Thursday, 31 July 2008

Thailand Islands -- The Five Reasons that Make Koh Phangan the Perfect Choice

The islands of southern Thailand are widely known as “Island Paradise”. Their picturesque beaches, moderate tropical climate and unique, extremely relaxing lifestyle account for this reputation. Travelers from all over the world come to these southern Thailand islands to experience the famous transition to another dimension, as they gradually absorb the overwhelming serenity and ephemeral separation from the dynamic and straining modern life style.

In the eyes of the inexperienced traveler at the very first stages of planning his or her trip to Thailand, all “paradise islands” may look exactly the same: all the islands are tropical (in the classic sense and climate wise), picturesque and serene. But in fact, a more thorough perspective would reveal that each island, just like every individual traveler, has its own set of unique qualities. The cost of stay in some islands can turn out to be a surprisingly expensive experience, while visiting other islands can be quite a bargain; some islands are dramatically peaceful while others are loaded with exciting nightlife activities; some islands provide the perfect conditions for divers while others are ideal for backpackers.

After years of intensive research, and after exploring every dark corner on every island in southern Thailand, my final conclusion is that Koh Phangan is no doubt and by far the perfect choice for the perfect vacation. Koh Phangan is the perfect choice because it has this unique ability to adopt itself to the likes and needs of every individual traveler in the limits of being an island (except from providing the ultimate urban environment. But nobody visits the Thai islands to relive his urban daily lifestyle). Here are the five elements that make Koh Phangan the ultimate vacation choice:

1. The best value for your money. Until recently, Koh Phangan had a strong reputation of a backpackers’ island. As a result, the island’s costs of living had been adjusted to the target audience. Food and accommodation on the island cost surprisingly low, so that even a backpacker with a budget of 30$ per day can provide himself or herself with a reasonable, almost western life standard on the island, which includes air conditioned rooms and delicious cuisine. During the last several years, when more spoiled tourists discovered this island, local entrepreneurs began to invest in luxury accommodation. Nevertheless, the best quality accommodation in Koh Phangan is still cheaper, on average, compared to the same standard accommodation offered on other islands.

2. The rare opportunity to experience the “old school” island paradise. Even the sworn lovers of Thailand will agree, that the days when the “paradise islands” were the place in which one can sit on a lonely beach and share his or her thoughts with a single coconut tree, are a thing of the past. Still, in Koh Phangan one can find some “reservations” of remote picturesque beaches with only a limited choice of accommodation, such as Haad Thong Reng, Haad Yao and Haad Sadet. Some of these forgotten venues feature about three dozens bungalows hidden in the midst of the jungle. These “old school” beaches make you fell like merging with a “real” paradise, created by true nature and not by wise and experienced tourism industry entrepreneurs.

3. Breathtaking diving sites. The Gulf of Thailand is considered to be an excellent diving area, due to its clear lucid water and the huge variety of underwater life. Until recently, the consensual opinion stated that the only place for “real” scuba divers in the Gulf of Thailand is Koh Tao Island, next to Koh Phangan. Nowadays, more and more divers are choosing Koh Phangan as a launching ground for their preferable diving sites: a small island Koh Ma, connected to Koh Phangan by a sand bar; the neighboring beaches Haad Salad, Haad Yao & Haad Chaophao, offering a hugevariety of tropical fish and coral reefs; and Ang Thong National Marine Park - a group of 42 islands, protected as a National Park.

4. The Full Moon Party. The full moon party, held in Koh Phangan since 1989, attracts thousands of travelers every month coming from all corners of the globe. Even if you are not the classic partygoer - the full moon party could be a unique and unforgettable opportunity to join thousands of joyful, exhilarated people dancing together in the most beautiful place in the world to the sounds of the best music.

5. To experience radically unique travel activities. Koh Phangan is quite a small sized island (about 170 km2), but it offers a widest variety of activities. You can come on a Sunday, as a backpacker to Sunrise Beach, become a professional diver on Monday in Koh Ma and turn into a seasoned partygoer on Tuesday as you take part in the exhilarating full moon party. If you’re able to wake up on Wednesday morning, you can meet local people in the fishermen’s village Chaloklum learn and experience their traditional way of life. Additionally, you can join forces with your sportsperson alter ego and go trekking on Thursday; and on Friday you’ll have the unique opportunity to pretend being a Mowgli riding an elephant’s back in Phangan Safari. On Saturday, you can try living as a sheikh in a luxury resort with a spa…and maybe get the chance to write a novel on the seven most unforgettable days of your life.

Independent researcher, MA in anthropology, and travel enthusiast Ella Evans has spend more than a decade exploring Thailand focusing on the Southern Islands. The fruits of her labor can be found in the Koh Phangan Experience Website: a comprehensive travel guide to Koh Phangan, Thailand, which includes information articles, tips, advice and a message board. To visit Koh Phangan Experience Guide, click here:

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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Bangkok Hotels

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand. The city houses more than 10 million people, making it a highly traffic-congested city.

As one of the fastest-growing, most economically dynamic cities in South East Asia, Bangkok is emerging as a rival to Singapore and Hong Kong.

April and May are the only hot months; other months are mild. Its rainy season from July to October rainy is normally very pleasant.

