29.11.07

The Grand Firework Displays to Celebrate Thai King’s Birthday 2007

4-8 December 2007

Venue: The Royal Turf Club, Along both banks of the Chao Phraya River between Rama IX Bridge and Industrial Ring Bridge, The Royal Bangkok Sports Club, Mae Phim Beach, Benja Kitti Park

On the auspicious occasion of HM. King Bhumibol’s 80th Birthday Anniversary this year, the government of Thailand and private organizations will arrange the grand fireworks in several places starting from 4 to 8 December 2007.

Schedules:
4 Dec – 14 sets of fireworks from Seiko, JapanVenue: The Royal Turf Club, Phitsanulok Rd.

5 Dec – 9 sets of fireworks and candle lighting ceremonyVenue: Along both banks of the Chao Phraya River between Rama IX Bridge and Industrial Ring Bridge

6 Dec – Over 3,000 beautiful fireworks will be litVenue: The Royal Bangkok Sports Club, Henry Dunant Rd.

7 Dec – Fantasy FireworksVenue: Mae Phim Beach, Rayong Province (179 km east of Bangkok)

8 Dec – Fantasy FireworksVenue: Benja Kitti Park, Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre


For more information, please call
TAT main office on tel. +66 (0) 2250 5500 or TAT Call Centre 1672

28.11.07

Thailand's Sand Sculpture Festival

28 November 2007 – 28 March 2008

Venue: On a field next to Srisothon Rd., Muang County, Chachoengsao Province (82 km east of Bangkok)


On the auspicious occasion of HM. King Bhumibols’ 80th Birthday Anniversary this year, the World Sand Sculpture Festival is being held in Thailand from 28 November 2007 to 28 March 2008.

Originated in 1993 in Europe, the festival is well-known for displaying exquisite craftsmanship on the gigantic sand statues. In Chachoengsao Province 82 km to the east of Bangkok, more than 80 pieces of sand sculptures created by over 70 professional sand sculptors worldwide will be exhibited on 4.8 acres of land.

The sand sculpture festival is divided into 3 sections:
• Sand sculptures to extol the King
This zone is dedicated to works related to HM. the King and his multifarious duties.
• Thai history and literature on sand sculptures
An exhibition in the dark with light and sound effects features scenes from Thai literature and history.
• The international sand sculptures
Sand sculptures representing famous landmarks such as Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Statue of Liberty, etc.
Numbers of fun-filled activities such as sand sculpture for kids, games, picture taking, and on stage performances, are prepared to entertain visitors. The Sand Sculpture Festival is taking place about 800 metres from Wat Sothon Temple, on New Srisothon Rd. (next to Carrefour), Muang County, Chachoengsao Province.

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 10.00-19.00 hrs.
Sat-Sun 9.00-20.00 hrs.
Public holidays 8.00-22.00 hrs.
Admissions:
Adult 80 Baht/Child 40 Baht

For more details, please contact :
TAT Central Office Region 8
Tel. +66 (0) 3731 2282, 3731 2284, or TAT Call Centre 1672

24.11.07

The Death Railway in Thailand

The River Kwai Bridge Week
28 November – 9 December 2007


Venue: Kanchanaburi

The most notorious railway in the world must be the Death Railway in Kanchanaburi, a tourist province bordering Myanmar, 126 km to the west of Bangkok.

This railway was built by the Japanese Army in 1942 during World War II as a route of supply extending 413 km from Nog Pladuk of Thailand to Thanbyuzayat of Burma (former name of Myanmar).

To rush the work to an early completion in rugged mountains and deep jungles of Kanchanaburi, a total of 61,700 allied POWs and 270,000 Asian forced labourers were sent to work on the project. They had to work in hot and damp weather conditons 10 hours aday and 7 days a week with little to eat. Epidemics of malaria and cholera were rampant among them, and there was not enough medicine to go round.

Under such extremely harsh conditions, almost half of the workers had perished when the construction of the railway and the bridge over the River Kwai was finished 13 months later.

However, this railway was made use of by the Japanese for only a few months because they failed to turn back the overwhelming waves of counteroffensive launched by the allied powers.

To commemorate the tragic history of the railway and to promote the tourism of Kanchanaburi, the municipality of the provincial town, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the State Railway jointly hold the annual festival of The River Kwai Bridge Week from 28 Nov. to 9 Dec. 2007 in the area around the bridge.

The festival features a historical exhibition, fun fair, bazaar and enticing light & sound presentation. Tickets to the show are available at 100, 200, and 300 baht.

For more details and ticket reservations :
TAT Kanchanaburi
Tel : +66 (0) 3451 1200, 3451 2500

20.11.07

Thailand Beautiful Flower Festival 2007


28 December 2007 - 6 January 2008
Venue: Hat Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai Town, Chiang Rai Province (785 km north of Bangkok)

Chiang Rai, with its mountainous scenery, beautiful flowers and fresh air, especially in the cool season, is a recommended place for recreation. Since Chiang Rai Province is about to arrange Chiang Rai Beautiful Flower Festival 2007, you are invited to this impressive fair.
The 4th Chiang Rai Beautiful Flower Festival 2007 is scheduled to be held from 8 to 16 December 2007 at Hat Chiang Rai in Chiang Rai Town. The festival will be organized to develop Chiang Rai Province as a producing area of quality flowers and ornamental plants as well as to promote tourism of Chiang Rai Province.

During the festival there are many activities including: - The flower and ornamental plant contest- The orchid and orchid garden contest- Miss Thin Thai Ngam beauty contest- Parade of floral floats- Agricultural produce fair- OTOP trading

For more information, please contact:
Tourism Authority of Thailand Northern Office: Region 2
Tel: +66 (0) 5371 7433, 5374 4674 to 5

17.11.07

Tours of The Royally Initiated Projects, Nationwide Thailand

The joyous occasion of H.M. King Bhumibol’s 80th Birthday Anniversary this year is a great opportunity for us Thai people to show our deepest loyalty and enormous respect for His Majesty and his royal family. One way of doing so is to truly appreciate what they have done for our nation. In fact, by visiting the royal project places, you can both gain knowledge and be impressed by the beautiful scenery as well.

You all are welcome to visit the royally initiated projects to appreciate and learn from the royal wisdom that the Thai people are so proud of. Here are the nine chosen projects, which are well worth your visit:

1. Doi Tung Development Project, Chiang Rai
This project was found under the Royal Patronage of the late Princess Mother. Its main objective is to encourage hilltribes to grow fruit trees and other cash crops as substitutes for poppies and slash and burn cultivation.

The project not only achieved its goal, but also succeeded in teaching hilltribes to conserve the environment and create their local handicrafts. Due to its great success in developing the hilltribes area for a long period of time, Doi Tung has received an award from the United Nation for sustainable alternative development and another from the Pacific Asia Travel Association for eco-tourism.

2. Rai Mae Fah Luang & Hall of Opium, Chiang Rai
Rai Mae Fah Luang is a magnificent museum for the great collection of Lanna’s artifacts. The Hall of Opium was built to remind people of the history of poppy planting in Thailand, which once was notorious for the Golden Triangle, formerly the largest opium producer in the world.

3. Royal Agricultural Station, Angkhang, Chiang Mai
King Bhumibol bought a piece of land in Doi Angkhang and found the Royal Project to be a research station for cool-climate vegetables and fruits. He aimed to help the impoverished hilltribes, who unknowingly destroyed the ecosystem in the area, to earn their income without deforestation. Further than that, it later became a collection centre of rare and beautiful plants.

4. Elephant Conservation Centre, Lampang
The Centre was opened by HRH Princess Sirindhorn in 1992 to conserve Thai Elephants and to give interested people more understanding of this huge mammal. Besides, the only elephant hospital in the world is located here. And a short mahout-training course for tourists is in operation here, too.

5. Bang Sai Arts & Crafts Centre, Ayutthaya
It was established under the Royal Patronage of H.M. Queen Sirikit to relieve the poverty of Thai people by teaching them some useful artisan skills that can be developed into their sidelines. Students’ products are sold at the Centre and distributed to many shops elsewhere in the country.

Another interesting thing is a demonstration village that consists of four typical houses of the four regions of Thailand showing the local people’s ways of life. Apart from these, a fish palace and a bird sanctuary are established here to conserve animal species.

6. Wat Yannasangwararam, Chonburi
This modern Thai temple was built by foreigners to honour H.M. King Bhumibol. There are various beautiful construction styles such as the replica of Bodhagaya stupa (in the Lord Buddha’s birthplace), the traditional Chinese-style temple, and a Swiss chalet. The temple was named after H.M. the King’s mentor “Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara”, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand. It is famous worldwide as a meditation centre.

