Free On-Air Classes – Week of 9/22

COME CHECK OUT THESE FREE ONLINE CLASSES !

Artistic render of SSGSS Vegitto bursting through the flames.

For all you creatives, out there if you haven’t heard of Creative Live, you may be missing out. I always browse their site for anything to do with photography (including the legal and business aspects as well as the heavier side of image editing) and sign up for whatever I find interesting. I’ve watched many free tutorials and classes and have made a few purchases as well after watching the free live stream. I’m of the opinion that Creative Live is a very valuable resource even if you only watch the free classes!The above image was something I cooked up in Photoshop after being inspired from watching a free class on Creative Live. Check Out CreativeLive’s Free On-Air Classes.

I’ve included classes in other genre’s just in case anyone is interested in them and If you really haven’t heard about Creative Live, here’s their sales pitch:

Start learning for free today with the amazing selection of live and on air classes from Creative Live. You will learn creative skills from the world’s top experts – Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Oscar Winners, and New York Times best selling authors, thought leaders, and legendary entrepreneurs. With over 1,500 curated classes in Photography & Video, Money & Life, Craft & Maker, Art & Design, and Music & Audio, there is something for everyone. Students can watch on-air broadcasts for free or buy a class and own the content for life.

Plus, you can get your daily creative fix on the iOS app with 1 free lesson of you choice , each and every day!

Free On-Air Classes – Week of 9/22

Class Name: Make More Money and Discover Your Worth
Text Link: Make More Money and Discover Your Worth at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/22/2019
End Date: 09/23/2019
RSVP Date: 09/22/2019

Class Name: What’s Your Home Design Personality?
Text Link: What’s Your Home Design Personality at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/23/2019
End Date: 09/25/2019
RSVP Date: 09/23/2019

Class Name: Build Your Own Tote Bag: Custom Exteriors
Text Link: Build Your Own Tote Bag: Custom Exteriors at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/24/2019
End Date: 09/25/2019
RSVP Date: 09/24/2019

Class Name: Stop Making Excuses
Text Link: Stop Making Excuses at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/25/2019
End Date: 09/26/2019
RSVP Date: 09/25/2019

Class Name: Function-Driven Interior Design
Text Link: Function-Driven Interior Design at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/26/2019
End Date: 09/28/2019
RSVP Date: 09/26/2019

Class Name: Box Zip Bags
Text Link: Box Zip Bags at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/27/2019
End Date: 09/28/2019
RSVP Date: 09/27/2019

Happy Learning, y’all ! ! !

FULL DISCLOSURE: Please note that the course/class links have my affiliate code in them and should you choose to purchase a class, I may get a referral fee. The links only direct you to the page where you can watch the course FOR FREE on the stated date(s).

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, ๐Ÿ˜ƒ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art

ย 



63 Bangkok Boutique Bed & Breakfast

ย Hello again, everyone! If you’ve been following my whirlwind 2 week trip to Bangkok where I learned a bit about daily life in Bangkok then you’ll know that I didn’t mention where I stayed before I managed to rent a place for 5 months. Yup, the place I stayed at is the title of this post and here I’ll tell you all about it. If you haven’t read my previous post about my trying to rent a place in Bangkok, it’s in this post, Bangkok Dangerous – a temporary relocation experience.

My trip was on such short notice (I was on the plane within 12 hours) meant I couldn’t be so stringent with choosing a place to stay. After a really quick search on Expedia, I chose the 63 Bangkok Boutique Bed & Breakfast. Please keep in mind that I chose the cheapest, single occupant room I could find which set me back about $29 Sgd per night.
So, what do you get for $29?ย  Anything you wa…Just kidding.

The hotel is right on Sukumvit Road, which is a main road and a very busy one at that. Right at the entrance of the hotel, maybe about 6 steps away is the up escalator to Ekkamai BTS station. Having said that, I didn’t hear any traffic noise even though I was on the 3rd floor, which should be right about train level but I couldn’t tell since my room didn’t have a window which is probably why I couldn’t hear the traffic. When I booked the hotel, I knew the station was close, but I had no idea it was this close.

