Thai Silk: It's the Best for a Reason

Bridget Connors
When you brush a piece of Thai silk against your face, your senses will purr with the softness of this most unique and popular fabric. Some silk producers rely on heavy machinery and an assembly line to produce the silk products you see today. In Thailand, the tradition of silk production is marked by many years of hard-earned pride, skill and style. Hand woven silk products offer a quality that is much better and of a higher standard to items created through machines.

Silk: The Legend

Legend has it that the Empress Si Ling Chi of China was the first to discover silk. It is said that while she sipped a cup of tea underneath a mulberry tree, a cocoon fell from above and into her teacup. As she tried to extract the cocoon from her cup, a very fine thread began to unravel from the pod. Soon, silk was regarded as a status symbol and kept a secret for many years. It was also a crime to even pass on silkworm eggs or cocoons for fear that their treasured thread would be revealed. Although evidence supports silk cloth production during the ancient times of Thailand, it is still a little hazy on how it came to be.

Thai Silk

The most respected reputation in silk production has been earned by Thailand, which is known for producing the finest silk in the world. Although other countries, such as Italy and China also produce silk, Thai silk is rather distinct and highly impressive. The hand woven silk from Thailand feels fine to the touch, yet still retains an earthy quality. Throughout the years, Thais have perfected a number of weaving techniques and processes, which produce a variety of weights, patterns and designs.

Silk Production Process

The process of hand woven silk production is one that requires patience. A weaver usually has the capacity to create close to only four meters of material in one day of work. With that piece of information, you should definitely value your authentic silk products even more! First, the raw silk yarn is extracted from the silk cocoon. It is then prepared for a dye job. The yarn is then treated, boiled and eventually dyed. Once dying is complete, the silk yarn is then dried before it is spun on wooden spindles. The weaving of the silk yarn is the final step. Depending on where the silk was produced, you will encounter a wide-range of styles and colors, such as the iridescent variety from Korat or Surin.

The Many Uses For Thai Silk

Although silk is often connected to clothing, there are many different uses for Thai silk you probably weren’t even aware of. For starters, it is highly unlikely that you’ve ever tied the material to the clothing worn by astronauts. It is also used to produce carpets, sewing thread, typewriter ribbons, as well as fishing lines. Let’s not forget all of the wonderful places you will encounter silk on the home front. Silk table sheets for the dining room add softness to the room. Many bedrooms display a silk bed spread, blanket, sheets or matching pillows. Silk curtains and other home accessories can really add flair to any room in the home.

How to Care For Your Silk Products

When you want to ensure the life of your silk product, you should know how to properly take care of this type of material. To clean your silk products, they should be hand washed. For a colorful cloth, it is suggested to soak in salt water for the first cleaning. When ironing, the setting should be warm.

Interesting Facts About Silk Production

1) Did you know that the silkworm isn’t really a worm at all, but is actually a caterpillar?
2) Did you know that one cocoon holds a single fiber measuring 500 meters long?
3) Did you know that the natural color of the silk fiber from Thailand silkworms is gold?

Thai silk is something that can be enjoyed by all and if taken care of, it can last more than a hundred years. There's a reason why: its the only silk still hand pressed and its beauty and texture is recognized for this reason.

Where to Take a Padi Open Water Scuba Diving Course in Thailand

Andy Burrows
Ever wonder what it would be like to jump into the water and look around 40m below the surface? The underwater world is mysterious and yet inviting, the experience of diving it provides and addictive sense of zen. There’s no better place to have your first dive experience than Thailand – with good conditions year round.

Most dive shops in Thailand offer PADI certification but it’s also possible to find a few offering NAUI and SSI certifications. Beginners may be more comfortable diving in the calmer and shallower waters off the east coast of Thailand, with destinations such as Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Pattaya, Koh Samet or Koh Chang being the most popular on that side.

More advanced divers and those beginners who are confident in their abilities will have a better time diving around Phuket and the Similan Islands. Hotspots for diving around here include Phuket, Phi Phi and Khao Lak.

Phuket has the most upscale dive operations but if you are watching your budget, you might be more comfortable taking a course at Phi Phi or Khao Lak. Phi Phi is quite popular among the younger crowd but there are hotels catering to older couples and families, which also offer scuba diving courses. Khao Lak offers an excellent choice of dive shops and also has a good range of accommodation to suit most tastes. It is also the closest jumping off point to the Similan Islands.

The Similan Islands, technically located in Phang Nga province, provide some of the best dive sites in the world. Protected within a marine national park, the nine islands are still pristine and rich with wildlife above and below the water. Most dive operators will take you ashore at one of the islands, where you can enjoy the powder-white beaches and see exotic birds and monkeys.

Under the waves, the colourful reefs and boulder formations are teeming with coral and a variety of marine life. Sometimes whale sharks are even spotted in the waters, as well as rays and other sharks. Visibility is good, varying from 30-50m. The best way to see the Similans is by liveaboard, and most dive operators will allow you to do your Open Water dives from the boat if you’ve completed the paper and pool work ashore beforehand.

Much like Phi Phi, Koh Tao is a fun place for backpackers to learn how to scuba dive. This may well be the most affordable place in Thailand to take a PADI Open Water course and to build up your dive log. Unfortunately it’s not the best diving in Thailand – but it’s not yet the worst either. Koh Tao used to offer frequent whale shark sightings but they are relatively rare these days. It’s also conveniently close (2 hours by speed boat) to Samui. In fact you can do diving courses on Samui too.

The number of dive boats on a site is not restricted, so you may find there is too much company around peak dive times. You may find yourself surrounded by 50 to 100 divers at a time, with most of them being Open Water students or day trippers from Samui.

Needless to say, Koh Tao might be great for learning and for progressing to instructor – but it’s not all that great for just recreational diving. Many people come here specifically to advance through courses and proceed with PADI Advanced, Rescue Diver, Dive Master/Master Scuba Diver and Instructor courses.

There are so many choices on Koh Tao that you should look carefully at each dive shop and make sure they offer you the best value for money.

Not all dive instructors are the same, and some are downright scary. Likewise, equipment standards can vary, and you’ll want to make sure any shop you choose has quality equipment and maintains it properly and hygienically. You should also check into the insurance policy of the dive shop and enquire as to if you should purchase your own dive insurance for the hyperbaric chamber if you have an accident.

Most the dive operations in Thailand are run by foreigners, which is just as well since Thais have a rather different approach to safety and responsibility, but you’ll find yourself diving with plenty of Thai staff who are their usual friendly easy-going selves.


The tropical beaches of Phuket

by George
The Beaches of Phuket

Phuket is a tropical Thai holiday island and is one of the premier travel destinations in the world. The beaches of Phuket are well known for their white sandy beaches lined with gracious palm and coconut trees.

Most tourists staying on Phuket during their holiday unfortunately only visit the Phuket beach located closest to their hotel. It is a shame as there are so many beautiful Phuket beaches which the tourists could visit. The best way to see all the beautiful beaches of Phuket is by renting a motorbike or jeep and by simply driving up and down the coast line of Phuket as travelers will encounter countless beautiful and deserted Phuket beaches.

Some of the nicest beaches of Phuket are the Phuket beaches mentioned below.

Bang Tao Beach

The beautiful Bang Tao beach is located next to the upscale Phuket Laguna complex where a number of excellent 5 star Phuket hotels are located.

Kamala Beach

Kamala beach is one of the most popular of Phuket beaches and is located only a few minutes drive from Patong beach. Travelers looking for a Phuket beach area which offers a peaceful surrounding should consider booking a Phuket hotel or resort in the Phuket beach resort area of Kamala.

Karon Beach

The most popular of Phuket beaches after Patong beach is Karon beach and is located just south of Patong. Karon has a long beach and numerous resorts line this Phuket beach. Tourists visiting Phuket with children often prefer the somewhat laidback atmosphere that Karon beach has to offer.

Patong Beach

Patong beach is the busiest of all the beaches of Phuket. The vast majority of entertainment and business venues are located in Patong beach. If travelers are looking for a Phuket beach resort area where they can party until the early hours of the morning then Patong beach is the ideal choice for them.

Surin Beach

One of the most upscale Phuket beach areas is the area around Surin beach. If tourists do visit Surin beach then they should definitely try the excellent and inexpensive seafood which is served at the Surin beach side restaurants.


Life in a Thai Monastery (Part 7 of 7)

One evening, after a meeting, the abbot invited me to join him in his kuti. As I climbed the steps, I noticed the glossy handrails and the huge, gleaming floor of the veranda, both energetically polished with coconut husks until the coconut oil buffed the wood to a deep luster. This was a work of love by his monks, out of respect, and as a soon-to-be-ordained novice monk, I would become skilled at polishing the abbot’s veranda - on my hands and knees!

The interior of his kuti was much smaller than I had expected, with the standard two shuttered windows, now open, and bare walls. His outer robe hung on a rack. A water jug, cup, and alms bowl sat near the door, with a candle and some incense on a table toward the back. Except for a few incidentals - a razor, sandals, mosquito net, umbrella, some writing materials - this was the extent of the abbot’s worldly possessions.

We entered the tiny hut to the flurry of two geckos scurrying off the back wall, and as the abbot lit a candle and invited me to sit, the muffled sound of thunder in the distance reminded me that I was in the presence of a special being. He offered a cup of water, after which we sat in silence. I felt a profound peacefulness in this man’s presence, and already a deep admiration had formed, even though I had only known him for a short time. I could have silently sat with him in this little hut forever.

The locusts and cicadas were beginning their evening serenade, beckoning to the pair of geckos that circumspectly made their way to the door to embark on their nocturnal hunt. In the distance could be heard the “gecko, gecko!” of their kinsmen, as soft rain began pattering on nearby leaves - the vapors of the ocean falling upon the forest to begin the journey back to their Source.

