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An Overview of Patong Nightlife

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Patong nightlife is famous through Thailand. Some compare Patong nightlife to that of places such as Pattaya or Patong in Bangkok. There are a lot of similarities, but Patong has its own identity.

So what does Patong nightlife have to offer? Well, all the stories you’ve heard are true. Patong has cheap beer, go-go bars, beer bars, nightclubs and, of course, lots of girls.

Patong nightlife won’t be to everybody’s taste, but if you’re kind of open-minded and you don’t mind being among some pretty uncouth people, you can have a lot of fun in Patong. Don’t go expecting anything special and you won’t be disappointed.

Patong nightlife can be incredibly seedy. There are rows and rows of go-go bars, strip joints and bars where you can watch sex shows. You see some odd thing in Patong, including ladyboys, who will sometimes chase you through the street to try and get your attention. Smiles and be polite, or you might end up with a punch in the face.

Also in Patong is Phuket’s gay nightlife scene in Soi Paradise. If you’re a gay traveler visiting Phuket or if you’re just kind of curious what the deal is, Soi Paradise is an open, friendly place where things can get a bit steamy from time to time. Go with an open mind.

Most of the fun in Patong is to be had on Bangla Road. Bangla is where the majority of the bars and clubs are. The area is dirty and it smells funny, but it is the center of Patong nightlife.

There are several small sois off Bangla Road, each with its own little selection of bars, clubs and restaurants. Pick and choose, explore and enjoy.

Most people who come to Phuket either love or hate Patong nightlife. It’s unfortunate then that Patong is one of the few places in Phuket that attracts enough people for the nightlife scene to be interesting.

In terms of music, Patong nightlife doesn’t have a lot to offer. There are a few places with live music, but the majority of the bars and clubs in Patong serve up heavy doses of loud pop music, hip hop and dance music hits. There are a few exceptions, but Thai girls love to dance to mindless blaring beats.

Nightlife in Patong is far from being perfect, but while you’re in Patong, you’ll be sure to meet a few interesting characters. People watching is a lot of fun in Patong. All you need to do is find a bar, order a beer and watch the endless flow of people moving in all directions up and down the road.

You’ll have fun if you go to party in Patong, but you’ll feel a bit icky from time to time. Patong is known to attract some real oddball characters, particularly during high season. It’s a shame that the world’s beer louts and yobs seem to favor trips to Phuket, but for the most part, if you stay out of their way, they will stay out of yours.

November 26, 2013 |

The Pink Lady Cafe Nightclub in Phuket Town Thailand

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The Pink Lady Cafe in Phuket Thailand is in down town Phuket City. Just across the Phuket Immigration Office on the way to Saphan Hin.

Pink Lady Cafe if probably the best entertainment venue on Phuket Island. Its quite popular with Thai, Japanese and Korean, there are not many “farang” of the western type since they just don’t know the place. Ba Le restaurant with 2 dozens of Karaoke rooms and a great beer garden is within the same compound and luckily a huge car park, means no problems.

You wont find a better nightclub in Phuket. Every day between 30 and 60 girls, it depends on the tourist season are in the club to take care about you, if you like ! If you don’t like, no problem. The easiest way to get the girl you like to your table is spend some flower garlands when they sing on the stage. They have 3 or 4 times a medley on with all girls singing and dancing on the stage, its quite impressive. The music is a mix of modern Thai pop and sometimes some “western songs”.

Pink Lady is open seven nights a week till late, means around 2 am. The nightclub is only closed on some national holidays, no matter when you come in the Pink Lady Cafe you’ll be assured of a great night! and maybe you find a nice companion, who knows ?

A state-of-the-art sound and light system lifts the atmosphere into new heights. Pink Lady Cafe is a very popular place in Phuket for great birthday parties, the whole club is tuned for occasions like this. Since the nightclub is quite a big place, about 30m x 30m -roughly- there is enough space around for everyone.

November 19, 2013 |

Tips for Buying Beach Condos

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Beach condos for sale – what to look for

So you’ve saved your money and are ready to realize your dream of living at the ocean in a beachfront condo. You have enough for a nice down payment and feel sure you’ll be able to get condo financing for the rest. The hard part now will be narrowing down the huge selection of beach condos on the market. Because of the present economy and the housing slump, this is an excellent time to buy a condo.

You’ll find a wide range of beach condos for sale. Many condominiums for sale are now offered at reduced prices. Don’t fall in love with the first one you see, however. By doing some homework, you can discover exactly what you’re getting with your beachfront condo and whether it’s a good fit for you and your family.