ย The lobby is quite roomy, clean and has a nice comfy vibe to it. The hotel has an elevator just beside the stairs and because of the decor (is my excuse) I didn’t notice there was an elevator until the receptionist told me as I headed to the stairs with my luggage. Towards the back, past the stairs is the seating area for the free breakfast and what looks like a coffee shop but I’ve never seen anyone eating or having coffee over there. I’ve seen people just hanging out, though. There’s also a couple of beauty shops (nails and hair I think) back there. Half a floor up there is a shared office type setup as well as another beauty salon. The hallways and elevator lobby areas are actually quite spacious and from what I could tell each floor has a huge fan to help with air cooling and circulation. I was not expecting that at all.

 

Since I was on the third floor I chose to use the stairs and noticed that the steps are not of uniform height and the ceiling seems a bit low so watch your step and mind your head if you’re over 5 feet 10 inches tall.

Into the room I go. Really not much to talk about as far as rooms go. It’s four walls with a wall mounted shelf and clothes rod, a wall mounted tv, a single bed, a mini fridge, small bedside table, a desk with a chair and a washroom. It’s small but I’ve been in smaller.

The room was clean and there weren’t any weird smells. The sheets were clean but I did find a hole in them. I didn’t watch tv but there was power to the cable box and the standby lights were on so I guess they work. The power outlets were easy enough to find and access which was nice. The aircon worked but the funny thing was, when it got too cold and I turn the cooling off but kept the fan on, I felt it getting hard to breathe so I turned the cooling back on and that feeling went away. The fridge doesn’t work too well but better than nothing. As for room security, well, the door locks when you close it but there isn’t a double lock or security lock. No safe either so I did what I usually do, find something wall mounted and loop my laptop cable lock through it and secure the other end in my padlocked suitcase. Not great but better than nothing.

Now for the washroom. At first glance it looks fine maybe a bit gloomy because of the gray colored walls but when you look closer you’ll find that it’s actually more like an unfinished wall because the sections of wall making up shower area are tiled the rest is not. Originally the shower “stall” had a glass door but it’s gone, replaced by a spring loaded curtain rod holding up a plastic shower curtain. No big deal right? Well it wouldn’t be but somehow a lot of water escapes and pools around the toilet and the water doesn’t go down the drain that is located between the shower and the toilet because the water pools mostly on the other side. For the most part the walls and floor of the washroom are clean but there are noticeable mold/mildew patches at the bottom corners of the shower stall. If you’re opposed to this you can wear slippers. I used a pair of $2 slippers from Daiso (for the wet floor not the shower stall). They’re really light and make good padding for soft “carry on” duffel bags. Although there were the usual hotel amenities like shower soap an stuff, I never use them, especially if they are in a bulk dispenser mounted on the wall. Housekeeping doesn’t come around unless you ask them to and when you do they may not have enough clean towels to give you. In my case it was only a hand towel. Not too big of a deal unless you want your bottle of free water per day. Like many Asian countries, flushing toilet paper is not “allowed” so you dispose of your used toilet paper in the little uncovered trash can beside the toilet. OK, maybe the no daily housekeeping is a big deal.

What’s around the hotel? Well, beside the hotel there’s a coffee shop and on the other, a temple. At night the street food vendors come out and as will the occasional less fortunate people with their “tip jars.” On the opposite side of the street is a “Mediplex” and the Gateway mall with the usual shops and food outlets but outside they have like a sidewalk sale setup with local crafts and on weekends you can get some farm fresh produce. Being right at Ekkamai BTS station means most of the touristy shopping places are close by like Terminal 21, Paragon, Siam and MBK which are all just a few train stops away, as is the station to transfer to the airport train (Phaya Thai station). I would highly recommend not crossing the street unless you are fond of playing live action Frogger (I think these days they call it Crossy Roads). Instead just go up the escalator and walk through the station to the other side where you’ll end up right at the entrance of the mall. Don’t worry you won’t have to enter or exit the gantry.