Bangkok's hotels offer a great combination of service and facilities to meet the budgeting requirements of every traveler. Conrad Hotel is one of the more expensive hotels, with 392 luxurious and spacious rooms with contemporary Thai-styled silk and wood furnishings. A 24-hour stay costs around 5,650 Baht (Approx 137 US$) in this stylish deluxe hotel situated in All Seasons Place - the heart of the central business district. The hotel is close to major embassies and the Skytrain. The rooms give wonderful panoramic views over the popular Lumpini Park.

There are some less expensive hotels as well. Grand Hyatt Erawan, situated near the Erawan Shrine in the city’s business and commercial district, is just a 30-minute drive from Bangkok International Airport. Inter Continental Bangkok is very nominal; a room costs nearly 1,900 Baht (Approx 45 US$). This hotel is also situated in a prime central location opposite the Erawan Shrine. This five-star hotel offers comfort, luxury and spectacular views from all its 37 floors. It’s just five minutes’ walk to the World Trade Center, shopping centers and a Skytrain station. Some of the hotels that offer opportunities for leisure as well as business meetings are JW Marriott Bangkok, Athenee Bangkok A Royal Meridien Hotel, Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa, Millennium Hilton Bangkok, Shangri-La Bangkok, The Oriental Bangkok, The Peninsula Bangkok, Banyan Tree Bangkok, Metropolitan Hotel, Dusit Thani Bangkok, Pan Pacific, Sheraton Grande and many more.

Thai cuisine is a centuries-old blend of Eastern and Western influences. Today Thai food is relished all over the world. Almost all metropolitan cities in the world have Thai restaurants.

The best way to locate a hotel would be to talk to the travel agent who books the travel ticket to this City of Angels, as it is sometimes called.

Bangkok provides detailed information on Bangkok Hotels, Bangkok, Bangkok Airfare, Bangkok Nightlife and more. Bangkok is affiliated with Bali Culture.

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Monday, 28 July 2008

Yoga in Thailand

For many years I have had an aching back and neck, I tried various therapies but no avail the problem continued. I started to try Yoga and after a few years slowly my pain dissolved, I tried for 1 hour a week which seemed sufficient for a while until I went to live in Thailand I noticed that the island I had moved on had so much Yoga going on and the people that I were meeting were quite dedicated to yoga, some of them practicing every day, Truthfully I thought it to be a little extreme.. Anyway I was influenced to step up my once a week practice to 2 or 3 times per week and after 1 month of practicing 3 times per week I felt considerably more energy flowing through my body and I found that I could actually sit up straight for longer than 5 minutes without having pain in my lower back.

Additional to Yoga a big help was stepping up to a more healthy diet, again I was surrounded by health freaks in the town which made it easy for me to adjust which made a change from being around pot smokers all the time.

I went for an iridology exam and also a blood reading and both came out with similar results, they were saying that I have been eating the wrong foods for my blood type, which is A+, so0 I started adjusting my diet to the foods and drinks that resonate with my blood type and now I can say that I generally have more energy and awareness. It is amazing how a few adjustments can make a difference, but you will actually find yourself craving the very things that are not good for you, so when people advise you to eat what you like and transmute it I don’t believe that’s beneficial, when you do this you are succumbing to your cravings.

The most amazing practice I have come across is Sun Yoga, which was taught to us in a workshop in Thailand by an amazing Yogi named Uma Sankar, you can check his site at

He practices meditation by staring into the sun each day and claims that this fully nourishes oneself, he has not eaten or drank anything since 10 years, neither does he need sleep! When I have the chance I spend 30 minutes before sunset or after sunrise which is actually more beneficial as it is the fresh rising prana that you ingest.

Moving on from there another amazing practice is living on prana only, not even needing the sun, this practice was taught to us in Thailand to many of the Yoga students here by a lovely woman named Jasmuheen.

This involves slowly adjusting your diet to a raw food diet, then liquids only eventually moving onto prana. There are various meditations that are needed to re program the mind/body so that it does not have the need for food or drink anymore, such as visualizi8ng the kidneys being hydrated etc..

Yoga can be used for physical fitness or it can be used as a spiritual practice which aim is to unify all levels of being and connect with the divine.

Give it a try! And who knows you may move on to Sun Yoga or you may be inclined to live on prana and save the washing up!

My name is Edward Jones, I have been studying Yoga and Meditation for more than 7 years whilst traveling around the world being inspired by amazing teachers..

For more info on Yoga in Thailand visit - Agama Yoga Classes

For info on becoming a teacher visit - Yoga teacher training

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Saturday, 26 July 2008

Wat Arun in Bangkok - The Temple of Dawn

The famous Wat Arun in Bangkok is known as The Temple of Dawn. It is also known locally by the Thais as Wat Chaeng and is situated on the West side of the Chao Phraya River. This Buddhist temple is a well known landmark and most recognize it by its massive elongated central prang. The tourism Authority of Thailand is proud to announce that the prang is 104 metres high; however others have said it is only around 70 metres high.

History of the Temple

The temple was constructed in the days of Thailand's ancient capital of Ayutthaya. It was a host to two Buddha images; the Emerald Buddha (relocated to Wat Phra Kaew) and the Phra Bang. King Rama II, King Rama III and King Rama IV restored the temple while in reign and it was King Rama IV who named the temple Wat Arunratchawararam.


