Travel tour Phuket

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand. It stands as one of the most loved travel destinations of the world. The beautiful white sandy beaches of Phuket look more striking by the surrounded Palm and Coconut trees. With many tour packages offered, visitors have a range of options for cheap hotels and discount hotels in Phuket. You can choose from these budget accommodations to get the best of your stay at Phuket. This landscape of the charming island is the reason behind it being one of the most visited places in the world. Other than the beaches, Phuket has got fascinating historical places like the ancient Buddhist temples and Chinese shrines. Wat Chalong and Wat Phra Nang Sang temples are the most visited temples in Phuket. Golf lovers just love Phuket for its superb golf courses like Phuket Country Club, Banyan Tree Club in Bangtao Beach, Blue Canyon Country Club, and Loch Pam Golf Club that are laid with lush green mountains and scenic vistas.
Travel tours to island of Phuket would offer you many adventurous activities. Some of these activities include Elephant safari into the tropical forests of Thailand and a many water sports. You can savor upon the flavorsome seafood offered in the restaurants along the beaches. Nightlife of Phuket bustles with energy. To enjoy all these fun offered at Phuket, visitors can choose from a range of travel packages that suit every pocket. Get a complete Thai experience at Phuket through the discount packages that offer budget accommodations like cheap hotels and discount hotels. You are also made aware of the cheaper bars and eating joints that help you accord with your budget. Patong Beach in Phuket is a favorite spot for shopping. It offers best shopping stops from small shops to big malls like Junkceylon mall and Central Carnival Mallin Phuket.
Phuket is often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the South’ and ‘Pearl of the Andaman’. Holiday makers from all over the world come here to get the best of the sparkling blue waters of the Andaman Sea. This island of Phuket is located at a 850 kilometers distance from the capital city, Bangkok. Beach lovers would cherish this place. Every beach of this island is unique in its own way. Some beaches are noted for their strikingly calm caves. Others are known for the excellent facilities that they provide. Some of the most admired beaches of Phuket are Patong, Kamala, Surin, Nai Yang, Karon and Kata beaches. Ocean lovers can look for water sport activities like boating, fishing, deep sea fishing, jet skiing, sailing, sea canoeing, water skiing, para-sailing, and swimming. Many budget accommodation options are available for the travelers who want to get cheap hotels and discount hotels to stay at. (http://www.phukethoteldirectory.com )

Thailand hotels Phuket Hotel Directory offers Cheap Hotels Phuket Thailand, Luxury Rooms, Phuket Resort, Phuket Beaches, Phuket Vacations, SPA, Packages in Phuket, Patong Phuket, Accommodation for Budget Travel to Thailand.
.

Global food crisis is developing

The L.A. Times called the present global food crisis “A Perfect Storm”.(April 1, 2008)

The U.N. is struggling to meet the needs of millions of people from Central America to Africa to Asia to the Philippines and back to South America who are desperate. It was reported that the Belgian director of procurement for the U.N.’s World Food Program was in total exasperation over the price of white beans -”White beans at $1,160″ a metric ton presently is “complete madness”, he said. Two years ago white beans could be bought for $235 per metric ton in Ethiopia markets.

The crisis is escalating quickly as the WFP director is sounding the global alarm. Millions of people who 6 months ago were not going with out food are now scavenging for food and many do not eat daily.

Rising fuel prices are contributing to the rising food costs. This in turn is leading the world into the first major food shortage since World War II, which many people around the world do not remember. Not only are prices going higher and higher, in many cases the droughts around the world have yielded smaller harvests.

Food riots in the last few months have broken out in Senegal, Morocco, Mexico and Yemen. WFP predicts riots are close to breaking out in Morocco, Guinea, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Senegal, Yemen, Pakistan and Indonesia as their food reserves are gone.

Government officials in the Philippines have been “raiding warehouses” in Manila seeking out black market traders who are hoarding rice.

Rice prices continue to surge on the commodities market weekly, rising 30% in one day. Many rice importers have suspended rice exports or cut them drastically, such as Egypt, Cambodia, India, Vietnam and the world’s largest rice exporter Thailand.

The huge pestilence problem in Southeast Asia has damaged rice, bamboo and other major food crops that are large exports for the Asian nations.

The 10 year drought afflicting Australia is making their crops lands dust bowls.

