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Finding Chiang Mai’s magic

Finding Chiang Mai’s magic

I first visited Chiang Mai when it was one of the must-see places along the hippie trail through Asia back in the 1970s. It was a long trip there by bus from Bangkok but probably those of us who made the detour had few regrets. My then husband and I didn’t know much about the place before we arrived and mostly hung around enjoying the friendly atmosphere before renting a motorbike and venturing a little … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cultural travel, Great cities, Thailand, Travel ideas

5 tips for leaving Bangkok with a smile

5 tips for leaving Bangkok with a smile

The Thai people refer to their capital as the “City of Angels” but for visitors it can be anything but angelic. It’s a mega-city. At mid-day it can be unbearably hot, particularity if you’re coming from a cooler climate. The script they use is nothing like our alphabet and the English spelling of streets can change as you walk along. Hardly anyone speaks English. Taxis might stop when you flag them down but are just … Read entire article »

Filed under: Great cities, Thailand, Travel ideas

Jim Thompson’s house and garden, Bangkok, Thailand

Jim Thompson’s house and garden, Bangkok, Thailand

Down a narrow, nondescript Bangkok lane, the graceful red roofs of a traditional Thai residence rise above a lush tropical garden, in serene contrast to the city’s modern clamor all around. This is the home of an American named Jim Thompson, and it stands today as a continuing memorial to a remarkable man and to his love for Thailand’s rich culture. So reads the promotional description of the ‘house on the Klong’ that I stumbled upon … Read entire article »

Filed under: Gardens of the world, Thailand

Thai festivals to plan your visit around

Thai festivals to plan your visit around

Thailand is well known for its festivals. Many involve making merit at Buddhist temples so it is an ideal time to get-thee-to-a-temple, fade into the background and be part of the Thai culture. Festivals can also be about elephants, lights, rockets, processions, boats, and fish. There is often much merry-making! These occasions can do wonders for your spirits, make your worries float away, bring you luck and prosperity, and even ensure a good crop. The date … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cultural travel, Thailand, Travel ideas, Why travel

The spirit houses of Thailand

The spirit houses of Thailand

Outside virtually every house and building in Thailand there is a miniature structure that looks like a little temple or old style Thai house. This is where the spirits that inhabit that particular plot of land live and it provides a comfortable shelter for spirits who might otherwise live in the heavens. The structure may include statutes, figures of animals or people, a platform for incense, candles and vases of flowers, even for bottles of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Memorable moments, Spiritual travel, Thailand, Travel ideas

These are not your typical Thais

These are not your typical Thais

The word “Thai” means free and Thailand stands for the “land of the free”. The country was only named that in 1949 and it was previously known as Siam. About 95% of Thais are Buddhists and Buddhism plays a very significant role in their daily lives. Very few people in Thailand speak English, even those who work in tourism. There is a push by the government to change that before the Asean Economic Community is formed … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cultural travel, Memorable moments, Thailand, Travel ideas

Monk spotting photo gallery

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

Monk spotting in Thailand

Monk spotting in Thailand

Where most men spend at least a short time in the robes I had just arrived in Thailand and in fact was leaving the Bangkok airport when I spotted my first Buddhist monk. He was dressed in a saffron robe with simple sandals on his feet. But he was pulling a suitcase-on-wheels and heading towards the taxi stand just like me. A little too urban, I thought. A few hours later, in the historical Bangkok district of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Spiritual travel, Thailand, Travel ideas

Travelling well in Southeast Asia

Travelling well in Southeast Asia

Editorial: It was late in the afternoon when I noticed them. A van stopped at the entrance of the hotel where I was staying in Chiang Mai and two tourists, a man and a woman, probably European, got out. It wasn’t a fancy van. It was more like one of those communal taxis that are everywhere here, where passengers share two hard benches in the back. But a Song-Thaew taxi is always red and this van … Read entire article »

Filed under: Editorials

Losing my passport and feeling humbled

Losing my passport and feeling humbled

Editorial: I lost my passport going through security at Bangkok’s international airport. I didn’t leave it in the plastic security container along with my new MacBook Air computer and plastic baggie of priceless carryon liquids (particularly the mosquito repellent with high Deet content that all the travellers are looking for over here). Instead I placed it on the conveyor belt and walked through security without it. I know this because it was videotaped and when I raised … Read entire article »

Filed under: Editorials

A day with elephants in Chiang Mai photo gallery

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

A day with elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand

A day with elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Have you ever considered spending time with elephants on a remote reserve north of Chiang Mai, Thailand? Stephanie Jack did just that. I’ve always liked elephants and since I was planning my first trip to Thailand I decided to go to an elephant reserve. Not the kind of place where you ride around on the elephants, but one where the experience for the elephant is the top priority. The Elephant Nature Park north of Chiang Mai … Read entire article »

Filed under: Memorable moments, Thailand, Wildlife