Category Archives: Thailand

Phuket Photo Essays You Should See

For those planning to explore Phuket, here’s a compilation of photo essays that capture various sides of the Thai province that is well-loved by travelers.

From Fly See Stay:flyseestay

This photo essay mainly captures the beauty of nature in Phuket with shots of the clear waters and limestone cliffs, along with images of floating villages and the locals there. Oh, and the author sneaked in a picture of the notorious Patong area as well.

Full photo essay here: Fly See Stay

Best Beaches in Phuket >>>

From Bowdy Wanders:bowdywanders

With many pictures of the places of worship and the beautiful details in their architecture, this photo essay shows a side of Phuket that is different from the ‘sun, sand and sea’ stereotype, although some pictures of the latter is included as well.

Full photo essay here: Bowdy Wanders

Viewpoints in Phuket >>>

From Notes From A Big World:

notesfrabigworld

Perhaps not the prettiest or most professional of pictures, but this photo essay that focuses on Phuket’s transportation system is worth viewing nonetheless, as it captures the vehicles that locals use, providing insight to their daily lives.

Full photo essay here: Notes From A Big World

5 Things To Do In Phuket >>>

From Monkey Abroad:

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This photo essay is very ‘real’- compiled over a period of 6 months by a foreign teacher who lived and worked in Phuket. It shows everything from the beaches to the temples to the nightlife, and is probably the closest to how the locals would see the province.

Full photo essay here: Monkey Abroad

Explore Phuket Nightlife at Patong>>>

Ever been to Phuket? Which was your favorite photo essay? Share your travel stories in the comments below!

Images courtesy of (from top to bottom): Fly See StayBowdy WandersNotes From A Big World & Monkey Abroad.

Visit travelog.me for more places to go when in Phuket!

Have insider information or travel stories to share? Contribute to the Travelog blog & engage with travel-lovers like yourself (credits will be given). Email us at hello@travelog.me to find out more!

4 Bars You Should Visit if You Want to Drink Like a Local in Chiang Mai

There are a lot of bars in Chiang Mai. In fact one would need to spend all of his life to visit them all. In the city centre all of them are targeted at tourists, where backpackers mix with the expat crowd. There you will also encounter sex-pats with their ladyboys and young Thai wives. But, Chiang Mai has also places, which are frequented mostly by Thais. Some of them are hidden in small streets, away from the tourists areas, and are hard to find if you are here only for a few days. However, there are a couple of places that are easily accessible, have wonderful atmosphere, and yet are omitted by those visiting the city. Here are 4 of them.

1.  Sudsanan

Location: Sukhaphiban 9, off Hauy Kaw Road

You would never think that the dirt road, full of holes, can lead to one of the nicest bars in Chiang Mai. It is hidden away, but once you get there you will come back again and again.

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This wooden hut has a chilled out atmosphere and is popular among locals of all ages. They have a live band playing almost every night, but the music is very acoustic and not loud, so you can easily have a conversation without shouting over each other.

They also serve Thai food, which is tasty and not pricey at all – around 60-90 Baht per dish. During the weekend they have an outside barbecue.

2.  Seven Pounds

Location: Te Wan Road

This is one of my favourite bars. It is a tiny place, with a garden at the back, all decorated with random objects. There is a bath tub in the corner, where they used to grow flowers, and now it is left with growing weeds and empty bottles of wine sticking out of it. There is a dentist chair, old telephones and TVs, and really cool ancient chandeliers. This is a place, which a hipster would love.

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The bar is very quiet during the week. They have a live band during the weekend, which starts playing at around 9pm. The music here is mostly rock and it is much louder than in Sudsanan. Come here if you enjoy a glass of beer and some noisy music .

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3.  Kamrai Shop

Location: Nimmenhamida Road, it is on your right if you come from Maya Shopping Centre

It is not really a bar, but an alcohol shop, where people come to meet with friends over a drink. The great thing about this place is that it is not only in a great location, but also offers alcohol at retail prices.

I would say that the owners try to attract the ‘middle class’ customers, so they do not sell cheap Thai whiskey. All you can get here is beer, wine, vodka and a good selection of rum and imported whiskeys.

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You can buy the alcohol to take away with you, or you can ask for a glass and drink it at one of the tables outside.