The abbot continued sitting quietly without speaking, and I, out of respect, sat silently as well. This man’s quiet, sincere demeanor touched me deeply, and no words were needed in this atmosphere of complete confidence and ease. Silence is so powerful.

He presently asked how I was doing. I said fine. We talked a little about my practice, the visions I had been having, but then all too soon, I knew it was time to go. I stood up, put my hands together at my forehead and bowed, feeling an overwhelming respect and appreciation for this gentle being of few words who accepted me so unconditionally, and who had given up everything to dedicate his entire life to helping others find their way out of confusion.

The rain that had begun as barely a trickle was now a torrent. The vast heavens again opening their floodgates to unleash angry clouds and storms that drove across menacing, slate-gray skies, and with crashing thunder and blinding lightening as my solitary companions, I returned to my hut.

I felt such a profound gratefulness, an appreciation not only for this abbot, but for the entire group of monks and nuns who willingly gave up the security and comforts of home and family to risk their lives in pursuit of this elusive truth; this unfathomable mystery that held the secret to mankind’s only hope. If it wasn’t for them, and all the other monks and nuns before them that paved the way, how would Janet and I have ever stumbled across meditation?

Traveling to Southeast Asia answered many questions for us; one of them being whether journeying to a distant or magical place to acquire our answers was necessary at all. And we determined that it was . . . and yet, it wasn’t. The wisdom of eternity rested nowhere but here, within us; where else could it be? It has always been right here in our hearts, but we had always been too busy and full of ourselves to see it, and because this wisdom is within us, who could teach us but ourselves? We must truly be our own teachers, for no teacher can uncover this wisdom for us. But this place . . . I don’t know, it seemed . . . magical. Maybe the constant danger, knowing that one’s life could be snuffed out in a moment, helped us go deeper. We had always found deep concentration illusive whenever we were safe.

We inherently knew that there are those who might point us in the right direction, perhaps help us move out of our own shadows so that this wisdom of eternity has an opportunity to surface, but we also knew that we must eventually travel the path ourselves. And when that wisdom did surface, we knew it would forever change our destiny. We are the ones who must make the effort to change, and only through our own efforts can we accomplish this transformation.

We had never run across many people who genuinely thirsted for this cursed freedom that costs it’s seekers everything, and we were beginning to understand why only a handful of each generation attempts it, because it’s just too difficult. But once you’re cursed, you’re cursed, and there is no going back. Your “bridges of security” have all been burned.

The experiences we were having in Thailand already confirmed that we didn’t know anything of value, and a few days later, some things happened that we probably would have been satisfied never knowing.


Life in a Thai Monastery (Part 6 of 7)

By E. Raymond Rock
At that time in 1981, Thai families could lose as many as half their malnourished children to diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever, dengue fever, hepatitis, rabies, dysentery, cholera, malaria, hepatitis, Japanese Encephalitis, and snakebites as well. The cremation fires remained busy. The first entire cremation I actually witnessed involved a small girl, six years old perhaps, so beautiful, her long, black hair combed so carefully with a pink ribbon tied on the side. She looked as if she were only sleeping.

The dramatic memory of the episode remained with me for weeks, as the monks warned it would, and it was some time before the skulls that appeared on my kuti wall every evening in the candle light, departed.

I vividly recall the fire becoming extremely hot once the branches were lit, and in only moments, her shiny black hair sizzled, and then was gone. Next, the skin on her face blistered, and was gone as well, exposing the white skull underneath. The little body blackened quickly, its limbs curling up into a fetal position, and then it began cooking.

In those days, the cremation pits consisted of nothing more than four long stakes pounded into the ground with the space between filled with stacks of dry limbs and twigs. The parents would place the body of their child on top of the heap, after which they would stand stoically by to watch it burn. The mother would throw candy into the air, and the father, sitting on his heels, would smoke cigarettes. Expressing emotion was not considered appropriate etiquette by the Thais, and yet at times I caught glimpses of mothers off by themselves crying quietly. It wasn’t considered proper to make a spectacle of yourself.

The villagers appeared to accept these tragedies calmly, while Westerners like Janet and I were horrified. The villagers believed that one’s karma predestines the length of her or his physical life, and that little could be done to change things, a detached attitude that didn’t make sense to our logical western minds with a pill for everything. Let’s face it; our well-trained senses were all that we could rely on at the time, and we believed nothing existed beyond these limited senses. But then, where did my past-life recalls at Shasta Abbey come from, and my other meditation experiences, how did they all fit into this logical picture?

Deep in my heart, I had inklings that this universe involved much more than was obvious, and now I wondered what was keeping me from seeing this “more.” Was my strong logic blinding me from seeing extraordinary things that possibly exist outside the range of my limited vision? Perhaps my search for freedom at some point would take me far beyond a limiting world that ensnared me so. Perhaps someday the expansive worlds alluded to by these monks and nuns would be revealed. I was learning that this freedom could not be endowed by something else; a greater power for instance, I had to work toward it agonizingly by myself. Well, almost myself - Janet was with me every step of the way.

Evenings were a blessed relief in Thailand; warm, but without the smothering heat of the day that gratefully always surrendered to the night’s relative coolness. If we weren’t in the sala at dusk, chanting, we would be sitting out in the jungle meditating (hoping to high heaven that a snake wouldn’t crawl in our laps, or a mad dog take a bite out of us).

At other times, we would be found gathered under the abbot’s kuti. His kuti was fancy, with a profusion of tropical plants and flowers on all sides. The kuti itself was small, but because it was built in the middle of a large, ornate, elevated veranda supported by high, elaborate pillars instead of the ordinary four by four stilts that propped up our huts, the whole structure had an appearance of a massive building. The living quarters inside the hut were about the same size as ours; but because it was built on a large platform, the entire structure was large enough for the entire community to sit underneath.

The abbot would be perched on a high seat, being fanned slowly with giant banana leaves by one or two senior monks, and except for fierce mosquitoes buzzing around and preparing to feast on us (and hopefully not carrying a bad strain of malaria), all was deadly quiet, as the monks would continue to fan their abbot. The humidity was tangible; the still air heavy and laden with moisture with a storm usually brewing during the rainy season. Nobody spoke or moved after we all filed in and found a seat on the concrete floor; it was perfectly silent, a powerful silence with these monks and nuns sitting peacefully together, not making a sound.

One evening, I was sitting there, serene, watching Janet with the nuns across the way and wondering how she was doing, when I noticed a small brown scorpion crawling up my leg and onto my lap. It was as if I attracted scorpions; some kind of scorpion karma maybe. But I just sat there, trusting it wouldn’t bite me as long as I didn’t move . . . (Hah!).

The devious arachnid scurried sideways over to my wrist, and with smiling, beady eyes, stung the hell out of me! The pain was interesting, like ten bee stings at once accompanied by unbearable pins and needles running the entire length of my arm. I tried to concentrate on my solar plexus to ease the throbbing, and all the while the little terrorist just sat there, tail in the air, looking up at me as if to say, “Had enough?” Actually . . . I did, and eventually it scurried off, leaving me sitting there with thirty minutes of pain contemplation. Another of my many teachers!

Occasionally, the abbot would give a talk. When I attended his first talk, I expected it to be deep, very moving. I imagined him saying something in the order of . . . “You will never find the Source in your “self.” You can analyze yourself forever and not find it, but when that self, the one who is looking, is put under the pressure of intense meditation for a long time, ahh, . . . the self disappears, and there is the Source! Can you imagine yourselves beyond consciousness? Can you envision timelessness? Can you grasp the immensity of eternity? Some things you will fully experience with meditation, but never be able to utter a word about them to anyone. There are no words to express them. You are the Source; you are Reality here and now. There is no such thing as progress toward the Source, only a steady realization that you are presently blind to this fact. Each moment is eternal in itself, time being but an illusion of consciousness that creates previous and future moments. Everything happens now. Without insight, your past will be your tomorrows and your tomorrows will be but a phantasm of yesterday, as your dreams and the dreams of all beings intermingle. The barrier of consciousness will keep you from these truths for as long as you cling to the fantasy of individual experience. Look forward to the day when experiencing ends. May you find truth. . . .”

But in actuality, of course, his talks were much more practical and targeted, centered around our simple struggles to overcome the kilesas - our greed, hatred and delusions - which are fueled by our insatiable desires. And I didn’t have to go very far to find them. First things first I suppose.

Life in a Thai Monastery (Part 5 of 7)

By E. Raymond Rock
The contact with the monks at the Zen monastery in California, our experiences with the monks and nuns here in Thailand, and our deepening meditation all had an incredible impact on this phase of our spiritual lives. Our observation of life expanded into a wonderful perspective, as our worldly appetites fell away, and our spiritual faculties began to flower. This created a radical difference in the way we experienced everything, and although we were circling around life again, it was from a different, more refined vantage point.

My false center or “self” - that part of us we fabricate and call individuality - was also gradually fading, and although this idea of a personality still clung to me like sweat, it was definitely weakening. I originally thought that when this false personality weakened, I would become a doormat, a wet noodle, but I was surprised when the opposite occurred. A certain, inexplicable wisdom and contentment clicked in, enabling me to make decisions without the constant static of “me” in my head that so often led me down proverbial Shangri-La’s that quickly turned into hells.

Long ago, I gave up the idea of one religion or another being the ultimate answer, and no longer could I tolerate somebody else telling me what to think or believe; I had to find out for myself. Now I knew that the answers were nowhere but inside.

I could see, even back then, that any religion’s attempt to organize the Truth, or organize the Freedoms we were discovering, only created and supported a “self”’ rather than dismantle it. And it was becoming painfully apparent to us that through the actions of this fabricated “self,” our destinies were created.

Furthermore, only through insight would our destinies and our false “selves” be resolved; it was up to us. Laying back and waiting for some all-powerful God to zap us into sainthood was not working at all. It seemed as if the Freedoms we were searching for could not be endowed upon us from an outside source; we were stuck with the task of discovering them for ourselves. And this involved sacrificing everything we had ever believed in.

