Tag Archives: Before You Go

Staying Healthy in Thailand – Vaccinations

One of the nice things about travelling to Thailand is that you don’t need too many special vaccinations other than the ones that you SHOULD have already (MMR, Td, Hep A, Hep B, Varicella if you haven’t had chicken pox, and possibly meningococcus, especially if you live in  dorms).  Pay particular attention to make sure your tetanus-diptheria is up to date, as well as the Hep A and B series.  If you need the Hep A and Hep B, get started NOW as Hep B is a 4-6 month regimen.  Here is the CDC’s recommendations:

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For Those Staying Afterwards….

For students who are planning on staying afterwards and traveling on your own, here is some advice on where to go, getting around, visas and passports, and other sundry comments.

Where to go and for how long?

Bangkok is a great base for travel to a number of places. Within a one hour flight, you can reach Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Chiang Mai, Southern Thailand, and Northern Malaysia. Within a two hour flight, you can reach Singapore and the rest of Malaysia, as well as parts of China. Within a four hour flight, you can reach a number of places, including Bali, the Philippines, Indonesia, more of China….. Continue reading For Those Staying Afterwards….

Flight Itinerary for May Term Thailand 2017

We will again be taking China Air from SLC to BKK via SFO and TPE, and via TPE and SFO on the way home. It will be approximately 20 hours in the air. We will be in coach, and the flights are usually full. But the 747s and 777s are big and comfortable, with free meals, food, drinks, blankets, headphones, slippers, and personal entertainment centers.

And yes, there is a significant layover in SFO on the flight over to Bangkok. Unfortunately, it can’t be helped. We’ll most likely take a little trip into San Francisco on BART before our flight to TPE departs.

Please note that the flights this year are a bit different than in previous years.

Here are the details of our flight itinerary for the trip:

Salt Lake City to Bangkok, Thailand

Date
Airline
Flight
Airport
Time (all times are local)

Sunday, May 14, 2017 Alaska Airlines AS 743 Salt Lake City (SLC) Dep 6:25 am
San Francisco (SFO) Arr 7:24 am
Duration 1:59

Sunday, May 14, 2017 China Airlines CI 15 San Francisco (SFO) Dep 4:50 pm
Taipei (TPE) Arr 9:10 pm (May 15)
Duration 13:20

Monday, May 15, 2017 China Airlines CI 837 Taipei (TPE) Dep 10:05 pm
Bangkok (BKK) Arr 12:35 am (May 16)
Duration 3:30

Bangkok, Thailand to Salt Lake City

Date
Airline
Flight
Airport
Time (all times are local)

Sunday, June 11, 2017 China Airlines CI 834 Bangkok (BKK) Dep 11:15 am
Taipei (TPE) Arr 3:55 pm
Duration 3:40

Sunday, June 11, 2017 China Airlines CI 16 Taipei (TPE) Dep 6:25 pm
San Francisco (SFO) Arr 2:50 pm
Duration 11:25

Sunday, June 11, 2017 Alaska Airlines AS 744 San Francisco (SFO) Dep 6:45 pm
Salt Lake City (SLC) Arr 9:27 pm
Duration 1:46

Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Thailand

Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Thailand

By: Libby O’Reilly

As I sit on a China Air 747 coming home from Thailand reflecting on our trip, there are so many things I wish I knew before the trip that could have even further enhanced my experience. So this is for all the future Westminster Thai travelers, some words of advice from my friends and me that I hope you can take on you with your travels to Thailand.

-Eating family style rocks. No other way to do it.

-Thai phrases: take the time to learn (and practice saying) some common things in Thai. Here are a few that we used the most, after it took most of us half of the trip to get the pronunciation down:

Hello: sa-wat-dee (feminine) sa-wat-dee-ka (masculine)

Yes: chai

No: Mai

How much?: tow-rai

Thank you: korp kun (feminine) korp kun ka (masculine)

Bathroom: horng nam

Water: nam

Beer: bee-a

Ajahn- professor I.e. Ajahn Han/Ajahn Peter

-Practice your Wai: The Wai is a palms together Thai greeting. Practice doing it, my first Wai was to the checker at the grocery store and needless to say I was caught off guard and ended up embarrassing myself.

-AIDS hospice gifts: a lot of emphasis is placed on bringing gifts and treats to the villages and schools we visit. I think it is equally important to have something to give the terminal AIDS patients we interact with. When you visit the HIV/AIDS hospice in Lopburi, you will have the opportunity to interact one on one with patients in the last stage of the diseases. Having gifts or treats to share with them would mean the world to them.

-Practice baht conversions: currently the exchange rate between US dollars and Thai Baht is right about 30:1$. Thus, you must become a master calculator to be able to come up with on a whim what an item costs in American money. 700 baht = _______$? 240 baht = _______$?

-It will be hot, hotter than you could ever expect.

-You will be going from sun up to sun down, prepare to be exhausted.

-Close your mouth and simply take in your surroundings

-Bring LOTS of bug spray. You will get eaten alive.

-Don’t even bother with a hair dryer and straightener, I carried both around for a month and all they did was take up space and get in the way.

-Try all the food, it will grow on you. The first few days will be a tough acclimation, but you will learn to love it.

-Your first move once you get on the long flight should be to claim a purple China Air blanket and make it yours for the trip. They are soft, take up barely any room in your backpack and are so nice to have around. It will be ridiculously hot outside but inside the vans and at night you will get cold. My original plan was to leave my purple blanket on the return flight but it’s been such a lifesaver it’s coming home with me forever!

-Make a conscious effort to befriend your driver, buy them a treat at rest stops.

-Don’t judge another culture just because it is different than your own.

-Bring snacks from home. You will like having food you are comfortable with around to snack on and share with your friends for a midnight snack.

-Every time you see a Dairy Queen, you must order a mango and sticky rice blizzard!

-Get to know the Thai nursing students as well as you can. I wish I had made a better effort to get to know them better and learn from them.

-Watch and learn how to cook on the floor like a real Thai person whenever you get the chance. Write down recipes.

-Let the fish eat your feet at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. Definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity that will leave your feet softer than ever. Beware though; it tickles….bad.

-Take the opportunity in Chiang Mai to go to Doi Suthep to get your fortune. Take a Dramamine in the way up though, the road is vicious!ImageImageImageImageoi

Thai Phrasebooks

The Thai language is a unique language, only spoken in Thailand and not closely related to any other language with the exception of Lao. It has some unique grammar, 5 tones, and a very unique alphabet, making it a very difficult language to learn for Westerners. What gets me are the tones. You can say they same sound in 5 different tones, and they can mean 5 completely different things. And tones are subtle to us Westerners. A subtle raising of the tone to emphasize a point in English can alter the entire meaning of a sentence in Thai.

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Thailand Travel Guide Books

Before you go this summer, do yourself a favor and get a guidebook.  And peruse it before you go.  They have lots of suggestions and recommendations, and if they are from a good guidebook, they are typically spot on.  And the sections on culture, history, arts, etiquette, geography, weather, etc. are invaluable.

There are a ton of guidebooks, from a variety of publishers, including FodorsRough GuideMoon, and a host of smaller publishers.  I am partial to Lonely Planet.  The audience that they write for seems to be spot on with the type of travel I enjoy (going on a budget, exploring on our own, independent of tourguides and tour companies, going to out-of-the-way places where typical tourists are scarce, using local transportation, etc).  Fodors seems to be targeting a more upscale traveller, and Rough Guides seems to target the backpacker crowd.  Lonely Planet seems to be in a nice medium.  (By the way, these websites have a LOT of good information for travellers, so they are definitely worth perusing.)

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