Friday, 28 January 2011
Pranburi River, Mermaid Cruises
One days ago we, Jan and Hanneke, went to visit the company Mermaid Cruises to look at possibilities of cruises for people in wheelchairs. Some of our guests already took a trip in the King fisher. But they still could walk a few steps or were carried on board. So we asked the owner Barry if it was possible to enter his new boat, Suncat 1, in my electric wheelchair. Together we had a look and already saw it was possible to enter his boat with ramps and a little help.
So we called our guest in wheelchair accessible Pool Villa Coconut Grove. We rent out houses for ten years now and we treat all our guests to a local experience. We invited Anneli and her care takers to this trip and they gladly excepted the invitation. We went there on Saturday January 22, 2011. Anneli uses a manual wheelchair. It is not very difficult to get here on board. Jan is in an electric wheelchair and we didn't experience any difficulties to get him on board as well. We like to thank the staff from Hua Hin cruises who helped us to go on board.
For us and for them it was a very nice experience. The Suncat is a solar and wind powered catamaran. It makes only a little noise. The Pranburi River has a lot of Mangrove Forest at the water banks. Wildlife can be observed and pictures of these animals can be taken because the boat is very quiet.
Do you want to see more of this cruise, take a look at our wheelchair accessible cruises on Youtube.
Monday, 24 January 2011
This is a nice option we thought. So we booked this hotel for a few nights with an option to extend if neccessary. We took some medical equipment like a small shower wheelchair and ramps with us just in case. And oh boy were we glad. The hotel has a very steep entrance ramp. Everyone needs help to get into the hotel. Jan needed some support to stay up straight, a manual wheelchair user definitely needs a push and others maybe need help to prevent their wheelchair flipping backwards. Once in the lobby you are fine.
The elevator is tight but wheelchairs fit in. The corridors are wide enough to pass. The door into the hotel room is wide enough, but the bathroom door is not. Most shower wheelchairs / commodes won't fit through. The bathroom floor is 15cm down in two steps, no grips, toilet 35 cm high, bathroom door turning into the bathroom. Great. Do you know how hard this is for a care taker? Well I do. I can handle it once. I won't do it twice. There is no restaurant in the hotel. So you have to go out for lunch and dinner. The small swimming pool was not well maintained, the water was blurred. And every day the same breakfast.
Compare this to our accessible apartment Tira Tiraa (2 bedroom, 130 m2 including private terrace) in the center. Price is 167 Euro / 6847 Baht. including VAT, service charge, medical equipment / aids, energy, water, drinking water, cleaning and laundry, breakfast/drinks/snacks for the first day, free wireless internet, tv/dvd/sound system with free movies, books, travel guides and games. This is 3.424 Baht per room or 1742 per person. The building has a big well maintained swimming pool, fitness room, sauna, pool side garden, internet corner, reception area, laundry shop, sunbeds in pool area, 24/7 security, parking space for handicapped people, etc. Supermarket in just 200m.
More info email to email@example.com
Sunday, 23 January 2011
Hua Hin over the Hills.
Long, long time ago when I was 20 years old I applied for a job in an institution for mentally and physically disabled children. It was tucked away in the forests near Baarn. Over two hundred kids were living in this "home". Nowerdays no one wants to be put away for any reason. Nowerdays adults and/or children in The Netherlands live at home or in small family like homes in the city with neighbours next door.
In Hua Hin they still don't get the picture. A few months back I wrote a post about "Accessible travel, how to choose" and took an accessible project in the middle of nowhere as an example. Now there is another project (8 pool villas) built behind the Hua Hin Hills also in the middle of nowhere 9 km west from the Sofitel Hotel (see pictures). A pool villa devided into two houses opposite of each other with a shared pool and maids room in between. In case you want some peace and quiet you will get it for sure. In case you want privacy forget it. The road to leave the project is running uphill. Once you get out of the gate there is nothing. The first kilometer is dirt road (wheelchair friendly?), no lightning, no houses, no shops, etc. The second kilometer brings you to another project with the restaurant Palm Bistro. And then it takes 7 km to get into the center or the beach of Hua Hin. In time 22 minutes. The price 190 Euro per night, 4 pax maximum. Add to this all the expenses for cab fare.
