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Survival Guide To Shopping In BangkokSurvival Guide To Shopping In Bangkok Shopping in Bangkok is a ‘must do’ on any trip to Thailand. The place is a shopaholics dream city with many different shopping malls ranging from the sophisticated Emporium to the legendary Mah Boon...

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Bangkok River CruiseBangkok River Cruise A superb way to have a relaxing night off from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok would be to enjoy dinner on a Bangkok river cruise along the Chao Phraya river. But beware of the type of river cruise you...

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Andaman Dive Sites – Hin Daeng & Hin MuangAndaman Dive Sites – Hin Daeng & Hin Muang Two of the more popular dive sites in Thailand, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang are usually dived on the same day due to their close proximity to each other. In fact they are so close you can swim from one...

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Thailand Sees Tourism Boom in 2010 Despite Red Shirt Protests

Posted on : 17-12-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand, Thailand Travel

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Red Shirts and violent uprisings may have dominated the news from Thailand in the first half of 2010, but it seems it will take more than two months of bloody protests to put tourists off visiting.

The southeast Asian nation is celebrating after announcing a 12.6 per cent rise in visitor numbers for the year so far, despite political turmoil and a shaky world economy.

Nearly 14 million people visited Thailand in the first 11 months of this year, a figure that is expected to rise to 15.8 million by the end of this month.

Beachseller on a beach in Koh Samui
Welcome boost: Thailand has seen a surge in visitor numbers in 2010

But while British visitor numbers remain strong, it is actually Indian and Middle Eastern tourists that are the country’s fastest-growing markets.

Visitors from other south Asian countries also remained the most loyal, still visiting in large numbers even in the height of the country’s violence.

Protests in Bangkok during April and May killed 92 people and even saw the international airport closed at one point, causing unease among potential visitors.

But, despite the bloody images beamed around the world, Thailand still managed to generate £12.3bn through tourism in 2010 – no mean feat in a year when many chose to holiday close to home to keep costs down.

Red Shirts carry the bodies of killed protesters through the streets
Bloodshed: The Bangkok protests saw 92 people killed

However, the holiday hotspot could well become a victim of its own success in 2011.

The Thai baht currency is becoming stronger, making the country more expensive for foreign visitors.

Thailand’s affordability has always been a big selling point for tourists looking for cheap but exotic package holidays.

However, to combat a possible dip in numbers, the country is planning on targeting emerging markets such as China and Indonesia as well as Brazil and Argentina.

So it could be a very international set populating the beaches of Phuket in the future.

Read more: at the DailyMail



Loy Krathong Festival

Posted on : 13-12-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand, Thailand Festivals, Thailand Travel

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If your lucky enough to be on holiday in Thailand in November, you should make sure your hotel is somewhere near a river or beach or at least some body of water for this is the time of Thailand’s most beautiful festival, Loy Krathong. Almost every river, canal, beach front and night-sky will all be glowing with the water offerings and paper lanterns released during these few days, but the main event will occur on the 12th.

Loy Krathong began in the northern province of Sukhothai during the reign of Thai King Rama IV in 1863, and is now one of the most popular Thai celebrations and is celebrated throughout Thailand every year. The raft is decorated with elaborately folded banana leaves (a Krathong-small raft made of banana tree leaves), flowers, candles, and incense sticks. The incense and candles are lit and the Kratong is pushed out onto the water in a symbolic act of letting go of one’s bad luck. The term Loi, or Loy, means “float” and this is what is happening to your bad luck, it floats away.

Each province in Thailand celebrates their own versions of Loy Krathong and the Government offices hold big events to celebrate the full moon buring this time. Chiang Mai’s skyline lights up as the capital of the north celebrates with Yi Peng Lantern balloons released. These lanterns float into the night’s sky fuelled by only a small candle inside. Ayutthaya, just north of Bangkok, holds Krathong contests and puts on a re-enactment of an ancient Loy Krathong festival, and in contrast to these cultural performances they hold a Miss Noppamas beauty contest. As can be imagined the best place to watch the celebrations of Loy Krathong would probably be Bangkok were all the waterways, including the great Chao Praya River, have small and large Krathongs reflecting of the waters surface as the night-sky’s are filled with fireworks.