7. Mrigadayavan Palace, Phetburi
It was constructed by order of King Rama VI (1910-1925) as his summer palace. At present, after being restored to its former condition, it is open for public viewing. The palace is now splendid and enriched by the magnificent relics of its time.

8. College in the Court, Nakhon Pathom
This royally initiated project was established to promote the 10 basic disciplines of ancient Siamese native skills to people. The students’ handiworks display section and classes are open to visitors.

9. Ban Kut Na Kham Arts & Crafts Centre, Sakon Nakhon
The Centre was established to eliminate the poverty from the region by educating people to produce distinct handicrafts such as wickerwork, pottery, and hand-woven silk with the unique patterns.

H.M. King Bhumibol has recently been awarded Human Development Lifetime Achievement by the United Nations for his outstanding dedication and achievement in human development.

During his long reign, he has been working tirelessly to help his people get better standards of living. Throughout the country, thousands of royally initiated projects have been launched to improve the quality of life of the people of Thailand.

Not only the projects enable the people in the remote areas to stand on their own feet, but also give rise to new tourist attractions, which in turn help those people gain more income.

16.11.07

Blooming Mexican Sunflowers on Mount Mae U-kho, Northern Thailand

Early November-Mid December
Venue: Mount Mae U-kho, Khun Yuam county, Mae Hong Son Province (924 km north of Bangkok)



In November when the cool breeze begins to blow, the green Mount Mae U-kho will turn golden as the Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia Diversifolia) blossom. This wild flower, called buatong in the northern dialect, looks exactly like the sunflower but is much smaller.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand and Mae Hong Son Province would like to invite you to see the blooming Mexican sunflowers spread over the fields and valleys on Mount U-kho from the early November to mid December this year. Travellers are allowed to put up a tent near a buatong field to get as close as possible to the flowers in their cool natural surroundings. Other kinds of accommodation can also be found nearby.

Apart from the magnificent scenery of blooming flowers, from now to 30 November this year the province has prepared hot-air balloons for tourists to enjoy the view from the sky. A balloon trip takes about 15 minutes at a cost of 100 baht per person and a free cup of coffee will be served on board.

To get there from Chiang Mai, use Highway 108 passing Chomthong and Hot Counties of Chiang Mai. Then you will pass Mae Sariang County of Mae Hong Son and arrive in KhunYuam County. Now drive along Highway 1236 for 26 km to reach Mount Mae U-kho.

For more information, please contact :
Mae Hong Son Tourism Coordination Centre
Tel. +66 (0) 5361 2982 to 3

See also :

Mount Mae U-kho's Topography

The Nature Living in Pai

Travel in Chiangmai

Loi Krathong Festival

Things to do in Bangkok

11.11.07

Phuket, Thailand : Nightlife Advice & Tips

Bar Fines
Ladies working in beer bars and go-go bars can be taken out of the bar for the evening. If they agree to go with you and you wish to take her out before the bar closes, you have to pay a fee (around 300-500 Baht) known as a “bar fine”. This is to compensate the bar for the time that she is out of the bar, where she would normally be entertaining and attracting more customers. She will normally also receive a share of the bar fine.

The bar fine only entitles you to take her out of the bar. Anything else has to be negotiated between you and the lady in question. However, the bar fine system does offer the customer some protection. In the unlikely event that there is a problem you can go back to the bar the next day and the bar will be able to assist you in resolving any problems. At the very least they will be able to ID her.

Lady Drinks
You'll come across this in beer bars and à go-gos. When you buy a girl in these bars a drink, they receive a commission. Its entirely up to you if you buy them or not and you should not feel pressured to do so. However, if you like the girl buying a few lady drinks will make her look good to her employer while she is entertaining you.

Freelancers
If you prefer to meet girls outside of beer bars and go-gos, head over to the discos in Patong later in the evening (after midnight). Many of the bar girls will be freelancing there after their bar closes. Payment is sometimes discussed beforehand and other times not, however, if the girl normally works in a bar it will be expected for you to pay her for her services. (Having said this, please don't assume that every girl you meet in a disco is on the game, although in Patong is this often the case).

warning: Although enjoyable company can often be found in this manner, it is much riskier than taking a girl from a bar or go-go. You could end up being robbed and you would have no come-back if something goes wrong. If you don't know your way around its better to only take girls out of bars they are working in. This is especially important in the case of ladyboys who are often found freelancing on Bangla itself in the early hours of the morning.

Ladyboys
Phuket has quite a few ladyboys or katoeys, as they are known in Thai. Just a heads up to avoid confusion on your nights out. Love them or loathe them they can be found in Soi Crocodile just off Bangla Road. Many can be stunningly beautiful and can easily mistaken for real women. Some things to look out from a deeper voice (which can be disguised) is their height, ladyboys being males (at least genetically) are often taller than regular girls, and have larger hands and feet.

Health
Thailand has an epidemic of HIV infection and AIDS. Heterosexual transmission accounts for most HIV infections in Thailand, though HIV is common among prostitutes of both sexes. Always wear a condom.

Safety
Phuket is generally safe and there is very little chance of trouble finding you if you don't go looking for it. In general, if you keep your wits about you and act respectfully towards other people you will have no problems. Don't be aggressive towards people and they won't be aggressive back. You definitely don't want to get in a fight here, especially with locals. You will always lose.

You should be wary of thieves and pickpockets, however. Also, your date may have sticky fingers so keep an eye of your valuables and be sensible. This is one of the reasons why its better to barfine a girl from a bar than to pick up “freelancers”. If something happens you will be able to take your complaint up with the bar.

See also :
Things to do in Pattaya
Pattaya Nightlife
Destination Guides to Phuket
Thai Massage

Shopping in Thailand

Shopping in Thailand offers you the most value of money for its cheap price, but relatively of high quality. There is a large array of products to choose from, but the most popular ones are Thai exquisite handicrafts which can be found in various places in tourists areas throughout the country.

Silk: Thai silk is world famed for its high quality and beautiful design. However, there are several grades of silk which vary in prices, too. Cheap silk is often just rayon or rough silk interwoven with synthetics. Silk of high-quality with hand-woven texture is sold about 500-800 per a yard. Thai silk is characterized by its uneven texture and a formation of little sweatlike bead when burnt. The two main production centers of Thai silk are at Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

Antiques: Among the sought-after items are: swankhalok pottery from the Sukhothai period, carvings and sculptures, ornamental wood fragments, puppets, masks, and silver bowl. All antiques can only be exported with written permission from the Antique Art Business Division (Tel.02-224-1370) of the Fine Arts Department. All Buddha images and other images of other deities dating from before 18th century are protected by Thai not to be exported.

Wood carving: An ancient Thai art handed down from the Sukhothai period. Most of wood carving production centers scatter around in the northern region of Thailand such as Lampang, Prae, Nan, and Chiang Mai. There are a wide variety of wood-carved works ranging from furniture, household utensils, decorative objects and many souvenir items.

Silverware: Silverware-making is an ancient art of Thailand dating several centuries. Thai silverware, particularly ornaments, is in great demand in the world market for its exquisite craftsmanship. The two main productions centers of silverware are Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Gems and jewelry: Thai's gems and jewelry is famous for its high-grade gemstones, notably rubies and sapphires together with its skillful craftsmen and expert designers.

8.11.07

Scenery of Vivid Wild Sunflower Mountain, Doi Mae U Kor, Thailand


Thung Buatong (Wild Sunflower Field) is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Mae Hong Son Province. Its significant character is the area is largely decorated of yellowish wild sunflowers, located on high mountain where you can see scenery of vivid wild sunflower mountain range. The weather is cool throughout the year and there’s fog covered in the morning.

Topography
Thung Buatong Forest Park located on the mountain where is 1,600 metres above the average sea level. There’s beautiful scenery that is like complex ocean waves. In this forest park area, natural forest is grown mixed with planted pine forest.
Climate
Cool throughout the year. It is very cold in the winter. There are heavy fogs in the morning and cold during the day because of the wind blows all day long.
Flora and FaunaIt’s Hill Evergreen Forest and Pine Evergreen Forest. Most of Hill Evergreen Forest has been found in the north and west of Thung Buatong. Flora species grown around the hill slope and valley consist of Castanopsis species and so on.
In the eastern and southern part of Thung Buatong, Pine Evergreen Forest has been found. It’s planted by the Forest Industry Organisation based on its concession condition. Flora species found are Pinus merkusii and Pinus kesiya.