The shop doesn’t have a kitchen, but you can order food here and they will deliver it to you from the nearby restaurant.

The bar is noisy and lively, but there is no music playing. It is ideal for a drink before a night out.

 4.  The Bus Bar

Location: 11 Kampagdin Road, Across from Imperial Mae Ping Hotel

Looking for a place for a romantic date? Or maybe you would like to have a nice, quiet drink in a place, overlooking the Ping River? Look no further! Bus Bar is a place you are looking for!

It is a cool spot for many reasons. First of all, it really IS a bus bar. They sell drinks out of a double dekker bus, which you can also climb and spend the evening there, if you like. Second reason is the location – it is just by the river and next to an iron bridge (during the night you will see some young Thai couples making out, away from their relatives’ prying eyes) and the views and the atmosphere are quite romantic.

They sometimes have a singer, who usually sings some rock ballads, and if he is not there then they play all the classic rock and pop songs.

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On Wednesdays you can come here for the Couchsurfing meet up. It starts around 7pm.

Learn more about Chiang Mai >>


Article & images contributed by Joanna Szreder, theblondtravels.com

Still looking for things to do in Chiang Mai? Check out this article onThe Ultimate Guide to 24 Hours in Chiang Mai : Backpacker’s Edition.

More useful resources :

The Ultimate Guide to 24 Hours in Chiang Mai : Backpackers’ Edition

If you’re on the backpacker trail and have got 24 hours to kill in Chiang Mai, make sure you use our ultimate hour-by-hour guide to a day best spent in Thailand’s largest and most significant northern city.

by Amy, MyChiangMaiEverything

 8:30: get ready

Wake up, dress in comfortable clothes and pack a map, water and a top that covers your shoulders. Head down to the common room to enjoy coffee with your fellow travellers and smile – you’re about to have an awesome day!

9:00: eat breakfast

Wander outside till you smell something delectable. Eat a cheap Thai-style breakfast with students and tuk tuk drivers at the roadside. You’ll probably find rice porridge (jok), barbequed pork skewers with sticky rice (moo ping khao niao) or freshly fried Thai-style churros dipped in thick green pandan and coconut sweet custard (pa thong ko sangkaya). Afterwards, head to one of Chiang Mai’s many coffee shops for a strong brew. An excellent choice is Akha Ama, which serves coffee grown by hill tribe smallholders in the nearby mountains.

If you don’t have your own transport, hail one of the red trucks that act as taxis in Chiang Mai. They’re called songthaews and the price to anywhere inside the moat or just outside it is 20 baht per person for one journey. State your destination and simply get in the back if they agree to take you – don’t ask how much or you’ll be charged the tourist price. When you get out, pay your 20 baht and say thank you – girls say “kob khun khaa” and guys say “kob khun khrab!”

10:00: visit a temple

Hop on your motorbike or hail a songthaew and head up the mountain to Doi Suthep temple (this journey will cost more than 20 baht – don’t forget to haggle the price down!). The air up there is gorgeously fresh and on a clear day you can see all of Chiang Mai below you. Before you enter the temple make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered and remove your shoes. Wander around and take in the splendour of golden stupas, opulent Buddha statues and sonorous chanting. Light incense and candles, hear the tinkling bells and kneel in front of a saffron-robed monk to receive a traditional Buddhist blessing.

12:30: paddle in a waterfall and mini-hike

On the way back down the mountain, stop off at the lower falls of the gorgeous Huay Kaew waterfall (Huay Kaew nam tok) to paddle in the stream. The lower falls are behind a popular shrine and small food market that can be seen from the road. If you’re lucky a Thai family on a day out might offer you some fruit or tasty home cooked treats and ask you to join their picnic. There’s a lovely forty minute hike through the forest that starts at the bottom set of falls and climbs to the upper falls, following the stream. Drink lots of water! When you reach the upper falls, hail a songthaew down the rest of the mountain to go get lunch.

13:45: eat lunch

For a healthy meal in a relaxed atmosphere, head to Bird’s Nest on Singharat Soi 3, a popular café amongst the backpacker and digital-nomad crowds. Bird’s Nest chefs try to use only organic food, depending on availability. A delicious avocado and home-made pesto wrap will fill you up and a cold mint, lime and honey shake will refresh you – divine.

