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I live in Bangkok, hail from Sydney. I confer with Trip Advisor before every trip, even though I don't always agree with its rankings. Sometimes good hotels aren't in the top 10 or even Top 100, and usually the top ones are generic and way overpriced.
I prefer design hotels, but have stayed in very budget places and very prosh ones. Since being a member of TA, I've never stayed anywhere really bad.
I am desperate to do the trans-siberian railway. Maybe next year.