National Park Entry Fees
Adult : Baht 200.-/person
Children (0 - 14 years old) : Baht 100.-/person
Bicycle : Baht 10.-/bicycle:
Motorcycle : Baht 20.-/motorcycle
4 wheel car : Baht 30.-/car
6 wheel car : Baht 100.-/car
Contact Address:
Thung Buatong Forest Park
Amphur Khun Yuam, Mae Hong Son
Thailand
+66 0 5361 2078
See Also:

5.11.07

The Loi Krathong Festival, Thailand Nationwide

The Loi Krathong Festival is the most romantic festival in Thailand, especially in modern times. Almost without exception, young lovers will go out in pairs to spend the evening together, floating krathong (vessels with flowers, lit candles and joss sticks) and saying silent prayers. The festival is celebrated nationwide in Thailand with different unique characteristics of festivities. Enjoy the festivities at any site convenient to you!


Bangkok : The Royal Rattanakosin Loi Krathong Festival
21-24 November 2007
Venue: Rama VIII Bridge and citywide along the Chao Phraya River

Experience the simulated “Chong Priang Lod Chud Loi Khom” ceremony, the royal ritual to make the offering of light to the three deities of Brahmanism; namely, Brahma, Siva, and Vishnu (Narayana) or collectively called “Devamurti”. Take part in many other activities such as traditional games and launching krathong, various contests and competitions like krathong competition and Rattanakosin style attire contest.

For more information, please contact:
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 # 3489
Fax: +66 (0) 2250 5511
For event information, please call 1672

Ayutthaya : Loi Krathong Tam Prathip Festival
23-25 November 2007
Venue: Bangsai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre

Highlights: Nang Noppamat pageant, Nang Nopphamat processions, Thai food fair, vocational product sales, floating market, firework and floating lanterns and long boat races.

For more information, please contact:
Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Office: Region 6
Tel: +66 (0) 3524 6076-7
Bangsai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre
Tel: +66 (0) 3536 6252-3

Sukhothai : Loi Krathong and Candle Festival
21-25 November 2007
Venue: Sukhothai Historical Park

In this festival, you will watch the Nang Nopphamat procession, exhibitions, lighting of lanterns at the historical site, a krathong launching and firework displays over all waterways and a krathong competition. Enjoy highlight festivities of candle lighting and the light and sound presentation with cultural dances and other interesting activities.
For information, please contact:
Tourism Authority of Thailand Northern Office: Region 3
Tel: +66 (0) 5525 2742-3

Chiang Mai : Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival
22-25 November 2007
Venue: Chiang Mai Municipality Office and citywide

Come and experience another form of Loi Krathong festival, in Lanna Thai style. This festival creates a mesmerising sight, with a unique ritual of launching Lanna-style hot air balloons, which is believed by locals to rid them of their troubles. Enjoy different festivities, including the Tho Phae contest, boat race in the Ping River, small and giant krathong contests, and beauty contests.

The impressive ancient Lanna tradition will be celebrated throughout the city. Visitors are invited to join special activities such as Loi Sa Pao, a merit making dedicated to the dead; Phang Prathip, lighting small lanterns in an equal number of your age to live long and prosperous life; Lantern floating to release all sickness and bad fortune; and Tan Khom, lighting an octagonal lantern before bringing it to a temple where the monks will give a sermon all day and night.

This year, locals and tourists can bring their lanterns and hang them on the trees prepared by Chiang Mai Municipality to bless His Majesty the King on the auspicious occasion of his 80th Birthday Anniversary.

For more information, please contact:
Tourism Authority of Thailand Northern Office: Region 1
Tel: +66 (0) 5324 8604, +66 (0) 5324 8607
PR Division Chiang Mai Municipality
Tel: +66 (0) 5325 9094, +66 (0) 5325 9097

See also :

4.11.07

Natural Attractions in Northern Thailand

Chiang Rai was the first Lanna Thai capital and contains the historic sites of this northernmost area of Thailand. The area is bordered by Burma and Laos with the three countries meeting at the Golden Triangle on the Mekong river.

The whole area is hills and valleys with many hill tribe communities - so nature tours and treks are the basis of the area's activities. Treks usually include mixtures of walking, elephant riding, rafting and visits to hill tribe villages.
In Chiang Rai, a whole range of treks have been developed for periods from a half day to about a week. Quite a few treks from Chiang Mai travel to Chiang Rai, including treks by mountain bike and raft, and after such a trek to Chiang Rai there is lots of scope to continue trekking around Chiang Rai.

The most developed tourism is in the north - in Chiang Rai - and a newer wilder area is opening up to the south - in Nan. In hills on the border with Laos, Nan offers nature treks and tours of up to 3 or 4 days including white water rafting, elephant riding and one of the rarest hill tribe communities of all; the paths are less worn and nature a bit more natural.
The best accommodation is in Chiang Rai but Good 'n' Clean and Tourist accommodation is available in provincial centres. On the treks accommodation is generally quite simple, including home stays in hill tribe villages. There are flights into both Chiang Rai and Nan and a good road network.

Doi Luang National Park
It covers about 1,172 sq km of Chiang Rai, Lampang and Phayao. Mostly mixed deciduous forest, the park has 89 confirmed bird species and 12 mammal species, including wild pig, slow loris and barking deer.
Wang Kaew waterfall is regarded as the park's most beautiful - and the nearby Wang Thong waterfall and Nang Phaya Pang Ding Cave are well worth a visit.
In the Chiang Rai part of the park, about 9kms from the 773 km marker on the Bangkok-Chiang Rai road, is Namtok Pu Kaeng, the largest waterfall in Chiang Rai with a good flow cascading all year - there are also some caves nearby. In Phayao's area, Namtok Champa Thong is a beautiful waterfall surrounded by rich forests.
Doi Phu Kha National Park
It's situated in the north-east of Nan's provincial capital on Doi Phu Kha, a mountain of 1980m. The park, close to the border with Laos, offers magnificent mountain scenery with forests and numerous waterfalls and caves.
The variety of forest types attracts botanists who have discovered rare and unique botanical species, including a plant with multi-coloured petals of which only six of the species are believed to bloom each year.

There is an equally rare hill tribe. The elusive Mrabi - or Phi Thong Luang - are nomadic hunters in the forests who have had very little contact with the outside world until the last few decades.It is a very rewarding experience, as its very remoteness has preserved its bucolic charms. There are barely 150 Mrabi in total but they, and other communities can be visited on treks in Nan. The nearby Namtok Sila Phet is a beautiful waterfall. There are no bungalows in the park, but tents can be rented.
The Tham Pha Tup Forest Park (12 km north of Nan city)
The park is well worth visiting not only for the natural forest but the network of 17 limestone caves, half of which can be reached on nature trails.

About 25 km south of Nan on the road between Wiang Sa and Na Noi are the caves of Tham Pha Mong and Tham Pha Wiang with fascinating stalactites and stalagmites.

A short distance further south are Sao Din and Hom Chom, areas of earth pillars produced in erosion of the softer layer of rock beneath the sandstone which forms and protects the top of the pillars.

Some 40km west of Nan, on the road to Phayao, Doi Pha Chi is a mountain with its forest still in perfect natural condition - once a base for insurgents who tended to keep the loggers away.

1.11.07

Living Around The Nature in Pai, Northern Thailand

Introduction
Pai district is situated about halfway between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Sorn, the misty town on the Burmese border. At about 600 meters above sea level, surrounded by high mountains. Pai offers one of the most fertile and beautiful nature in the North of Thailand, clean air and no pollution. People from many different tribes live here peacefully together and still maintain their traditional way of living.

The serene Pai river runs from the northern border with Burma through Pai town and along virgin jungle to Mae Hong Sorn. Hardy adventurers use this route for exciting rafting.

How to get there?
Start from the main tourist hub: From Chiang Mai on route 1095 towards Pai it is 132 kilometer. The bus from Chiang Mai Arcade bus station takes about 4 hours.

Weather in Pai
cold season: 12º C - 28º C from November - March
hot season: 24º C - 35º C from April - June
rainy season: 24º C - 32º C from July - September

Activities in Pai

  • padelling rubber boat along Pai river

  • adventure rafting and canoe along Pai river

  • explore caves or go mountain trekking

  • elephant riding through jungle

  • mountain bike cycling or motorbike-trekking (Nop's bike shop offers 2 - 3 - 4 days motorbike trekking with 250 ccm trail bikes around northern part of Mae Hong Sorn province. Guide available or on your own. Also available Honda Dream, good maps and other information.)

  • jungle-treks: Pai is well known as a base camp for trekks to hill tribes.

  • Walk through green jungle and spend the night in a hill tribe village to experience their traditional way of life. In Pai there are local or hill tribe guides and porters available.

