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Everything posted by MidTMike

  1. We recently went on the all day adventure with the Grand Pearl Cruise. It started out by bus and ended with a river cruise. The day was spent at the summer palace of the King as well as the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the World Heritage site. The staff were great and spoke English and everything was easy to book and communicate. We used LINE to book and just paid via bank transfer. http://www.grandpearlcruise.com/en/route-program/route-program.html
  2. I bought both a Vitamix and a coffee machine from Bon Cafe and was impressed with their service.
  3. I had a gastric sleeve done at Bumrungrad in December 2017. I thought others might like to hear my experience. First, I spent a lot of time researching and talking to my doctor. He recommended a surgeon for me and I met with him. I liked him and we set a date for the preoperative procedures which included sending a camera down my throat and heart exam, etc. The throat exam was done under anesthesia and thus I remember nothing. But, all the doctors I met with signed off on the procedure so it was a go. The cost for the surgery was estimated at 650,000-700,000 Thai-Baht which included 4 nights in the hospital. The procedure itself took 2 hours. I was in the post op room for 2 more hours and then in my room. The doctors and nurses took great care of me in the room. The first night was very uncomfortable but not a great deal of pain. They did have me on pain killers. It was hard to sleep though although I felt I got more sleep in those 4 days than ever in my life. I had two doctors that checked in on me daily. The nurses were never more than one minute away if I pressed the button. They were professional and the room was great. I opted for a single room and it had a table and chairs and a sofa. It allowed me to move from my bed to different places in the room during the day to sit and read email, etc. The hotel Internet was great and never went down. The food was very bland as I was on an all liquid diet but that was expected. When the doctor released me, I felt fine and no pain. I had to go back to the doctor two times the first week to have the stitches removed and get checked. All was good and after those two visits, I was told to come back in one month. They put me on an all liquid diet and it has been fine. After 2 weeks of surgery I had lost 25 pounds. I can't express how much I recommend Bumrungrad. If others are interested in the doctor's name, PM me and I'll be happy to share.
  4. I had to go to Pantip Plaza to get some cords for my computer. The place is fascinating. Shops in Pantip Plaza offer a wide selection of new and second-hand computers from most of the major manufacturers, together with a selection of secondhand and custom equipment. For me, I have build custom computers in the past and always found decent deals on memory, etc. Here are some photos from around the area and my journey to get to the space.
  5. Under the planned educational reform, Thai children will have access to optimum education and learning in happy atmosphere and become full-fledged under the 4Hs theme - Head, Heart, Hand and Health.
  6. In recent years the number of Bangladeshi students eager to go abroad for higher education has increased noticeably. Studying abroad not only results in achieving foreign degrees but also relevant skills and enriched experiences, as young individuals expose themselves to global cultures. For Bangladeshis, the countries mostly preferred for higher education are the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. However, some students also choose several good universities in Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, India and Thailand. I recently visited some of the best ranked universities of Thailand courtesy of the Royal Thai Embassy. I observed that these universities offer excellent academic environment in the global competition for the world's brightest minds. International programmes have been widely encouraged to promote a global education in Thailand. As a result, the number of international programmes taught at Thai higher education institutions has increased considerably. http://www.thedailystar.net/shout/education/higher-studies-thailand-163663
  7. It says much for the current junta’s ability to govern Thailand that they have chosen to exploit the very same idea, or one very near to it, which last year led them to depose their sworn enemy—former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Or at least that was the feeling after Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak unveiled on October 16th a ‘swoosh’ styled, long-term program to kick-start the country’s lagging economy that featured front-and-center a… rice subsidy scheme. Smoked was nevertheless quick to point out that this new version is far better than that which Yingluck’s government introduced (cue raising of eyebrows.) While Yingluck’s government subsided rice farming by paying an inflated price for the crop, the junta’s scheme paid farmers a direct cash handout last year of 1000 baht per 0.4 of an acre. Yes, there are additional inclusions to the junta’s 35 billion baht plans to boost Thailand’s agricultural structure, such as in diversification of crops, but in essence there is little difference between these plans and those that Yingluck’s government sought