My previous faith closed its ears to any mention of inquiry into one’s soul. I know this for a fact because I asked a priest once. He said that meditation was an invitation to the devil. Interesting. He insisted I follow the Catholic Church exclusively and leave everything in God’s hands, and not worry about understanding anything; we were not meant to understand, only to worship, only to believe - “God is the authority.” (All reminiscent of Dostoyevsky’s premise that if Christ returned to earth today to teach true, disciplined righteousness, the Church would not be happy)!

So the Church was no help at all to someone like me who relentlessly questioned all authority, and only years later did I understand what the root problem had always been - “me” - that strong self-identity that the church said was supposed to not question authority! This “me” was what eventually had to be dismantled, but I didn’t know how to do that and the Church either wasn’t aware of the “self,’ or chose to ignore it. Therefore, I could only take one step at a time. The three freedoms we had stumbled across had helped immensely, but we urgently needed that fourth one.

One day, shortly after arriving at the wat I noticed the abbot standing near the smoldering cremation pit. When he saw me, he waived me over. As I approached, I again noticed that his eyes seemed strange. I had thought before that his eyes were different, but now this was confirmed; they were curiously empty, yet very alive, as if they were looking through me and focusing on the forest behind.

He asked if I would help him with something, pointing to a black, tarry lump lying not too far away in the leaves. I didn’t know what he was pointing at, but I nodded in agreement and followed his lead as we collected a good bit of dry wood, which we placed on the embers of the almost burned out fire in the cremation pit. After the fire got roaring again, we gathered some large, dead leaves to protect our hands and carefully picked up the infant’s hot, small, half-cremated torso, and placed it back on the fire.

I couldn’t help but think about the wide chasm that existed between Thai and American culture, and how mentally tough the Thais must be to live under these third world conditions. I felt sorry for these destitute villagers when I first arrived, but soon learned that happiness had little to do with wealth, or comfort, or security; it had to do with unconditional love - not a clinging love, or what might be called attachment, but real, unqualified love.

After we placed the baby’s tiny body back on top of the fire, the abbot looked at me for a moment, and then said, quietly, "You are here now, therefore, you are permitted to be a complete failure in the eyes of the world. You can stop fighting life.”

What an incredible, emotional statement. Tears streamed down my face as if a dam had burst. I didn’t know whether placing the baby’s body back on the fire triggered them, or relief in knowing that I would no longer have to live up to the expectations of a competitive world. Whatever triggered them, it was liberating. Where exactly was I? Where had I been all my life?


Life in a Thai Monastery (Part 4 of 7)

These monks at Nanachat had a mystique about them . . . unmistakable, but difficult to explain. They were hardly noticed, so unassuming and restrained, childlike in many ways, and our hearts couldn’t help but go out to them. This was not Bangkok, where city monks took on the robes only to gain merit for relatives, or for reasons other than dedicating their lives to meditation and enlightenment. This was the real-deal at Wat Pah Nanachat, and I wondered if the stories of narrow escapes with death at these wats were exaggerated. I had a funny feeling we were about to find out.

The next morning I ran across a villager and a monk, chatting and busily working on a carcass. It was lying on a bamboo table in the shade of some banana trees near the sala, and appeared to be an animal, or something. They seemed to be skinning it. Mmmm. I didn’t think monks did that? So I moved closer, and discovered what it was that they were working on - a human skeleton! “Whoa,” I thought, recalling my cherished autopsy picture, “maybe I should round up Janet and head back to good ol’ Colorado right now!” This was really ghoulish - they were actually scraping dried flesh off the dead, gray bones.

Later that day, overcome with curiosity and a sense of the macabre, I asked around about the skeleton. What I pieced together was that it apparently had been curing in a sealed box under one of the kuties for two years, a necessary process so that the flesh could be more easily removed without damaging the bones. The two years had now expired, and it was time to scrape off the flesh before shipping the clean bones to Bangkok for pinning and bleaching.

During the years that the body was being stored, many monks inhabited the kuti in order to overcome their fear of ghosts, and, as could be expected, had unusual meditation experiences. The skeleton’s ghost was believed to roam about the monastery grounds every night looking for its children.

The remains were that of a young woman from the local village. She and her husband (the villager who was scraping the bones) would visit the monastery regularly to offer food and listen to dhamma talks, or sermons. The couple had a beautiful, healthy little boy and another child on the way. They were very much in love, and looked forward to an uncomplicated life in the village, raising their children and growing old together.

It was obvious that this couple wasn’t asking for much . . . were they? They were happy with the simplest of things; farming, raising kids, and then dying in the same village where they were born. This was 1981, just before Thailand became westernized to the extent it is now, and the humbleness and humility of these people overwhelmed us time and again.

The story of the skeleton continued: After their daughter was born, the woman began experiencing pain that steadily worsened. It became so intense and unrelenting that she could only lay curled up in bed all day. With no money available for treatments in Bangkok, village remedies and aspirin were her only option, and the pain finally became unbearable. One night she asked her husband to bring their children into the room and just hold her. She was saying goodbye.

Her soft crying was not so much from the pain now, but from what she was about to ask her husband to do. She wanted to die, the pain was too much, and yet how she could abandon her young children? What would become of them, and her husband? Her dreams were shattered. She asked her husband to leave his gun on the table.

He refused! How could he do this? He felt ashamed and unworthy, that he could not make her well. He would take his gun and rob somebody, and get money to take her to Bangkok, but there was nobody to rob; the monks had no money, and neither did the poor villagers.

The woman he loved was in pain, and he was helpless to do anything about it - except help her to kill herself. How could he live with such a thing; he would have to kill her himself and spare her the horror of pulling the trigger. Then he would kill himself . . . but what about the children?

He couldn’t do it; all he could do was place the revolver on her table and quietly walk out of the room, unable to look into her eyes. A few moments later, a gunshot rang out.

It was a sad story, and I couldn’t help wonder who really pulled the trigger. If she did, was it wrong for her to take her own life? Yes, according to the monks, it was, but I reserved judgment myself. How could I know what she was going through unless I stood in her shoes?

I would watch the monk and villager chatting and working on the skeleton from a vantage point across the courtyard, and occasionally I would notice the small, gentle villager with stooped shoulders put his knife down and become silent, looking off into the forest. His lined face and weak smile revealed the pain of a poor villager’s life that had come undone, and now he was doing the only thing left to do, fulfill a promise to the woman he loved for almost his entire life.

Her dying wish was that her skeleton be displayed in the main hall for all the monks to contemplate every day, reminding them that death can come at any time, and that death was always painful, and therefore they must not tarry in their efforts to find freedom in their hearts and hopefully not experience death too many more lifetimes.

The poignant story and the actual experience of seeing this skeleton with a bullet hole in its skull affected me deeply, much deeper than any lecture about us being merely “bubbles in a stream which could burst at any moment.” I was actually living the Buddha’s words now.

Life in a Thai Monastery (Part 3 of 7)

What a friendly, carefree monk! We felt at home already, but he wasted no time in getting down to business. He asked me to remain in the courtyard for a moment while he and the other monk escorted Janet to the nun’s section. Before they left with her, the British monk asked if I wanted to say goodbye. . . . Hmm. Why should I say good-bye? Janet and I were staying at the same monastery, weren’t we? But I did as he suggested and said good bye. (You should never second-guess a British monk).

As I watched her disappear into the trees, which, by the way, happened to be my last personal contact with her for months, I thought back to the train ride, and how apprehensive she was when she noticed the small, thrown together shelters in the rice fields that farmers used as protection from the monsoons. She was certain that we would end up living in one of these flimsy huts that afforded zero protection from snakes and creepy things, and I was right, she was scared to death.

But not to fear; her first kuti (hut), although older, was substantial, made of timbers with a tin roof and perched on stilts for protection against her anticipated despicable critters. Her fear however was not entirely without foundation; an active family of seven geckos claimed the hut as well, causing her to lay awake the entire first night curled up in a rigid, fetal position being careful not to touch the mosquito net that hung from the ceiling and which she tucked firmly under her little bamboo mat . . . while imagining things crawling all over her.

Eventually, the nuns gave her a nicer kuti with only two geckos, and then finally a new and beautiful one with only a single lizard . . . but it was a big one.

Although Janet and I would see each other at a distance while attending community meetings, meals and so forth, we weren’t permitted to speak with each other without a monk present. Those were the rules; established so that no misunderstandings would arise with villagers who supported these monks, a support that relied upon mutual trust. The villagers would take care of the monks and nuns necessities, and the monks and nuns would devote their lives to nothing other than conquering their kileses (greed, hatred and delusion), and finding enlightenment. The monks and nuns were the villagers’ ideals.

The British monk returned after getting Janet settled in and handed me the traditional small, rolled-up bamboo mat that would serve as my sleeping and meditation rug, along with an old, dinged aluminum teapot that was my water kettle. After a brief stop to fill the kettle at the water barrels, he began escorting me to the far side of the monastery.

As we were walking along, a mangy dog with a missing ear and absent clumps of fur ran into the forest not far ahead. The monk pointed and issued a stern warning to stay away from stray dogs that might wander about the monastery looking for food, adding casually that a monk and nun were both presently taking anti-rabies shots after being attacked on the porch of the sala! Well . . . I was relieved to hear that rabies shots were available, but not too thrilled about rabid dogs running loose all over the place.

We continued about a hundred yards on a narrow trail through a green cave of dense foliage with tropical flowers spilling out of bamboo thickets; which seemed to be welcoming me, and then, suddenly, there it was - my personal little kuti! I had been picturing it in my mind for months, and it looked simply wonderful; quiet, peaceful, just the thing for an itinerate loner like me.

