Travel Medical Insurance Contracts For Germany

 

Travel Medical InsuranceGetting a travel medical insurance for Germany

Are you planning to visit Germany? Whatever your reasons for traveling to this destination might be, there are some important things that you need to arrange before your trip. Having a proper travel medical insurance is one of those things. Costs for treatments can get really high when you are abroad. You might end up losing a big part of your travel budget if you are not properly covered.

Travelling provides you with a lot of surprises but a high medical bill is not the surprise you want to encounter. Make sure that you stay healthy and that all your medical expenses will be covered. In this article, I will explain more about the insurance requirements for a trip to Germany.

What is a travel medical insurance?

When you travel to Germany, you have the obligation to protect yourself against medical costs. In Germany, you can choose between two health care systems. The first one is the compulsory system, which is a basic package for everyone. The other option is a private contract, which covers the costs of the individual.

Why you need it

You might need medical attention when you get sick or when you get an accident. Being insured means that you are financially covered in the case of these problems. You need to choose an offer that matches the reason for your visit to Germany. A person who comes to Germany for work needs to comply to different requirements than someone who visits the country as a tourist or a student.

Advantages

The major benefit of being properly insured is that you don’t have to worry about any possible medical costs. Whenever something happens, you can focus on recovering instead of having to deal with high bills. Another benefit is the extra support that you get from your insurance company. This could mean that you can use their 24/7 telephone service in case of emergencies, or that you can ask them to arrange an evacuation.

The costs

Costs for insurance contracts differ. It depends on what you want to cover and for what reason you stay in Germany. Obviously, activities which involve high risks like dangerous jobs or adventurous vacations will cost more to cover. It also depends on which health care system you choose. The costs for the compulsory policy are based on a person’s income, while the costs for a private policy are based on health and age.

Where to get it 

One easy way to get a travel medical insurance for Germany is by applying online. Various companies offer affordable packages. By using the internet, you can conveniently choose a contract which suits your needs. Another option is to contact your current health insurance company and ask if you can add a travel package that matches the requirements for a journey to Germany.

Be prepared

Remember that a healthy traveler is a wealthy traveler. If you are careful and you take good care of yourself then you might not have to deal with potential health problems and costs, which of course is the most ideal situation. However, it is always good to be prepared for worst case scenarios.

Did you ever visit Germany? How did you find your ideal travel insurance contract for this country?

Useful links

  • Covomo.com: This useful site provides independent insurance advice to travelers who want to visit Germany. You can use Covomo to compare insurers and their tariffs. You can also read a lot of general information about the particular insurance requirements for a visit to Germany.
  • Brain Dump: Health Insurance in Germany: A while ago, I stumbled up on this very informative article from blogger Andrew Couch. He is an expat living in Germany. In this article, he talks about Germany’s health care system.
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City Pillar – Prayers For Buddha And Thailand

Shrine of the city pillarAbout a visit to Bangkok’s city pillar

The dancer seems bored, so does the guy who is playing a monk. He falls asleep while the lady is making her traditional moves. She finds out what he is doing and walks to the back of the stage. Then she comes back with some papers and slaps him awake. What follows is a funny dialogue between the two of them. It leaves me wondering, is this part of the act?

Lak Muang

Lak Muang is the Thai worth for city pillar. These are common objects in Thai cities. Most of them are placed in a shrine as they have a strong spiritual function. Bangkok’s city pillar embodies Phra Sayam Thewathirat (Bangkok’s guardian spirit). This object also marks the center of the city.

Location

The pillar is standing in a shrine at Th Ratchadamnoen Nai & Th Lak Muang (The old part of Bangkok). The building is located next to the Grand Palace and a busy intersection. You can recognize this intersection because of the two large elephant statues, which are standing in the middle of the road.

Getting there

Take the Chao Phraya river ferry to Tha Chang pier. From there you can walk in a strait line to Lak Muang, while you keep the Grand Palace on your right. After a while you will see the shrine on the other side of a large intersection. The walk from the pier to the shrine will take about five to ten minutes.

Remember that you march into a heavily touristic area. The Grand Palace absorbs everything in its huge gravity field. Many tourists and scammers orbit around it, so you have to overcome a few obstacles in order to get from the pier to the pillar. Certain problems that will most likely cross your path are tuk tuk driver and bird feeding man. Avoid these dodgy figures at any cost.

What to see

When I visited the temple I was lucky to see some people performing a lá-kon gâa bon (a traditional dance). The dancers wear beautiful colored costumes and a golden head piece. They sing, tell stories and perform dances, which consist of small hand and feed movements. While performing they are accompanied by people who play instruments, like a drum and a wooden xylophone (rá-náht-èhk).

Everyone speaks in Thai during the lá-kon gâa bon performance so it can be hard to understand the story line. However, I recommend watching it as it is a nice display of Thai tradition. Worshipers commission these kind of performances with the intention of earning merit. It is part of a series of prayers and offers that are being performed at this place.