to implement. Which tells us one thing: the junta is, to be perfectly blunt, entirely out of ideas. Implementing a policy of this nature in the same week that Yingluck was threatened with having her assets seized to compensate for the alleged failures of almost the exact same policy – a move that has been initiated entirely outside the legal system – is a perfect example of Thailand’s cognitive dissonance. Smoked might be making the right kind of noises about encouraging the Thai people to generate their own wealth and attracting foreign investment (a ridiculous proposition given the current political climate), but the answer so far still seems to revolve around throwing money at the problem and hoping it goes away. As a result of the 2014 coup, the economy is in crisis and no amount of back-pedaling can change that fact. GDP growth was halved compared to the rate expected last year, while exports are set to contract by a worse-than-anticipated 5 percent year on year. Blast from the past When Yingluck Shinawatra introduced what became known as the ‘Rice Scheme,’ she continued her brother Thaksin’s policy of currying grassroots support in the poorer agricultural areas of the north and north-east in order to foster a power base there that could rival that in Bangkok. With over a third of Thailand’s entire population involved in rice farming in some form or other and a purchase price guaranteed that was 50 percent higher than was the usual, Yingluck needed to do little else to secure the support of a now enthusiastic electorate. A significant improvement on her older brother’s earlier attempts to empower the northern electorate through cheap mobile phone deals, Yingluck nonetheless became the second Shinawatra to fall foul of Bangkok’s powerful military. http://thediplomat.com/2015/10/new-rice-scheme-reveals-thailand-juntas-dearth-of-ideas/
  8. Having been a true lover of Olympics for decades, I was happy to see someone I have watched and rooted for come out and tell the world he is gay. I wish him great luck in his life and hope that he finds love and happiness!
  9. I loved the high drama with Hillary regarding the Benghazi hearings. However, she kept her cool and appeared not only Presidential but confident, approachable and calm. She was even funny at time. It was great to see her on this true test of what could have been a horrible day for her rise to the occasion and kick ass!
  10. Bangkok was busy with tourists this week. Many tourists are coming from China and other Asian countries. The vast number of tourists that come from these places will help to curb the loss of tourists that delayed or canceled their trip because of the bombings a few months back. Officials are now saying they expect to have 30 million tourists by the end of the year. That would be a great recovery since just a few months back, the world was predicting a massive slowdown to tourists to Thailand.
  11. I just got back from 3 days in Hero and every day there were tons of sexy guys and beautiful boys. The place is always clean and amazing. The massages are wonderful and the massage rooms are very clean. It is not your typical gay massage in Thailand. It is perhaps one of the very best. After 3 days at Hero, I have to say that it gets better each time I go.
  12. Gay Thailand is busy. The bars are busy and the clubs are busy. The gay areas in both Bangkok and Pattaya (last week) are also busy. But, my recent travel to Thailand told me that Grindr and Jack'ed are also very busy. I found some amazing guys on both. Gay Thailand is fun and enjoyable online and off!
  13. A very interesting story. I did find it interesting the Thai lady said that she didn't know they were not a "normal" couple. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3167994/Gay-fathers-battle-leave-Thailand-surrogate-baby-daughter-mother-says-not-normal-couple-refuses-let-child-passport.html
  14. I travel to India often and the visa process is always painful. But, not they have an online visa applicaiton process which makes it much easier to get a tourist visa.
  15. It has been a while since I stayed in this hotel and I am glad I gave it another try. The rooms were really updated to high standards and I had the biggest TV I had in any hotel. The rooms were large and easy to be very comfortable in. The area is fantastic. You are within walking distance of literally 5 of the best malls in Thailand. There is a great Starbucks across the street. The Executive Lounge is great and they were very professional and helped us with many things. The breakfast was amazing and the people who run the lounge are great. The bellboy who took my luggage up remembered me from over 10 years back as I have been at the hotel before so many times. But, it was nice he remembered details about me and my family and friends. It just makes you feel special when someone at a large hotel like this remembers you. The check in and out were easy, fast and efficient. As a Platinum Royal Ambassador, I feel this hotel went to the max to make me fell my VIP status actually had value in their hotel. The room upgrade was excellent, the VIP lounge was great and the service was wonderful. The rooms were great and they really do have wonderful tech gadgets for those of us who like to stay wired when on holiday. A true first class business hotel. I would recommend this hotel to anyone who has high standards and wishes to be catered to.
