Star Date:  January 2015
Bangkok & a train ride through the Southern Provinces


Hello Dear Family & Friends!



"Sa wets dee krup/Ka!
Sa bai dee korp/kon?"

(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, 

xoxoox  Nancy & Joseph



Travel notes:


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.

Helpful phrases:
Mai pet - not spicy
Chun gin ahamjeh - only veggie food
Mai sai pong churot - No msg

Get Klong Taxi back to near the Democracy Monument
Just ask and you will be directed to the almost hidden canals.  Out the back of Siam Discovery, a couple of blocks from Pontip Plaza.  To get to Siam Paragon from Pontip walk out the front door, turn left. left again at the 7-11, keep walking along the road until you end up at the back of Siam Paragon.  Good short cut.


Healing and Health in Bangkok:

Biotherapy with Ivan Roca.

Ivan is now working on his own in Bangkok.  Email him at:   or

iotherapy Asia 139 Sethiwan tower 17th floor Pan street., Bang Rak Bangkok, Bangkok 10500 Thailand


Bioenergy is sometimes also called bioplasma, Chi, Qi, Prana, universal energy, life energy,
orgon, light, electromagnetic field, force field, or any number of other names. Bioenergy
therapy is the application of natural energy processes and laws for wakening your own
immune defenses


Most of my advances were by mistake.
You uncover what is, when you get rid of what isn't.
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Hi Nancy,

here is your testimony on my FB wall.

If you want to publish on your web site my contacts and web sites are: or do a search Life Energy Healing & Transformation on Facebook

You can use my documentary as well:



J-Seitai: Japanese chiropractor & massage clinic - RSU Tower  4th Floor Soi 31 Phrompong (02-262-0831 or 099-447-4055)
9-12:30 3-6:30 closed Wed/holidays
$50-$60 but if you are in pain worth every penny.

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.:  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.)

Dental Time:  Khao San
Dr. Thanathon  (excellent)
Tele# 02-629-0344  Fax 02-641-8991
177 Jakrapong Rd., Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakorn, 10200

Turn left at end of Soi Rambutri - walk down left side of street
for about 2 blocks - very professional and friendly - they speak English.  Not all dentists are the same in the office.  Let us know if you can recommend a good one.  Joseph had all the mercury removed from his teeth, or I should say repaired from an incomplete job done in Uganda.  He checked at the Dental College near Siam Paragon and although it was a bit cheaper you had to return many times to have all the work done.  Better to just go to Dental Time.  The Dental Time next to Burger King at the end of Khao San Rd. is more expensive but just as good.  It costs about 500 baht per surface filling, discounts for a lot of work.

Travel Agencies:
Be careful. Always pay by credit card.  That way if something happens you are covered. 
STA Travel on the other side of Soi Rambutri.  Jaime is very knowledgeable and can get you good deals.
Travel in Style: Parallel little alley behind Khao San  -supposedly best prices from Bkk to India email:

4th floor - Ichan Shopping Mall - Next to Zen and Central World
Citibank ATM with no 180bht local fee charged in all other ATM's in BKK.

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.

Also check out past webpages for more info on Thailand: click here to see
Jan 2008 or March 2009 on the homepage.


Mango Lagoon Place - 2 doors from Roof Garden but twice the price unless you have booked ahead on  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.

Roof Garden (Sun) Guesthouse, 62 Soi Rambutri,
Phra-Athit Rd., phone #: 02-6290626, email:
Behind Wat Chanasongkram .
  Get a room in the new section in the back, (521 or 421 at the top of the stairs), these rooms have an extra side window with good air and light.  Now they have added AC to 421 and 521 so they may not rent it for under 600bhat.  For us, long term customers, we use only the fan for a week or longer.   The other rooms in the new section are 400bhat. Spacious rooms, newly done, at 400b a night (360b weekly rate paid up front) these are a good deal and a real step up from many of the dingy rooms for backpackers.  Soi Rambutri alley has all the amenities for travelers and is like Khao San Road 20 years ago.  The management of the hotel (Mama and Papa and son Art) are a bit indifferent but Nee at the internet/travel agency on the ground floor, can be really helpful if she is in a good mood  (# 081 8477682)  We have watched continually as people (our friends included) walk in (from 10-noon) and ask to see a room.  The staff (not owners) will say "FULL!" to avoid the walk upstairs.  Try to ask the older Mama or Papa in the back to get the real story.  Ask for the new section, in the back, upper floors, #423, #523 if #421 or #521 don't work out.  End rooms get traffic noise.  Free Wifi in the lobby 10am to 10pm.

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'!.

The '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.

Goldsmith in Bangkok - Eng Hua Heng, 206 Jukrapong Rd., Petchhong daughter/owner.  Close to Soi Romburtri but get a couple of quotes as their location makes prices higher.  Best to take a taxi to the Old Siam Plaza Treephet Rd.(near "Little India" taxi from Soi Rombutri 50bht metered) and compare prices,  Honest, friendly shop:  Naparatana Old Siam Co.  1st floor #
 02-222-7474 - they do the setting, etc.
Just down Titong Rd, PANA sells quality stones at local Thai prices.  Make sure to get a salad with rice balls and fresh herbs across the hall in the little mall.  Skip the pork and it is a great vegan Thai delight.

Vegan in Bangkok:
Good Karma - Thailand's online health food store.