Buying a condo is a major decision that could affect you for years. Take your time and do some comparison shopping when searching for condominiums for sale. Shop for the best condo financing, too. All mortgage lenders are not equal. If you shop around and compare rates and features, you’ll get a much better deal.

Why is this a good time to buy a condo?

This is a good time to buy a condo because the economy is depressed. Many people are having to tighten their economic belts, and the first things to go are usually expensive luxury items, like luxury condos. And in the case of expensive items that aren’t absolutely necessary, any condos used as vacation property can be considered luxury condos.

Another reason this is a good time for buying a condo is that owners are usually willing to negotiate more readily than they would be in a strong housing market. Some owners will even provide condo financing. If the interest rate is competitive, this could be a great deal for you.

Choosing a beachfront condo

 

You’ll probably have the happiest outcome buying a condo in a town with which you’re familiar. Maybe you’ve spent vacation time in the area, or perhaps you have friends there. If you’ve already gotten to know the town and the locals, you’ll have a better idea if this is somewhere you’d like to buy a condo.

 

Consider the weather of the town in which you’d like to buy a condo, too. If you’ve only visited in the warmer months, make sure you understand what the winters are like. Winters at the beach can be brutal. Moist, frigid winds come off the sea and can chill you to your bones. In this case, you probably wouldn’t enjoy your beachfront condo very much.

 

When you’re comparing condos for sale, consider the amenities offered. Does the complex have a pool? Is it heated? Are there tennis courts? Is a membership in a country club or golf course included? Does the complex include boat slips or a dock? The amenities provided with any condominiums for sale should match your interests. For example, if you don’t play golf, membership in a golf course will offer you little value.

 

Some beachfront condominiums offer special features. Our favorite beachfront condos have a private fishing pier. Since my husband and I love saltwater fishing, these condos would be perfect for us.

 

Another thing to consider when buying a condo is the security system in place. Is there a guarded entry into the parking lot? Is there a 24/7 security guard on the property? Is there a keyed entry from the beach? If not, anyone from off the beach can take advantage of your swimming pool and other amenities.

 

When you buy a condo, you’ll almost always have to pay a monthly association fee for grounds upkeep and other things. Before you buy a condo in a specific complex, find out how much that fee is and exactly what it covers. More importantly, find out what it doesn’t cover.

 

When perusing condominiums for sale, discover how the grounds and amenities are maintained. Are they kept in good repair? Are grassy areas and shrubbery kept looking their best? Are exteriors maintained and freshly painted? These can give you a good idea of how the beach condos are maintained overall.

 

Before you buy a condo, make sure you understand all the rules that apply to owners. Are pets allowed? If you’re a pet lover and have always had pets, you probably won’t be happy in the long run without having the opportunity to own a cat or dog. You might not miss it at first, but once the excitement of living in a beachfront condo wears off, you might miss pet ownership.

 

Also, before you buy a condo, find out about the owners’ association. How is it governed? How are decisions about the condos made? This can prove to be a very important aspect of buying a condo. Make sure you’ll have a say in major decisions regarding your beachfront condo.

 

When looking at condos for sale, even little things can turn out to be important. One is the parking lot and its rules. Some beachfront condos have parking lots that are too small. Because of this, each condo owner might be given only two parking passes. If you own two automobiles, there go both your parking passes. Any guests you might want to have will not be allowed to park in the parking lot adjacent to the beach condos. This might not seem important at the time you buy a beachfront condo, but it might turn out to be a problem later. If you expect frequent overnight guests, you’ll do better with a beachfront condo with an expansive parking lot.

New condo or used condo?

 

When looking at condos for sale, you’ll have to decide between new condos and established condos. Both have their advantages, along with their disadvantages.

 

A new condo will be sparkling clean and damage free. If you get it on the pre-construction aspect, you might be able to choose from different interior amenities. Some luxury condos allow buyers to choose paint colors, finishes, and appliances. One problem with new condos, however, is that there’s no history. In other words, you won’t have anything to judge how the complex is run. Of course, new condos might also be more expensive.

 

Older, established beach condos will have probably already established an “atmosphere.” It will be easier for you to judge what the condo owners are like than it would be with a new condo. Is the complex made up largely of retirees, families, or young singles? New condos probably won’t provide you with this kind of information.

 

Of course, the down side of used beach condos is that they could have flaws. These problems could be small and easy and inexpensive to repair, or they might be major flaws that will require the assistance of a contractor. If you’re buying a condo that’s older, have it inspected by a building contractor first.

Where to find condos for sale

 

Once you’ve decide on a specific area in which you’d like to buy a condo, start looking for condominiums for sale. Your best bet is often with a reputable real estate agent. You might be able to find a condo for sale that’s in foreclosure or short-sale status. In this case, you could find a great deal on condos for sale.

