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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.

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.

Nightlife in Bangkok

Posted on : 13-07-2010 | By : Brian | In : Bangkok, Thailand Travel

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In a recent post discussing shopping in Bangkok I suggested that after the sun goes down you should head off to the night markets dotted about this city. If however shopping is not your thing there are many other nightlife experiences to be had in Bangkok, without the obvious Thailand bar girls!

1. For a romantic experience you should head for one of the evening dinner cruise that slowly meanders along the Chao Praya River. I have posted already about the Loy Nava, one that I have experienced myself but there are many others to be had if it’s not exactly romance your looking for. These types of cruises are an ideal way to see the city from a different angle, learn about about its history and culture or just enjoy the cool river breeze.

2. If it’s the club scene you are looking for then you won’t be disappointed. Bangkok nightlife club scene is alive and kicking hard, even with tight closing regulations! You can find clubs in almost every part of Bangkok with most of them open every night of the week offering different styles of music.  If it’s a trendy type bar you want then start with the bedSupper Club or try the loud music in the mega-clubs of RCA, Flix or Slim.

3. For that feeling of sophistication you should try Cocktails on a Rooftop Bar at sunset. Not only is this a great way to beat the rush hour madness in Bangkok you can also avoid most of the sunset mosquitoes. The highest drink you can sip in Bangkok would be from the Rooftop Bar on the 83rd floor of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel or try some real sophistication and relax on the open air decks of the Moon Bar on top of the Banyan Tree Hotel.

4. Live music is available in Bangkok if you look hard enough. I should say good live music is available if you look hard enough! From Thai acoustic music in your hotel lounge to freeform jazz in a smoky club, Bangkok does have it all on offer even large stadium type concerts. Don’t think these will be easy to find, most marketing and advertisements will be written in Thai so if live music is your thing do some research before you get there.

5. Bangkok’s not known for its theatrical shows but for something spectacular you should not miss out on the Siam Niramit Cultural Show and Thai dinner. Performed on the worlds largest stage this show combines Thailand’s historical and spiritual heritage in a blaze of colour. There are many other cultural shows on offer in Bangkok some good some not so good so beware when booking any of these and ask in some forums for what other people have seen.

This is just a few suggestion of what Bangkok nightlife has to offer except for the obvious shopping and Go-Go bars most tourist end up frequenting. There is nothing wrong with Go-Go bars and shopping but it can become boring after a while so the next time you visit Bangkok try and think outside the traditional tourist paths.

5 Things Not To Miss In Bangkok

Posted on : 13-01-2010 | By : Brian | In : Bangkok, Holidays To Thailand, Thailand Travel

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When people arrive in Bangkok the heat and humidity often saps their energy, so much so they miss out on some of the cities most wonderful sights. I have listed, in order, the top 5 things to try and see while in the city, why only 5 you may ask? There will be other post on this site detailing things to do, see, experience and avoid while in Bangkok, so with all the lists combined there should be enough to fill most short trips to Bangkok.

I would suggest that you try and spend at least 3 full days in Bangkok to see most of the things the city has to offer, that’s without the sideline trips to places such as Kanchanaburi or the floating market which take a full day themselves.

TOP ATTRACTIONS IN BANGKOK

  • The Royal Grand Palace – The number one must do while in Bangkok. To save time and enjoy the place more it is best to spend a little extra on this and book an organised tour and guide and best of all get a personal guide for you and your group, just not one who stands outside the entrance and touts.
  • Wat Po & the Reclining Buddha – This temple is older than Bangkok itself and was enlarged in 1801 by King Rama I, the founder of Bangkok. Among many of the buildings on the grounds you will find the reclining Buddha lying cramped up in a temple just large enough to house it.
  • The Temple of Dawn at Wat Arun – A different kind of temple along the river that is often missed but if you like temples and are already on a river cruise this is worth a visit.
  • Wat Traimit & the Golden Buddha – This very unremarkable temple hidden at the end of Chinatown is home to the worlds largest golden Buddha. Weighing over 5Tons and standing 15 feet tall this sitting Buddha has been estimated to be worth US$1Million.
  • The Jim Thompson House -Thailand is renowened for its silk and without Jim Thoampson it may not be that way. He revived the trade after moving to Thailand to settledown in the 1940’s and falling in love with Thailand traditions and people.

You will hear people say that you don’t need a guide for many of the tourist sights in Bangkok as it is cheaper to get your own transport and find your own way around. This is so true, it will save you a few £’s, $’s or Baht, but take the advice from someone who has done it both with and without a guide, you see a lot more, have a more structured day and save your short trip time with a professional guide. On top of these benefits from using a guide service it is also a very good way to get to know a little more about the people of the country.

There is only so much someone can say about a building so after all the tourist chat, Thai people like to find out about other countries and in return like to talk about their own. This is a perfect way to gain an insight to what it’s like to work and live in Thailand, but don’t think of the person that guides you as an employee think of them as your friend in Bangkok and who knows maybe you may make a new friend half way around the world.