For what it’s worth, the room was just what I needed it to be and at a cost I was willing to pay. The hotel is nice enough for me to stay in again if I ever needed to and I’m pretty sure there are nicer rooms available if you’re so inclined to check them out.

Consider following me for updates and to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, ๐Ÿ˜ƒ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art

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The beginning of the end for fiat currency in Singapore?

Green colored currency

This came as quite a shock to me the other day when I was shopping for hiking pants. Why hiking pants? I find that hiking pants/shirts are the best for travelling in S.E. Asia because they are light, easy to pack and dries quickly whether from sweat, rain or a washing. So instead of the branded lines like Columbia that retail over $100 Sgd per piece, I opted to check out the “no name” brands which are about $30 Sgd.

My “go to” chain of stores when I’m looking for sports stuff in Singapore goes by the name of Decathlon. They carry a lot of “no name” brand goods as well as branded goods at good prices. Anyways, I heard a new branch opened up in a mall named Velocity @ Novena, which is really close to where I am and I needed to be as time efficient as possible. Check out my post Bangkok Dangerous – a temporary relocation experience if you wanna know why, it’s kinda funny now but not so much while it was happening, lol.

When I arrived at the Decathlon store in Velocity @ Novena, I found it underwhelming, I was expecting the usual huge shop with lots of stuff in it. This branch was claustrophobic-ly small, ok maybe not that small but close. Anyways, they had what I was looking for and after trying it on, I went to pay. Here comes the WTH moment…

So I’m standing behind this lady, probably looking as confused as I looked, because there wasn’t a cashier or cash register at the counter. There were employees walking around but none came to collect the money. So she waved an employee down and he came to assist. So apparently the whole system is self service and if you want a bag, you’ll have to pay for one and then ask someone to get you one. I don’t have an issue with the self service system as I’m getting pretty used to it. Singapore is highly into the self service/pay systems. Almost all fast food chains have a self order/pay system, many restaurants have ipad (or equivalent) menu order systems. The local grocery store near me only has self check out booths with machines that collect payment, although there is still a cashier at each kiosk to help. Same with convenience stores, the cashier rings you up and you shove your cash into a machine. What I have an issue with, is the “we are cashless” stance that this particular Decathlon is taking. When it was my turn, the Decathlon employee was still there watching as I scanned my item and when I handed him the cash, he pointed at the sign. I asked him, “seriously, you don’t take cash?” in which he replied, “yes, we don’t take cash.” Well, nothing I could do about it, plus I was in a rush and had to finish packing and catch a flight so I charged the pants to my credit card. Thankfully, Decathlon isn’t a store that charges an extra 3% if you use a credit card. If you’re not aware of this practice it’s pretty frustrating the first few times.

Now someone correct me if I’m wrong but “this note is legal tender” printed on fiat currency means that business’ must accept it as a form of payment, right? Well, that’s the way I understand it. Apparently, this isn’t the case in Singapore? OH, another thing I’d better mention, when it comes to paper money, in Singapore, you can use the Brunei dollar as equivalent to the Singapore dollar. I found out the hard way years ago when I received change in Brunei currency and caused a bit of a ruckus, lol. Back to this issue of business’ not taking cash. Since my purchase at Decathlon, I’ve asked some Singaporeans for their thoughts. One person vehemently defended the right of business’ not to take cash citing that it’s the government of Singapore’s push for a cashless society and that even the hospitals are telling people to pay at the 7-11 if they insist on paying cash. Wait, what? Really? I haven’t followed up on that but a few others believe, as I do, that it is illegal for business’ doing business in Singapore to not to take Singapore currency. These people have suggested I lodge a complaint with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and when I asked, “why me,” they said it’s precisely because I’m a foreigner that I should be the one to complain. I don’t understand that logic but I’m probably not going to lodge a complaint since (in my opinion) it won’t matter one bit. Equally confusing to me is that, of all the people I asked, the majority just didn’t care.

