Thailand, Kob Khun Krap!

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Stu Cats, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

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    Well, I have been back for almost a week. We did more in Thailand in 7 days than some expats do in a decade according to some whom I met there and currently have as colleagues in the Middle East.

    The photos of of Buddhist sites do not reflect any religious connotations contrary to the rules of The Gear Page forum. They are posted for you to enjoy seeing the beautiful architecture and culture of Thailand.

    I am also not involved in the tourism industry. Any links or recommendations are purely my own and do not express any relationship financially in whole or in part with any of the businesses listed in this thread.

    I hope you enjoy my photo journey. All photos were taken with a 5 year old Sony Cybershot DSC-W550.

    We flew from, Bahrain to Doha to Bangkok, last Friday at 6:00 p.m. With the time zone differences, we arrived at the hotel, Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. Now, this was an extremely busy hotel across the street from the secondary airport in Bangkok, so we could not get into our room. They told us there was a hotel bus going to a market in 40 minutes, so we changed in the washrooms, left our bags with the concierge and went.

    Luckily, it was the Bangkok weekend market, which was on the list of places to see. It was full of tiny shops selling clothing to semi precious gems and stones. I bought a handsome tiger's eye bracelet for more power. I would need it, as my travelling companion tried to kill me during the trip. She only needs 6 hours of sleep maximum, and I am last year's Canadian, gold medal winning sleeping champion. There were lots of tourist items and really cool clothing stalls, foot massages for dirt cheap, and food kiosks.

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    At night we went to the famous MBK Mall - 8 floors of mostly fake brand goods. It was fun for an hour, but not worth really going to. Afterwards we were taken by tuk-tuk to a seafood restaurant. We had the greatest river shrimp I had ever tasted. Pearl says in Spanish they are called langostinos. The tails were like butter and the bodies were very rich tasting. They had no price on the menu in this section. I should have checked. Oh well, you only live once. Pearl said it would have been almost triple the cost in America at a good seafood restaurant. I will never forget the taste. Amazing!

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    Day 2 we were up at 5:30 to fly to Chang Mai city in the North. We were a little concerned, as now it is summer, and burning season. At this time of year, farmers are defoliating the land to create more land for farming. Planes are delayed and some go to the hospital as the air is so bad. The air was a little humid, but very heavy with residue from the burning. It was not comfortable for breathing, and it made the air extra sticky, though the humidity level was high. Luckily, our hotel, the D2 was very comfortable: http://www.hotelclub.com/hotels/Thailand/Chiang_Mai/Dusit_D2_Chiang_Mai.h319327/ It was next to the night market, and walking distance to the old city. I loved Chang Mai. It is a city of 300,000 in the city including the surrounding area.

    Here is a temple we happened upon while walking towards the old city district:

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    As we were driving through the countryside to Blue Elephant Thailand on the morning of day 3 of the trip, you could really see how thick the air was due to the burning being done in the region:

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    We absolutely loved the interaction with the elephants with the Blue Elephant Thailand Tour. http://www.blueelephantthailandtours.com/ The elephants were very cute and quite friendly. They are smaller than their African counterparts: http://www.upali.ch/differences_en.html The camp was in a picturesque valley with a stream running through it. You could ride, feed, pet, play with and bath the elephants. It was an amazing experience.

    The following photo is of the 7 year old male elephant I was able to play with. He was very cute with a strong personality. The marks on his head are from him scratching himself against trees, which he liked to do as much as he could.

    It was a working elephant camp, but we researched which camp to go to well.
    These elephants were well taken care of at Blue Elephant. If you do ever get a chance to go, I recommend Blue Elephant with their wonderful tour guide, Mr. Ti who showed us the best day of our 7 day tour.

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    As we went on to Doi Suthep Pui National park, I was surprised as the foliage could have passed for a park in the NW, save for the banana trees, as all of the jungle foliage was dried up until rainy season. Keep in mind that March and April are the hot and dry summer months in Thailand.

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    Next, Blue Elephant took us to the tiger Kingdom, where you could play with tigers. But it was amazing. I was told the animals were hand raised and carefully trained, but by their pupils and actions, I am quite sure they were track 19 from The Wall.

    From there we went to an orchid farm, and then on to Doi Suthep Pagoda on a mountain above Chang Mai City. This pagoda is among the 3 most important in Thailand. Once you make the 13 km drive up the mountain, you may walk 300 stair, or take the gondola up to the top.

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    The next morning, Day 4 we were up at 4:00 a.m. to fly to Phuket. I highly reccomend the Avista Resort on the mountain top which we stayed at: https://encrypted.google.com/search...a=X&ei=_8kbVe3vC4itswHV24HIAg&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ

    All common areas were open air and the staff was friendly and professional. My travelling partner loved the spa. I loved the bar you could swim up to in one of their pools. Although there were a few families, this resort catered to mostly those in their 30s to 50s. Here is a view of the pool area from my breakfast table in the restaurant.

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    That night we went to Phuket Fanatsea. If you love Disney, this is the place for you. Personally, I would have rather been disemboweled with needle nose pliers.

    Day 5 we went on a speed boat cruise to James Bond Island. Bring sun block from home. We only found SPF 15. I am still recovering from burns.

    Here is the Muslim fishing village we stopped at for lunch. This is mostly a tourist trap. From the plane, you could see that the real fish processing plant was around the bend, past the tourist area.

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    Below is James Bond Island, (Kao Phin Kang) from Man with the Golden Gun. It really looks larger on film, and in the summer, you lose the beautiful jungle foliage you would normally see.

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    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
  2. claudel

    claudel Member

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    Great trip report.
     