 

If you prefer a private sale, you can often find condos for sale in magazines, local newspapers, and on the internet. Many condominiums for sale on the internet include a video tour. The tour usually includes the interior of the condo for sale, along with a tour of the grounds and amenities provided.

November 11, 2013 |

Rare Seaside Condominium for Purchase in Thailand

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A definition of luxury lifestyle, what exactly is it?

Some people may say, it’s all about the celebrity life. That would imply limo rides, high priced champagne, VIP Passes, jet sets and owning twenty motor vehicles or a lot more.

Some say that not everyone can manage to pay for luxury living. Some people would even go as far as to say that luxury is only for a handful of individuals within our society. Who states that you have to own a Fortune 500 company, or to be born with a golden spoon in your mouth for you to be given the right to live a luxurious life?

Luxury might also be translated into something else – real estate. Owning the most majestic mansions, wonderful estates, huge ranches, or maybe you could start small. Why not invest in a luxury condominium in Thailand?

Purchase a Condo in Cha Am – Hua Hin, Thailand

Exactly the same as if you want to make investments in business, location is probably the most essential factor. And when it involves buying in a condo for your future, finding and picking out the ideal location really ought to be a priority. Let’s assume that you can in fact shift to some other place, would you do it? Imagine you are given the opportunity to move to Hua Hin in Thailand, would you leap at the prospect?

Hua Hin is a renowned seaside resort town in Thailand, some a couple of hundred KM south of Bangkok. Locally, Hua Hin is associated with the Thai monarchy simply because the close by province of Prachuap Khiri Khan enjoys a lot of local attractions – prominent amongst them are national parks and ancient cities. In short, locating the ideal condo for sale in Hua Hin ought to be easy, it being a noted beach town. For that reason, for those who have the desire to retire to a luxury life style, you’ll find a variety of luxury condos for sale in Thailand, especially in Hu Hin.

luxury condo for sale in Hua Hin will sell out quickly, predominately on account of the significant number of tourists and expatriots visiting and/or staying there. The reason for this is that Thailand’s royal family and in particular past kings were the first to put this locale on the map as the original seashore destination in Thailand. The 5 km beach itself is charming and the sea is relatively clean. Somewhere in this five kilometer stretch there is normally a luxury condominium for sale, you just need to know where to look for one.

You will discover loads of activities it is possible to do in Hua Hin. Apart from simply sunbathing, snorkeling and swimming, it’s a place providing attractions and things to do for example golf, spas, mountain peaks, waterfalls, shops, and nearby national parks. Popular hobbies in Hua Hin, aside from looking for luxury condominiums for sale in Hua Hin, cover fishing, eco-cruising, kite-boarding, fitness, martial arts, elephant camping, Thai massages, spas, cooking courses, trekking, pony riding and golf.

Aside from searching for luxury condos for sale in Thailand, you may well like to also try your hand at shopping for contemporary art handicrafts. Now, should you go straight to the seaside resort village and decide to search for luxury condos for sale in Hua Hin, chances are you’ll also want to look into hand-woven printed cotton, silk fabric weaving, gemstones and/or attractive jewelry.

November 4, 2013 |

A Guide to Renting Serviced Apartments in Bangkok, Thailand

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Planning a long vacation in a foreign country is not easy without reliable help. You will be full of questions on accommodation choices, facilities and services, locations and a rough estimate of rent. Read on to find more about Bangkok hotels.

Bangkok is the capital and commercial hub of Thailand, visited by millions of business and leisure travelers every year. To cater to the accommodation needs of city visitors, Bangkok has an excellent array of hotels from ultra-luxury to budget. However, if you are planning to make Bangkok your base for a sufficiently long period, you may prefer a bit more space and homely atmosphere. If this is the case, luxury serviced apartments may be the right choice for you. In recent times, luxury serviced apartments are the most preferred accommodation choice for Bangkok visitors.

It is but natural to question what makes Bangkok’s serviced apartments so popular. Serviced apartment is a combination of apartment and hotel, earning it a second name Aparthotel. Taking the best features of both, serviced apartments offer visitors home away from home, without burdening them with chores like cleaning and cooking. Typical serviced apartment includes spacious living room, separate bedrooms, dining room, full-fledged kitchen with microwave, stoves, dishware and flatware and terrace/balconies. They come inclusive of furniture, security and housekeeping services.

Read Fine Print

Despite its advantages, renting a Bangkok serviced apartment for a week, month or year involves signing a contract. The dreaded fine print has to be read and understood fully to avoid disappointment later on. It is the fine print that tells you which services will be included and its frequency. For example, you cannot expect daily housekeeping services in all serviced apartments; some come with twice-a-week or weekly services. A two-month deposit is a standard feature while signing contracts. You should be aware that this amount will be forfeited in case you move out before expiry of contract.

