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Posts Tagged ‘Travel Tips’

Thailand Travel Tips: Koh Tao in particular

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 25, 2018

2018

You have to bring:

  • Make sure to bring your prescription medication and a doctor’s note.
  • Everything else can be bought here if you are staying in or starting out in a highly touristed area.

If you’re going to Koh Tao:

  • Deodorant/ Antiperspirant
    • On Koh Tao you will only find Nivea brand roll-on deodorant.
  • Bring everything you can, either from your home country or from mainland Thailand.
    • Things are more expensive on Koh Tao.
  • But, don’t bring the things that will make your journey to Koh Tao too inconvenient.
    • You can still get everything you need on Koh Tao, even if it’s at a higher price.
    • The price difference isn’t worth over packing.
    • Bring what you can, buy the rest.

Things you can buy here or bring with you (to Koh Tao):

  1. Luggage:
    • You can use a suitcase or a backpack.
    • If you use a suitcase, you might want to hire a taxi to take you to or from your hotel.
  2. Clothes:
    • You can buy tourist clothes here.
      • You can find things like sarongs, Tiger Beer t-shirts, long drapey dresses, swim suits, and the like; basically, anything that makes you look like you’re on vacation in south east Asia.
      • If you want running shoes or clothes that look unique, you will have to, at the very least, visit Koh Samui.
  3. Towel:
    • Travel towels (Nabaiji brand to be exact) can be purchased here, for a not very high price.
      • But, maybe travel towels are cheaper on mainland Thailand.
    • Bring your towel if you are staying in a hostel or going to the beach.
    • Or, you could just buy a beach towel here if your hotel doesn’t lend you one.
  4. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion:
    • You can buy all of these at any store.
      • It’s mostly Nivea brand products and some other brands I’ve never heard of before.
  5. Deodorant/ Antiperspirant:
    • On Koh Tao you will only find Nivea brand roll-on deodorant. So if that’s what you’re into, you’re set.
  6. Sunscreen:
    • You can find some of the major brands here like, Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic.
    • And, of course Nivea.
  7. Over the counter medicine:
    • No problem.
    • It’s best if you know the generic or chemical name of the drugs you need.
      • Instead of asking for Bufferine, ask for ibuprofen.
    • I would still bring some medications for basic illnesses like diarrhea, fever, and constipation.
      • Don’t run out of these.
      • It’s tough to look for medication when you’re already sick.
      • It’s easy to find what you want if you have a label of the drug you are looking for.
  8. Other things you should bring:
    • Sunglasses
    • Flip-flops
    • Swim-suit
    • Sun Hat
    • Dry bag
    • bug spray
  9. If you need to buy groceries:
    • Visit Pod.
      • They sell the best brownies I’ve ever bought outside the US and for only ฿50.

General Tips:

Transportation:

  • You can hire taxis to take you around the island
    • but, it’s cheaper to rent a scooter for a day than to pay for a one-way taxi ride.
  • Rent a scooter.
    • If you’re going to stay here for a few weeks or more, it’s cheaper to buy a scooter then sell it before you leave.
    • Many sell their scooter for the same price they bought it.
  • Walk
    • Most things are within walking distance from Mae Haad and Saree Beach.
    • There are some interesting things and nice beaches that are about a 90 minute walk from the main area, but the blazing hot sun and lack of sidewalks make it a very unpleasant walk.

Language:

  • Most people speak enough English to do their job.
  • It is easy to learn a few basic Thai pleasantries and polite words.

Food:

  • Try:
    • papaya salad
    • green mango salad
    • Panang curry
    • Pad Thai
    • Tom Yum
    • Cashew Chicken
    • All the shakes
    • No Name Chicken and No Name Vegetable are popular dishes here.
      • They are essentially fritters make with chicken and/or vegetables
  • When you get tired of Thai food, try:

Money:

  • Get money from the bank or ATM
  • Just about every shop has an ATM nearby.

Scams :

  • Not many scams on Koh Tao.
    • Just be careful when going out drinking. This is when you’ll most likely to be taken advantage of.
    • Don’t rely on people you’ve just met to take care of you when you’re drunk.
    • Drink responsibly.


