Subject: Re: Thailand

When we arrived in Bangkok a few years ago there was a tourist desk set up right in the airport near the baggage claim area. We wandered over for a look and found that they were offering tours at incredibly cheap prices. Almost too good to be true. But they had their Govt. tourist license proudly displayed and we took a why not? attitude.

It was a terrific deal. We had an air conditioned taxi with a driver and english speaking guide who picked us up at our hotel. We had pre- chosen the itinerary we wanted at the airport. Yes, of course, they wanted to take us shopping's always part of the Thai schtick. So we visited the jewelry factory where we got a free cold soda and I bought a little piece of enamel for under $40.00. But the bottom line was we got to see all the spots we wanted in an a/c car. (it was 105 degree's when we were there)

I don't recall what we paid, but I think it was under $50. for most of the day. We did tip both the driver and guide well. Our hotel quoted us about $200. for basically the same tour.

Re: Bangkok Taxi's. Before entering, say Meter so the meter goes on and you pay the metered fare. If he won't use the meter (& there are no other taxi's around) pre-negotiate the rate. If there are other taxi's around, start walking away and then they'll usually call out and say, okay okay, meter. With thai's, bargaining is part of the game, they love it. Always bargain them down.

Everyday, have your hotel concierge write down the places you think you'll want to visit that day. Have them written in both thai and english.......and then just hope you have a driver that understands.

Many are Cambodians who can read neither! Bring a map too!

Candice NYC