Firstly, Thank you to all forum members, for your invaluable information and tips which greatly assisted me with the planning of my very successful trip. I will now try and give something back.
This is my Non Golf edition which will be followed shortly with the Golf edition which will hopefully assist all you golfers out there. I will break my report into paragraphs with topics and relevant info. I will try to keep it brief, if I miss ssomething, then let me know and will answer your questions, if I can.
Thai Airways - Perth to Phuket. - Comfortable flight with old style tv monitors on the wall. Picture was not great. Service was very good and crew were very friendly. Two meals were served and were very tasty. 6 hr flight.
Thai Airways - Phuket to Bangkok - 1 hr flight. They quickly fed a tasty snack before we landed at the old Don Muang Airport which was okay. On first entering the aircraft there was mist coming from all the ceiling air vents. It looked quite good once you convinced yourself is was not smoke haha. It was quite intentional and they switch to normal a/c before taking off.
Thai airways - Bangkok to Perth.- 6 1/2 flight. fed 2 good meals. Same type of aircraft as the one we left perth on. Bangkok new airport is huge. Lots of shops. Line up to checkin was very long and it took ages. IMO Thai is a great airline and I would fly with them again but the entertainment system could do with an upgrade.
PATONG MERLIN HOTEL - walking distance to the action on Bangla road in Patong. Patong merlin has two main entrances. The end near patong beach has the sunset bar etc, Kids room, medical and dental clinic and Merlin spa. Block 1 and 2 are close and you can hear the music at night coming fromt the sunset bar area until late. It did not bother me too much (i was in block 2) but I know of one couple who moved bcause of the noise. I will do a hotel review later but here are some of the finer points (Block 2):
1. Medium size room which was comfortable. Individual balcony overlooking the pools (standard pool view room)
2. Three excelent pools and great tropical gardens.
3. Don't drink the tap water.
4. Shower water smelt a tad funky.
5. Very friendly staff.
6. Awesome breakfast.
7. TV/Cable tv reception was not the best.
8. Room safe worked well
9. No alarm clock but reception did wake up calls.
10. A/C worked well and it was really needed.
11. No iron in room, it has to be requested from House keeping.
12. IMO, this is a very family orientated hotel
The reception area is at the opposite end of the sunset bar/patong beach end. It has block 5 and 6 there which are THE places to stay IMO when staying at the Merlin.
Street DRAINS in Patong STINK. There is no nice way of putting it. They smell bad and I kept holding my breath each time I crossed one.
ATM's - Everywhere.
FOOD - Cheap and a wide range. Loved the Lobsters, huge prawns etc. Lobsters and prawns are sold by the gram but make sure they weigh and tell you the cost before the drag it to the kitchen, espicially if you are on a budget. Loved the Thai food as well.
EXCHANGE RATE - I was geting about 28 Baht to the 1 AUD. Two More than what I was getting back home.
TEMPERATURE - HOT, HOT and VERY Humid. Last time I travel in April. Wow.Heat exhaustion and sunburn were a constant danger, especially on the golf course.
SHOPPING - Local products were good value. Electronics were quite expensive. I got a much wider range and better prices in Bangkok (MDK, Siam Square and Patpong)
PEDESTRIAN DANGER - Don't trust ped Crossings. Very few cars stop for them. Try to cross the road in numbers. I found it much harder to cross roads and get cars to slow down for you unless you were crossing with the "herd". Cars are right hand drive but they vary from driving on the left hand side of the road to driving on the right hand side of the road. It is a case by case or road by road basis. Look both ways to ensure that you see all incoming traffic. Scooters create their own laws and i even had one try to run over me when i sitting at a bar. Be aware and watch the kids.!!
MOBILES - I have answered a post today regarding THAI sim cards. Please review my ealier post and it should supply most answers.
MR MOR - A great Bloke and very knowledgeable. Had a great Day out and he can help you with just about everything. Loved the Hill top restaurant. Great views and excellent feed.
POWER POINTS - Patong Merlin has the duel type power outlet. It accepted both the 2 round pin type and the 2 vertical flat pin type. NO earth pin.
SONGKRAN FESTIVAL - Crazy day - Friday 13/4/07. Locals were selling bottles of water (approx 500ml) for 20 Baht so you could refill your water pistol. Everyone was armed with various types of water weapons including the crude but effecive 5 litre bucket. It was a drenching. Most enjoyed it but one or two should have stayed barricaded in their room. You did need a sense of humour. The aim was to get your water as cold as possible before dowsing the victim. Not sure if the was custom or just for the fun of it (i presume the latter). As the day/night wore on, the water became cloudier and I am suspect that some of the water was coming from the "don't dring the tap water" supply. Another custom was to get smeared with talc powder. Part of the cleansing. Very messy but it smelled okay.
I will end this report here. If you have any questions, please let me know and I will answer if I can.