The temple is a beauty, its architecture and fine craftsmanship is of excellence. To date, it is one of the finest and most outstanding temples in Thailand. Wat Arun is decorated by seashells and Chinese porcelain bits whose origins were from the boat's ballast; these boats sailed from China to Bangkok during the rule of King Rama III. The exterior is decorated with tiny pieces of coloured glass, making it extremely spectacular at sunset and at night when the temple is lit.

Touring the Area

Walking up the stairs of the prang to catch a glimpse of the Chao Phraya river is possible, however be careful as the stairs are pretty steep. Walking around the Wat grounds is peaceful; one could view the murals, mystical guardians and Buddha image. Although the area is peaceful, the peace might be disrupted by the locals asking for donations of about 100 baht.

To get the best views and photographs of Wat Arun, it is advisable to wait till evening so as to capture the sun setting behind the attraction. However, due to the closing time (stated below), one could go into some restaurants on the other side of the river to watch the sun set and take some photos.

Opening Times and getting there

This attraction is opened daily from 8.30am to 5.30pm and the easiest way to get to Wat Arun is by taking a ferry through the river. The ferry leaves at every few minutes and it can be taken from the Tha Tien express boat pier (South-West of the Grand Palace).

Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Bangkok vacation apartments & Holiday rental accommodation.

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Friday, 25 July 2008

Pattaya - The Wonderful Thailand Spot

Pattaya city is one of the most wonderful place in Thailand for tourists. It locates in Chonburi province which is in the eastern part of Thailand. With beautiful beaches and scenario, Thai girls and nightlife, activities and sports, millions of travelers travel to Pattaya each year to come and see what the real fantastic city is.

Getting to Pattaya is very easy. It is just 147 kilometers away from Bangkok and 160 kilometers away from Bangkok International Airport (Old Airport). It takes approximately 90 minutes by car. If you would like to drive by yourself, you can take Route 3 (Bangna-Trat) and go along until you find the junction telling you to turn right to Pattaya beach, or you can take Motor-Way which is more convenient. You can also take a flight operated by Bangkok Airways to/from Koh Samui at Sattaheep Airport.

About the weather, the Winter season starts in November and runs through February. The temperature is between 20-30 degree Celsius and 50% humidity. Summer season starts in February through May. The temperature is between 30-40 degree Celsius and 75% humidity. The rainy season starts in June and runs through October. The temperature is between 25-30 degree Celsius and 90% humidity.

Pattaya comprises 4 areas - North Pattaya, Central Pattaya, South Pattaya, and Jomtien beach. There are few tourists in North Pattaya if you compare with others. Travelers love to be there when they want to relax, swim in the sea or take a water sports or activities. In Central Pattaya along to South Pattaya, there are a lot of business and services including bars, restaurants, department stores, souvenir shops, and entertainment complexes.

Jomtien beach is located in the southern part of Pattaya. It is 4 kilometers away from Pattaya city. Many tourists love to go swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and other water activities there. Also, tourists can travel to nearby islands such as Lan island, Krok island and Phai islands by speed boat.

Besides having fun with water sports and activities, Pattaya has much more wonderful attractions which you can't miss such as Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum, Pattaya Water Park, Pattaya Crocodile Farm, Elephant Village, Sriracha Tiger Farm, and Nongnuch Garden.

I have details of some interesting places here:

Cabaret Show - Amazing and fabulous ladyboy show with fantastic costumes.

- Tiffany Show - three shows daily; 7pm, 8.30pm and 10pm and an additional show at 5.30pm on holidays.

- Alcazar Show - three shows daily; 6.30pm, 8pm, and 9.30pm and an additional show at 11pm on Saturdays.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum - located at Royal Garden Plaza Pattaya. There are more than 300 collections of unbelievable things from all over the world by an American Robert Ripley.

Mini Siam - located on Sukhumvit Rd. km 143th. It collects all amazing places over Thailand and the world in small size such as Dawn Temple, Rama 9 Bridge, Eiffel Tower and more.

Go-Kart - a small car racing field for people who love speed and excitement. It locates in Pattaya city. Some providers are Siam Carting Circuit and Pattaya Cart Speedway.

You can read more about Pattaya at my web blog;

The author owns webblog about traveling in Thailand listed below.

Phuket -

Samui and Pa-ngan -

Please visit!

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Thursday, 24 July 2008

Koh Chang - Chang Park Resort and Spa

During my first trip to Thailand to meet my (then) future wife we went down to Koh Chang Island and stayed at Chang Part Resort and Spa. It was during my second week in Thailand Ning made reservations for use to go there.

We got up very early in the morning and got to the place in Bangkok Thailand to catch our mini bus to the resort. Our package was for 2 nights and 3 days. It was about a four and one half hour trip down. We had to take a ferry to the island. It was a nice half hour ride.

Once we signed in we went to our private bungalow. It was small but was clean. I will say though there was a few things that did need some fixing. But for the cost of the package it was worth it. And everything was in working order.

Part of out package included a night fishing trip for squid. After dark about 8 of us went out from the island and the crew setup florescent lights. They shined out on the water and that was what attracted the squid to use. We used a lure that had 12 hooks not barbed on one end and was about 2 inches long. It was just put on the end of a line and you dropped it over board and jigged it up and down. You had to feel when a squid would try to get it and just pull it up in the boat. Most of us did get to catch a few of them so it made it even better.

