Saturday, January 05, 2019

Travels and figuring out

Here I'm going to explain the things I figured out the routes, on the go, during my second trip to Thailand.

Since I was traveling during the supposed peak time in Thailand, I was suggested I better get the Thai visa from India itself rather than going for Visa on Arrival which might cause delay at Airport though Thai government had announced fee waiver for VOA this year. Thai visa is easy to obtain from India through VFS in Bangalore by following the process described here http://www.vfs-thailand.co.in/Chennai/tourist.html.

The process was extremely quick(unbelievable) and easy at VFS office located at Thailand Visa Application Centre, Global Tech Park No: 11, 1st Floor, O Shaughnessy Rd, Langford Town, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560025. Laptops/CDs/Pen drives are not allowed inside the office but there is a outside store which has locker facility for use per hour. The current rate is 70 Rs. per hour. One additional detail is VFS office does not accept credit card for visa fees, only Cash can be accepted(its 2019 guys!!). I was the first one in as I reached there at 8 AM and came out in 10 minutes max. I opted to receive my passport with visa stamped through blue dart courier and I received it exactly on the 6th working day.

My trip involved going to Bangkok, Surat thani, Koh Phangan, Ao Nang - Krabi, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Bangkok in that order. In my earlier trip, I had explored little bit of Bangkok, Krabi, Phi Phi Islands in a 7 day trip.

I needed to figure 1) How to go from Suvarnabhumi Airport(aka BKK airport) to DMK airport, 2) How to reach my Hug hostel Rooftop in Chiang Mai from CNX airport, 3) How to reach Pattaya from BKK airport and then reach Nonze hostel in Pattaya, how to move around in Pattaya and 4) how to get back to Bangkok from Pattaya, 5) how to reach BKK airport from Nana BTS station and I did little prior research in figuring it out.

1) How to go from Suvarnabhumi Airport(aka BKK Airport) to DMK Airport?

I followed the instructions in this blog http://www.pausethemoment.com/bkk-to-dmk-for-free/ for going to DMK airport from Suvarnabhumi Airport(BKK). I had about 7 hours to catch the next flight at DMK to go to Surat Thani which was more than sufficient time. The free shuttle from BKK airport took about 50 minutes to reach DMK airport.

2) How to reach Hug hostel Rooftop in Chiang Mai (CNX) Airport?

Hug hostel Rooftop is located in Old city Chiang Mai, near the Old city North Gate stop.  Getting to old city from Airport takes about 15 minutes by taxi. The Chiang Mai airport has taxi that charges 125 THB to take to old city. Hug hostel Rooftop is an average hostel, the bathrooms were spacious but the sharing rooms were dorm type beds with little privacy. Since it had one single door for all the dorm members, there is a chance that you might be disturbed a lot during night or the time when you need a little relaxing. Grab taxi works in Chiang Mai but the price can vary depending the time of travel so early or late night taxi might be expensive. for eg: My early morning taxi to Airport from the hostel cost me 190 THB.



Old city North Gate stop is the place to get Songthaew (Red taxi) that takes to popular places like Doi Suthep temple located on top of mountain charging 60 THB one way.

3) How to reach Nonze hostel, Pattaya from Suvarnabhumi Airport?

At Suvarnabhumi Airport, go down to level 1 (Public Transportation), look for Exit Door 8 and catch a bus to Pattaya for 120 THB. There is a bus to Pattaya every 1 hour and seat numbers are assigned in the ticket itself. Here is an excellent blog visually describing the step by step process to get to the ticket counter https://www.markblackard.com/how-to-get-to-pattaya-from-suvarnabhumi-airport-for-120-baht/.  There are 5 bus stops in Pattaya depending on where you want to go to Pattaya. I had booked at Nonze hostel, Pattaya. So I got down at the 3rd stop which is South Pattaya intersection, walked across the bridge to get to the South Pattaya road. I took a Songthaew(Blue taxi) for 10 THB which dropped me on the Pattaya Soi 2 road running parallel to the Pattaya beach road.

4) How to reach Bangkok from Nonze hostel, Pattaya?

