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April 17th, 2012

Eating in Thailand

June 12th, 2011

If you are planning on making a trip to Thailand, one of the most important activities you should understand is eating food. Each country has its own unique foods, customs, and etiquette. If you go to a country without doing your research, you will be perceived as rude.

In general, Thai cuisine consists of multifarious curries, fruit shakes, stir fries, noodles, and fresh fish. Thailand is popular for its scrumptious and inexpensive food sold at street stalls on the sidewalk. You don’t have to worry about purchasing this food, because food stalls are known for being very clean in Thailand.

As for the typical taste of Thai food, it contains strong flavors that are balanced. In particular, lime grass, lemon grass, and fresh coriander are used. In addition, some dishes include torpedo-shaped chillies (phrik khii nuu) to make food spicy. If you order any food with phrik khii nuu, don’t underestimate its spiciness, which can be too much for Westerners to handle.

Contrary to popular belief, most Thai food is eaten with a fork and spoon. Chopsticks are used for eating noodle soups and East Asian-style food. Another important thing to know about eating at Thai restaurants is that each person gets their own tiny soup bowl and plate of rice, while the remaining food is placed in the center of the table. These dishes in the center are shared by everyone. You are free to eat whatever you wish, but it is considered unlucky to take the last piece from a shared dish. It’s common for people who take the last piece of food to make wishes for others to compensate for their luck.

When it comes to dessert, Thais usually consume dishes quite different from common Western deserts, such as khanom khrok and khao niao ma-muang. For those who love pancakes, you will surely enjoy khanom khrok, because they are tiny pancakes of rice and coconut that can commonly found at street vendors. Khao niao ma-muang is a delectable dish of sticky rice with mango and coconut milk drizzled on top.

Alternative Accommodation in Thailand

May 31st, 2011

An important thing to consider when visiting another country is where you will be staying and how much you can afford to pay each night, along with how long you will be staying. A great site to find nice, affordable places to stay is wimdu.com (http://www.wimdu.com). If you become a fan on Facebook, you get a free $70 voucher.

An example of a place to stay that our site offers is Loog Choob. Loog Choob is situated in the middle of Bangkok and is within walking distance of Bangkok’s old town, where there are many attractions. It is also within driving distance of downtown. This family-run business renovated from the shop houses and is in residential style. A 100 year old market, Nang Loeng Market, is also nearby where you can eat a variety of Thai foods and desserts. Some amenities provided are Internet, air conditioning, heating, washer and dryer, TV, wireless Internet, hot tub, buzzer and intercom, cable TV, elevator, and parking.

Another example of a nice room to stay in that is only $35 a night is from myung sook and is a fully furnished double room. Some of the amenities are Internet, breakfast, cable TV, air conditioning, washer and dryer, kitchen, buzzer and intercom, and wireless Internet.

Another comfortable room to stay at in Thailand is only $30 each night. The amenities include microwave, Internet, pool, gym, hot tub, air conditioning, and kitchen, wireless Internet, TV, parking, and elevator. This apartment is located in downtown near a shopping mall, supermarket, traditional market, and a historic temple.

By choosing to stay with locals during your stay in Thailand you will save a great deal of money and be able to either stay longer or enjoy more fun activities during your stay. In addition, the rooms offered are just as clean and nice as a hotel room. The only difference is that it is more affordable and in a smaller area.

You can use these free $70 vouchers: q3szvb, dedng9, v1ma3m, nwrtfu, qzs6n8, qz194d, 6dgc5c, wt2ux4. They are on first come first served basis, but you can visit Wimdu Facebook Thailand (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wimdu-Thailand/221429411202026?sk=wall) for more free vouchers. You will also get $50 discount on Air Asia.

Islands of Thailand

February 23rd, 2011

If Kashmir is popular as the ‘Paradise on Earth’, the islands of Thailand, particularly in the southern end, are not lagging far behind – they are famously known as the “Island Paradise. This description has originated because of the charming seaside and temperate humid atmosphere as well as the beautiful scenery and glorious traditions and culture. These isles offer the vacationers an ideal change from their mundane, but hectic routine lifestyles to a world of peace and tranquility.

At an initial glance all islands of Thailand may appear to be the same to vacationers seeking freedom from their habitual city life. However, when one visits any of these ‘Paradise Islands’, they gradually, begin to realize the difference. As one gets familiar with the isles and the surroundings, it is easy to appreciate that each of these islands are as different and unique as the individual tourists. A visit to these ‘Paradise Islands’ is indeed a revelation – both inwards and outwards.

