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Thailand Biennial Sep. 2012

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BS Man about Palms

I was just thinking tonite.. ONE MONTH AWAY!!!! :D

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Palmgrover

Bill, I was thinking the same thing. I can't wait, this is going to be amazing

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Walter John

I can't find any second hand hawaiian shirts at the op shops, it's out of season, what the hell am I going to wear ?

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Cindy Adair

I just ordered another couple of extra memory disks for my camera which should hold 1000 pictures each and room for some short movies. My camera will be the second most important item for me to pack. The first is my passport of course! Thrift stores here are full of cheap clothing so that part's easy. I just need to research the predicted weather a bit more and decide if hiking boots are worth the space? Any packing suggestions, especially from previous Biennial attendees would be appreciated.

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Peter Pacific

I don't have an iphone but I do have an ipod touch that will support Google Maps...it will be perfect for getting around Beijing, Bangkok and Bali...my ten year old niece showed me how it works! I was even able to see the Grand Four Wings hotel and the street it's on. Amazing.

Peter

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Jeff Searle

I just ordered another couple of extra memory disks for my camera which should hold 1000 pictures each and room for some short movies. My camera will be the second most important item for me to pack. The first is my passport of course! Thrift stores here are full of cheap clothing so that part's easy. I just need to research the predicted weather a bit more and decide if hiking boots are worth the space? Any packing suggestions, especially from previous Biennial attendees would be appreciated.

Hiking boots won't be needed on this trip. An umbrella is always a good idea to carry in the back pack. I recall a few cameras were ruined one day during the last biennial in 1998 because of a heavy down pour that caught us all out on a walk. Ahhh, such great memories of a biennial!

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Pedro 65

I can't find any second hand hawaiian shirts at the op shops, it's out of season, what the hell am I going to wear ?

When you land in Bangkok Wal, go and buy some "Silk" shirts, :) for Silk, they are certainly cheap in Bangkok.

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Trópico

I also would like to know about packing "musts" that I need to know about. Me and my wife regularly brainstorm about this. She told me that it is essential to always carry passport in hand for identification purposes, and always carry it inside a plastic ziplock bag (to avoid any damage due to rains).

Cindy, I also quadrupled my memory stick capacity. I have an 8 GB stick that can hold a gazillion pics and many minutes of video, but recently got a 32 GB stick. Now I'm worried more about battery life, which ruined my last day of a trip to none other than the Vatican museum. Make sure you have several charged batteries and a way of recharging. Keep in mind that finding a US type AC outlet may potentially be challenging. Hopefully hotels will have those. Does anyone know about this?

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Walter John

I'm also curious about the electrical outlets at the accommodation rooms. Do we need adaptors ? And what about exchanging dollars to baht, where does one do this ? I read there are ATMs around the place, do they accept major bank cards ?

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Rafael

Wow, i am reading this and becoming afraid... :D

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Jeff Searle

I'm also curious about the electrical outlets at the accommodation rooms. Do we need adaptors ? And what about exchanging dollars to baht, where does one do this ? I read there are ATMs around the place, do they accept major bank cards ?

I always bring my adapters where ever I go, a good habit I started 20 years ago. Better to be safe than sorry. This trip probably won't need one. As far as exchanging your money goes, we always found the best rate in the banks. Airports are pretty good to get a few bahts as you first get off the plane, paying for taxi's, tipping, a coke,etc. While in Madagascar, we did some large exchanging on the streets, as long as you have a trusted friend with you. :) Hotels have usually the highest rates and we try to avoid them when all possible.

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Jeff Searle

I just ordered another couple of extra memory disks for my camera which should hold 1000 pictures each and room for some short movies. My camera will be the second most important item for me to pack. The first is my passport of course! Thrift stores here are full of cheap clothing so that part's easy. I just need to research the predicted weather a bit more and decide if hiking boots are worth the space? Any packing suggestions, especially from previous Biennial attendees would be appreciated.

Also, it's very,very wise to bring Pepto for any upset stomach you might get. And trust me, some one will get them somewhere along the trip. Always good to bring extra toilet paper in your back pack, trust me again on this one, because many bathrooms will not have any. Sunglasses, sunscreen for those that might need it, bug spray(again, might not need it, but we are going to a couple of spots to look at palms in habitat. A good hat is always a plus. A cheapy rain jacket that can stuffed in your back pack as well. Good chance of someone getting a leech on the leg or arm, I did the last Thai biennial. Are we having fun yet? :drool:At the end of the day, it's going to be a lot of fun.