We got to go out for a half day snorkeling. We got on the boat again and they took us to one of the small island with no one on it. The water was around 12 to 15 feet deep there. You had no problem seeing the bottom. Water was very clean. The fish would come and eat some bread we brought right out of your hand. There were many different kinds all around none any bigger than 12 to 15 inches long. While feeding when they got close to your fingers we would just let them have the rest. I did not know what kind of fish any were and we wanted to keep our fingers on our hands.

At the resort they offered Thai Massage. You have to be in good shape to get a Thai Massage. It uses very aggressive yoga-like stretches. The therapist uses their hands, legs, knees, and feet to move you. We were both given 2 hours worth of time to get our massages, but only used 1 hour each. I think the Thai Massage would grow on you if you had it done often. I did feel relaxed after the treatment was done. If you get a chance to get one do not pass it up.

Off of the resort we went to see one of several water falls on the island. The walk through the jungle was exciting for me. It is a very noisy place. All kinds of animal and insect sounds. I saw some very large beetles. But every thing else seemed to hide.

For the rest of our time we swam at the pool and in the ocean. It was a very relaxing time for my wife and I to get to know each other face to face. I would not hesitate to go back again.

This is just one of the places my wife and I have been in Thailand. If you would like to learn more of Thailand and see some pictures of Koh Chang Island along with other places you can go to

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Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Koh Phi Phi Paradise Lost!

If you want to keep secretes, kill everybody who knows. The same could be said if you want to ruin a good thing tell somebody about it. If you want the whole world to know feature it in a movie. The islands of the Koh Phi Phi island group in southern Thailand were featured in the movie The Beach. If you are not familiar with the story line, some young travelers discover this fantastic spot in Thailand and decide to make their version of utopia and keep it secrete at all costs, had they been successful this would still be a small island group that few but the most hardy backpackers would visit.

When the movie The Beach was made here there were not many that knew about this beautiful island group of Stonehenge like monoliths that stick out of the pond like waters of the Andaman Sea. Clad in deep jungle greenery they have a forbidding yet enticing aura about them. The white sand beaches look like everyone's picture of tropical paradise with palm trees thick at the top with green pods of coconuts waiting to drop their sweet milk for thirsty travelers.

Today the thirsty travelers come in the form of herds of young backpackers which jam the center of the dog bone shaped main island at night milling in streams propelled by the ever present urban thump. By day these hordes descend on the beaches and lay in clumps of self basting & baking kids. Bars, stores, coffee shops, travel agents, discos even a very popular 7-11 feed the needs of these adventure seekers many of whom sport bandages and crutches from spills and thrills of rock climbing, cliff jumping and jungle expeditions to find water falls.

The waters around Koh Phi Phi are not safe not because of the animals in the water but because of the poor water treatment Streptococcus a particular nasty skin eating bug is around and other ailments as well so it pays to take care of even the smallest scratches here so that you don't end up in the emergency room having pieces of skin cut out.

The other thing to watch out for is your wallet as they are firm believers in price fixing from internet to scuba diving they have some of the highest prices in Thailand and they do not negotiate at all if you are a bargain seeker give this place a wide berth. Cheap hotels in every sense of the term are priced like 3 star hotels else where we did not see any places that delivered value to price with the exceptions of The Phi Phi Hotel which was quoting off season rates seemed to be the only hotel that had a clue.

In the period before the islands here became famous this was a great place to come and hang out for weeks at a time, today however it is another paradise lost.

Fred's new project where he reviews cheap hotels , budget guest houses, discount accommodations and cheap international flights, but is really an excuse to go scuba diving on vacation more, Fred is in Phnom Penh Cambodia planning his next adventure travel tour. Keep up to date with Fred and to view some great pictures go to

Fred Tittle has lived and worked in holiday vacation resorts his entire life, from Lake Geneva's Playboy Club, as a rock jock for KSPN FM in Aspen Colorado, he became a PADI Pro Scuba Diver in Hawaii, diving on Maui, Kauai, Kona on the big island, and Waikiki on Oahu. He founded Eco Adventures South East Asia in Sihanoukville Cambodia. he still teaches SSI and PADI scuba diving courses and runs liveaboards in the gulf of Thailand and Asia adventure tours,

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Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Phuket - Thailands Tropical Island Paradise

Phuket has long been established as Thailand’s finest tropical, island paradise and this pearl of the Andaman Sea boasts an international airport connecting Phuket not only to Bangkok, but also to many other national and international destinations making it a very accessible vacation destination.

All the features normally associated with a tropical island are evident in Phuket from the palm fringed, coral ringed sandy beaches and cobalt and azure seas to the lush vegetation clad hills that often provide a spectacular backdrop.

Phuket offers something for everyone. Nature lovers can still find relatively secluded beaches, trek through jungle to waterfalls and wait and watch for turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs in the sands of the National Park.

Sun worshippers have an abundance of beautiful, sandy beaches to welcome them, not to mention the many luxury hotels with their sumptuous swimming pools and private, luxury villas complete with private pools waiting to accommodate you.

For thrill seekers, there is bungy jumping and go karting and for those in pursuit of slightly less dangerous but equally thrilling activities there is elephant trekking or canoeing through the limestone islands and caves of the nearby Phang Na Bay.

If its entertainment you want, there is the world famous Simon Cabaret or the Fantasea theme park and the bigger resorts such as Patong Beach offer a rich and varied nightlife. Of course, Thailand is famous for food and some of the best restaurants in the kingdom can be found on Phuket offering a wealth of international cuisines as well as some of the finest Royal Thai dishes.