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:
Next door at the international food court on the 5th floor of MBK Plaza.  Great, fresh cooked to order dishes.  Choose your veggies and have them cooked to taste.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel:
48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok Riverside, Chao Praya River. Bangkok, Thailand 
Just head down the alley from Soi Rambutri towards the river and keep walking 1-2 blocks, left side grab a river taxi and get off at the Oriental
Treat yourself to a tasty dinner on their riverside terrace at sunset (220-400bht).  Take the river taxi there and return by taxi as the river taxis stop at 7-8 pm. (walk out to the main street to hail a meter taxi)  During the day dress is casual but for dinner men must have long pants and a nice shirt. (Sandals were ok)  Women just look cute.  When traveling it pays to know how to be a chameleon.  is still the cheapest airline in Asia.  Great service, modern planes, young energetic staff, great safety record.  Go to their website and sign up for their newsletter.  You will get notices for the 1 million free or reduced seats they give away annually.  Just got a notice that for under $40 we could fly from Kuala Lumpur to London, 4 places in India, 5 places in China and less to inter Asia destinations.  Professional  - reliable website.  Don't miss them.  From Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok is only $10-15.  We also heard Jet Star is cheap from Bangkok.

Prachuab Kirikant:

Suksant Hotel:

Get one of the 5 hotel rooms on the 5th floor in the old building.  # 510 - #514   Wifi sometimes in the room.

Basic but clean, great views, ensuite bathroom,  elevator to the 4th floor

Heading north or south on the train?  Go to the station and get a schedule.  You can book the express train from Hua Hin and take a mini bus to connect.

Out the front door, right, right, first left about 3-4 blocks the best Phad Thai noodles in town, old wooden building on the right.  Open after 4pm daily.

Lots of eating places along the waterfront.  1 1/2 blocks behind Suksant a good Vegetarian restaurant for small lunch buffet and ala carte until 4pm.

Weekend Night Market - left out the  door on street Fri and Sat nights  5-10pm.

Hilltop  temple open daily until sunset.  Watch out for "Pecker" the mischievous monkey on top.  Views worth the climb of over 100 steps.

Take a  utility cart out to the National Park.  Hike around , then walk back. (100 bhat)  No entrance fee.

Take a cart through the military checkpoint out to the monkeys at the foot of the mountain then on to the beautiful beaches.  Walk back about 2-3 miles.














Buddhism is the main religion of Thailand.


Monks relaxing, enjoying the view.


Sunset in South Thailand.



This monk must have been important.  His bust is as big
as the temple.


Happy orchids abound in Thailand.


Old citadels along the river in Bangkok.


A few of the fun things we saw in our alley, Soi Rambutri,
in just one week.


Magazine?  Caught sleeping on the job!


Need a new suit?

Tattoos bond people together.

New and old friends.


As soon as he saw us take the picture, he broke his
concentration, and his balls fell.


A he/she friend of mine in the alley.


Like I said, you never know what you'll see in the alley.


Khao San Road before it gets busy.


Feeding the river carp.


The market at the end of the river taxi.


Speeding down the secret klongs or canals of Bangkok.


Ever wonder why cancer is increasing?  None of this was
here a year ago!


The bridge across th
e Chao Praya River near our alley.   The
walkway along the river is a great place for a walk.


Long Live the KING!  His majesty is 87 years old.


Many boulevards are lit up in honor of his birthday.


New Years Eve 2015 - Bangkok style with live bands and
dancing in the streets ...........


And fireworks!


Elaborate decorations for the holidays at Siam Paragon.


From crowded, dirty alleys to having tea at Harrods.


Joseph celebrated his 66th birthday, and Claire her 70th, with
chocolate cake and fresh strawberries.


There was one of the most magnificent orchid shows we have
ever seen at Siam Paragon, honoring the Queen.


Unique specimens.


Colorful dancers.


Entirely made of fresh orchids.


Every color and design.


The Mandarin Oriental riverside Hotel, one of
the classic old hotels in Bangkok.


Lighted boats, dinner cruises and lights set the


One of our traditions when in Bangkok, we had a sunset
dinner with friends Ivan and Poy.


A fascinating biotherapy session with Ivan in a beautiful old
home near the polo grounds. (See Travel Notes for more info).


A happy couple practicing getting married.  If you look closely
you will see running shoes.  Couples participated in relay
races and games, trying to win gifts for their real wedding day.


Anything electronic, real or a knock off, can be purchased
at Pontip Plaza.


High tech monks!


All aboard!


We took a train from Bangkok all the way through
the Southern Provinces to Malaysia.


Our first stretch was 8 hours in a 2nd class car.  The second
leg was from Hua Hin to Malaysia in a 1st class sleeper car.


Prachuab Kirikant on the Gulf of Siam.


Visit the lovely gentle monkeys near the base of
the mountain, past the military checkpoint.


The best sunscreen to date.


For over 15 minutes this family carefully pulled in a net.
Total yield: 3 tiny fish.  Overpopulation strikes again.


Another winner for our album: People Sleeping; a
hammock strung in the little tut tuk.


Dry dock for one of the fishing boats near the National Park.


The hill top monkey temple.


A wise old soul.


View from the top.


Monkeys helping the monks sweep.


We nicknamed this little pesky monkey, "Pecker".  He
would run up behind you and grab a hold of your leg.
Then he dropped down from a tree onto this devotee's head. 
He was just being friendly, but startling none the less.


Handmade brooms for any job.


Prachuab Kirikant is a quaint old Thai town.  It is like
Hin was 25 years ago.  A welcome relief from
the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.





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