  3. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

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    The next day, Day 6 we flew back to Bangkok. We stayed downtown at the Rembradnt hotel wich is decorated in a70s motif. It was OK, but they had 24 hour a day birds singing going through the common areas. It was super annoying as you could hear it while trying to sleep.

    We had dinner at at a great little place found wandering around the maze of alleyways and then curiosity got the best of me and went for a 2 minute walk through of Soi Cowboy, the least seedy of the red light areas, which was 5 minutes on foot from my hotel.

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    I just walked through. There were older Japanese Japanese businessmen in their late 50s and beyond, Western couples and a few ex pats. It was not busy like the guide books claimed. One bar had girl in Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader uniforms with Daisy Duke bottoms. No, no photos of that. Was it wild and exciting? No, it was a little sad and brought my mood down. I did not go into any establishments. I went to a jazz piano bar after that to top off my night.

    Day 7, the last day we toured the Grand Palace and took a river and canal cruise.

    The grand palace was amazing, but you have to get their early before a rush of tourists arrive like a tsunami.

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    The river and canal cruise was beautiful. The river is quite choppy and fast flowing. You need to stay balanced in the narrow long boats.

    Here is the bow of the long boat I was in:

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    The river and canal offered some beautiful scenery:

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    The afternoon ended with more shopping and dinner. There you have it, Thailand in 7 days. We flew back at night on the last day back to the Middle East.

    Thanks to all for your suggestions from my previous post regarding the topic. In our brief whirlwind tour we saw and did a lot. I absolutely loved it and will return. Thailand, Ko Khun Krap (Thank you) !
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015
  4. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

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    Thank you. I had more to add, there is an 18 photo upload limit per post.
     
  5. soulohio

    soulohio Member

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    hate to be a sticky wicket on the spelling chappie, but I believe it is Phuket.. Phucket is, well phucket
     
  6. claudel

    claudel Member

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    Keep going...

    You've hit a few of the things I'd love to see in Thailand...

    Phuket

    Elephants ( I want to see an elephant soccer game )

    Tigers ( I also want to visit the tiger temple )

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Temple

    If I ever get the chance to go, I'm gonna try for a visit to Angor Wat as well...

    Congrats on a great trip...
     
  7. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

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    Yes, you are correct, I remember the name by word association.
     
  8. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

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    The Tiger Temple was on the list, but the drive in and out of Bangkok would eat up a lot of the day.

    There is a miniature Angkor Wat in the Grand Palace. No need to go to Cambodia. Ha. You can stand behind it and have a photo of yourself taken by a friend making yourself look like an attacking giant.
     
  9. Noah

    Noah Supporting Member

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    Great pics! Looks like you had a fun trip. I used to live there when I was working as an engineer in the automation industry. I had a love/hate relationship with Thailand during my time there, but overall it was an amazing experience.
    I'm not sure about most expats not experiencing the country. There are different kinds of ex-pats there of course. There are huge numbers of male ex-pats from all over the world who move there for a bargirl, don't really find employment and just kind of hang around for awhile. Most of them leave eventually.
    I think most male tourists stay in one or two certain areas(ahem!) and don't venture out much, but from my experience the ex-pats who actually live there explored quite a bit.

    BTW, the Rembrandt Hotel you stayed at is down the street from a restaurant called "Cabbages & Condoms". It's actually a fairly nice place with decent food (kind of expensive actually) and mostly geared towards tourists...always thought that was an odd name for a nicer place like that.
     
  10. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

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    ^^^ Yes, C&C was recommended. My travelling partner nixed the idea. We ate at a great cafe type place. There are so many places to be found just by taking a walk. I loved Bangkok.
     
  11. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Very cool!

    Thanks for posting all the pics and narrative. Thailand is not on the list of countries I really want to see, but I may need to revise the list. Sounds like you had a great time.
     
  12. MVrider

    MVrider Member

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    Holy Krap. That is some good photography.
     
  13. James Knox

    James Knox Member

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    Beautiful man! Thanks so much....

    Subscribed
     
  14. zul

    zul Supporting Member

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    Very cool photos. I grew up in Malaysia and that was my backyard. Fond memories.
     
  15. Wolfboy1

    Wolfboy1 Grandpa but...Not Yet Old! Silver Supporting Member

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    What a trip! I appreciate the photos, really enjoyed them!
     
  16. Tonekat

    Tonekat Supporting Member

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    Thanks for posting your pictures. That tiger is beautiful. Was that green sculpture made of jade?
     
  17. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    Tiger? "Never get off the boat, man. Never get off the boat."
     
  18. wahfreak

    wahfreak Silver Supporting Member

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    Glad you had a good time and nice pics!

    The Grand Palace is grand isn't it?? So are the street hawkers. You have to nearly beat them off with a stick!

    On one of the buildings there is very large mural (highlighted with gold leaf) on the walls. My wife can (and has) explained every scene to me. Not that I can remember any of it. It's just amazing the time and effort they have put into building and maintaining these palaces.

    There is also the teak wood palace. I can't remember who it was built for but the entire building is made of teak. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g293916-d456252-r145368467-Vimanmek_Mansion-Bangkok.html
     
  19. fredgarvin

    fredgarvin Member

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    I can just imagine the seafood.
     
  20. soulohio

    soulohio Member

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    yea, it is absolutely awesome... some of the best fishing grounds in the world, especially for squid. I sat on Patong Beach, Phucket watching fishing boats catching the squid I would eat later that night... note to self: 1 kilo of squid is more than 1 pound... mighty tasty!

    Stu Cats... great pics!!
     

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