Choose a location to suit your activities

Bangkok is not a planned city and this has resulted in some areas being congested, some purely commercial, while some are ideal for residential purposes. A better understanding of the city’s geography will help in locating the perfect serviced apartment for your Bangkok stay. Bangkok presents exclusive and expensive serviced apartments to inexpensive ones for mid-range travelers. The best of them are found here:

  • Sukhumvit, the arterial road of Bangkok
  • Asok, an exclusive and expensive locality
  • Thong Lo, a chic and trendy neighborhood
  • Sathorn, a business district
  • Ploenchit, a business district
  • Chit Lom, a business district
  • Silom, a business district and red-light district

All areas listed above are well-connected and has easy access to trains, skytrains, expressways, shopping, dining and entertainment. While Asok and Chit Lom are the classiest of the lot, others offer a chance to experience Bangkok at its vibrant best.

Facilities and services to expect

Though these vary vastly between diverse types and classes of serviced apartments, there are some facilities and services that should come free of charge. While services such as room cleaning, water/utilities, internet usage, 24-hour security, room service and laundry service/launderette are essential, facilities to look for include restaurant, gym, swimming pool and convenience store. If the contract is for a year, electricity charges may not be included. However, the charge per unit should be negotiated to eliminate overcharging.

Cost Factor

Rent of serviced apartments depends on various factors such as location, size, facilities and services offered and demand. Location doesn’t necessarily mean placed in the heart of the city. Easy access to skytrain or subway station is considered a major advantage in Bangkok. This will convert o high monthly rents for serviced apartments in these localities. Posh neighborhoods also command higher rents and so do in-demand locations like Silom. Luxury serviced apartments with an array of amenities like swimming pool, gym, restaurant with room service, round-the-clock security and onsite mini mart will have a monthly rent of above 30,000 THB.

Choosing a serviced apartment

The leading groups in serviced apartment sector are The President Group, The Ascott Group, and Centre Point. They are well-known for their first-class accommodations and superior service. In addition, there are numerous independent serviced apartments in Bangkok that are equally good. The bottom line while choosing a serviced apartment is to verify credentials and check feedback of their past guests online.

 

October 27, 2013 |

Buy a Condo in Chiang Mai, Thailand

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What are the Advantages ofBuying a Condo or Apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand?

Chiang Mai has very strong growth in the real estate sector, as well as in most others sectors of the economy. Until recently quite undeveloped compared with other Asian cities, Chiang Mai has recently had a boom in trade, tourism, manufacturing, and technologies, which are all finding welcoming site in this city located in the north of Thailand. With the general growth in the economy, real estate has experienced a corresponding surge.

Why a Condo and not a House?

Condos are popular for several reasons. First, they are more convenient, allowing the buyer/resident to come and go as they like without concern for security. While houses can be victim to burlarlies when left vacant for extended periods, condos as a rule have good security. In addition, it is much harder for a burglar to target a condo as they are less visible to prying eyes.

But safety aside, condos offers a great amount of amenities not available in townhouses or even the larger suburban developments. Many have saunas, pools, and other features that make them desirable to those with a taste for fine living.

It’s not only amenities and safety features that set condos apart as the preferred property acquisition. Location of condos is usually superior to that of available houses, so for anyone who wants to visit the trendiest and hippest areas of Chiang Mai, a condo is usually the best bet.

In addition, foreigners can own condos, while they cannot legally own land. While there are legal arrangements which can be made to acquire land, for foreigners the most convenient option is typically to buy a condo in a building that is majority Thai owned. After the sale of the condo, if the building is still in 51% Thai ownership, all is fine.

Return on investment is typically in the range of 8%-12% of the purchase price, based on renting out the unit. While many condo owners use their property as their accommodation, many others choose to rent it out year-round or for part of the year.

As the property market expands, there is for most property an increase in price from anywhere between 5% to 10% per year. So whether you plan to keep your property or sell it in some time, it will be a good investment.

October 20, 2013 |

Hotels in Phuket, Thailand

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The 20km wide and 50km long island of Phuket situated at Southern Thailand, is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Tourists who travel to Phuket often enjoy beautiful sunsets in the beach, amazing scenery, warm turquoise blue sea, and enjoy exciting activities like snorkeling, yachting, scuba diving, & other water games. Phuket also has a very broad range of hotels and resorts, quality restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and bars, shopping centers, and other entertainment options.