The long snow laden and extremely cold winter in China (45 days of bitter cold and snow)has added to food problems there. So China has stopped exports of essential food commodities.

The western expansion of corporate business in India and China has created sudden wealth for many people in these countries and changed their eating practices. The Chinese are consuming more meat, in fact the statistics show that consumers there are eating 150% more meat since the 1980′s. But, that increases the need for more grains

Thailand’s Unrest: Packing Strategies For The Coup Near You

A funny thing happened on the way to my closet. This unforgettable journey from my shower confirmed an age old theory: a lot can happen in fifteen feet.

One night earlier I’d switched on the news to see civil unrest in Budapest, Hungary. My sister August was just there, I thought. Grand old buildings towered behind burning cars. As many do, I wondered: what is wrong with the world? Some of these countries…

At the time, there was no physical sensation caused by my foot being put in my mouth. I was oblivious to its presence. Fast forward 24 hours and enter my studio apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

I pulled the towel from my wet hair as the newscaster spoke: “Another country is in turmoil tonight.” Ho hum, here we go again. Now, where are my pajamas? As I stepped past the television, her words rang out: “Tanks have entered Bangkok in a reported coup attempt.”

You know those moments in life when the space-time continuum warps around you? Everything freezes, yet your mind processes over three million random thoughts. That’s where I stood. Only then did I begin to notice my foot lodged deep in my mouth. In the .25 seconds it took to take one step backwards and wrench my head to the right, I had all the following thoughts.

That newscaster mis-spoke. Learn your job!

She means Hungry.

Buy a map.

What!

Mom’s gonna freak.

Wait, I’m 40

Mom’s gonna freak.

My mind is getting even for the Budapest comments. I deserved that.

What did she really say?

Eek! What do I do?

Pack.

No. Don’t pack.

Stay calm.

Pack.

I own way too much stuff!

I’m not breathing.

Perched on the end of the bed, I watch three channels simultaneously for well over an hour. I resolved to take the coup in stride. But! Maybe I’d pack one bag. It would be a ‘just in case’ bag. The essentials a person would need if a quick exit should be close at hand. Of course, I’d sleep fully dressed in running shoes. Okay, I made that last part up. (My running shoes are in my gym locker.)

Then came slow motion. My eyes panned the room. Books, dishes, bedding, electronics, enough inventory for a small camera shop and clothes, lots of clothes—despite my vow, I had nested. How had this happened?

It was not the first time I had contemplated moving my small household. I had always planned on relocating to Southern Thailand in the spring. It wasn’t even the first time this week I realized extra stuff had to go. Just days before Thailand had suddenly tightened its tourism visa laws. Tens of thousands of other long-term travelers, such as myself, must be out of the country in ninety days. We can not reenter for three months. Now this.

The coup gave me a whole new perspective. I had been worried I needed to buy another suitcase to move my precious inane possessions. In my panic, I grabbed just important things. Money, my laptop, camera body & one lens, debit cards, IDs, a couple changes of clothes and three packs of dry noodles. My backpack was only ½ full. I panned the room again.

Sleep prevailed. Perspective had returned. In the morning I had school and simply dumped my bag on the floor in a quest for missing underwear. After all, I’m in Chiang Mai, not Bangkok. But, my unpacked state was not to be.

At school, my teacher was visibly shaken. She’d seen soldiers on her way through town. They stood at the closed public schools, hospitals and local businesses. Tanks lined the Super Highway. They are in Chiang Mai.

Half the students had not shown up, others had no sleep. In my mind, I packed again. In my class, I absorbed nothing. None of us are any wiser for having been there. Strategies changed. I had time to organize. My ‘just in case’ bag was augmented.

On the way, home I stopped at the mall and purchased the most brilliantly blue suitcase ever seen from space. No doubt, right now, that female space tourist is looking toward Asia and reaching for sunglasses. Alas, it was half price.

Normally bustling, the mall ambiance was semi-dormant. Department store sales reps stood idle. And, I, their only customer, was buying a suitcase to leave. This was a likely sign of things to come for Thailand’s economy.

I walked away feeling as though I was carrying a scarlet letter— a big blue scarlet letter. It said, “T” for traitor. It screamed “C” for chicken. I’d have traded all my limited Thai vocabulary to know the phrase for ‘just in case’. The glow from my suitcase could not be hidden. Shame set in. Stepping out into the rain, I resolved not to pack a single thing.

