Monday, 31 October 2011

Goodbye to October 2011

Goodbye to October 2011

On Koh Samui this was rather a nice month and weather wise it was nice enough with plenty of sunshine and just occasionally some rain. A good October! Slightly better in my opinion than the average 'October mixed bag' kind of weather which is to be expected during this month.

The family trip to Bangkok with our stay at the Windsor Suites with a visit to the Ministry of Foreign affairs (now flooded!) and the Dusit Zoo were interesting. It became even more interesting when it turned out that I was one of about 500 Dutchies who had to go back to the Dutch Embassy due to electronic problems with my fingerprints. It all got sorted though and I have my new passport.
Running a Midnight run in Bangkok was also a memorable moment for me.


Thai water relief officials in action

On Samui the Rua Chack Phra was an interesting event and right now I'm working hard with my current PADI IDC on Samui, which is halfway.


Water bottle genius

The Northern area around Bangkok and the city itself where world news this month because of the current flood situation.
With currently 381 people having passed away because of these floods and large parts of industrial and residential areas being flooded, it's not a good situation and the government is under a lot of criticism how the situation has been handled.

A series of short animations explaining the current the flood situation using simple language and featuring a cute pod of 50 million blue whales has become a big hit on youtube.

Samui on the other hand had no floods at all and it was actually a nice October!

I'm looking forward to next month, a short wreck dive trip to Pattaya is scheduled early next month followed by the fourth and last PADI IDC this year on Gili Air in Indonesia.

Last but not least, if you're planning to visit Koh Samui or any other part of Thailand, please have a look at respectively my Samui hotel recommendation blog and my Thailand hotel recommendations blog with first hand knowledge of many local hotels and by booking on this site, by using the Agoda or Hotels Combined buttons you help me indirectly maintaining my blog. There are also my beloved beer buttons around the blog and a donation button can be found on the top left of this blog, in case you find my blog helpful. Thanks!

Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 31st October, 2011

Today's weather;

The sky over Koh Samui is clearing up and is showing off plenty of 'sexy' blue sky. Current temp at 7am is 27.5C

The forecast remains more ir less the same, plenty of sunshine and occasionally a shower for the next 7 days. It seems though that 'tomorrow' every time seems to have more rain than was predicted the previous 6 days, when that day was moving along to become 'tomorrow'.

Yesterday saw a more or less dry day, just one shower shortly after lunch and one last night, with plenty of sunshine. Max temp reached 30.3C

Koh Samui weather as prevailed last week

The flood situation around Bangkok has reached it's summit and hopefully the countdown can begin so repair works can start as soon as the water has disappeared, although this could be another 4 weeks!
The Chao Phraya hit a record high of 2.53 meters and angry suburban residents destroyed a dyke when they their neighbor was inundated.
The death toll has risen now to 381.

Here's a list compiled by the TAT (Tourist Authority of Thailand) with FAQ's about the floods.

Government agencies are being accused of hoarding relief goods and Chamroen Yuttithamsakun, the PM's Office inspector-general in charge of approving the distribution of donated goods to flood victims, will be called to clarify suspicions over alleged hoarding of donated items by the the Flood Relief Operations Command.

It's almost shameful to witness how some Thai people react to the floods and resort to crime and tactics to better themselves, this in sharp contrast how the Japanese people dealt with the tsunami and related problems which seemed to unite the country rather than widen the gap between rival groups as is happening here. In Thailand, personal agendas seem to be more important than the greater good.

If you're planning to visit Koh Samui or any other part of Thailand, please have a look at respectively my Samui hotel recommendation blog and my Thailand hotel recommendations blog with first hand knowledge of many local hotels and by booking on this site, by using theAgoda or Hotels Combined buttons you help me indirectly maintaining my blog. There are also my beloved beer buttons around the blog and a donation button can be found on the top left of this blog, in case you find my blog helpful. Thanks!

Camille

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 30th October, 2011

Today's weather;

The sky over Koh Samui is looking good, plenty of blue at the moment but darker clouds are already gearing up in the distance and the forecast for today predicts showers and/or drizzle pretty much all day. Current temp at 7am is 27.1C

Yesterday saw a nice start of the day but clouds moved in fairly fast and shortly after noon we saw a bit of rain. The afternoon was a mixed bag but stayed dry. Max temp reached 29.7C

The forecast is looking good, tomorrow should have some rain but the afternoon and the rest of the week look excellent with no rain and hardly any clouds. Let's hope they got it right!