The city pillar

Offers and prayers

People come to this shrine to worship and pray. Therefore, all kinds of praying accessories are available for purchase. The gods give you no excuse to say that you forgot your cash money as there is an ATM available. You can buy accessories like amulets, flowers and incense sticks. You can also purchase oil, which you have to pour in bowls. You offer this oil to worship the birthday of Buddha or to dispel misfortune.

Offering oil for Buddah

 

Did you ever visit the city pillar in Bangkok? What was your impression of this sight?

 

Useful Links

  • Tour Bangkok Legacies: A site which offers a lot of information about Bangkok. By visiting thinks link you can read Eric Lim’s detailed description of the city pillar.
  • Virtual Tourist: This link will bring you to the Virtual Tourist page of Lak Muang. There you can watch pictures and read reviews from people who visited this sight.
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Visa Run Preparations For Expats

Passport visa run stamps How to have a fun visa run

Schedule:

– Wake up at 5:30 AM

– Enter the minivan at 6:30 AM

– Drive for five hours to the Cambodian border crossing

– Cross the Cambodian border at Ban Pakkad

– Write, sign, copy, stamp, smile

– Cross the border into Thailand

– Drive back home for five hours

Back home you are a stamp richer and a day poorer. Sounds like a lot of fun…? Probably not, but why not make the best of your trip. In this article I give some advice about how you can make your trip as comfortable as possible. In the article I focus mainly on expats/travelers in Thailand who need to to make an organised trip across the border.

Alone or organised 

Once, when I was still a visa run rookie, I thought that it would be fun and cheap to do a visa run on my own. So off I went to the Cambodian border crossing at Poi Pet. Boy did I have it wrong. The adventure started with a long and uncomfortable train journey and ended with a nasty scam. Eventually, I returned home a lot of frustrations richer and a lot of baht poorer.

Do you want to experience a comfortable visa run? Then choose to travel with an agency. You might pay a little bit extra but your journey will be fully organised, and you only have to follow the agency staff from one place to another. Very convenient, and maybe you are able to make some new friends among your fellow travelers.

Choose an agency

So which agency should you choose. Do some research and start by checking to which border crossing they bring you. Some destinations can be a real hassle. Poi Pet, for example, is a chaotic and miserable place full of scammers. However, it is a popular spot to cross the border, which means long queues at immigration. I recommend you book a trip to Ban Pakkad with Meesuk Travel. A very quick and convenient visa run.

When doing research it is also wise to check the departure/arrival point and time of the transport vans from the agency. Early departures from a good location are beneficial because the driver is able to leave the city quickly. You will most likely be back before the darkness and the start of Bangkok’s notorious rush hours. Good for your time and for your safety.

Rules and requirements

Make sure to ask the agency about the current visa regulations when you contact them to make a reservation. The Thai visa rules change often. Avoid unwanted surprises. Do not leave your house without at least three passport pictures (make sure they apply to the latest photo requirements) and bring some xerox copies of your passport.

Often you can make copies at embassies or border crossings but avoid the extra hassles of looking for a copy machine and standing in line. Also make sure you book a trip at least a few days before your visa is expired. Then you will have some spare days if something goes wrong. Unnecessary overstay charges are expensive.

Entertainment

Your going to be on the road for a full day so find some ways to entertain yourself, and make sure that you stay entertained for the whole trip. For example, bring a book or music player. I personally like to bring my laptop so that I can work or watch a movie. I also make sure that my phone has a portable Wi-Fi connection so that i will have a hotspot during the trip.

Your phone battery will not last long, when you use it as a portable hotspot, so I advice you to buy and bring a power bank. This very useful gadget can be used to charge your phones battery. Another option is to bring a USB stick and charge your phone with the power of your laptop. I also advice to bring a soft pillow for the best entertainment of all.
Use a power bank to recharge your phone

Snacks and drinks

A certain amount of food and drinks will be included in the price of your trip. However, do not only depend on the agency for your nutrition intakes. I advice that you also pack some snacks and drinks. Especially if you are, like me, picky about what you want to consume.

Ready to go

Now you are ready for a hassle free trip to the border. Remember to smile to the customs officers, drink enough water and talk to your fellow travelers. Don’t forget to take a look out of the window during the trip. Enjoy the scenery. The beautiful countryside of Thailand deserves an observation.
Did you ever participated in an organized visa run? Which company did you choose and how was your experience?
Useful links

  • Meesuk Travel: This is the website of the visa company that I usually use. They have good connections and they offer a decent visa run service. Expect to make a lot of Filipino friends as those are the people who mainly travel with this company.
  • Ultimate Thai VISA Guide: Looking for some original ideas for visa runs? Read this excellent guide from bloggers Allan Wilson and Fanfan Narach. On their blog, Live Less Ordinary, they provide a list of the best countries and cities for visa runs, along with other useful travel information.
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100 Tonson Gallery – Showcasing Thai Contemporary Art

 

100 Tonson Gallery in Bangkok100 Tonson Gallery – A force for contemporary art

I feel uneasy when I enter the building for the first time. My knowledge of contemporary art is very small. Therefore I am a bit embarrassed when I see a small privately owned collection, which is on display in just two rooms. I expect to be in and out in only a few minutes.