Hotel Name/Location Class Price
The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel Chiang Mai The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel Chiang Mai 26 GBP
Ambassador Hotel Bangkok Ambassador Hotel Bangkok 26 GBP
Deevana Patong Resort & Spa Phuket Deevana Patong Resort & Spa Phuket 19 GBP

The actual act of these rafts floating also has some other important means to people, besides letting go of your bad luck. For many Thais the Krathong is a way to thank the goddess of water, Phra Mae Kongka, for allowing them to use the water from rivers and canals all year long. For romantic couples the Krathong is floated out and should stay upright until it has left their sight, this is a symbol their love will last forever.

The biggest advantage for anyone on holiday in Thailand during this time is that this festival is one in which both Thais and tourists can participate. In fact local Thai people actively get tourists to purchase and float their own Krathong. This is a wonderful time to get to know many new Thai friends and is a great way to break the ice. Start asking about what Loy Krathong means to them and many Thais will be happy to share their thoughts about this wonderful festival.

Survival Guide To Shopping In Bangkok

Posted on : 13-12-2010 | By : Brian | In : Bangkok, Holidays To Thailand

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Shopping in Bangkok is a ‘must do’ on any trip to Thailand. The place is a shopaholics dream city with many MBK Shopping Bangkokdifferent shopping malls ranging from the sophisticated Emporium to the legendary Mah Boon Krong or MBK as its better known. The best thing about these malls is the transport between them can be so easy if you plan it right but the worst thing about them is you will never have enough time to visit them all on just one short trip, I mean the Central World mall has over 500,000sqm of retail space alone, but then again this is the biggest in Bangkok.

When you’ve had enough of shopping in the malls there are all those markets to get around as well. With over 15,000 stalls, the famed Chatuchak Weekend Market is the biggest outdoor market in the world I believe but I’ve not been to them all so correct me if I’m wrong here. Then you have your night markets in the Patpong area and floating markets at Damnoen Saduak to name just a few.

With so much shopping to do in such a short time it’s a good idea to be prepared. I’ve listed a few things that I think could help when shopping in Bangkok and also may help to make your shopping trip that bit easier.

Plan Your Shopping Trip – You should have a idea of how many days you will be in Bangkok so plan what days you want to go shopping. Early morning and late evenings are the best time to visit those markets with the temperatures and tourist numbers not yet peaked. Visit the air conditioned malls at the hottest time of the day for some lunch and leisure shopping. Its best to try and have an idea what you want to buy and plan where to get it, this will target focus your shopping in Bangkok instead of wandering about in the heat and humidity wondering where to go next.

Transport – Bangkok has a multitude of ways of getting around the city, tuk-tuk, taxis, Skytrain and underground are just some of them. Although very inexpensive public buses are best avoided, you will waste a lot of time trying to find the right bus. Taxis and tuk tuk’s are often your best method of transport in Bangkok but watch out for those that want to take you some where else first. Make sure before setting off the driver wants to take you to your destination without any detours. I have, more than once, been driven a few hundred meters and then got out because the driver changed his mind about the destination. Another thing to consider with your taxi and tuk tuk is the Bangkok traffic, it’s notoriously bad at certain times of the day and getting stuck in traffic won’t help your shopping plans.. The skytrain and underground are both air conditioned means of transport but unfortunately don’t cover all of Bangkok. If you can get either of these close to your final destination then walking a short distance may be the best plan at certain times of the day.

Opening Hours – Bangkok shops open anywhere between 9-10 am and stay open until around 8-10p six days a week, with Sunday closing. The biggest shopping malls however may still have some shops open on a Sunday but I wouldn’t advise planning any shopping for that day.