I think a cashless society would be just one Mt. Gox hack away from anarchy and I’m of the opinion that when the masses are being herded in one particular direction, it’s not gonna be too good for the herd. Of course I’m no expert and I don’t know if cashless business’ are going dominate the shopping landscape or not but I do know that the push for going cashless is real and relatively quick. There is an increasing amount of crypto atm’s popping up in more malls in Singapore and I’ve seen establishments accepting crypto, which may or may not be a good thing. Have a read of my post, Funan DigitaLife Mall’s rebirth. What’s the big deal? Something you’ll want to think about for more info. If you’re looking for crypto atm’s they maybe hard to spot as they are not heavily advertised. I plan to compile a list with pictures and detailing what services are offered at these atm’s in the near future. It’s on my to do list, lol.

So what do you think about a cashless society and as a tourist being forced to use online payment (potential loss of anonymity assuming your particular online funds is accepted) or use your foreign credit card (potential additional fees). Thankfully, it’s not that prevalent now but it’s happening. I kinda feel sorry for the smaller ‘mom and pop’ shops that will need to “subscribe” to all the services necessary to make them cashless and what will happen to the extra 3% increase that a lot of business charge to the consumer for using credit cards? All those fees are inevitably gonna be added to the purchase price, that sucks.

Consider following me for updates and to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, ๐Ÿ˜ƒ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art



Free On-Air Classes – Week of 9/15

COME CHECK OUT THESE FREE ONLINE CLASSES !

Artistic rendition of a yellow flower in bloom

For all you creatives, out there if you haven’t heard of Creative Live, you may be missing out. I always browse their site for anything to do with photography (including the legal and business aspects as well as the heavier side of image editing) and sign up for whatever I find interesting. I’ve watched many free tutorials and classes and have made a few purchases as well after watching the free live stream. I’m of the opinion that Creative Live is a very valuable resource even if you only watch the free classes!The above image was something I cooked up in Photoshop after being inspired from watching a free class on Creative Live. Check Out CreativeLive’s Free On-Air Classes.

I’ve included classes in other genre’s just in case anyone is interested in them and If you really haven’t heard about Creative Live, here’s their sales pitch:

Start learning for free today with the amazing selection of live and on air classes from Creative Live. You will learn creative skills from the world’s top experts – Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Oscar Winners, and New York Times best selling authors, thought leaders, and legendary entrepreneurs. With over 1,500 curated classes in Photography & Video, Money & Life, Craft & Maker, Art & Design, and Music & Audio, there is something for everyone. Students can watch on-air broadcasts for free or buy a class and own the content for life.

Plus, you can get your daily creative fix on the iOS app with 1 free lesson of you choice , each and every day!

Free On-Air Classes – Week of 9/15

Class Name: Drawing the Everyday Every Day
Text Link: Drawing the Everyday Every Day at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/15/2019
End Date: 09/16/2019
RSVP Date: 09/15/2019

Class Name: Fashion Photography 101
Text Link: Fashion Photography 101 at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/16/2019
End Date: 09/17/2019
RSVP Date: 09/16/2019

Class Name: Raise Your Perceived Value: Increase Your Prices
Text Link: Raise Your Perceived Value: Increase Your Prices at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/17/2019
End Date: 09/18/2019
RSVP Date: 09/17/2019

Class Name: Fashion Flair for Photographers
Text Link: Fashion Flair for Photographers at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/18/2019
End Date: 09/19/2019
RSVP Date: 09/18/2019

Class Name: Hype Your Brand on Instagram
Text Link: Hype Your Brand on Instagram at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/19/2019
End Date: 09/20/2019
RSVP Date: 09/19/2019

Class Name: Film and Digital Formats for Creative Fashion Photography
Text Link: Film and Digital Formats for Creative Fashion Photography at CreativeLive
Start Date: 09/20/2019
End Date: 09/21/2019
RSVP Date: 09/20/2019

Happy Learning, y’all ! ! !