And, the beat goes on. Arriving home, I turned on the tele and listened. The Northern Borders with Laos and Myanmar have been sealed. Borders! Sealed? Laos! That was my imagined escape route. The rollercoaster continues. As I write this, it’s been less than twenty-four hours since the first reports of tanks in Bangkok. I write and I ponder. Will the coup affect the airline’s baggage limits? How much can I pack?

Luxury Thai Holiday Villas: the Way to Stay!

Luxury Thai Holiday Villas: the way to stay!

Thailand has, over the past few years, seen a large increase in the number of private villas available for holiday rent. Here we investigate the villa market, and make our recommendations as to how to find and book a villa, and where to stay on your next holiday.

These alternatives to hotel or resort accommodation often offer exceptional quality and high standards, but a number of very second rate properties are also broadly advertised on the internet and in some cases offer no more than a room in a tired condominium in a poor location: it is important for the holidaymaker to know how to find an appropriate villa, and to understand the pricing structures generally in place, in order to be sure of securing an enjoyable, clean and properly serviced villa at the right price.

It is perfectly possible to rent your own villa in Thailand for your holiday and to enjoy not only superior accommodation, but also a plethora of services, at rates that in fact make such a holiday the sensible alternative to booking a room – or indeed for those with friends and family, a number of rooms – in a resort.

Why Thailand?

Thailand is a perfect destination for those who wish to rent their own house or villa, for a number of reasons:

- the Thais are widely recognized as a welcoming, smiling people

- The kingdom’s cuisine is world-renowned; whilst most visitors will know the famous dishes such as Tom Yam Kung, the variety of cuisines and regional specialties is great, and even a serious glutton would have trouble trying to experience the exhaustive array of Thai food dishes in just one stay.

- Thailand is a shopper’s paradise, offering unique silks, handcrafted furniture and a plethora of exotic items at a fraction of the cost of such goods in the West. Clothes, leather goods and decorative items are often at the top of the visitors’ shopping list.

- Thailand offers exceptional value for money: even five star hotels cost a fraction of what they do not only in the West but even in other Asian capitals such as Hong Kong or Singapore.

- Thailand welcomes millions of visitors to its shores annually, and personal safety is generally excellent. Any reported crimes tend to be minor, involving jewellery scams and the like, but the more experienced traveler is hardly likely to fall for these. Most visitors will feel infinitely safer in Thailand than they ever would in equivalent capitals such as London, Paris, New York etc.

Which Thai region should I visit?

The visitor to Thailand today is spoiled for choice, with villas available throughout the kingdom.

For shorter stays, we would recommend a single destination stay, so that you can avoid the hassles of travelling and fully explore your chosen location. For longer stays, why not combine a stay in two very different locations, allowing you a greater exposure to the country and its diversity, whilst taking advantage of its inexpensive domestic travel networks? (see below)

Thailand is generally divided into four main regions.

Bangkok and the central Plains

Bangkok is a sprawling metropolis which, despite its famous gridlocked traffic and teeming streets, offers a great variety of things to do and to discover, to those with patience and a will to explore. The restaurants in Bangkok are second to none, whether you seek Thai or foreign cuisines, and its weekend and other markets deserve to be explored, as do many of its lesser know temples. A cruise on the Chaophraya river – perhaps by privately chartered long-tail boat – is an excellent way of seeing much of the city without being reduced to tears by the traffic.

The North

The North of the country is home to cities such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son. With tropical jungles and hills, the North attracts those looking to go trekking or seek out places of natural beauty. Do try to avoid the larger cities, as tourism is so developed here that you run the risk of simply being “processed” through a number of popular elephant camps and well-trodden hill tribe treks.

The Northeast

The Northeast is the largest region of the kingdom, yet has been largely untouched by tourism. The Northeast (or isan) is the rice-bowl of the country, and is predominantly agricultural, producing rice, sugarcane, tapioca, eucalyptus and, increasingly, rubber. Major centres include Khon Kaen and Udon Thani, and the mighty Mekong river twists along this region’s borders. The people here are perhaps the most open and fun-loving in the country, perhaps because their lives are based on village traditions where overt consumerism has been much slower to advance than in the other booming parts of the nation. Travel to the Northeast is recommended for those looking for a unique experience, to get away from the tourist crowds, and to immerse themselves in something new.