Comparing Prices & Haggling – Like other shopping trips you do, don’t just buy the first item you see. Shop about a little and check out what others have that item on sale for. If you are in a mall shop with a price tag save yourself the embarrassment and don’t try to haggle with the shop assistant. If getting a bargain is what you are after ask about a Tourist Discount Card or VAT refunds at the airport. The best place to try your haggling skills is on the street market stalls. Bartering, haggling or bargaining on stalls is very normal and indeed will be expected in most cases. The first price you get from a vendor will be marked up considerably and it is your job to try and get them down to a price that both you and they are happy with. There are many different ways to haggle and each person will have their own technique and it will develop the more you do it. In the high tourist areas like Patpong it would not be uncommon to offer a price less than half of the vendors asking price. Some points to remember when trying to get your item for a cheaper price is to treat it a bit like a game. Have fun with the vendor smile lots and be polite. Getting angry and shouting because they wont come done anymore on a price won’t help and in fact they may refuse to sell to you. If you are unhappy with the price thank them for their time, smile and walk away, if they really won’t come down any more they will let you go, but if they want that sale then maybe you have just won the game when they lower the price.

Safety – Bangkok is no different than any other major city when it comes to petty crime. Although you are on holiday to enjoy yourself don’t let your personal safety slip. Remember to keep you possession close by you and if in a crowded area don’t carry your rucksack or bag behind you. Pickpockets are common in busy areas so take care of your wallet and purse and always know where it is.

What To Wear – Bangkok is a hot and humid city all year round so what you wear to combat these conditions should be thought about carefully. Your first priority should be a good pair of walking shoes. The streets of Bangkok are not that easy to traverse, often resembling obstacle courses with exposed manholes, potholes, vendor carts, the odd beggar and garland maker. There is nothing faster than a broken toe to stop a shopping trip so although maybe cool and trendy sandals and reef shoes should be left in the hotel. Cool light weight cloths will help when outside but if you plan a full day in an air conditioned mall maybe something a little heavier would be best. Oh, and beach wear is never best in Bangkok except by your hotel pool. My first purchase when I arrive in Bangkok is always some bandanna’s and some wet wipes. These help freshen you up on a long shopping trip. Quick tip – keep the wet ones in the fridge if you can.

These are just some of my tips on how to make shopping in Bangkok easier than normal, there will be many more I’m sure. One thing I will say is that if you are traveling to Thailand with children then none of these tips will help easy the pain of shopping with children.

Bangkok River Cruise

Posted on : 13-12-2010 | By : Brian | In : Bangkok, Holidays To Thailand

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A superb way to have a relaxing night off from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok would be to enjoy dinner on a Bangkok river cruise along the Chao Phraya river. But beware of the type of river cruise you are joining. Loy Nava Bangkok River CruiseEssential there are 2 kinds of river cruise in Bangkok, the one’s that have many people on board and dinner is a buffet style with a music after, and the ones that are more exclusive and have limited seats, your own table with table service and music as part of the meal.

Loy Nava is in the later category and I can strongly recommend it. This converted rice barge is made of sold teak and just drips in Asian traditions of wood carving and boat building. It is said to have been the first to start dinner cruises in Bangkok and maybe that is why the food is nice. Highly decorative and pleasing to the eye, to food is most definitely 5 star even if a little tempered to our western tastes so no real spice, but I have that complaint about most restaurants in Thailand that cater for westerners.

The service is outstanding from the moment you get picked up at your hotel to the moment you get dropped off. Staff on the boat are dressed in traditional Thai cloths and perform a water ceremony as you board the boat. Slowly drifting along the river, sitting at your candle lit table listening to traditional Thai Kim music Kim Player(xylophone style) played in the background by a tradionally dressed Thai girl will lead to a very romantic evening indeed and made all the more so by the abundance of fresh flowers everywhere scenting the place.

The Loy Nava river cruise starts at either 6pm or 8pm so both have the advantage of seeing all the Bangkok sights lite up. You are given a beautifully designed map of the Chao Phraya river describing 34 of the lite up landmarks you will see on your dinner cruise. Just in case you might not notice these the staff will also prompt you as you pass a place of great importance to Bangkok and her people.

