Answers to Questions about your Holiday
General Thailand travel tips and vacation rental details
We have tried to provide full details on your travel to, and holiday at, this Thai Villa throughout the site. This page aims to list some questions you may have in a more or less chronological order, and provide answers to these inquiries. Naturally, we are always ready to provide you with any additional information or suggestions, so do please feel free to contact us directly and ask away!
Skip to the following main sections on this page for answers to specific questions you may have:Q. How do I book and pay for the holiday Villa?
Q. Getting to Thailand and Udon Thani: flights, by train or car
Q. Before travelling to Thailand
Q. Arrival at Gecko Villa
Q. Staying at Gecko Villa
Q. General Thailand tips
How do I book and pay for the holiday villa?
How do I reserve the Villa?
You may check the availability of Gecko Villa online via our villa calendar. To book the property, either email us with the proposed dates of your stay and details of the number of guests, or fill in our contact form. You may also telephone us on +66-81-9180500 (Thai time: GMT +7 hours!). We will reply rapidly with a confirmation.
Do you require a deposit?
We generally request a deposit (by Paypal or bank transfer) of part of the cost of your envisaged stay, depending upon the dates of your visit. Gecko Villa is a single, standalone property, so cancellations or "no-shows" can be quite damaging to the families involved in running Gecko Villa - not only in terms of lost revenue and administrative costs, but also because considerable effort is taken prior to your arrival to ensure a good stock of fresh food etc. Deposits on bookings that are subsequently cancelled at least 90 days prior to the reserved check-in date may be applied to future stays realized within 6 months of the originally booked date. We regret the need for this deposit and do ask for your understanding!
How do I know my deposit is secure?
We will send you either a Paypal request from our verified account, or full bank account details in order for you to be able to make your deposit. Your transfer will be to the main Bangkok branch of the international bank Standard Chartered, to a specific account name and number, allowing you (and your bank) full recourse to track the payment. We also provide you with a full address and telephone number (see Bookings.) Furthermore we will be happy to provide you with independent proof of identity. Gecko Villa has been operating since 2000, is a member of ResponsibleTravel.com and fully supports the belief that sustainable travel in a project such as this must, first and foremost, enlist the full confidence of its guests.
How do I book tickets to Udon Thani?
Flights from Bangkok to Udon
Most visitors to Thailand will arrive first in Bangkok. There are daily non-stop flights from Bangkok to Udon Thani (airport code UTH) on the national carrier, Thai Airways, as well as on the budget airlines Nok Air, Air Asia and Thai Lion Air, and the "boutique" airline Bangkok Air. Do note that
- Nok Air, Air Asia and Thai Lion Air serve Udon Thani from Don Muang airport in Bangkok, whilst
- Bangkok Air departs from Suwannabhumi, the new international airport of Bangkok.
- Thai Airways offer flights from both Bangkok airports.
This is important if you have a connecting flight, as the vast majority of international flights use Suwannabhumi airport. If you plan to transit between Bangkok's two airports, Suwannabhumi and Don Muang, you should allow approximately 3 hours to include custom and immigration clearance, the transfer itself and check-in.
We recommend Nok Air, which is partially owned by Thai Airways and provides cheap, frequent flights, with the possibility of reserving your chosen seat. You may book your air tickets to Udon Thani online via the internet sites of Thai Airways, Nok Air, Air Asia, Thai Lion Air or Bangkok Air.
Flights to Udon Thani from Phuket and Chiang Mai
Air Asia operates direct flights between Udon Thani and Phuket, for those wishing to combine a holiday in the countryside at Gecko Villa with a beach vacation in the South. Nok Air also operates daily flights between Chiang Mai and Udon Thani.
Fly from Vientiane in Laos (just an hour and a half from Gecko Villa) to Luang Prabang. Find out more about travelling to and from Laos and Gecko Villa on our Laos Vientiane Luang Prabang travel page.
Driving to Udon Thani by Car
If you are driving to Gecko Villa, we will arrange a convenient time and place to meet you near the property and to lead you back to Gecko Villa.
Travel by Train to Udon Thani
There are several trains a day that run between Hualamphong railway station in Bangkok and Nong Khai, stopping in Udon Thani. You will find comprehensive details on train travel in Thailand and options as to how to book your train tickets in Thailand at the authoritative - if bizarrely named - train aficionado site The Man in Seat 61. Visit their Thailand trains section for answers to all your questions.
Please see our Thailand Villa Reviews page for comments from previous guests at the villa, as well as independent press reviews, and villa reviews on third party sites such as Tripadvisor.