Jeff

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bgl

And registration closes on Friday, August 17th - just four days from now. If you're still thinking of going and havn't signed up yet, time is running out and this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! :)

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SubTropicRay

Jeff,

How big was the leech? Yikes.

Ray

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Jeff Searle

Jeff,

How big was the leech? Yikes.

Ray

Too small for the grill........

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realarch

You're right on Jeff. We were in Thailand last February and your tips on money are the way to go. Use the banks whenever you can, they give the best exchange rates. We used debit cards

in the machines as well, just notify your bank where and when you'll be on your travels. Pepto and TP are good advice although we never had the need to use either. We ate lots of street food

and never had any problems. Insects weren't bad at all, but I'm not sure if it was the time of year or not. Thank goodness no leaches, but saw a lot of snake warning signs while hiking around. Never saw

any, but it kind of freaked me out.

Always have the hotel your staying at give you a business card or have them write the hotel address down when you take a taxi. Most drivers won't speak english and won't know were the

hotel is. Take metered taxi's only, they have a red 'metered taxi' sign on the roof of the cab. Set a price for a tuk tuk BEFORE you get in or you'll pay way more than you expect to. Tuk tuk's are fun

for the experience, but be prepared to get gassed big time especially in Bangkok. These are fun in Phuket for short rides. Plan plenty of time getting around Bangkok, the traffic is a nightmare. We actually just got out and walked one time after being stuck in a jam. Speaking of walking in Bangkok, the place is huge and things are much farther than what they appear to be on a map, so take a cab.

The Royal Palace is a must, but man, there are so many people there. I'd make time for it though, it's beyond fabulous. When you visit the Wats, (Buddhist temples), they sometime won't allow shorts, but they usually have sarong type garb they lend you before going into a temple. You have to take off your shoes and step over the threshold not on it. The river tour is kinda cool, and the Jim Thompson house is a nice quiet diversion.

The major shopping malls like Central World are huge and blow away anything here in the U.S. If you buy something to big to carry on with you, your hotel should be able to help you ship it.

Just a few things we made mental notes of.

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Gileno Machado

Wow, thanks a lot for your tips guys. Tim...have you taken the Skytrain and Metro while there too? Are they easily accesible and practical like elsewhere? Did you feel safe strolling around in the Central/Sukhumvit areas, even at night time? We are planning to visit the JJ market too, any tips on that place?

Cheers, Gileno

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Jeff Searle

Wow, thanks a lot for your tips guys. Tim...have you taken the Skytrain and Metro while there too? Are they easily accesible and practical like elsewhere? Did you feel safe strolling around in the Central/Sukhumvit areas, even at night time? We are planning to visit the JJ market too, any tips on that place?

Cheers, Gileno

The BTS (Skytrain) is wonderfull. When we were there last, it went only from point A to point B with 6 or 7 stops in between. Since then, it has gone through major construction and now runs in a much bigger loop, servicing many more stops.

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realarch

Gileno, the Skytrain is easy to navigate and use. It's also quite inexpensive and you use a credit card type pass to access.

We were out at late at night several times and never felt we were at risk. There is so much activity and so many people around

all the time. We were always aware, but never felt threatened. Never heard of the JJ market, but did go to the the Chatuchak market

on the weekend. They have something like 6000 stalls and find a map before you go if you're looking for something specific. The Skytrain

goes right to the market.

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bgl

Chatuchak and JJ - same market, different names.

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frisbee

JJ Mall is an air-conditioned mall right next to Chatuchak. Go there to cool off and use the restroom after a long hot walk around Chatuchak area. It also has a nice food court.

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Jeff Searle

JJ Mall is an air-conditioned mall right next to Chatuchak. Go there to cool off and use the restroom after a long hot walk around Chatuchak area. It also has a nice food court.

Exactly, it's next to the market and sells new stuff(junk), IMO. To really shop in an outdoor market and get the real experience, spend a few hours at Chatuchak. you will really be amazed on what you will see!