The South

The south of Thailand is renowned for its famous beaches and seaside resorts, such as Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui. Some of the country’s most expensive holiday villas are found here. Travellers should be aware of the security issues in the south of the country and avoid journeys to the southernmost provinces: your local government’s website will post updated advisories with travel recommendations and warnings.

The vacation villa market

Holiday villas in Thailand tend to fall into one of two categories. They are either privately owned, self-contained homes, or villa units forming part of a resort complex. These are quite different propositions!

Resort Villas

The resort-centred villa essentially comprises a resort’s superior room inventory, and will be priced accordingly. In many cases, these villas will have been professionally designed by the hotel designer itself, and then sold to a third party buyer, who in turn joins the letting pool operated by the developer to provide a return on investment on the villa buyer’s acquisition.

The advantage here is that the villa occupants will generally be able to avail themselves of the additional facilities or services provided by the resort, albeit at ‘resort” prices. The disadvantage is that, for those seeking a more genuine experience, they will find themselves simply a guests within a resort complex, and considered as additional – if well-paying – “keys”.

Private stand-alone villas

Private villas are generally second homes owned by individuals, located on an individually-held land plot.

These may be rented “as is”, with the guests picking up the keys at the start of the trip and returning them at the end, either with or without a cleaning or security deposit. Alternatively, the villa may have its own staff, generally living off property but available throughout your stay to take care of cleaning, laundry, cooking or local visits etc.

Whether you choose a resort villa or privately held property, you should expect to pay a partial deposit at the time of booking, either by credit card guarantee or by a wire transfer.

Tried and Tested

We tried a number of villa vacations in Thailand, and below highlight one resort villa and one private villa – each offering an exceptional holiday but altogether different experiences.

Green Gecko, Northeast Thailand

Green Gecko is a privately owned villa located on a large country estate, surrounded by woodlands, plantations and rice paddies in the heart of Thailand’s rural northeast, near a town called Udon Thani. Free airport transfers were arranged from the airport, which is accessible via a 50 minute flight from Bangkok on Thai Airways, or budget airlines Nok Air or Air Asia.

In contrast to more mainstream locations, our stay here allowed us to discover and experience the real Thailand, off the beaten tourist track.

The villa’s architecture was traditionally Thai: an impressive wooden staircase led up to the raised and enclosed wooden deck, where our delightful private swimming pool was located, with bucolic views of the surrounding countryside and the evening sunsets. The steeply pitched roofs made of terracotta tiles gave the house an almost temple like appearance. A raised “sala” here offered protection from the strong midday sun and became our favourite spot, with its views over the pool.

Accessible from the deck in two separate buildings were the two bedrooms (each air-conditioned), as well as the living and dining room and kitchens. The master bedroom had a sturdy teak four-poster, king sized bed, with a cotton duvet and feather pillows, a large adjoining bathroom and WC and an outside garden shower. The second bedroom had a queen sized four poster, again with a spacious adjoining bathroom / WC.

The main air-conditioned building housed a dining room with a dining table and seating for six, a living room with comfortable sofas and views onto the pool deck, and a sunken area decorated with futons for lounging in front of the large screen LCD television (complete with a separate high-end home theatre system and international satellite channels). Leading off from this area (behind sliding wooden panels) was an additional WC, and a fully equipped Western kitchen (with built in microwave, oven etc), that in turn led out to a stainless steel Thai kitchen.

We must confess that this all looked very user-friendly, but that we never used the kitchens – with the exception of helping ourselves to a few iced beers from the refrigerator! As the owner is a former chef, he prepares all his guests’ meals throughout their stay, varying the spiciness or composition of these to his guests’ tastes. We were delighted to be shown around the gardens to collect a number of herbs and spices, which we were then shown how to spirit into deliciously fresh and tangy Northeastern dishes. We tried the classics too: Thai food certainly is mouth-watering, and staying at a villa like this where all meals are prepared for you, by a chef who is willing to share his secrets, was a boon!