However, the small exhibition room creates the opportunity for a more personal approach. The gallery’s friendly assistant, Harmiss starts a conversation with me. He takes the time to tell me everything about the gallery and its exhibitions. I am surprised to hear from him that this small art house has a big international reputation.

100 Tonson Gallery

The gallery opened in 2003 and just celebrated its 10th year anniversary in January 2014. Despite of its small size, this art house is pretty famous and important in Southeast Asia. For example, it is Thailand’s first and Southeast Asia’s only gallery that has been showing its works at Art Basel. This is one of the most important international fairs for contemporary and modern art.

This art house gained its important position because of its many international connections and its presence at important international fairs like Art Dubai and Art Stage Singapore. 100 Tonson Gallery supports (emerging) artists by showcasing their works, and supporting the development and distribution of (contemporary) art.

Location

The address of the gallery is at 100 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Rd in Bangkok. Soi Tonson is a quiet and green street with lots of trees and upper class houses. The artworks are being displayed in one of those houses. It is named after the street in which it is located.

Getting there

Take the BTS SkyTrain (Sukhumvit Line towards Bearing) to station Chit Lom. From there take exit 4 and walk in the opposite direction of the traffic. After about 100 meters you will see a street sign that says Soi Tonson. Turn right and walk about 300 meters into the street. You will find the building on the opposite site of the Royal Dutch Embassy.

Soi Tonson

What to see

On display are the private collections of founder Ek-Anong “Aey” Phanachet. The exhibition room itself is designed by Christian Liaigre. The exhibitions consist of contemporary works from Thai and international artists. The collections change every two months. Famous artists who have displayed works in the past are for example Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama and Pinaree Sanpitak. You can enter the exhibition room for free.

Tip

Do you like to visit galleries in Bangkok? Then make sure you obtain a free copy of the Bangkok Art Map (BAM). This useful monthly brochure provides you with updates about the latest exhibitions and where you can find them. You find the Bangkok Art Map at information counters of museums and galleries.
What is your favorite gallery in Bangkok and what makes you like it so much?
Useful links

  • 100tonsongallery.com: The official website of this gallery. Visit their site to learn more about current exhibitions and activities. You can also read more information about the artists which showcased their work in the exhibition room. The site also provides many pictures of the displayed artworks.
  • sea.blouinartinfo.com: Click this link to read a BLOUINARTINFO interview with Aey Phanachet.  In this interview, which she gave back in March 2013, She talks about the 10th year anniversary shows and the importance of introducing (Thai) contemporary art to the world.
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Art And Culture In Bangkok

Bangkok Art and Culture CentreArt and Culture – Sophistication in a rough city 

An elderly woman who combs the grey hairs of her husband, colorful protesters who raise the Thai flag in front of colorless policeman, the Baiyoke Sky Tower surrounded by the calm dark blanket of the evening. Aspects of the daily life in Thailand, captured by artists and admired by me in Bangkok’s Art and Culture Centre.

Location

The Bangkok Art and culture Centre (BACC) has a very convenient location. It is situated at 939 Rama I Road in the middle of the city centre. The building stands next to the MBK shopping mall and the National Stadium BTS SkyTrain station. Other nearby buildings are Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon.

Getting there

Take the BTS SkyTrain to the National Stadium station. From there it is only a short walk to the Art and Culture Centre. You can reach the building via the skywalk that is connected to the BTS station. You can also get of at Siam station and take a 5 minute walk. You reach the BACC by walking in the direction of Siam Discovery. Opening times are 10:00 AM till 21:00 PM (closed on Mondays)

BACC next to the MBK Mall

What to to see

At the lower floors of the building you find a variety of shops, which sell artistic products. For example t-shirts with creative prints, colorful post cards, shining jewelries and large paintings. The building also houses an art library and some restaurants and cafes. There are exhibitions at the higher (7th, 8th, 9th) floors of the building. These exhibitions show the works of various (Thai) artists.

The art

The displayed artworks impressed me, especially the paintings. It was nice to discover that many Thai painters really manage to capture the beauty of every day live. It made me realize how beautiful every day life can be. The artworks also have interesting names, which make you think about what you see, like the paintings they capture the imagination.

Why you should visit the BACC

This art gallery in Bangkok is a very convenient sight to visit during daytime. The place offers a calm, cool and sophisticated escape from a hot and rough city. The gallery is not crowded with tourists and you will enjoy the cool air conditioning instead of the boiling sun. Another good point is that you can enter the building for free.

Tip

At the ground floor you find a little restaurant/cafe which is called Art Cafe. It is a nice place to sit down after you walked around in the building. The friendly staff serves good food and drinks. Sit down and listen to some relaxing music, or start working on some of your own art if you got inspired by the creative atmosphere.

Art Cafe in BACC

Do you visit art galleries and museums on your trip? What is your favorite museum in Bangkok?
Useful Links

  • www.bacc.or.th: The official website of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. Learn more about BACC and its current exhibitions.
  • BACC on TripAdvisor: Do you want to know if it is a good idea to visit he Bangkok Art and Culture Centre? Read information and reviews about this sight on TripAdvisor and make an informed decision.
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