Which leads me to my next point. With over 200 "PLANT" people attending the biennial from all over the world, for the life of me, why didn't they schedule some free time to go to Chatuchak??? Especially on wednesday(!!!) ? People all over the world knows about this place..... :huh:

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Cindy Adair

Only 17 days before I leave for Thailand (not that I'm counting). I have my extra camera memory cards, extra battery and recharger, travel voltage converter with adapters (to cover all my plan for future traveling too), some US cash and ATM card. I'll call my credit card company so they won't block the account if they see it used in Thailand, Virginia and California on the same day since three family members use the same account. This has happened to us before. I have deep woods off or cutters individual packets since mosquitoes love me and sprays could spill. I have thrift store give away books for the two 24 hour travel spans. I have a free pair of noise cancelling headphones I got from a work promotion in case I can sleep on the planes. My husband is receiving directions for managing the 6 pets, 2 greenhouses,our 5 year old son and paying bills and all those other things I normally do. A little a day entered on his cell phone calendar is less overwhelming then a single scary long list. Suitcases (also thrift store) already in my bedroom so I can pack as I think of it. I've also made note of all previous suggestions from previous Biennial attendees. Any other ideas, feel free to add them. Thanks!

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Walter John

Picked up a 32g camera card (cheap - Big W), new luggage (50% off sale- Strandbags), got my adaptor (Thanks Clayton), Chocking songs on my mobile/cell phone, I'll pack when I have to, probably two hours before I go to the airport. As for reading material, I thought I might write instead, make a longer version of the "Pirates of Cocos Island". :D

and yes, I'm getting excited...

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Trópico

12 days for me... on the 12th day of waiting my true love has already packed our luggage... she will be busy the last week so we got to be ready; I already can't find my favorite trunks and shirts! I already have plenty of memory for my camera, just need extra batteries and that universal adaptor. I am also going to bed an hour later every 2 days. Today is 3 AM for me. :asleep: Boarding for Venus already scheduled, but we part on Saturday since Monday is Labor day and early Tuesday is the flight. Reading material - The Hobbit. Looking up the places that we're going to see and getting familiar with the palm species we're going to see too, and also a little Thai. Trying to finish as much as I can at work. Plants are out in the sprinkler zones where they can get irrigated or rained upon. What else!? Music... whatever I encounter along the way- complete cultural immersion for 2 weeks. Vaccines, check. Camelbaks, Raincoat, check.

I don't think I'm forgetting anything else.

What? Who? Isaac who?

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Gileno Machado

Leaving home in less than 48 hours...longest trip of my adult life :mrlooney:

Most things OK now, except for my instructions for the kids, mostly about the palms, dogs and bills too.

4 seasons weather ahead in the next 30 days, so our suitcases are already looking full and overweight since day minus one...and now I feel like leaving half of the stuff at home...didn't find a nice new aloha shirt here for sale though, so I could participate in Wal's contest... B)

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bgl

It's great to see all the enthusiasm here! :) I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in a few weeks time. And Cindy, that's a very extensive and thorough list you have there. I doubt much can be added! And Gileno, wow, leaving already! You must be one of the first to leave home. Have a great trip (and that obviously goes for everyone! :) ).

Bo-Göran

PS to Jeff - in reference to your post above (15 August) - excellent point. In retrospect it would certainly have been great to have a full day in Bangkok before heading out on our other adventures.

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Al in Kona

I guess we haven't had time to get too overly excited about this Thai trip until now after reading the above posts and realizing we leave in 12 days. My wife Silvia and I are first going to Japan for a 4-day visit before arriving in Bangkok on the morning of Sep. 11. Looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones!. I'm anxious to see Nong Nooch again, visiting new areas in Thailand, eating Thai food, checking out Chatuchak Market and looking for some of that famous Thai silk.

See you all there.

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BS Man about Palms

Whats the total people count??

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bgl

Bill,

I don't have the final "official" number yet but we're just over 200. I believe 208 or 209.

Bo-Göran

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Cycadcenter

Picked up a 32g camera card (cheap - Big W), new luggage (50% off sale- Strandbags), got my adaptor (Thanks Clayton), Chocking songs on my mobile/cell phone, I'll pack when I have to, probably two hours before I go to the airport. As for reading material, I thought I might write instead, make a longer version of the "Pirates of Cocos Island". :D

and yes, I'm getting excited...

