By: tanyamau on June 26, 2006 - 9:40pm
Southern Thailand (Phuket, Andaman Coast, Koh Samui, Koh Phang Nga, Koh Tao): pronounced "Gaw", 'Koh' means 'island'. * Skip Koh Samui – It’s like Bangkok with a beach. Very dirty and skanky. See if for a day, and then spend more time on the other islands. * Koh Tao : Go scubadiving at Buddha View Dive Resort (a PADI 5 star dive resort with really cool instructors and lots of fun, cool, laidback people, many Europeans, best buffet dinner, and fun bar with nearby free movies, nice restaurant out at the end of the walkway) - If you catch the speed boat back to Chumporn and then catch the overnight train back up towards Bangkok, that’s the best economical way to go. If you have to wait a bit, Chumporn has a cool little restaurant/internet café/guesthouse where you can rinse off in the bathroom, get some pizza, and check email before you get a ride back to the train station. There are also a lot of street stalls and 7-11s around the normal dinner hour. * Koh Phang Nga: Has the full moon parties (raves). * If you’re around Phuket/Surat Thani, head towards the jungle to KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK. My Seattle friends went and loved the jungle, wildlife, and flora/fauna. You can stay in treehouse-like bungalows or cheap camping style bungalows. A nice place (but I know they didn’t stay there) is Art’s Riverview Jungle Lodge (phone 0 7739 5009; rooms & bungalows 350 – 550 baht). Also check out Treetop River Huts (www.treetops-riverhuts.com) or Khao Sok Rainforest Resort (www.krabidir.com/khaosokrainforest). * I never went to the Andaman Coast as the tsunami had just hit, so you’re on your own for that, although I’ve heard that before the tsunami Koh Phi Phi and the other surrounding islands with their limestone cliffs were picturesque.
By: tanyamau on June 26, 2006 - 9:39pm
Central Thailand (Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Chonburi, Petchburi, Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, Cha-Am, Hua Hin): BANGKOK: • Visit the Chatuchak weekend market for your shopping needs (swap meet x 100!!) • Go to MBK shopping center (eat at the food court on top – good Thai food, see a movie – you must stand for the national anthem, check internet) • Ride the river taxi for 8 baht along the Chao Phraya river to get to and from the temples • Visit Wat Po (Reclining Buddha) and get a traditional Thai massage at the temple. • Ride the BTS skytrain everywhere! Skip the taxis and the tuktuks…they’ll try to rip you off unless you know where you are going! Always tell taxi drivers to run the meter so you don’t get ripped off! Or if you feel like bargaining, you can bargain with them! • Visit Nakhon Pathom (2 hours southeast of Bangkok). Not much here except for the Phra Pathom Chedi (largest chedi and where “Bridget Jones’ Diary 2
By: tanyamau on June 26, 2006 - 9:37pm
Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Isan food, Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge): Galare Guesthouse (with Lanna Travel Service): www.galare.com (nice local family, Hawaii ties) • 7:30 – 5 pm All day tour: Visit Doi Suthep, Phu Ping Palace, and handicraft villages (home industries) – 1500 baht per person • 7:30 – 5 pm All day tour: Visit Chiang Dao Elephant Training Camp, Chiang Dao Cave, 4 different hill tribes – 1600 baht per person • Arrange to attend a Khan Toke Dinner (with a northern Thai performance) – 7 – 10 pm – Thai version of a lu’au, unique to Northern Thailand – 260 baht per person • I’ve heard that the hot springs in Chiang Rai aren’t that nice. Skip the Golden Triangle tour. • Visit the long neck Karen hilltribe • Do an overnight or couple days trek to visit the hilltribes • SHOP, SHOP, SHOP as the main street closes down at night for shopping at the night bazaar! Scarves, lights, DVD’s, handicrafts, décor, etc. See muay thai! • Take a cooking course – Learn how to cook Thai food with Noi – 700 baht per person includes all day cooking homestyle way, at her house. Noi is a fun gal, and you can cook 6 dishes that you choose…penang curry, som tum, mango with sticky rice, tom yum goong, fried fish with chili and basil, pad thai…..yum!! you get to eat it all after! * Eat Khao Soy (A Burmese style chicken curry with wheat noodles and a little spice….a northern Thai must!)
