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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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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.

5 Fun Things For Kids To Do In Bangkok

Posted on : 13-11-2010 | By : Brian | In : Bangkok

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Travelling with young children is no easy task, especially in a built up capital city like Bangkok, with heat, traffic and humidity. I have listed a few fun things for kids to do, should you find yourself there for a couple of days. Most can be done in a half day but as shopping centres are never far away I’m sure you’ll spend a little longer.

Siam Ocean World – Covering an area of the size of two football pitches Siam Ocean World is in the the basement level of the Siam Paragon shopping mall. This place has mixed reviews with some saying that, although one of the largest aquariums in Southeast Asia there is not much underwater creatures on offer and that the water clarity is not great. Other love the fact that its in a shopping mall so can enjoy a full day in an air-conditioned building. As yet I have not spoke to anyone who as tried diving with the sharks, but having tried that myself in the UK I’m not expecting huge things from it.

2) Ice Skating – This is something that is most definitely on my list to do the next time I’m in Bangkok with the kids. I was surprised to find out that there are 3 ice rinks in the city. Sub Zero Ice Skating Club brings out some laser lights and D.J’s as the sun goes down to turn into a nightclub with a difference, maybe not one for the kids! Open Ice Skate is a smaller rink located on the fourth floor of Imperial Lad Prao. Like the name suggests, this rink is open for viewing so you will become a spectacle to many of the local Thais to watch. Imperial World Ice Skating is the only Olympic-size rink in Thailand complete with skating facilities like first aid, training room, changing room, and Pro Shop. This rink is located 15mins outside Bangkok, on the top floor of Imperial World Samrong.

3) Ten Pin Bowling – Many of the large shopping centres in Bangkok will have a bowling ally. The main ones to consider would be MBK, Central world and Siam Peragon. Having spent a lot of time in MBK, this is one thing I would miss out until my children get older and I could leave them there unsupervised. The place is FULL of teenage kids hanging out with their friends, playing hundreds of game machines and generally acting like …. Teenagers!

4) Water Parks – Always a hit with the kids, Bangkok has some large water parks to spend the day at. Leoland Water Park is a little out from Bangkok centre but worth a visit if near that area. It’s on the roof of the Central City Bangna shopping mall so you can combine a shopping day with a something to do with the kids. Fantasia Lagoon is on the roof top of yet another shopping mall. With huge water slides and whirlpools this water park is popular at weekends and bank holidays, but the daddy of the all must be Siam Park. This place is again on the roof top of a large shopping mall but this time it’s the the 400-metre Super Spiral water-slide and giant man-made sea pool with artificial surf that are the star of the show. Shopping won’t really be on the cards at this place which boast swimming pools, water-slides, whirlpools and a lake, as well as playgrounds, botanical gardens, an open zoo and an aviary. A note of warning though with all these attractions it does get very busy so try to go on a weekday as weekends and public holidays gets pretty busy.

5) Dusit Zoo – Dusit Zoo or “Khao Din” is regarded as the most popular zoo in Thailand. Built by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) as his private garden adjacent to the royal palace was converted to a zoo in 1938. Today the zoo is run by the state Zoological Park Organization who control many of the other zoos around Thailand. Its distance from the city makes it a nice trip out of the heat and traffic and if you go there midweek you will find it even more quiet.

There are other things for children to do in Bangkok so if you think i’ve missed a good one then plaese leave a comment about.

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.

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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.

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.

Deevana Patong Resort Spa

Posted on : 13-07-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand, Phuket

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deevana-front.jpg

Direct Contact Details

43/2 Raj-U-Thid 200 Pee Road.,
Patong Beach, Kathu, Phuket 83150 Thailand.
Telephone: (66) 76 341414, 341415, 341705
Direct E-mail: info@deevanapatong.com
Website: www.deevanapatong.com
Website 2: www.deevanaphuket.com

Hotel Sales Line

Surrounded by twelve secluded acres of lush tropical gardens on Patong Beach, Deevana Patong Resort and Spa offers tranquillity and a relaxing pace of life away from the bustling crowds yet still within easy walking distance of the vibrant night life and entertainment that Patong is renowned for. Experience the ultimate in relaxation and get a real taste of Thailand in this tropical oasis just 45 minutes from Phuket International Airport and a 10 minute walk to Patong beach.

