Today we had to leave Ko Lipe. Check-in for the boat was at 8:30 am, departure at 9:00 am. The ferry boat was actually coming from Langkawi in Malaysia, going to Ko Lanta via Ko Lipe, Ko Bulone, Ko Muk and Ko Ngai. The price for the one-way trip Ko Lipe – Ko Lanta is 1600 Baht per person.

In order to get to the ferry we needed to take a longtail and them climb onto the ferry, which was a bit adventurous, as usual. The inside of the boat looked a bit like a wide-body plane, and it’s got 116 seats. Even though the boat looked flashy and cool from outside, the inside was different. You could smell the thousands of sweaty travellers who had used this vessel before us. Besides, I’m not sure when was the last time they cleaned that boat, and I also saw quite a few cockroaches. But at least the damn thing was pretty fast. We reached Ko Bulone at 10:20.

I had intended to stay inside the boat in order not to stress my sunburn too much, but the smell was unbearable. The aircon tried its best but did not manage to beat the smell. So at last I went to the upper deck, where you’ve got no protection from the sun. Actually, it was not too hot up there, because the speed of the boat was good enough for a refreshing breeze, but I was clearly afraid of burning my skin. But then again, the view was great. There are lots of small and not-so-small islands here that already look a little bit like the ones in Phang-nga bay.

After passing Ko Talibong we reached Ko Muk (or Ko Mook) at …, where of course again the treacherous longtail transfer to the beach took place. The beach looked quite nice, we could see a rather large resort with a swimming pool behind the trees. The resort looked well-planned, since it didn’t spoil the natural character of the island.

A few minutes later we reached Ko Ngai. We didn’t have to practise our balace again, because Ko Ngai Resort has a pier, so there’s no need to use longtails for the transfer. Those who don’t stay at Ko Ngai Resort will have to pass a treacherous trail along the rocks to reach the main beach where most of the accommodation is located – pretty dangerous when you have to carry heavy bags.

Noom and I didn’t have to do that because we were staying at Ko Ngai Resort. Right after check-in we had to realize we also had to do some hiking because our bungalow was on a hill, overlooking the bay. Great view, but pretty hard to get up there in the midday heat.

After taking a short rest we walked along the trail to the main beach. The beach looks good, not many guests there, but actually it was rather late in the afternoon so we didn’t explore the area but just stayed under the first tree we could find and slept for a while.

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Today we joined another boat trip. This time two groups of Thai students were also on board, so we were 12 persons plus 2 guides plus our boatman. So this trip was less comfortable than the trip two days before, but it was still ok. I wouldn’t recommend to take more people than that on a longtail boat.

Our first stop was a snorkeling location off Ko Hin Ngam.

Next we went to see the beautiful stones at Ko Hin Ngam again, which was not very interesting for Noom and me, because we had already seen it. We realized there were much more people on the island this time, mostly Thai groups. We had planned to take a look at the soft corals at Ko Jabang next, but there were too many people at that place so we gave it a miss and headed for Ko Yang instead, which was a really good place to snorkel as well.

Next we stopped at White Sand Beach at Ko Rawi for lunch. The water at the beach was literally littered with longtail boats, and the campground was crowded with Thai tour groups. When we found out that these groups were planning to go to exactly the same places we wanted to go to, Man decided we stay longer at White Sand Beach to avoid the crowds. Noom and I preferred to stay on the beach anyway, so we really liked that decision. So I went exploring the corals right at the beach (which are actually really nice) and later took a nap while Noom slept during all of our stay.

I must say the longtails boats here at Tarutao/Lipe are starting to annoy me. Their engines appear to be much older and noisier than at Krabi. They kinda spoilt that beautiful scenery at White Sand Beach because they were constantly moving in and out of the area, so you could never enjoy a moment of tranquility. Another noise ingredient were the tour groups. Thais, as gentle as they may be when you talk to them, tend to get very noisy when they travel in groups. Ko Rawi was no exception to this.

Our next stop was Laem Song at Ko Adang, which is the National Park’s campground there, but before we got there, we stopped at Ko Jabang to see the Soft Coral. This time there was no current, the water was clear and the colors of the corals really bright and beautiful, but unfortunately I could not dive down to take some close-up photos because the water above the coral was full of tourists and there was a big chance of hitting someone on the way up.

