivers away and saying that we had arrangements for a ride with Mandalay Inn, a young driver magically appeared with a Mandalay business card saying he was there for us. Yeah right. Where is the sign with our name on it? Oh, he was late and decided to forgo the sign in order to get to us quicker. Being the scam-hardened travels we are, I plucked the business card from the boy’s hand and called Mandalay. No, that kid was not associated with him, but the manager of the hotel spoke with the kid and arranged for him to take us. When the kid got off the phone, he explained that he would take us to Mandalay…if we used him to take us around the temples. We told him we’d think about it. He said he didn’t believe us. The kid was surprisingly ashamed when we pointed out that he was the liar. A little more chatting with the manager and chastising from us and we were on our way. Welcome to Siem Reap, the heart of Cambodia. Read the rest of this entry »