21 Dec

Place I Stayed in Bangkok

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I – Sanook

118 Soi Songphra, Siphrayay Road, Kwang Maha Pruttaram

Khet Bangrak, Bangkok

www.i-sanook.com

Tel: 02 633 3636

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I knew by the time I got here I would be tired.  A friend of mine told me she often rented a place for a month at a time when she traveled.  I thought that sounded like a good idea – and I started looking on Airbnb.  This place has a hotel, a hostel, and the women’s residence – where my room is, a cafe, a coffee shop, and a little convenience store.   I have a big room, great bathroom, a/c, tv, fridge, big desk and a king bed (with good bedding).  It costs $8 a day, but I had to pay $15 for my internet access in my room, and will pay a few dollars for electricity when I leave. If I want housekeeping I pay for that each time.  Its new, clean and safe.  Great staff.  Staying here I also have access to the communal kitchen and swimming pool.  It appears to have a lot of young Asian women guests- and I think most of them are students.  I can walk to the metro in about 15 minutes, and its less than 5 minutes to a bus stop.  This complex is down a small alley off a small street in a very typical Thai neighborhood.  It is perfect!20151220_11250520151217_174540

15 Dec

Bangkok – Bang for a Buck

Markets are Fun

Markets are Fun

20151201_160640To say Bangkok is a budget destination is truly an understatement.  I have rented an apartment in a complex that has a hotel, a hostel, and the women’s  residence that  I am in.  We have access to the hotel swimming pool, and a communal kitchen. My apt. is big, a king bed, with good sheets, a long desk. tv, a/c and a refrigerator.  All for $8 a day.  I did have to pay $15 to have internet in my room, and I will have to pay for my electricity use when I leave.  It is a block from a 7/11, and there are lots of good places for street food.  My dinner usually costs $2.  I got a refillable card for the subway, and as a senior I travel for half price.  A two hour ride on a the local river boat costs 50 cents.  There is also a Skytrain, and city buses.  They are all independent of each other – and only senior Thai nationals get a discount on the Skytrain.  There are huge ultramodern malls, cramped crowded street markets, and shrines and temples everywhere.  Walking around the local neighborhood is a perfect way to spend any day.

Shrines and Temples everywhere

Shrines and Temples everywhere

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Riding down the River

A good place to spend a month for sure.

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Streetside Shrine

11 Dec

Place I Stayed in Hong Kong

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Mong King Hotel
Flat 2105 21/F
Sun Hing Bldg.
607 Nathan Rd.
Kowloon

I just never learn. I know I should only reserve and pay for a place for one night, and then if I do not like it, I can leave. For some unknown reason I decide to book, and pay for, my room in Hong Kong. The hotel website said they spoke English. I booked a single room, with private bath. Website said it was 9 sq. meters, and 2 pm check in. I arrived about 1 pm and wanted to drop off my pack. There was no reception, only a phone on the wall, 2 numbers, a sign that said 3 pm check in, and a sign that said to call the number, and if someone answered, be patient, someone would come….. I called the numbers, no one answered, no one came. I went for lunch and came back at 3, called both numbers, no answer, no one came. Finally at 3:45 someone answers the phone – but they do not speak English. I wait. An elderly Chinese man eventually appears and indicated I should follow him. We go up in the elevator to the 25th floor, then we go down a very dirty hallway, and up an even dirtier set of stairs. I am getting a bad feeling about this. Finally he opens a door into a short hallway, with 5 doors, a small table with a telephone, and a bathroom. At least this area is clean. He shows me the bathroom, that is obviously shared by all rooms. He then opens the door to my room?? It contains a smaller than single bed 3 ft. x 5 ft. The walls surround the bottom half of the bed. The rest of the room is the amount of space it takes to open the door. I show him my reservation – this is NOT the room I reserved. This room is not even 3 sq. m., but he just smiles and nods. I finally realize I am not going to get anywhere with him – so I put my pack down and he leaves. I return to the office phone several times, no one ever answers. Each day I try to contact someone who speaks English, and each day I fail. One night at midnight the fire alarm rings. I hear people running and yelling in the hallway. I get up, get dressed and go out to see two elderly Chinese women in full panic mode. I go back to phone for help, guess what?? no answer. The stairs I use only go one floor, so I find the fire escape route – but there is a doorway to the stairs, it is locked. I am on the 26th floor…. I finally go back to bed, and the alarm rings for 45 minutes. One thing about it – it will go down as one of the worst rooms I have ever had – right up there with the one in Egypt, someone had left the window open, there had been a sandstorm, two inches of sand on the floor and the bed……No more paid reservations for me.

 

07 Dec

Lights -Camera -Action – This is Hong Kong

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Hong Kong may be part of China, but its a separate entity when it comes to Customs and Immigration.  I had to exit China and enter HK. Dynamic does not even come close to describing HK.  It is vibrant and exciting and non stop action.  Five days meant I had to go fast and furious every day to see and do the most important things.  The skyline is one of the best in the world, and they enhance it with a free light and laser show every evening when buildings on both sides of the harbor display lights in time with the music.  Old residential buildings nestle in beside ultra modern skyscrapers downtown.  High fashion is the norm here – and a million places to shop.  I stayed on Nathan Road in Kowloon, and it was lined with high end jewelry stores, all busy all the time. Taking a Hop On Hop Off bus tour works well for me, gets me to the famous sights with ease.  I bought a 48 hour pass, so used it one afternoon, one full day, and then one morning.   There are three routes, two on the Hong Kong side, and one for Kowloon.  There is also a night tour to see the lights.  HK could certainly rival Vegas when it comes to neon lights.  I loved the south side of HK island, lots of hills and trees, and views of the water.  The Victoria Peak tram has been a tourist highlight for many years, and a fun experience.  I rode the Star Ferry for free as I had a senior’s metro card,  so I often used it.  Christmas decorations were in place and some of the lighting was spectacular.   Reviews say the best view is from the 100 floor of the tallest building.  I read it was built on reclaimed land…. and somehow going up there just did not appeal to me.   My room here will make the top ten “Unforgettable Places I Stayed ” for sure.

05 Dec

Places I Stayed in Chongqing and Guangzhou

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I stayed to Hanting Hotel, 157 Chaotian Village, Conjiaping, Juilongpo District.  The hotel was fine with a very helpful staff (who spoke no English).  My room was large with a big bed, and great bathroom.  Good free wifi. First room had a noisy air vent so the next morning I was moved to another room.  My second room was on the 4th floor but the lift only goes to the 3rd floor.  This area was full of construction and not an area good for walking at all.  I even had trouble finding a fruit stand.  Everywhere in this city is a + 1 hour taxi ride past high rises as far as you can see in every direction.  I was just overwhelmed by this city.

 

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I stayed at Hi Inn, Liwan,  134 Xihua Road, Liwan District.

Nice room, but the hotel has no lift – so lots of stairs. Wifi worked well, and was free.  Loved this city – so green and walking friendly.  I was sad I only planned to spend a couple of days there.20151125_141215