Bangkok restaurant; Paris apartment; Passau and Munich hotels, and Sofia hotel

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REPORT ON BANGKOK…

Four friends and I went to lunch in Bangkok at the Paris Bangkok Restaurant (120 Soi Saladang 1/1, Silom Bangrak 10500, Bangkok, Thailand; phone 02 233 1990) on Dec. 16, 2011, and the food there was exceptional.

I ordered a set menu consisting of a duck foie gras appetizer and steak entrée, and the others had entrées of salmon, tuna and chicken Basquaise plus dessert and two bottles of St. Christopher wine.

One friend said his salmon was the best he’d ever had. He said the same for his dessert of chocolate cake with hot chocolate filling and vanilla ice cream, which he said tasted like it was made there rather than bought from a vendor.

The meal total was THB9,710.25 (about $316), but it should be noted that 54% of that was for the wine. Without wine, the meal would have cost THB4,510.25 ($146, or $29 each), which I think was reasonable for the excellent food and service we experienced.

Bentley Wilkinson, Greensboro, NC

REPORT ON PARIS…

For our stay in Paris, Sept. 4-11, 2011, we rented an apartment at 16 rue de la Bienfaisance in the eighth arrondissement. Convenient location, a short walk from a couple of Métro stations. If traveling to/from Charles de Gaulle Airport, the Opera Bus, about a 20-minute walk from the apartment, provides nonstop service.

It’s on the eighth floor (ninth American floor) of an elevator-served building. Access requires a numeric entry code and a key, so the building is very secure.

The small kitchen has refrigerator, microwave, two-burner stove, coffeepot, electric kettle, toaster and cutlery — inadequate for extensive cooking, but for light meals it served us fine. There is a dishwasher and clothes washer. No clothes dryer but hanging space in the bathroom and on the balcony.

Living room has coffee table, end tables and small TV. Two “couches” are, in fact, mattress sets — not very comfortable for seating; we used pillows as a backrest. (The apartment would be very crowded with four; I recommend it for two.)

In the bedroom is a queen bed and a small chest of drawers. The bathroom has a clothes closet, shower/tub, toilet, sink and hair dryer. All linens and towels are provided.

Wraparound balcony, with two chairs and small table, has access from living room and bedroom. There’s an air-conditioner, but we had no need for it so don’t know how effective it is. Internet service is provided.

The owner’s website is http://parisappart.monsite-orange.fr. We paid €100 (near $137) per night, all inclusive. For a deposit, the owner only required that a personal check in dollars be sent, which she held as security. The total due was paid in cash on arrival and the check was returned at the end of our stay.

A Monoprix grocery store as well as a bakery are a short walk away, with multiple restaurants on surrounding streets. We enjoyed our stay and feel it was an excellent bargain.

Neil Johnson, San Jose, CA

REPORT ON GERMANY...

• My husband, Dan, and I stayed at Hotel Passauer Wolf (Untere Donaulände 4, 94032 Passau, Germany; phone 011 49 851 93 15 10, fax 93 15 150) on Nov. 26, 2011, at the end of our river cruise. We liked both the hotel and the town so much, we would have gladly stayed much longer. The hotel is within walking distance of every major site.

The staff welcomed us with sparkling wine, and they helped us with dinner reservations on a busy night — all with a smile. Be sure to ask for a quiet room, as those nearest the inside square can be noisy on a weekend. €57 (near $75) for a prepaid double room. A varied and delicious breakfast was included.

• We stayed for a week at Hotel Uhland (Uhlandstrasse 1,D-80336, Munich, Germany; phone 011 49 89 54335 0, fax 54335 250), Nov. 27-Dec. 4, 2011.

The rooms are slowly being updated. At the time, they had an excellent weekly rate of €590 ($772) per week for a comfortable double room. The breakfast buffet was generous and varied.

There was a computer for guests and an espresso machine in the lounge area. Hot Glühwein and sweets were set out each afternoon on weekends. All the staff were friendly and spoke very good English. They helped us with maps, train tickets and bookings.

It is a 10-minute walk from two metro stations and the train station and is the hotel nearest to the Theresienwiese, or Oktoberfest grounds. If you don’t mind walking, you can be in the city center in 20 minutes. Both Speiselokal Lenz and Café am Beethoven are short walks from the hotel.

Randy Busch, Kodiak, AK

REPORT ON BULGARIA...

Topping off a tour of Russia and the Baltic States, I decided to tour Bulgaria as an independent traveler.

• My local travel agent arranged air transportation from Warsaw, the end point of my Grand European escorted tour, to Sofia, Bulgaria. She also arranged reservations for Sept. 23-25 and 26-28, 2011, at the Best Western Plus City Hotel (6, Stara Planina Str., Sofia 1000, Bulgaria; phone +359 2 915 1500) in the heart of downtown Sofia. The price was €74.70 (near $98) per night, single, including VAT and breakfast.

I had some reservations about being alone in a strange place, but these were very quickly remedied with the assistance of Alex, the hotel manager, who arranged for a city tour and a tour to the Riga Monastery. All of the hotel employees spoke English, and the tour guides were young, polite college men.

In addition, Alex arranged for my train ticket to Varna on the Black Sea and my hotel there. He provided taxi service to the train and had the drivers make sure I got on the right train. A driver met me upon my return.

