Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thong Nai Pan Express boat

From Thong Nai Pan you can head over to other beaches on the East coast of Koh Phangan including Haad Rin and eventually to Koh Samui by scheduled boat.


The Thong Nai Pan Express is a small boat that leaves Thong Nai Pan Noi at 9am and stops off at a few beaches on the East side of Koh Phangan before heading off to Koh Samui. It arrives at Meanam in Koh Samui 11am and then waits an hour before doing the return leg. Tickets are between 250 and 350 bht.

Due to the rough waters during the monsoon the boat service is suspended from during the monsoon. The monsoon is usually from October to late November but often varies.



Monday, December 28, 2015

Thong Nai Pan at Koh Phangan

This might be one of the most beautiful beaches of the island. The bay is split into two parts. Thong Nai Pan Noi is the smallest beach but with high end resorts and hotels, Thong Nai Pan Yai is the large beach with low to middle class accommodation. Many hotels have sea view bungalows and a terrace on the beach. In the morning you can enjoy the sunrise.

Dream land resort on the large beach offers fan and aircon rooms with good wifi connection and a large swimming pool with sea view! Only the food at the restaurant could be better. Rates start at 600 bht per night in low season. Another beautiful resort is longtail 

almost at the end of the bay. Very nice bungalows in a lush tropical garden.

The beach consist of fine sand and slowly descends into the ocean. Perfect for families with small kids. At the end of the bay it get rocky with large bolders rising out of the water. Climb on top of it for great views and some crab watching.

Dinner on the beach is available at almost every resort with fresh seafood presented everywhere. About 200 meters inland you can find the main road with a 7-11, some small shops and a pharmacist. In between dream land resort and the main road you find
 Wisit restaurant

The owner is a Thai/American and offers the best burgers and pizza’s in town. He also rents out 2 houses for a decent price.

Thailand by train

Train from Udonthani to Khon Kaen


Traveling by train through Thailand is a lot of fun. You meet local people and enjoy some nice scenery. And it’s cheap!!! But for this you have to travel 3rd class and during daytime.

Travel dirt cheap

I made a trip from Udonthani to Khorat, straight through the rural part of Thailand with a stopover at Khon Kaen. The early train leaves Udonthani at 7.30 and takes about 2,5 hours to get to Khon Kaen. I believe the ticket was about 25 baht. Along the way it will stop at several tiny villages surrounded by lots of rice fields and sugar plantations. 

The below two videos cover the first leg of the trip from Udon to Khon Kaen. Both are large Thai cities in a part of Thailand which is called Esaan. This part of Thailand is non touristy and way cheaper then Bangkok. Little English is spoken and the food is sometimes unrecognizable!








Sunday, December 27, 2015

ATM or changing cash?

I have never seen a country that has so many ATM's. In populated areas you are probably within 200 meters of an ATM at any time. This is very convenient but watch out. Using your debit card for a cash withdrawel will be charged with a 200 baht fee. This is on top of the fee your own bank will charge! 


Besides these high fees, when using an ATM you can be confronted with the option to already know upfront which exchange rate is being used. In stead of showing this rate the screen displays the amount that will de deducted from your bank account in your home currency. This is called DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion) and is always more expensive.

To avoid these fees you can bring cash. The questions is where to exchange it to Baht. Well at Suvarnabhumi airport in the basement (Airportlink station) there are 2 exchange booths with very competitive rates and no additional fees! These are branches of Superrich and Value plus. Only disadvantage is to walk around with a large sum of cash.



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bangkok train station

Bangkoks main train station Hua Lamphong is a beauty. It's the oldest railway station of the country which is still in it's original state. Opened in 1916 it's the starting point of many trains going to the far corners of Thailand.

One of those famous rides is the overnight express train to Chiang Mai. Tickets for this route are often sold out days in advance so you need to reserve in time. A few years ago a number of trains derailed because of poor maintenance on the tracks. This caused massive delays.



To get to the station you can use a taxi which is very convenient. The station is located just outside of Chinatown so be prepared for some traffic jams when using the taxi. But the subway (MRT) also ends below Hua Lamphong which therefore might be more convenient to use, depending on where your hotel is located in Bangkok.

Around the station there are many touts trying to 'help' you with free advice or to lure you to a specific shop. Just friendly decline there offers. You can buy your tickets and get information in the station hall at the official counter. 



Walking street

Probably the most famous street in Pattaya is walking street. If you are in the neighbourhood it's worth a visit. The street lies in the South of Pattaya and closes for traffic during the evening when it becomes one big party zone. The street is packed with bars, gogo bars, disco's and restaurants and looks like one big circus. In general the music is loud, very loud and lot's of Thai girls are out on the street trying to get the attention of the men and to lure them into one of the gogo bars.

The street attracts many different kinds of people which makes it fun to observe the masses and action. Even though some tourist come here with kids I do not think it's appropriate. But it sure is fun to experience it all.

Lots of ladyboys are on the lookout for business and can be rather agressive from time to time. Especially drunk tourists need to watch out for pickpockets.



Friday, December 25, 2015

Bangkok Chao Praya river


Bangkok attracts millions of visitors each year from all over the world and once you have visited you will understand why. This is a city filled with action on every corner: visit the many beautiful temples, take a tuk tuk ride along the packed streets of down town Bangkok or take a longtail boat through the canals. Eating in Bangkok is another experience, with local dishes served at street stalls to dining at places on roof tops with dishes prepared by top chefs.