Ko Adang’s beach was not as not crowded. What a relief! While the others in our group hiked to some view point where you’re supposed to get a nice view of Ko Lipe, Noom and I decided to sleep on the beach. The sand here is not as nice as at Ko Rawi, it’s rather shredded corals and shells than sand. But nonetheless, there’s a lot of shade and the water is clear. The beach is rather steep, not shallow as most Thai beaches. It seems the beach option we had chosen was a good one, because the other members of our group didn’t look too impressed with the view. We stayed until 5:30 pm then went back to Ko Lipe.

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This morning we packed all our stuff and moved it to our new Deluxe Bungalow, room D003. The room is not bigger than our previous room, but it’s got a wooden floor, a TV and a safe. No fridge, and unfortunately there’s no more fan. This room is actually not worth the extra 1200 Baht per night we’re paying, but a quiet night is. We are satisfied.

Today we don’t want to do any tours but stay on the beach and relax. Our plan is to spend the hot hours of the day with massage and with planning the remaining days of our trip, so first we head to the Internet room and check information about Ko Ngai and Ko Lanta. Internet is very slow (as everywhere on the island) and costs a whooping 3 Baht per minute.

So after having spent almost 300 Baht online without coming to a final conclusion, we finally connected our laptop to our mobile phone and surf via GPRS. Seems to be a little cheaper and faster than the Internet cafe solution.

We decide to leave Ko Lipe on Sunday and head for Ko Ngai, where we will stay for 4 nights. After that we’ll move on to Ko Lanta. At Pakbara Speed Boat Club we’re buying our boat ticket Ko Lipe – Ko Lanta and also finalize our bookings at Ko Ngai and Lanta. It’s now almost 2:30 pm, so we move on to a one-hour foot massage. When we’re finally on the beach, the sun is pretty low already, but that’s good news for my brown-reddish skin.

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One of the guests in a neighboring room snores. I can hear it as clearly as if he was next to me in the same bed. At 4 am the other neighbor meets his friend on the balcony and they turn on loud music. At first I’m thinking it’s my alarm clock. Angry shouting from other rooms makes shuts them up after just a few seconds. We really gotta get out of this room.

Despite such annoyances, we got up at 5:30 am in order to have some time to wake up before we had to meet Man at 5:50 am. He arrived on time and we strolled from the Tourist part of Ko Lipe over to the Chao Leh (sea gypsies) village on the other side of the island, which was a 5 or 10 minute walk. When we arrived at the Eastern beach, the sky was just starting to get a little pink, so we were right on time. Unfortunately there were quite a few clouds blocking the sun on the horizon, but the resulting sunrise was still nice. Not exactly nice were the tons of trash scattering the Chao Leh village. I will never understand why people would want to live under such conditions and not move all their trash to a central dump. It would make their village so much nicer and safer.

At 7:30 we had breakfast. I must say I don’t like Bundhaya’s breakfast too much. The bacon is 60% pure fat and 40% meat, the ham doesn’t look to promising either. The bread is ok, and so are the fried eggs, but someone should tell the “master of the eggs” how to make decent omelettes, because his are far too oily and don’t really taste good. You can try the Asian treats, but if you’re not too fond of squid (like me), it’ll be hit and miss for you. Another option you have are corn flakes. The juices are not fresh, which is a shame in a country like Thailand.

At 8:30 we met Man again to go on a boat trip to several islands and snorkeling locations. It was quite a long trip before we reached our first stop, a snorkeling spot just off Ko Dong.

Next our boat moved further West along the shoreline of Ko Dong. This island looks like a marvelous beach spot. There are numerous small beaches along its coast, all in their natural condition, so lots of trees and shade right behind the beach. No tourists. A destination if you want to rent a longtail boat for a day. We actually stopped at another snorkelling location before we stopped for lunch at Ko Rokroy.

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Today our short trip to the Thailand’s southernmost Andaman islands has started. We are planning to travel from Ko Lipe in Tarutao National Park to Ko Lanta, with possible stops at Ko Muk and Ko Ngai. “We”, that’s my girlfriend, Noom, and myself.

The day began very early, at 4 am, since we had to check out from our hotel and arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by 5:50 am in order to check in on time for our Air Asia flight to Hat Yai, departing at 6:50 am. The night before our departure, we had called 1681 and ordered a taxi to pick us up at our hotel at 5:15 am. This worked perfectly: as promised, we received our confirmation call at 4:40 am, the driver arrived well before 5:15 and took us to the airport in less than 30 minutes.

