3 More Horrible Checked Baggage Problems

 

3 more things that could happen to your checked airplane luggage.– 3 more unwanted luggage problems –

As a former airplane baggage handler I have seen a lot of checked luggage. I noticed that people not always know what is happening to their belongings. With this article I want to educate you about baggage procedures at the airport and in the airplane. In a previous article I discussed various horrible things that could happen to your luggage. Here a three more unwanted situations that could occur.

1. Embarrassing moments with vibrating items

Make sure you remove the batteries from any vibrating items in your luggage. Those items can start to shiver during transport. A vibrating bag or suitcase can make the airport staff suspicious. The situation could occur that you will be asked to come down from the airplane, and then you have to open up your bag.

Most likely you will have to give a presentation of your belongings, openly on the platform. As a result the passengers in the airplane and the airport staff will watch when you dig up that “suspicious” item. Not particularly embarrassing when it is just an alarm clock, but of course that is not the only item that can vibrate.

2. Soap and shampoos

Make sure that your packed toiletry items are properly closed, sealed or wrapped in plastic bags. For sure it is not a nice start of your vacation when you open up your baggage and then discover that all your belongings are soaked in shampoo or soap.

3. Fragile items

Lets be honest. Once you checked in your luggage it will be smashed, trown, pushed, cramped and squeezed during the process of transportation. A baggage handler who quickly has to cram more then 100 bags in the cargo hold of a Boeing 737 will not really care about your fragile items.

Everything needs to fit and it needs to fit fast. So a fragile item sticker is often useless. A much better solution is an I love baggage handlers tag on your luggage. Then you have a much bigger chance that your bag is handled with care, because you show love to the person who is struggling to squeeze your over packed luggage inside the cargo hold.

Pack with care

Now you know a little bit more about what could happen to your belongings. Be careful, protective and smart when you are packing your stuff. Good preparations will help to prevent unwanted surprises. And remember: always seal you luggage! Then you have a smaller chance that your belongings will be ruined by items from other people.

Did you ever had any problems with your luggage before or after a flight? What kind of mistakes did you make or what kind of problems occurred?

Useful links

 

4 moments when you should avoid Bangkok

 

 4 moments when you should avoid Bangkok. For example during demonstrations.4 moments when you should reconsider coming to Bangkok

Bangkok is a great travel destination. However there are many inconveniences that make this city troublesome to visit as well. But I still advice you to give this place a chance. If you avoid it because of the described 4 moments then you might as well avoid it always. As with many major cities, there is always something going on.

Choose which issue bothers you the most and avoid Bangkok during the time that this problem occurs. Deal with the other problems when you do decide to go. These problems are not always really bad or dangerous, but it is good to know about their existence. Make a well thought decision for when it is the best time to visit, and for when it is the best time stay away.

 

1. During public holidays

It might seem fun to experience a public holiday in Bangkok, but it usually turns out to be a crowded and overpriced happening. Expect to pay much more for costs like transportation or entry tickets for clubs. The streets and transportation services can become very crowded during holidays. Also many shops will be closest during the holiday festivities. So if you need some service it is better to wait till the end of the celebrations.

Many Thai people will travel around to visit their families, so transportation in and out of the city can also become troublesome. A lot of accidents happen because of the crowded roads, and trains and buses will be fully booked or crowded. Popular holidays are the birthday of the king at 5 December, Songkran (Thai new year) from 12 til 14 April and Loi Krathong at the first full moon of the 12th lunar month.

2. During the rain season 

The rain season usually causes many flooding problems. It really does not take much rain to turn a Bangkok road into a canal. During the rain season it is better to avoid Bangkok, because the water will drop down from above and crawl up from below. Transportation over the road becomes difficult. Walking is often not an option, or you have to consider it fun to bade in dirty and garbage filled water.

3. During demonstrations

When the Thai are not fighting the water then they like to fight with each other. Demonstration rallies seem to pop up as soon as the rain and the canals start to disappear around November. The black of the water changes for the red and yellow of the protesters. Often the demonstrations are very peaceful gatherings, but occasionally they turn violent. Annoying aspects of the demonstrations are the road blockades and violent behavior.

The protesters want something so they will try everything in their effort to annoy the government as much as possible, which leads to violence, blockades, a lot of sound and parades. Due to the complicated and unpredictable nature of these gatherings I advice you to avoid rally sites. However you can easily have a great stay in Bangkok without being troubled by the demonstrations. There are just some places you need to avoid.

4. During the summer

If heat and humidity are not your thing then Bangkok will make you suffer. It is supposed to be one of the hottest cities in the world. The heat is combined with a lot of smog from all the vehicles and the humidity makes it even more uncomfortable to stay in this city. Al factors combined cause a demolishing combination.

