Thailand - Part 3

Marble Palace Bangkok
Last week in - Part 2 - you will have read about temples, food and food safety, prostitution and Chang Mai. The week before in - Part 1 - I gave some statistics, spoke on how to get around and about Bangkok.

Beach at resort hotel in Phuket
Getting away from the heady, heavy cities and out to unspoilt beaches is one of the best parts of visiting Thailand. You can book an all inclusive week at one of the resorts and relax, soak up the sun and enjoy buffets of delicious Thai food. The hotels usually have reps from the tour companies at hand. They have catalogues with pictures and descriptions of their tours and day trips. Think glass bottomed boats, fishing, island hopping, snorkeling and diving, learning Thai crafts such as fruit carving and Thai cookery. The resorts also have regular shuttle buses that do round trips so you can pop into town or try out the various local beaches. You may find better prices if you go into the town and chat to other tour operators.

Resort hotel bedroom
I would recommend you have as many Thai massages as you can while in Thailand. They are dead cheap and these ladies manage to take the kinks and knots out of your muscles and joints. Thai massage - is quite different to a Swedish or Sports massage. You are usually clothed and no oils are used. Thai ladies pick up your limbs and twist and rotate them. They roll you about and rearrange you. They press and prod you. It sounds uncomfortable but it's not. You let yourself go limp and they do all the work and it is heavenly. The other bonus is a Thai massage is around 2 hours long.

Traditional clothing of the hill tribe ladies in Chang Mai
Make sure you keep space in your suitcase for shopping in Thailand. You can have a custom made suit or outfits run up by one of the many tailors. You can also find designer knock offs or over runs. Just be aware that bringing home designer imitations can be illegal in some countries. How about carved wooden items to hand crafted jewelry? You can buy CDs, fabrics and really just about anything from flip flops to pots and pans - dirt cheap. My best was the night market in Chang Mai. Night markets are common in Thailand. But a regular to Chang Mai reckons the Sunday market there is even better. Do try on or at least measure clothes against your body as Asian sizes are smaller.

Wood carving
Every country has some unique saying or custom and Thailand is no exception. Thais positively adore their royal family despite them being fairly remote from their people it's an offence and deeply insulting to say anything bad about the Royal family. Another custom is to stand to attention when the national anthem called the "Pheng Chat" in Thai and meaning 'national song' is played. They play it every morning at 8.00am and every evening at 18.00 pm. Westerners only need keep still.

More Buddhas
Thailand is for the most part safe. They have some crazy festivals. In particular the - Songkran - festival, when they throw water on each other. see here. A friend had his camera ruined when he was caught in the thick of a waterfest. It's also unwise to carry huge amounts of cash on you. Rather draw cash you need to which is easy to do in Thailand.

Every now and again you get uprisings between the - red shirts and yellow shirts. The uprisings are soon contained but can cause road closures and other inconveniences. A hat and sunblock in such a hot country are mandatory. Especially on walks and excursions.

Best time to visit? Between November and February. It's cooler then and it's also less likly to rain. Between March and May temperatures soar above 40'C and it is unbearably hot. July to October is the rainy season.

Here are links to sites that offer accommodation in Thailand - Agoda, Asia rooms, Hotel Thailand and Sawadee. It's a common gesture to leave a tip on the pillow for the cleaners who serviced your room.

For more ideas on what to do and where to go visit the following Thai-blogs, Go Thailand, Bangkok, and Chang Mai.

Red truck taxi in Chang Mai
Go to - My Holidays and Trips - at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on - this link.

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