Checking in was also no problem. While there were long queues at the counters for Air Asia’s international flights, the domestic counters were deserted. So without any delays we could move on to our gate. Unusually (at least according to my experience with Thai Air Asia flights) boarding started on time and we even took off from Suvarnabhumi right on time. After a boring flight we arrived at Hat Yai International Airport at 8:20 am, as scheduled.

From that moment on things were getting more interesting because it’s not too easy to get to the islands of Tarutao National Park, but we were soon relieved: the minivan, provided by our tour operator (SmileSunNature), which had to take us from the airport to Pakbara Pier in neighboring Satun province, some 100 or 150 km from our location, was already waiting for us. At first we were surprised to see the two of us were the only passengers in the minivan, so we started making ourselves comfortable, when the van pulled into Hat Yai’s minivan terminal and the driver told us we had to wait for more passengers. Fortunately after not more than 15 minutes all seats were taken and our trip could continue, however, not quite as comfortable as right after leaving from the airport.

Despite that delay we didn’t have to worry about missing our express boat that would take us to Ko Lipe, via Ko Tarutao and Ko Kai (เกาะไข่ – Egg Island), because the tour operator called us every half hour or so to check on our progress. We finally arrived at Pakbara Pier well before 11 am, the departure time of our boat. The “boat” was actually a pretty large speed boat with seats for around 40 passengers, provided by Bundhaya Speed Boats. And as it turned out, they had managed to sell every single seat, or so it seemed. The passengers were predominantly foreigners, mostly a tour group from Russia, a few Western Europeans, a British-looking guy (pink skin, lots of tattoos) with his Thai wife and their three children plus quite a few Thais.

I didn’t like the speed boat trip too much. It was a bit too crowded for my taste (safety was ok, life jackets for everyone) and the landscape was all but zooming past. Hardly any chance for nice photos. But ok, at least we reached our destinations quickly.

The first stop at Ko Tarutao National Park Headquarters is hardly worth mentioning. It seems they only stop here to allow people to take pictures of themselves with the “Ko Tarutao National Park” sign. Been there, done that. Click. Noom and I actually used the 15 minutes to have a quick early lunch (Khao Pad Bpoo – Fried Rice with Crab Meat) which was provided by Man, our (private!) tour guide – a very nice guy as it turned out.

After Ko Tarutao we had another quick stop at Ko Kai, a really small island with beautiful whites beaches and a marvellous limestone arch. Nice photo stop, but that was it, because finally we had to get to Ko Lipe.

We arrived there at 2 pm. Before we could actually reach the beach, we had to change from our speed boat to a longtail boat, which was a bit uncomfortable with our bags, but we arrived without any incidents anyway. Our hotel is Bundhaya Resort. It has a large beachfront restaurant terrace (really nice), as well as a beachfront massage terrace. The bungalows look like typical Thai budget bungalows from outside.

Noom and I were not staying in a bungalow, our room was wall-to-wall with other rooms, which means you share every single word with your neighbour. The room is equipped with Air Conditioning and a wall-mounted fan, which gives us enough air to breathe. We’ve also got a small terrace with two deckchairs.

Considering we had to wake up very early that morning, we didn’t feel like exploring the island or going to the beach, but had a nap in our room first. The late afternoon we spent on the beach before enjoying our rich and tasty dinner (included in our tour package) and a conversation with Man. Tomorrow he’ll take us to see the sunrise at one of the other beaches, which means we’ll have to get up early again, so I better finish this entry NOW. 😉

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During a night drive from Phuket to Kuraburi district in Phang Nga, I had an adventure which is a nice example of the true nature of the Thai police.

Shortly before reaching the town of Thaimuang I got stuck behind a white minivan which was driving in a very erratic way. Sometimes slowing down to 40 kph, then going 90 kph, and to make things worse, the driver chose a pretty wiggly line, often driving on the wrong lane, then cutting back to the left side, often just narrowly avoiding to crash into the ditch or other cars. I didn’t dare to overtake the guy, it just seemed too dangerous, to I preferred to keep a safe distance.

We called the cops and told them exactly where we were and what we were seeing, but they failed to show up and arrest the guy. It would have been easy to set up a roadblock and stop him but nothing happened. We even passed a large police station on the way.