Samui's sky yesterday afternoon

Regarding the flood situation around Bangkok the size of the flood threat is being down scaled and the PM stated that it's nearly over. Prices are shooting up though of some consumer goods due to shortages.

It's time to sit out the weekend and wait for the water levels to start receding, which in some areas could bu to a month.

If you're planning to visit Koh Samui or any other part of Thailand, please have a look at respectively my Samui hotel recommendation blog and my Thailand hotel recommendations blog with first hand knowledge of many local hotels and by booking on this site, by using the Agoda or Hotels Combined buttons you help me indirectly maintaining my blog. There are also my beloved beer buttons around the blog and a donation button can be found on the top left of this blog, in case you find my blog helpful. Thanks!

Camille

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 29th October, 2011

Today's weather;

The sky over Koh Samui is looking good again. A slightly cloudy sky with blue spots in and a current temp at 7am of 28C

Yesterday saw a very nice and sunny day around Samui. Max temp reached 30.3C

It's fairly quiet around the island but weather conditions are excellent and the whole Bangkok flood situation seems literally 670 km away. The forecast for the next 7 days remains very good with plenty of sunshine and hardly any rain at all.

If you're planning to visit Koh Samui, please have a look at my Samui hotel recommendation blogwith first hand knowledge of many local hotels and by booking on this site, by using the Agoda orHotels Combined buttons you help me indirectly maintaining my blog. There are also my beloved beer buttons around the blog and a donation button can be found on the top left of this blog, in case you find my blog helpful. Don't be shy!
If you plan to travel around the country, my Thailand hotel recommendations blog may be helpful.

Yesterday's view over to Koh Phangan, near Nathon

If I counted correctly, this must be the third weekend that Bangkok can or should or would be flooded. It seems this weekend is the most likely 'weekend of truth' in that respect. Today is the peak period for high tides and if you happen to be in Bangkok, be careful near rivers and canals during the high tides. It would be nice if 'all stayed quiet at the Bangkok front' today.

The general situation hasn't changed much, Bangkokians who can afford it have fled the city over the weekend and at some areas people are trying to hike prices because of the floods.

More bottled drinking water is being imported from Malaysia at the moment and the city's international airport Suvarnabhumi is still operating as usual and doesn't expect any major problems that may interrupt their services.

I can only hope for the flood situation to subside and for everything go back to normal as soon as possible.

Camille

Friday, 28 October 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 28th October, 2011

Today's weather;

The weather on Koh Samui has taken a drastic change, No reason to worry, it's for the better! A lovely blue sky with some clouds in it is showing off and it looks like a nice and warm day is in the making. Current temp at 7am is 26.7C

The forecast is looking unseasonally good with hardly any rain predicted at all for the next 7 days and plenty of sunshine!The situation on Samui is looking very stable. Some of the shelves at the supermarkets stores are empty, like rice (just a few small bags left), bottled water and pampers are hard to find but eggs just got re-stocked. Bottled water is still widely available in 20 liter bottles, this is local water so supplies seem to be secure.

Empty rice shelves at Tesco Lotus in Chaweng, usually these shelves are packed about a meter and a half high with various brands of rice

Yesterday saw a mixed bag during the morning hours with some rain but during the afternoon it cleared up and the sun came out briefly. Max temp reached 29.2C

If you're planning to visit Koh Samui, please have a look at my Samui hotel recommendation blog with first hand knowledge of many local hotels and by booking on this site, by using the Agoda or Hotels Combined buttons you help me indirectly maintaining my blog. There are also my beloved beer buttons around the blog and a donation button can be found on the top left of this blog, in case you find my blog helpful. Don't be shy!


If you're planning to visit Thailand, please be aware that the Suvarnabhumi international airport is still open and operating as usual. The domestic airport at Don Muang has been closed.

In general the situation around Bangkok remains uncertain about the final extent of the flooding. A group of engineers led by a Toyota Motor Thailand executive yesterday suggested that the government cut sections through five roads in eastern Bangkok to speed up the flow of water into the sea.
However, the lack of understanding among people living near sluice gates is causing a real problem because they are stopping authorities from opening the gates out of fear their residences will be submerged, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said.