Significantly, while the expenses of vacationing in several of these ‘Paradise Islands’ is very high, while others are not. Each of these islands is different – some are tranquil, while others offer stimulating and exhilarating nightlife events. On the other hand, a few of these isles are ideal destinations for divers, while others offer innumerable opportunities to trekkers. The islands in Thailand have it all – from the crowded and dirty seaside areas to the amazingly gorgeous beaches. They also offer an assortment of lodging facilities — from huts offering nothing more than a blanket to elite and lavish resorts to suit a higher taste and budget.

Many tourists vouch that Koh Phangan is undoubtedly the perfect choice for a perfect vacation as it has a beautiful ambience. Pattaya, on the other hand is a livelier place as a result of its nightlife and vivacious lifestyle. Koh Samet which is near Pattaya is ideal for spending a few days relaxing and is 45 minutes away by boat from Bangkok. Koh Chang, which is further south of Koh Samet, is a large island famous for the entertainment and excitement it offers. Also, nearby is the White Sand resort that comes to life after sunset with wild parties and bonfires.

Moving further south, the two islands of Koh Samui and Koh Pha-Ngan are major centres for people for shopping and also for business reasons. This is because Koh Samui is a business center and has impressive malls and hotels. Pha-Ngan, on the other hand, is famous as a party island and a place to sight the full moons, half moons and other phases of the lunar cycle.

All said and done, the best thing about the islands in Thailand is the beaches; the night life there can be enjoyed without eating too much into your wallet. In my opinion the best way to enjoy a vacation in Thailand is to select a small island, away from the more commercialized and developed ones, and enjoy the scenery and serenity without the hassles of modern day urban technology.

Thailand Culture

January 19th, 2011

Thailand, roughly translated to mean “Land of the Free”, is the only South East Asian country which escaped colonization by foreign powers. By virtue of its position the culture of Thailand is influenced mainly by those of China and India. King Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng, the Great, of the Sukhothai Kingdom, who ruled Thailand from 1278, is believed to have founded the Thai alphabet and the language. He had installed a Golden Bell for attending to the complaints of subjects, inspired by a similar act of Manu Neethi Chola of the Chola dynasty of Tamilnadu in India.

The hot and humid climate of Thailand being is very similar to that of Tamilnadu, and merchants from the Chola kingdom had settled in Siam during this period. Tamil words have been mixed with the Thai language and have since been accepted in their vocabulary. Many rituals and customs practiced in Thailand, especially those rituals connected with coronation of the king, also reflect the Hindu traditions of India. In fact, the oldest known Hindu temple is also situated in Angor Vat in Thailand.
However, Sinhalese monks brought Theravada Buddhism, which is the oldest Buddhist school currently existing in Thailand. Today around 94% of the Thais are Buddhists. However, the Thais have evolved their own brand of Buddhism by including other regional beliefs like worshipping of ancestors and animism.

A major part of Thai culture is the traditions that are followed and are passes down from generation to generation. Fro instance, it is customary that while meeting the elders for the first time, the youngsters should perform wai, which is almost like the Namaste of the Indians. Elders remain the decision makers in all the matters and respecting the elders is most important for the Thais. Even while eating, the youngsters have to wait patiently until every elder present in the table starts eating. These practices are extremely similar to those found in India, when the elders are served first and no one will get up from the table until the eldest person finishes the meal and signals the end of the meal, by leaving the table first.

Also, stepping over persons or food items is taboo as similar to a belief in India that no one should use the feet to point out, as the feet are considered to be dirty.
The people of Thailand like social gatherings and getting together. In a group, every person is expected to make individual contribution to the topic, however serious or otherwise, it may be.
Whenever a person is not happy with a situation, or another person, it is common practice to complain. But Thais take very badly to complaining directly to the face. Also, complaining to the elders is something like a taboo for a Thailand native. Thailand is called “Land of Smiles”, for good reason. The indirect manner of approaching through a third person is the right way of complaining, Thai style, that is.

Khon Kaen and Songkhla – Thailand’s Pride!

August 26th, 2009

Thailand is one of the prime tourist destinations in the world. In addition to the more popular Pattaya, Phuket and Bangkok, there are several other places that you can visit in this country.

Khon Kaen is an important educational center located in the North-East. It is also a commercial hub and a tourist base visited by travelers from all over the world. Khon Kaen is home to one of the most popular museums in the world. The National Museum houses artifacts that date back to the Dvaravati period. The museum also has some ancient bronze sculptures of Ban Chiang.

For families visiting Khon Kaen, the Kaen Nakhon Lake is the perfect place for a picnic. Khon Kaen is also quite famous for its silk industry and the Silk Fair that is organized every year in December.

Wildlife lovers will have a great time in Khon Kaen. This place is home to some of the rarest creatures in the world. However, the cobra and the turtles are the most popular around this region. With dinosaur fossils unearthed in the Phu Wiang National Park, Khon Kaen has also become an important archeological destination. The waterfalls in this place are a major tourist attraction.

Songkhla is another fascinating tourist destination in Thailand. Situated 950 kilometers from Bangkok, Songkhla is an important port and coastal region in Thailand. With ancient ruins, Songkhla has enjoyed the reputation of being a historic town. Over the centuries, cultural practices have been passed down from generation to generation and people still follow the ancient traditions. Songkhla is famous for its numerous dialects and folk entertainment organized for the tourists who visit this place.

Songkhla is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand, with exotic beaches and some world-class resorts. Tourists come here for the tranquility it offers. The architecture and cuisine of this town has retained its ancient flavor and this is one of the major reasons for its fast development. The Hat Yai, located 28 kms from Songkhla is a major shopping hub. In addition to a plethora of shopping centers, such as Lido, Odeon and Sanehanuson, there are several small shops that sell electric goods as well as food products.

You can also visit the Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary and the world-famous 7-tiered waterfall, located around 26 kilometers from Songkhla. The view from the tiers is breathtaking. Tourists can also experience adventure at its best by taking one of the exciting trekking trails in this region.

Beaches of Thailand

February 22nd, 2009

Thailand is a place which has long fascinated tourists with its beautiful beaches and exotic locations. Recently my travels took me to this “heaven on earth”.

My first stop was at the breathtaking Pattaya beach, the most famous tourist destination of Thailand. Beautiful waters bustling with activity, this beach is a must for water sports lovers – with activities ranging from scuba diving to parasailing. This beach is flocked with people almost all throughout the year.

My next trip was to Phuket – the most popular beach destination Of Thailand where I decided to explore a few of its popular beaches. The spectacular sceneries and the beautiful sunsets here transported me to a whole new world altogether. The Patong beach with its great ambience is a perfect place for all party animals; the Patong beach boasts of a bustling nightlife surrounded with discos, chic restaurants and other activity hot spots.

My quest for a calmer place took me to the Karon beach. The crowd was much lesser boisterous than the Patong beach. A walk along the white sands of Karon beach mesmerised by its crystal clear water proved to be a perfect stress buster. The place also has some fabulous restaurants especially the Karon Cafe Inn and restaurant where a plate of Khao Pad did wonders for my taste buds. After a few hours of the bliss I experienced in Karon beach I decided to move on.

Surin beach is popularly known as the millionaires’ row. A lot of celebrities have an affinity for this beach because of its huge luxurious resorts like the Amanpuri, Twinpalms and the Chedi. A quieter beach, Surin is famous for its breathtaking turquoise water. I also noticed a greater number of Thais here; this beach seemed to be very popular among them too.

My last stop was at the Paradise beach – this is a surprisingly small beach with a great view across the Patong bay. This beach is undoubtedly the most beautiful among all the beaches that Phuket had to offer. The biggest attraction being that it ensures safe swimming all year around. It sure does stick to its name – A Paradise.

Bargaining in Thailand

September 14th, 2008

Bargaining can best be described as an art or negotiation skill. It is a vital tool when buying and selling goods and can be especially handy if you plan on going shopping in Thailand. Perhaps nowhere else is bargaining highly regarded as in Thailand, as it will not only help you get a good price for what you want to buy but also because bargaining is very much part of Thai culture.

For the tourist, it may help if you know that the ‘general price’ is mostly 40-50% more than the items’ actual price – so never settle for the first offer. And this is where bargaining comes into the picture.

How to Bargain

Bargaining in Thailand is a common sight in almost every shop, with the exception of the departmental stores. One can bargain on any price, especially if the goods on sale by the vendor fall in the class of antiques, handicrafts or rare gems. Normally, the vendor will place a higher marked up price for the goods and will actually expect the buyer to bargain, at least a little.

This brings one to the question …how do you go about it?

First, keep in mind that bargaining is part of the culture in Thailand, so show that you know it…and throw in a sense of humor, as well! Establish some sort of friendliness with the vendor and it might ease your work. But of course you need to have the prevailing prices of the goods or services you want to purchase at your fingertips. It’s vital you be in the know about the general prices of what you want to buy in that city or region.

What to Avoid in Bargaining

When you’ve decided you want to bargain – do it the correct way. Do not build high expectations on the side of the seller if you plan to leave without buying. Bargain for what you are likely to buy. It would help if you quickly change and mention prices of goods and services you are interested in. Make sure you mean seventy and not twenty when bargaining, two pronunciations of numbers that are usually confusing to visitors in Thailand.

Bargaining in Thailand may appear like a game that vendors encourage so they can try their luck with visitors, but remember not to be overly emotional about the experience. Finally, behave ‘local’. Learn some Thai – it will definitely help. And do not show you are an extravagant tourist as the quoted prices will still be higher!

The Best Places to Dine in Thailand

August 31st, 2008

Thai food is immensely popular and much sought-after by people from all around the world. There are restaurants galore in Thailand known to serve quality Thai food and it is difficult to pinpoint a few restaurants and say they are the best places to eat in Thailand. Without being judgmental, this article attempts to shortlist some restaurants widely acclaimed for their genuine Thai and continental food for people visiting Bangkok.

Sala Rim Naam at the Oriental Hotel: Most diners were well-placed Thai residents- the right place to enjoy wholesome buffet with lots of crispy and well flavored dishes to satisfy all palates.

The Mayflower at Dusit Thani: The place is renowned for its delicious Cantonese food known for the exquisite texture and original tastes.

Le Normandie at the Oriental Hotel: The specialties here include the Duck Liver and the Supreme of Lobster, both of which are exquisite dishes and a delight for the taste buds. Another favorite with those who come here is the succulent and Filet Mignon which is served with vegetables strudels.

Ciao at the Oriental hotel: There is a variety of home-made pasta which makes the Italian tourists to come back to Bangkok again and again.

Dick’s Cafe: The restaurant takes pride in serving a crispy and succulent Chicken Lemon which is basically deep fried mashed chicken that has strong lime flavoring.

Doc Cheng at Le Concorde Swissotel: Lightly seasoned and deep-fried fish with a crispy skin, but with tender flesh is a highly recommended specialty.

Trader Vic’s at Marriott Royal: The most popular dish is the exquisite Indonesian Rack of Lamb grilled on a wood fire that enriches the meat with additional flavor.

Focazzia Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square: This is a great place to dine, especially for the mouth watering Grigliata Di Frutti Di Marewith its rich selection of grilled fish, seafood and vegetables.

Enjoy the Unique Culture of Thailand!

August 5th, 2008

Thailand is a country where the past has been preserved in its true perspective, largely because it has remained untouched by the British influence almost in full.

The spirit of its ancient culture still survives and is silhouetted all through-out the country-side and is evident to all those who visit this beautiful place.

The lush- green mountainous up-lands are enriched by a great variety of fauna and flora. Elephant herds and monk-tamed tigers moving around the monastery grounds, present the on-looker unique and awesome sights to witness.

Ayuthya, Bangkok, Chiangmai, Chiangrai, Kanchanburi, Korat, Mae Hong, Sukhothai, Son and Ubon Ratchathani, and regions that are not only just incredible tourist spots and cultural hotspots of Thailand but they also host an unending scenic feast for the eyes, as well as for the taste buds for all who those who move midst their hospitable reaches and sample Thai cuisine.

The Thai coastline also offers a variety of unique beaches and sporting sites to sea-sport enthusiasts, surfers, scuba-divers and swimmers. These beaches include Cha-am, Chanthaburi, Hua-Hin, Krabi, Phang Nga, Pattava, Pranburi and Tarang.

Many small, romantic, beaches are also based on a number of small islands of this beautiful country. The islands of Koh chang, Koh Lanta, Koh Si Chang, Koh Phangan, Koh Samed, Phi Phi, Phuket, and Samui are capable of pandering to all your senses with their delicious natural beauty and calming scenery – ideal for weekend getaways and long vacations where one can enjoy the delights of nature.

Many tourists are seen spending several hours on shopping sprees around the daily or weekly make-shift markets around the busy sea shores and country side, where the native people sell a variety of things at affordable and highly competitive prices. The Thai markets showcase colorful handicrafts and items that are resonant of the unique Thai culture. What’s more is that you can get most of these items at a bargain.