Live Talk Transcript: Thailand Reid Bramblett and Jason Cochran answered your questions about Thailand Budget Travel Tuesday, Jul 6, 2004, 12:00 AM Budget Travel LLC, 2016


Live Talk Transcript: Thailand

Reid Bramblett and Jason Cochran answered your questions about Thailand

Reid Bramblett and Jason Cochran answered your questions about traveling to Thailand Tuesday, July 6, at noon EST.

Reid Bramblett holds the somewhat dubious distinction of having authored both The Complete Idiot's Travel Guide to Europe and Europe for Dummies. His love affair with Europe began at age 11 when his family moved to Rome and proceeded to spend much of the next two years exploring Europe in a hippie-orange VW campervan. Reid experienced a budget continent of campgrounds and picnics with the locals, though mostly he remembers having to sleep in the VW's moldy pop-top. After a brief stint as an editorial assistant at a travel publisher, began writing European guidebooks for Frommer's, Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness, Idiot's, and For Dummies. He joined the Budget Travel editorial staff in 2002. He champions such underdog Irish causes as real ales, traditional Celtic music, Irish cheeses, hurling (that's a Gaelic sport, not what happens after too many whiskeys), pub grub, and tramping around bogs and wind-bitten downs in search of ancient tombs.

Jason Cochran is Senior Editor of Budget Travel magazine. In addition to writing for publications such as Entertainment Weekly, The Village Voice, and Arena, he wrote questions for the first season of ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He recently spent two years backpacking around the world, visiting six continents and over 40 countries. A current resident of New York City, he has also lived in Chicago, Atlanta, Key West, and Cape Town, South Africa.


Reid Bramblett & Jason Cochran: Hello! We're both online and primed to answer your every question about the beauty and appeal of Thailand. We'll get started right away:


Towson, MD: Hello to you both...Can you list the top five absolute MUST SEES in Thailand?

Reid Bramblett & Jason Cochran: Jason here. I've gotten this question many times. Naturally, it's a matter of taste, but here are my top five, which hit many of the bases and span the country:

  • Bangkok: Wat Phra Kaeo and The Grand Palace: This luxurious, over-the-top complex of royal pavilions (check out those fantastic gilded sculptures!) is home of the famous Emerald Buddha (actually made of jade) and once the stomping grounds of the King of Siam, fictionalized by Yul Brynner. Nearby is Wat Pho, which houses the enormous Reclining Buddha. The huts on the grounds are the best place to get a cheap traditional Thai massage. The price? About $5 for an hour.
  • Chiang Mai: In northern Thailand, a city of monasteries, busy markets, and tourist-friendly courses in everything from Thai cooking to Thai massage. It's also the gateway to the jungles of Hill Country.
  • The islands: Each island suits a different taste, from the youth-oriented party isle of Ko Phagnan and Ko Samui to the more upscale, top-drawer resorts of Phuket. Sands are soft, waters are warm. (We sort through the identity of each of these islands in Budget Travel's July/August issue, on sale now.)
  • Sukhothai: The ruins of a city that until the 15th century served as the first capital of Siam, during the peak of its power in the region. Like Angkor Wat, it lay undisturbed in the jungle until the nineteenth century, but unlike its Cambodian counterprt, it's now well-kept, landscaped, and easy for travelers of any age or physical ability to navigate. It gives a peek into Thailand's long and varied history.
  • Kanchanaburi: Toss in a little recent history at the site of the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai, where the Japanese drove Allied soliders and hundreds of thousands of Asians into slavery and starvation to create a short-lived railway line. Lest you get too depressed at the painful wartime memories, the area is beautiful, with caves, raging rivers, and lush jungle national parks nearby. Tourists who come for the bridge, turn around, and return to Bangkok are really missing something.
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    Cabin John, MD: Reid, Have you seen or heard of $500 RT fares to Thailand (from NYC)? Someone told me they saw that, but could not remember where. Seems like an urban myth, but I thought I'd ask.

    Reid Bramblett & Jason Cochran: That would be a great fare, but not one that'll come along very often. (We saw a lot of those types of tickets last year, when the specter of SARS, war in Iraq, and general vague terrorism fears were keeping people away from travel in general and Asia in particular in droves.)

    We've had a lot of questions about how to find cheap tickets or any ongoing sales, so here's a blanket answer.

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    Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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