Flying in an army helicopter over from central Bangkok near Victory Monument (not flooded) north over the Chao Phraya River (Main river going through Bangkok and threatening to flood it). They flew north to north west generally over Nonthaburi, Bang Bua Tong, Pathum Thani out to a remote village near Ayutthaya where they dropped relief supplies. A long but interesting video

The exodus of people leaving Bangkok over this long weekend is in full swing. We're scheduled to fly out to Pattaya on 3rd November for a dive trip with a group of six and slowly I start to wonder if we can still book hotels in time. They are only arriving today on Samui.

The criticism on the government remains and Bangkok businesses say unclear and inadequate flood information is making it harder for them to make preparations.

In the meantime, the death toll has risen to 373.

Camille

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 27th October, 2011

Today's weather;

The sky over our lovely island is grayish but there are some spots that might open up and let the sun through. Current temp at 7am is 24.9C and there's rain predicted during the remainder of the day.

Koh Samui is still fine overall and we're absolutely not having any floods whatsoever, a a matter of facts, the whole South of Thailand is not affected by water. The only thing that we're dealing with is indirect problems like consumer goods delivery but event hat is bearable and under control for the time being.
The forecast at Windguru for the next 7 days is still looking good with a couple of dry and sunny days to be expected.

If you're planning to come down to Koh Samui, have a look at my Samui hotel recommendation blog, by booking on this site by using the Agoda or Hotels Combined buttons you help me indirectly maintaining my blog. There are also my beloved beer buttons around the blog and a donation button can be found on the top left of this blog, in case you find my blog helpful.

Bang Rak bay last week

Yesterday morning saw some heavy rain for a while around Samui but well before noon it stopped and during the late afternoon a bleak sun popped up again and the cloud cover broke. Max temp reached 28.7C

My current PADI IDC on Koh Samui also kicked off yesterday, stay tuned for more updates onmy dive blog.

Creative thinking during the floods

On to Bangkok and the floods, a big wave is supposed the town today and some (international) experts the city to be under one meter of water in the worst case scenario. There's a mass exodus going on from city folks to Hua Hin and Pattaya.
One of the things not being really reported is the massive amount of theft and burglary at deserted estates, houses and cars parked on higher grounds.

In the meantime the Office of the Auditor General has found government agencies' efforts to manage water in the country's 25 river basins lacked unified direction. A good article with another sad story that reeks of corruption being at the root of the problem.
There are however Legal and Regulatory considerations for flood-affected businesses being put in place and some of the red tape will be cut to help recovery.

A good friend of mine, a diver, is asked by the Honda manufactures to dive their factory in order to find machine parts that can be used in other plants, so production can keep flowing. The diving will be done in just one and a half meters of water but there will be no visibility in the mud dredged waters. I hope that he will be safe!

There's also a continues battle going on between the 'red' and the 'yellow' camp and even this human disaster still can't unify the country.

It seems to be turning into a battle of political powers and I would hope to see a united Thai country battling the floods but right now that seems rather an illusion.

Camille

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 26th October, 2011

Today's weather;

The sky over Koh Samui is clouded by light grey clouds but it's still dry. Current temp at 7am is 28.7C, fairly warm so early in the morning.

The forecast is still favorable, although some rain is predicted during a some days out of the next seven days, it's by far not the starts of the rainy season, yet.

Many people seem to be worried about potential shortages on the island. Right now there are shortages around Thailand, not only on Samui. All major distribution centers are flooded and especially bottled water is hard to come by. However, on Samui there's water delivery service that delivers 20 liter bottles of water, you pay a 100,-THB deposit and off you go, easy peasy. This water originates on Samui so it's unlikely that there will be shortage of this water soon.
Especially big chains like Tesco Lotus, Big C and Makro have more and more empty shells but it's still not anywhere near like it is around Bangkok.

Samui sunset yesterday

Right now the mood on the island is fine, nobody seems to be overly worried about the floods. If you're planning to visit Samui soon, there's no need to change your plans.