By: tanyamau on June 26, 2006 - 9:36pm
Siem Reap (Angkor Wat): The best way to go to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh is to ride the boat up the Mekong. But, it’s long and hot, so if you would rather do it the quicker, but expensive way, take a plane. Driver in Siem Reap - John arranged it for us, as Seiha had driven him and visiting family members before....Seiha is a nice young man in his 20's. He wrote me an email last year, and I know he has a different job now, but perhaps he might have a friend that may be able to drive you around...A few years ago, we paid him $50 for two people for two days of driving to and from guesthouse and to the temples. Lodging: The Red Piano Guesthouse (where Angelina Jolie and crew stayed) Many guesthouses surrounding the area * Eat at funky cool restaurant down the street that has crocodiles under the floor, different funky levels, internet, funky signs outside the restaurant….really cool. • Visit the Crocodile Farm ($2) • Ride the Angkor Balloon (hot air balloon ride) – located 1 km on the west side of the Angkor Wat entrance, get a bird’s eye view of the temples • If you can wake up early enough, visit Angkor Wat at Sunrise • Climb up and visit the famous temple at sunset • Ride bicycles around the Angkor Wat temple area • Visit the Bayon (54 faces temple) • Visit Ta Prohm (roots and trees in the ruins…where “Tomb Raider
By: tanyamau on June 26, 2006 - 9:31pm
Yangon: • Walk through the local morning markets – coal, animal brains, etc. for sale. • Get your airline tickets at tour agency in town. I bought plane tickets from Yangon to Bagan to Heho (Inle Lake) to Yangon for a total of $209 USD (last week of April 2005). • Black market money exchange (get your money…you’ll have lots of bills since kyat (prounced “chaat
By: tanyamau on June 26, 2006 - 9:28pm
If you haven't figured them out by now, here are some helpful Thai sayings/phrases: (* Remember that there are polite endings you must attach at the end of each sentence. Males say “khrap
By: tanyamau on June 26, 2006 - 9:06pm
Remember you can use your baht and kip here. Visit a cute cafe called Joma (all taxi drivers know where it is, near the end of the main drag) and get a cup of joe. Above it is a textile shop called Mulberry's where my friend Janelle and Kristy work. Check out the White Elephant Trekking company and sign up for a 2 or 3 day trek. I did a 2 day trek ($55 US), where we hiked for a total of 20 km from Luang Prabang to Baan Houay Nok, stayed overnight in a Khamu village and visited Hmong villages, and then kayaked down the Naam Khan River (12 km) for 3 hours until the new bridge. Our local guides were wonderful, the decline down was crazy, and the native villagers were so kind and wonderful. Go to the Kuang Si Waterfalls. (15,000 kip plus 40,000 kip taxi ride) - Try to get there early..We got there at 11:30 am and left at 2 pm, just in time to miss the rush of tourists. It might take a couple hours, but keep climbing all the way to the top! It's worth it!! You can swim in the cool, clean water, where it's not crowded with others, and look down below at all the other falls. When we were there, monks came up to enjoy the fresh water as well! Wake up early at 6 am and get your camera ready to watch the monks give morning alms along the main street. It is a very interesting tradition. Eat breakfast and watch free movies in the evening at Le Stranger, a cool bookhouse with a cafe upstairs (decorated with saa paper lanterns and National Geographic magazines). Rent bicycles and ride around town. Get a massage at the Lao Red Cross. Climb up to Wat Phousi. Visit the Royal Museum. Visit all the temples in the area. The wat with the white arched entryways have beautiful mosaics on the temple walls. Most wats cost 1000 kip to visit. Visit the Pak Ou Caves...I didn't and some say it's not that great, but for a ride along the river and photgraphy, it might be something to check out. Go to Pao Vhao resort...This is a beautiful 5 star resort with a breathtaking pool. If you're not a guest there, it costs $10 to go to the pool. You can see Wat Phousi across the way, and swim in the nice pool set on the hillside. Eat at Dao Fa Restaurant for pasta and crepes. Eat the local Lao noodle soup. Shop at the night market for handicrafts (I have my saa paper lanterns and my swirlie pillow cases adorning my room right now!).