The sheer size of the Phuket island makes it difficult to locate the Best Phuket hotels in the “best area”. Almost all beaches are good, and where ever accommodation is allowed, the area is great and scenic, with the exception of very few hotels which are slightly far away from the interesting things. People decide between nightlife, shopping, beach or scenic views to locate the best area for Phuket hotels.

Accommodation at a variety of Phuket Hotels is possible, ranging from ultra-luxury hotels, island villas, beach resorts, countless budget hotels, lodges, vacation rentals and apartments. Tripadvisor itself lists a total of 540 Phuket hotels including Resorts, Romantic getaways, Family hotels, Best Value budget hotels, Trendy hotels and another 371 B&B and Inns which suite long term stay and vacations at Phuket. With several kinds of Phuket hotels available, travelers have a choice of type, budget and facilities. While booking Phuket hotels, make sure you do it with a reliable travel agent or an online booking engine that is experienced with Thailand and particularly Phuket hotels. It takes a while for any Travel agent to understand the enormous numbers of Phuket Hotels in different areas and what each of them offers. Travelers generally book Phuket Hotels along with their vacation plans to Bangkok, Pattaya, Krabi and Koh Samui.

Before staying at Phuket island, you need to decide whether you are going to be near Phuket Town itself or venture to other areas of the Island. The Island can be divided into the Western Phuket with the main Beaches, Southeastern Phuket with slightly off-beat beaches, Interior Phuket with its hilly expanse, Phang Nga Bay famous for its cliffs and James Bond Island, and Phuket Town which is the administrative capital of the province, and most populated town. The other cities in Phuket include Chalong Bay famous for its yacht anchorage, Kamala with quiet beaches north of Patong, Karon known for its most-developed beaches, Kata famous for its surfing and tourist crowded beaches, Nai Thon and Nai Yang the two quiet beaches near Sirinat National Park, Patong known for its largest beach resort and great nightlife, Rawai which is popular with the locals and eating in the beach and Surin.

Phuket town is one of the main centers for nightlife and tourist shopping, so the majority of Phuket hotels are located here and its the first choice for budget conscious travelers. If you are staying in Patong, remember it is a large area, and your local travel costs can be hugely inflated if you are not near what you want to do most of the time. At Patong, be specific about your intentions before booking – a Beach Bungalow for the kids or a budget hotel near nightlife are two different choices altogether. The third best choice for tourists after Phuket & Patong is to stay at Karon Beach. There are plenty of hotels in Karon’s long beautiful beach which are very close to the sand and most of them offer sea view rooms. The cheapest beachfront sea view rooms among all Phuket hotels is available at Karon only. The next best place to stay is the Kata Beach which also has many beachfront hotels with of different varieties.

There is a wide range of Phuket hotels and resorts scattered throughout the island, from family resorts to vacation rentals to budget apartments. Pick an accommodation that best fits your needs and budget. Happy Phuket Holidays.

 

October 13, 2013 |

Thailand Singles Vacation – What to Pack, Visas and More

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Planning a Thailand singles vacation to Asia and not sure what to pack. The Thailand country information and trip tips below will make sure you have everything you need to make sure a terrific trip.

Visas for Thailand are not required by travelers staying up to 30 days (if entering via an international airport) or 15 days (if entering by land from a neighboring country). You must also hold a valid passport and confirmed airline tickets to leave Thailand within the time allowed by their visa. Except nationals of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Malta may apply for visas on arrival for stays of up to 15 days.

Thailand’s currency is called the Thai baht (THB) and you are expected to use Thai baht for all cash purchases. Credit cards are widely accepted, though small companies and vendors at local markets may not accept them. There is easy access to international ATMs throughout Thailand

Thailand is on Thailand Standard Time (TST) or Thailand Time (THT), a standard used in Thailand. Thailand time is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 12 hours ahead of Eastern

Electricity in Thailand is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second and the outlets are designed for 2 different types of plug, Flat Blade Plug or two round pins plug. If your appliances have a different shape plug and/or the voltage is different, you will need an electric adapter/converter.

Thailand’s weather can best be described as tropical and humid. The hot season in Thailand runs from March through June, with April and May being the hottest months. The coolest months are from November to February but will still feel hot to travelers on vacation. The monsoon season, usually accompanied by heavy rain, can start as early as April or May, although officially begins in June and runs as late as October. Carry an umbrella or raincoat, and you can still enjoy a great vacation in the Thai rainy season.

Thailand is one of the best places in Asia for shopping with lots of choices from the huge, glitzy shopping malls to the bustling street markets. Good items to buy include Thai silks and cottons, leather goods, batik, silver and gold, pottery with celandine green glaze, precious and semi precious stones (in particular rubies and sapphires are indigenous to Thailand), pearls, dolls, masks, painted umbrellas, lacquer ware, pewter ware, bamboo and wood artifacts and bronze ware. Tailor-made clothes are also a good value and can be made in a matter of days, yet the standard is very high.

