Star Date: January 2015
Hello Dear Family & Friends!
wets dee krup/Ka!
(Hello (if you are male/female) How are you? I am fine. Thai language)
"Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today." (James Dean)
Bangkok, the Pearl of the Orient. This pulsating, exciting city has become one of the major ports or hubs for business and travel in S E Asia. Airline tickets, visas, passports are all available for the best price going. Officially a traveler can obtain anything needed, and unofficially the forgers around Khao San Road can create whatever document you desire.
Back in the 60's Bangkok was traversed mainly by 'klongs' or canals. Canals have been filled in and paved, monkeys moved on or eaten, and any wildlife or the prolific colorful butterflies have disappeared. During rush hour there is a 'jam' as they say and you may as well forget moving around in the 60km of gridlock. A friend told us about the unknown and simple to use canal system still in existence. Long boats buzz up and down the remaining canals and for 30 cents you will be dropped near your destination, without waiting in traffic or getting gassed from exhaust. From then on whenever we returned from jaunts to the center of Bangkok we caught the river taxi back. We also like using the large river taxis along the river and then possibly connecting to the BTS overhead railway. Bangkok is a busy, lively, fascinating city and we always enjoy exploring the temples, sois (alleys). markets, shopping centers and cultural sights. As usual we met many, many new friends from around the globe and ran into an old friend, Michael, from years back in Bangkok, who like us is nomadic and enjoying traveling this fascinating planet. We also met our friend and healer Ivan and friend Poy at our favorite old traditional Mandarin Oriental Hotel along the river. We like to seek refuge from the confusion in the grounds of this classic 127 year old hotel. After a couple of hours in their antique lounges, listening to a quartet of baroque music in the lobby or a relaxing candlelit dinner along the river all the stress in your body has been vaporized.
We returned to Bangkok mainly to begin preparations for our upcoming around the world adventure. Not our usual trip, we needed to discover what our options were. Usually we would fly to a continent and then just slowly go from country to country for the length of the visa allowed. Looking at North Africa and the Middle East more planning was necessary. Years ago we had wanted to travel through Pakistan to Iran. Not allowed. In 13 years the stability of that area has deteriorated and so we decided to just visit briefly while we still can. Visa requirements and air tickets to fly across troubled areas required our attention. We found Jaime, (see below) a travel agent and a seasoned traveler himself who got us going. Before we knew it we had a One Way Ticket to Ethiopia. Our Son Kevin thought that would be a good name for a travel book! Ticket in hand there was no going back.
We booked a ticket on a local train down to the southern provinces of Thailand. Getting off at Prachuab Kirikant after dark, 8 hours later, we were surprised that there were no taxi's available at the station. Expat friends had told us to check out the Suksant Hotel and after trying in vain for 15 minutes to get transport we loaded on to a motorcycle with a side utility cart and away we went. Never miss a chance to ride in a limousine!
The seaside street in front of the hotel had been blocked off for a wedding reception to which the whole town had been invited. Blaring speakers and karaoke in front of the room and racing cars behind the room were too much, even on the 5th floor. We wondered why we had gone through all the trouble to get here but when we awoke the next morning all was quiet and sitting on our top floor lanai we had a 180 degree view of the coastline; from the temple or 'wat' on the hill around to the beaches and mountains on the other side.
The town has yet to be discovered, except by a few French travelers escaping the winter cold. We climbed the 200 some steps up to the top of the temple overlooking the bay. Accompanied by mischievous monkeys the whole way, there was never a dull moment. The views were spectacular and on the top we met 'Pecker' and bothersome little monkey who would run up behind you and grab your legs. We even saw this annoying little guy jump full force on the head of a Thai devotee, scaring the living daylights out of him. Joseph's trick of carrying a rock to show to monkeys when they get aggressive works every time. You never have to throw the rock, just display it and these characters know right away that rocks are hard. They go find someone else to bother!
We took one of the little utility carts out to the end of the road where land has been put aside for a park. It was fun to hike along the ocean and sit on the little beaches before walking the 4 miles back to town. We got there just in time for the weekend Night Market and quickly devoured pad thai noodles, corn, and potatoes. This happening place was 100 meters from our hotel.
Several days later when visiting a temple we met a helpful tourist from Germany who drove us past the military base to the gorgeous beaches beyond. On the way we enjoyed the passive black monkeys with white circles around their eyes hanging out in a tree near the mountains. Many little stalls offer good Thai food around town and our favorite Pad Thai shop allowed us to add our own vegetables to their scrumptious mix. A Buddhist vegetarian restaurant is right behind the hotel and a close by fruit market endeared us to this quiet undiscovered backwater. Remember we are two vegans eating our way around the world! We shall return.
Hua Hin used to be the size of Prachuab Kirikant but when we went there to catch the Bangkok Express train south to the border we were amazed at how it has mushroomed into a thriving metropolis. A station noted for it's old train displays, it was a pleasant enough place to wait but we were certainly glad we had stayed 60 km south where the hustle and bustle hadn't reached. We had a pleasant overnight train ride in the sleeper car, lulled to sleep by the clacking of rails under the swaying compartment, as visions of sugar plums and Penang danced in our heads/dreams!.
