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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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.