I recommend you visit the city between the end of December and the beginning of January. Then you will probably experience comfortable temperatures. . +/- 17 degrees is what the Thai consider a cold winter. However if you are not used to tropical conditions then this temperature is very nice. Unfortunately the “cold” period only lasts for a few weeks. Make sure to take advantage of it when planning a trip to Thailand.

Do not be discouraged

Where you looking forward to visit Bangkok and did I spoil the fun? Do not be discouraged by my article. Most of the times the described problems are more annoying then dangerous. If you are careful and easygoing then you can have a great time in the capital city of Thailand, every day of the year.

What is your favorite time of the year to visit Bangkok? Did some of the described problems make you reconsider visiting this city?

 

5 More Ways Of Transportation In Bangkok

 

5 more modes of transportation in Bangkok. For example taking a boat at the river. 5 more ways to get around in Bangkok

In a previous article I wrote about 5 modes of transportation in Bangkok. However those are not the only options you can use to get around in this city. In this follow up article I will provide you with 5 more transportation options, which you can use in the capital city of Thailand.

1. Chao Phraya Express Boats

The express boats run along the Chao Phraya river. They bring you to various places, like for example Grand Palace or Khaosan Road. Tickets are very cheap and will cost you around 15 baht. The boats provide a good opportunity to see the city from the river. A tour on the river is especially nice at night, when you can see all the lights from the buildings and temples.

By taking an express boat you can avoid the traffic jams on the road. There are three different lines that you can use. Their operating hours differ. The first boat departs at 03:30 a.m. and the last boat departs at 08.00 p.m. An easy way to reach the boats is by taking the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin. From there it is only a short walk to the central pier.

2. Buses

Take the bus if you want to experience a local way of traveling around. Tickets are very cheap and some buses even offer free rides. The challenge is to find the right one. Try to approach locals if you are not sure which one to take. Expect to be an attraction in the bus as not many foreigners seem to use this form of transportation. You can find various buses who drive day and night.

3. The Airport Rail Link

The Airport Rail Link started running in 2010. It is a Skytrain who commutes between Suvarnabhumi international Airport and Phaya Thai station in Bangkok. It is a delight that this service is available. It saves you a long and more “expensive” taxi ride. The prices for the Airport Link range from 15 to 45 baht. The Airport Rail Link will stop at various stations between the airport and Phaya Thai. You can take the line to the last stop in the city center, and then transfer to the nearby BTS Skytrain or other forms of transportation. The Airport Rail Link runs from 06:00 till midnight.

4. Express Boats 

There is another water transportation service you can use. This service is provided by the Khlong Saen Saep Express Boats. The express boats transport you along the Khlong (canal) Saen Saep. Positive points about the Khlong boat service are the fast way of transportation and the cheap tickets. A negative point about this service is the polluted water in the canal, which you really do not want to get on your body or cloths. There are two boat lines operating. One is the NIDA Line, which commutes between Pratunam and Wat Sriboonreung. The other option is the Golden Mount Line, which operates between Panfa Leelard (close to Golden Mount) and Pratunam. The boats operate from 5.30 a.m. till 20:30 p.m. Tickets cost between 10 and 20 baht.

5. Songthaews 

A Songthaew is a pick up truck which is transformed into a taxi. It has two benches in the back of the vehicle. There is also a small platform on the rear of the pick up for standing passengers. The Songthaew also has a roof to protect people from the rain. The price for a Songthaew ride is very cheap and ranges from 10 to 20 baht. There are several places in the city where you can hop on for a ride. The Songthaew’s drive around at daytime and in the evening. Keep in mind that it can get crowded in the back of these vehicles.

Your experiences 

As you can see you have a lot of useful and cheap transport options if you want to travel around in Bangkok. I would like to know from you: Did you use any of the described services? Feel free to tell us more about your travel experiences in the capital city of Thailand.

Useful links:

  • www.transitbangkok.com: This site provides a lot of information about public transportation in Bangkok. You find information about the provided services, operating times, a route planner and other travel information.
  • www.bangkok.com: This site offers a lot of useful information about Bangkok. It also has a section which provides information on getting around in the city.

 

5 modes of transportation in Bangkok

5 modes of transportation in Bangkok. For example motorcycles5 modes of  transportation in Bangkok

A variety of transportation options make it convenient to move around in the city of Bangkok. Some of these options are convenient during daytime, when you want to avoid traffic jams. Others are more useful at night, when provided services are scarce. In this article I explain 5 modes of transportation in Bangkok.