After some time the van stopped, and when I just wanted to pass him, he started driving again, so I was stuck again. Amazingly, he drove very fast now and went in a straight line, so I guessed there were two guys on board and the sober one had taken over. In the end, after having followed the van for about 70 kms, the van turned into a small road and vanished. It seemed as if there was only one guy, so I can’t really explain the change in driving style.

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Kitjar Sukjaidee, a Thai-Chinese blogger, has written an article about the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations in his family.

Before the festival actually begins, the family thoroughly cleans the house, since it’s unlucky to do any kind of cleaning during Chinese New Year. (You clean away your good luck.) The main activities during the festival seem to be praying, meeting other family members and eating.

Kitjar stresses that his family has a Penang-Phuket Peranakan (Malaysian) Chinese background and thus CNY might be celebrated in a different way in “purely” Thai-Chinese families.

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Found in “The Bangkokian”, 18 January 2006:

The Wild Ones: Maeow and his motorcycle gang roam down a dusty road in Roi Et. Who needs helmets?Where were the traffic police on Tuesday when a mysterious marauding motorcycle gang blasted their way down a dusty road in Ban Jor Kor, Amphoe At Samart, Roi Et? The leader of this motorcycle gang is believed to be Maeow Charan 69.

A photo shows that this gang of “Wild Ones” has no respect for traffic laws. The traffic police should conduct an investigation as follows:

1. Did the leader of the motorcycle gang or any of his posse carry motorcyclist licenses? Many believe that they did not because Maeow and his gang prefer to ride in Mercedes-Benz limousines.

2. Why didn’t they wear helmets? Meow wore nothing on his head, but some gang members did sport baseball caps.

Read more open questions to be investigated…

Note: The reckless motorcycle driver in the photo is Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during his 5-day Reality TV publicity stunt in the North-eastern Thai province of Roi Et.

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Today my office was closed due to Chinese New Year. My girlfriend had to work, so I decided to realize my old plan: walking through Bangkok. In the past, I often saw interesting looking streets while zooming past in a taxi, which made me want to take my time and discover everything up close.

I started from Central Chidlom, my destination was Yaowarat (Chinatown) because I expected to see some kind of New Year’s celebration there. I planned not to take the direct way, but instead to make a detour via the old town center. The route to get there was flexible: if a soi looked interesting, I wanted to follow it, keeping in mind the overall direction.

So, here’s the route I took:
Central Chidlom – New Petchaburi Road – Lan Luang Road – Ratchadamnoen Klang Road – Dinso Road – Mahannop Road – Phraeng Nara Road – Atsadang Road – Ban Mo Road – Chak Road – Tri Phet Road – Pahurat Road – Soi Wanit (Sampeng Lane) – Yaowarat Road – Charoen Road – Kao Lan Road – Soi Sukhon 2 – Traimit Road – Hualamphong

In total, according to Google Earth, I covered 11.52 kilometers on foot. Don’t ask about the condition of my lungs. And besides, I’ve always had suicidal tendencies.

But let’s go into detail.
» Read more about Walking Tour: Unseen Bangkok

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Foreigners warned about Saturday’s Anti-Thaksin demonstration

The U.S. Embassy in Thailand on Thursday warned American citizens to stay away from an anti-government rally planned Saturday in Bangkok for fear of violence.

Follow the link for more information: Foreigners Warned Of Saturday’s Anti-Thaksin Demon – Thailand Forum

Reisewarnung der amerikanischen Botschaft Bangkok:
Vorsicht, bei der am Samstag (4.2.2006) geplanten Demonstration gegen die Regierung Thaksin könnte es zu gewalttätigen Ausschreitungen kommen. Veranstaltungsort ist der Platz rund um das Reiterstandbild des Königs Rama V. in der Ratchadamnoen Nok Road, Bezirk Dusit. Da nicht bekannt ist, ob die Demonstranten vorhaben, den Platz zu verlassen und einen Zug durch die Stadt zu machen, sollte die Gegend besser weiträumig gemieden werden.

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Seen in Ko Kret, Nonthaburi province, Thailand

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An entrace gate to a house in Ko Kret, Nonthaburi province, Thailand

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There’a a pretty good BBC article covering the recent Thaksin scandals, including his Reality TV stunt (Backstage Show: The Prime Minister).

Read more

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Siam ParagonSiam Paragon is a new shopping mall which opened in December 2005, delayed by 1 month. It boasts a large Food Hall and some of the finest brands of the world. Apart from shopping there’s the inevitable multiplex cinema and a bowling alley. Pretty much standard. What makes it different is Siam Ocean World, a huge aquarium in the basement.