Wal,

In our travels we have found it better to have several 8g cards rather than one huge one, (we use a new card everyday until they can be downloaded) just in case it goes bad which is known to happen. and always test the cards several times before leaving home by downloading and reformatting cards several times just to check for errors. Also carry some small plastic ziplock bags with some dessicant to keep camera and cards dry.

Bruce

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Trópico

I'm also curious about the electrical outlets at the accommodation rooms. Do we need adaptors ? And what about exchanging dollars to baht, where does one do this ? I read there are ATMs around the place, do they accept major bank cards ?

I always bring my adapters where ever I go, a good habit I started 20 years ago. Better to be safe than sorry. This trip probably won't need one. As far as exchanging your money goes, we always found the best rate in the banks. Airports are pretty good to get a few bahts as you first get off the plane, paying for taxi's, tipping, a coke,etc. While in Madagascar, we did some large exchanging on the streets, as long as you have a trusted friend with you. :) Hotels have usually the highest rates and we try to avoid them when all possible.

Best way to go about bringing money into Thailand banks for exchange: bring along a pile of cash? Local ATMs? Traveler's checks?

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Peter Pacific

It is great to feel the excitement in the posts! Our countdown already started when we left Guatemala City on Monday. After our first flight was postponed more than four hours, because of Isaac, we finally landed, after a great flight, in Miami. A couple of nights with friends, and lechon asado, who surprised us with a visit to The Kampong to start our trip right. Another flight to Los Angeles to spend the night with family. Miami to LA...lost luggage. Finally got our bags and in a couple of hours we depart for Beijing before getting to Bangkok on the 5th to meet a friend from Guatemala. It's proving to be an exciting trip and I have had the complete range of emotions and we haven't even left the States yet!

I hope all of you have safe travels and we'll see you in Bangkok!

Peter

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bgl

The group at Nong Nooch in September 1998. Time for an updated photo! :)

post-22-0-60987700-1346392454_thumb.jpg

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Gileno Machado

Leaving Dubai tomorrow morning to Hong Kong...enjoying very much everything so far, including the 4 days visit to South Africa with our great friend and forum member Dennis Lutge (PalmsZA) from Durban, who joined our group (with his lovely Annie) and showed us the nicest palms and cycads (and the splendid wildlife) of KwaZuluNatal fantastic countryside. Lots of pictures to post here lately...can't wait to hit BKK next week and meet everybody else...

Cheers, GM

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Cindy Adair

Great to share in the excitement of those already on their way! I still have another week at work before I depart. See you soon!

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BS Man about Palms

Wasn't some info posted about clothing for the habitat walk and the overnight small bag to bring to the Tavardee hotel? Its like a thread disappeared. I remember reading it, now can't find it. :blink:

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Cindy Adair

I read today that it may be possible to see the Chatuchak Market as early as midnight Wed. am according to this website http://voices.yahoo....374.html?cat=32

Of course that assumes I sleep on the multiple flights (I've never actually slept on an airplane before) and arrive with enough energy to want to head there AFTER the welcome dinner AND be back at the hotel well before the tour departure time on Wednesday.

I assume that buying plants to bring into the US without elaborate permits isn't feasible although I did read this from this website http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/permits/faq/plants4planting_faqs.shtml

Q. Do I need a permit to bring back plants from my travels abroad?

A. If you bring back 12 or fewer articles of admissible plants that have no special restrictions, you do not need a permit. However, you do need a phytosanitary certificate from the country of origin

It might be torture to see reasonably priced rare plants and be unable to buy/transport them.

Probably jet lag and exhaustion will make me in need of sleep Tuesday night anyway, but you never know.

When I awakened at 2 am today (and I usually sleep well), too excited about my upcoming trip to get back to sleep, it sounded feasible.....

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Moose

Hmmmmm :interesting:

Wasn't some info posted about clothing for the habitat walk and the overnight small bag to bring to the Tavardee hotel? Its like a thread disappeared. I remember reading it, now can't find it. :blink:

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rthink

Chatuchak market has changed a bit in recent months. Some shops open in the afternoon on Tue (3-4PM). Many collectors like to go on Tue now just to get a chance to pick good things first.

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