I took a bike taxi to reach the Pattaya AC bus terminal, cost me 100 THB. The AC bus terminal in Pattaya is located on the North Pattaya Road and buses run every half an hour to Bangkok. No prior reservation is required and it costs 108 THB to reach Ekkamai bus station in Bangkok. This blog describes the AC bus terminal in North Pattaya road http://www.bangkok.com/pattaya/magazine/pattaya-bus-terminals.htm. The Ekkamai bus station is close to Ekkamai BTS metro station. 

If you want to reach BKK airport, you may need to catch the bus terminal located at Near Food Mart Supermarket, Thappraya Road, South Pattaya.

5) How to reach BKK airport from Nana BTS station?

There are 3 days BTS metro passes available if you plan to roam around Bangkok. Since I was not staying for 3 full days I opted for a regular metro card that cost me 200 THB out of which 100 THB is not refundable and 100 THB is a usable amount for metro travel. I took a metro from Nana BTS station and took a train towards Mo Chit BTS station, alighted at Phaya Thai BTS station. Then I followed the directions by walk to go to Airport Rail Link(SRTET City Line) which required a token of 45 THB to take to Suvarnabhumi Airport(BKK). This total journey takes about 40 minutes.


Note: All of these journeys and connections were easily possible as I had very light luggage.


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Find Device - Andriod app

Recently I installed "Find Device" app on Android phone after watching a security video, never having imagined a situation where I would utilise the features of the app until today. 

I was on my way to the bank and while driving on my two wheeler on Road 7 in Whitefield, suddenly I realised the phone was no longer in my pocket. Unable to find the phone nearby I tried to retrace my route in my two wheeler with little hope of recovering the phone as anyone could use my phone since it is not locked. Along with the phone, the phone pouch had an ICICI Debit card, Standard Chartered Credit card and Aadhar card. In the last 2 years since I started using this system of having my cards along with my phone, I had been warned by several of my colleagues of a situation when I would lose my phone and the thief would also have access to my One Time Password(OTP) which is used for validation for any bank/paytm transactions.

On my way back, I informed the security of my apartment community also just in case, I dropped it within my community and they come to know of a lost/dropped phone. Reaching home after an unsuccessful attempt at lost phone recovery, I was reminded of the security apps I had installed a couple of months ago on phone. As soon as I looked up for the feature, google started showing my device around the same area where I realised I had dropped my phone.

I immediately used a feature to lock my device remotely and set a PIN on the phone. I was also able to ring the phone and send a message to the person who would have my phone. The remote phone ringing feature works even if the phone is in silent mode and rings upto 5 minutes continuously. I sent a message to the device providing a number to call back but there was no response. I drove immediately to the same location where I lost my phone and contacted the security personnel of the companies in that area but they couldn't help. I again returned back unsuccessful, went directly to Airtel to get a new pre-paid card and obtained one after 30 mins of processing.  The customer care personnel said it would take a minimum of 4 hours and maximum upto 24 hours to activate the pre-paid card.

After coming home, I called up ICICI customer care and Standard Chartered customer care and blocked my cards. I was pondering on the idea of reporting to Police station about loss of my phone and Aadhar card along with it but then realised it would be more of a hassle and I would rather forget my phone rather than going through an ordeal of dealing with them. I downloaded a soft copy of my Aadhar card from https://eaadhaar.uidai.gov.in which is as valid as the original card. After a little bit of research, figured that Aadhar card loss does not require an FIR to be filed as it is a common occurrence.  At the same time, now it was a couple of hours since I lost my phone and above site still showed the device at the same location. I thought of blocking my Airtel postpaid connection after waiting for a couple of days with slight hope that the person having my phone would call my back and I need to keep that communication channel open.

At about 4:45 pm in the evening,  my mother suggested that I should go look to see if my phone was lying on the road and no one might have picked it up as I was imagining. I again looked up on the site and saw the device was at a different location, moving toward Seetharamapalya/Hoodi. The movement was not fast and it was understandable that the person is walking towards home after work. At about 15 minutes of following the device over google site, it stopped moving. I was thinking what if the person I'm trying to reach doesn't communicate in English and was thinking of sending a message in hindi. My mother suggested that I should try to send message in kannada and it is most likely he did not know how to attend the call or operate the phone. If the person had no intention to return the phone, he would have turned it off and removed the sim. 

