Travel Tips

 
 

The World’s Largest Golden Teak Structure – Vimanmek Teak Palace

Like something out of colonial times, although Thailand was never colonized, Vimanmek reminds me of an over-sized governor’s mansion, sitting resplendent in a tropical oasis.  However, Vimanmek was not designed for any governor.  Instead, it was originally built on the not-very-well known island of Ko Sichang, as a retreat for King Chulalongkorn (aka King Rama V).  It was subsequently dismantled and rebuilt in the Dusit Royal Gardens in Bangkok in 1901. As I suggested in the opening sentence, the design is very European, and it highlights the influence that KingRead More


Thailand’s Most Famous Tourist Attraction – Wat Phra Kaew and the Emerald Buddha

Paris has the Eiffel Tower, London has Big Ben, San Francisco has the Golden Gate bridge, and Bangkok has Wat Phra Kaew and the adjoining Grand Palace. These gorgeous architectural delights are clad with blinding gold exteriors, ruby red and emerald roofs, and sparkling mosaic walls. For a complex that was built in 1782, Wat Phra Kaew truly showcases the splendour and might of the Siamese Kingdom of old. Wat Phra Kaew Wat Phra Kaew means the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the main building (located in the centreRead More


The Temple of the Dawn

The name alone tantalizes the imagination, and brings out everyone’s thirst for exploring the mystic orient.  Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, is situated just across the river from Bangkok.  It was built in the early 19th Century by the second ruler of the current ruling Dynasty (Rama II).  It has therefore been a landmark for a long time and is one of the best known Bangkok tourist attractions. Interestingly though, this famous landmark does not get anywhere near as many tourists as the attractions on the Bangkok sideRead More


The Land of “Crazy”

Thailand… land of smiles.  The culture here is very distinct from Western culture and is built around the notion of “sanuk” or enjoyment as well as conflict avoidance.  As a result, many Westerners have come here, usually on a holiday, and totally fallen in love with the country, culture and its people.  Unfortunately, the “sanuk” and face aspects of the culture can be very disarming for Westerners and the end result is that I see Westerners come to Thailand and start doing crazy things that they would never do backRead More


Tips That You Didn’t Know for Getting the Most out of Bangkok – Part Four

This one is for all you shoppers and movie lovers… where to find those hard-to-find movies in Bangkok. The old days of movies in Bangkok In the old days, everyone used to just rent pirated video tapes in Bangkok.  It only cost between 10 and 20 baht, you had the movie for a week and they even delivered your order on motorbike.  If you liked the movie, you could then pay the rental place a small extra fee (pretty much the cost of a VHS cassette) to make you a copy.  OfRead More


Tips That You Didn’t Know for Getting the Most out of Bangkok – Part Three

This week I give away my secrets for where the best toilet facilities are when you are out and about in Bangkok.  It’s all well and good to know where all the star attractions are, where to buy that hard to find shopping article, or what is the most efficient way of getting around town.  However, possibly more important than all of the above is knowing where the best places to visit are when nature is calling… and sometimes calling urgently.  This post therefore looks at the best toilet facilitiesRead More


Second Update to: Tips That You Didn’t Know for Getting the Most out of Bangkok – Part Two

This is a further update regarding police searches of foreigners in Bangkok.  From my conversations with tourists (and potential tourists) to Bangkok, this seems to be one of the big concerns on tourist minds at the moment that is putting tourists off from visiting Thailand. Unfortunately, since my last post on the topic (available here: https://petertorjesen.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/update-to-tips-that-you-didnt-know-for-getting-the-most-out-of-bangkok-part-two/), it would seem that the issue hadn’t died now completely.  There were still some reports of stop and searches (although not at the same rate as before).  The pamphlet that I spoke about inRead More


A Secret Island in the Gulf of Thailand?

When most people think of islands in Thailand, they think of Phuket, and then Ko Samui and the gorgeous limestone cliffs of Ko Phi Phi.  Party-goers will probably think of the wild all-night full moon raves on Ko Phangan, while divers will think of the crystal clear waters of Ko Tao.  Next down the list are Ko Samet, a popular retreat for Bangkok Thais, followed closely by Ko Chang, which still has idyllic charm. However, I know of an island that is only a two hour trip away from Bangkok thatRead More


Tips That You Didn’t Know for Getting the Most out of Bangkok – Part Two

How to Deal with Getting Stopped By Police Getting stopped and searched by police in Bangkok is nothing new.  It first happened to me as soon as I set foot in Thailand in the early 1980s.  I had just landed at the airport on a night flight from Singapore and I was in a taxi with my father, heading down Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road towards the Moh Chit bus station.  Suddenly, I saw the bright flashing lights of a police car behind us, signalling for our taxi to pull over, and pull overRead More


How to Holiday in Pattaya While Avoiding the Red Light Scene

Pattaya is the closest major beach resort to Bangkok, but many people avoid the place due to its reputation as a red light area.  However, it is possible to enjoy a relaxing weekend escape or beach holiday there without being exposed to its seedier side. A Bit of History In the 1950s, before Pattaya’s fate as a sex and sin destination was sealed, it was emerging as a boutique beach resort for well-healed Thais and a few Westerners looking for something a bit different from Hua Hin.  Unfortunately, the VietnamRead More