Thai cuisine is distinctive and places to eat traditional Thai food are plentiful and the quality is generally very good. Thai dishes can sometimes be quite spicy and when a dish is described as “hot” it will be. Thai food is meant to be shared, and all courses will generally arrive together and is usually accompanied by rice and/or noodles

Be Ware: Although the food sold at roadside stalls can be cheap and often very good make sure the meat and chicken are thoroughly cooked. Also be cautious with salads and uncooked vegetables as they may have been washed in contaminated water.

Below is a recommended packing list using just one suitcase and an overnight bag. Check with your local airline for luggage weight limitations.

* Comfortable sturdy shoes, tennis shoes with plenty of tread, sandals

* Keep your money close – have a money belt, pouch or a bag that you can keep close

* Light water-resistant jacket for a cool evening or during a sudden downpour

* Pants / shorts / skirts / long and short-sleeved shirts – good for layering

* Ladies skirts and sundresses are cooler than shorts.

* Tank Tops, Underwear, socks

* 2 – Swim trunks or swimsuit – one to wear while the other dries

* Beach cover-up and flip-flops

* Shawl (Women) – great for cooler evenings, skirt/sarong and to wear at temples

* Travel-size shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and paste. Moisturizer

* Contact lenses and/or extra pair of sunglasses

* Sun block of at least 15 SPF – don’t forget the lips

* Hat for the sun / water bottle / umbrella for sun or rain

* Camera and charger / batteries / extra memory cards

* Cell Phone / camera / computer chargers / adaptors.

* Hair Dryers / flat irons – not all hotels will have them available

* Chargers and Adaptors for all your electronics

* Personal medications / Anti-itch cream for insects bites

* Pepto-Bismol for diarrhea, Throat lozenges, Aspirin/Ibuprofen, Antacid tablets

* Earplugs, eye mask (for light sleepers)

* Plastic bags (zip lock bags and a larger trash bag) to store wet things.

* Travel alarm clock or can use cell phone

October 6, 2013 |

Beginners Guide To Renting Scooters On Holiday In Thailand

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How to have an awesome holiday

if you are going on holiday to Thailand or the Philippines, renting a scooter is essential in my opinion. If you are anything like me, when abroad you like to make the most of it. Renting a scooter or motorbike and exploring lets you really see what the place you are visiting has to offer.

When I first started holidaying, I didn’t do this, but as soon as I started, my holidays got approximately 100% more enjoyable. This article is for the people that want to ride a motorbike / scooter but are beginners so want a bit of advice on how to do it right and not end up in the hospital!

I know it’s fun. But what about the danger?

The first thing you have to get over when considering doing this is fear. The vast majority of people out there won’t rent a scooter when abroad because they’re scared. This means most people stay at the hotel, go on organized trips with a load of other sheep to the same old spots and basically don’t have as good a time as they could.

I say forget this and get on a bike! You can then plan your own destinations and see the real side of the country rather than the same tired old tourist hotspots. Ok, there is some risk when it comes to riding around, but everything in life carries a risk and if you don’t take any risks, then you will never have any fun. As with most things, as long as you take your time and are prepared then you’ll be fine.

For the couples out there, you don’t need to get a couple of bikes if one of you is worried about riding, get a motorbike / scooter between you and have one of you ride pillion. Generally this tends to be the man riding with the woman on the back, but there is nothing wrong with that, in fact it is fun in itself as you can easily talk to each other and the one riding doesn’t have to worry about their other half falling off so can relax!

The first thing you need to think about is what sort of motorbike or scooter you are going to rent. For the people out there that hold motorcycle licences, this is usually easy, the biggest bike they can get! If you aren’t an experienced rider though, you’re probably going to want to start small. This can be with a 50cc, although personally I usually rent a 125cc. A 50cc Scooter will max out at about 30mph if you’re lucky, struggles to carry two people and won’t go up hills easily. A 125cc gives you that bit more power, lets you cruise at 50-60mph and as long as you remember the throttle goes both ways, you’ll be fine.

Most countries will require a driving licence before riding, but not all. Of course if you have a driving licence then you’re going to be at an advantage compared to non drivers anyway as you will (hopefully!) have some road sense.

Find out about local driving habits and laws

It’s obviously a good idea to see which side of the road the locals are driving on.. Although it looks a bit strange at first if it is the opposite side to the one you’re used to, then it doesn’t take long to acclimatise. In the UK, we drive on the left, I have been to Turkey a couple of times where they drive on the right and the only places that I had to think about it a little were the first few times I approached traffic islands. However as you basically just do what the rest of the traffic is doing, then it doesn’t take you long to get used to driving on the other side.