You can book the Loy Nava from most hotel reception desks or direct with them. If you do have a spare evening in Bangkok with a loved one then this would be a perfect way to spend some time together in my opinion.

Website : www.loynava.com

email : loynava@hotmail.com (best to use there contact page from the website)

Telephone +66 (0) 24 377 329 or +66 (0) 24 383 098

How To Discover Hidden Thailand Beaches

Posted on : 13-12-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand

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Millions of people arrive at Thailand’s International Airport every year with the aim to Travel Thailand and see as much as possible. Many will head North for lush tropical rainforests or West to Kanchanaburi for the Bridge over the River Kwai but a great deal many more will head south to the soft, tropical, whiter than white sands of Thailand Beaches.

Many of these travelers will be searching out for that elusive beach, you know the one, its deserted, its palm tree fringed and soft white sand as far as the eye can see. It’s a place were we can feel, for a moment or two, marooned on an uninhabited island. That you don’t really have to go back to work or the rat race or even the mountain of material possessions you have accumulated over the years. Or is that just me 🙂

Thailand Beaches

The reality however is that we will most probably end up on a beach paying for our lounger and shade umbrella. Sitting cheek to jowl with those on the lounger next to you, listening in on their lives they’re that close. Relaxing your holiday may be private and exclusive it’s not.

In the southern parts of Thailand beaches are a plenty yet most people all head for the same ones. If we had taken a few minutes during our holiday planning and thought maybe those jaw dropping beach scenes could be our holiday.

Holiday planning is the most essential part of any holiday, would you agree? Then why let someone else plan it for you? Most travel agents who sell you a holiday will have never been to the location they are selling. They only know the Thailand beaches that everyone else heads for because that is what they are given to sell you. What do you think makes these places popular? In my opinion nice beaches and exclusivity are not really that high on the scale of importance but high commission rates from hotels night be. Yes I am cynical about the travel industry.

So how do we get the best of Thailand beaches as we travel Thailand on our treasured break? Simple, research should be the start to any holiday planning and the research should include more that looking for the telephone number of the local travel agent.

I have outlined 7 points that I undertake when looking for my next break, not necessarily to Thailand beaches. You found this page so you know how to use the internet so what you will be doing isn’t rocket science and the list is by no means complete but it may give you an idea into what you can do.

7 Points To Great Holiday Research

  1. Decided on what type of holiday you want, beach, city or forest break. If you want a combination of these then do the following 6 steps for each destination.
  2. Note down 5 phrases or words that come to mind when you think about your chosen destination.
  3. Put these phrases into Google or any other search engine you may use and have a look at the first page results, then ignore them.
  4. Move to page 2 and 3 and working your way down ignore hotel booking services and visit the web sites that seem like information pages and have some relevance to your searched term or phrase.
  5. Look for locations on these web pages that maybe you have never heard about or read about and take a note of the name.
  6. Search for this unknown location and take note of the number of pages with the term.
  7. The location with the least number of pages should now be your focus for your next holiday destination.

Here is how it all works:

I love Thailand beaches when I’m on holiday, I think of white sand, palm trees, blue waters, cool breeze and deserted beaches. So now I have my 5 terms I’ll put them into Google one at a time.

Deserted Beach

White sand Thailand returns 2.35 million results I skip the 1st page and go to page 2 and skip anything that looks like a hotel booking service. Bingo about half way down I see Amazing-Thailand.com – Tropicals Islands in Thailand a quick scan of this page shows me 2 locations I’m not familiar with and have not seen anywhere else, Koh Larn and Koh Turatao.

I search for Koh Turatao which returns 1,380 results and Koh Larn which returns 55,400 pages. So my first holiday research place would be Koh Turatao.