By Western standards, it was tiny, only six feet by seven feet, but more than enough room to stretch out. It was made of sturdy timbers and perched on stilts seven feet high to keep out snakes and ants, with ten steps leading to a small porch. Inside were a few pictures tacked to the wall, apparently from a previous occupant - an autopsy photo of some poor chap cut from top to bottom, (a monk's aid for contemplating the body), a picture of a Buddha image, and a picture of a lotus blossom. There was also a small, cut-in-half tin can that I later used to heat a few tablespoons of water over a candle to shave with every morning. Probably what the prior tenant used it for. I mentally thanked him.

My kuti came complete with two shuttered windows, to keep out the rain, a mosquito net tied to a ceiling beam, and some candles, matches and incense sitting on an exposed two by four. Small pans of kerosene were fashioned around the bottoms of the exterior stilts to discourage ants, scorpions and termites, and the roof was covered with tin, a beautiful tin, the sound of rain upon which will remain with me the rest of my life. My little kuti was perfect!

Living at a monastery in Thailand costs nothing, as long as you follow the rules - one meal a day, etc., and of course you must be on your best behavior. Besides the rules, we had to quickly learn a wealth of cultural things, for example; exposing the sole of one’s foot is akin to exhibiting one’s middle finger, so I soon learned to sit puppy-up, or flat on the concrete floor of the sala with my feet curled demurely underneath - no furniture or pillows to sit on at Wat Pah Nanachat! Just wood, concrete, and the jungle floor.

The regional police station would subsequently hold our passports, which we cheerfully surrendered upon arrival. We couldn’t have cared less; our intention was to stay forever in this paradise that offered such a rare opportunity to meditate with little disruption.

The smiling British monk wished me luck, then turned and disappeared down the trail. I waved, while at the same time glancing nervously in all directions for signs of snakes, scorpions, or mad dogs, and then made myself at home in my little kuti, that to me was more beautiful than a mansion with gold-plated faucets.

Life in a Thai Monastery (Part 2 of 7)

We caught the 600-kilometer, overnight milk run into the sparse, destitute countryside of the northeast, making uncountable stops and heading for who knows where. The ancient train clicked and clacked grudgingly through Bangkok’s innards; miles of dilapidated buildings leaning toward the rickety tracks, populated with on-the-edge people surviving on next to nothing, with many of the old and infirm sitting hopelessly beside their makeshift dwellings, waiting . . .for what? Death perhaps?

It caused me to pause, as I reflected on the fate of all beings, rich or poor, good or bad. This is our destiny; death, and it comes to every one of us, whether it comes easy and sudden or slow and painful, and I hoped with all my heart that Janet and I would not have to go through the uncertainty of a physical existence too many more lifetimes.

Finally, we chugged past the squalor that was Bangkok and headed toward the Cambodian border, and found ourselves gazing out grimy windows at countless rice fields, their magnificence painted across the endless South Asian landscape. We saw great plains dotted with tiny villages, framed against a night filled with endless stars, red streaked morning skies, and a yellow-white day. Eventually these plains gave way to occasional patches of forest, and soon, we could see tangled thickets of jungle ahead. Suddenly, I feared for Janet.

The monastery was supposed to be a dozen kilometers from the train station in Ubon, but none of the cabbies or moto drivers had ever heard of it. Maybe it was the way we were pronouncing it? Finally, a slim, young Thai on a tiny motor scooter indicated that he knew where it was and offered to take us there for a reasonable fee. Great!

Now this was a small bike, and Janet and I, complete with stuffed backpacks, must have weighed in at a good 350 pounds, but the driver, undaunted, somehow squeezed everything on, and with almost flat tires, a little luck, and a lot of smoke, we soon found ourselves in the forest surrounded by the deafening chatter of tropical, hooked-beaked birds. We paid our driver thirty baht (about a dollar), and made our way on foot into the dense, damp foliage following a path under a canopy of seemingly infinite trees. This was the entrance to Wat Pah Nanachat, a Buddhist monastery or wat.

This was just what we were looking for! Living in the forest deepens meditation they say - something we confirmed at a Zen monastery in California, and the jungle, the animals, and the natural world seemed connected at the hip to the Source of all things or that mysterious Reality that some may refer to as God. We felt safe and comfortable here, in contrast to the cities that are man-made, here we were closer to the freedoms we sought, and closer to what we actually were; elements of the earth that would return to the earth.

It was odd how the Freedoms began revealing themselves to us. We vowed to find truth in this lifetime, but we didn’t realize at the time that this truth involved a number of freedoms. We had already found three; three so powerful that we were propelled headlong into this far-flung adventure where our lives would be at risk every moment. We knew in our hearts that there were more freedoms, but how many more? This whole thing was a mystery to us, and we had no inkling of the outcome. It was baffling.

All we wanted to do right now was to live in the forest meditating silently and quietly, and Thailand supported this. The Thais understood the value of meditators; and how the Thaïs’ day-to-day lives were positively affected by monks who meditated. Unfortunately, meditation back home was still a lark, a New Age marketing tool which at worst became a moneymaking enterprise of unscrupulous meditation teachers, and at best, nothing more than a therapy or relaxation technique of some kind, Few understood or cared about its deeper aspects.

Not many places in the West offered free room and board just to promote the unique consciousness that positively develops from still minds. Intellectualism rules the West, and although it has produced technological and societal milestones, the people are not happy, at least not as happy as the third world Thaïs we met out in this countryside. Technological advances take their toll - on people’s hearts.

There was no movement in the open courtyard as we approached. A large wooden structure, the sala or meditation hall, loomed ominously ahead surrounded by water barrels strategically placed to catch rainwater from its tin roof; no running water or electricity out here. A bell platform with six steps stood a little way from the sala, and alongside the platform was a cremation area. There were windows; or openings in the sala walls, so large that it appeared as though walls didn’t exist; you could look straight through the building as if it wasn’t even there. It created an incredible illusion of airiness.

The setting was peaceful, but not necessarily quiet. The animal chatter is unending in the forest, changing every hour, as the different animals go about their routines. They say that forest monks can accurately tell time by listening to the noises of the jungle; I can attest to that; and I even got pretty good at it myself!

As we continued walking toward the sala, two monks approached; one smiling broadly, undoubtedly aware of who we were since we had corresponded ahead of time, making the proper arrangements. (A little diversion from flying by the seat of our pants).

“Greetings,” he announced, his delightful British accent bouncing off the forest. “The Rocks I presume?”

Thailand Vacation Series - Thai Foods & Cooking

Thai foods and cooking
Thai food has become in recent years one of the world's favorite cuisines. When we speak of "Thai food ", we are in fact talking of four very distinct regions in the country, each with their own culinary traditions. We are speaking too of the dishes created in the royal courts and palaces of Old Siam, that have been passed down through many generations of chefs, and finally into public domain.

Good food also comes up from the street level, and many of Thailand's most popular dishes can be found at the smallest food stalls and restaurants. And there is the influence of China, India, Malaysia and other neighbouring countries. So all these different factors come together under the label "Thai food", and you will find them in varying degrees at any Thai restaurant you care to visit, anywhere in the world.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the cuisine is its use of herbs and spices. With regard to the spices, some Thai dishes are very hot, but by no means all of them. The herbs have another function, in addition to providing flavour, in that they all have to varying degrees various medical and therapeutic benefits.

Thailand has a long history, going back to ancient times, of the use of herbs for medical purpose, and this in turn has permeated the ways of cooking and preparing food. Coupled with its low-fat qualities and its essential freshness, this helps make thai food one of the healthiest anywhere. Another important aspect about Thai food is the hospitality and friendiness, the sheer enjoyment of good companionship and of eating that is such a powerful element of the Thai personality. Sharing a meal is an important part of the day for any Thai person, and meal are very seldom taken alone. That is why all the dishes are generally served at once during Thai meal, and why there is a communal spoon placed alongside each dish for people to help themselves and to serve others.

A Thai meal ideally is a communal affair, principally because the greater the number of dinners the greater the number of dishes that can be sampled. Diners choose what ever they require from share dishes and generally add it to their own plate of rice. All the dish are serve simultaneously, or nearly so. The object is to archive a harmonious blend of the spicy, the subtle, the sweet and sour, and a meal is meant to be equally satisfying to the eye, nose and palate.

Thailand is blessed with many varieties of plants, herbs and spices which ensure s balanced diet. Today, visitors can both relish classic Thai menus and the benefits of a natural diet, and study the art of Thai cooking at several specialist schools in Bangkok and major beach resorts.


Thailand Coup, Bangkok Still The Place To Visit

by: Fred Tittle
Coup in Thailand, this is not the first coup in Thailand, but the first in a long time. If you have been to Thailand recently, or follow the politics, this coup is not surprising for many reasons. Many people see to much corruption at very high levels, the extrajudicial handling of the drug problem, the sale of a major Thai communication asset to a foreign country, the way that the Prime Minister handles his opposition, using whatever means to silence them, and for the military the Muslim uprising in the three southern most provinces. The political fighting in the capitol is further making the military nervous with the now ousted Prime Ministers plays to keep his power despite a large and vocal group of people that want to see him out.

The military involvement with a Muslim insurrection in the south has to be troubling to them, and they want to open negotiations with the insurgents to work through the problems and come to a peaceful solution. Towards this end, the Thais have for the first time a Muslim General, General Sontai, controlling the military, and who appears now to be the new Prime Minister. Thailand being a mostly Buddhist Country, are very tolerant of minorities, and this would seem to be a better track to travel than trying to muscle through the issues using force, which is seen as not working and counter productive.

All Thais love the King! The Thai King is the longest ruling monarch in the world today, whose 60th anniversary was a huge celebration. Amazing to see if you walk through Bangkok, is all of the Thais Wearing yellow shirts proudly proclaiming their love for the King, several weeks after the celebration. This new Commander of the military is close to the King, and if he has the King’s support, the people will support him as well.