Sports are extremely well represented with particularly fine fishing, diving, sailing and golf. Phuket has several marinas for visiting yachtsmen and a number of world renowned golf courses.

Phuket has become a mecca for everyone, a tropical island paradise for young, old, rich, famous, singles and families. Whatever you look for in a vacation, you are sure to find it here.

Kevin Hellon owns a luxury villa for rent in Phuket and runs a website featuring travel stories and photographs

Luxury Villa for Rent in Phuket HELLONEARTH Travel Stories

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Monday, 21 July 2008

How To - Bangkok Holiday Packages Tips

Bangkok is the capital, largest urban area and primate city of Thailand. The city mix of Thai, Chinese, Indian, Buddhist, Muslim and Western culture combined with the driving force of the Thai economy makes it gradually more nice-looking to foreigners both for business and happiness and has made the city the world's top tourist objective. A river journey in Bangkok provides a very different viewpoint of life in the city on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, an aspect you can't get from the usual Bangkok city tour.

Bangkok nightlife has a status for life form natural and noisy. But at the same time it's comfortable, secure, agreeable and great fun! Quickly establishing itself as Asia capital of cool, Bangkok miscellaneous nightlife panorama facial appearance everything from excellent live music and good jazz clubs to ultra cool bars, trendy clubs and great restaurants - and goes far beyond its once-upon-a-time seedy and mischievous image.

The traveler can find Bangkok by night as a careless place to relax with a drink, enjoy a straight dinner while listening to a live jazz performance, take a dinner cruise on a traditional teak rice barge down the Chao Phraya river in the moonlight or enjoy a conventional dance presentation at the Patravadi Theater, where conventional and fashionable theater elements are included into something quite unique and Thai. Bangkok is known for its large green sections within the city center, including the large forest park between Yannawa and Samut Prakan. The Stock Exchange of Thailand is located in Bangkok with over 500 listed companies.

Bangkok also includes many shopping and business roads like the Sukhumvit Road which includes high-rise business buildings, apartments, and shopping malls, Sukhumvit Road is where many foreigners like to come shopping. Bangkok is Thailand's major tourist gateway, which means that the majority of foreign tourists arrive in Bangkok. The city boasts some of the country's most visited chronological venues such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. There are numerous projects to maintain Bangkok's momentous sites in the Rattanakosin area and river districts. Wat Pho, which houses the Temple of the Reclining Buddha or Wat Phra Chetuphon, is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace. Thailand has a variety of shopping experiences from street markets to world class luxury malls.

Tourists have in times gone by always preferred famous markets to the other forms of shopping. The Chatuchak weekend market is one of the largest shopping destinations in Bangkok. Bangkok offers a widely varied nightlife. Like nearby Pattaya, the city is notorious for some concentrations of massage parlous, go-go bars and karaoke places, with Pat pong, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza being the main areas catering to male tourists. This has led Bangkok to be called 'The World Biggest Whorehouse'. Millions of people from all corners visit Thailand every year to enjoy its nightlife, which led to the growth of new hotels clubs and bars. In many nightclubs in Bangkok, you will see dance very sensual. Nightclubs, nightclubs, taverns and offer customers all sorts of alcoholic beverages. A section keen for the Pat pong nightlife is, in most of this district, you can also visit the interesting Nana Plaza.

Priya Singh wrote this article on behalf of Thailand honeymoon package For more information on Cheap Vacation To Thailand, discount airline tickets and travel tips for visiting Thailand you can visit

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Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Holidays - Thailand, an Introduction

With its breathtaking natural beauty, exotic temples, unparalleled hospitality and cuisine it's no surprise that Thailand draws in more tourists that any other Southeast Asian country.

Thailand's popularity owes a lot to its geographic size and the sheer breadth of opportunity's that this can offer.

The northern region of the country is very mountainous, ripe with thick forests. It is here that nomadic hill-tribe communities coexist with main stream society and travellers.

Thailand's second largest city, Chiang Mai is an excellent starting point for exploring the north, with elephant treks proving particularly popular. The city itself was built in 1296 and is dotted with beautiful ancient temples that are still in use today.

The South, known as the Kra Peninsula consists of hilly rainforests outlined by 1,500 miles of exotic white beaches. It is here that you will find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, lapped by warm, turquoise waters; Thailand's costal resorts are the ultimate in tropical paradise.

In between these two regions lie the fertile, rice growing, central plains. The main attraction here is the country's ever expanding capital - Bangkok.

In short, Bangkok is a chaotic, almost carnal city, in which it is impossible to get bored. Even though the city does suffer from considerable pollution and over crowding and has become considerably westernised, it has still managed to retain its true Asian flavour whilst easily being one of Asia's most exciting cities.

There are all manner of activities going on throughout the city, 24 hours a day, with Khao San road proving considerably popular over recent years.

The vibrant road has been described as "a short road that has the longest dream in the world." With its cheap accommodation, lively bars, large variety of cuisine, market stalls offering a wide spectrum of goods - it's a road that, like the rest of Bangkok and Thailand easily lives up to its reputation.

Bangkok is also an excellent part of Thailand in which to arrange holidays to other parts of Asia, with many agents offering cheap holidays to many popular destinations. To ensure you're getting the best deal then looking for holidays online is an excellent option.

