295 Kms from Bua Yai
Bangkok has often been referred to as the microcosm of Southeast Asia. Firmly centrestage on the global backpacker scene, Thailand’s capital city is where an entire generation has learnt how to travel. Navigating through the buzzing, boozy night markets where tourists often outnumber locals, bargain shopping, negotiating with tuk-tuk drivers, discovering new flavours and sounds - it often all begins here - in this thumping metropolis with some of the most iconic places that are on every young traveller’s bucket list. Of all the things to do in Bangkok, you will inevitably wind up Khao San road, take the river cruise on Chao Phraya river and walk into one of the many grand palaces and temples that dominate the city’s skyline. While you are there, enjoy hours of guilt-free street shopping, while sampling the exhaustive menu of the unique local cuisine of the streets of Siam. Flutter through alleys of Sukhumvit, buzzing with cafes, bars and everything in between. Bangkok’s nightlife is among the city’s top attractions. Don’t leave here before witnessing the neon glitter that paints the city life after nightfall. Read More
What I learnt, ate and experienced on my first day in Bangkok.
Ah, this is an Indian man's favourite destination. Your cousin or distant uncle must have told you how "funtastic" Bangkok is, and they weren't kidding. The place is a melange of beautiful beaches and ancient Hindu temples, and the people are really hospitable all over. The best part is, tickets are cheap!Must do while here: Go monastery hopping. Visit the Khaosan Road to experience the outrageous nightlife.Average cost per day per head (excluding flights): Rs. 3,000Best Hotels.Read more about Bangkok.
Every year Bangkok experiences a rise of 0.8 degree Celsius and along with temperature fluctuations, flooding has become a present reality for the city. In last few years Bangkok's issue with climate has speed up drastically and a future with irreversible effects.
Day 6, Jan 9th, 2017: Our travel agent had left us to our own devices for this day, so we decided to visit the floating market, another unique thing to Thailand. There are a few floating markets around Bangkok, and we were taken to the Damnoen Saduek Floating Market. We rented a taxi from the hotel to take us there as it is an hour's drive from Bangkok. We crossed lush countryside as we headed for the market. The tickets for an hour long ride on the long-tailed boat along the canals was pretty expensive, 1000 Baht. The roar of the engine sounded loud as we chugged along the narrow canals. We were met by a burst of color and sound as we reached the main area of the market. You can disembark from the boat to stroll the shops in the marketplace or u can choose to browse by boat. Houses on stilts on the banks can be seen in some places. The floating market is colorful and fun at the same time. Each time you want to inspect something from a shop or buy something, the boat rider slows down to make it convenient. The shops sell everything from bags, wallets, belts, beautiful scarves, Thailand t-shirts, dragon printed shirts, coconut shell artifacts. It is an unique experience. We made a stop at a coconut factory and shop, it is strange how every part of the coconut is used for making something. I got some tasty fresh coconut treats to take back home, the lady at the counter even let me taste one.My friends visited the Golden Buddha Temple after we returned back from the floating market and then were taken to a gem factory. We spent our evening shopping again at Indra Mall and nearby areas. This was officially our last day in Thailand as we would be leaving the next day, although we did actually have another day since our flight was late night.
Day 5, Jan 8th, 2017: After a leisurely breakfast, we set out for Bangkok. Our stay was at the Ecotel Hotel, which was the least favorite of the three hotels we stayed in during our trip. We had relegated all our shopping to Bangkok since we had heard it was the most appropriate place to shop for cheap and trendy items. It was noon by the time we arrived at Bangkok and I skipped the day tour as I had been to Bangkok earlier, and decided to concentrate on shopping. The Indra mall was where we did all our shopping. There was everything available and at very reasonable rates, need I mention you need to barter well. The evening was spent shopping and then we visited the massage parlor for a leisurely massage before retiring for the night.
I love the bright chaos Bangkok offers me. I look around and my eyes pop out at the various colors that whoosh past me. I love your city at night with the lights and the sky train that shoots past over my head. While here, I am certain of how to start and end my day; you wrap your arms around me and lead my way.
If Bangkok were a person, the safest term to describe its personality would be ‘eccentric’, perhaps even downright insane. One night in Bangkok can indeed make a hard man humble and the tough guys tumble. It, after all, is a roller coaster of a city, bringing you down at one point and then introducing you the highest of highs. Thailand’s capital is energetic and passive, bright and dingy, welcoming and cold, all at the same time. I consider myself fortunate enough to have seen the multiple facets of Bangkok on seven different occasions. And every single visit has left an indelible impression on me, for all the right reasons.I first arrived in Bangkok when my age was still measured in single digits and the cacophony that made up most of the city was more nonplussing than anything else.
When I was planning my trip to Thailand, I didn't know where to start. I also was not prepared to fall completely in love with the country. Here's a simple plan to get the best of Bangkok, especially if you have to get back to office on Monday (boo!). So, 48 hours (you might not sleep much). Here's all the things to do in Bangkok. Your time starts now.The first thing that hits you about Bangkok is that it's overwhelming. You'll be so torn in which direction to go and what to do first. Just soak it all in. And make sure that there's another trip to Thailand in your future, because one just won't do! There are so many things to do in Bangkok.