How do scooters work then?

Scooters / mopeds are basically the same thing, but mopeds refer specifically to under 50cc versions. From now on I’ll refer to scooters, but I’m covering both. Most rental companies provide twist and go scooters, which are extremely easy to ride. The brakes work the same way as a normal bike, so the right is the front and the left is the back brake. You simply twist the throttle to go. Most of these will top out at about 100-110kph (60-70mph), although you really know you’re doing it by the time you get to that speed as they’re usually revving their hearts out. I find that I and the bike are more comfortable doing 60-70kph, which tends to be a bit more relaxing anyway when on holiday as I like to soak in the surroundings.

I have also been given geared scooters on hols before, clutchless but with gears. These are a bit faster so are more fun to ride, there isn’t a clutch to worry about, but you do have to change gears with your left foot. It’s very easy to do this though, there is usually an indicator on the instrument panel to show you what gear you’re in, you can scoot up and down through the gears of which there are normally four in the same way you would in a car, or if you’re lazy just leave it in fourth gear and ride around. It will be slower pulling off, but it will still do the job.

To start your scooter you need to insert the key, turn it and in most cases hold the left brake lever while pushing the electronic starter on the right. This will normally be shown to you by the scooter man, but it’s always nice to have a bit of knowledge beforehand so you don’t look like a complete beginner..

A major part of controlling your scooter properly is braking. The last thing you want to do is lock the front wheel, so never grab or snatch the front brake, instead squeeze it gently. Brake evenly with both brakes but if the road has loose gravel, then be very careful with the front brake as if your front wheel locks up then it’s not good so in some cases you may be better not to use it. Of course the front brake does the majority of the braking so if the road surface is loose, ride slowly to avoid having to brake much, or slipsliding away.

A lot of countries I’ve ridden scooters around, which include Thailand, Phillipines, Spain, India, Antigua, Turkey etc are ok about you not wearing a helmet. Well, the advice is normally that you should wear one but when you start riding then no one else on the road ever seems to wear one. This is personal choice, I never used to wear a helmet, but as I get a bit older I have started to feel a little bit more sensible and the last holiday I went on I wore the helmet the whole time. It is a nice feeling to go without though, just try not to headbutt the kerb if you fall off..

What about falling off?

My advice here is simple. Don’t fall off. I have never fallen off, or come close because I have two simple rules.

The first involves being careful around corners. I have seen people fall off their scooters / motorbikes by not doing this, some of which were supposedly experienced riders. The best bet is to take care all the time. You can still have fun exploring and sometimes riding quickly if you’re in the mood, just whatever you don’t try and push the limits round corners if you’re not used to riding as falling off and spending your holiday either in the hospital, or more likely with a dressing over an injury has never looked like much fun.

The second rule I employ is to be very aware of other road users and give them plenty of space at all times. In foreign countries sometimes the road rules are a bit different, just make sure you’re aware of this before you start. I always give other vehicles plenty of room and never take anything for granted. If you ride cautiously around other road users, you ride safe and still have an awesome time. I have ridden fast down country lanes in the middle of the night, but even then I did it safely and didn’t fall off as I rode fast when there were no other vehicles around.

Fuel?

I have found in all countries I’ve been in, even if I can’t speak the lingo, that pulling up to the pump, saying hello (hopefully in the local language) and asking for ‘full’ while gesticulating wildly always works.

Don’t run out ideally, although I did do this in Thailand. Thankfully a couple of local boys came up, I showed them I had no fuel by tapping the gauge and gesticulating and they scooted off, fetched me some and filled the bike up for me, I gave them some money, handshakes and high fives and I was on my way again.

How to plan and travel around away from sheep

I always buy a travel guide for the country I’m in and read that while at my hotel/hostel/whatever to plan the next days trip. I have found that most people that go on holiday don’t buy a guide book and stay by the pool while often moaning about how boring the place is. I have seen some awesome places by simply reading up about what is around the area and jumping on the bike to go there.

Most places that don’t have tours are usually quiet. I remember when I was in Thailand with my friend we rode to a place called Crystal Lagoon. It is one of the most awesome and beautiful places I’ve ever been. It’s not on any tours and we had a brilliant day with practically no one else around there other than a few locals. I recommend finding any waterfalls in your guide book that don’t have tours visiting them and try and get around to those, that’s one of my favourite holiday pastimes along with visiting anywhere locally that sounds good. I’ve visited abandoned cities before that were deserted because tourists either didn’t know about them, or.. in fact the only reason they were abandoned is because most people don’t bother to read up on the place they’re visiting so miss out on amazing stuff that is often only a motorbike / scooter ride away.