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Monday, 14 July 2008

Thailand - An Extreme Travel Experience - Filipinos in Thailand

When Bangkok residents and those in neighboring provinces like Ayutthaya, Hua Hin and Ratchaburi were gearing up for the hottest season in Thailand, 6 young, adventurous Pinoys set out from Manila to fulfill part of their goal – to tour the whole of South East Asia. Their destination? Thailand!

But little did they know it’s going to be more than just a taste of the spiciest meal they’ve ever had in their life, or that it’s going to be more than just a beach experience. Here is a story of six friends who came to Thailand for the first time. Their experiences have been so much more than they hoped and planned for, and how they did it would be something you could learn from if you yourself plans to travel Thailand.

Mark, Vangie, Hencel, Hil, Jeff and Sheryll thought they have done all the research they could lay their hands on to arm them with all that they needed for their Thailand trip. But although they did see parts of Thailand they expected,

nothing prepared them for the scorching, energy-draining heat Thailand is famous for especially in the months of March and April.

“Umaga pa lang, mainit na” (in the morning, it’s already hot), the group was saying. And that had an impact on their sight seeing plans. They wanted to do more and see more, but the heat was just too much so they had to catch up on some sleep their first couple of days to have the energy to tackle Bangkok streets thereafter.

Nonetheless, those first couple of days, they experienced the historical architecture of Ayutthaya – Thailand’s capital before the Thais moved it to Bangkok, also known as Krungthep in the local language. They also had a taste of Thailand waters and sand in tranquil Hua Hin, which is the King’s choice of residence for the summer season. Though they didn’t have a chance to bump into royalty while there, they were not the least disappointed. They had a chance to see and experience parts of Thailand other than Bangkok even though it’s only their first time to travel Thailand.

The morning after their travels in Ayutthaya and Hua Hin, we met the Pinoy travelers at Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha), and took them to the ever famous Floating Market in Damnoen Saduak.

While having a picturesque moment watching the array of Thai fruits, food and crafts along what is known to some as the ‘Venice of the East’, the group had some regular Thai noodles (bam-i nam) and enjoyed sticky rice topped with ripe mango (kaw niew ma muang) and the cheap, yet very fresh fruits being sold along the khlong (canal). The sellers were cramped with their goods in narrow wooden boats. Not much time to haggle there for customers, lest the boat with the goods you have your eyes on gets swept by other boats.

And of course, the adventure wouldn’t be complete without the boat ride along the khlong (canal).

But the most unforgettable experiences the group had came in contrasts. Nearly at the end of their Thailand travels, the group visited the Grand Palace. There, they were awed by the intricacy of the Thais’ handiwork on the walls of the temples.

Literally everything spelled “majestic”, and they wondered whether the bright colors and the intricate work are true for all Buddhists or is it only in Thailand.

Apart from the grandiosity of the palaces and temples, the Thais’ reverence for their King also made a great impression on the group. To them, it’s amazing that despite the apparent modern technology in Thailand, people still have a deep respect for and that they still follow their King.

That same night, the group had an 180-degree turn when their travels took them to yet another infamous place to visit in Thailand – Patpong! There they saw another side of Bangkok that is equally amazing but in a totally different way. Though they had a forewarning that they might meet quite aggressive people who would try to convince them they have the best “pingpong” show that side of the city, nothing prepared them for the real experience.

“They really force you to buy their wares”, was one of the comments from the group. “Nakakatakot yung inaapproach ka nila tapos hindi ka nila talaga titigilan.Tsaka hindi ko ininom yung soda (when we watched the show), kasi natatakot ako kung ano yung nakalagay doon”

it’s scary when they approach you and they don’t easily let you go. And I didn’t drink the soda because it’s scary to think what could be in it), was yet another member’s memory of the group’s Patpong experience.

What was unexpected by the group was how the women who worked in Patpong reacted to their work situation: “Nakakagulat sa kanila, parang wala lang” (What was surprising was that it seemed like nothing to them). “In fact, nagtatawanan sila (they were laughing). Parang they don’t see it as work na; just something natural. They don’t see anything wrong about it”.

Before the group came for this trip, they heard many stories about Thailand. Surprisingly though, not much was told about Patpong. Many of the stories the group read in blogs and heard about Thailand were scary, but they’ve found out, they’re not all true. One of them says, just be practical. Have the common sense to take the same precautions sensible travelers would take in any country they visit for the first time.

The group also advises, “Do not limit yourself to Bangkok. Thailand is not beaches. Thailand is not Patpong. Thailand is not temples. Thailand is everything!”

And because of that, this group of 6 friends vows to come back. There is yet more to Thailand that they have not experienced. Next time, they would like to go south and explore the island beaches like Krabi and Phuket. They might also go north where the long-neck tribe and the like lives, and where the climate is so much more forgiving especially for travelers.

In the Philippines the group has also seen many beautiful places. And their Thailand experience has only enhanced whatever is good and beautiful about our country.

And that is one message they would like to convey to others back home: to go places beyond the 7,107 islands (or more) of the Philippines. The purpose is not to promote tourism in other countries, but for Pinoys to appreciate what is good about our own. And that is one message they would like to convey to others back home: to go places beyond the 7,107 islands (or more) of the Philippines. The purpose is not to promote tourism in other countries, but for Pinoys to appreciate what is good about our own. This way people will have a better understanding of what works in our country and what does not. From there, it would be easier to correct our mistakes because we will have tangible points of comparison.