FULL DISCLOSURE: Please note that the course/class links have my affiliate code in them and should you choose to purchase a class, I may get a referral fee. The links only direct you to the page where you can watch the course FOR FREE on the stated date(s).

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, ๐Ÿ˜ƒ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art

 



Bangkok Dangerous – a temporary relocation experience.

Ok so if you’ve read some of my previous travel posts, you know that I’m always rushing, more often than not plans don’t work out and that something weird/funny/stupid usually happens. This most recent trip is no exception but by far the least planned and most rushed ever! In fact, I don’t think it can get any worse than this. Curious? Read on, my friends…

Long story short, my daughter’s final year course work includes an optional 5 months overseas internship program. She got an offer from a company in Bangkok but at the last minute things fell through. Even more last minute was the school being able to find 3 alternatives. By the time the dust settled (interviews and choosing which company to go to), my kid would start work in 8 days. So being the ~~busy body~~ concerned parent that I am, I booked a flight, a room and packed. I was in the air within 12 hours. The premise was I would go check out the office and the vicinity as well as start apartment hunting. The school had a rule that students must stay in the same apartment complex/building but at that moment nobody had picked a place yet so I was flying blind with only the office address to go by.

While waiting at the airport, I found some info that taxi fares are about 400-700 from the airport to where I was going, Ekkamai. What I didn’t know was that the taxi’s from the airport are metered. You line up to get a ticket on which a number is printed and you go to that berth where a car will be waiting. So thinking it was like Chiang Mai, I asked how much before I even let the driver take one of my bags (I was packing my kid’s stuff too). He said $500 Baht including highway toll and since it was within the range I read about, I agreed. So off we went. Not much traffic, it was night time and I arrived at my hotel in around 40 minutes. The other choices at the airport are limo taxi’s which start at $1000 Baht depending on distance and vehicle you choose to ride in. Another choice would be a VIP service type deal which you have to arrange in advance and that starts at $700 Baht. You can also take the train (cost dependent upon destination).

What about sim chips? Well I bought my sim chip at the airport (after getting my bags and clearing customs) at a cost of $599 Baht (upgrade able to a 3 months plan at the end of 15 days for around $1200 Baht (check the photo below for the specs). If you need one for longer, the 3 months plan that I bought for my kid was $1400 Baht. It may be a bit more than some of the other plans but apparently DTAC’s wifi is more consistent as some of my kid’s colleagues have switched from Tru (?sp). We can both tether/hotspot our laptops to our phone and access the internet without any issues. My Nintendo Switch acted squeamishly though but maybe because my laptop was tethered too. Oh, the phone numbers with a zero in the front, that’s part of your number so people calling you will have to “dial” the zero as part of your phone number. Making calls will cost $1 Baht so use internet calling (Whatsapp or Line for example) to get around that. I used AIS the last time I was in Thailand and it was just as good as DTAC but I didn’t see one at the airport that’s why I got DTAC.

After settling in, I went out to grab a bite to eat, it was around 8pm and I was super tired and super hungry. Some eateries were already winding down for the day so I just went to a shop that looked open, looked willing to let me order and order the special which was a platter of sausages which included a chili dog. I love chilli dogs and was really looking forward to it. Well, it wasn’t a hotdog with chilli on it, it was a hotdog with chili peppers in it. It was so spicy I could only eat half, ya that sucked! Anyways, while eating i realized that I didn’t notice having to stop to pay a toll on the way from the airport and figured it was an automatic thing like they have in Singapore. While entering the meal receipt into my expense tracker, I noticed that it my meal wasn’t cheaper than a meal in Singapore of the same standard. Oh well. Back at the hotel I asked how much a taxi ride from the airport would be and the lady said around $500 baht, so I felt relieved but I still had a bad feeling for some reason. So fast forward a few days…I had to take a taxi two more times to and from the airport. Once in the afternoon, metered, at a cost of $300 Baht including highway toll and once in the evening via Grab taxi at a cost of $383 Baht. The toll booths are manned so they’re not automatic and the driver asked me for the cash to pay the toll on my afternoon, metered fare trip from the airport. I was guessing no toll at night since both times I failed to notice having to stop and pay the toll. However, after Google’ing, I found that there is a way to get to and from the airport without using the highway and thereby bypassing the toll, so that’s more likely what happened on my rides in any event, I don’t mind paying the toll if it means getting to where I need to go, faster. Word of caution, the traffic gets pretty bad around 6-8 pm and Grab drivers are more prone to cancelling or accepting from far away. My return flight was at 9 pm, I started to booking Grab taxi’s at 6 pm, got into one at 6:30 pm and arrived at the airport at 8 pm.