  • Herbal Sauna and Thai Traditional Massage as well as herbal medicine or Burmese Massage

  • Reading (Nop's book shop)

  • Thai cooking course at Peter's and Wandee's Hut in Mae Yen
Facilities in Pai
Pai is a small town but can offer enough facilities such as a post office, hospital, long distance call and fax service. Accommodations and food are good and cheap. Most of the guest houses are in town and the scenic most beautiful ones are along the river. Local restaurants and western style restaurants are available (e. g. Chez Swan Restaurant, Thai Yai Restaurant) with home made brown bread.

29.10.07

Things To Do in Pattaya, Thailand

Pattaya is a popular tourist resort in Thailand located about 150 km south of the capital Bangkok. Although Pattaya has become notorious as an adult playground for men, there are a few interesting attractions that can be enjoyed by couples and families.

Pattaya Elephant Village
Pattaya Elephant village is home to a few dozen elephants that are trained to do all sorts of tricks including playing football. There are daily shows held for the tourists at the village every day at 2.30pm. There is also the opportunity to do a spot of jungle trekking on elephant back which costs 500 Baht for 30 minutes for adults, 200 Baht for children.

Pattaya Mini Siam
Mini Siam is an interesting place to come to if you want to know about all the major sites and landmarks in Thailand without actually having to go to them. Mini Siam has scale replica models of all the most important features in Thailand, both natural and man made. Mini Siam is open to receive visitors from 7am until 8pm daily. Entrance costs 200 Baht for adults and 100 for kids. Mini Siam is best reached by car as it is a short drive north of Pattaya city.

Pattaya Go Kart
Pattay has a good Go karting track which is about 400 metres long and available for use by adults and kids alike. The cost for hiring a go kart to go round the track is 100 Baht for ten minutes.

Nong Nooch Garden
Nong Nooch is a giant botanical garden situated about 18km outside Pattaya city. Aside from the vast array of plant life there are also some elephants that are resident here and daily shows are put on for the benefit of tourists. The show is a real crowd drawer as in addition to the elephants there are dancers, acrobats and even Thai boxing demonstrations.

Wat Khao Prayai in Pattaya
This is a Buddhist temple located high on the hills to the south of Pattaya. In addition to the great views of Pattaya and the sea that can be had from here, there is also a 10 metre statue of Buddha facing the sea that makes for a good photo opportunity.

see also :
Pattaya Night Life
Buffalo Racing in Chonburi
Loi Kratong : The Festival of Light
Koh Samui
Koh Chang

28.10.07

40 Things To Do in Chiangmai, the North of Thailand

  1. Universal energy healing at Wat Jedi Luang (half day)
  2. Have a 2 hour traditional Thai massage, with or without oil
  3. Take a 2 hour traditional herbal sauna
  4. Learn the secrets of Thai massage. Course can be arranged locally at the Old Medicine Hospital. Courses are conducted in English and last for ten days (5 hours a day). At the end of the course there is an examination and those who pass receive a certificate.
  5. Take a dinner cruise on the Ping River, passing by temples. In addition there is an on-board cultural show (3 hours).
  6. Take a trek in the nearby jungles with an English speaking guide. Treks last one to three days and include meals and accommodation (either in a tent or a local village depending on the tour).
  7. Go to see an elephant show at Chiang Dao. As well as seeing elephants at work, you can take a hours elephant ride and visit orchid and butterfly farms (half day).
  8. Experience a jungle adventure with elephant and ox cart rides and bamboo rafting down the river at Mae Tamarn (full day)..
  9. Learn the art of Thai cuisine. Take cooking classes or fruit and vegetable carving classes at the hotel. Courses can be a half day or full day, including a market visit and lunch).
  10. Visit the hilltribe museum, stopping off at handicraft centres set up by local NGO's to enable the hilltribe people to benefit from selling their crafts at a fair price (half day).
  11. Take a mountain bike ride around the city or go "off road" on one of the many jungle tracks.
  12. Hire a motor bike and drive the popular Samoeng loop to see some of the countryside around Chiang Mai.
  13. Vist the McKean Rehabilitation Centre which is nearly 100 years old (half day).
  14. Take a trip to Chiang mai zoo.
  15. Bath in the hot spring at Sankampaeng (full day).
  16. Decorate your bag wiht hand painting in the hotel lobby.
  17. Plant a tree in the hotel garden to celebrate your stay in Chiang Mai. Each tree has a name sign so that you can find it again when you return to visit.
  18. Learn the art of meditation at Wat Run Pueng or Wat Umong (half day).
  19. Get married with a traditional Thai weddings ceremony. The ceremony takes a full day and bookings need to be made 10 days in advance).
  20. The ultimate honeymoon package in Chiang Mai
    - A welcome from the airport in our "just married tuk tuk"
    - A suite at the Amari Rincome hotel for 3 nights including breakfast
    - Sunset cocktails at Doi Suthep
    - Monk merit making
    - Tree planting in the hotel garden
  21. Visit Mae Hong Song. The trip takes a day and includes round trip airtickets, lunch, a city tour and a visit to see the long neck Karen hilltribe by long tailed boat. This is particularly beautiful in November during the BuaTong flower season.
  22. A full day trip to Chiang Rai taking in the sights of the Golden Traingle and Mae Sai. The tour includes a longtailed boat ride on the Mae Khong River and lunch.
  23. Drive three hours to Doi Angkhang and visit hilltribes, follow a mountain trek, go mountain biking or mule riding! The area is also famous for bird watching. Overnight accommodation to be arranged in the Angkhang Nature Resort (2 days).
  24. A visit to the traditional silver smiths in Wualai (half day).
  25. Visit the "wet markets" of Chiang Mai - Ton Lam Yai market and Warorot to experience the liefestyle of the local people (half day).
  26. Take a day trip to the Lampang Elephant Camp and Hostipal. The tour also includes stops at ceramic factories and a city temple and includes lunch (full days).
  27. Visit Chiang Mai's famous celedon factory for an excellent choice of the blue and green ceramics at reasonable prices (half day).
  28. Learn about traditional silk weaving at the Naen-Na Studio.
  29. See how local sausages are made at the Naem Pa-Yon factory.
  30. Get an insight into the Buddhist religion and attend a funeral or another religious ceremony (half day).
  31. Have an early start and offer alms to monks "Sai Baht" at the "Ta Pae Gate" or at Wat Sri Soda, where there are 500 monks.
  32. Share a little happiness by visiting the HIV positive children in the Wiangping Children's home (half day).
  33. Go back to school! Visit some of the local universities, including:
    - Chiang Mai General University
    -Payap (the Baptist University)
    - Mae Jo (the agricultural University)
    - Rajabhat Institute
    The trip includes lunch (full day).
  34. Make a visit to the schools which teach the blind and deaf.
  35. Take a trip to Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Chiang Mai. The tour will also include a stop at a Royal Project, a waterfall and a wood carving village.
  36. Go golfing at the following clubs:
    - Chaing Mai - Lamphun Golf Course
    - Royal Chaing Mai Golf Club
    - Green Valley Golf Club
    - Lanna Golf Club
    - Gymnkhana Golf Course which is 100 years old (9 holes)
  37. Listen to a talk by John Shaw, the Ex Honary Consul for the UK, about how Chiang Mai was 30 years ago.
  38. Learn about rice farming, with a lesson on how rice is grown (half day).
  39. Make a vist to a unique holiday retreat at Mae Ngat Dam. You can have a picnic on the floating bamboo huts and enjoy bird watching or fishing (full day).
  40. Go on a days eco adventure. A day trek through the jungle including absailing and a "bamboo cooking" lunch. You'll really get a chance to "get back to nature".

25.10.07

Loi Krathong: The Festival of Light 2007, Thailand

24 November 2007

Venue: Nationwide Happened to be in Thailand in November, you will experience the most spectacular Loi Krathong Festival. The festival is a tradition has been observed for no less than 700 years since the Sukhothai period (1238-1438), in the reign of King Phra Ruang (1347-circa 1374). It is traditionally performed on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, which falls on 24 November this year.

The word loi means to float and krathong means a receptacle traditionally made of banana leave for holding small items of food, flowers, and other offerings in a religious ceremony. So, loi krathong simply means to float such vessels (with flowers, lit candles and joss sticks) on water. This is done either as thanksgiving and worship to the Goddess of Water or as a kind of homage paying to the legendary footprint the Buddha left on the bank of the River Narmada in India.
The Loi Krathong Festival is the most romantic festival in Thailand, especially in modern times. Almost without exception, young lovers will go out in pairs to spend the evening together, floating krathong and saying silent prayers. The festival is celebrated nationwide in Thailand with different unique characteristics of festivities. Enjoy the festivities at any site convenient to you!

Major venues are Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Tak, Chachoengsao, and Samut Prakan.