  16. I have stayed at this hotel many times over the years and I love the service and the attention to detail. The staff is excellent and the Executive Lounge is very nice and had nice offerings at night. The hotel is still very laid back and easy to rest. I had 2 friends with me for the 10 nights and they both love this hotel. In fact, when I called then to tell then I wanted to spend Xmas in Thailand I asked them which city they wanted to go and what hotel and they both wanted this hotel. I think they like the very relaxing day beds outside. The hotel upgraded us to a nice pool terrace and it is like a private pool that is surrounded by shrubs. It is not a big pool but it is easy to get in and relax morning or night in privacy. The deck has a nice daybed as well as a table and chairs for dining. I loved the way the outside of the room flows into the pool and perfectly mixes with the inside. This makes for a truly relaxing holiday and a way to have private time reading, playing chess or chatting with friends. I only left the hotel a few times over the 10 days as I was there to rest and relax. I love going to the pool at lunch and swimming all day. I have to say that this hotel is still one of my favorite hotels in all of Thailand. I love the rooms, the staff and the service. The breakfast was amazing and we really enjoyed the variety of food offering and we normally at at one of the tables that are inside the water. It is a fun way to start the day. The beach area in front of the hotel is still very quiet and relaxing. Just down the beach is another area that is full of chairs and jet skis and wind surfers. You can have the best of both worlds. The Executive Lounge Manager Bella is amazing. She checked us in, helped us with any issues and was truly there for us at every turn. This is one hotel that truly does know how to make their guests feel special and important. I am a Platinum Royal Ambassador and there are some Intercontinental Hotels that I have reviewed this year that do not place value on Royal Ambassadors. This hotel is not one of those hotels. This hotel really does recognize members who are top tier in their rewards program and makes them feel like they are truly Royal. I felt truly catered to in this hotel and I loved the experience. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting in Hua Hin or for anyone who is visiting Asia and wants truly relaxing seaside resort.
  17. I booked the hotel over the New Year's Eve week and thus, the place was packed. I knew this when I book. I am a Platinum with Marriott and always get upgrades but on this occasion, they had no rooms to upgrade me to. I was disappointed in the lower floor but I can't fault the hotel for being full. The executive lounge is great and totally worth any extra money you pay for club benefits. The location is great and easy to get onto Skytrain and every taxi knows the area. The hotel is also located near the best hospital in Bangkok and it is easy to get to shopping malls, etc. The staff at the hotel are efficient and excellent. I had to do lots of work while I was there and I was happy to have reliable high speed Internet. Great hotel. Great property. Great location. Great Staff. Great Executive Lounge. Great room service. Great Experience.
  18. Thailand is much more open than the USA. But, the wave of gay marriage states keeps increasing in the USA. I wonder how long Thailand will take to jump on the gay marriage bandwagon if ever?
