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For Women Only A Girls Guide To Thailand
by Mary van der Boon
(this article first appeared in Woman Abroad)
Women travellers, whether alone or on a girlfriends-out, face a dual dilemma: safety and comfort. This woman solo artist has the perfect solution for both - Thailand.
A few weeks ago I made a combined business and pleasure trip from Holland to Thailand, and the journey was pure self-indulgence from start to finish (and remarkably affordable). My trip started with China Airlines, www.china-airlines.com. I booked only a few days before departure, and at USD500 (BPD350) return, Amsterdam-Bangkok, it was a real bargain. Great service, more legroom than Im used to from many European-based airlines and very client-friendly (they upgraded me without charge on the return leg when I asked for a quiet place to work). This Taiwan-based airline offers value for money.
I had made all my domestic travel arrangements for Thailand in advance through the inestimable Khun Yaowamarn Thammanubarn at SnB Travel Service Co., 919/1 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110, tel. (66-2) 6624300, fax (66-2) 2592194 .You can also find excellent hotel deals at Asia Travel, www.asiatravel.com/thailand.html.
After a non-stop flight I arrived, refreshed, and connected smoothly to Chiang Mai (have Khun Yaowarmarn make your domestic flight bookings in Thailand and meet you at the airport with the tickets this saves you 20% on your ticket costs). This beautiful northern Thai city is a one-hour flight from Bangkok and between November and March the weather is cool and dry. While I was there the temperature dropped as low as 16C at night. The beautiful Amari Rincome Hotel, close to the ancient walled inner city of Chiang Mai, costs only USD$86 (BPD60) for three days & two nights, inclusive of breakfast, airport transfers, one dinner and late check-out. Book with Lydia at tel. (66-2) 6776240, fax (66-2) 6776246, or through a travel agent.
Back in Bangkok, the Royal Princess Hotel, close to the Grand Palace, offers the same three day/two night package, inclusive of breakfast, upgrade to deluxe room and shuttle bus service within Bangkok, for USD75 (BPD50). And while youre in Bangkok, you must visit Pansys beauty centre on Soi Ruam Rudee, for an afternoon of (affordable) bliss. I had a Lancome facial, aromatherapy massage and bikini wax for USD35 (BPD25). Luxurious, clean, and English-speaking, Pansy is a Bangkok institution, (66-2) 2527594.
But Thailand means The Beach, and SnB Travel arranged the perfect spot for me. The beautiful Purimas Beach Hotel is located on an unspoiled, pristine, and very quiet beach two hours by minibus south of Bangkok in Rayong province (see for yourself at www.purimas.com). USD100 (BPD70) gets you three days and two nights of bliss, including breakfast and one dinner. The hotel beauty shop offers an incredible reflexology treatment, as well as Thai traditional massage, manicure, pedicure and hair styling at very reasonable rates. Transfer to and from Bangkok can be arranged by Purimas Reservations, tel. (66-2) 392-7883, fax (66-2) 3916829.
With travel this affordable and convenient, all you have to worry about is what fabulous Thai dish to order for your next meal (and guess what its not even fattening!). Sawaddi, kah.