» Read more about Siam Paragon

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Yesterday was quite a clear and hot, check out this sunset…


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On Saturday I had the pleasure to ride in a really amazing taxi. Some people’s cars seem to reflect their owners’ character, but I’m sure this one’s got a personality of its own…

Taxi Taxi

Check out more photos…

» Read more about Crazy Taxi


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… das nämlich jetzt so groß ist, dass es selbst von mir auf Fotos als Baby erkannt wird. Kerstin schreibt, dass das Baby clever sei, da es nämlich durch seine Beinhaltung verhindert, dass man erkennen kann, ob es ein Mädchen oder ein Junge wird.

Ich sehe das anders. Es muss eindeutig ein Mädchen sein. Jungs sitzen/liegen immer breitbeinig, während anständige Mädels gefälligst die Beine übereinanderzuschlagen haben.

Ihr werdet noch an meine Worte denken!


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Der Admiral ist, wie ja der Rang bereits sagt, auf allen 2 1/2 Weltmeeren unterwegs. Erst war er in der Ostsee (naja, einem kleinen Teil davon), und bald bricht er auf, das Mittelmeer unsicher zu machen (naja, einen kleinen Teil davon)…

Das darf sogar live verfolgt werden.

Man darf gespannt sein.

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Glückwunsch an Kerstin und Daniel zum Nachwuchs!!! (Wurde aber langsam Zeit!) Da sein Blog keine Möglichkeit zum Kommentieren für Nicht-Blogger-User bietet, lasse ich meinen Kommentar eben hier ab:



Trotzdem: Glückwunsch!!!!!!!!



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Cuisine: Italian
Location: Sukhumvit Soi 31, 150 m from Sukhumvit Road on the left hand side
BTS Station: Phrom Phong
Rating: ***/5

» Read more about Bella Napoli

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Our good friend, Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, finally has found a good reason not to talk to the media… (from USA Today):

Planets block press access

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says he won’t answer questions from reporters until next year because the alignment of the planets is not in his favor.

“Right now Mercury … is in a corner perfectly aligned with my star. Mercury is no good, so if it’s not good, I am going to request not to speak,” Thaksin told reporters Sunday.

Mercury moves slowly and will not steer clear of his star until next year, he said.

Thaksin has shown hostility toward the media since taking office in 2001, and critics accuse him of trying to restrict press freedoms by manipulating coverage, canceling TV and radio shows, and using media takeovers by his political and business allies.

This evasion tactics surely won’t have anything to do with the recent allegations by ally-turned-archrival Sondhi Limthongkul, the CEO of Manager Media Group… right? 😉

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TV Smith’s Dua Sen has some funny revelations about Malaysian taxi drivers. Bangkok may not be as neat as Kuala Lumpur, but it’s good to know their taxi drivers are just as annoying as ours… in that sense Malaysian taxi drivers are Truly Thailay.

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Another impressive example of Tinglish (they mean “check your belongings”):
Seen on a longtail boat in Krabi, Thailand

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The beauty of good Tinglish amazes me all the time. Amazing Thailand – Truly Thaiway…
Don't Be Closed!!!
Seen on Phu Kradueng, Loei province, Thailand

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The plan: travel to Loei province in Isaan and hike onto Phu Kradeung, a mountain which is also a National Park. So we met at 19:15 h at BTS station Ploenchit and took the Skytrain to Saphan Kwai station, where we wanted to catch a taxi to take us to Mor Chit, Bangkok’s Northern and Northeastern bus terminal, from where our bus to Loei would depart at 20:10 h. We, that’s my girlfriend Noom, my friends Marc, Mario and Clive, and I.

The problem was:
» Read more about Conquering Phu Kradeung

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Last week I bought a book at a local bookstore which explains most of the things foreigner find hard to understand here. According to the author, even most Thai people have no idea about some details of their cultural background. The book is well written and made me understand some of the things which are – Truly Thaiway…
The title is “Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture”, it is written by Philip Cornwell-Smith and John Goss.

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Thailand has a pretty, uhm, graphic way of warning consumers that smoking causes cancer… as also pointed out by boingboing, this is what cigarette packs look like in Thailand:
Thailand Cancer Warning
Actually, it is also illegal to display cigarettes visibly in the stores. Apart from this, it is illegal to smoke in air-conditioned areas (even bars or restaurants) unless a high-capacity ventilation system is installed.