Ok enough of that, continuing on now, I spent the next 3 days going back and forth between Ekkamai, Thong Lo and On Nut BTS stations because that’s the general area of where the office where my kid was going to intern at and the recommended housing areas. I did a lot of walking and waiting in the heat and rain, being orchestrated by my kid in Singapore and rental agents in Bangkok, not fun. The most frustrating part was finding some place suitable but having to wait for confirmation from the school to see if there were any students currently in the building. Yup, that sucked too! I also did a lot of window shopping and eating. I really thought Bangkok was going to be similar to Chiang Mai in terms of cost of living but Bangkok is more expensive. The restaurants (fast food/chain type) are roughly the same price as I would find in Singapore. The same cafe chain (Black Canyon) I ate at in Chiang Mai, although different items, seemed more expensive. I’m basing this solely on how the bill made me feel. The bill in Bangkok made me think “wow, same as Singapore” and not “wow, that was inexpensive for good food” (as was my reaction in Chiang Mai). Eating at food courts in a mall is generally cheaper but many require you to get a proprietary meal card which you deposit money into and funds are deducted at each food stall you purchase from. Make sure you spend all the money you put on the card because most are 1 day only cards meaning after the day you buy it, whatever amount is left, it’ss gone. Happened to me at MBK’s food court I lost about $100 Baht, I think.

Transportation wise, if you’re going to use the BTS a lot (mass transit train) I would suggest you get a “Rabbit Card” it’s a card that lets you store a balance and you use that to tap in and out of the gantries. It is a lot more convenient than lining up every time to buy a one ride ticket, as the lines can get pretty long some times. Whilst the lines to top up your Rabbit card do get long, you won’t have to do it as often and you can choose the time to do it. As far as I can tell, the cost per ride on the BTS is about $15-20 Baht per station and going in and immediately from the same station still incurs a $15 Baht charge (I did it twice unfortunately). The initial cost of the Rabbit card is $200 Baht of which $100 Baht is the deposit on your card and “top ups” must be in multiples of $100 Baht. I found that out the “hard” way as well as not being able to “top up” from within the station. You have to exit the gantry first. I don’t know if you get a refund for the card as I still have mine. If you’re a student, you can get a student’s Rabbit card (show your student ID or student visa) and that card has concessions on fares.

OH! the Rabbit card can be used at some places like 7-11 but cannot be used for the train to the airport from Phaya Thai station, you have to buy a token for that ride ($45 Baht). Meaning when you’re on the BTS line that has the stations Ekkamai, Siam etc. you have to change trains at Phaya Thai and that other train line does not accept the Rabbit card for payment.

Please note: if you’re trying to get on the train between 8 and 10 am it’ll be an experience (an uncomfortable one if you’re a girl). While people are more civilized when it comes to lining up for the train they are a less so when it comes to getting on so don’t be surprised if you really get wedged in, think of a can of anchovies, seriously. Almost every morning I had to skip at least one train and I’ve witnessed my fair share of pained/uncomfortable looks on peoples faces the times that I do make it on. Lucky I’m a dude and wear a waist pack in the front when I travel!