Thailand
(ราชอาณาจักรไทย)
(Ratcha Anachak Thai)

How to get there:

  • You can enter by plane, boat, bus, or train.
  • Most citizens from many countries do not need to get a visa before going to Thailand. But, you will need a visa to stay longer than 1 month or if you been to Thailand for at least 3 months already in the past 12 months.
  • People of most nationalities will get a 30-day visa at the port of entry.
  • To be completely sure, check with the Thai embassy in your country.
  • Visa laws change frequently.

Phone:

Data:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Scams & Dangers:

Notes:

  • Do not say anything negative about the king or anyone in the Royal family. And definitely do not write anything bad about the king or royal family. This offence could land you in jail. You don’t want to go to Thai jail.
  • Don’t use the city ferries in Bangkok during the peak hours. They fill those things past capacity and sometimes they sink. Use them during non-peak hours when they are not crowded.
  • Never eat female horseshoe crabs in Thailand. The roe of the horseshoe crab has tetrodotoxin (TTX) which is toxic to humans. It makes people very sick and some people have even died as a result.

Map:

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Travel Tips for Malta

Posted by Heliocentrism on July 20, 2018

2017

You have to bring:

  • Make sure to bring your prescription medication and a doctor’s note.
  • Everything else can be bought here.
    • If you can buy it in Europe, you can buy it here. (Mainly, because Malta is in Europe.)
    • In terms of grocery shopping, it’s like little Britain here.
    • Most things here are reasonably priced.

Things you can buy here or bring with you:

  1. Luggage:
    • You can use a suitcase or a backpack.
  2. Clothes:
    • You can buy anything here.
  3. Towel:
    • Bring your towel if you are staying in a hostel or going to the beach.
    • Or, you could just buy a beach towel here if your hotel doesn’t lend you one.
  4. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion:
    • You can buy all of these at any store.
    • They will have all the popular brands.
  5. Deodorant/ Antiperspirant:
    • You can find this here.
  6. Sunscreen:
    • No problem; you can find it here.
  7. Over the counter medicine:
    • No problem.
    • It’s best if you know the generic or chemical name of the drugs you need.
      • Instead of asking for Bufferine, ask for ibuprofen.
    • I would still bring some medications for basic illnesses like diarrhea, fever, and constipation.
      • Don’t run out of these.
      • It’s always tough to look for medication when you’re already sick.
      • It’s easy to find what you want if you have a label of the drug you are looking for.
  8. Other things you should bring:
    • Sunglasses
    • Flip-flops
    • Swim-suit
    • Light sweat – heavy sweater (depending on the time of year)
    • Smartphone
    • Hiking shoes
    • Rain jacket
    • Rain pants
    • Rain boots
    • Sun Hat
  9. If you need to buy groceries:
    • Get a car.
    • From what I could see, most of the bigger grocery stores are not within walking distance of anything.
    • But, the smaller stores aren’t too bad.
    • While I was there I found an Iceland and a shop that sold lots of generic Carrefour products.

General Tips:

Transportation:

  • You can buy a single ticket from the bus driver.
    • This gives you transportation for 2 hours (if I remember correctly) from the time of purchase.
  • The transportation cards are called Tallinja cards.
    • These cannot be bought from the bus driver.
    • Check out their website for the many places where you can buy one.
    • I remember buying our first cards from a WH Smith.
    • You can use these cards on both Malta and Gozo.
  • The buses can be very crowded. Here are some tips to avoid the crowd or fight through it.
    • To avoid the crowd:
    • Stay off the bus between 9:00 – 14:00 & 17:00 – 19:00
    • Find an alternative bus route. This may involve walking a couple extra blocks.
    • To fight through it:
    • Get on the bus at the first stop (bus depot) when possible.
    • If your at a crowded bus stop, walk up the road to the bus stop before the crowded one, so you can get on the bus before the crowd.
  • Use google for directions, bus routes, and schedules.
  • Sometimes the bus is late.
  • Sometimes the bus is so crowded it cannot stop to let more people on unless someone gets off.

Language:

  • Everyone speaks English as well as Maltese.

Food:

  • Try:
    • the many pastries sold all over the place.
    • The Wudy is my favorite.
    • I also loved Pastizzi

Money:

  • Euros!! I love a European country that uses Euros.
  • This place is so inexpensive. Eat in restaurants, order drinks, and have a great time.
  • Get money from the bank or ATM rather than exchanging it at the airport.

Scams:

  • Not many scams to look out for, just use common sense.