No one has been hurt yet! However, it is pretty much assured that in the rush to cover the story, and be the most dramatic and sensational, the international news outlets will wreak more damage on the Thai people than the Coup, or the ousted Prime Minister. Not only will Thailand suffer, but the smaller countries that border Thailand will suffer as well, notably Cambodia and Laos, which receive a lot of overland tourist traffic from Thailand. Tourists that are in Bangkok now are a little nervous, but they will be safe, and will have a great story to tell when they get home. Thailand is a great place to visit as it always is and will continue to be. Book your tickets now, come and see the new Bangkok airport and you are sure to find some great rates, See you here!


Chiang Mai Nightlife - Cheap Fun After Dark

By Jim Allen
Budget travellers and backpackers are known for their love of a fun evening no matter where in the world they end up. For those who reach the northern city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, there are plenty of opportunities for nightlife excitement, with the added bonus of it being really, really inexpensive.

Dining and drinking are probably the first things that come to mind. Fear not, the food in Chiang Mai is not only delicious and the helpings large, but the cost is amazingly low. Filling meals can be found from street stalls and vendors in Chiang Mai for less than 25 baht - that's about sixty cents! Eating at restaurants will cost a bit more, but if you stick with the local Thai food establishments and avoid the hotel restaurants, you'll still be amazed at the serving sizes and the prices.

As far as drinking goes, imported beer at the expat pubs is very reasonable, but if you're not picky, a large bottle of the local spirits will last you and your friends the night and will only set you back around 120 baht ($2.90 US). Of course, if you overdo it you may continue to pay for it the next morning.

Another favorite nightlife activity in Chiang Mai is shopping at the famed night bazaar in the middle of the city. Here you will find all kinds of foods, crafts and other goods from the region. There are plenty of bargains to be had here, but be ready and willing to haggle. A word of warning though, so called antiques here are often fakes.

Finally, if you like to dance, there are many popular discos in Chiang Mai. Cover charges are reasonable, and if you practice basic caution and stick with the more well known ones such as Bubbles disco at the Pornping Tower, they are also very safe and friendly places to relax for the night.


One night in Bangkok

By: Ann Corba
By the end of October in Thailand finishes so called “rain season”, so now it’s just the right time to visit this country and to see all its sightseeing. Before going to one of its sea resorts, most of which have recovered from the last year’s tsunami, it could be very interesting to spend some time in Thailand’s capital – Bangkok. Bangkok is 8-million metropolis. You can live here for several years but still find something new. However 24 hours is quite enough to fall in love with the city and to see the best it can offer. For the last 200 years Bangkok has been the residence of the Tai’s kings. Live in Bangkok boils up round the clock. All the big shops and small stores are open 24 hours a day. The night is the best time in Bangkok. No heat, bright lights… Even the mud, so usual for the oriental city seems to hide under the cover of the dark. Impetuous Bangkok’s nightlife attracts a lot of people, mostly tourists from the West. All bars, clubs and discos are always overcrowded. Noise, smoke, different shows (go-go, burlesk etc) and Thai’s massage become the symbols of unforgettable Bangkok’s nights. When the night is over, if you still have forces, you can enjoy all the traditional attractions tourists usually visit. As Thailand's capital, Bangkok boasts the outstanding monuments of country’s past. Bangkok's best temples include Wat Trimitr with its five and a half ton solid gold Buddha, Wat Po with its huge reclining Buddha - the first traditional massage school in Thailand, (massages are avalable.) and Wat Banjamaborpitr - the White Marble Temple - one of Bangkok's most beautiful temples with impressive Thai architecture. Even if you're short on time you should visit with the Grand Palace - Bangkok's most famous landmark is a former residence of the Kings of Thailand. In November Bangkok hosts the Royal Rattanakosin Loy Krathong Festival. Loy Krathong is celebrated in different styles. This special festival includes a revival of traditional ceremonies, games, contests and competitions: Krathong Competition, and Thai costume contest. The festival lasts several days. You can choose only one of them – and see the most beautiful Thai’s traditions and the most impressive national dresses. Now, when you saw it all you can continue your vacations on Phuket, Pattaya or any other resort. Many tourists after visiting Bangkok decide to see Laos or Cambodia that are not so far away.
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Top 5 Cities to see during a Holiday in Thailand

By: Stuart Cheese
In my capacity as the UK Director of Operations for One World Tours Limited, one of my jobs is to ensure every client has the best tour possible, so here are my top 5 suggestions for cities to visit in Thailand during your holiday.

1.Bangkok is a fascinating city which has managed to keep it’s ancient eastern traditions whilst embracing the modern progression of the western world. Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and offers a host of experiences which include floating markets, modern bars, top of the range shopping, gastronomical delights and ancient temples steeped in the city’s history.

The Chao Phraya River separates the city and has a series of canals. The new ‘Sky train’ railway is something which should be experienced whilst in the city should you fancy avoiding the bustling traffic.

One of the largest floating markets is on the outskirts of Bangkok and you’ll greeted by the aromatic smells and the age old tradition of the locals and their way of making a living along the busy canals.

There is an array of beautiful and ancient buildings not to be missed whilst in Thailand. Although I did not personally experience all of the nightlife, it was made obvious to me that all of my entertainment needs would be taken care of by all well informed taxi drivers wishing to proudly show off their culture.

2. Phuket is the biggest island attraction that Thailand has to offer. It is the perfect place to retreat to and enjoy a tropical paradise. Although the west coast of the island was almost destroyed by the tsunami of 2004, there is very little evidence remaining to show that it occurred.

Not to be missed are:

Old Phuket Town. Chinese immigrants from the 19th century, who were lured in the past by the tin mines, left behind them a host of amazing Sino-Portuguese mansions along Dibu and Thalang roads.

Thai Boxing. A personal favourite of mine, this national sport is violent and very fast paced. For regular matches the Saphan Him Stadium in Phuket City is the place to be.

3.Krabi. Krabi Province is in the middle southern part of Thailand. It is situated in the aquamarine water of the Andaman Sea. It is one of the most stunning places in all of Thailand.

Krabi Town is situated near the mouth of the Krabi River. The Mangrove forest is something to experience and is a must for avid bird watchers. Krabi Resort is set among a curtain of palm trees on the Ao-PhraNang beach. This is a delightful place to be if you are looking to soak up the natural beauty that surrounds you.

4. Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is a city full of traditional heritage that shares its secrets with all who wish to discover them. It is a city with stunning natural beauty. It is amazing to see plants that we have to protect from the frost, growing in their scores, naturally along the roadside.

The people of Chiang Mai are a wonder in themselves with exceptional handicraft skills producing magical souvenirs for the endless throng of visitors. Chiang Mai houses the Inthanon Mountain, standing 8,448 feet above sea level making it the highest mountain Thailand.

5.Sukhothai. When visiting Sukhothai the main attractions for the area are Phra Mae Ya Shirne which is located in the Muang District. You will see a long haired figure made of stone that resembles an ancient queen. There is also a museum and National park as well as monuments of great interest inside the city walls.

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Siam Chiang Mai

by Grant Wills
Siam Chiang Mai. The Rose of the North.

Chiang Mai is Thailand's 2nd largest city and the center of culture and arts in Thailand. Chiang Mai celebrated its 700th year anniversary about 7 or 8 years ago. Siam Chiang Mai is the Home of adventure Tourism in the far North of Thailand. Chiang Mai was the capital of Siam for many years, being serviced from the south by river barge on the Mai Ping River. The large morning markets are still situated by the Mai Ping. All the main Consulates are still in Chiang Mai, with the British Consulate taking up a large block. The British had considerable influence here in the 1800s and early 1900s, helping the Thai Government set up the mail, railway and transport infrastructure. Thailand means FREELAND. Thailand was never colonized as they had a very astute King who did his schooling in Europe, When the British and French started encroaching on Thailand he summoned the respective consoles to his Palace and put forth the proposition that went something like this, We have (the Kings personal army) 5000 battle trained elephants with full body armour, you have cannon. Your cannon will take out some of my elephants but the other 4000 will trample you to death, we also have a massive army of foot solders that will mop up any survivors. To the British consul he said as a peace offering I will give you all the land on the other side of the mountains bordering Burma. As for Thailand at this time of history it was very hard to service (because of the mountain range). To the French he said something along the same lines but offering them all the land on the other side of the Mekong river. Both Governments looked at the logistics of the situation and accepted the proposition. Thailand has always maintained large armed forces as it was surrounded by hostile Countries who over the last 1000 years or so have each at one time or another ruled the whole Area. During the cold war America supported Thailand to the hilt with planes, tanks, equipment and training. During the Vietnam War the Americans had many bases here, Airport bases at Uban Thani etc. Then came Air America (but that's a whole story on its own) with arms for drug deals, CIA backing of the Hill tribe Drug Lord Armies, as in the CIA's mind they were the bastion against Russian and Chinese communist forces. Many of the treaties put in place in the cold war with the Shan people etc of Burma are still in place today and ratified by each incoming Prime Minister.

Thailand was the launching pad for the secret War in Loa, Cambodia and of course Vietnam. That all said explains why the Thai's are such a happy care free people, they have never had there spirit broken and don't have the undercurrent of hate that you see in a lot of the old French and British colonies. Thailand is a sub Tropical paradise, with plenty of lush rain forests, rivers and lakes. The mountains of the north run down to the flatlands and ocean. Chiang Mai is 11 or so hours by train from Bangkok or 1 hour by plane, It has its own International Air port, so depending on were you are coming from you can fly straight into Chiang Mai. If you take the train from Bangkok the overnight sleeper is a good idea (book a bottom bunk) you get on the train, they serve dinner, make up the beds and you wake up in the morning for breakfast coming into Chiang Mai all for the price of dinner back home. Thailand is a safe pace to travel; I have travelled back and forth from New Zealand for many years making 20 or more return trips with out ever having any thing stolen or the like. Getting over 16,000,000 tourists a year, tourism is its no one $ earner surpassing the rice crop for export $s. From Chiang Mai you can book and plan small excursions into the unknown ha (Burma, Laos and China) with return air tickets from as little as $50 - $150 or you can book on a over land cross river execution to Laos. Traveling up to Chiang Kong and then across the river to Loa.