**Important**
Event dates and programme details are subject to change. To ensure you have the most updated information, please reconfirm details prior to travel

23.10.07

Thailand Coming Event : Surin Elephant Round-Up

17-18 November 2007

Venue: The Elephant Stadium, Kotchasan Road, Surin Province
The world-renowned Surin Elephant Round-up, was first held in 1960 in Surin Province of the Northeast, a province with the largest number of elephants in Thailand and is known as the home of elephants, with the objective to promote provincial tourism. The event was an instant success. Since then it has drawn large audiences of Thais and foreign visitors every year. The popular spectacle features elephant round-up, showing how to capture wild elephants and tame them for work.

See with your own eyes how the mahouts control such a large creature which can weigh up to three tons. Other exciting and amusing items include elephant races, a tug-of-war between one elephant and a group of strong men, and an elephant football match in which a really big soccer is played by giant-sized players. The highlight of the programme that visitors should not miss is the colourful parade of battle elephants reminiscent of the battlefield in ancient times.

The Surin Elephant Round-up is usually scheduled for the second or third weekend of November, which falls on 17-18 November this year when the weather is dry and cool. If you don’t have time or are not convenient to go to witness the greatness of this world famous event, you can still have a great time watching elephant shows at your convenience at many places. Some of them are named here: Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo on the outskirts of Bangkok, Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm & Zoo in Samut Prakan Province, Sriracha Tiger Zoo and Nong Nooch Tropical Garden & Resort in Chon Buri and Phuket Zoo in Phuket.

At these places, you will be impressed by the loveliness of the jumbos and amazed by their intelligence demonstrated by their various performances, ranging from dancing to playing football. If you happen to be in Thailand during 17-18 November and are planning for a recreational activity, the festival is recommended.
This year an “Elephant Round-Up Tour by Train” is organized on 16 – 18 November at 3,970 Baht per person. Apart from the fascinating shows, the package includes silk weaving village and Phanom Rung Historical Park tours.
The train schedule is as follows:
Fri 16 - Depart from BKK’s Hua Lamphong station at 20.30 hrs
Sat 17 - Arrive in Surin Province at 04.30 hrs
- Leave Buriram Province at 21.40 hrs
Sun 18
- Return to BKK at 05.50 hrs

For more information, please contact :
Surin Provincial Office
Tel: +66 (0) 4451 2039
Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA)
Tel: +66 (0) 2237 6046 to 8

22.10.07

Thailand's Coming Event : Nagas’ Fireballs Festival 2007

22-28 October 2007
Venue: Along the Mekong River in Phonphisai, Nong Khai Province (615 km northeast of Bangkok)

Nagas’ Fireballs 2007: The End of the Buddhist Lent Festival

The fireballs emerging from the Mekong River and shooting up into the sky about 50-100 metres high before vanishing into thin air, is an unexplainable phenomenon that happens annually on the evening of the full moon of the 11th lunar month. This year it falls on 26 October.

The reddish-pink elliptical fireballs are believed to belong to the Nagas who live beneath the waters of the Mekong River. During the period of the end of the Buddhist lent each year a flock of tourists travel to Nong Khai Province to witness this eerie phenomenon.

Activities to be held in the period are as follows:

- Thevorohana merit making- A ritual of worshipping the Nagas

- A procession in celebration of the end of the Buddhist lent

- Thai-Laos royal trophy long-boat races

- Light and sound show “The legend of the Nagas”

- Food fair


For more information, please contact:
Nong Khai Municipality
+66 (0) 4242 1017
The Tourism Authority of Thailand
Northeastern Office Region 5
+66 (0) 4232 5406-7

21.10.07

The Grand Rehearsals of the Royal Kathin Procession 2007


26 and 29 October 2007
Venue: Along the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

The Grand Rehearsals of the Royal Kathin Procession to present the monastic robes to the monks are scheduled to be held on 26 and 29 October 2007. The magnificent fleet of 52 barges with altogether 2,082 oarsmen is set to sail down the Chao Phraya River, starting from Wasukri Royal Landing Place at 15.30 hrs, passing the Royal Navy Convention Hall around 16.00 hrs, and ending at the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) at 17.00 hrs.

This is a rare opportunity for Bangkokians and visitors from the provinces and foreign countries to view the most splendid waterborne pageantry similar to the Extravagant Royal Barge Procession performed on 12 June 2006.

People can view the Barge Procession en route along both sides of the River. On this occasion, the Royal Navy Convention Hall also provides seating areas to view this spectacular event. Tickets are available as follows:

- 30,000 Baht per table (10 seats) with set menu Location: the 3rd floor, Chumphonkhetudomsak Building
- 3,000 Baht per seat with set menu Location: the 2nd floor, Chumphonkhetudomsak Building
- 1,200 Baht per seat with snack box Location: on a grandstand in front of Chumphonkhetudomsak Building
** Please note that on the Royal Ceremony of the Kathin Procession these areas are not open to public **

For more details and reservations, please contact
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel. +66 (0) 2652 8319 to 20
+66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 2115 to 9

19.10.07

Beeswax Castle Festival : Sakon Nakhon, Thailand


22 - 26 October 2007
Venue: Suan Phrasi Nakharin and Sanam Ming Muang,
Sakon Nakhon province

This impressive festival is held in Sakon Nakhon, a northeastern province of Thailand, in celebration of the end of the annual Buddhist Lent (known in Thai as Ok Phansa). It is held on the full moon day of the 11th lunar month, which falls on 26 October this year. But the festival will last from 22 to 26 October.

According to the legend, when Khmers governed Nonghan town (Sakon Nakhon at present), King Suwanphingkharat ordered his royal servants to make beeswax castles on the occasion of Ok Phansa Day to be carried in the procession and then dedicated to Choeng Chum Temple (now Phra That Choeng Chum Woramahawihan Temple). Since that time, the Beeswax Castle Festival has been held as a traditional event annually.

A beeswax castle is made of the trunk of a banana plant, which is cut into the shape of a castle and decorated with beeswax flowers. Apart from beeswax castles, the procession also includes ensembles of musicians playing gamelans, gongs, and drums, as well as groups of men and women each carrying a tray with saffron robes and useful articles for monks on it. After walking in procession round the temple 3 times, they present the wax castles to the chedi containing the Buddha’s relics.

Nowadays, the wax castles are more beautifully decorated with a greater variety of patterns than the past. The processions are also more colourful and include cars instead of carts, which were used in former times.

Apart from the exquisite procession (25 Oct) and long-boat races (22 Oct), the festival features a bunch of interesting activities such as light & sound show in honour of HM the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary, Sakon Nakhon’s delicious food fair, Phalaeng dinner, beeswax castle making demonstration, and much more.


For more information, please contact
Tourism Authority of Thailand Northeastern Office Region: 4
Tel: +66 (0) 4251 3490 to 2

18.10.07

Destination Guide : Phuket, Thailand #3

20 kilometres south east of Phuket, Phi Phi Islands are the most visited and most famous, no less so than after the filming of The Beach on Phi Phi Ley, the smaller island of the two, starring Leonardo Di Caprio. The scenery is literally spectacular, and this is forseeably the most popular of all the full day excursions. Renting your own boat is a desirable option if you want to explore beyond the set tour itineraries, and beat the crowds. This option also allows you to visit many of the smaller and idyllic islands offshore, and a friendly boatman who knows the best spots and the hidden beaches can make for a truly memorable experience.


For divers, many islands offer prime sites, such as Dok Mai, Racha, and Shark Point. The preferred choice however is the remote but renowned Similans, a chain of 8 islands 90 kilometres NW of Phuket, which according to those in the know, has some of the best dives in the world. Deep Sea Fishing can be arranged privately or jointly with fully equipped boats in pursuit of tuna, marlin, shark, sailfish and other big ones. Yacht Charters can be arranged by the day, or for longer, with or without crew.

Patong Beach is the undisputed nucleus of the island's entertainment, with a bewildering choice of clubs bars restaurants and trysts from the sophisticated to the sensational. The Simon Transvestite Cabaret rarely fails to impress with its excellent all male but exquisitely feminine productions, and at Kamala beach, the huge and extravagant Phuket Fantasea theme park blends high technology and special effects with stunning cultural presentations featuring hundreds of talented performers and scores of trained animals.

17.10.07

Destination Guide : Phuket, Thailand #2

At one point on the drive between the airport and Phuket town, the Heroine's Monument dominates the road. The two female figures, swords drawn, commemorate the successful defence of the island in 1785 against the invading Burmese led by these two brave ladies, Chan and Mook.

Phuket town can be enjoyed comfortably on foot, and one pleasant spot to begin your meandering (early morning is best) is Khao Rang, the hill above the town, which affords excellent panoramic views, plus gives a good idea of the general layout before you descend to explore.