1. Taxi’s 

The amount of taxi’s in Bangkok is huge. You can find plenty of them 24 hours a day. The taxi’s are particularly useful late at night, when many other services are closed. They are also useful in area’s where other forms of transportation are scarce. Prices for taxi rides are relatively cheap if you know how to deal with the drivers.

When taking a taxi it is important that you ask the driver to turn on the meter. If the driver refuses then just take another taxi. Taxis drivers who are waiting on popular touristic spots often refuse to turn on the meter. Ignore them and walk to the main road. There you have a bigger change to get a meter ride. Always remember the drivers licence number, so you can complain if necessary.

2. Tuk Tuk’s 

It is loud it is, surrounded by toxic exhaust fumes and often expensive. Still the tuk tuk seems to be a favorite transport vehicle for many tourists. Discuss a good price for your ride. and do not let the driver convince you to take a cheap tour around the city. Then you will only visit gem stores and tailor shops. You can make use of tuk tuk’s 24 hours a day.

3. Motorcycles

You can find the motorcycle boys on many street corners in Bangkok. Motorcycle taxi’s are usually used for short rides. For example to the top of the street. The drivers can also take you to further destinations, however I do not really recommend taking a motorcycle for long destinations. It is a risky form of transportation. A short ride usually costs around 20 to 30 baht. Usually The motorcycle taxi’s are available till around midnight.

4. The BTS Sky Train system

The BTS Skytrain is a convenient way of transportation, although it can be crowded during rush hours. You can use the Skytrain to avoid Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams. There are two lines, the Sukhumvit line and the Silom line. Both lines keep expanding so more and more places in the city are becoming easy to reach. You can make use of the Skytrain from 06.00 til 24.00 hrs. Prices range from 18 to 50 baht.

5. The MRT metro system 

You can also make use of the the MRT metro system if you want to avoid traffic jams. The metro can also be crowded during rush hours, but in general it is a convenient and fast way to travel true Bangkok. There is one line going back and forth between Hua Lamphong train station and Bang Sue. You can use the MRT from 06.00 til 24.00 hrs. Prices differ from 15 to 50 baht.

A wide variety of options

As you can see there are many different ways you can travel around in Bangkok. The describe options are used by many Thai’s and tourists. In a next article I will write about more available transportation services. In the meantime I would like to know: How do you like to travel in Bangkok?

4 ways to get in contact with locals

 

4 ways to get in contact with locals. For example by engaging in sports activities with them.4 ways to bond with locals

Your trip becomes a total different experience when you get in contact with local people. They can provide you with “expert” information about their country, and you will often be surprised how friendly and hospitable they are compared to people who work in the tourism business, who often seem fatigued about foreigners.

Once in contact with locals you will notice that many of them are really friendly. They show a genuine interest in you, are willing to give you advice and love to tell you about their culture. However, sometimes they are too shy to approach you. Here are 4 ways to overcome boundaries and get in contact.

1. Sports

Recently, when I strolled along the bedding of the Mekong river in Laos, I was invited by some local boys to join their football game. I never reject such an offer. It is a great way to get in contact with local people. A fun aspect about sports is that it does not necessarily require you to talk, so for some people it it a more easy way to be in contact with you.

Shyness disappears and there is a lot of fun involved when you are playing a (football) match with each other. A park is a good place to get in contact with local people who are playing sports. While traveling in Southeast Asia I noticed that a lot of people come together in the parks, to do sports activities like aerobics, running and playing badminton. Good opportunities to join them.

2. Language

Try to learn some words which exceed the standard tourist lines like thank you and hello, when you travel abroad. Many locals really cheer up when they notice that you talk to them in their language. Often they are to shy or unable to speak English. Having some small talk with them in their own language is a great way to make them feel happy and at ease.

3. Music

Many people love to dance and sing songs. A really nice way of bonding and sharing a cultural experience is by playing music with each other, but if you do not play an instrument then try to join them in other musical activities like karaoke, dancing in clubs, or partying in bars.

Dancing can take away boundaries because it is a physical activity, so language is not that important. Singing songs together also can be a lot of fun. Many people know English songs even though they do not speak the language, and listening to songs from the country that you visit is a nice way to learn more about the culture of your destination.

4. Couchsurfing

If you want to have a great local experience then I recommend joining the Couchsurfing community. Couchsurfers are people who share their home with travelers. Couchsurfers do not stay in a hotel/hostel but instead choose to stay with a local. It is a great way to get to know more about a country and culture, because your local host is an expert on the subject.

Get in contact

Remember to get out of your comfort zone when you want to get in contact with locals. Usually they are eager to talk and bond with you, but often the are to shy to actually approach you. Be the first one to take away that boundary and you could have many wonderful experiences with locals.

Do you often get in contact with locals? How do you usually approach them? What was the most memorable experience you had with a local?