So this kind of locations gives me the creeps. And do you know what is bothering me the most. This Dutch guy doesn't even talk about where his accessible villa is located, because of the distance and the ongoing construction at this project. That is why I have made a movie from this project to the town center. So watch the clock and the distance. It took us 22 minutes to drive into the town center. Even in case you as a handicapped person would like to stay here your care takers probably won't. They want to have some fun when they are of duty.
My opion. Look for an wheelchair accessible place in or near the center of town. For example Pool villa Coconut, Apartment Tira Tiraa, Hyatt Regency hotel, Mariott Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel, Sofitel Hotel, Prinz Garden Hotel, etc. The first two accommodations have medical equipment, the hotels don't have. But they are all within walking distance of the beach and/or the center of town.
In case you want more information don't hesitate to write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Friday, 21 January 2011
This Japanese restaurant is located on the second floor in Market Village. The restaurant has a level entrance to the terrace in front and a level entrance into the restaurant. The restaurants in Market Village don't have toilets in the restaurant. The toilets also for wheelchair users can be found on all floors of Market Village.
Jan and I also go to this restaurant to eat Sushi. Well I eat sushi and Jan eats something else. He doen't like raw fish. We can recommend this restaurant. Try it yourself and you know it. And you can shop till you drop before and after dinner.
Market Village is just 2,5 km from our wheelchair accessible holiday home Coconut Grove.
There is another Japanese restaurant in town. It is in front of the Sofitel hotel on the corner of Naresdamri Road and Thanon Damnoen Kasem. But this has one huge step in front. So the accessibility is lousy. You have to bring your the ramps of one of our accommodations to overcome this step.
This restaurant is close to apartment TiraTiraa adapted for disabled people in wheelchairs and scooters. And also close to our Studio74 suitable for travel companions of handicapped persons.
Thursday, 13 January 2011
The hotel in this post is new. It opened its doors in winter of 2010. It is located between Petchkasem Road and the beach, opposite Soi 98.
We have visited this hotel once and it is wheelchair accessible till you come to the swimming pool and beach area. The beach cannot be reached and also the beach / swimming pool bar and restaurant is out of reach for wheelchair users. The deck chairs are near the restaurant. So your companions can not have a sun bed.
Never the less it is a beautiful hotel and it has excellent service. The price is around 7.000 Baht for a double room ex breakfast, 7,7% vat and 10% Service charge.
The hotel has no medical equipment and does not offer wheelchair accessible transfers or transport for disabled.
Compare this to the pool villa Coconut Grove.
Saturday, 8 January 2011
In 2005 we have visited Hua Hin for the first time.
Before we bought our plane ticket we had to make sure the hotel we were staying in was wheelchair accessible. Nowerdays it is a lot easier to get information about a hotel then 20 years ago. You write an email and ask them everything you need to know.
Like this we ended up in a hotel in Hua Hin, Thailand. It is a beautiful hotel 4,5 km from Hua Hin center. The hotel has a very beautiful garden situated between the beach and the hotel. The main swimmingpool is located in this garden. There is no wheelchair access ramp to the beach. The hotel has a level access entrance, ramps to the adapted guest rooms on the first floor and accessible elevators to the different floors. Rooms, bathrooms and balconies are spacious. In the room were no grips, no shower seat but the room had a roll in shower. I used my manual wheelchair to shower. Aircon is working perfect. The service is great.Several restaurants serve a perfect breakfast buffet and international quisine at lunch and diner. Drinks, snacks and small meals are served at the swimming pool and the lobby bar. Since we have been here they built a new part with Spa facilitties. We never saw this. So it can be that there are new accessible rooms with better facilities for disabled in this hotel.