Malta

How to get there:

Phone:

  • 112 – emergency, ambulance, and fire

Website:

Data:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • The tap water is safe to drink, but it does taste funny.
    • It’s desalinized water.
  • There are transportation cards you can buy to use the buses in Malta or you can pay cash on the bus.
    • The transportation cards comes with discounted fares if you use it correctly.
    • Most transportation cards work on buses on Gozo too.

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Travel Tips for Iceland

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 10, 2018

2017

You have to bring:

  • Make sure to bring your prescription medication and a doctor’s note.
  • Everything else can be bought here.
    • BUT, it’s expensive, so bring as much as you can.
    • Only buy food here, if you can help it.

Things you can buy here or bring with you:

  1. Luggage:
    • You can use a suitcase or a backpack. A Backpack gives you a little more mobility, but it’s not a must-have here.
    • It is easier to pack away a backpack in a camper van than it is to pack away a suit case, no matter how small that suit case is.
  2. Clothes:
    • You can buy anything here, but it’s expensive.
    • They do have nice clothes.
      • I had my eye on some 66°North gear, but it cost more than double what I paid for my Gore-tex jacket (and I got it at LL Bean!)
      • (Freda says she can always spot the Americans when they travel because they always wear something from LL Bean.)
    • You can buy clothes almost anywhere. Most sightseeing spots that you have to pay to enter, restaurants, rest stops, and gas stations sell clothes.
      • And not just random generic clothes either. It’s usually name brand clothes from Iceland and Europe. $$$$ (I mean ISK ISK ISK ISK)
  3. Towel:
    • Bring your towel!
    • Don’t forget to hang it up in the van when you’re driving around.
  4. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion:
    • You can buy all of these at Bonus, N1, or any convenience store, but they are pricey.
  5. Deodorant/ Antiperspirant:
    • You can find this here.
    • Oddly enough, I ran out and had to buy some in Iceland. It was the same price as I would pay for it back home…
  6. Sunscreen:
    • No problem; you can find it here.
  7. Over the counter medicine:
    • I’m not sure. I brought more than enough with me and never needed to get more.
    • It’s best if you know the generic or chemical name of the drugs you need.
      • Instead of asking for Bufferine, ask for ibuprofen.
    • I would still bring some medications for basic illnesses like diarrhea, fever, and constipation.
      • Don’t run out of these.
      • It’s always tough to look for medication when you’re already sick.
      • It’s easy to find what you want if you have a label of the drug you are looking for.
  8. Other things you should bring:
    • Wool Hat
    • Sunglasses
    • Flip-flips
    • Smartphone
    • Hiking shoes
    • Rain jacket
    • Rain pants
    • Rain boots
    • Clothes line
  9. If you need to buy groceries:
    • Costco or Bonus
  10. If you need outdoor goods on the ring road:
    • N1, any gas station, or Bonus

General Tips:

Driving:

  • Watch out for sheep.
  • Stay off the F roads.
  • Don’t forget to use the gas card to save money on gas.
    • I think most camper van companies will give you a gas card.
    • It’s on the key ring.
  • There are a lot of hitch-hikers.
    • I hear that if you pick one up, they are obligated to entertain you with a tale of their journeys.
      • Some might even pitch in for gas.
    • We did not pick up any hitch-hikers.
      • I’ve seen too many horror movies to do anything like that, even in Iceland.

Food:

  • Try the meat soup.
  • Try the lobster soup.
  • Eat as much skyr as you can.
    • It’s not yogurt, it’s cheese. But, it tastes like yogurt and you eat it like yogurt.

Get Membership:

  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most other hostels.
    • Reykjavik has two HI hostels.
      • One is across the street from a bar and is more of a party hostel.
      • The other is not.

Money:

  • Most places only take credit or debit cards
    • But, some places will only take cash, so you will need to have some cash on you.

Scams:

  • Not many scams to look out for, just use common sense.

Iceland

How to get there:

You have to fly or get a boat from Scotland or Denmark.

Phone:

  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • 1777 for weather information

Website:

Data:

  • Siminn
  • You can easily get one at most convenience stores in Reykjavik.

Videos:

Notes:

  • The weather can change quickly. Make sure to dress in layers.
  • Assume that it will rain.
  • It will also be very, very windy.
  • Everything is very expensive in Iceland.

Posted in Iceland | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

 
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