Housing wise, it seems that Airbnb’s are illegal in Thailand. There are signage in some condo lobbies saying they’ll turn you in if they find out, referring to both guest and host. Anyways, for the most part, the agents I spoke to were unwilling to rent for durations of less than a year (I need one for 5 months) without “consulting with the owners” then coming back with an inflated price. It also seemed to me that they only want to show you one as in they’d say they have more but when you ask to see them they just start talking about the first one they recommended. I had to ask several times to see the others and of those times only twice did I get to see the other units.The other times the answers ranged from “I’ll have to ask the owners”, the “duration isn’t long enough” and or “it’s out of your price range.” The price ranges I’ve come across from studios to single bedroom apartments were between $11000-$16000 Baht a month for 1 year contracts. Terms are first month rent and a security deposit equal to the first and last months rent upon getting the key. A small amount will be withheld from your deposit when the contract expires since you would have left before the bill arrives. All the places I checked out had a “pool” but a few of them were so small that if you were to jump in, you’d hit the other side. Most were ok, just don’t expect to be doing any “laps”.

Unanimously, the water and power bill are sent to your mailbox and you pay the water bill to the property management at the office/front desk and the power bill to the gov’t at a 7-11 or bank so you won’t have to set anything up yourself.

Shopping…I must not be going to the right places because everyone tells me that Bangkok is the place to go for shopping. Well, from what I’ve seen, not really…maybe for women’s clothes because my kid seems to think it’s cheaper there (compared to Singapore). What I’ve seen is things like fun electronics/appliances down to usb cables, the prices are on par with Singapore. Things like games/accessories for the Nintendo Switch can be even more expensive! Yup, I had to buy a wall adapter powerful enough to charge my Switch because I thought my powerbank would last long enough, but nope I played more than I planned, lol. I didn’t look much at men’s clothing but I did buy some outfits, even after bargaining for a better price it still came out to what I’d pay for something similar anywhere else. I’ve shopped at 2 Walmart/Kmart/Superstore type hypermarts by the name of Big C and Tesco Lotus. I would recommend buying household items from Big C and food items from Tesco Lotus because Big C’s household items are cheaper and Tesco’s food freshness is better. In general necessity appliances like rice cookers, water bottles and toasters are much cheaper than what you would be able to find in Singapore. Fortunately for me, both shops were in a small mall and i felt that the Big C and the shops around it are more “local.” Please keep in mind that this is only my opinion of the two stores/malls and only for the days that I shopped there. Oh, I’ve never noticed anyone bargaining at the Big C, Tesco Lotus so I’ve never tried. I did buy a potted plant from a shop just outside the Big C and was able to bargain a bit.

Final notes, there is a lot of traffic in Bangkok and a lot of it is comprised of motorcycle/mopeds. If you see a seemingly random line of people on the sidewalk, they are lining up for the motorcycle “taxi’s”. From what I’ve been told, the driver’s wearing the reflective safety vest are the more “legit” ones and there’s usually a sign board indicating the prices (at the head of the line), I couldn’t read it but the numbers looked significantly cheaper than a taxi/or tuk tuk. I’ve seen girls riding side ways because they’re wearing skirts so that’s an option if you’re so inclined. I was told helmets were mandatory in Thailand too but I don’t recall ever seeing a passenger of one of these “taxi bikes” wearing a helmet. My kid tried it and reported they didn’t even offer her one. Being a pedestrian crossing the street isn’t much better and can be just as scary. Just keep in mind that yielding to pedestrians isn’t at the top of a driver’s list, seemingly even on a cross walk so so be extra careful especially at an intersection when a car has already stopped for you. Some drivers in the outer lanes will be reluctant to stop or may even take advantage of the stopped car to change lanes, yup almost got my feet rolled over, twice! Same intersection different days, lol.

After all the prep, shopping, route finding, transport timing and stuff were done, I found one day for my self to check out Bangkok, obviously not enough time, so I Googled “must do’s in Bangkok” and found some interesting places to check out. I’ll be posting this adventure soon, stay tuned…

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