The prices have gone up during the past years. From 5.500 in 2005 to 7.500 Baht per night in 2011 excluding 10% service charge and 7.7% tax during high season. With an exchange rate of 40 Baht per Euro this will cost you 222 Euro per night for 2 persons. This excludes breakfast. Conclusion: The price doubled due to price increase and exchange rate. Price per person per night 111 Euro.
Compare this to one of our accommodations. Our wheelchair accessible pool villa Coconut Grove costs 167 Euro per night (maximum of 6 people) including taxes and service charge, including diner and breakfast at the first day, including housekeeper and laundry service, including use of medical equipment like pool hoist, including free drinking water, including free grocery package, including free use of computer and internet. And our pool villa can accommodate 6 people. Price per person per night almost 28 Euro.
This house is only 3,5km from the center. But we can arrange wheelchair accessible transport in Hua Hin, from Hua Hin to Bangkok v.v. and day trips to tourist sites.
Info about the hotel or the villa email to email@example.com
Tuesday, 4 January 2011
San Paulo Hospital
When you search the internet for medical tourism, transgender surgery, treatment of illnesses or kidney dialysis abroad you will find lots of companies who can provide you with information.
Thailand is wellknown for its general / privat hospitals who provide their customers / patients with excellent care. Even beach resort Hua Hin has two privat hospitals and one general hospital.
The first hospital which is fully operational is San Paulo hospital. It is located in the center of town. It is a privat hospital. Next to all kind of medical services they provide also kidney dialysis.
The second hospital is Hua Hin hospital located 5km north from the center. Hua-Hin Hospital is a general hospital with 200 beds facilities. Today, it is tertiary health care center of Traumatic and Cardiac emergency services. Hua Hin Hospital was founded in 1962 and opened by her royal princess Sirindhorn.
And last but not least Bangkok Hospital also located in central Hua Hin. It is still under construction. At this moment the emergency department is already operating. In 2011 outdoor patient department, inpatient department, annual check-up department.
Next to your treatment you will need an accommodation too. Gehandicapten.com can provide excellent wheelchair accessible accommodations within walking distance from the San Paulo and Bangkok hospital. Family and care takers can stay here very comfortable during the treatment. And after treatment you can recover very quickly. Housekeepers will perform all the household duties and can assist with taxi reservations, day tours and transfers to airport and hospital. We can also arrange local care taker for personal care.
The hospitals can be reached by email. Doctors speak and write English. So you can provide them with your medical status and ask for an consultation. But before you do consult your insurance first.
Monday, 3 January 2011
In the next couple of blogspot posts I will talk about several wheelchair accessible houses / resorts/ hotels in Thailand.
We start with a small resort run by a Dutch couple in Kachanaburi.
Kanchanaburi is wellknown for the Bridge over the river Kwai, the graveyard and the Yeath War museum. A lot of soldiers / war prisoners lost their live building the bridge under Japanese command.
There is a small train running over the railway track. Unfortunately it is not wheelchair accessible unless you can be lifted, can sit on a wooden bench and your wheelchair is foldable.
Closeby is the Erawan National Park with its dam and water fall, Khmer temples and the Tiger temple. For more information see previous posts.
The resort exists of 10 cottages. It is located along the river. Two of those are adapted for disabled people. One cottage can accommodate 6 people and the second cottage can accommodate 2 people. The resort has a swimmingpool, a restaurant, wifi, books, games, spa, sports, taxi service, etc. The Dutch couple takes very good care of their guests. Twice in a row they are selected Travelers choice on Tripadvisor.
The path to the big cottage near the river is steep and can be slippery during the wet season.
The resort is situated at the skirts of Kanchanaburi. So you need a car / cab / taxi to get there and to get around.
WheelchairThailand can provide you with more information like price, location, etc. We don't take commission when we refer to this resort. For more information you can write an email to WheelchairThailand@gmail.com