Do we need visas?
Most Western passport holders may enter Thailand with an entry stamp granted on arrival, valid for 30 days. If you do need a visa, or plan to stay over 30 days, you can obtain a 60 or 90 day visa at most Thai embassies and consulates. This can usually be done by mail if there is no consulate in your city.
What should we bring with us to Thailand?
Generally, you will be able to buy whatever you may need locally at prices that are much more attractive than in your home country. Most visitors to Thailand seem to end up taking back much more luggage than they arrive with, so pack light! The following are a few suggestions that you may find useful:
A Thai phrasebook (preferably with translated phrases written in Thai
script) if you wish to venture out alone in the surrounding villages -
or alternatively a willingness to use smiles, sign language and
Electrical adapter if required for laptop, mobile, digital camera etc., and spare batteries if these are not of a standard size.
Reading material if you plan to laze by the pool: there are a number of books available at the property, but we suggest you choose your own books in your preferred language prior to arrival, as bookshops are not easily accessible or particularly inspiring here!
A camera or video camera, with film/tape...and a charger (see Photography)
Cotton clothing: this is lighter and cooler in the heat and dries rapidly after washing. Do note that whilst t-shirts are acceptable for public wear, a shirt with a collar or polo shirt is considered more polite. In the same way, long trousers are considered more formal than shorts. Women should not wear tops showing shoulders in temples.
Prescription medication if required, although almost all medicines are available over the counter in Thailand if you have the generic name.
What's the weather like?
The Hot Season (February - May)
The plains are dry and golden with rice ready for harvesting.
The Green Season (June - November)
Frogs glug & groat. Dazzling green fireflies illuminate the night with their neon doodlings. The plains are emerald green with rice shoots.
The Cool Season (November - January)
The days are sunny and hot, and the nights refreshingly cool.
Each season has its advantages. In the green season for example, you may well encounter tropical storms (generally in the late afternoon or evening), but you will also get to see the region at its liveliest, with green rice paddies and many villagers at work, whilst in the hot season you can soak up the sun under cloudless skies, but may feel too lethargic to do anything other than relax by the pool with a cold beer!
Will my electrical appliances work in Thailand?
The electric current in Thailand is 220 Volts AC (50 cycles). If your electrical devices require a 110-volt transformer, then it makes sense to travel with one throughout the kingdom. The most common plug type is the two flat pronged North American type but round prongs are also seen throughout the country.
Power outages or electricity cuts are still relatively common in Thailand. They are usually brief.
Do I need malarial medication in Thailand?
Statistically, you are more likely to die in Thailand in a road accident than of malaria - if that is of any comfort! Malaria is generally restricted to remote border areas. Do feel free to bring mosquito repellent (the DEET based ones are the most efficient) and to use the mosquito nets in your bedroom should you wish to - even if you are highly unlikely to catch malaria, you'll keep the mozzies away!
What about dengue fever?
Again, use common sense, nets where available and mosquito repellent. As is the case with any overseas travel, your doctor is best placed to give you personalized and timely medical advice.
Can I rely on ATM machines, or should I bring travellers' cheques?
ATMs are found almost everywhere in Thailand, with the exception of very remote areas. The closest ATM machines to Gecko Villa are in towns such as Nong Han, Kumphawapee etc., and debits / advances from overseas accounts may be made. Most ATMs now accept debit cards as well as credit cards and the CIRRUS and MAESTRO symbols are the most widely accepted. The withdrawal limit ranges from from 20,000B to 100,000B depending on the bank. using an ATM card is much quicker than changing travellers' cheques.
What are the check-in and check-out times?
We dislike being told by hotels that that we must be out of our rooms by 11 a.m. or that we cannot check in before midday. We simply ask you to let us know when you plan to arrive, and roughly at what time you plan to leave on your day of departure, so that we can plan accordingly.
Who will meet & look after us?
Ten and/or Euang, who look after the villa, will meet you at the airport (or other location) and drive you to the property, having first confirmed your flight arrival details with you. We generally propose to meet you at the Avis counter at Udon Thani airport, in the arrivals hall - to your right after baggage reclaim. We will also give you mobile phone numbers in case of any last minute changes.
If you are driving to the property, we will arrange a meeting time and
place so you do not get lost!
Ten is originally from Khon Kaen, whilst his wife Euang is from the village of Um Jaan, a few kilometres from Gecko Villa, where they both live with their two sets of twins. They - together with a number of other local villagers, friends and family - look after you, as well as the property and its gardens, rice fields, and long-eared Brazilian cows!
I'm confused: is this a homestay, a resort or a private villa?