  19. Patong is my hometown and I know what the problems are here and who made them. My goal as mayor is to fix these problems and make Patong a good place to live and visit. A number of members of the town council are from former mayor Pian’s Rak Patong party, but I don’t anticipate having trouble working with them if their goal is the same as mine – to make Patong better. The most critical problem is corruption and the illegal businesses that it allows, such as illegal taxis and tuk-tuks, undocumented immigrants and the use of public space for private enterprise. One solution to this particular problem is to establish fair pricing for taxis and tuk-tuks. The second serious problem facing the town is yearly flooding. When I was a girl, floods weren’t a problem – there were rice fields everywhere and rainwater drained through them. But now buildings and concrete have replaced the fields and water must flow through drains that are too narrow and blocked with garbage. I will increase the size of the drains and have them cleaned out. Traffic is the next issue, and I have ideas for both Patong Hill and the beachfront road. For the hill, I want to see a system put in place to quickly clear accidents, because until that road is made safer there will continue to be accidents that paralyze traffic. The system would include a holding area that damaged or broken down vehicles can be moved to and repaired. - See more at: http://www.phuketgazette.net/opinion/Mayor-tackle-Patong-corruption/29463#sthash.dHDt4z9X.dpuf
  20. The Embassy is sponsoring a week of discounts and offers from several restaurants in the area. I love the burgers at Firehouse near Hero! But, there are lots of other offerings. http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/arw2014.html
  21. Twenty eight people including a female reporter were injured in a bomb explosion at the Victory Monument anti-government protest rally site on Sunday afternoon. One of the 28 wounded is Sithinee Huangnak, a reporter for Post Today newspaper, who was admitted to nearby Ratchawithi Hospital. Ms Sithinee was later transferred to Phyathai 2 hospital. Twelve others... http://bangkokpost.com/news/local/390373/another-daylight-blast-wounds-28-ralliers
  22. EZTV is often down and many of us get info there. When down, try: or http://thepiratebay.se/user/eztv/ or EZTV Twitter Account
  23. If you need a visa extension while in Bangkok, here is what you do. First, the visa office is not on Sathorn Soi 3 anymore. They have moved near the old airport and it is a massive building. They open at 8:30 and it is best to go early but I have been told that most times you go there is little wait for the extension. Address: No. 120 Mu 3 Chaeng Watthana Soi 7 Thung Song Hong, Laksi Bangkok 10210 You can take a taxi or go by public transportation. I did each and I much prefer the taxi although more expensive. The taxi from the Sathorn area was around 200 baht each way depending on traffic. And, I told them to take the highway to make the trip faster and that was about 100 baht more each way as well. For going by Skytrain, take it to Mo Chit station and either take the buses or a Motorcycle Taxi. It is a hike from there via bus so it depends on your time. I did the bus with one of my Thai boys and he knew what to do. It was much longer than taking the taxi in no traffic as we switched buses 2 times and had some walking to do. I did not take the train back. We just took a taxi as there is a slew of them waiting outside for you. You will need your passport, an application that you get at the office, a passport photo and a copy of your passport and current Thai visa stamp. You will be asked for your telephone number and address in Thailand. I was never asked for this in Pattaya but I was here. The office will make copies for you if you need for a charge. I didn't need photos so I don't know if they do that for you or if it is available in the building. Once you fill in your application in Office 1, you will go back and get a ticket number at the counter. It is very quick to do and then you wait by the area of your letter on the ticket. Mine was Letter K and I was called in about 5 minutes. I gave them all my stuff and they took about 30 minutes to process. They called me back with a stamp for an extra 7 days. You get 7 if you have a 30 day Visa or 30 days if you have a 60 day visa. I believe the cost is the same for both: 1,900. You can then just take the passport and leave. Like I said, there are taxis outside waiting. The place is much nicer than Pattaya and the speed was great. I was impressed with the whole thing.
  24. This is a great story with a really nice slide show. Be sure to see all the photos. http://bangkok.coconuts.co/2013/10/08/prison-fight-inmates-battle-foreigners-freedom
  25. Lumphini Park Lumphini Park is a park in the middle of the massive city of Bangkok. It is located right in the business area and is over 140 acres of land. BTS Skytrain Silom Line Sala Daeng Station is nearby. MRT (Bangkok) Lumphini Station and Si Lom Station are nearby. It is also easy to take a taxi there as every taxi will be able to find the park. I would call it Bangkok's Central Park. There is a great deal to do inside the oasis from the city. You can ride bikes and train here. They have marked road signs that show you how far you bike and many take advantage of the great trails through this beautiful park. You can work out at the outdoor gym. They also have a swim place there and another gym but I love watching the outdoor gym. It reminds me a bit of Muscle Beach at times. You can take a ride on the paddle boats. There are different kinds to choose from. You will see many different kinds of animals in the park. An abundance of birds, reptiles and other critters are always out and about. You will see a variety of beautiful flowers and scenery. Some people just relax. You will see many bring a mat and tap a lunch nap or just sit and read a book. The park is very relaxing. Some people are there to play. I love playing chess in Washington Square Park and there is a group of guys that place chess here every day. Some people are there to just enjoy life. After all, you are in one of the greatest cities on earth. How could not enjoy enjoy it?
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