We spent a good deal of time just lazing by the pool in complete privacy, but also enjoyed a number of excursions with our hosts to experience some of the sights and sounds of the Northeast. These included a spectacular trip in a small wooden boat, across a lake that was fundamentally a vast expanse of pink lotus flowers, interrupted only by the occasional fisherman or wallowing water buffalo (marriage propositioners, take note!) We also visited a local museum that seemed to denominate Thailand as the home of the bronze age, and a number of rowdy, colourful local festivals and wet markets, as well as silk and cobra farms. But our lasting impression was one of rural simplicity and ever-friendly locals, keen to ensure we enjoyed our stay and sample an unending variety of indigenous foods and drinks!

Green Gecko may be booked for stays of 2 nights or more via their website, where availability and rates may be checked online (from around US$280 including all transfers, service and meals.)

Green Gecko

134 Moo 13

Baan Um Jaan

Tabol Um Jaan

A. Prajak Sinlapakhom

Udon Thani

41110 Thailand

Green Gecko

Green Gecko’s sister property, Gecko Villa offers a cheaper three bedroomed alternative to those on a tighter budget (from around US$160.)

The Villas at Napasai, Southern Thailand

The villas at Napasai are located within the seafront resort complex on the luxury North coast of the island of Koh Samui, in Thailand’s southern province of Surat Thani. Koh Samui is accessible via Bangkok Airways from Bangkok, with flights taking approximately one hour (depending or aircraft chosen).

The resort is part of Orient-Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises: as such, both the villa and the resort were professionally managed, and we were able to choose between cooking up our own Thai meals after a visit to the local markets, or to simply walk to the resort’s excellent Thai restaurant in the evening.

The villas themselves were located at one end of the property, sandwiched between a steep hillside behind our house and the sea in front. Each of the villas is tiered down the hillside to the seafront. We stayed in a two bedroom villa, but three bedroom properties were also available. Beyond the two well-appointed bedrooms, our property had a spacious living and dining room with its own kitchen, a maid’s room, and, at the ground level, a private swimming pool and “chill-out” area. The main living room was well furnished and had a DVD player, satellite TV, and charming sea view balcony, where we spent most evenings.

The island of Koh Samui is a major international tourism hub and as such plenty of activities are available for the guest, from exploring waterfalls, to elephant rides, paintball, sea sports, diving, fishing, golf etc. The hotel also offers boating activities, Thai cooking classes, tennis courts, a fitness centre and a spa.

We booked online at the hotel’s own internet site, taking advantage of a special offer. Rates for a two bedroom villa are seasonal and start at around US$850++ per night, including complimentary American breakfast.

Napasai

65/10 Baan Tai, Maenam,

Koh Samui,

Surat Thani

84330,

Thailand

Tel: (66-77) 42 92 00

Fax: (66-77) 42 92 01

Napasai

Finding your Thai Villa on the internet

Choosing an appropriate holiday villa on the internet is easy using Google, Yahoo, MSN etc. Remember:

• Play with your search terms: use more specific words to help you drill down to receive a more “targeted” property. “Rural villa with pool Thailand” will give a more specific set of results than will “Thailand Villa”, and will be less likely to return a listings site.

• Where possible, book directly with the property owner rather than via a listings site – in all likelihood such a listings site will be charging a commission on top of the normal rate.

• Don’t be afraid to ask for references.

• Travel in the off season, and book early. Book ahead, as when a standalone villa is booked – it is booked!

• Make sure the property you choose has a telephone and address listed.

• Travel somewhere different! What makes a stay in a private villa memorable is the way it can take you out of the tourist centres to enjoy a more authentic holiday.

Thailand’s Airlines

Thailand’s flag carrier offers numerous domestic flights, but travelers “in the know” will turn to the local discount airlines. These offer frequent flights at a fraction of the price and in relative comfort. Try Nok Air or Air Asia.

Koh Samui is served by the “boutique airline” Bangkok Air.

Investment In Resort Properties In Thailand

One of the fastest growing areas in the Thai property market is branded condominium developments. Recent examples of similar projects in Singapore where returns were up to 50% greater than for non-branded developments have inspired the Thai market. Growing numbers of tourism makes these developments very promising ventures, and the Thai government’s newly de-regulated property sector is also having a favorable effect on developments like these. In the related industry of luxury housing, there have also been large projects announced recently in Thailand by Magnolia Quality Development Co, to create large luxury housing estates and condominiums.