This type of holiday research may not work every time but it will open your eyes to the other destinations at your chosen location. Finding deserted Thailand beaches is not impossible today but a word of warning. The locations of these deserted beaches will be, by there very nature, far from any commercial outlets, medical centers or English speaking locals so it may not all be paradise. Finally, I would like to ask that if anyone does come across any Thailand beaches that may not be know yet as they travel Thailand then please keep it to yourself, after letting me know ofc

The Best Seat For Flying With Children

Posted on : 19-11-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand

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Is there a best seat to have when flying with children to Thailand?

When flying with children getting the seat you want/need should be the most important part of your planning, this should never be left to chance. After all the thing you will be doing most on your flight to Thailand will be sitting, so make sure it’s the best seat in the house.

Before booking your flight.

To check on seat availability, you should call the airline direct or check and see if they have an online seat locator. If using a travel agent or flight booker, make sure you let them know that you want to book your seats at the time of booking your flight. This should not be a problem if you have children in your party, but some companies will get you to call the airline to book the seats yourself. If this is the case, don’t buy a ticket until you’ve check you can book a seat on with the airline.

We’ve now taken to booking our seats direct with the airline and reserving our seats at the same time. Sometimes we could have got the same flight a little cheaper if going with an online travel agent but having the seat booked before we get to check-in stops a lot of worry.

Bulkhead seats.
Bssinet on airlineIf you are traveling with an infant make sure you get the bulk head seat so you can have the bassinet. A special point to note here is check what type of inflight entertainment your aireplane has. Screens at the front, above the bassinet, won’t help in settleling your baby to sleep. Bulkhead seats are usually near a kitchen or the toilets, this can get noisy sure, but more importantly is the number of people comimg and going all night long may make your own sleep a little more than disturbed.

Window seats are good for sleeping in, with the window providing a perfect place to rest your head, should you get a chance to sleep. On internal flights in Thailand window seats are great for sightseeing; as soon as you leave the hazy smog of Bangkok you get wonderful views of Thailand from the air.

Aisle seats let you stretch your legs once in a while but you do risk getting bonked by other people’s elbows and hand luggage. Fellow passangers in your row, going for a walk or the toilet, will make sure you dont settle confortable for long as well, and if you leave those legs stretched out for long guarentted someone will trip, or a carte will remove a few layers of skin for you.

Front or back?

Back row passengers usually board first giving them first choice to the overhead luggage space but if traveling with children then most airlines will call families first anyway. If at the back, you should remember that it may take some time to get off the plane, with impatient and excited children this can make the wait seem like eternity.

The further to the back you go the less choice you’ll have when the food carte gets to you. Not a problem if traveling without kids, but a nightmare with picky eaters. Airlines now provide children’s meals, but usually these come with a supply of toys, pencils and other knick-knacks to keep the kids distacred away from the food.

Other considerations when booking your seat

Some other points I feel you should take into consideration before booking your seat.

  1. Bulkhead seats have their tables in the arm rests making them fixed. This reduces the width of the seat overall making your seated position fixed. You cannot lift the arms up to create wider sleeping areas for children either.
  2. The seats at the back should have a special mention for it often turns into a gossip gallery as all the flight attendants gather up and swap stories. Great for a bored passenger, not so great as a tired child.
  3. If you couldn’t get the seat you wanted in advance don’t despair, just keep trying when you arrive at the airport check-in and all the way to the gate agent in charge of your flight.
  4. A handy Web site called SeatGuru is worth a visit before you book your flights. It provides seat plans for all the aircraft used by most major carriers, providing useful information about seat width and pitch as well as some other funky stuff.

So do I have a perfect seat to fly with children to Thailand? No not really! When we travelled with only 3 of us we would book three seats together on the side, if it had 3 that is, this gave us the option of creating a bed in between me and Emma. Now there a four of us we get the 4 together in the middle. We always use airline that have seat back TV/ entertaiment units. For us, at last, bulkhead seats are a thing of the past, other than having the bassinet and some extra leg room, there is no benifit to having these seats. I find the fixed arms make for an uncomfortanble flight and the children can’t drape over you to fall asleep, and the close proximaty to the toilets and kitchen keeps everyone awake most of the flight.