Interesting sights in the town itself include the 200 year old Taoist temple of Put Jaw, and the adjoining Jui Tui Temple dedicated to a vegetarian god, and centre of many festivities during Phuket's famous Vegetarian Festival.

Also worth visiting is the shrine of Sanjao Sam San, devoted to the safety to boats and all those at sea. Many of the town's old colonial style buildings are absorbing, as is the Phuket Provincial Court, and Government House, the latter doubling as the French Embassy in Phnom Penh in the film The Killing Fields.

Nature lovers should not miss out on a visit to the 22 square kilometers of virgin forest that make up the Khao Phra Taeo Wildlife Park, a spectacularly verdant home to many rare plants, birds and animals and declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1969. There is a small waterfall at the park headquarters and marked trails assist trekkers discover the jungle magic. Mangrove swamps are one interesting aspect of Sirinat National Park located at Phuket's northern tip, covering 90 square kilometres, and rich in flora and fauna. Sapan Hin is an area of parkland and sporting facilities sporting a monument to Captain Edward Thomas Miles, who brought the first tin dredger to Phuket in 1909.

Thalang National Museum contains interesting artefacts and exhibits from Phuket's history, worth visiting to glimpse the island's past. Wat Chalong, dedicated to two revered monks, is the largest and perhaps arguably the most photogenic of the island's temples. Wat Phra Nang Sang is the island's oldest temple dating back over 200 years, and contains a number of interesting relics, statues and murals, including Thailand's longest Lai Tong an accordion-like religious manuscript. Wat Pra Tong encloses a curious half buried statue of Buddha made of gold, but still encased in the plaster used to conceal it from the invading Burmese.

Phuket Sea Shell Museum near Rawai beach houses a huge and fascinating display of over 2000 species, including many rarities, and is reputedly one of the world's best collections. The Thai Village and Orchid Farm has dozens of rare orchid species and puts on two cultural shows a day.

Phuket Zoo is home to over 3000 animals from all over the world, including 600 species of birds. The exhibits include an aquarium and a 'nocturnal house' the latter devoted to insects, beasties and other creatures that may bump into you in the night. Phuket Butterfly Garden & Aquarium boasts a wide range of magnificent butterflies, interesting insects, and fascinating aquatic life.

The Marine Biological Research Centre located at Cape Panwa rewards visitors with a memorable close up of more than a hundred sea creatures. The Pearl Farm on Naga Island opposite Phuket town offers an opportunity to learn the methods of culturing these lovely treasures.

For sports enthusiasts, Phuket offers a huge choice of activities, including 4 top-class golf courses one of which, the championship Blue Canyon Country Club, was the venue for the Johnnie Walker Classic Tournament, in 1994 and 1998. Amongst the long list of sports, there is Rock-Climbing, Elephant Trekking, Mountain Biking, Go-Cart Racing, Mini Golf, Horse Riding, Shooting, Paintball, Bowling, Thai Boxing, and Bungy Jumping, to mention a few.

16.10.07

Destination Guide : Phuket, Thailand #1

Located just under 900 kilometres Southwest of Bangkok, it is similar in area to Singapore, measuring 54 kilometers north to south, and 21 kilometers east to west at its most distant points. About 70 percent of the land area is mountainous, with the highest elevation at 529 meters. The terrain is richly varied, with rocky headlands, numerous beaches of differing sizes and character, limestone cliffs, jungle-clad hills, small estuaries, lagoons, and tropical vegetation of all kinds. It is surrounded by over thirty smaller islands of similar topography, many of them prime tourist attractions in their own right. The permanent population is estimated at roughly a quarter of a million, and Phuket is the only island in Thailand to have full provincial status.


A sightseeing tour to see some of the island's varied attractions is desirable, as is a half day walking around the main town with its curiously Chinese-Mediterranean ambience, which mixes modern convenience stores with ageing mansions, traditional shops, and old European-style buildings.

Nothing, however, beats the liberated pleasure of renting a vehicle for a few days, and equipped with swimwear and sun oil, setting out to revel in the spectacular beaches, the rugged coastlines, and the lush island interior. For the more adventurous, it's a pleasant 90 km drive from Phuket to Phang Nga with its fascinating marine rock formations, and location of "James Bond Island" from the film Man with the Golden Gun. If time permits, a further 86 km brings you to the stunningly beautiful coastline of Krabi.
The plethora of islands surrounding Phuket - from the well known such as Phi Phi to other often deserted jewels - allow endless opportunities for playing Robinson Crusoe in paradisiacal surroundings. For active folks, almost every land and water-based sport is well catered for.
Looking at the map, Phuket vaguely resembles a stretched triangle, with an irregular indented coastline as if nibbled by fish of different sizes, the deepest bite on the West Coast representing Patong Bay. The airport runs along the base of the thumb-shaped northern tip where the Sarasin Bridge connects to the mainland.
The West Coast is blessed with over a dozen world-class beaches, whilst the less attractive East Coast is home to prawn farms, fishing ports and the location of Phuket town. Travelling clockwise from the town past Cape Panwa, the site of an old Sino-Portuguese mansion, and Chalong Bay with its boat piers and seafood restaurants, you reach the long-established beach resort of Rawai with its adjoining Sea Gypsy village.
As you turn northwards from Promthep, the southern tip, the magical series of superb beaches begins, starting with tranquil Nai Harn, venue for the annual King's Cup Regatta, followed by Kata Noi, Kata, and Karon beaches which lead to the island's most famous and most developed resort of Patong.
North of Patong, come the tranquil beaches of Kamala, Laem Sing, and Surin, leading up to the developed Bang Tao Laguna complex, formerly a tin mine. Quieter, more secluded beaches follow, small Nai Ton, then the long graceful sweep of Nai Yang where sea turtles lay their eggs, from November to February.
Finally, the longest of Phuket's beaches, Mai Khao completes the series of seaside jewels with over 9 kilometres of white sand. During the rainy season from May to October, some of these beaches experience strong currents and undertows. Bathers should always respect the "no swimming" red warning flags, and avoid bathing on deserted beaches during this period of the year.

15.10.07

World Survey : Top Ten Thai Food

Have you ever tried Thai food? Do you like it? Thai food is one of the things that every foreigner should try when they come to Thailand.

Not long ago, the Office of the National Culture Commission announced the top ten Thai dishes best liked by foreigners. In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreigner Affairs, the Office had conducted a survey of Thai restaurants all over the world to find out ten favourite Thai dishes of foreigners.

In the survey, 1,000 Thai restaurants around the world were asked to fill in a questionnaire. However, only 500 restaurants which have Thai chefs and offer the authentic Thai food were qualified for being taken into consideration.

The results were the top ten Thai dishes which are listed below in order of their percentages of popularity:

1. Tom Yam Kung (spicy shrimp soup) 99%
2. Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai (green chicken curry) 85%
3. Phat Thai (fried noodles of Thai style) 70%
4. Phat Kaphrao (meat fried with sweet basils) 52%
5. Kaeng Phet Pet Yang (roast duck curry) 50%
6. Tom Kha Kai (chicken in coconut soup) 47%
7. Yam Nua (spicy beef salad) 45%
8. Mu or Kai Sa-Te (roast pork or chicken coated with turmeric) 43%
9. Kai Phat Met Mamuang Himmaphan (chicken fried with cashew nuts) 42%
10. Phanaeng (meat in coconut cream) 39%

14.10.07

Khao Sok : A Fantastic Place in Southern Thailand

Khao Sok National Park in Southern Thailand is an amazing place. It is covered by the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, huge limestone mountains shooting straight up in the air, deep valleys, breathtaking lakes, exciting caves, wild animals and much more.

Khao Sok is a fantastic place to go on vacation. Elephant trekking, trekking on foot, canoeing and jeep safaris are all possible activities, which will give you the experience of a lifetime. Khao Sok is perfectly situated on the mainland between Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak and Koh Samui, the most popular destinations in southern Thailand.

Size
The National Park covers an area of 739 sqr.km.

Thanks to two other protected areas (Klong Saers and Khlong Nakha) next to Khao Sok the actual protected area measures almost 4000 sqr.km.

Location
Khao Sok is situated in the southern part of Thailand. It belongs to the Surat Thani province, about 70 km south-west from Surat Thani Town.

Climate
Khao Sok is the wettest area in all of Thailand because it is situated at the mountain ridge separating the west coast from the east coast. Winds from both the Gulf of Thailand in the east and the Andaman Sea in the west blow monsoon rain into the area. It can rain as much as 3500 mm (3.5 m) in one year.