Thailand’s not exactly a fun place for smokers.

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Loy Krathong (or Loi Kratong) is one of the most important Thai festivals. You could call it the festival of lights. The festival falls on the full moon of the 12th lunar month, which is usually in November. This festival is performed to reduce bad luck and to apologize to the river goddess. More on the backgrounds of the festival tomorrow.
» Read more about Get Ready for Loy Krathong

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It’s a (small) disaster constantly waiting to happen. Bangkok’s roads are mostly very good, but certain areas are just dreadful, and the sidewalks are even worse.

What am I talking about?

Well, the sidewalks are very uneven. Their foundation is usually nothing more but sand, which tends to get washed away gradually when it rains. Motorcycles and sometimes even cars using these unstable sidewalks doesn’t help either. As a result, the sidewalks get really bumpy, so you’ll trip all the time. Even worse, they sometimes collapse, so you’ll have a gaping hole in the middle of the sidewalk which can get up to a foot deep. Not too nice when it’s dark.

A Hole in the GroundThis can even happen on the roads. As I mentioned on the way to Ko Kret, my friend stepped into hole in the road which she couldn’t see because it was filled with murky water from the heavy rain. It looked like a simple puddle, but it was more than a foot deep.

On the way to her house, I saw a motorcycle leaving a gas station. On the exit from the gas station to the street there was a large puddle the motorcycle had to pass through. Turns out there was a hole hidden below the surface of the water and the driver found it. His front wheel got stuck in the hole and he had to get off the bike and pull it out again.

A friend told me a story about how he passed a soi one day where he spotted a taxi which was stuck. The front part of the car was completely submerged in the water, so that must’ve been a hell of a hole.

My lesson: try never to walk or drive through puddles, even if they look harmless…

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Last Sunday we’ve been to Ko Kret (some spell it Ko Kred), an island in Chao Phraya River, just a few kilometers North of Bangkok in Nonthaburi Province. I had heard about it in a Google Earth forum, but it is actually also mentioned in Lonely Planet’s Guide book about Bangkok, as I found out later. Actually, the island looks as if it was created by the construction of a canal to shortcut the river, but I’m not sure if this is the case.

An island in the middle of Chao Phraya River? That sounded interesting, so I wanted to know more.
» Read more about Trip to Ko Kret (a.k.a Ko Kred)

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Found in Guru Magazine yet again:

The less people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they’ll sleep at night.

By Otto von Bismarck

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Found in Guru Magazine:

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.

By Erica Jong

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R-U-GOA nice little piece of “Tinglish” (Thai English) I found in R-U-GO magazine (which calls itself “The first in-flight and ground service magazine). You can find it in some of Bangkok’s Taxis. Enjoy…

» Read more about What to do in Hua Hin

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Wellwellwell… here we go again…

Today in the early evening we had the first heavy rain in about a week or so. And what happens: UBC, the satellite TV, loses its signal again. I’m starting to question why I subscribe that garbage. When do I want to watch TV? Right, it’s when I can’t go out, for example because of rain. And that’s exactly when their great service fails to work. Reliably and consistently fails to work. I wish their reliability was a fraction more positive…

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This morning we’ve been at Bob’s wedding ceremony, the Anand Karaj. The starting time of the event was a bit confusing. According to the invitation card, the start of the ceremony was 10:30 h, with lunch being served at 11:30 h. During the Sehra Bandi, Bob had told me the Anand Karaj was going to begin at 9:30 h. His brother, Roger, had asked me to be there at 10:00 h.
» Read more about At the Anand Karaj

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Bob and meTonight my girlfriend and I have been at the Sehra Bandi of my friend and business partner Bob.

Bob – his real name is Chanan Singh – is a Punjabi Sikh whose parents moved to Thailand during the civil unrest in their home after Punjab was split into an Indian and Pakistani part after Britain’s occupation of India had ended. Sikhs nowadays live in many countries of the world.
» Read more about Bob’s Sehra Bandi

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Yesterday it was my birthday, so I took some of my friends and colleagues to Suan Lum Night Bazaar for eating and drinking. We had 2 delicious cakes and lots of Paulaner and Weihenstephaner. It was cool.