Eat street food if you’re on a strict budget. There are a lot of tasty choices on the way back to the Old City along Suthep Road. If the menu is in Thai, point at what you want and say “ow nee, kha / khrab”, which means ‘I’d like this, please!”

If you haven’t tried the big flat rice noodles, kale and egg cooked in soy sauce (pad see ew) yet, try it. It’s the ultimate Thai comfort food. When you’ve finished, order a cha yen – traditional Thai sweet iced tea with tamarind juice, lime and optional milk.

15:00: chat with a monk

Ever chatted with a monk? Go to Wat Chedi Luang in the centre of the Old City. After looking around the magnificent temple grounds and reading the spiritual advice tacked on to the trees, head over to the ‘Monk Chat’ sign and… chat with a monk! You can talk (in English!) about pretty much any aspect of life with him and get a personal insight into Buddhist beliefs.

16:00: re-engergise in two blissful hours

Thai massage is energetic, like doing assisted yoga. It’s definitely worth investing in a two hour massage – you’ll feel amazing afterwards. It can be hard or soft depending on your preference. A polite “raeng raeng” means ‘harder, harder!’ and “bow bow” means ‘gently, gently!’

You can be massaged by a convict! For a unique massage experience, head over to the Women’s Correctional Institution Training Centre. These women are being trained in a sustainable vocation so that they can be masseuses when they’re released, rather than returning to a life of crime. Their massages are really, really good. It’s popular, so it’s a good idea to go early on in the day and book an appointment. Unfortunately you can’t make a phone booking.

Other great budget options are Green Bamboo Massage, and Lila Thai Massage.

18:30: eat dinner

For delicious cheap Thai food, head to North Gate and order food from one of the many stalls. Street Pizza is a seriously cool pizza place, popular with Thais and travellers alike. Vegetarians will want to check out Anchan in Nimmanhaemin, Imm Aim in Santitham or Pun Pun. Alternatively, head to the market early and pick something up as you wander around – there’s plenty to eat.

19:30: shop

There are two main night markets to choose from: the Night Bazaar is open every night and the Sunday Walking Street market is on, you guessed it, Sundays. Both are big and colourful with plenty of beautiful, strange, impressive and unique things to buy: handicrafts, furniture, clothes, accessories, fairy lights in a hundred different designs and art work. Prices are almost always negotiable so barter! Personally I prefer the Sunday market because you don’t have to dodge traffic. Even if you’re not all that into shopping the markets are still worth a visit for the great social vibe and all the different Thai food available.

Look out for the ‘ancient ice cream’ stalls for a tasty and cheap way to cool down. A fresh coconut, chopped open with a machete in front of you and served with a straw is ultra-hydrating and deliciously tropical.

21:30: watch Muay Thai boxing

Spend an hour or two cheering on the boxers at a muay Thai boxing stadium for around 400 baht. There are four places to choose from: Kalare Stadium, Thapae Stadium, Kawila Stadium and Loi Kroh Stadium. Kalare is more authentic and best for real fights, followed by Kawila. Thapae and Loi Kroh have more ‘show fights’ – like guys beating each other up in blindfolds. Have a beer, make a few bets and get loud! Ask your guesthouse for exact fight dates and times.

If you don’t want to buy roses or bracelets from the ladies and kids that walk around between fights, say “mai ow” firmly. It means ‘I don’t want it’.

23:00: drink

Get a songthaew to Ratchawithi Road and pick a bar. This is a great place to make friends before the partying starts. Be warned: Chang beer is cheap but gives you one hell of a hangover – the notorious Changover! Try Singha, Leo or Beer Lao instead.

23:30 – 00:00: party

Head to the infamous Zoe area on Ratchawithi Road, fondly known as The Square of Despair. The bars play music to suit many tastes, like pop, dance, ska, reggae and metal. Some of the bars have live music, others have DJs. There are often special nights with guest bands playing a set. Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest nights.

God knows what time

When all the Zoe bars have kicked out, spill out into the row of food stalls. Tacos Bell is a firm favourite for drunken eats. Ask around to see where everyone’s headed next!

Still looking for ideas of things to do Chiang Mai?

Check out Travelog  for more useful, up-to-date information on things to do and places to visit when traveling in Thailand.

Click here >> 


Image courtesy of Four Seasons Chiang Mai.

 

Article contributed by Amy – MyChiangMaiEverything.