Phuket Hotels Thailand Is An Island Conjured Dream

Think you already know what this subject is all about? Chances are that you don't, but by the end of this article you will!

The next expose presents the very newest information on Phuket Hotel. If you have a particular pursuit in Phuket Hotel, then this informative expose is necessary sense.

Truthfully, the only difference between you and Phuket Hotel skilleds is time. If you'll invest a little more time in appraisal, you'll be that deeply earlier to skilled type when it comes to Phuket Hotel.

Phuket Hotel in "Phuket Island" is one of the most charming seats in the Andaman Sea which is completely bedecked by brilliant character place. This Island have many Phuket hotel in this land for your span to place. Some Phuket hotel are height outlay but some Phuket hotel are reverse, its up to you for choose Phuket hotel up for booking all time.

Phuket Hotel in Phuket Island, Thailand is an island pretended from a trance; a complete balance of opalescent seas and intense cerulean skies, draped in a sheltered curtain of coconut palm fronds.

It will deal valuable insight into each site and deal an experience that will stay to be savored well after the stumble at Phuket hotel is done.

As we take the journey through the final part of this article, you can look back at the first part if you need any clarifications on what we have already learned.

Phuket Hotel in Phuket Island, Thailand is an island pretended from a delight; a exact mingle of opalescent seas and brilliant azure skies, draped in a sheltered curtain of coconut palm fronds.

It will impart cloying insight into each site and agreement an experience that will resume to be savored well after the slip at Phuket hotel is done.

We awfully look send to convivial you to Phuket hotel to reveal this brilliant shoreline and the breath-winning views of Bangtao coast hotel route spa.

At Phuket Hotel; You can trace its innate beauty which blessed by an calm cozy climate, blonde grimy shorees, rock acquit turquoise water. These Phuket Hotel attractions are early from the pivot of Island.

Bang tao coast is located on the west section of Phuket island, about 25 summary from Phuket International airport.

Bang tao bay is just north of Kamala coast, this 8 km. grimy coast with an 18-fleapit golf course is proper for swimming, sunbathing and water sports.

The coast is lined with numerous smart choices called Laguna Phuket, most of which are part of an integrated choice logic.

When word gets around about your authority of Phuket Hotel evidence, others who want to know about Phuket Hotel will begin to actively obtain you out.

If you need help with this subject, or do not know how to begin, there are several free resources on related websites to give you a boost.
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Pattaya - enjoying the city’s bar and restaurant scene

By: Andy Burrows
While in many of Thailand’s less commercially developed holiday centres visitors are happy to eat at the same places as the locals, Pattaya attracts holidaymakers who are often less ambitious and in search of some traces of familiarity where food and drink are concerned.

Fortunately, Pattaya has a wealth of venues that are tourist friendly including those owned by Thais keen to cash in on the steady influx of annual visitors and those owned by expats hoping to attract other expats and grab something of the tourist trade also.

Most hotels offer breakfast as part of the price of a room for the night and while they generally have facilities for providing lunch and dinner, many visitors are out and about during the daytime and will need to find somewhere on their travels that can satisfy their food needs.

There are plenty of venues open for lunch and visitors can choose from either Thai or western food. In the latter category, eateries that stand out include the Queen Victoria Inn on soi 6 with its fine selection of typically English fare and Pat’s restaurant on soi 3 offering similar grub. Between them, customers can expect to find fish and chips, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, shepherd's pie and ploughman's lunch up for grabs.

For fast food, Subway has a branch of its famous sandwich chain situated on Pattaya Klang road and offers its typical selection of Americanised fare, while the City Grill restaurant on Walking street covers all the usual bread and meat combinations such as hot dogs and hamburgers. For food of a similar ilk with that little bit extra, Bob's BBQ & Grill is sure to please with its ribs, burgers and steaks.

Dinner time sees a greater selection of eateries, with many restaurants restricting themselves to evening trade only. Thai food vendors begin to line the streets once the sun has set, dishing up cheap yet authentic Thai cuisine from their mobile food carts. It’s possible to eat for less than 50 baht at these places, although the roadside setting won’t win any awards for being romantic or serene.

To enjoy Thai food in a restaurant setting yet at a reasonable price, try Somsak on soi 1 or Baan Thai on Central road where traditional fare with an haute cuisine edge can be enjoyed at higher prices than the former. Dinner with entertainment can be found at Adam & Eve’s at Sabai Jai Village and PIC Kitchen on soi 5.

When it’s got to be something familiar or something that is not spicy, then its time to try one of Pattaya’s many international restaurants. Establishments in this category include those serving the cuisines of England, France, Belgium, Germany and Japan. For spicy food of a different nature, there are also Indian and Mexican eateries.

Italian food is popular in Pattaya, as anywhere else in the world, and Duilio's on Central road and Little Italy situated on the opposite side from Royal Garden Plaza are the among the best places to enjoy a plate of pasta or a pizza. For something from France, check out Au Bon Coin on soi 5 and Mon Ami Pierrot on Walking street; both delivering high quality, authentic French cuisine. Belgian food is best enjoyed at either Klein Vlaanderen on the Pattaya 2nd or Patrick's Belgian at the Diana Arcade.
Go Japanese at either Yamato on soi Yamato or at either of the city’s Daidomon branches (Big C and Royal Garden Plaza), with the former being the best option in terms of authenticity. For nan bread, samosas and milky curries, head to Sher E Punjab on Beach road or Ali Baba on Central road, while tacos and chili are sure to be found on the menus of Mexican establishments Blue Parrot on soi 2 and Tequila Reef on soi 7.

After dinner, a cool alcoholic beverage is appealing and Pattaya has plenty of drinking venues on offer. Unfortunately, the main drinking zone, situated around Walking street, has a reputation as a haven for sex tourists and the kind of establishments that cater to them. If this is not your scene, there are still bars in the same area where visitors can drink and socialise without this kind of distraction.

Falling into the aforementioned category are venues such as the Bamboo Bar and Kilkenny’s Irish pub on Walking street; Hard Rock Café, Hopf Brew House and Rosie O'Grady's on Beach road; and Shenanigans and the Queen Victoria Inn in the Pattaya 2nd road area.

Of course, there are some visitors who will want to avoid any chance of wandering into seedy areas and for them the safety of hotel bars is perhaps the best option. The big hotels all have their own bars, many of them attractively furnished and offering quality wines and spirits as opposed to locally brewed beverages.

The Sheraton in Pattaya Hill, All Seasons on Pattaya 2nd road, Marriot on Beach road and Royal Orchid Resort in North Pattaya are just some of the establishments with bar facilities. Customers need not be guests of the hotel to drink at these bars. It’s also worth considering that these hotels all have excellent in-house restaurants which are open to guests and non-guests alike. The standard of food is exceptionally high and both Thai and international cuisine are available. Non-residents should consider booking ahead, especially in high season.
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Thai-Yoga Massage - Rising Popularity of an Ancient Therapy

By Nina Schnipper
Now is an exciting time to give or receive relaxing, therapeutic Thai-Yoga massage. It is an especially exciting time for therapists and yogis who practice Thai-Yoga massage, as clients who seek natural health treatments are starting to discover its many benefits.

What is Thai-Yoga massage?

How is it different from other styles of massage, and from yoga? What are some of its health benefits? Why is it becoming popular recently?

Thai-Yoga massage is also known as Thai-Yoga or Thai massage. It is practiced in the Thai, or Siam, culture for well-being and prevention. It produces the therapeutic effects of yoga. However, it feels wonderfully relaxing as it is applied. You, the recipient, passively receive the treatment.

Essentially, Thai massage is like having yoga done to you. You, the recipient, are usually clothed and lying on a padded mat on the floor. Some therapists may perform the treatment on a therapy table. Others may incorporate some of the Thai stretches into their typical Swedish massages.

To alleviate some of the mystique, let's explore the yogic aspects of this therapy. When we practice yoga, we are stretching our body in dynamic ways. These stretches are also called postures, or asanas. We twist and move in many directions, and we stretch many muscles simultaneously. This is called dynamic.

One of yoga's therapeutic benefits is its end result. When we stretch dynamically, our exercise is more likely to enhance our everyday activities. Because everyday activities are dynamic. Healthy living requires us to use many muscles for each activity, and to move in many directions.

So, after we practice yoga, our muscles and joints feel loose. And our everyday activities feel easier.

When these stretches are applied to you, by another person, the benefits are multiplied! When your body is relaxed and passively stretched, your body will often release tension and inhibitions and allow greater stretching to occur.

Similarities and differences.

Thai-Yoga massage is like yoga because stretches are applied to a recipient. Thai-Yoga massage is unlike yoga because it is passively received. Thai-Yoga is like massage because it is a form of bodywork applied with a relaxing and therapeutic method. It is unlike most massage because the recipient is often clothed, and the treatments are often performed on a cushioned mat rather than on a massage table.

Although yoga and massage come in many varieties, they often have some similar benefits. They are both loosen stiff joints and relax tense muscles. They bring peaceful calm. They encourage participants to meditate and discover a deeper awareness about their bodies.

Yoga and massage are available for athletes, and for people severely injured or disabled, and everyone in between!

Claim to fame?

So, why has Thai massage become a hot trend in natural therapies? Yoga, and other ancient forms of Ayurvedic medicine, have become increasingly popular in the U.S.

An aging population has discovered the relaxing therapies of yoga and of massage. So, when a natural therapy combines the best of both therapies, it's bound to be a hit.

How do I get a Thai-Yoga massage therapy?