I hope this post has helped, if so then please let me know in the comments box below or grad my RSS feed above.

Why Consider a Holiday To Thailand?

Posted on : 13-10-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand, Thailand Travel

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With all the troubles in Thailand since 2008 you would be wondering why anyone would even consider a holiday to Thailand in 2011? I can imagine that for many people who had planned a holiday to Thailand in 2008/9 or even 2010 found themselves changing those plans at the last minute to go somewhere less in the media.

Last year seen a continuation of ‘problems’ with the government leaders and Taksin Shinawatra, who was for ever popping up now and then keeping media attention focused on his political plight. Thailand’s problems however hit the headlines when PaD protesters managed to close down the International airport for a long period of time. As was to be expected the protest ended without too much fuss and the headlines of yesterday are long forgotten, when something new captures the media headlines.

So back to the fun side of Thailand and why I think you should consider a Holiday to Thailand in 2011.

With the world economy in a tailspin and the UK in recession, prices are dropping everywhere and the tourist industry is no different. With airline operators and hotels all slashing prices to entice overseas travellers to use them, you are in a great position to get a bargain.

If you are in the unfortunate position to have been laid off work or just can’t find a job, then why sit in the UK and be miserable? Avoid the recession and go travel! Sell your stuff, grab a cheap flight and head of for Thailand beaches. You won’t worry about the recession lying on a beach and you can always come back when the economy is better.

Winter in the UK is a time to batten down the hatches and semi-hibernate for the long cold months ahead. Usually however Christmas and New Year was a time to get out and party with friends and family but again the recession put that on the back burner this year. So more likely than not you have been living a day to day existence through the winter, with nothing to look forward to. A holiday to Thailand won’t only heat you up but you will meet a lot of new people from all over the world doing the same thing you are, escaping the recession!

You’ve been working all year, you deserve a break! Sitting behind a desk or working on the factory line or stacking shelves in ASDA for eight hours a day is no fun if there isn’t a light at the end of that tunnel. Let’s face it, between worrying about next month’s budget or sitting on the beaches in Thailand, everyone would choose the beach.

A holiday to Thailand is often a life changing experience, it was for me and many other people I have met while travelling Thailand. You only get one chance at life your so make it worthwhile and don’t let media scare stories stop you from anything. There’s no reason not to go to Thailand in 2011 as many of the reported problems have either subsided or were blown out of proportion by the media.

Flying To Thailand With Children

Posted on : 09-10-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand

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The thought of flying with children can leave some people with a chill running down their spine, especially if the child is not yours and just happens to have the seat in front, behind or beside you. These worries are the main reason many people holiday in their home country or a driving holiday, but it doesn’t have to be that bad if you plan well for it. I have gathered some information from friends, forums and from my own experience and with this post and the next few in this catagory I’ll try and pass on as many hints and tips as I can.

All airlines use the same criteria when determining how much your child will be charged for flying with them, 0-2yo is an infant, 3-11yo is a child and 12yo upwards is a full adult when it comes to pricing. Infants will not be given a seat therefore the cost will be either zero or up to about 10% of the adult ticket. This will differ from one airline to the next so check what each has to offer you as a travelling parent of an infant. Children will be given there own seat and can be charged anywhere between 50-80% of the adult ticket, again this will change with airlines so check prices of a few different ones. Once your little ones reach 12 they will be paying full adult prices for them, so take advantage of their younger years and fly early.

I have travelled with children on long haul flights to Thailand when they were as young as 3 months and have learned something new on every trip but the overall piece of advice I can give is to prepare for your trip in advance and make it like a military operation, at some point it may feel like you are in a battle. Be early for everything! Be the first at check in, be the first at the departure gate, be the first to get on the aeroplane, be the first to get overhead luggage space near you.

