Hotels: 

  
Hotels in Asia generally rank from very Budget to Deluxe.

Hotels in areas such as Bangkok and Bali, when you talk about first class, generally are of a higher standard than what you find in the United States, mainly because they use a wider variety of exotic materials such as marble, tile and woods. The rooms are generally a little bigger than what you would find in an American hotel. Most of the superior tourist class hotel rooms and up, are totally adequate in terms of hygiene, cleanliness, facilities, amenities, location and it is generally up to the budget that you have for your trip that will dictate the type of hotel that you choose. The architectural style and service are what really stands out as a obvious difference. That is where, combined with the materials used as indicated above, you get the value for what you pay in terms of the US Dollar. If you look under my Bali and Thailand sections, there is a general review of some hotels, which might help you in making a decision.

Activities - Hiking, Biking, Rafting:


If part of your journey includes an active adventure such as up in Northern Thailand, I recommend that you be prepared to hike, walk and bike in a temperature that is humid and hot, and that you have the needed physical endurance. Choose your trip wisely.


Most of these trips are not of an advanced level as per physical endurance, they are generall moderate. However because you are commonly biking or walking on uneven terrain, and in a hotter and a more humid climate, eating different meals, your body is taxed a little more. The river rafting that is done up in Northern Thailand is not much different than what one does in the United States. The rivers, depending on the time of year, usually run from very easy, up to class three. The same precautions that you take in the United States, whether it be in a bamboo raft or an inflatable raft, stand for river rafting in Thailand or in Bali for that matter. General common sense as to what you do in the raft, listening to your guides, wearing life jackets, and being prepared/open for any eventuality, is the best suggestion I can give for this particular activity.

 

Shopping:


Every major city has a general shopping area. In Bangkok you can do sidewalk shopping or you can go to the general market places. In Bali, all the different suburban areas such as Kuta, Sanur and Ubud, are for shopping, and once you arrive it is very easy to find out where the best shopping is. Shopping is usually broken down into mall-type shopping, on-the-street market place shopping, and individual wandering sellers of wares. Bargaining is generally accepted in most places except for the mall-type shopping where there are fixed prices.

Do not be afraid to bargain, since in places like Ubud or in Bali, India as well as in Bangkok on the streets, as they expect you to have a discussion about price. This is good way to work with the locals to get what you want so they can get what they want. At the same time while you do this bargaining, I would also like to recommend that you show respect to these individuals. It is very easy for tempers to get flared when people show arrogant disrespect for the locals who are selling, as this is their livelihood and they take every single customer as a prospective sale.

As far as shopping goes, it goes into all aspects from clothing, particularly in Bali, you can really find many different arts and crafts such as wood carving masks, kites, silverware, clothing, etc.; in Bangkok you have arts and crafts such as umbrellas, silk clothing, wood carvings, India carpets, jewelry, clothing, etc.

In most countries, if you purchase too much, you will be able to find freight forwarders that will ship your goods back to the states for you. If you have any questions, you can always contact your hotel and they will be able to forward you on to some company.