We landed in Bangkok after a 16 hour journey that included two curries courtesy of Air India, numerous Bloody Marys and the sum total of 3 hours sleep between us. Rach achieved a respectable two hours; I got one. Mainly thanks to the guy sat behind me on the plane using his ginormous sausage fingers to treat the touch screen in my headrest like a particularly rusty typewriter. After ten minutes I thought he would wear himself out. After twenty minutes it became apparent he would not and by then I had decided that I was too polite (too English) to say anything. Which is how I found myself face down on my food tray listening to Chariots of Fire for two hours. Excellent soundtrack, by the way.So we arrived at Bangkok airport somewhat tired, smelly (well I did, Rach cannot generate body odour), and disorientated. Having collected our baggage, we stepped outside. Bangkok is hot. And humid. We felt as if someone had wrapped us in a thousand duvets.Fortunately there is a very efficient and easy to use system for getting a taxi outside the airport. We immediately got it wrong. On our second attempt we showed an extremely happy taxi chap our hotel address and name. He loaded our bags into the back of his taxi. He double-checked the address. He asked me if I had the telephone number of our hotel. I did not. He unloaded our bags back onto the pavement.A helpful lady at the service desk found the telephone number for our hotel and we found ourselves in our second taxi. This taxi chap was a different kettle of fish. No smiles, all business. He drove us out of the airport and pulled in two minutes down the road. He stared at the address we had given him. He studied the telephone number. He called the hotel. Rach and I nodded to each other, despite our tired brains we knew that this was our man. He politely informed us that the telephone number was not recognized and confidently drove us into the night.It was a very uneventful drive through heavy traffic into Bangkok old town, punctuated by just one traffic jam. During this jam our driver took a gulp of water, opened the car door, spat the water onto the road and then let rip a prodigious burp. He delivered us safe and sound to the hotel 15 minutes later. I liked him.Casa Nithra is a wonderful hotel. We were welcomed like royalty, and given a cold flannel at reception along with something sweet and mysterious to drink…at least, we hope it was something to drink. Too late to worry about that. They checked us in and upon entering our room we performed a celebratory dance. Next came showers, a couple of beers from the mini bar and sleep.
Have a couple of days to spare in Bangkok and you ain't keen on shopping? Then... attack the food! Especially... street food.Street food in Bangkok is relatively cheap, plus it is authentic and yummy. If you are a foodie and yet do not want to spend a bomb eating your way through Bangkok... you have come to the right place :)Street food in Bangkok is easy on your wallet and satisfies your stomach!
294 Kms from Bua Yai
Start your Cambodia itinerary with Siem Reap. It's located in the northwest part of the country.Read More
Start your Cambodia itinerary with Siem Reap. It's located in the northwest part of the country.
Since arriving in Siem Reap, Cambodia last September I've been itching to get out and explore. I'm also keen to share what this beautiful country has to offer aside from the Angkor Temples and The Killing Fields. Whilst these are absolute musts, there's a whole lot more to Cambodia, much of it off the beaten track, away from the tourist hoards. With that in mind, this series was born. Andy and I will endeavour to visit and write about one off the beaten track place here every month. The aim being to encourage people to stay longer in Cambodia and see some of it's less touristy offerings. First up is a Kulen Mountain day trip, where a group of us went on a day trip from Siem Reap in January. Siem Reap is as being as flat as a pancake, but 40 km to the North East of Angkor Wat, in Svay Leu District is Phnom Kulen National Park. The small regular shaped plateau of the Phnom Kulen mountain range protrudes from the landscape, nestled amongst thick jungle. Locals consider Kulen Mountain or 'Mountain of Lychees' to b the most sacred mountain in Cambodia. It's frequently visited by Buddhists and Hindus's in pilgrimage. On top of the plateau is a sacred hilltop with about 30 ruined temples. Much of the land is yet to be de-mined, which means currently, the public can't visit many of the temples, and definitely not without an expert guide. What to See and Do
As we stepped off the plane at Siem Reap International Airport the excitement took over. We were hit by the familiar hot, humid air and the smell of South East Asia. I think this unique smell is a combination of close, muggy air infused with incense, spices, cooking, gasoline, and in the rainy season, wet grass, leaves and mud. Andy and I are now nearing the end of our first month in Siem Reap. Therefore I wanted to update you on our roller-coaster of an integration and assimilation to expat life here. Just a pre-warning...this is a lengthy post - I'll try to keep future posts on the little but often basis. Integration and assimilation is normally over in a day or two after arriving in a new place. It involves finding our bearings, discovering how things work and generally getting into the swing of things. This time it's been different. I think this is partly because we've both been to Cambodia and Siem Reap several times before. It's also because we're not just travelling here, but living and working too. As a result this post is about our 4 week stint house and pet-sitting, and running our friends guesthouse ( Rosy Guesthouse). Welcome Back A friendly tuk-tuk driver from Rosy Guesthouse met us at the airport as usual. He whisked us straight there where we were welcomed by our friends and partook in several obligatory Cambodia draft beers, before getting settled into our favourite room for a few nights. We then spent an enjoyable evening at our friend's house, where we had dinner and a good catch-up. We also got a tour of the house we'd be living in for the next 4 weeks and met the pets we'd be looking after. The following day we were given a thorough handover of the day to day running of the guesthouse. We also got a grand tour of the important places in town that we might need such as the bank, money exchange, wholesalers, markets, malls, petrol station etc. A Tourist Mecca As we drove around town it soon became clear that Siem Reap has changed alot since our last visit 4 years ago. It's tourism industry has boomed since we first visited 8 or 9 years ago, which was inevitable given the proximity to the famous Angkor Temple complex. During our first visit the roads were mainly dirt tracks, with a distinct lack of pavements and just a smattering of guesthouses. Now there are guesthouses, hostels, and hotels everywhere you look.
