Tag Archives: Preparation

What to Bring – Baggage

Count on packing pretty light.  Bring one medium bag to check in, and a carry-on that can double as an everyday bag to carry with you for the trip  A backpack or courier-type bag is appropriate for the carry-on.

Per EVA Air, you are allowed to check two bags. However, for this trip, you are allowed ONLY ONE. It must fit this criteria:

  • 3 dimensions of each bag may not exceed 62 in. (158 cm)
  • 3 dimensions of both pieces may not exceed 107 in. (273 cm)
  • Weight of each bag may not exceed 50 lb (23 Kg)

DO NOT OVERPACK.  One medium bag should be sufficient, along with a carry-on large enough to carry at least a days worth of clothing and gear.  If you need something, you can always get it cheap in Bangkok. We will be traveling by van from Bangkok to Kalasin to Chiang Mai and back to Bangkok, and there isn’t a lot of cargo room.  If you have two large suitcases, your van mates will not be happy. Continue reading What to Bring – Baggage

Treatments for Motion Sickness

We will be experiencing just about every mode of transportation during this trip. We will be flying, driving in minivans (a lot, through city traffic as well as curvy, mountainous roads), riding in speedboats, riding in the backs of pickups over rough mountain roads, riding in tuk-tuks, riding bikes, riding tractors, and even riding on elephants.

Unfortunately, traveling causes misery for many people in the form of motion sickness. Motion sickness results from when the motion that your inner ear senses differs from the motion that you visualize. Many people experience motion sickness to one degree or another, some more severe than others. Some only get sick on ships during the roughest seas, while others can experience it during short drivers or even while skiing on an overcast day. Motion sickness progresses from a feeling of uneasiness to sweating and dizziness, and progresses to nausea and vomiting. Symptoms are exacerbated by lack of ventilation, inability to see outside the vehicle (and visualize the movement), being inside an enclosed space, or having anxiety or fear of traveling.

Estimates of the prevalence of motion sickness varies, from 3% to 60%, depending on the study. Many researchers believe almost everyone suffers from motion sickness, given strong enough motion stimuli. Women and children are generally more at risk for motion sickness. Continue reading Treatments for Motion Sickness

Flight Itinerary for May Term Thailand X

We will again be taking EVA 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.

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)

Monday, May 14, 2018 Alaska Airlines AS 743 Salt Lake City (SLC) Dep 6:15 am
San Francisco (SFO) Arr 7:09 am
Duration 1:54

Monday, May 14, 2018 EVA Airways BR 7 San Francisco (SFO) Dep 1:00 pm
Taipei (TPE) Arr 5:10 pm (May 15)
Duration 13:10

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 EVA Airways BR 61 Taipei (TPE) Dep 10:30 pm
Bangkok (BKK) Arr 1:10 am (May 16)
Duration 3:40

Bangkok, Thailand to Salt Lake City

Date
Airline
Flight
Airport
Time (all times are local)

Sunday, June 10, 2018 EVA Airways BR 212 Bangkok (BKK) Dep 12:20 pm
Taipei (TPE) Arr 5:10 pm
Duration 3:50

Sunday, June 10, 2018 EVA Airways BR 18 Taipei (TPE) Dep 7:40 pm
San Francisco (SFO) Arr 4:10 pm
Duration 11:30

Sunday, June 10, 2018 Alaska Airlines AS 3450 San Francisco (SFO) Dep 7:05 pm
Salt Lake City (SLC) Arr 9:50 pm
Duration 1:45

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

May Term FAQ’s for Family and Friends

Family and friends of May Term Thailand participants have asked us many questions about this trip. Questions such as what we’re going to do, how we’re going to stay safe and healthy, and why we’re going to Thailand are some of what is asked of me. These are very important questions for friends and family, knowing that we’re going so far away to a country that is so different. So to answer some of these questions, I have compiled a little FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) post here. If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment on this post, and I can answer those questions as well.

What is the purpose of this course? Why do we do this?

Continue reading May Term FAQ’s for Family and Friends

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.

Continue reading Thai Phrasebooks

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.)

Continue reading Thailand Travel Guide Books