If your child is in the infant bracket it’s best to book your flight early and make sure you get the bulk head seat to book your bassinette, or they will be on your lap the whole flight. They may be there anyway but should they fall asleep you have somewhere to put them.

Direct flights are always best if you can get them if not think about what time you will be stopping and what your little one will be like at that time. Now if your little one is an infant this is no problem but if they are older they will not thank you for that midnight stroll around some airport in the Middle East.

Taking off and landing will be the most stressful time for your children so plan for that. Make sure they have a dummy to chew on, a bottle to drink from or some lollies and sweets to suck on. This will help with equalising the pressure in the ears naturally. For younger children and infants it may be best to try and give them some Calpol to help with and ear pain but I’ve never found that to be necessary, yet!

During The Flight make sure you have a large pack of wipes for all those accidents and if with an infant ensure you have enough bottles, nappies and changes of clothing for a 24 hour period. If the child is young enough have them in baby grows the whole trip this will be the easiest way to change and it also protects them from the cold AC on flights. It may also be an idea to pack a light change of clothing for yourself as well, projectile vomit is not a very good ‘arrival loung’ look this year, or any year.

Infant food on airlines is a complicated issue these days so any advice given here is best checked first with the airline. When me and my wife travelled with our children we had with us a supply of ready made formula milk in cartons, some people have said they take the powder and get hot water while on the aeroplane to make up the bottles but we thought that would be a hassle. We found sterilised disposable bottles, so all we had to do was open the packet pour the milk into the bottle and get the stewardess to heat it for a few seconds, but as it was he was happy to have the milk without heating, so happy days.

I’ll stop now as this is getting a long post but in conclusion I would say you should really try and relax and prepare for your fight as much as you can. It will be stressful, especially if your little one cries a lot during the flight, but a crying baby is stressfull when not on a flight so do what you would do normally to sooth the baby. If the children are older then distraction works best but that is for another post.

If you think I’ve missed something why not leave a comment below and if you have enjoyed reading this then sign up for updates or grab our RSS feed above.

Learn To Scuba Dive – Part 1

Posted on : 13-09-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand, Scuba Diving

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Just in case you didn’t know, scuba diving can be dangerous sport. The equipment used needs to be handled properly and as of today, we humans still can’t breath underwater without this equipment! So, before using scuba equipment or submersing in any water (even a swimming pool) you should seek training from a recognised instructor. This is the first of a five part post that will give non-divers an insight into what they will do when they learn to scuba dive.

Before we begin this I should point out 2 things. One, scuba is an acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus and two, if I was to say I’m going diving many people would have visions of swimming pools and high dive boards. To avoid any confusion I always say scuba diving or scuba when referring to the underwater type.

two-divers.jpg

Why Learn To Dive?

So if it’s a dangerous sport why would you want to learn to dive? It’s only dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing and with proper instruction you will know exactly what to do. How I like to describe it is that anyone can buy scuba equipment and jump in the sea but the dangerous start before you hit the bottom. You need to understand your maximum depth, how long your air supply will last, dangerous creatures you may encounter and the most important thing how to get back to the surface safely.

Beach holidays have always been a popular choice but so many people are now looking for something at little more exciting to do, except sit on the sand all day and scuba diving is the perfect answer.

When you first learn to scuba dive it will feel a little unnatural as your body gets used to the feeling of weightlessness, you will fight every little current that pushes you side ways and feel that your are forever out of balance. As time passes though you will so learn to enjoy this weightlessness and let that soft gentle current wave over you.

After you have completed the course you now know a new skill, woohoo!! This new skill can now be taken home with you and what you will find is that around the world, no matter how far you live from the sea, there will be a thriving scuba community. Just because you learnt to dive on holiday doesn’t mean you should only leave scuba diving to holiday times. Find that community and join it, they will have some fantastic dive spots that are not too far from your home.

So you now understand that you need training before you can scuba dive, that its an exciting sport that allows you to explore a relatively unseen world, and that its not only a holiday sport, now what? In part two of this post series I will talk about different training agencies and is it better to learn to scuba dive at home or on holiday?