Late December to early February is the driest period with just a little or no rainfall.

Mosquito
There is no need to worry about malaria, because the disease has been eradicated from this area a long time ago. Even so, we recommend that you bring mosquito repellent when you visit Khao Sok. The mosquitoes can sometimes be a bit annoying, especially in the evening and after rain.

Geography
The dominant forest is lowland rainforest. The rainforest in Southeast Asia is 160 million years old, which makes it the oldest rainforest on earth.

Khao Sok is well known for its limestone mountains. The highest limestone peak is 960 m high, but the average height is 400-600 m.

The National Park consists of:
• 40 % foothill rainforest
• 27 % rainforest plains
• 15 % limestone crag vegetation
• 15 % lowland scrub
• 3 % rainforest at 600-1000 m

The nature here has more in common with the Malaysian forest than the forest in the north of Thailand. Compared to the forests of the north the forest in Khao Sok is taller, darker, more humid and evergreen.
There are approximately 200 different floral species per hectare.

Wildlife (recorded species)
• Mammals: 48 species
• Birds: 188 species
• Bats: 38 species
• Reptiles: Not known
• Insects: unknown

More information about Khao Sok
http://www.khaosok.com/

13.10.07

Thailand Coming Event : Illuminated Boat Procession


20-26 October 2007
Venue: The Mekong River, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

The Illuminated Boat Procession is held annually on the evening of Ok Phansa day (the end of Rains Retreat) on the Mekong River in Nakhon Phanom province. This year, it falls on 26 October but the festival period starts from 20 to 26 October 2007. It is a marvelous and resplendent event of the northeastern part of Thailand.

As night falls, the majestic 'fire boat', elaborately adorned with flowers, incense sticks, candles and lanterns and each bearing an assortment of ritual offerings, are set alight and floated down the Mekong River. Against the darkness of the moonlit night, the sight of flickering light from candles and lanterns on magnificent 'fire boat' drifting downstream on the Mekong River, is both mesmerising and awe-inspiring. It is this enchanting spectacle that has given the water-borne procession its very name, Lai Rua Fai, which literally means to set afloat a 'fire boat'.

The event is regarded as an act of worship to the Lord Buddha on the occasion on his coming back to the world after preaching to his mother in heaven. People will illuminated their boats to show their respect. Originally, the boat used to be illuminated was made of bamboo or banana trunks, being adrift on the river with bright colourful lights. At present, the boat is made of wood in a large size and more beautifully decorated than before. If you have a chance to witness the event, you will never forget the impressive sights.

Interesting Activities
- The Illuminated Boat Procession (26 Oct)

- Beauty Contest (21 Oct)- Illuminated Boat Shows from Thailand-Laos-Vietnam

- International Long-Boat Races

- Light & Sound Show in honour of His Majesty the King

- Cultural Performances- Walking Street & Indigenous Food Festival

- Traditional Dance to venerate Phanom Stupa (26 Oct)

- Food Offering to Buddhist monks (27 Oct)


For more information, please contact :
Northeastern Office: Region 4
Tel: +66 (0) 4251 1490 to 2

12.10.07

How to get to Koh Chang from Bangkok

There are many ways to get to Koh Chnag, but they are all very similar. The cheapest way to do it is by taking the public bus from Bangkok to Trat and from there take the ferry to Koh Chang.


However, it is more comfortable to take a van, booked off of Khao San Road, or a tourist bus, also booked from a travel agency on Khao San Road.

You can take a 10-seater van right from Khao San Road to the ferry pier in Trat. Note that if you book from an agency on Khao San Road ask if the ferry ticket is included. A seat on a van shouldn't cost more than 500 Baht.

The ferry ride takes about forty minutes, and is interesting. You pass many islands and old colorful boats, traveling on the aqua-blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

On the ferry there is an ice-cream/drink stand. When you arrive in Koh Chang you can either take a taxi to your guest house/beach or transportation provided by your hotel.

11.10.07

Bangkok Tips : Thai Traditional Massage

One of the main attractions of going to Thailand is therapeutic Thai Traditional Massages. There are various kind of massages (of the non-sexual kind) in Bangkok.

One of the most recommended original massage in Bangkok is at very famous Wat Pho Thai Traditional Medical School, where a lot of Traditional Thai Masseuse and Masseurs learnt their craft from.

It was really fantastic massage! After enjoying an 1 hour session of the Traditional Thai Massage with Ayurvedic Herbs, you will feel very relaxed and calm. Also, the massage will melt away most of your fatigue after a full day of tiredness.

The steamed Ayurvedic Herbs are quite hot though and after compressing your skin with it, it leaves a liquid residue that turns cold really fast due to the air-con blowing on it. (1 hour session, Baht 480)

If you think you will be uncomfortable with this, then just try the Traditional Thai Massage (without the Ayurvedic Herbs) at 350 baht.. Do note that the school has two massage centers, one within Wat Pho itself, and another air-conditioned one a short walk away in Sanamchai Road, behind the Wat Pho temple by the river. This school run by Wat Pho where you can learn the following massage courses:

- Thai Body Massage (30 hours, Baht 7,000)

- Foot Massage (30 hours, Baht 5,500)

- Oil and Aromatherapy Massage (30 hours, Baht 5,500)

- Therapeutic and Healing Massage (30 hours Baht 7,700)

On the day you wish to start, go very early around 0800AM to register. Classes are normally from 0900AM to 0400PM daily. Bring photocopy of your passport and three photographs 2" each.

You will be assigned a teacher and a massage buddy. Also, you can be in a group of 4 or 5 students per teacher. The teacher speaks English.

Directions:
Wat Po Thai Traditional Medical School
2 Sanamchai Road, Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Phone: +66 2-221-3686, +66 2-221-2974

10.10.07

Tips : Thai Massage & Spa


1. Try to come at off-peak hours

Your spa experience may be more relaxing and leisurely when you're there at a less crowded time.

2. Explore the possibilities

Ask for a full description of any treatment that sounds intriguing. Be open to experimentation. That's how youl'l find new treatments to enjoy.

3. Get advice regarding scheduling

If you plan on having more than one treatment, ask if the spa has recommendations regarding the order in which you receive them. Choosing the right sequence may enhance your pleasure. Some facials are more suitable before a body treatment, and some are more appropriate afterward. Many spas will have packages that give you the treatments in the most appropriate order.

4. Share your personal health history

The spa can help you plan accordingly. If you have conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or lupus, you should get your doctors okay for any treatment youd like to try. People with high blood pressure or a heart condition may want to avoid body wraps or any treatment that involves heat or detoxification.

Those with varicose veins may want to avoid heat treatments to those areas, and people with iodine allergies should avoid marine products such as seaweed.

Pregnant women should avoid essential oils and anything that could raise body temperature, such as body wraps, saunas/steambaths and Jacuzzis.

Mention any prescription drugs you are using in order to avoid any services or products that might irritate your skin or otherwise be harmful.

5. Anticipate how the treatment will fit into your other plans

For example, if youre having a facial treatment that may leave your skin temporarily irritated or blotchy, you may not want to go to a romantic dinner afterward.

6. Allow enough time for your visit

Plan to spend a least 15 minutes sipping a beverage, relaxing, and chatting or enjoying some solitude. And try not to rush yourself at the end of your visit. This way you wont have to be concerned if your visit takes a little longer than you anticipated, and youll prolong the pleasure of relaxation.

Special notice :

The person providing treatment may not be fluent in your language. Be sure that any questions or concerns you have are communicated clearly and understood before any treatment begins.

Some spa staff, especially at the cheaper, more informal shops, may have had minimal training in massage and other techniques. If anything feels uncomfortable, painful or otherwise undesirable, ask to stop the treatment immediately.

9.10.07

Nighlife at Pattaya, Thailand

Pattaya Night Life and bar girl, one of the most reputation in attraction of Pattaya. Come to Pattaya and enjoy nightlife with bar girl in walking street.

Walking Street
The Walking Street is the center of Pattaya's nightlife, with hundreds of bars, Go-Go clubs and dancings. Other areas are in Soi 7, Soi 8 and Soi Yamoto, in Soi Praisanie (around the post office), along Pattaya's 2nd Road and in Soi Buokhaow.

A new growing area is at the 3rd Pattaya Road, from North Pattaya Road to the South Pattaya Road as well as in Soi Chayaphoon and Soi Lengkee, both between Soi Buokaow and the 3rd Road.

Another large Beer Bar area is located in Soi 2, across BigC's Shopping Center. Pattaya Naklua has a large area with bars too. It starts at the North Pattaya Road.