At the end of October we flew into Siem Reap, Cambodia which was to be our home for the next year. The rest of October we started to get settled into house and pet sitting for our friends and also into getting into the swing of relief managing Rosy Guesthouse for them whilst they returned to the UK for a visit.NovemberWe were kept very busy throughout most of November looking after the Rosy Guesthouse, which was a great experience and helped us to meet lots of other expats and start to make friends here.Our favourite part of this month has to be the 3 day Water Festival. Rosy Guesthouse over-looks the river and Royal Gardens, meaning we had a prime position for watching the dragon boat races. Cambodians love a good party and it was all pretty crazy in the streets near the river.
Lotus fields Siem Reap Cambodia Christmas was wonderful as we spent it with Siem Reap friends old and new. A lot of eating, drinking and partying was involved. Then 5 friends from the UK arrived for a two week holiday and to see in the New Year. It was fantastic to see some familiar faces and a great time was had by all.This post was originally published on Can Travel Will Travel.
We booked our tickets on the Mekong Express bus for 13$. I highly recommend this bus service about which there are glowing reviews everywhere online too. They provide a minivan pick-up from the hotel to the bus station and the buses themselves are super comfortable with plush seating, toilets, air-conditioning and most importantly, curtains to keep out the harsh sun. The Cambodian countryside is soothing to the eyes and after a while most people on the bus dozed off for a bit. We arrived at Siem Reap at 1:30 p.m. having left Phnom Penh at 8:30 a.m. and there were tuk-tuk drivers jostling for customers at the bus-station to take us to our hotel. Another Air BnB find, our hotel was very strategically located...just walking distance away from the hustle and bustle of Pub street but tucked away into a quiet lane right beside one of the exits to the Arts Market. At 4500 INR for three nights, we thought it was a steal.Our hotel reception, as I am guessing will be the case with all hotels, was a treasure trove of useful information about day tours to Angkor sites and other interesting sights around Siem Reap. It was from here that we booked tickets to the Angkor National Museum for 12$ each it saved us the expense of hiring a private tour guide to be with us on the two days that we planned to devote to Angkor temple sites. It was a smart move as it not only saved us nearly 60$. The hotel also helped us with hiring a tuk-tuk, who at 12$ a day was going to take us on a half day tour of all the major and minor sites.
In Siem Reap you can visit the Angkor Wat temple complex, the largest religious monument in the world - which is really worth the visit.You can purchase a single day pass or a 3-day-pass, depending on how you plan to spend your time there. There is lots of companies that offer a day trip to the temples, with a air-con van and water included. I really recommend these packages, because the weather is really hot.At night you can go to Pub Street, filled with backpackers from around the world. I would say it's a smaller version of Khao San Rd, in Bangkok.
Siem Reap happens to be a city that is stuck in a time warp. It is wedged between a rapidly growing hospitality sector and a bequest left behind by its former colonial masters. The province essentially serves as a bridge that travellers take in order to explore the fascinating temples and ruins of Angkor, possibly the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site on this planet. The city on the other hand is a constant party considering its fancy restaurants and bars and an open-air discotheque of sorts in the form of the massively popular Pub Street.
267 Kms from Bua Yai
This is the capital and also the largest city of Laos. It is located on the bank of the River Mekong. We started our trip by visiting the oldest Buddhist temple or Wat of the city- Wat Si Saket. The style of the Buddhist architecture is intertwined with the history of the capital. There are thousands of images of Lord Buddha in ceramic, gold and silver. The many carvings and rustic delicate statues of Buddha show the authenticity of this traditional temple. We spent hours cycling around the villages and local markets. There are many places that you can rent bicycles from. Trailing through the countryside we came across some of the most engagingly untouched neighborhoods.Read More
This is the capital and also the largest city of Laos. It is located on the bank of the River Mekong. We started our trip by visiting the oldest Buddhist temple or Wat of the city- Wat Si Saket. The style of the Buddhist architecture is intertwined with the history of the capital. There are thousands of images of Lord Buddha in ceramic, gold and silver. The many carvings and rustic delicate statues of Buddha show the authenticity of this traditional temple. We spent hours cycling around the villages and local markets. There are many places that you can rent bicycles from. Trailing through the countryside we came across some of the most engagingly untouched neighborhoods.