Yesterday saw a great start of the day around Koh Samui with a sunny sky. Clouds moved in rather quickly though and it was cloudy all day long until the late afternoon when sunny sky patches appeared again. It stayed dry all the while on the island at the areas that I was at. Max temp reached 30.3C

A flood photo that sticks out, flooded cars at the Honda plant in Ayuthaya, earlier this month by Christophe Archambault

The situation around Bangkok is still crucuial and the Don Muang airport has been closed. The international airport Suvarnabhumi is still open and operational.

"The Chao Phraya River's water level in Bangkok will likely rise to 2.6 metres [above normal sea level] over the coming weekend. It's going to be higher than the embankment," Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said yesterday. The 27th, 28th and 31st of October have been declared 'emergency' holidays in Bangkok, giving people the chance to deal with the floods over a long weekend off.

The political side of these floods remains a hot iron to touch but first calls for the current PM to step down are being spotted.

In all the confusion that the current government is creating, apparently help offered by the US Navy had been denied.
Tourist revenue has lost around 10 Billion Thai baht but on the up side, a loan of 325 Billion Thai Baht has been approved to get loans for flood hit businesses.

If you click here, you will find a gallery of excellent pictures covering some aspects of the flood and here are some pictures from yesterday around Bangkok.

Camille

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 25th October, 2011

Today's weather;

The sky over Koh Samui is looking great again today, almost a perfect blue with hardly any clouds in it at the moment, although the forecast predicts plenty of rain today and clouds are moving in half an hour after the initial post! It looks like another hot day is coming up. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C

The forecast is showing that a lot more rain is coming our way during the next 7 days although next weekend is supposed to be a sunny affair as predicted at this moment.
Bottled drinking water seems to be completely out of stock around the island at all major shopping malls and 7-11's and their neighboring Family Marts due to a lack of supply.
In Bangkok the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority has urged Bangkok residents to store tap water for use during the flood crisis.

Yesterday saw a beautiful and sunny day with a nice blue sly all day long around Koh Samui. Max temp reached 31.2C

Diving is currently excellent and since a good week there has almost been daily sightings of a whale shark at Sail Rock. Not for me though, tomorrow another IDC on Koh Samui will kick off.

Bophud beach last week

While the flood situation in Bangkok remained relatively stable over the weekend, the capital faces the threat of deluge from two huge masses of water northeast of the city over coming days, a senior Royal Irrigation Department official warned yesterday. The mega wave! A good thing is that it hasn't rained in Bangkok during the last couple of days. Richard Barrow updates his blogs constantly with news about the floods.

Here's a first hand account of an evacuation though, quite scary! Especially the lack of information handed out. The FROC is seemingly incapable of dealing with the situation and doesn't use the new IT technology available in sharp contrast to a non governmental organisation named Thaiflood.com.

Theme parks, like Dreamworld are also closing their doors and are added to the long and ever growing list of companies that suffer from the flood.

Camille

Monday, 24 October 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 24th October, 2011

Today's weather;

The sky over Koh Samui is almost cloud free and very blue indeed. Right now it doesn't look like rain but rather a warm day in the making. Current temp at 7am is 26,3C

The forecast is not too bad, a bit of rain on most days, but not monsoon style, but still plenty of sunshine is predicted. We'll see.

Yesterday Samui saw a very wet start of the day but slowly but gradually it turned into a nice, warm and sunny day. Max temp reached 31.2C

Empty shelves are slowly starting to appear in the shopping malls around the island and in the South in general. This is at Tesco Lotus in Chaweng

In Bangkok the situation is still not very clear on how far the flood will reach into the city. Parts of the city are expected to be flooded for at least a month though. In the meantime, the government has made flood barriers off limits , as it struggles not only with the disaster but also with interference from protesting affected residents.

As a side effect of the floods, many crocodiles have escaped and yesterday a child was bitten by a croc in Bang Bua Thong district where two crocodiles believed to have escaped from a farm in Sai Noi district were shot dead, and six others were captured.

Yesterday I heard news of an acquaintance who has a factory in Pathum Thani which is under 2 meters of water. The government will now offer a new credit line with a special interest rate, tax incentives and various investment privileges to industrial operators whose factories have been flooded. Total losses can easily reach 500 billion Baht, I hope my acquaintance will be able to deal with his loss.

The capital city car owners are asked to park their cars outside of the city rather than on bridges and express ways. The police have given up on removing cars, unless they block crossings or hamper immediate flow of traffic.