Thailand recently emerged onto the global property market after over 15 years of military rule and very tight controls on property ownership by foreigners. The new Thai government wants to motivate investors to put their money into the country, and so has reduced the transfer fee on properties from 2% to 0.01% until the end of March 2009. On multimillion dollar construction projects like branded hotels, this makes quite an impact on the net profit. In addition, the specific business tax has been reduced from 3% to 0,01% for the same period of time.

However, it is not only due to tax cuts that branded hotels and resort properties are becoming hot items in Thailand’s property sector. Across all of Asia, five star hotel brands are working in conjunction with developers and owners to boost the availability of luxury accommodation. It is attributed to the confidence that branded resorts inspire in investors. Projects are generally meticulously and expertly planned, by people with experience in similar successful projects overseas. Hotels and resorts with a strong track record are finding that property investment in Thailand, and in Asia generally, can yield especially high returns. In Singapore recently, a brand name condo development sold for $4,000 per square meter, as opposed to the $2,500 that such a development without a brand name usually fetches.

In a property environment where many more projects are announced than completed, brand name resorts make investors feel more secure. It offers them some measure of assurance that a project will not only be built, it will be finished to a certain standard and will come with some ready-made customers, as global visitors look for resorts and hotels where they know what to expect.

One of the first developments in Thailand to take advantage of such premium prices for luxury condos is Magnolia Quality Development Co, which will develop both single houses and condominiums under the brands of Baan Magnolia, WHIZ.dom, and Eco Village. The six projects to be launched will be worth around 10 billion baht. One of these is the Baan Magnolia 4 true Eco Park, which will include residential units, a resort and a hotel. They are hoping to cash in on the current boom in branded resorts. A spokesman for the company said they would be focusing on quality products to ensure strong sales, rather than lowering prices to attract more customers.

These developments by Magnolia should also have an increased profit margin, as costs have been cut by shortening the cycle from design to completion by a huge 30-50%. They are confident of having investors, and now only have to choose which of the potentials will come on board.

Tourism in Thailand is set to increase by 20% per year, owing to the prevalence of extremely cheap stop over flights, as compared to the relatively expensive direct flights. Thailand’s unique geographical position gives it an advantage for the tourism sector. Its extensive natural attractions, along with the relative inexpense of local facilities (compared to in Europe and America) ensure that resorts, five star hotels and luxury accommodation will always find customers.

Overall, the resort property market in Thailand looks set to grow, especially where branded developments are concerned.

Memoirs: Traveling

“PLEASE be aware that Singapore is a country of strict legislation. You are expected to know the laws before arriving. The penalty of trafficking drugs is punishable by death,” the pilot announced when we began our descent after an 18-hour direct flight from New York.

Whilst I was still reeling from the severity of his words, the passenger next to me added to my chagrin, “Littering is a fine of up to S$1,000 (US$650) and no smoking in public spaces! The police wear plain clothes to catch offenders unaware. Chewing gum used to be banned too, right up till Jan 2005!”

Thank God, I had quit smoking two years ago. And what was that about chewing gum, I wondered. I felt stupid not reading up on the laws before. It was not that I did not do sufficient research on the things to do, what to see and eat. I had it all planned. After wowing all my friends and colleagues telling them how I would storm Southeast Asia all on my own, it seemed foolish now that I had overlooked the basics that could get me into serious trouble. Hopefully, nothing would go wrong.

My holiday plans were to spend an initial three days exploring Singapore and finish with a four-day-three-night-cruise on the Superstar Virgo to Phuket (Thailand) and Langkawi (Malaysia).

The biggest draw point was the advantageous exchange rate of our strong US currency in all of South East Asia. Everything would become cheaper and cheaper as I traveled, from Singapore, to Malaysia, and finally, Thailand.

Singapore was often mistaken to be part of China, or Vietnam, but really, it is an independent nation no more the size of Austin, Texas (or 682 square km), and had a population of about 4 million. Commercial skyscrapers and residential homes expounding on vertical expansion were the norm. The average household lived in 30-storey flats housing approximately 180 apartments, or pigeon holes’, as the locals coined it.

Geographically situated at the tip of Malaysia just above the equator, and surrounded by Indonesia, the climate was warm, humid, with no natural disasters, not even the tsunamis, thanks to the protective circumvention of the two neighboring countries.