11 Invaluable Tips for Tackling Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market

Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market is famous for its bustling atmosphere, the huge variety of goods (ranging from animals to clothing to art) and how cheap everything is there. What’s a trip to Bangkok without going to Chatuchak? In order to help you make the best out of your trip to the Chatuchak weekend market, here are 11 tips for you.

1.  Familiarize Yourself With the Map

Chatuchak Market Map
Chatuchak has 27 sections and more than 8,000 stalls. To save time and not risk getting lost, look through the map and circle the sections that you want to visit the most before planning your route for the day.

2.  Directions to Chatuchak

directions to Chatuchak
Chatuchak Market is adjacent to the Kamphaengpecth Station (MRT) about 5 minute walk from Mochit Skytrain (BTS) Station and Suan Chatuchak (Chatuchak Park) Station (MRT). However, taking a tuk-tuk is really cheap in Bangkok, so just hop onto one and you’ll definitely reach Chatuchak in no time (without getting lost).

3.  The Vintage Section

Chatuchak Vintage Section
If you are into vintage clothing, do check out Section 5-6. The variety of clothing, accessories and second-hand leather goods at dirt-cheap prices will surprise you. Do not purchase anything from the first few stores you see at the start of the section, the real 100-baht deals are hidden away from the front.

4.  Bring a Trolley Bag

Chatuchak Market Getting Around
With all the amazing deals in Chatuchak, you’ll definitely be buying truckloads of goods and lugging them around the market is going to be a chore. Bring a simple trolley bag that you can throw your clothes in and just wheel your precious goods around with ease.

5.  Replenish Your Energy

Chatuchak Market Food Stalls
The food in Chatuchak is delicious. From the famous coconut ice cream (look for the stall that not only sells ice cream, but also offers free coconut water), to the typical Bangkok street food to the mixed rice style stalls around, you’ll never go hungry while shopping.

6.  Keep Yourself Hydrated

Chatuchak Market Food and Drink
The tropical hot weather will leave you parched and in need of water. Our suggestion would be to bring a bottle of water so you can hydrate yourself wherever, whenever. However if you forgot to bring water, you can just purchase ice-cold bottles of beers, soda and mineral water from the vendors along the open main streets.

7.  You’ll Never See the Same Store Twice

Chatuchak Market Clothes Stores
If you are hesitant about buying something, don’t put it on hold and think that you’ll come back. The complicated layout of Chatuchak will ensure that you’ll never find the same store again – or you’ll spend hours looking for that same store. So if you really like something, just buy it!

8.  After Hours

Chatuchak Market Late Night
If you still want to continue shopping after the market closes at 7pm, the pedestrian walkways right outside the market comes alive with clothing and accessories stall till late. The goods offered are cheaper than the market but there’s less variety and less food stalls.

9.  Bargain, Bargain, Bargain

Chatuchak Market Retail
As with all the other shopping centres and markets in Bangkok, you have to bargain as much as possible. Do not show too much interest when you’re asking for the price and be prepared to walk away but do not expect a crazy 50% discount. The best you’ll get is a bulk discount.

10.  Shipping Companies

Chatuchak Market Shipping Companies
For those who simply bought too much, there are shipping companies like DHL and TNT available around the market. They will collect your purchases and send them back to your hotel so that you can continue shopping without any baggage.

11.  JJ Mall

Chatuchak Market JJ Mall
If you get tired of braving the crowds in Bangkok’s intense heat, head down to the 4-storey JJ Mall that’s only a 10 minute walk away. The mall is air conditioned with food courts, clothing stores (though slightly more expensive), actual restaurants and massage parlors. It’s a terrific place for cooling down and relaxing after a day of shopping.

Find more information on things to do in Bangkok, visit Travelog.


Images courtesy of (from top to bottom) Chatuchak.org, TripAdvisor, A Pair and A Spare, Keryhi.Can.Boleh, Uncle Tehpeng, Eat and Treats (6 and 7), BlueBalu, Alex in Wanderland, Man on the Lam, Global Travel Mate.

The Ten Best Budget Hotels in Bangkok

Bangkok is a wonderland filled with rainbows and unicorns for the budget traveler with its cheap and incredible food, shopping and nightlife. And these low prices apply to Bangkok’s accommodation as well. A night in a budget hotel includes all that you can ever wish for – amazingly comfortable beds, mouth-watering breakfasts and not to forget, free WIFI.

