Archive for the 'Thailand' Category

Bangkok could be your ideal holiday location

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

A shoppers delight? Tick.
Utter madness and culture shock value? Tick.
Hair-raising tuk tuk rides? Tick.
Mouth watering food for all tastes and budgets? Tick.
Sparkling Palaces and dancing disco balls? Tick.

No matter what your style, taste or budget, Bangkok ticks many boxes as the ideal holiday location.

Get lost in the vibrant and colorful city that is Bangkok. Emerging as the new Tokyo of South East Asia, Bangkok has more to offer than one could possibly imagine. However, while it is all too easy to get caught up in this rapidly developing and cosmopolitan city, you are also still able to find a more rustic side of Bangkok.

Like all cities in Asia, the day starts at the crack of dawn. Markets are abuzz before the sun has even made an appearance. If you can handle an early morning start, organise a trip to Bangkok’s infamous floating markets. You can either sit back and enjoy the people watching spectacle or get amongst it on one of the long boats to peruse what each stall has to offer. A fantastic way to start the day.

The Grand Palace is also a must see for all new visitors to Thailand. However, given the hoards of tourists that pass through these gates everyday, you can expect to be fooled more than just once.

OK, first things first. Before you even start your journey, if the tuk-tuk driver tells you the Grand Palace is closed for a Buddhist holiday and therefore you should let him be your tour guide for the day – either ask him to take you there anyway or find yourself another driver. The Grand Palace is open everyday except during Royal Ceremonies. Inside the Grand Palace you are also permitted to view the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) in all its golden glory. One of the largest Buddha images in the world, Wat Pho comes in at an impressive 46m long and 15m high.

If you are in Bangkok on a weekend, a visit to Chatuchak is mandatory for all shop-a-holics. With almost 9000 stalls to choose from, Chatuchak Weekend Market is the essence of a shoppers paradise. Escape the standard chaos of department stores, and head to Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market for a more cultural shopping experience. When I say you can buy anything here… I mean you can buy absolutely anything here. From handicrafts and underwear to ‘real’ Ralph Lauren Polo’s, jewellery and illegally imported animals. You will be in awe at the array of choices.

Finish your day off in Khao San Rd – the central hub of backpackers from all corners of the globe. Here you can find dingy hotels, seriously cheap eats, bargain beauty treatments and massages for all and of course an abundance of shops to peruse. Khao San Road comes alive at night with a sensory overload of smells, sounds and sights to feast on. Night markets fill the streets while nomadic backpackers wander up and down their new place to call home. Park yourself on the side of the street and watch this amazing world go by as you indulge in a Chang beer and more than a few helpings of pad thai from one of the colourful street vendors.

Ko Chang – Your Own Piece of White Sands Heaven

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Who needs nightlife when you can pass the days sunning yourself on Ko Chang’s White Sand Beach with a fruit cocktail in hand? Say no more. White Sand Beach certainly lives up to its name with 2.5kms of white squeaky sand, crystal clear waters and quaint little beach huts to complete the postcard picture. I can assure you that Thailand beaches don’t get much better than this.

Ko Chang is located in the Gulf of Thailand, east of Bangkok. Ko Chang is Thailand’s second-largest island and although its popularity is increasing with tourists, the majority of the island remains untouched. The west coast of the island is blessed with clearer waters and more impressive beaches so it is well worth the extra baht in taxi costs to get you to there from the ferry terminal.

Accommodation stretches along the shores of all beaches on the western side of the island, with rooms to match any budget. Restaurants, cafes, bars, street stalls, beach-side seafood grills are also in abundance wherever you go.

If massages and sun baking are not your style, then you can hire a canoe and explore the abundant caves and deserted islands around the periphery of the island. Be sure to take a head torch to avoid any unexpected encounters with the animal kind… And keep track of tides when you are visiting in the rainy season as exiting the caves might not be as easy as they were to enter!

The mountainous landscape of Ko Chang makes its infamous Klong Plu waterfalls all the more spectacular. The site has a well-marked path for hikers to view the falls. Klong Plu is easily accessible from the main beach area in Ko Chang and is well worth the visit. Elephant trekking and authentic Thai cooking courses are also a popular activity while visiting the island. As with most cooking schools in Thailand, your course will include a guided visit to the market to learn about the various local produce used in Thai cooking.

Getting to Ko Chang from Bangkok is simple. Buses depart regularly from Bangkok’s Ekami bus terminal to Trat. Although only a 4-hour journey, the buses are exceptionally comfortable with some even serving food and drinks on board! From here you are no more than an hour boat ride away from your own little piece of White Sand heaven. NB check out the early morning market at the bus terminal in Trat – if you’re game enough for the extreme spice of the curries, this is the place to test your taste buds out!

If Cambodia is your end destination, going overland from Bangkok, Ko Chang makes for a great pit stop en route. Relax your body and your mind with the sun and sand before heading into the rough and unruly terrain that is Cambodia. You can easily hitch a ride from Trat to the Cambodian Koh Kong boarder. From there, the ease of Thailand travel will end and you will be forced to challenge the adventurer within!