Some practitioners have massage schooling, while others are trained in yoga. Wellness spas often carry Thai-Yoga massage and other kinds of Ayurvedic medicine. If you do not have a multi-disciplinary wellness spa or office in your area, folks at your local yoga studio can usually find a therapist for you.

Your body will thank you.

Nina Schnipper specializes in pain relief and injury recovery, using fitness training and therapeutic massage including Thai-Yoga massage. She offers Vedic therapies at Higher Spa & Studio in Basalt, Colorado.

Her Thai-Yoga Massage mentor, Micheal Buck (Mukti), of the Vedic Conservatory in Florida, was recently inducted into the Massage Hall of Fame. (Yeehaw! Way to Go! Love & Light to Ya, Mukti!).

Nina is part of the Official Sports Massage team for Higher Spa & Studio, so she works with skiers, synchro-skiers, climbers, and other athletes throughout the Aspen valley and Colorado Rockies. Of course, she also treats people with pain from work, hobbies, and everyday stresses.

For more information about Nina's work, articles on pain relief and injury recovery, plus VIDEO, Go to For ongoing lifestyle support & coaching, Join their online Members' Zone!


Thailand Islands: The Five Costly Mistakes You don’t Want to make

The inexperienced Thailand traveler may be unconscious to the fact that a satisfying vacation in Southern Thailand Islands is not a surefire thing. This article will reveal the biggest mistakes you don’t want to make before and during your visit to the Thai Islands.

Southern Thailand islands also known as the "Paradise" Islands are among the most popular tourist destinations in the world. More than 12,000,000 tourists have visited Thailand in 2005, and the majority of them had left the Bangkok International Airport immediately after their arrival and headed straight to the Southern Islands. Some of the visitors were fascinated by the stories of people who were caught in the charms of the unforgettable ambience of the islands, some of them were taken by images they saw on the web, while others were convinced as per the words of their travel agent that the Thai Islands were indeed the ultimate tourist destination that fits every taste, age, budget and personality type. This can partly explain the massive flow of honeymooners, backpackers, families-on-vacation, partygoers, divers and many others to the Thai Islands every year.

However, the inexperienced Thailand traveler may be unconscious to the fact that a satisfying vacation is not a surefire thing even in a place nick named Island Paradise. In order to be successful, enjoyable and fulfilling, your vacation must be thoroughly planned. Unfamiliar destinations often hide little unknown secrets, which hold the enormous potential to make the desired positive change in your vacation.

This article will discuss the biggest mistakes you can make prior and during your visit to the Thai Islands. Adhering to or ignoring the five amendments below can literally make or break your vacation in the Southern Thailand Islands.

1. Mistake 1: choosing your vacation island spontaneously. Web pictures of tropical islands often make them look almost identical. The inexperienced traveler is likely to assume that no matter where you go in Southern Thailand Islands – you will bump into the same picturesque beach with white sands, turquoise water and a single coconut tree. Falling into the illusion of images while choosing your vacation island out of pure impulse can be a very disappointing experience in case the final destination island does not meet your needs, your personality or expectations at all. To avoid this mistake, define your preferences before hand, make a dedicated research prior to choosing your destination by gathering the relevant information using guidebooks in addition to using the Internet. As you choose the island that fits your needs, pay close attention to the following points:

a. The level of tourist development. Some travelers like their islands loaded with tourist facilities (i. e. Phuket, Koh Samui), whereas others prefer the classic touch "old school" isolated touch (i. e. Koh Phangan, Khao Lak).

b. Nightlife – Phuket, Koh Samui and at lesser extent Krabi offer a thriving nightlife, whereas Koh Phi Phi and Koh Tao are quiet and drowsy.

c. Diving sites – Koh Phi Phi and Koh Tao offer the best diving sites in Southern Thailand.

d. The prevalent level of accommodation. Phuket and Koh Phi Phi offer a immense variety of luxury hotels, while Koh Phangan and Koh Tao offer mostly basic (not necessary low standard) accommodation.

2. Mistake 2: Assuming that a great vacation can be carried out at a very low budget. Some travelers tend to wrongly assume, that Thailand being a country with developing economy will provide everything including a high standard hospitalization in ridiculously cheap prices. This is partially right, since the local tourism industry suggests an inexpensive travel opportunities to backpackers. However, the spoiled tourist who is used to savor on luxury westernized accommodation will find out the hard way that in order to meet his or her traveling expectations the expenses are appropriate to what is offered. To avoid this mistake and eliminate serious deviations from the planned budget – make your research to learn about price gaps in Southern Thailand Islands. For instance, one should know that staying in some islands (i. e. Koh Phi Phi) is expected to be more expensive, while staying in other islands (i. e. Koh Phangan, Koh Tao) can be significantly cheaper. To avoid any disappointments related to over expenses, I recommend adhering to the following guidelines:

a. Avoid planning a budget on the basis of someone else’s estimations, especially if that person visited the Thai Islands many years ago; spent the vacation in another island than the one you chose; much younger than yourself/ or prefers a different life standard.

b. Make an informed decision regarding the desired level of accommodation. The basic accommodation that includes a clean air-conditioned room and western style bathroom can be booked on relatively low, albeit not ridiculous, price. Contrary to that, a luxury accommodation (that kind of accommodation is quite common in Phuket and Koh Samui) may be almost as expensive as the hotels in your neighboring country.
c. Although checking the room rates is possible using the Internet – the prices of meals should be carefully checked as well. Don’t assume that no matter where you eat – the meal will be cheap. During my first visit to Thailand, I was very surprised to receive a check of the same value as in my home country. Now I know, that the Southern Thailand Islands offer a myriad of western style restaurants with western style prices. Therefore, before you enter a well-designed restaurant – check the menu and make clear budget estimation.

3. Mistake 3: choosing your vacation beach spontaneously. This is similar to mistake number one – but probably easier to correct, because checking other beaches on the destination is easier logistically and cheaper than checking other islands. However, the "wrong" beach choice can make you feel that you haven’t exploited the full potential of your vacation, or that you have wasted significant part of it. For instance, during my first visit in Koh Phangan I found out two days before the end of my vacation, that my "perfect" beach is located on the other side of the island. The following tips can help you avoid a similar situation:

a. The most developed and crowdie beaches on most islands are located in proximity to the airport (in case there is an airport in your island) or to one of the main seaports.

b. In case you prefer the above type of beaches – be aware of the fact that some of them, especially in Koh Samui and Phuket, are not family friendly.
c. The old school quiet and picturesque beaches are always on the other side of the island. If the "old school" beach is what you are looking for – don’t give up even if the way to Thailand was long and exhausting, and try to make a small effort to cross the island on your way to the opposite side; it will be well worth your while.

4. Mistake 4: insisting on Westernized food. Some of us tend to worry about experimenting with an unfamiliar food. The Thai tourist industry is aware of this fact; therefore the supply of Western style restaurants in Southern Thailand Islands is huge. Having said that, limiting yourself to these restaurants could be a huge mistake, since the prices for western cuisine are much higher compared to the ones in authentic local restaurants; and even worse– you miss out on one of the most important experiences of the Thai culture – the superior Thai cuisine, probably one of the best in the world. To avoid this mistake, don’t hesitate entering small restaurants with ridiculously neglected interior design, plastic maps and un-plastered walls. These restaurants’ owners are probably the worst marketers – but usually are superior cooks. Your meal in one of these restaurants will often be unbelievably cheap, tasty and mostly made of fresh sizzling ingredients. You will fantasize about these meals long after you have left the island.

5. Mistake 5: To take your big business suitcase to an island that could be only accessed by sea. A big suitcase is of course very convenient [in Europe]: using it, you can pack everything you need; it can be carried easily thanks to those little wheels; and it makes you look very representative. However, taking a big suitcase to Koh Phangan or Koh Tao is not something I would recommend. The platforms in the piers are extremely narrow and occasionally unstable. So if you’re really lucky – your big suitcase will be safe. If you’re a little bit less lucky – it can fall into the water. If you ran out of luck – you can fall into the water together with your suitcase. I seriously think a back bag would be your best bet. Just for the record, the huge suitcase that was taken by yours truly to her first trip to Koh Phangan was left somewhere in the jungle to frighten local monkeys.

So, on the next time the idea of heading the Thailand Islands crosses your mind, as tempting as it may be, try not to succumb to rumors and fascinating imagery. A thorough research and planning ahead may take some time and effort on your side, but it will be more than worth your while.

Thailand: Khao Sok National Park

Thailand'National Park makes a challenging jungle adventure for those who prefer to travel off the beaten s Khao Sok path.

Tired of glitzy resorts and over-hyped nature treks more tailored to tourists than adventurers? Look no further than Khao Sok, a jungle situated on the Thai/ Malay peninsula that showcases thick vegetation and close to 300 animal species. As you approach the entrance, awesome geological formations called karsts (limestone conglomerations) loom to welcome you to this humid yet lush green world of shrieking monkeys and treehouse lodgings.

The truly hardy swear by the daylong hike into the jungle near Cheow Lan Lake, a manmade body of water that you cross on a pleasant boat ride to Tone Teuy Creek. After wading through the creek, the going gets tougher, as you cross a leech-infested trail; the best way to fend off the bloodsuckers is to keep moving, as they gravitate to warm, still bodies. Once past their nastiness, however, you have the opportunity to see tigers, elephants, and pythons in their natural habitat. For many, though, the highlight of the day is swimming through Namtaloo Cave's deep and rocky waters to come out at the other side of the trail.

Just about anyone could use some rest and relaxation after a stay in the jungle, and the perfect spot to unwind is the Amanpuri Resort in Phuket, about two and a half hours from Khao Sok. This elegant hotel offers all the amenities that treehouses do not: hardwood floors, large teak beds, and modern bathtubs for washing away jungle grime. The staff even provides guests with their very own gazebos for dining on scrumptious Thai cuisine and gazing out over palm trees. After a few days at Khao Sok, a glitzy resort doesn't look so clichéd after all.