Here’s a guide to the top ten budget Bangkok hotels that cost less than fifty dollars a night.

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1.  Budacco Hotel

Just a stone’s throw away from the Pratunam morning market and Platinum Mall, Budacco is a little colorful haven tucked away from the busy, noisy Bangkok streets. With 48 spacious rooms in 6 different color styles and impeccable service standards, this is a shopaholic’s ultimate resting point.

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2.  IMM Fusion Sukhumvit

This unique Morrocan-styled hotel is perfect for the budget traveler looking to unwind after a day of exploring Bangkok. IMM Fusion is one of the few budget hotels that actually have a beautiful swimming pool with many cozy lounge areas.  Though it may not be centrally located in Sukhumvit, cheap transportation in Bangkok makes this a minor, negligible concern in comparison to the wonders IMM Fusion offers.

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3.  Citin Pratunam Hotel

Looking for a one stop budget hotel in the Pratunam area that will cater to all your needs? Citin Pratunam is your answer. They offer the most comprehensive services, from the newly opened Citin Spa to the complimentary tuk-tuk service; all you need to do is check-in and enjoy the rest of your holiday – fuss-free.

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4.  Dang Derm Hotel

Dang Derm is the perfect destination for those seeking convenience and comfort. Not only is it located in Khao San – the most popular street market, but it is also within a 10-minute radius of the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.  The hotel’s facilities and services are also in accordance with the highest standards.

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5.  Tune Hotel Asoke

Located in Sukhumvit, Tune aims for convenient service at a discount price. Do not worry, this does not mean discounted facilities, Tune’s beds are said to be made by the same manufacturer who produces beds for 5 star hotels. On top of their excellent facilities, Tune is a short walk from popular mall, Terminal 21 and the nightlife centre of Nana.

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6.  Best Western Klassique Sukhumvit

Another Sukhumvit gem, Best Western is ideal for those looking for an authentic retreat in Bangkok. Away from the tourist spots (though still easily accessible by the cheap public transport), the hotel is surrounded by local night markets and restaurants. You’ll be able to experience living like a Thai local, the only difference is that you’ll be sleeping in luxury every night!

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7.  Lemon Tea Hotel

The concept of Lemon Tea Hotel is ‘Casual, Easy, and Fresh,’ much like drinking a glass of lemon tea. Sticking true to its values, the hotel is cozy and clean with exemplary service. What sets it apart is the impressive minimalist style that’s great for photo opportunities. Get ready to whip out your camera and spend hours just photographing this picture-perfect hotel.

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8.  Check Inn Chinatown by Sarida

Check Inn is a little sanctuary situated in the heart of one of the most vibrant areas of Bangkok – Chinatown. Among the frantic shopping and delicious street food stalls and restaurants, Check Inn is hidden away from all the hustle and bustle. Get a good night’s rest here and enjoy all that Bangkok has to offer.

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9.  Asia Hotel Bangkok

Situated in Siam – one of the most expensive areas in Bangkok, Asia Hotel has the splendor of a 5 star hotel with the price of a budget hotel. The prices here are actually just a little out of our budget for cheap hotels but we couldn’t resist recommending it. Where else can you pay little more than $50 a night for entertainment (we’re talking about the famous lady cabaret show in its in-house theatre), two swimming pools, gyms and spa? Be prepared to be dazzled by Asia Hotel.

Find out more about the Asia Hotel Bangkok here.

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10.  Ziniza Place

Ziniza Place is an oasis for families who are looking for luxury without the hefty price tag. The best part of Zinizia is its location – close to Bangkok’s finest shopping malls, restaurants and famous tourist spots. Its close distance to the Chatuchak Weekend Market at Bangsue station only adds to the benefits of staying in Ziniza. Stay close to the action and retreat swiftly back to your hotel for a relaxing time whenever the children start getting tired.

Find your budget Bangkok hotel here, or find more things to do and places to visit in Bangkok here.


Images courtesy of (from top to bottom) Budacco.com, Asia Web Direct, Citin Pratunam, Dang Derm, Tune Hotels, ebookers.com, Lemon Tea Hotel, Check Inn, Asia Web Direct and Ziniza.