Holidays To Thailand In The Green Season

Posted on : 13-08-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand

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With the world in the grip of a credit crunch that doesn’t seem to be letting up for a while many people are putting off the luxury items, like their holidays. If you look at Thailand as your annual break, like me and my family, you will know that it’s not cheap to get out there and stay for 14 nights in the high season, but there are ways to avoid losing your holidays to Thailand totally.

Unlike the UK many, if not all, hotels in Thailand reduce their rates throughout the year. The period between mid December and the first week in January is the peak season when room rates can double and almost treble in price. You may also find that you’re expected to stump up for a Christmas or New Year gala dinner if your holidays to Thailand coincide with this time of year. In contrast though, if you were to visit the same hotel during the ‘Green Season’ you would be shocked at the discounts that are offered during this period.

What is the green season?
This is the time of year during which Thailand receives most of its rainfall. Traditionally the Songkran water festival is the celebration to start this rainy season but in reality the rains don’t come for a few weeks more. When they do arrive the surrounding landscape becomes very lush and green as the plants and trees begin to grow after the long dry period. It’s the greener of these plants that have given this period it nickname, the ‘Green Season’.
Thailand Rainforest

When is the green season?
In general the green season occurs during the UK’s summer time but each region of Thailand will have its own set time for the green season. The majority of holiday destinations in Thailand will reduce their prices between 1st May and the 1st November but there are some exceptions to this.

Koh Samui for example does not share the same weather patterns to Phuket and as such don’t have the same rainy season. The low (green) season on Koh Samui is mid September to mid December, but in Phuket the low season is between the end of May and the end of October.

What will the weather in Thailand be like during the green season?
Depending on where you chose for your holidays to Thailand you will most like see some rain during the green season but how much rain will depend on your location and when you are there. Not so long ago I can remember the dry season lasting well into May and June but those arriving for their holidays in Thailand during November to Ao Nang, Krabi, caught the end of the rainy season. You should always remember that you are dealing with the weather and it is often unpredictable.

How much can I save during the green season?
I’m not getting into the price of flights to Thailand from the UK or which airline is best. If you choose to arrive in Thailand during the green season you will most probably save some money on the cost of your flights. Finding cheap hotels in Thailand during the green season is really easy for most locations but you should know that the savings will not be great from hotels in Bangkok. I will provide the cost of a double room for the 3 seasons that most holiday destinations share, the low, high and peak season.

In Phuket the Deevana Patong Resort & Spa Phuket will cost 2085 baht in the low season 3108 baht in the high season 4274 baht in the peak season.

In Bangkok the Majestic Grande Hotel Bangkok will cost you 3700 baht in the low season and 3800 baht in the high season. Although not a great saving there is also no increase for the peak season. So if you plan to be on holiday in Thailand around the Christmas and New Year time you should consider being in Bangkok around this time. Be warned however it does get busy and rooms book out fast.

In Chaing Mai the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel cost 2200 baht in the low season and 2900 baht in the high season but during the peak season the cost goes up to a whopping 9000 baht! Obviously this includes the compulsory gala dinner dances but from the few I’ve been to you are best to try and organise your own entertainment. I feel I should add another warning here and say that if you do decide to organise your own celebrations while on holiday to Thailand don’t expect too much to be available when you get there. For families it may be best to stick with the hotel organised entertainment, this will save a lot of trouble for you.

The hotels I’ve listed here are for illustrative purposes and if you search around the internet you may find different prices offered. If you look on the right side of this page you should see a search function that allows you to look for all hotels for your holiday to Thailand.

So just to recap! The green season is the wet season and varies across Thailand but in general it’s around the same time as the summer in UK. If you time things right you can save a lot of cash on your hotel booking. Other services will also be reduced during the green season such as tours, car rentals, internal flights etc. If there is no reduction you could always ask for a discount! Everyone is looking for customers during this quite period so why not plan your holidays to Thailand around the green season and save yourself some cash.