And so it goes.........................................Next an in depth look at the Indian Thaipusan ceremony in Penang. If piercing your cheeks or lips with spears isn't what you want to try then just look at the photos in amazement. Let's try to Dream as if we’ll live forever, live as if we’ll die today". Hopefully James Dean took his own advice, this Rebel Without a Cause died at only age 24. Take care and Keep in Touch!
Love, Light & Laughter,
1 US Dollar equals
32.70 Thai Baht
Buses from Khao San Rd area:
Bus to and from Pontip Plaza 2,511
Siam Paragon, 15 or 79.
Get Klong Taxi back to near the
and Health in Bangkok:
Biotherapy with Ivan Roca.
Bioenergy is sometimes
also called bioplasma, Chi, Qi, Prana, universal energy,
my advances were by mistake.
here is your testimony on my FB wall.
If you want to publish on your web site my contacts and web sites are:
www.facebook.com/lifeenergetics or do a search Life Energy Healing & Transformation on Facebook
You can use my documentary as well:
Japanese chiropractor & massage clinic - RSU Tower
4th Floor Soi 31 Phrompong
(02-262-0831 or 099-447-4055)
Bangkok's little spiritual haven
Ph. +66 (0)2 655 6282
Many wonderful healers to choose from!
Endless massage available - right on Soi Rambutri or in the alley between Soi Rambutri and Khao San : Bangkok Spa Phone # 02-281-3004
Phyathai 2 International Hospital - great moderate priced private hospital, 943 Phaholyothin Rd. They speak good English and have a representative guide you around the hospital for tests or doctor visits. Email for an appt.: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tests about 1/10th to 1/4 the price in the U.S. Sometimes we need to be diagnosed so we can choose western medicine or alternative. (about 100bht in metered taxi from Khao San.)
left at end of Soi Rambutri - walk down left side of
Go out the rear door and look for a small bridge. Catch a river taxi back to near the Democracy Monument (last stop) for 10bht and avoid the afternoon congestion. Also catch it behind Siam Discovery Mall. Great inside look at old Bangkok- worth the trip just for that.
We have been to Bangkok so many times we forget to include sites to visit such as the Grand Palace, the water taxi up and down the river (drop off along the way at Chinatown, etc), the national museum, the floating markets. Ayuthaya is a 2 hour drive from the city. A smaller version of Angkor Wat in Cambodia but with tickets so cheap why not just fly on Air Asia to see the real thing? Don't miss an up close encounter with a 600 lb. tiger the Tiger Monastery in Kanchanaburi about 3 hours away.
check out past webpages for more info on Thailand: click
here to see
Mango Lagoon Place - 2 doors from Roof Garden but twice the price unless you have booked ahead on Agoda.com Try room # 503. We always choose higher floors. Better security, cleaner rooms and good exercise. We ask for our bags to be brought up initially.
Garden (Sun) Guesthouse, 62 Soi Rambutri,
Sunset along the river with the locals is a relaxing event. Just head down the alley from Soi Rambutri towards the Chao Praya River and keep walking 1-2 blocks until you come to a sharp right bend in the road. The park is on the left side along the road and is a fun people watching place. The impressive span bridge lights up at night.
Navalai River Resort: 45/1 Phra Athit Road, great wifi and good view of the river. Order a drink at this upscale hotel and get caught up on emails; if your room wifi is slow. We always turn off wifi at night - safer.
Don't miss going to see the 'circus' at night along Khao San Rd., and the lights along Chao Fa Blvd are spectacular, especially around the time of the King or Queen's birthdays. The Grand Palace and a ride up the Klongs are not to be missed. The list of sights in Bangkok is endless.
Take the river taxis up and down the river. At the far end, away from city center, is Nontha Bri Market. Get off at the clock tower at the end of the line. Amazing sights to behold. The taxis run back every 30 min until 7pm, but you would want to leave before dark.
Pantip Plaza: Computer heaven in Bangkok. If they don't have it, it doesn't exist. Keep your eye out for look alike products claiming to be originals - but charging full price. If you get a knock-off for $5 accept when it breaks but paying full price be careful. Bus #2 or 60 or 511 from near Khao San.
Taxis: If there is ever question of a possible traffic jam bargain for the price ahead - point to point, or it will cost too much via meter. Once you know the prices you can bargain - ask a local standing next to you. Meter is always better price when there is no 'jam'!.
'tuk tuks' will offer you a cheap city tour or ride to
the malls if you stop and shop in a jewelry or tailor
shop. They get a gas coupon - whether you buy or
not. We have helped out a couple of drivers when
we had extra time. DON'T take the tuk tuks back
during rush hour (5:30-7pm) or you will get gassed to
death in the jam.
Vegan in Bangkok:
The Happy Cow website lists vegetarian places in Bangkok, but every restaurant can whip you up something vegan in a jiff. They love vegetables here and haven't added all the terrible western diet items yet.
A little ferry crossing to Pra Arthic pier from behind Soi Rambutri to Wang Lang has a small organic vegetable produce market. Just ask.
Ethos Vegetarian & Organic Restaurant. Left at Burger King on the end of Khao San Rd, right down alley, left into lane. Tasty food, juices and deserts.
Siam Paragon, Gourmet Grocery: Longing for anything familiar overseas? You can find it here! Also has a delicious salad bar you can eat safely and a whole organic vegetable section to purchase.
Tamarind Vegetarian Restaurant: