Friday, December 31, 2010

The Bangkok Kingdom

Our next destination is Bangkok. We didn't take any flights to Thailand this time. Instead we took the train followed by an overnight bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. It was a comfortable double decker bus with drinks, meals and snacks provided. I have never felt so comfortable taking a long distance bus especially when traveling over night. May be it was because it was with the companion of my family. I used to travel overseas alone and usually I need my Mp3 player and camera to accompany me. This time, I don't have the opportunity to play with them during the whole journey. 
Bangkok needs to further introduction. It's a city of lots and lots of happening and attractions. They have everything there from Mega Malls, shopping's, attractive architectures, famous Buddhist temples, good food, massage parlors and go go bars. It is the hub for most of the commercial and economical activities of the Kingdom. Whilst Taxi fares are very reasonable, most of the sightseeing can be reached by Skytrain (BTS) or Underground train (MRT). Sight seeing, shopping, food and accomodation can easily be found in the city of Bangkok. A few interesting places where one should not miss whilst in Bangkok is the Silom Street, Pat Pong, Sukhumvit Road, Siam Square, China Town, Khao San Road and the Grand Palace.
Sunflower Place,
39/17-19 Soi Anuman-Rajdhon,
Surawong Road, Bangkrak,
Bangkok 10500.
Tel: +66(0) 2235-9080   Fax: +66(0) 2235-9081

Sunflower Place is a budget hotel closed to the city and a walking distance to Silom, Pat Pong and the BTS sky train station Sala Daeng Exit and MRT Silom. It is comfortable, clean, new and feel safer with wifi facilities

Li Peng Festival In Chiang Mai.

We took the morning van to Chiang Mai. We left Pai at 8 am. It took us 5 hours to reach Chiang Mai. Even though we were quite reluctant to leave Pai so soon. we do not want to miss the Li Peng festival in Chiang Mai.. Li Peng is celebrated in grand occasion in Chiang Mai every once a year along with Loy Kratong festival. The whole city of Chiang Mai is celebrating this occasion. And it is impossible to miss this occasion once you are there because Chinese Lanterns were lighted and let to fly off to the sky everywhere. There were floats and beauty contest to pick the Miss Loy Kratong for the year. Thousands of Lanterns similar to balloons were flown up into the sky. And in the same city, flowers laid with joss stick and candles were laid along  and left afloat the river during this Loy Kratong festival. Fire crackers and fireworks were lighted everywhere. It's a special festival and the whole city is partying. Tourist from all over can be seen and enjoying themselves too. This is an event worth attending.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pai @ Thailand

Why I think Pai is a nice place for vacation:
1. Nice cooling weather during November to February.
2. Scenic and lots of Mountains.
3, Variety of local and Western food at reasonable price. And they look clean too.  Beer are cheap too.
4. Many range of hotels to caters to all kind of tourist. Our room cost 300 Baht per night. And there are lots of resorts too.
5. Very easy to move around especially if you can ride a motorbike. A motorcycle cost 100 Baht per day for rental.
6. The population there is not very high. But there are lots of tourist. And the tourist places are clean.
7. Lots of things to shop especially nice and quality T-shirts at reasonable price.
8. The town is clean.
9. Less traffics as compared to others cities in Thailand.
10. Not many Go Go Bars. In fact I don't see any. It's different from other places in Thailand. It's a good place for relaxation..
11. Lots of camping ground especially those who enjoy camping. Most Thais come here for camping during the winter season..

Sunday, December 19, 2010

From Bangkok To Upper North At Mae Hong Son And Pai.

When my elder cousin came to fetch us with his Fortuner, I didn't know he was taking us to the Bus Terminal in Bangkok. The other cousin has pre-arranged for the bus trip to Mae Hong Son.  He bought the bus ticket much earlier prior to our arrival. The Thais called the long distance air conditioned bus a 'VIP Tour'. The bus will leave for Mae Hong Son at 3 pm. Thanks goodness, the Bus Terminal has proper toilets with shower facilities, cafe and lounge. We took a short rest and shower before hopping on to the bus for another 15 hours journey, an overnight journey to Mae Hong Son. Meals and drinks were provided during the whole journey. No wonder it's called a VIP tour. We arrived Mae Hong Son at 6 am the next day. We waited until the sun rises before booking a Thai Style taxi for a half day tour. Our first destination is the Morning Market to look for food.
Next, we went to the hill top where there is a Buddhist Temple. Most of the Buddhist Temples in Thailand appears almost the same to me. We went to the top most spot to view the whole scenic of Mae Hong Son. Mae Hong Son is a small town with hills, mountains and rice field. Seems like we seen the whole city. As such we decide to proceed to Pai, our next destination for a night stay. Before that, we stopped by the Forest Reserve Park to visit the Long Neck Village and a Waterfall near by.

On the way to the forest, you can see a lot of Elephant trainers with their elephants with many camps nearby. We also stop by a hot spring resort along the way and have facial spa treatment as refreshment.

Tasting every food is a must in every destination in Thailand. Before we leave Mae Hong Son, we stop by another popular eateries for lunch. Our bus stop is right in front of our food stall. At about 1 pm, we managed to get a bus to Pai, without realizing it was the last bus for the day.

This is the bus which we managed to hop onto to Pai. Even though Pai is just about a hundred kilometers away, it took us about 5 hours to reached there. The without air conditioned bus was tourist packed and we have to stand all the way with many turns and curves, and up and down route. However, the bus trip is truly a memorable one, and the most adventure too, but surely we do not want to experience it again. Haha..
Let me share with you my photos and story about Pai on my next posting.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thailand Again, And Bangkok Here We come !

 2010 seems to be like 'Visit Thailand Year' for me. I didn't go overseas except the neighboring Thailand. Can't really recall how many times but anything further than Sungai Kolok, I think it's more than 5 times. Well, at least I went to Kok Samui twice, and Bangkok and Chiang Rai twice, not including the one I'm blogging about right now.
This time I brought the whole family along. It was five of us. I bought the return ticket on Thai Air Asia from Bangkok - Narathiwat for 7859.50 THB. It wasn't really cheap but I need to return on that date. Instead we took the train to Bangkok, which cost  977 BHT for the lower berth and 907 BHT for the upper berth. Our trip begin on 17th November and ends on 26th November 2010.

For us the train journey was an enjoyable one as we seldom get to travel together, even though it takes about 20 hours. The most important thing is that the bed and the toilet must be clean, and it is. I didn't plan much for this trip and we want it to be a relax trip, and as free and an easy one. So, I didn't bother to check the net on places of interest, and let my cousin over in Bangkok who insist on arranging the itinerary. So, I just let it be.
The first thing we couldn't resist in the train was to try out the food. They served local cuisine and also American Bread fast. And all the food served are certified Halal during the whole journey. I was told the South bound train serve only Halal food.. And of course the price is slightly expensive than outside. But you can also buy outside food when the train stops at the station.
This is my sleeping cubicle. The attendant came to prepare for the bed once past dinner time. With a curtain covered, you can have your own privacy all by yourself, not like the train I took from Xiamen to Guangzhou in China, where everyone passes by can see you sleeping !
This is the American Breakfast I was talking about. We also tried the Chinese-Thai style porridge. In fact we purposely ordered different menu for 5 of us in order to taste the variety. Well, the serving does look clean as they covered with plastic when served. The only disappointment I had is after the serving is that they left the plates and the left over under our seat, including the tomato sauce, soy sauce and the pepper. 

Nakhon Pathom is about an hour to Bangkok. We reached Bangkok slightly an hour later from the schedule. Without hurry nor worry as compared to our past trips, we know what to expect in Bangkok now. We took our sweet time getting off the train, and spent sometime at the station taking photos, going to the toilet and eat at the food court before phoning for my cousins. This is truly a relax journey.