Camille

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 23rd October, 2011

Today's weather;


The sky over Koh Samui is filled with clouds although right now the sun tries to peek through but at the same time, just a few minutes before, there was rain and thunder. Current temp at 7am is 26.1C

The forecast sees some improvement Tuesday, which should be merely a sunny day, all other day are either mixed bags with cloud and/or rain and some sunshine and other days without sunshine.

Yesterday saw thunder and rain in the morning around Samui with clouds all day long but not so much rain anymore during the remainder of the day. Max temp reached 27.8C

Clouded skies seem to be part of the daily routine almost every day now around the island

The floods keep creeping into Bangkok and taking over more and more ground in the city. The ongoing flood disaster has ravaged 175 districts as of now in 28 provinces, affecting 2.45 million people, and the death toll stood at 356 deaths with two persons missing, the National Flood Relief Centre at Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport reported yesterday.
At the same time, staff of the website thaiflood.com have withdrawn from the Don Mueang flood relief centre amid conflicts with the government's Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc).

The floods are supposed to last for weeks, some speak of 6 weeks. Here's a comparison with the 1983 and 1985 floods. Here you can find are some good pictures of the current floods. heck out the alligator or crocodile at the doorstep of one house!

It looks like the current situation will hold on for a while and that the current floods will enter history as one of the bigger ones.

Camille

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 22nd October, 2011

Today's weather;

This morning Samui's sky is dark and grey and it's raining with a soundtrack of thunder in the background. Current temp at 7am is 24.5C

The forecast is slowly changing and it looks like a little bit more rain will be ours almost each day. Nothing too serious and there's still room for sunshine on most days.

Yesterday saw a nice during the day time, there's were some dark clouds but no rain emerged except for a short shower around noon. It may have rained harder or more at other parts of Koh Samui. During the night things changed and I woke up a few times last night because of thunder. Max temp reached 30.3C

Samui sky yesterday during the day time

In Bangkok it's getting more crucial each day. Yesterday I posted about the current situation, including a flood picture of 1942, here are some more Bangkok flood pictures from 1983 and 1995 and some current flood pictures of last week.

Criticism of the government keeps growing; "In truth, Ms Yingluck's handling of the situation has sparked a crisis of faith. More than the indecision, her chief flaw is how she failed to make people listen."

The PM tries to take charge by invoking a 'disaster law'. There is one painful fact at this stage of the flood disaster: The waters need to pass through Bangkok as fast as possible to ease the suffering of people in other flooded areas.

The authorities should learn from their failure in protecting industrial estates like Nava Nakorn and Bang Kadi and dispatch a team of experts and soldiers to save industrial parks like Lat Krabang from getting submerged in the days to come.
Here's a time line of flooding of industrial estates.

This weekend will tell us how Bangkok will fare. Let's hope for the best.

Camille

Friday, 21 October 2011

Flooding in Thailand, October 2011

Flooding in Thailand, October 2011

Bangkok is being threatened more and more, by the minute almost. Many people have been evacuated and some people leave the city of their own account for safer and drier shores. Can't blame them. Some are just stuck in their homes.

Floods are nothing new to Bangkok, this is the Democracy Monument in 1942

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday issued a disaster warning for Bangkok, consolidating power for flood control and drainage.

Yingluck invoked the 2007 Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act to oversee flood control in lieu of declaring a state of emergency. New parts of the city are being submerged, little by little.

The overall situation is rather depressing around of and North of Bangkok. Press releases mention that around 350 did already due to the floods in Thailand.

A sign today in Tesco Lotus in Chaweng

Consumer goods are getting sparse in the South of Thailand and Koh Samui is no exception, although the damage is still seemingly small, a visit to Tesco Lotus (see the sign above) and Makro this afternoon, saw still relatively well stocked shelves but certain goods were sold out and will not be replaced soon, due to lack of supply. There's seemed to be still plenty of bottled water available, but no big 1.5 liter bottles and only certain brands were available. We went on a little bit of a shopping spree ourselves and bought drinking water, more things to drink (green tea) and lots of instant noodles.

Creative thinking finds solutions, a picture that made its rounds today on the various social media in Thailand

This weekend is going to be crucial and will show if Bangkok will escape major flooding. As of right now, Suvarnabhumi airport is open and operating a usual.

