We have a 27-hour layover in Bangkok in August, can we leave the airport and stay at a hotel nearby? A. Loe, Gladesville NSW
The closest hotel to the airport is the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport hotel. You can easily walk there from the airport terminal and the hotel has a 24-hour Flexi check-in policy. Pay for one day’s stay and you get a room for 24 hours, regardless of check-in time.
All visitors must have a Thailand Pass [tp.consular.go.th] to enter the country. Provided you are fully vaccinated there is no quarantine requirement. However one of the conditions of entry is proof of COVID 19 insurance. No visa is required for Australian passport holders entering Thailand for tourism purposes.
Another alternative would be to use the Louis Tavern Dayrooms Transit Hotel, located inside the terminal. For the time you have available, the Novotel is a better choice since it has more dining and leisure options, but the Thailand Pass is not convenient for such a short visit. There is a chance that the pass will no longer be required by the time you travel in August and therefore you might wait to make a booking until closer to that date.
We are a family of four planning to spend four weeks in Norway next April. How long should we spend in the Lofoten Islands? Also plan to fly to Svalbard to experience freezing cold. K. Meeve, Ringwood VIC
There’s enough to keep you occupied for a week. The Lofoten Archipelago in northern Norway comes straight from the world book of icy wonders. A paradise for lovers of the great outdoors, its stunning scenery includes fiords, snow-capped mountains that rise sheer from the sea and pretty little fishing villages. There’s a coastal explorer boat tour that takes you out along the fiords to visit the sea eagles of Trollfjord. Another sailing adventure is the slow 20km trip along the coast from Svolaer to Henningsvaer. Sea kayaking and guided fishing trips are popular and the archipelago’s connections with the Vikings are celebrated in the Lofotr Viking Museum in Borg. You might be lucky enough to catch the Northern Lights, although April is the tail end of the prime viewing season. Wrap up – Lofoten is chilly in April, with average maximum temperature around 5°C, and plenty of rain. Svalbard averages between -9°C and -16°C.
I have discovered eSIM and this seems to be the best and cheapest way to access data whilst travelling and keep your primary SIM only for emergency voice and SMS calls. You only need one mobile phone! Your opinion please? D. Shepherd, Woodend VIC
I am travelling in Italy with two tech-savvy daughters, both are using eSIMs and they assure me they are able to keep their usual phone number active as well as accessing data locally via their eSIMs. The best of both worlds. To make this happen you need a compatible phone and both theirs are while my older phone is not, a fact that brings them considerable pleasure.
The requirement to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) before returning to Australia is really worrying me. I don’t own a smartphone and won’t have access to a computer. P. Mish, Hawthorn VIC
While the Department of Home Affairs website says “All passengers arriving by air into Australia should (my italics) complete the DPD”, which theoretically allows you to return to Australia without completing a DPD, most airlines are insisting on a completed DPD before you’re allowed to board a flight to Australia. The online version [dpd.homeaffairs.gov.au] is easier to manage than the app. If you don’t have a laptop or a smartphone your hotel might have a desktop computer you can use. In some countries such as New Zealand, public libraries have computers for use free of charge. Alternatively, you can buy a second-hand smartphone for around $100, and enjoy the innumerable pleasures of posting your travels to social media as well as complying with the obligation to complete your DPD.
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Travel advice is general; readers should consider their personal circumstances.