I stayed in a hostel in Singapore’s Chinatown, where the rates went from S$55 (USD 35) per night for a standard double room. The location was ideal being near the Outram Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train station, where the two (and only two!), cross-directional, train lines by-passed as they ran across the entire island.

Turned out

Thailand Travellers – Explore The Mystery Of Thailand

Thailand is teeming with tourists, perhaps it is because of blend of mystery and excitement, the mix of ancient lore and modern nightlife. Thailand, has been known as Siam for centuries, Thailand has been a crossroads of culture and religion and the 21st century has not changed that fact.

If you are a Buddhist, it is the destination of a lifetime, if you are simply one who enjoys witnessing a culture far different than your own; again it is the destination of life time. For the devotee of Buddha; Thailand is home to some of the most unique and unusual Buddhist temples in the world.

And even if you are not a Buddhist, to stare at the emerald Buddha, crafted entirely of jasper quartz or jade is staggering to the imagination; the jade is dated to the 15th century, with the murals not being quite as old.

Add to that the fact that travelling in Thailand (not counting the airfare to get there) is one of the most inexpensive destinations worldwide. Hotels, food, shopping all are priced to make even a tourist with a modest budget, travel in style and eat like a King (a bowl of noodles cost less than one Dollar US)

If you are either the type of traveller who goes with a group, or strikes out on your own; either is find in Thailand with hotels to accommodate any budget. Backpackers can choose Kaosan road and if your tastes are more refined, you can choose packages from $40 to $100 or even $200 a night. The service is outstanding and staff will cater to your every whim.

Bangkok is full of activity, home to The National Museum of Thai art, musical instruments, weapons, woodcarving, ceramics, clothing and sacred Buddha images. While you’re here, don’t miss the Vinmanmek Teak Mansion, the largest teak structure standing. And of course you’ll want to visit The Royal Elephant Museum and Dusuit Zoom.

ROYAL ELEPHANT MUSEUM: The Royal Elephant Museum (this was first a stable for elephants commissioned by King Chulalongkorn) was an area or enclosure in the Palace and would eventually lay claim to containing the famous white elephant. This elephant was purported to have spiritual powers and was later elevated royal status in 1906.

While there are many ways to travel, I feel that coming to Thailand with a tour is not the best way to see the country. Certainly you will hit the high spots, but you will be surrounded by many other tourists, many love to discover Thailand more intimately. Thailand is a country that loves visitors, has kind and caring people and getting from one place to the other is easy, with the skytrain, taxi or tuk-tuk.

TUK-TUK: The tuk-tuk is like a small taxi and is widely used for transporting people in Southeast Asia. The name itself is derived from the sound of the engine. Tourist seem to like them since in times of increased traffic, they are often faster than a taxi. Be certain of the price you are paying for your ride and bargain for your fare, it is not expected to pay the first price you are quoted in Thailand.

Thai Dining Etiquette – the Moo Kata

Thai food is becoming increasingly popular, with a growing number of Thai restaurants opening throughout the UK. The consumption of foreign foods is now a common occurrence in our daily lives, possibly encouraged by the increase in people choosing to take holidays in more exotic locations.

Either way, food manufacturers at home are noticing that there is a growing demand for flavours that are more exotic. They are supplying that demand with an ever-increasing amount of foreign dishes for us to choose from.

Despite the increase in choice, the most obvious way to truly appreciate foreign food is still to experience it first-hand in the country that it originates from. There is no substitute for freshness of ingredients, and Thai food in particular is famous the world over for using only the freshest of ingredients. Often, when people return from a trip to Thailand, it is the food they miss most. They find that what faces them on the dining table at home to be bland by comparison.

It is no secret that Thai people love to eat, and dining in large groups is something that they have down to a fine art. Whereas Westerners tend to order individual dishes they share only when offering the occasional ‘tasters’ to friends, Thais prefer to go about it in a far more communal manner.

Thai diners pass dishes around, with all the food available being shared. It’s a social event, with everyone making sure they have a dip of all that is on offer. It would be an alien concept for a Thai person to go to a restaurant and order only the one dish for themselves.

An interesting mode of Thai communal eating, uniquely perfected over the centuries, is called Moo Kata – which literally means ‘pork skillet’. It consists of a dome shaped metal pan with a trough running around the edge, not dissimilar to a large, metal bowler hat.