I used google translator and sent a message in kannada asking to return my phone along with my landline number. I immediately got a callback on my landline. It was a female voice and she asked me to collect it from near "Ram temple" in Basavanna nagar, Seetharamapalya. I was excited that somebody responded and feeling good about the fact that there is still hope about recovering a lost phone in such a country with so many people. I went near Ram temple and called my phone again, there was a man who instructed me to come further. I told him you could verify from my Aadhar card that I was the same person I was claiming to be. He did not accept the money I gave to him as a reward for returning my phone. All the items on my phone was intact except the fact that the screen was totally smashed and it looked like some vehicle had run over it. The consoling fact is I still have access to all my contacts/apps on my phone and I no longer have to cancel my connection and wait of 5 day time it might take for activating that number again. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Stayed at parampara resort in kushalnagar coorg
We took the north route to reach. The roads wrre decent bit too many tolls. Next time will try mysore road.
Deluxe room was ok but there was only single bed
Food was good
They had movies in big screen in the evening
Went to abbi falls the drive was little difficult due to many hairpin turns and broken road
The Tibet temple was 10KMS from our resort but it was so so not much to see.
There is not much at kushalnagar city its pretty much dead after 7pm
Weather was hot during day and not too cold 18 C during night in second week of Dec 16

Friday, July 22, 2016

Airtel 4G data plan in India(Bangalore) - postpaid connection

I walked into a airtel store in Nandidurga road, R.T.Nagar and filled out an application form that required a passport photo. No address proof required as they would request for a local person who can attest for you. They would provide a SIM card for postpaid connection and said it would activate in 4 hours. They also did an instant verification with the local contact you provided. The person also said that they would provide frequent updates to the alternate number I had provided.

While the process was simple, some of the claims were untrue. There were a couple of additional steps which I was not aware.

First: There was a televerification process I had to go through. I had to call an airtel number from my alternate number to complete the televerification process.

Second: The 4 hour activation claim was untrue.

Third: An airtel person appeared on my door that evening to verify me in person and took my photograph as a proof along with my employer details.

Fourth: The activation happened after 48 hours.  The internet connection was spotty and inconsistent for the first day after activation.

I had purchased a 10GB monthly plan for 999 Rs but playing youtube for halfday consumed 50% of my data plan in a day. So I'm now limited to only using my dataplan for browsing purposes.

The customer care was not very helpful during the activation process as the automated voice would always tell me postpaid number was invalid. More over there does not seem to be an option to talk to a real person.

I also read that I can top up my dataplan using smartbytes http://www.airtel.in/forme/home/smartbytes

You can also check your data usage by logging on to your airtel account at airtel.in by providing your phone number and supplying the OTP that would be sent to your alternate number. Lot of lessons learnt with this experience at Airtel, India.

I had some connectivity issues with my internet 4G connection where it would time out every couple of minutes or so. I suspected the hotspot device and the SIM card initially. Later after testing the hotspot and SIM card in different areas in bangalore, figured the connection near my house was spotty. Now airtel has a bigger problem to figure out and I have to live with this problem until Airtel fixes it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

fiddling with iPad

jQuery(document).ready(function() {

/*iPad orientation events*/

detectOrientation();
window.onorientationchange = detectOrientation;

function detectOrientation(){

if(typeof window.onorientationchange != 'undefined'){
if(orientation === 90){
// landscape mode
}//end if

else if (orientation === -90){
//Other landscape mode
});

}//end else if

else{
//Portrait mode
}//end else

}
}

iPad touch events:


jQuery("#element").bind("touchstart",function(){
e.preventDefault();
});


jQuery("#element").bind("touchend",function(){
e.preventDefault();
/*Other code here*/
});

jQuery(document).bind("touchstart",function(){
e.preventDefault();
/*Other code here*/
});



});

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

laptop stolen

Read this article for ways to get it back.


reddit helps!