Today, Ramesh and I were going on the Golden Triangle tour — one of the most popular and common full-day tours tourists do while in Chiang Mai. I had been to Chiang Rai and the point where Thailand’s border meets Laos and Myanmar in 2010. But I didn’t get the chance to hop across the river and set foot in Laos, because it’s much easier to do that when you go as part of a tour group.
One and half hours later, we reached Chiang Rai province. The van dropped us off at the famous White Temple.
We had our hotel book us a van taxi to take us to Phuket airport. Our Air Asia flight was at 10:35am, and even though the van taxi had to pick up other passengers, we all got to the airport on time. We didn’t have breakfast, so the Dunkin Donuts at the departures area was where we stopped first after checking-in and collecting our boarding passes.
We landed on time, and ready and waiting for our arrival was the driver assigned to pick us up from Chiang Mai international airport. The driver was courtesy of Rux Thai, the hotel we were staying at. Rux Thai is where I first stayed at when I came to Chiang Mai in 2009, and again when I returned in 2010. Needless to say, I booked at Rux Thai a third time after I e-mailed them and got a good deal (฿500 per night) for a twin room on the ground floor for three nights. Continue reading “Thailand: Flying to Chiang Mai; views from Doi Suthep” »
The plan for today was to rent two bikes and ride all the way to Promthep Cape, a popular viewpoint at the southern tip of Phuket island. But after breakfast, we first walked towards Patong beach.
We then went around looking for bike rentals. I had already read up on scams in Phuket and one of the most common advice handed out were to avoid the vehicle rentals on Beach Road.
Be careful when you rent any vehicle in Thailand, especially Phuket. Vehicle rental scams are common here and don’t go by the cheapest rate being offered. The scammers make money by claiming you scratched the vehicle upon return, when in reality, the scratch was always there — you just didn’t notice it when you took it. The going rate for a Honda Click and like are around 200-300 baht a day. The place we rented from was right next to our hotel and she insisted I hand over my passport (original) as security. I usually never agree to that, but she gave me a form to fill up stating she would return it upon giving the bike back, and provided there are no damages/scratches on the bike. It’s an agreement I had to sign and she put my passport in a password-protected locker.
You may find other places that just request a passport copy, but we bargained it down to ฿150 because we didn’t need the bike for 24 hours. So handing over my passport was something I had to agree to as part of the bargain. I also took photos of the bike from all angles in front of her. Something I always do before even starting the engine.