Right now I can only hope that things don't get worse and the situation will get back to 'normal ' as soon as possible, although reports indicate that this will take at least a month in the flooded areas and for the industrial areas, before everything is cleaned, fixed or replaced and up and running again, it may well be a couple of months.

Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 21st October, 2011

Today's weather

The sky over Samui is clouded again although it's not looking dark, like yesterday. Current temp at 7am is 26.1C and the island is absolutely flood free!

The forecast is showing some rain now for almost every day, although not monsoon like rain where it rains all day long, there still are plenty of dry periods and even sun periods.

In Bangkok the situation keeps deteriorating, slowly but steadily it seems. Here's a map, in Thai, with the flooded areas on it, as of yesterday.

"Thailand is paying an exorbitant price for poor water management, unregulated urban planning and state incompetence. More than 2 million people in 23 provinces have been suffering from the floods for months. More than 300 people have perished already."

Currently there's a political debate whether a decree should be issued declaring a state of emergency. The Democrats are for, the government is against this decree.

Bangkok residents have started to park their cars on fly overs and express ways, severely hindering traffic and causing bigger early morning traffic jams than usual.

The capital's canals are now used to direct runoff water out to the sea and it comes as no surprise that the government keeps getting slammed, this time for not getting enough boats out to flooded areas.

Bang Rak bay, yesterday, under a cloud cover

Samui had some rain again yesterday, mainly during the morning hours. The afternoon was dry and saw sunshine again. Max temp reached 30C

Camille

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Food on Wheels, Tub Tim or pomegranate on Bangkok's streets

Food on Wheels, Tub Tim or pomegranate on Bangkok's streets

This month's edition of Food on Wheels brings us to the streets of Bangkok, no big surprise there considering I spend about a week there recently. Despite all the great photo opportunities there, I actually made disappointingly few food on wheels related pictures, I have to admit

The three wheeler with the tub tim

This three wheeler I spotted on Sukhumvit Soi 22 and the only thing the vendor was selling was tub tim ทับทิม or pomegranate, a fruit that is available all year round in Thailand.

The front of the three wheeler or saam lor puang

The vendor has all he needs stored underneath his main basket, a simple water bottle for if he gets thirsty or needs to sprinkle the fruit and an umbrella protecting him and the fruit against rain or sunshine.

Tub tim or pomgranate

It's amazing to see that somebody can make a living by selling just one fruit. Hard to imagine how one can get by on such an income. The tub tim seemed to be popular though since he sold a few fruits along the way when I was observing his antics.

Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 20th October, 2011

Today's weather;

The sky over Samui shows various degrees of grey this morning and it's drizzling. No blue sky bits to be seen. Current temp at 7am is 24.2C

The forecast is still looking good with not too much rain and various degrees of cloud cover, let's see how that pans out!

The situation in Bangkok is at a stale mate it seems. Lack of leadership by the government is more widely being discussed each day. Eastern Bangkok has been sacrificed and it's till not clear how much damage the city will have to face.
As one article concludes; Saving Bangkok from inundation is now the foremost challenge Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra faces. It is time she demonstrated leadership and acted decisively. There is no more room for error.

A flower at Samui airport to brighten up the day

Yesterday morning turned wet very quickly around Samui and plenty of rain came down for a good hour or so. During the afternoon the sky cleared up again and the sun came out in full glory. During the night we had some more rain again. Max temp reached 29C

Camille

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

S31 Hotel on Sukhumvit Road, Soi 31 in Bangkok

S31 Hotel on Sukhumvit Road, Soi 31 in Bangkok

During my recent stay in Bangkok this Sunday and Monday, in order to have my fingerprints re-taken by the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok for renewal of my passport, I stayed at the S31 hotel for a second time in a short period.

The lounge are of the duplex suite on the first floor

There was a special offer on at Agoda and a duplex suite, with two floors, could be had for just 200,-THB more than a standard room, an offer I gladly took advantage of.

Living area in the duplex suite, first floor

The location of this hotel is superb, smack down on downtown Bangkok, near two skytrain stations, Phrom Thong and Asoke and a subway station, Sukhumvit which connects to Asoke sky train station and this subway station is just one station away from the Suvarnabhumi Airport link Makkasan station. Very convenient indeed.