This strange contraption sits on top of hot coals and is placed in the centre of the table. It is then loaded up with a variety of meats while the trough around the edge is filled with hot water. Juice from the meat runs down the side of the dome and mixes with the hot water, quickly turning it to a broth. Green leafy vegetables such as water spinach are added to the mix. In time, this turns into a tasty soup, which is in then ladled into individual bowls.

You really can’t compare the experience to anything else; at times it feels like a team sport, where cooperation and skill is required to ensure that every one gets their fair share and that what’s cooking on the Moo Kata is cooked to perfection before being served.

If you happen to be with a large group, however, make sure your chopstick skills are up to scratch, as everyone will be working feverishly to cover every square inch of the hot surface.

To travel and to not experience the food is a trip wasted, and Thailand has such a vast array to be discovered that you could possibly eat a different dish every day for the duration of your stay, no matter how long that stay may be!

With the increase in cheap flights there has never been a better time to explore Thai food at its source.

Winter Blues? It’s Nothing a Luxury Spa Break in Thailand Can’t Cure

Whilst the UK’s unpredictable weather is as much a part of its identity as fish and chips, it can cause many people to feel down and depressed when the dark, winter months kick in.

But in the summer months, many parts of the UK actually experience perfectly good weather and extended periods of sunshine. So, why do so many people choose to holiday abroad at a time when the UK weather really isn’t all that bad?

Well, this is why many people are now deciding to take winter holidays instead, with over a quarter of people now taking their main holiday between October and the end of the year. Not only is it, in general, an easier period to get time off work, it’s normally cheaper too and it provides two weeks of respite from the gloomy British winter. And as it is a cheaper time of year to travel, this means that more emphasis can be placed on ‘lavish’ rather than ‘budget’, with a luxury spa holiday providing the perfect remedy to beat the winter blues.

Thailand, for example, is a popular destination for winter sun and not just for a simple beach holiday either. There are many luxury destinations available within Thailand, be it a Phuket spa holiday resort or a Koh Samui spa holiday resort.

Indeed, a luxury Thailand spa holiday can be found to suit most requirements. For example, many people choose to travel to Thailand for the superb diving on offer and it’s possible to narrow the search by features such as on-site dive schools or even the availability of water sports, ensuring the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure.

But what makes Thailand a real 5 star holiday destination is the ability to combine a luxury spa holiday with a true cultural holiday experience. When not unwinding or being pampered, there are golden temples, busy markets, excellent food, mountain scenery and a plethora of glorious beaches to explore. Furthermore, the one aspect of Thai culture that ensures so many people return year after year is the warmth and friendliness of the local people. And this is what makes Thailand truly stand out from other destinations in the world.

So, with the nights drawing in, many people choose to take their main holiday later in the year. And as it’s generally cheaper to travel ‘off-season’, that luxury spa holiday in Thailand may be just the thing to ease those winter blues.

DO’S AND DON’T IN THAILAND

Do’s and Don’t in Thailand

The Monarchy : Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children.

Religion : Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go topless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attireIt is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.

Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it.

Social Norms :

Thais don’t normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a wai. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it.

Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude. Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.

Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.

Special Advice :

- Beware of unauthorised people who offer their services as guides. For all tourist information, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tel : 1672. For information about Bangkok, contact the Bangkok Metropolitan Tourist Bureau, Tel : 0 2225 7612-4.

- Observe all normal precautions as regards to personal safety, as well as the safety fof your belongings. Walking alone on quiet streets or deserted areas is not recommended. Be sure that all your valuables-money, jewellery, and airline tickets are properly protected from loss. Visitors needing assistance relating to safety, unethical practices, or other matters, please call the Tourist Police at Tel: 1155.

- Drop your garbage into a waste container. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration id no strictly enforcing the law in an effort to keep the city clean and healthy. The fine will be imposed on a person who spits, discards cigarette stubs, or drops rubbish in public areas.

- Do not get yourself involved with drugs. Penalties for drug offences are very severe in Thailand.

- Do not support any manner of wild animal abuse. Never purchase any products or souvenirs made from wild animals including reptiles like snakes, monitor lizards, and also turtle shell and ivory. Avoid patronizing local restaurants that serve wild animal delicacies. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand.

Thailand has beautiful place very much if you come to tour in thailand , assure that ,you do will not be defeated certainly.