Pattaya Cabarets (lady boy show)
Pattaya is famous for it's transvestite (katoey) cabaret shows. Lavish productions with amazing costumes and massive sets. A night at a cabaret show will set you back around 500 baht. These shows are well worth a visit even if it does not sound like your sort of thing. They are not at all sleazy and the whole family will be amazed.

Alcazar
78/14 Moo 9 Second Road, North Pattaya
Tel 038-428-746, Tel 038-429-212, Fax 038-424-939

Book for this one. It's often full even in the low season. They bus in hundreds of Chinese tourists everyday and the supply seems to be never ending. The cost is 500 baht for unreserved seating and 600 baht for reserved places. Many booking agents around town or book at the theatre. There are 4 shows every night, each one lasting around 1 hour 10 minutes

The production values are very high and the show is spectacular. There is no hint given that the performers are actually men, and the whole thing is played very straight.

This place is widely acknowledged as the best of type in Pattaya.

Tiffany's Show
464 Moo 9 Second Road, North Pattaya
Tel 038-421-700/3, Tel 038-429-642, Fax 421-711

Very similar to Alcazar but perhaps a little more raunchy. More silicon on display than you need to see in one life time. Tiffany's is the home of the famous Miss Tiffany Thailand contest which is broadcast on national TV in Thailand. reservations also are essential.

20 Tips on How to Travel to Asia on a Budget

These 20 tips will not only save you money, you will have a richer travel experience in Asia as well.

#1 Bargain! In most Asian countries bargaining is customary. Start low because tourists are always quoted a higher price than locals.

#2 Use trains or buses for long trips between cities. Hiring taxis can end up costing you more and they are usually less reliable.

#3 Make friends with locals. Free meals, rides and a place to stay are benefits that can save you a lot of money and not to mention give you a more memorable travel experience.

#4 In Singapore and South Korea you can take advantage of Global Refund, a VAT tax claim system. A 9.9% tax (20% for some items) at over 600 retail outlets can be reclaimed with proof of purchase in South Korea. The GST tax in Singapore is 5% and can be reclaimed on all purchases of goods and services by tourists. Look for the Tax Free Shopping logo.

#5 Track the dollar. The dollar has held steady in China, India and Taiwan and it is fixed in Hong Kong so the deals are still the same. Southeast Asia is generally always a good value and Japan is usually the worst. By researching where your dollar goes the furthest, you can plan accordingly and save.

#6 Use the Cathay Pacific All Asia Airpass. It includes roundtrip airfare from New York or Los Angeles plus 21 days of travel to 18 Asian cities starting at $999. Open only to US residents, it is a great way to see all of Asia without spending a fortune on airline tickets.

#7 When shopping for souvenirs like handicrafts and clothing stay out of tourist shops in airports and shopping centers. Try local markets and small shops where there will likely be the same souvenirs (or better) at far lower prices.

#8 On Singapore Airlines, be sure to take some free postcards while on board. They’ll even pay the postage and mail them for you.

#9 Take advantage of free offers like Tai Chi lessons in Hong Kong. Under the Tsim Sha Tsui clocktower near the Star Ferry every Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 8 a.m. Offers like this can often be found in English newspapers and at tourist centers.

#10 Find package deals that include airfare, accommodation and tours. Not only do they usually save you money, they offer peace of mind with knowing you can sit back and relax and everything is taken care of.

#11 Get outside of the big cities and tourist spots. Consider staying on the outskirts of a city or even in a nearby town or village. Rates are far cheaper and it allows you to immerse yourself more deeply into the culture.

#12 Students and senior citizens can receive discounts all over Asia with international ID cards. Many places won’t have this discount posted, so be sure to ask.

#13 If you are planning on traveling extensively in Japan, a rail pass can be purchased before you leave the states. It can save a ton of money compared to individual train tickets.

#14 If you are on a really tight budget, you might just want to skip Japan altogether.

#15 Theft prevention! An often overlooked, but very necessary budgeting tool is precaution. Money belts, locks and a watchful eye can prevent a theft that could put a major dent in your travel funds. Places like Japan and Singapore generally have very little petty theft, but in poorer countries like those in
Southeast Asia more caution is necessary.

#16 Plan your day and how you’re going to get where you’re going. Unnecessary transportation costs because of poor planning and indecision can really add up, so plan a logical route for your day and how you’re going to get from place to place.

#17 Hotels in large tourist cities like Beijing and Tokyo offer convenient sightseeing tours, but shop around first. Often the same tours can be found nearby for half the price.

#18 Be a thorough reader and ask questions. Read hotel contracts, rental car agreements, and tour information carefully before you sign anything. Tiny clauses in the contract can turn into huge charges if you don’t pay attention.

#19 Instead of eating at nice restaurants every meal, try noodle stands on the street. They are very cheap and can be just as good as restaurant food. Most are clean, but be careful with any meat you eat.

#20 Prioritize sights and attractions. Decide which ones you absolutely can’t miss then see how much money you have left to use for others.

8.10.07

Chiangmai, Thailand : a beginner's guide

An overview of Chaing Mai, written as an introduction for people wishing to learn more about this rich and vibrant capital of the North of Thailand.

When thinking of Thailand, many of us immediately think of its hectic capital city, Bangkok. A city overflowing with so many people, traffic, fumes, sights and sounds, that all to often it can be an incredible assault on the unsuspecting tourist's senses. Yet Thailand is a country of overwhelming diversity, and thankfully located in its far north is a capital city that is light years away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.

I am of course referring to the delightful Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai is the capital of Northern Thailand, and it boasts a pace far more relaxed and tourist friendly than its Southern counterpart. You'll find the traffic and city pace far less frantic, and the streets a lot less confusing than Bangkok. In fact, one of the best ways for a tourist to find their way around Chiang Mai and get to know this delightful city is to hire a bicycle for the day. A most enjoyable way to see the city first hand, since everything is located in such close proximity.

There are many ways to spend your days (and indeed your foreign currency) in Chiang Mai. The city boasts a large number of glorious temples, over three hundred (or 'Wats' as they are known as in Thailand). These exquisite buildings intricately decorated with semi-precoius stones, glass and other finery are a strong attraction for many visitors to Chiang Mai. Whilse admiring these temples and their extrodinary beauty, you will also gain a richer understanding of just how firmly religion and Buddism are rooted in Thai culture and people's every day lives.

The other main attraction to Chiang Mai, and one which draws so many tourists to this Northern Thai capital is the vast array of trekking tours on offer.



Chiang Mai is the starting point for many travellers of all descriptions wishing to go trekking through Thailand's luscious rain forests. Visitors have the chance to wander into the unknown and try riding upon an elephant for the first time, while also living and staying overnight with one of the many Hill Tribe communities that still live just beyond Chiang Mai. Many of these Hill Tribe people still live in the same traditional manner as they have done for centuries, and enjoying a trek can be a great way to experience first hand how these proud and fascinating people live their lives.

A word of warning though: be extremely careful when selecting your guide or company with whom to Trek with. Since so many tourists arrive in Chiang Mai with the specific intention of trekking, many companies are often "fly-by-night" operations, with their trekking packages consisting of very badly organised affairs, with tourists only seeing other tourists, while the itinary they were promised in the civilization of Chiang Mai not materialising in reality.
Also be prepared for the fact that tourism has taken its toll on these tribes, and trekking near Chiang Mai has become a much more commercial affair in recent years. If you wish to go trekking where you will come across less tourists travelling much further north is strongly advised. Above all, if trekking, be sure to book with a reputable agent, so as to avoid later dissapointment.

Back in Chiang Mai there is so much to see and do, and shopping in one of its many markets is a fantastic way to find those unusual, yet beautiful souvenirs. The best market by far is the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar; the mother of all Chiang Mai markets. It boasts a huge range of clothing, jewelry, Thai arts and crafts - literally anything you could possibly imagine.

The Night Bazaar is also a great way to experience Thai culture in a friendly way. The stall holders all expect to barter with you for the price of an item. It can be a great way for the foreign tourist to make contact with Thai people and enjoy a friendly exchange, when often it is hard to do so with difficult language barriers.

Everything in Chiang Mai from food to accommodation is far cheaper than in its big brother Bangkok and so you will find you get far better value for money. I would also highly reccommend trying a Thai massage, which is a wonderful way to relax - especially after the rigours of an exerting Hill-trek (or a tough day sight-seeing).

As one last word of warning, do bear in mind that the climate in Chiang Mai is often far cooler than many other destinations in Thailand, so be sure to pack a sweater, or light jacket, for often you will be glad you did, but then again you could always purchase a new one at a bargain price! Whatever time of year you visit Chiang Mai be safe, be careful, but most of all have fun in this truly spectacular city, Chiang Mai - the gateway of the North!


Written by Nic Enright - Pagewise