In a word, yes! The kind of stay you wish to have at Gecko Villa is entirely up to you. You may want to enjoy the facilities in complete privacy. If so, please feel free to let us know, and we will only appear to prepare your meals at times arranged with you. You may want to adventure out in the mornings and spend the afternoons by the pool, or to spend most of your day visiting local attractions or the surrounding areas, and mingling with the locals. If you would like to explore by yourselves (perhaps on our bicycles), we will be happy to give you some recommendations and directions, and if you would like to be accompanied we will be happy to arrange this.
There is much to see and do around Gecko Villa, and the local people are very friendly and hospitable. Do bear in mind that the local people generally associate foreign visitors with the major tourist or business centres of Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui or Pattaya, and that even Thais from other regions of the Kingdom tend to travel overseas or to the main tourism centres, so the locals will be pleased to see you taking an interest in their corner of the country. Venturing out into the local communities and showing your interest in the local way of life should be a rewarding experience for all involved!
Do you provide towels/bed linen/kitchen equipment?
Yes. All bed linen is provided, as are towels and toiletries.
The kitchen is fully equipped; it has a microwave, gas hob, a high-power gas wok ring, an oven, charcoal BBQ, blender, coffee maker, kettle, toaster, a large double door refrigerator, freezer, ice maker, plates and glasses, pots and pans, pestle and mortar, 2 sinks, cutlery, crockery etc.
Is there space to park my car?
Yes. A covered garage is available in which to park your vehicle.
What kind of meals are provided at the villa?
We prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout your stay, or whenever required, at no additional cost. We believe this is the best possible alternative to providing self-catering accommodation, as it allows you more time to relax and explore while also allowing you to savour many freshly prepared Thai dishes! If you have any special requests, just let us know, and do feel free to ask us to increase / decrease the Chilli Factor to your taste! The kitchen will be well stocked prior to your arrival, so help yourself to a refreshing cold beer from the fridge, brew a fresh cafetiere of coffee, blend a mango smoothie or banana milkshake with fruit from our trees, and make yourself at home!
I'm allergic to peanuts...
Thai food often uses peanuts, so be sure to explain your allergy carefully wherever you purchase cooked meals, som tam etc. Do let us know if you have any allergies, are vegetarian - or indeed have any preferences in the style of food you wish to have us prepare.
I'm gluten intolerant...
Please simply let us know at the time of booking the villa. We know wheat products lurk in unsuspecting places such as soy sauce, oyster sauce and several types of noodles, and can readily prepare dishes for those observing a celiac diet.
Will I have any additional expenses?
Your stay includes the cost of the villa, airport transfers and all meals taken at the villa. Laundry and maid services are also included. The only other expenses you may have a will be for personal purchases of gifts and handicrafts etc, meals at outside restaurants, or for Thai massage should you wish to enjoy a treatment during your stay. Private firework displays, boat trips, vehicles and drivers, blessing ceremonies, suckling pig roasts etc may also be organized at cost. Visits to more distant attractions can be arranged at cost.
What is mobile phone coverage like in Thailand and at Gecko Villa?
Very good. Gecko Villa enjoys perfect reception. If you are bringing your (unblocked) mobile phone and intend to use it frequently during your trip, you can buy a Thai SIM / prepaid calls card on arrival to benefit from cheaper outgoing calls. They are cheap (from THB50) and effective.
Useful Telephone Numbers & Websites for Travel to Thailand / Udon Thani
We have compiled a list of helpful numbers in both Udon Thani itself and in Bangkok, covering contact details for overseas embassies, hospitals, airlines, police and tourism authorities and more. The list also includes emergency numbers for incidents such as losing your credit card. You may like to print out a copy for your upcoming trip to Thailand.
Is it customary to bargain while I'm in Thailand?
At street food stalls, in restaurants and in supermarkets or department stores, no. Bargaining is generally reserved for cheaper markets or stalls selling clothes or other goods, or occasionally for negotiating a tuk-tuk ride or similar. Bargaining should always be done with a smile and good humour to be effective, and should only be done where you genuinely intend to buy the item.
Is it normal to tip while I'm in Thailand?
At street food stalls, no. In more upscale restaurants and hotels it is normal to tip those who provide good service - as a rule of thumb a 10-15% tip is highly appreciated: we recommend that you physically give the tip to the staff directly, rather than adding it to the bill and leaving the change, as less scrupulous establishments consider such "general" tips as additional cash for the proprietors!
Are there any "do's and don'ts" in Thailand?
Yes. Please see the section on our Thailand information page.