A super king size bed, 8 foot wide! At the 2nd floor, where also the bath room is located

The hotel is very new and all 90 rooms are well laid out and come with free wi-fi in the room. Breakfast is also very nice and a great buffet is on offer. For pleasure, business or with a family this hotel is highly recommended by me.

Kitchen area on the first floor

There are plenty of good restaurants near the hotel, with all kind of different cuisines, just like the 'Bei Otto' German Restaurant and plenty of shopping malls are within easy reach with access to the sky train.

The breakfast room at the 6th floor

All my hotel bookings in Bangkok or any other destination in Thailand are done by me with either Agoda or Hotels Combined and you can help me booking your reservations through my Thailand hotel recommendation blog and use one of the booking links in each article.

A view of the S31 hotel taken from the Windsor Suites Hotel where I stayed with my family a week before I stayed at the S31

If you're looking into staying on Koh Samui, my Samui hotel recommendation blog may come in very handy, with plenty of reviews of hotels around Koh Samui, many with first hand experience.

A reverse view of the Windsor Suites Hotel, this time taken from the S31 hotel

View from the S31 around the Sukhumvit area

View from S31 at night

If you're looking for a convenient and nice room in the Sukhumvit area, the S31 may be just what you need.
More than five star, better than Boutique, according to a review in the Bangkok Post (Thailand's biggest English newspaper), this pretty much sums it up!

Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 19th October, 2011

Today's weather;

The sky over Koh Samui is more clouded today compared to previous days. There are just a few blue patches to be seen. Current temp at 7am is 26C

The forecast for the next 7 days on Koh Samui remains unchanged though and is very good with hardly any rain predicted at all.

Yesterday saw another warm and dry day around the island with plenty of sunshine. Max temp reached 31.7C

Sandbags at the entrance of a Bangkok subway station, I can only this will be sufficient protection, here's a graphic of what can be expected

In Bangkok the situation changed drastically overnight, Nava Nakorn, one of the Kingdom's largest industrial estates just north of Bangkok in Pathum Thani, with 227 factories faced closure and 170,000 workers were at the risk of losing their jobs. Channel 4 reporters went to check the area out and found this. The government is playing some strange games and strategies, and keeps wrestling with telling the truth or lies. One can only hope that this will have a severe backlash when the pieces will be picked up after the flood since thousands may be left jobless.

The Bangkok Post has another very well written article about all the government indecision.

Experts agree the current flood disaster could have been mitigated by readily available modern technology. Technology veterans say the lack of a data collection system and inadequate weather forecasting are the main factors behind this historic crisis.

A fellow blogger, Paul Garrigan, who lives in Minburi, Bangkok tells about his flood experiences on his blog.

I can only hope that everything will go down well but right now, unfortunately it doesn't look like it at all right now and one keeps wondering about the strange actions taken by the Thai government that puts many lives and goods at danger by apparently not being clear.

Camille

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Suvarnabhumi Airport Link in Bangkok

Suvarnabhumi Airport Link in Bangkok

Bangkok transport had been widened with the Suvarnabhumi Airport Link, officially opened late August this year. After my reports and experiences with the Sky-train and subway systems in Bangkok, it's now the first time that I rode the airport link and can report about it.

The Airport train link is still rather small, it's the red/blue in the middle, right hand side

The system has a very busy city line and two very quiet express trains, one going from Suvarnabhumi airport to the Makkasan station in just 15 minutes, where you can change to the subway system, Asoke/Sukhumvit is just one station away, here you can change again to the Sky train. The other express train goes to Phaya Thai, where you can connect to the sky train system. Make sure you hop on the right train at the airport, there are first of all separate entries for the city line and the express trains, once you're at the express train platform, there are two trains waiting, take the correct one, either to Makkasan or Phaya Thai.

Inside the train

The train ride is very convenient and very fast, 15 minutes to the Makkasan station is very fast indeed, compared to a taxi. A round trip ticket was just 150,-THB. For a single traveler an ideal price and fast. I haven't figured out how frequently the express trains ride though, my impression is about every half hour.

At the crossing towards the Petchaburi subway system, under the big promotional board/sign, about 100 meters

Now the kicker comes. When the Makkasan terminal was build, near the Petchaburi subway station, no direct or underground walking connection was made. You're supposed to walk out of the Makkasan station, which is a bit of a walk, once you're outside of the station you need to walk about 500 meters under the actual link line, so you're covered in case it rains but than at a crossing you need to hang a right with another 100 meters to go to the subway entry.