As the group leaves Thailand with thought provoking memories, they have this to say to Siam Pinoy, “Thank you sa experience sa Thailand. Yung hospitality, hindi namin expected. Pumunta na kami sa ibang lugar na may kakilala pa kami (we’ve already gone to places where we even know people). But here, we don’t even know you, you don’t know us. Yet you spent time for us.”

For us in Siam Pinoy, it has been a pleasure. It’s not everyday we meet like-minded people. And for those adventurous spirits left back home who plan to unleash themselves in Thailand, here’s their piece of advice, “Prepare themselves. Keep an open mind. Ang Thailand, hindi mo right away mahal, e (you don’t get to love it right away). But it grows on you. And when they get here, respeto lang sa kultura nila” (just respect their culture).

The Venice of the East As the group of 6 friends go back to their different lives in Manila, they will always have their extreme experiences of Thailand to look back to. A part of them would remember the ‘cigarette-smoking’ and ‘pingpong’ ladies of the Thailand nightlife who sell entertainment of another kind.

Another part of the group would look back with awe and wonder at the nationalism of a people and the love they have for their King and country. And that national pride is the part of them, which gives rise to those majestic and intricately decorated temples and palaces Thailand is known for the world over. But for one thing, they are a more proud group of Filipino travelers, appreciating more what is Philippines after learning and experiencing what lies beyond our borders.

Hedda Joy Tady-Tan is an international School Teacher in Thailand. She is also the Editor in Chief of - The Filipino Expats Community in Thailand Online.

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Friday, 11 July 2008

Playing Golf in Thailand: Expert Questions and Answers

Without doubt Thailand is becoming one of the fastest growing golf destinations for visiting tourists throughout the world. Only recently, the association of world golf travel agents voted Thailand the best up & coming destination, enhancing the excellent reputation it already has.

In order to assist you in planning your Thailand golf holiday, I have detailed below the most frequently asked questions.

When is the best time to visit?

Without doubt, the best time of year for golf is from November – February/March. This is the ‘cool’ season, although is also the peak season for visiting tourists. As such, be prepared for busy golf courses and try to plan your holiday well in advance.

What about the rest of the year?

You can play golf throughout the year in Thailand outside the cool season, and the weather is a mixture of very hot days, to very wet days. However, do not let this put you off as there are a number of great advantages. You can get some great deals on hotel prices and the courses are much quieter to play.

April is still a ‘dry’ month, with the rainy season not really starting until May. However, April & May are without doubt the hottest months of the year. June – August is not quite as hot, although you tend to get daily downpours. Again, do not let this put you off as they are normally short lived, and the courses dry out very quickly. September and October, the weather tends to be similar to that of the summer months although things tend to be drier and the weather becomes more predictable as the year wears on.

Where is the best place to play?

This depends very much what you are looking for. Bangkok has a huge number of courses, infrastructure that you would expect from any major capital and the city is very lively, providing a great experience for everyone.

The coastal resort of Hua Hin and the northern cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are a bit quieter, and very popular with couples looking for golf, relaxation, and a sampling of true Thai culture.

Pattaya is without doubt the entertainment city in Thailand, and not for the shy and retiring type, although it also boasts a large number of excellent courses.

Phuket, the famous tropical island, offers a combination of great golf and stunning beaches, and there is also now a championship course on Koh Samui, another tropical island.

North of Bangkok, lies the famous Khao Yai National Park, and there are a number of excellent courses now open in this region, which boasts spectacular scenery and views.

Finally, the area of Kanchanaburi, and the famous River Kwai, also has a number of fine courses, historical sights, and can be a great alternative to the other popular tourist destinations.

What are the courses like?

The majority of golf courses in Thailand are nothing short of first class. With many being designed by famous golf professionals such as Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo, together with top golf course architects such as Pete Dye and Robert Trent Jones, you will be amazed with the quality.

What about the caddies?

Caddies are compulsory on a Thai golf course and are a fantastic experience. Included in your green fee, they cost around 250 baht (approximately 7 US dollars) a round, which has to be the best value for money in the world. In most cases they will carry your clubs on ‘caddy car’ (trolley), should you wish to walk, although they will also ride with you in a cart if you prefer. Please note it is compulsory at only a few Thailand golf courses to use a cart. Your caddie will be allocated upon arrival, and will look after your clubs until you and are of particular assistance for easy golf in Thailand. Always helpful with a smiling face, your caddie is another part of the unique Thailand golf experience. They mark and clean your ball, give guidance on the line of putts, and try to keep you cool when things get a bit hot during your round.

What is there to do outside golf?

You will certainly never be short of things to do outside golf. As a leading tourist destination Thailand has a number of alternative attractions and exciting opportunities to combine golf & travel, and its tourist magnetism remains unrivalled in any other part of the world.

From the many temples and night markets, to the state of the art shopping malls, from stunning beaches, to the stunning waterfalls and scenery, there is something for everyone.

The culture and customs in Thailand also provide a fascinating insight to this wonderful country leaving you completely amazed.

Thailand also hosts some the best Spa facilities in the world, allowing you to relax and enjoy the rejuvenating treatments, and unbelievably friendly service that goes with it all.

I recommend all golfers allocate some time after their rounds for, at least, a one hour foot massage. This treatment is available throughout the country at clean specialized shops located almost on every street corner in the tourist areas. For around 200 baht (approximately 5 US dollars) is an experience not be missed. For the golfer who has walked his 18 holes, this papering of his feet and legs only goes to further the pleasure of the total golfing experience only available in Thailand.