Bangkok Tourist Attractions Information

by Alex Albert
Bangkok Tourist Attractions are one of the major reasons that attract legions of travelers to Bangkok every year. The city is packed with old temples, historical monuments, parks and museums. Bangkok tourist attractions have greatly influenced and promoted tourism in Bangkok. Whenever you come to this bustling city, keep some days aside to surf the various Bangkok attractions.

Wat Phra Kaew and the neighboring Grand Palace together make up perhaps the most impressive tourist attraction in Bangkok. Though, it is no longer the Royal residence that it was, it's still an incredible compound of glittering buildings, golden spires, mythical guardian figures and the revered Emerald Buddha.

Wat Pho, conveniently positioned right next to Wat Phra Kaew and is famous for housing Bangkok's gigantic Reclining Buddha which is 46 meters long and 15 meters in height. It's also Bangkok's largest temple complex. Wat Arun, otherwise known as the Temple of the Dawn, is a 100 meter high Khmer style prang with an excellent location on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Despite the name, it's best seen in the evening with the sun setting behind it. Ko Rattanakosin is the old royal city area and there are other attractions here amongst the famous temples listed above. Lak Meuang, the city shrine, is often full of worshippers and there's a resident dance troupe for hire. Nearby Wat Mahathat is one of Bangkok's most important temples, and in it's grounds is a large amulet market.

If you have an interest in Thai and Asian art, history and culture, this do visit the various museums in Bangkok. The city has an extensive National Museum, which is reportedly the largest in all of South East Asia. Another very important Bangkok attraction is Dusit, which is mainly an administrative district, and where the current royal palace is now located. There are other attractions around here to see like Bangkok's reasonable zoo, the impressive Vimanmek Teak Mansion and Wat Benjamabophit or the Marble Temple. The Chinatown district of Bangkok is yet another very important tourist attraction of Bangkok. It mainly consists of busy, narrow streets packed with cheap gold shops, markets, fabric shops, pharmacies selling the traditional Chinese medicines, street stalls and consistent traffic jams.

Some of the other Bangkok tourist attractions include Jim Thompson's House, the impressive home of the Thai silk entrepreneur, Suan Pakkard Palace, the Erawan Shrine, the prestigious Chulalongkorn University, a well run snake farm, Lumphini Park, Siam society and many more.


Udonthani - Thailand's Jewel In The Northeast

By Pauline Go
Udonthani was founded in 1296 by King Mengrai. It became the capital of Lannathai Kingdom, and once the kingdom started to decline, the importance of Udonthani also started to diminish. The city was often occupied either by the invading Burmese troops or the Thais from Ayutthaya. King Taksin captured Udonthani from the Burmese in 1774 and ever since it has been a part of Thailand. Today, Udonthani is the second most important city in Thailand after Bangkok. Udonthani is 560 kilometers from Bangkok.

When to Go to Udonthani
If you are planning a visit to Udonthani, the best time is between November and March. During this time the weather is cool and temperatures are from 75°F to 89°F. During April and May, it is extremely hot and visitors usually avoid those months. You can also plan a visit to Udonthani during June, July and August. There is no doubt that during those months the weather is hot but it is bearable and prices in hotels and restaurants are lower than in peak tourist season.

Places to Visit in Udonthani
Udonthani has over 300 Buddhist temples to choose from. Doi Suthep is the most popular out of these. It was built in 1383 and gives an excellent view of the city. The other temples worth visiting are Chiang Man, which is the oldest temple in Udonthani, Phra Sila, which is popular for its marble Buddha, and Phra Satang Man for its crystal Buddha.

Besides temples, you can spend time with your family at the Udonthani Zoo, Doi Inthanon National Park, Dao Cave, the Night Bazaar, Sirikit Botanical Gardens and Phrathat Doi Suthep. Udonthani is also popular for its nightlife. If you are a cooking or dancing enthusiast, you can take a Thai cooking or Thai dancing course at the local bars and cafes.

Just 47 kilometers east of Udonthani is Thailand's premier Bronze Age excavation at Ban Chiang, which is a world renowned archaeological site.

Rivers Of Thailand

By Pauline Go
The major river of Thailand is the Chao Phraya. It has low alluvial soil which marks the plains of Thailand. Chao Phraya originates from the meeting point of two other rivers Ping and Nan. The main tributary to Nan River is the Yom River.

Wang River is another river which flows in northern Thailand and this is 335 miles long. It originates from Ping River.

The longest river in Thailand is the Chi River which is 765 km but the water flow is very low. It runs through the Yasothon province of Thailand.

Chao Phraya runs for 372 km from Bangkok to the Gulf of Thailand. It bifurcates into two in a place called Chainat. The main portion of the river, known as the Chin River, flows parallel to Chao Phraya and ends in the Gulf. It is called by many names. In Chainat, it is called Makhamthao river and when it passes through Suphanburi, it is called Suphan. It becomes Nakhon Chaisi river when it enters Nakhon Pathon and after that it is known as Tha Chin river when it reaches the mouth of Samut Sakhon. Many canals are diverted from Chin River and the water from the canals is used for irrigation.

Nonthaburi Uthai Thani, , Singburi, Nakhon Sawan, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya and Chainat Pathum Thani are the cities along the flowing river. Nakhon Sawan is the city where the two major rivers Nan and Ping meet. Ang Thong is an agricultural land and Chao Phraya and Noi River meet in this city.


Thailand Vacation Series - Pattaya Attractions

by Kai
Chon Buri The Nearest Seaside Retreat

Chonburi, Bangkok's nearest seaside town, is located on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, only 80 kilometers from Bangkok. The area boasts abundant natural resources, which are highlighted by delightful beaches, local colors, traditions, delicacies and fresh seafood. This is a popular resort among Bangkokians who seek the nearest escape from hectic weekly schedules as Chon Buri has something for everyone. In addition, Chon Buri is the center of the Eastern Seaboard Development Project, with its industrial parks and fishing villages.

Pattaya - A Travelers Paradise

Pattaya is nestled along a picturesque bay on the East Coast of the Gulf of Thailand, roughly 170 kilometers southeast of Bangkok. From a fishing village in the 1960's, Pattaya has emerged as the favorite Southeast Asian vacation center. A fascinating escape where tourists, holiday makers and vacationers from around the world unfold an incomparable array of possibilities to unwind during an exotic holiday beach vacation.

Unlike other beach resorts, where natural surroundings are used as magnets to attract tourists, Pattaya makes an all-out attempt to provide the best of everything. Here, everything means everything a tourist can imagine while on holiday: recreation, entertainment, sports, sightseeing and fun. To put it simply, Pattaya is a paradise for everyone, as it has a variety of attractions suitable for all types of visitors. This is the place where you can fill your day, from dusk to dawn, with endless activities, or you may choose to do nothing at all and relax.

The Past

Pattaya's name was originated from the march of Phraya Tak (later known as King Taksin the Great) and his followers from Ayutthaya to Chanthaburi just before the fall of the Ayutthaya Kingdom to the Burmese invaders in 1767.

When Phraya Tak's army arrived in the vicinity of what is Pattaya today, he encountered the troops of Nai Klom who tried to intercept him. When the two leaders met face to face, Nai Klom was awed by Phraya Tak's dignified manner and his army's strict discipline, thereby surrendering without a fight. The place where the two armies confronted each other was later called Thap Phraya, which means the Army of the Phraya. This was later changed to Phatthaya, which happens to mean the wind blowing from the southwest to the northeast at the beginning of the rainy season. Today the spelling of the name has been simplified to Pattaya.

For centuries, Pattaya was a small fishing village almost cut off from the outside world. But a big change occurred on 29 April 1961 when the first group of about 100 American servicemen who would join the Vietnam War arrived in Pattaya for relaxation. Soon, sleepy Pattaya became Thailand's premier and most successful beach resort, which annually attracts hundreds of thousands of pleasure-seeking visitors. A full range of accommodations from super deluxe hotels to bungalows and mini-pocket guesthouses replaced fishermens huts along the beach. Fishing vessels were adapted to become tourist boats and swimmers and sunbathers from various parts of the world frequented the quiet powdery golden beaches. Places of nighttime entertainment have also sprung up and are popular among international tourists.

The Present

Pattaya currently integrates the delights of a 1st class beach resort, city-like dining, shopping and night entertainment facilities with more than 300 assorted hotels, thousands of shops, restaurants and bars. In addition, there are an array of sports and recreational activities including beaches, golf courses, tennis courts, go-kart, gyms for working out, weight lifting and Thai-boxing gear. Pattaya offers a broad range of things to do. During the day, one may enjoy riding elephants or driving humble automatic mini-bikes, monstrous motorcycles, or even monster multicolored convertible Jeeps. Others go for shooting firearms, scuba diving and surfing, deep-sea fishing, speed boats, scooters, water-skiing, parasailing, or aerial sports such as gliding ultra-lights and flying motor-propelled gliders. On the other hand, at night, there are restaurants, bars, theaters, cabaret shows, night clubs, bowling halls, billiard & snooker clubs, discos, sauna & massage parlors, not to cite its absolutely incredible shopping which is available non-stop both day-and-night.

Pattaya Facts

This exotic beach resort welcomes approximately 5 million visitor a year. The friendly and hospitable Thai nature boosts its promotion, frequently bringing back the repeat visitors and constantly increasing the number of newcomers.

Pattaya city is located on the eastern coast of the country at latitude 13 N and longitude 101 E in the area of Chon Buri province. It is 147 kilometers from Bangkok and lies parallel to Sukhumvit Road on its east and the coastline on its west. Pattaya occupies an area of 208.1 sq. km. that is divided into 53.44 sq. kilometers of land and 154.66 sq. kilometers of islands and sea. Its coastline is 15 kilometers long.

Pattaya has a plain on the coast with some high mountains to the south. The area on the east slopes down towards the sea on the west.