The same crossing, outside Makkasan station, walk to about halfway the station

With luggage this is extremely inconvenient and I can't see this airport link becoming a big success, since only people with hand luggage or very little luggage will use this means of transportation to this station.

Despite a fairly impressive and big check in station at the air link Makkasan station for various airlines, which was still closed by the way.

I did walk and the ticket to Asoke was just 15,-THB, so for a mere 180,-THB I travelled up and down from the airport to Sukhumvit road, with just another 20,-THB motorbike ride from Sukhumvit/Asoke station to the S31 hotel where I stayed.

Train platform at Makkasan station

If you have hardly any luggage or just carry on, by all means, use the airport link, it will be convenient enough, despite the 'cock up' at Makkasan station having to walk between two connecting stations. Strangely enough, from Makkasan to the subway station everything was clearly indicated and signs were everywhere, pointing you in the right direction, however, from the subway station to the Makkasan Airport link station there's not a single sign to be found.

The Makkasan station

I can only hope that a solution will be found for the current transfer situation at Makkasan and I hope that soon I will have the opportunity to check out the Phaya Thai situation as well, and see for myself how the connection between the two stations and operating systems is there.

That's another sore pint by the way, each time you change system,either between sky train, subway or airport link, you will need to buy a new ticket since they're all operated by different owners! Another notch down on the convenient scale!

The current stations on display inside the train

It worked fine for me this time around, but with a bigger group of travelers or with more luggage (I just had hand luggage this time) it becomes either too expensive or too inconvenient.

The potential is there, with a fast train ride from almost downtown to the airport and a big check in area at Makkasan, now let's see if they can work out the kinks!

Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 18th October, 2011

Today's weather;

Back on Koh Samui again after my short side trip to Bangkok and visit the Dutch Embassy. The sky here is a mixed bag of clouds and blue spots, making it look like another fine day is in the making. Current temp at 7am is 26C
The foreast for the next 7 days is still looking good.

Bangkok is still being threatened with being flooded. There's a 48 hour deadline being issued by Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Palibatra last night. The Air Force is getting ready to move airplanes from the old Don Muang airport and the cost of the clean up could end up being in excess of BT100bn (that's billion!).

The Nassir el Massri Egyptian restaurant's second floor private group room on the second floor, one of my fave eateries in Bangkok, located on Sukhumvit Soi 3/1, I was here again last Sunday for dinner

Yesterday saw a nice and warm on Samui and not a single drop of rain. Max temp reached 31.2C

Most of yesterday I did spend in Bangkok though and it was a dry day around the city with hardly any rain to speak of. In the general picture this may have helped to ease the overall situation. Max temp reached 31.2C
All Embassy work was hopefully dealt with in good manners this time around and just to be on the safe side, my fingerprints were taken twice, so a back up is in place. Although it's a complete 'Big Brother' scenario, the Embassy staff was very helpful. One more has to this week to get fingerprinted again, according to Embassy staff.

My stay at the S31 was lovely and is recommendable.

Camille

Monday, 17 October 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 17th October, 2011

Today's weather;

Koh Samui has a nice sky this morning with plenty of blue in it. Current temp at 7am is 26.8C and the forecast for the next 7 days is excellent again. This coming Sunday looks all good again.

Bangkok is a bit of a mixed bag this morning, some parts looks nice with blue spots in the sky but other parts look dark and grey. Current temp at 7am is 25.1C

The overall situation around Bangkok hasn't changed much, there's still a threat of the city being flooded, academics question moves used to stop the flood and emergency centers take more than 50.000 calls a day.

Here's an excellent article from the Bangkok Post that hits the nail on the head by stating 'We do not know what we are doing'!

Later on this morning I'll be off to the Dutch Embassy to get fingerprinted again for my passport.

Sand bags in front of many shops along Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok

Yesterday saw a nice, dry and sunny day on Samui. Max temp reached 31.5C

Bangkok was dry when I arrived at the airport and on my travel to the S31 hotel although it just had rained, all roads were wet but soon after I checked in it hosed down for a while and it drizzled on during the evening. Max temp reached 30C

Camille