Shopping at luxury shopping centres or in one of the many boutiques and markets. Top five-star hotels and small guesthouses all welcome you with the wonderful Thai smile. And no visit to Bangkok would be complete without a glimpse of its famous nightlife – from high end clubs to exotic red-light districts, Bangkok will surprise anyone.




A great way of discovering part of Bangkok is taking the boat over the Chao Praya river. Lots of boats cruise up and down the river, one of them is the Chao Praya express boat. You can hop on and off at different piers providing easy access to large parts of the city like Khao San Road, China town and the Patpong area. Also some large temples like the royal palace and Wat Arun are close to the river.




Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cloud47 rooftop bar

A nice way to enjoy the skyline of Bangkok is to visit one it the many sky bars. Try to get there just before sunset and be amazed of the beauty the view will bring. Most rooftop bars will have a dresscode, so no shorts and flip flops allowed. If your not sure just give them a call before you head up to the place. During the weekends a reservation might be the only way to get in.



Cloud47 at Silom road is one of the best rooftop bars in town. Nested on the top of the United Centre tower it's about a 5 minute walk from BTS Sala Daeng. The entrance is not directly at Silom road and there is no sign pointing out to the entrance. If you stand in front of the United Centre tower just walk a bit to the back into the exit of the car park. Here you'll find some kind of reception with a nice lady helping you getting into the elevator to the 47th floor. No cover charge applied so it can get quite busy even though it can seat up to 500 people. 




Exiting the elevator you walk right up to the large rooftop area. It has a large seating area with a large part covered by some kind of roof. It has a bit of an industrial look with lots of concrete. Besides the open air rooftop bar there is an airconditioned wine bar which looks quite impressive.

The view of Bangkok is amazing even though it's not a 360 degree view. On the left side you can see the Chao Praya river and slowly turning to your right you can see all of North and East Bangkok. When the evening falls all buildings light up and the roads look like a web of light. Coud47 combines great views with live music, no dresscode and affordable prices!!



After you enjoyed the sunset and want some more action, just across the street is Patpong night market and it's infamous nightlife. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Loy Krathong, the sky lantern festival

Wanna experience a great festival in Thailand, check out Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai. The colorful festival is held every year on the full moon in November and attracts masses of people.

A great parade is held near the moat in the center of Chiang Mai while the river is packed with people ready to light up there sky lanterns. The sight is wonderful with the sky filled with lanterns and the river full of floating krathongs.



Be sure to make reservations for transportation and accommodation as flights and hotels fill up rather quick during the das of the festival.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Udonthani

Udonthani is a large city in the North East of Thailand and about an hour from the border with Laos. It’s a typical Thai city with not that many things to do for tourist but still ok to visit for a day or 2. Near the train station is a large night bazaar and market. Nice to walk around as markets are always interesting. Also a large foodcourt is present to enjoy local dishes and drinks.

During the winter there is a nice attraction a bit outside of town. It's a lake covered in lotus flowers which bloom between December and February. The whole lake looks like an ocean of red/purple flowers. At the lake boats offer a ride through the carpet of flowers. A trip will take 45 to 90 minutes and starts at 300 baht.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bottle Beach view point

You are at Bottle Beach and getting bored of spending the whole day in your hammock? Go put on some shoes and make a trek to the view point. It starts just behind the bungalows and it will take roughly an hour to get to the top. Do bring lot’s of water and wear some decent shoes. The view of the bay and Koh Tao in the far distance is perfect.




The head of the trail starts behind Bottle Beach 2. You will see flat land behind Bottle Beach 2. Head back from the beach into this area and you will see a trail leading east up into the hills.

The trail is easy to see. It slowly goes up through fairly thick jungle before eventually exiting into open skies and the final stretch of cliff leading out to the viewpoint. As I mentioned before this final part is not scary.

As you look out from the viewpoint you get the best view showing the entirety of Bottle Beach. This is to the left of the rock if you are facing out to sea. On the right is the rocky coastline that forms the north-east corner of Koh Phangan.

Plenty of people have done this trek over the years but you are unlikely to meet anyone on the trail. The place never seems crowded.

The trail takes about 60 minutes to complete. Obviously due to the nature of the terrain it is unwise to set off much later than 4pm as it gets dark by 6pm.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Koh Phangan, Bottle Beach

The stunning island of Koh Phangan attracts lots of visitors. You can dream away in your hammock on a quiet beach or rave all night at the monthly full moon party. Do you want to get active, go snorkeling or diving, rent a motorbike and explore the island.

One of the nicest beaches is Bottle beach. Secluded by large boulders it's only accessible by boat for Chaloklum or Thong Nai Pan. There are only a few resorts with bungalows right on the beach. Facilities are basic, fan and cold water. But what can you expect for 400 baht per night!


Bottle Beach is recommended for young visitors who love adventure and activities. You can take a walk just a few minutes to the sea and do snorkelling and kayaking. Moreover, for the people who loves hiking and trekking, you can trek to the jungle and reach the view point where you can appreciate Bottle Beach Sea View overall.