Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our Daily Expenses....

Phuket, Thailand.  I'm sure some of you have been wondering how affordable a trip like this really is. That would be a question on my mind if I was following this blog instead of writing it. I decided it might be a good time to itemize some of the expenses of this trip. We have now been to a whole host of different locations. We have almost been to Everest Base camp, to Delhi and Goa in India, been to big cities like Bangkok, Kuala Lampur and Singapore and spent our fair share of days on the islands of Thailand. We are enjoying a relatively high standard of living. We've had no experiences with bed bugs and mostly stayed in places with clean, attached bathrooms. These are luxuries that most low budget bag packers can't always afford. I think we fit into the category somewhere between bag packers and "flashpackers," where we have a little bit of extra savings that allow us a decently clean room every night.

ACCOMMODATIONS.  Big Cities (Delhi, Bangkok, Kuala Lampur (KL) and Singapore) - a mix of hostels and low budget hotels.  Expect to pay about $30 - $35 USD per night for a basic but clean room and attached bathroom including shower with A/C. You may find yourself in not so desirable (or desirable) neighborhoods like a hotel in Singapore in the red light district.  ABOVE. Photo of our comfortable room at Thaltara B&B, Jaipur, India

Some more photos of places we stayed at can be found below:

Ajanta Hotel, New Delhi
HI Sukhumvit, Bangkok
D'Oriental Inn, Chinatown, Kuala, Lumpur
Fragrance Hotel Sapphire, Red Light District, Singapore

During our Nepal trek, standard accommodations were anywhere from $1 - $9 USD. These are very basic digs with no attached bathrooms and sometimes no running water, electricity or heat. Showers cost an extra $1 to $4 depending on the altitude. The higher up you go the higher the cost is for accommodation as well as for showers and meals.

In Goa, India we had beautiful but basic huts with a ceiling fan ranging in price from $10 in Vagator to $7 a night on Agonda Beach.

In Thailand, typical island accommodations for a basic beach-front bungalow with a fan runs about ~$20 a night. Still an awesome value for beach front and seaviews.

FOOD.  Our food costs vary considerably. Some of the best food we have sampled has been from food carts on the streets of Bangkok for under $3 a plate of mind bending Pad Thai. But we don't always eat from street vendors. In India, the hygiene level is too iffy to eat street grub, but Thailand is a different story. Our costliest 4 star meal was an opulent evening at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi for about $85 for the two.  (Umm, try to swing that in NYC!).  Most days we have breakfast and lunch for under $10 each meal for two -- this includes eggs, toast and usually a fresh fruit salad plus coffee. Dinner might be anywhere between $10 and $20 if you add fresh seafood.  Most days we have a good breafast and a late lunch/ early dinner. So living under $40 - $50 a day is not too hard at all.  In fact, we feel like we spend too much.  ABOVE. Photo of fresh coconut and rambutan fruit for breakfast in Thailand.

TRANSPORTATION.  Our next biggest cost is transportation. Flights from NYC to New Delhi cost ~$875 R/T per person including taxes, add another $250 R/T per person flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi. A train ride to Jaipur from Delhi cost about $12 per person, one-way and flight from Udaipur back to New Delhi was just under $75 per person, one-way. Flight from Delhi to Goa was about $90 per person, one-way. The onward flight from Goa to Bangalore was about $60 per person, one-way and another $185 per person, one-way to fly to Bangkok. From Bangkok, we took a train to Chumphon on the way to the Thai islands which cost about $30 a person, one-way. Our flight from Krabi, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was about $50 per person, one-way. The next flight was from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore which cost only about $20 per person, one-way.  Lastly, we flew from Singapore to Phuket, Thailand for about $50 per person, one-way. The local flights within Southeast Asia have all been one way seats and are usually cheaper than taking the train or bus and save a lot of time of hard traveling. Thanks to the discount airline: Air Asia.  ABOVE. Photo of Nepal's Agni Air from Lukla.

-nadia (edited by vadim :-)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

All that fun in Bangkok

Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaFinally, after all these weeks spent on small Thai Islands, I have the time and access to an internet cafe to upload this video clip that I have been dying to share. After a macho session of Muay Thai boxing, this is just great material. I couldn't resist.

It all began one afternoon when we took the lazy way out and signed us up for the very touristy Wanfah Dinner Cruise in Bangkok that shows beautiful lit up temples and palaces along the Chao Phraya River while serving up a traditional Thai meal, music and dancing on an old fashioned rice boat. The end of the dance presentation invites guests to join in for a quick lesson in Thai dancing.

Should I call this a Kodak moment or does it suffice to say, "For everything else, there is MasterCard?" Enjoy...

-nadia

video