At some point a VIP guest arrived and wanted to have a free beer from me but I refused. I’m of the opinion that U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald RUMSFELD should pay for his drinks and not bum ’em. No, just kidding, of course he didn’t ask for beer, but he was there. Hell, these Secret Service guys really look as ridiculous as in the Hollywood movies.

Suan Lum Night Bazar on Google Earth

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Last weekend I went to the Jazz Festival at Hua Hin! It was a cool event, free admission, right on the beach in front of the Sofitel. There was another stage in the garden of the Sofitel. I watched the bands on Saturday, but actually the festival was from Friday to Sunday. The bands were good, especially John Pantitucci and Prode Tanapol. Koh Mr. Saxman plays very good music, but in my view it’s more Easy Listening than Jazz. But anyway, good atmosphere. Find more info on my website.

Hua Hin on Google Earth

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I’m spending Visaka Bucha Day on Samet Island. The weather is mixed. Yesterday it was sunny with just a brief shower, today it looks as if there’s gonna be a thunderstorm. The bungalow is ok, but far too expensive. We have aircon but no hot water, TV or fridge but they are asking a whooping 1950 baht or 40 euro per night. Other areas of Thailand are much less expensive.

Ko Samet on Google Earth

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The next morning I wake up early, around 7.30 am. Early bird catches the worm. Well, I don’t like worm, but who gives a darn, I can see sunshine out there promising a beautiful day. However, I’m reluctant to get up because I feel a little dizzy from… well, I’m not sure. Oh wait, it might be caused by drinking a few glasses of lao the night before… But that’s no problem since the cool morning air helps me recover quickly.

Lazy DayThe next step of my morning routine would normally be to take a shower. This is not that easy here. There are washroom facilities at the park, but no showers. It is more like a basin full of water and you use a small bucket to pour the water onto your body. And let me add one more thing: have you ever asked yourself why this National Park is called Nam Nao? Well, nam means “water”, and nao means “cold”. Do I really have to say more?
» Read more about Camping in Nam Nao – Part 3

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It’s after 6 am as we enter the minivan and go on to the park. The trip takes some 45 minutes or maybe one hour. I have no idea as I consider it more important to get some more sleep rather than keeping track of time. On arrival at the park we pay the driver and arrange everything necessary for our camp. We already have two tents but some of us don’t have sleeping bags, so we rent some plus insulating mats and blankets. Renting this stuff is really cheap, 30 baht for a sleeping bag, 20 for a mat and 10 for a blanket, per night and person.
» Read more about Camping in Nam Nao – Day 2

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We meet at 10 pm at Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal, Morchit Station. We, that’s my Thai friend Bow, Kyro from England, Jonas from Sweden, Glenny from England and Sebastian from Holland. Our coach leaves at 10.45, so we spend some time hanging around the terminal. Morchit station is impressive. The place looks more like an airport, not like a bus station. Huge. All coaches to the Northern and North-eastern regions of Thailand leave from this place.

When it’s time to depart, we enter our 1st class coach (230 baht per ticket) and make ourselves comfortable. After some freezing experience in other long distance coaches, I put on my sweater immediately and feel pretty comfortable. Each passenger even receives a blanket, so we’re fine. After leaving from the bus terminal, we also get some snacks. Get ready to sleep. Fortunately they don’t turn on the TV, so it’s dark and quiet in the bus. Sleeeep. But, hell, why can’t I fall asleep?

Well, it’s the d*** air-conditioning of this coach that can keep me from sleeping. It’s incredibly cold, even though I’m wrapped in my sweater and the blanket, plus we’ve done everything possible already to block the cold air from blowing at us. Hmm, unsuccessful. My neck feels soooo cold… Luckily I find the solution: I put on two pairs of socks and pull the blanket over my head. I’m fully covered now, the cold air has no chance to reach me anymore, and finally I’m comfortable and can sleep.

Bow, Seb, Glenny and Kyro in Lomsak, 4 amWe arrive in Lomsak shortly after 4 am, after some 5½ freezing hours. A minivan driver approaches us and we arrange transportation to the National Park with him. But first we have to go to the market and buy food. Sebastian is a chef and he will cook for us during in the camp, but we need the ingredients.

The market in Lomsak is great. You find everything you need for a decent meal. After some power shopping we stumble to a small restaurant and eat noodles, guay dtiaw (20 baht per bowl). Having eaten some North-eastern sausages, sai-grok isaan (only 5 baht each, that’s half the Bangkok price!), before that meal, my stomach feels good and I’m happy. On with our trip.

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