What about transportation and getting around?

Your package booked with most tour operators will provide transportation from the airport to your hotel, and return transfers to the golf course each day. You can reserve this private transportation in the evenings although there is no shortage of local transportation.

Taxi’s are very cheap, and in abundance. Also, you have the famous ‘Tuk Tuk’s’, a smaller open air version of a taxi that will transport you around town at very little cost.

In summary, if you are thinking about a golf vacation to Thailand, then one company, Golfasian,, will be more than happy to answer any additional questions you may have. We pride ourselves on our high level of service, and repeat customers we get each year by providing as much customized assistance as needed to our golfing customers.

Mark Siegel is the owner of Golfasian, and publisher of the Thailand Golf Blog at He has played golf for over 30 years. He has lived and worked across Asia during the last 20 years and during this time has traveled extensively both as a tourist and also as a resident throughout all Thailand. Out of the 200 or so golf courses in all Thailand, Mark has first hand playing experience at the 100 best courses from the North to the South of the country.

He currently resides in Bangkok together with his wife and 1 year old son. Mark is fluent in Thai and has self-taught himself to both read and write in the Thai language. He is a respected and admired foreign business person among the local Thai people, in spite of the fact that he is a 46 year old American.

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Friday, 4 July 2008

Enjoy A Budget Holiday In Phuket

Phuket is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand and a traveler can end up spending a lot of money without even realizing it. Most money in Phuket, the largest island in Thailand, is spent on transportation. This is because there is no public transportation system and spending money on a tuk-tuk means being taken for a ride if you are a tourist.

However, you can save money and still enjoy a fantastic holiday in Phuket.

Remember, tuk-tuk drivers are all a big gang and they have set standard prices of any trip around Phuket. So, bargaining with a tuk-tuk driver will get you no where. However, you can try bargaining if you are a regular customer. Or else, you should try and share tuk-tuk with a fellow tourist. Make sure you check the price quoted is per trip and not per person.

A better option of traveling around Phuket is to use the local Songtaews. These are nothing but small pick-ups with wooden benches to accommodate 20 people if seated or 40 standing passengers. Most Thais use Songtaews and you will get a chance to rub shoulders with the locals. Songtaews are privately owned and they run between the beach resorts and the town. All you need is to flag one down as there are no fixed stops.

If you decide to visit Phuket on a whim and have not arranged transportation in advance, make sure you avoid the tuk-tuks and the airport limousines. You can catch a metered taxi from the airport which costs half the price. Or, you can also catch the public airport bus which plies 12 times a day from the airport to Phuket town.

You should remember that the cost of living in Phuket is still low compared to the US and the UK. And you can enjoy a budget holiday in Phuket if you are willing to go local. This is not just save you money but you will be able to learn more about the local culture and you will appreciate it for sure.

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Pauline Go is a professional writer for many website like She also writes other great articles like Thailand Travel Information, Thailand Real Estate Industry Analysis, Facts on the Stonehenge

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Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Thailand - Chang Mai and the Night Market

Chang Mai is the largest city in the north of Thailand and well worth a trip. In many ways, Chang Mai is similar to Bangkok, but without the mass of people.

Chang Mai

Chang Mai is perhaps the most serene big city I have ever had the privilege of visiting. Located at the foot of a large mountain, the city nicely meshes older areas with modern conveniences. Serene Buddhist temples stand only a few blocks from bustling universities. Much of the city can be walked, but moped rentals are cheap and plentiful. Street markets are common, but the hustle and bustle of Bangkok is not.

The night market is perhaps the most noted thing about Chang Mai. Located in the eastern side of the city, the night market runs about a mile down the length of street dwarfed by malls, restaurants, stores selling art and spas. The stalls on the side of the road tend to sell cheap touristy products, but you should check them out anyway to sample some of the food items. Thais seem to take great humor from cooking anything they can get their hands on so long as they can gross out the tourist. Yep, you can munch on fried roaches, spiders, crickets and so on. For a good laugh, one can hang out around the stalls and watch tourist try the delicacies. It’s like the show Fear Factor without the washboard stomachs and breast implants.

To find the “good stuff” at the night market, you should head off the street and up into the open air malls. As you move towards the back of the malls, the quality of the products goes up dramatically. You’ll find artist not only hocking their wares, but also creating them before your eyes. There is some serious talent in the back of those malls.

If silk is your material of choice, Chang Mai is a good place to purchase it in bulk. Do not buy it at the night market. Instead, ask your hotel for a recommendation to a shop. Prices are low, but quality is high.

Traveler’s Tip

Guidebooks will tell you the best way to get to Chang Mai is to take an overnight train from Bangkok. Liars! Flying domestically in Thailand is very cheap. A one-way flight from Bangkok to Chang Mai will run you about $40US. There is no need to book ahead. Just walk into the airport in Bangkok and buy a ticket on the spot.

If you prefer to spend the night in a bunk on a train, knock yourself out. Just keep in mind Thais tend to have smaller body masses than Westerners. Much smaller.

Of all the cities in Thailand, Chang Mai is my favorite. Yes, even more so than Bangkok.

Rick Chapo is with - makers of travel journals. Visit to read more articles about Thailand travel and Adventure Travel.

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