My Review

The best point about this hotel is its location. That is not to say that everything else is poor, far from it, but finding a hotel in Patong that is close to the beach, close to the nightlife and close to the shops yet, far enough away that you could be in some secluded location is almost impossible. But not with the Deevana Resort and Spa hotel.

You are greeted by one of the best hotel reception areas I have seen, this opens up into the restaurant and then onto the swimming pools. The hotel is split into 2 wings, the Garden wing and the Spa Wing. The rooms in the Garden wing are a little basic but have all a veranda that opens onto a tropical lush garden. The Spa wing rooms are spacious and all have a pool view but the rooms on the ground floor go even better. As well as having pool access from your veranda you also get your very own outdoor jacuzzi.

For our family this has been the best hotel we have stay at while in Phuket. It doesn’t break our budget, it is large enough for the kids to run about in and the pool has a bar that serves drink and food, so days by the pool can really be one of luxury, especially if you splash out and get a room with a jacuzzi.

Diver Review

If planning on day dives from this hotel you may want to book a Garden Wing room as you will not be using the pool as much during the day and with no lift, getting your dive kit up one or two levels is a struggle. If only stopping before and after your liveaboard then splash out and get a Spa Wing.

Best Time To Dive In Thailand

Posted on : 13-06-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand, Krabi, Phuket, Scuba Diving

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With Thailand offered as an all year round holiday destination, I thought it would be best to point out that although you can pretty much dive all year round this is not possable or practical at the same location. The best time to dive in Thailand depends on where you want your topside holiday to be and what else you want to do, if anything, while there.

For example maybe you want to do a jungle trek in the northern hills of Chiang Mai then a dive trip in the south. The favourite time for many visitors to Chiang Mai is in winter between November and February when temperatures drop to a pleasant cool. The bright sunshine and clear blue skies along with the abundance of flowers, means that the city is at her prettiest for visitors.

Thailand dive seasons

With the southern monsoon building up however, many of the dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand are not suitable to dive around winter time. In contrast, the west coast peak dive season coincides with this winter break so if it was a trek/dive holiday you wanted then you would be best to choose Krabi, Phuket or any of the other west coast dive destinations for your holiday.

So although Thailand is an all year round holiday destination it really does depend on where you want to dive to find out the best time to dive in Thailand. Maybe that is a perfect excuse to visit the Land of Smiles many times, to dive and visit the variety of locations on offer at different times of the year. Although the best time to visit Chiang Mai maybe November to February it can be equally beautiful in the monsoon season with full rivers and lush jungles, if you get some nice weather for the day that is. But such trips are worth the gamble in my opinion, do you agree?

Songkran – Thailand New Year

Posted on : 13-03-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand, Krabi, Thailand Festivals

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The Thai New Year Songkran is better known as the water festival and if you’ve never been to Thailand during this period you truly are missing a wondrous site.

Songkran BikerSongkran falls in the hottest (+40°C or +100°F) time of the year in Thailand, at the end of the dry season and with the coming of the rains Thai people become generous with their water and start throwing it about a bit, a lot in fact. Everyone will be armed with the latest pump action water pistols and walk the streets just soaking everyone else. Pick up trucks will be jammed full of people surrounding a large water butt and as the truck drives past bowls of water are tossed from the container onto everyone. Home owners on popular routs will have their own water butts outside their homes or it some cases a garden hose and drench each other and passersby.

As fun as this all sounds it is also tradition to visit and pay respects to family and elders. Many Thai people celebrate Songkran by visiting the local Wat for prayers and to give alms to the monks. It is also a time of year to clean out the household shrine to ask for good fortune in the coming year. Many of he cities and local villages will parade the most important Buddha images through the streets giving everyone a chance to ritually bath the image for luck. On the whole Songkran to Thai people is no different to other cultures really. Songkran PickupThey make New Year resolutions to be better people, they cleanse their homes for a better future and promise the following year will be better. The only difference between their celebration and that in the UK is they have fun.

What started as gently pouring water over peoples hands has grown into one huge street water fight. If you are lucky enough to be in Thailand at this time of year then don’t take your camera out unless its protected. Don’t wear your best Prada or Gucci you bought in Pratunam market, just get yourself an UBER pump action water pistol and have some of the best fun since you grew up.