John Davis, San Diego, CA

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REPORT ON BANGKOK…

Four friends and I went to lunch in Bangkok at the Paris Bangkok Restaurant (120 Soi Saladang 1/1, Silom Bangrak 10500, Bangkok, Thailand; phone 02 233 1990) on Dec. 16, 2011, and the food there was exceptional.

I ordered a set menu consisting of a duck foie gras appetizer and steak entrée, and the others had entrées of salmon, tuna and chicken Basquaise plus dessert and two bottles of St. Christopher wine.

One friend said his salmon was the best he’d ever had. He said the same for his dessert of chocolate cake with hot chocolate filling and vanilla ice cream, which he said tasted like it was made there rather than bought from a vendor.

The meal total was THB9,710.25 (about $316), but it should be noted that 54% of that was for the wine. Without wine, the meal would have cost THB4,510.25 ($146, or $29 each), which I think was reasonable for the excellent food and service we experienced.

Bentley Wilkinson, Greensboro, NC

REPORT ON PARIS…

For our stay in Paris, Sept. 4-11, 2011, we rented an apartment at 16 rue de la Bienfaisance in the eighth arrondissement. Convenient location, a short walk from a couple of Métro stations. If traveling to/from Charles de Gaulle Airport, the Opera Bus, about a 20-minute walk from the apartment, provides nonstop service.

It’s on the eighth floor (ninth American floor) of an elevator-served building. Access requires a numeric entry code and a key, so the building is very secure.

The small kitchen has refrigerator, microwave, two-burner stove, coffeepot, electric kettle, toaster and cutlery — inadequate for extensive cooking, but for light meals it served us fine. There is a dishwasher and clothes washer. No clothes dryer but hanging space in the bathroom and on the balcony.

Living room has coffee table, end tables and small TV. Two “couches” are, in fact, mattress sets — not very comfortable for seating; we used pillows as a backrest. (The apartment would be very crowded with four; I recommend it for two.)

In the bedroom is a queen bed and a small chest of drawers. The bathroom has a clothes closet, shower/tub, toilet, sink and hair dryer. All linens and towels are provided.

Wraparound balcony, with two chairs and small table, has access from living room and bedroom. There’s an air-conditioner, but we had no need for it so don’t know how effective it is. Internet service is provided.

The owner’s website is http://parisappart.monsite-orange.fr. We paid €100 (near $137) per night, all inclusive. For a deposit, the owner only required that a personal check in dollars be sent, which she held as security. The total due was paid in cash on arrival and the check was returned at the end of our stay.

A Monoprix grocery store as well as a bakery are a short walk away, with multiple restaurants on surrounding streets. We enjoyed our stay and feel it was an excellent bargain.

Neil Johnson, San Jose, CA

REPORT ON GERMANY...

• My husband, Dan, and I stayed at Hotel Passauer Wolf (Untere Donaulände 4, 94032 Passau, Germany; phone 011 49 851 93 15 10, fax 93 15 150) on Nov. 26, 2011, at the end of our river cruise. We liked both the hotel and the town so much, we would have gladly stayed much longer. The hotel is within walking distance of every major site.

The staff welcomed us with sparkling wine, and they helped us with dinner reservations on a busy night — all with a smile. Be sure to ask for a quiet room, as those nearest the inside square can be noisy on a weekend. €57 (near $75) for a prepaid double room. A varied and delicious breakfast was included.

• We stayed for a week at Hotel Uhland (Uhlandstrasse 1,D-80336, Munich, Germany; phone 011 49 89 54335 0, fax 54335 250), Nov. 27-Dec. 4, 2011.

The rooms are slowly being updated. At the time, they had an excellent weekly rate of €590 ($772) per week for a comfortable double room. The breakfast buffet was generous and varied.

There was a computer for guests and an espresso machine in the lounge area. Hot Glühwein and sweets were set out each afternoon on weekends. All the staff were friendly and spoke very good English. They helped us with maps, train tickets and bookings.

It is a 10-minute walk from two metro stations and the train station and is the hotel nearest to the Theresienwiese, or Oktoberfest grounds. If you don’t mind walking, you can be in the city center in 20 minutes. Both Speiselokal Lenz and Café am Beethoven are short walks from the hotel.

Randy Busch, Kodiak, AK

REPORT ON BULGARIA...

Topping off a tour of Russia and the Baltic States, I decided to tour Bulgaria as an independent traveler.

• My local travel agent arranged air transportation from Warsaw, the end point of my Grand European escorted tour, to Sofia, Bulgaria. She also arranged reservations for Sept. 23-25 and 26-28, 2011, at the Best Western Plus City Hotel (6, Stara Planina Str., Sofia 1000, Bulgaria; phone +359 2 915 1500) in the heart of downtown Sofia. The price was €74.70 (near $98) per night, single, including VAT and breakfast.

I had some reservations about being alone in a strange place, but these were very quickly remedied with the assistance of Alex, the hotel manager, who arranged for a city tour and a tour to the Riga Monastery. All of the hotel employees spoke English, and the tour guides were young, polite college men.

In addition, Alex arranged for my train ticket to Varna on the Black Sea and my hotel there. He provided taxi service to the train and had the drivers make sure I got on the right train. A driver met me upon my return.

John Davis, San Diego, CA