I’ve also had some of my best meals by riding past restaurants that are only frequented by locals and calling in for some food. In my experience they’re usually grateful that a foreigner wants to try them and they usually pull out the stops to try and impress you. Not always of course, but it has happened a lot in my experience.

I’ll summarise by saying, to those who haven’t thought of renting a motorbike / scooter on holiday, or maybe have thought about it and have just discounted it as being too dangerous etc, then give it a go! Take your time and go out and explore. It can be really awesome and as long as you don’t go crazy, then you will be absolutely fine. Happy riding and make sure you take some photos of the awesome stuff you see that most people don’t.

September 30, 2013 |

Cha Am, Thailand – Travel info 2013

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Cha Am

Situated on the Gulf of Thailand about 200 km south of the Thai capital, Bangkok, Cha Am is a pleasantly uncrowded fishing town and seaside resort in Cha Am district, Petchaburi Province.

Its peaceful atmosphere and relatively close proximity to Bangkok is one reason for its popularity among Thais, who often visit for a weekend or longer if they have time. The lack of a vibrant nightlife probably also accounts for it being overlooked by most foreign tourists who head for the better known island resorts, such as those on Koh Samui, and Phuket, etc.

Cha Am is definitely a daytime kind of place. There are a few night spots such as the string of bars in Soi Bus Stop, but they’re decidedly tame when compared to similar areas that you would find in Pattaya or in Bangkok’s red light districts of Patpong and Soi Cowboy. Most close around 1 am or midnight.

Getting there

You can get to Cha Am by bus from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal (Sai tai). The distance is around 200 km and takes around 3 hours. Buses leave for Hua Hin via Cha Am every hour throughout the day. The cost is 155 baht (July 2013). At the drop-off point, motorcycle taxis can take you and your luggage (within reason) to a seafront guest house or hotel for 50 baht. Motorcycle taxis are plentiful throughout the area and are a good way to get around. Standard taxis are also available.

There is a limited train service from Hualamphong station to Cha Am. To the south, the neighbouring seaside town of Hua Hin has more train services from Bangkok, but only two of those (9:20 am and 3:35 pm) stop at Cha Am around 4 hours later.

Taxis are the fastest and most convenient way to get to Cha Am but will cost around 2000-2500 baht from Bangkok.

Travelling to Cha Am from the south of Thailand (or even further south from Malaysia) is more conveniently arranged by travelling to the neighbouring seaside town of Hua Hin which has better transport links than Cha Am. You can then take a minibus, taxi or public bus to Cha Am which lies a further 16 miles (25 km) to the north

Accommodation

Accommodation is plentiful in Cha Am, ranging from guest houses to plush ‘sea view’ hotels. Perfect House guest house, in Soi Bus Stop about 3 mins walk from the seafront is a typical example of a clean, friendly and well-run guest house. Expect to pay around 600 baht per night for a double room with aircon, fridge, cable TV and Wifi.

Activities

Beach

The beach is clean and not crowded. There are some watersport activities but not enough to spoil the calm atmosphere.

Cycling

Bicycle rental shops are common on the sea front and you can hire a bike for 20 baht per hour. You can also hire tandems and even doubletandems, if that’s the right phrase, for around 100 baht per hour. Bicycles are a great way to get around the seafront and further afield.

Golf

Cha Am is noted for its high quality golf courses, which are among the best in Thailand. Expertly designed and set among attractive natural surroundings, these courses attract golfers far and wide. Zoom in to the map below to see their locations

Temples

There are a few interesting Buddhist temples in and around Cha Am, such as Wat Nerun Chararam with its six-armed, Buddha prominently situated in the temple grounds, or the impressively old Wat Cha Amlocated further west, with its reclining Buddha set in a cave.

Cha Am Harbour

This is an interesting and a very photogenic area with lots of fishing boat activity going on. It lies to the north of the beachfront Rd and you can see the harbor jutting out to the sea from anywhere on the beach. It’s a pleasant bicycle ride of about 15 – 20 minutes to get there.

Help

Medical
Pharmacies are a common and medical aid can be received at various clinics around town as well as at Cha Am Hospital in the north of Cha Am. This is a fairly small hospital in Khlong Thian Rd. If you require hospital treatment, assuming it’s not an emergency, you might instead consider heading to the seaside town of Hua Hin, 16 miles (25 km) to the south, which is better served with larger and more extensively equipped hospitals.

Legal
Legal aid is available at the Foreigner’s Legal Aid Centre (and police station)on the seafront road (Ruangjit), situated between the north and south beachfronts.

September 23, 2013 |
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