A Travellerspoint blog

November 2018

Sukhothai, Thailand

Thailand Tourist “Do’s and Taboo’s


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Tourist “Do’s and Taboo’s

I have stayed here before and the Sukhothai Heritage Resort does not disappoint. Tonight, browsing through the information in the room, I found a really good write-up on the Thai Religion and Culture, and also on some Visitor's Do's and Dont's. Oh how I wish I had my scanner here. I have re-typed and paraphrased some below, and added some tips of my own.
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Religion and Culture
Thailand is primarily a Buddhist country. The local Temple (called a Wat) is a very important part of each community and is cared for by the community. Early every morning you will see Monks walking around with large Alms Bowls. It is at this time that the community members offer food and other living essentials that provide for the Monks day to day needs.
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The “Wai" is a sign of greeting or mutual recognition and respect. It is probably one of the most beautiful greeting gestures (and I think it is more hygienic than a handshake also.) The Wai is made by raising both hands, palms joined, to a position lightly touching the body, somewhere between the chest and the forehead. There are complicated rules for the giving and receiving of a Wai and Thai people may be terribly offended if foreign guests do not properly return a Wai. This is especially true of Thai’s outside of the cities who might be unfamiliar with foreign culture.

“A little try and a smile goes a long way.”

There are basic rules or etiquette which foreign visitors should observe in order to avoid cultural “faux pas” which may offend local sensibilities.

1. Most Monks don’t mind being photographed but it is polite to ask first and respect their choice. Please be discreet when photographing people praying or performing religious ritual. I love to photograph Monks, Temples and Shrines, and spirit houses.
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2. Also some Thai’s and especially Hill Tribe folks in the north, do not like to be photographed because of their belief about the photo image taking part of their soul along with it. Most Thai people love to have their photo taken and to see it on the digital camera screen.

Please ask them first. If someone wants a little money for a photo then use your judgment & if you want to pay or if you think that the few coins will buy rice that day, by all means pay them. Or don’t take the photo. It is kind and appreciated to ask first and you will usually be rewarded with the interaction.

3. Overt displays of physical affection are deemed immodest, inappropriate, and not within the Thai culture. Nudity should be avoided in public places & topless sunbathing deeply offends even if Thai’s don’t tell you this.

4. Anger will get you nowhere in Thailand. If you are soft spoken and deferential you will earn great respect. Losing one’s temper causes Thai’s great distress. A patient dialogue and a smileto even the most frustrating problem is the best approach. Take it easy and do not ruin your day.

5. The head is the most important part of the body. You should avoid touching the head and hair of Thai people. The feet are the lowest and are considered unclean. Avoid putting your feet on the table and also try not to point with them.

6. Women should avoid touching, even accidentally, a Monk. This is strictly taboo.

7. Pointing with fingers is acceptable only for objects or animals, but not for people.

8. “Please do not crook your finger, clap, snap yor fingers. hiss or whistle to attract attention of waiters or other people.” The acceptable gesture in Thailand is to extend one arm in front of you with your palm down; beckon with your fingers pointing down.

9. Always remove your shoes when entering a Temple or private home.

10. When visiting Temples, please dress respectfully. No shorts, sleeveless shirts, short skirts or swimwear. In Bangkok, women without sleeves will be turned away or given the opportunity to rent a shirt.:)

11. Buddha images are sacred and should be treated with the greatest respect.

12. The Royal Family is held in very high esteem. Thais will not tolerate any disrespect towards or about members of the Royal Family. Actually, criticism of them is against the law in Thailand and offenses are subject to strict penalties.

I find that Thai people are peace loving, fun loving, friendly and often interested in meeting foreigners. They will forgive many unintentional indiscretions. They really appreciate any effort you make to understand their culture. Small efforts along these lines will enhance your travel experience.
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Posted by Nsevers 17:20 Archived in Thailand Tagged culture travel tips sukhothai customs Comments (0)

Hua Hin, Thailand

We are Taking a Vacation from our Vacation!


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We are spending a week in Hua Hin taking a vacation from our vacation. We are staying at the Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa and it’s lovely!
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True Arena Hua Hin

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Hua Hin is very much a Thai town of about 90,000 people. There is a large European expat community with vacation homes here too.

I had spent time here in 2006 and 2007 liked it a lot. 10+ years have changed it radically. The main road through town is like a busy highway but it’s dense and completely built up with small hotels, condos, large shopping centers and small malls along the road which slows traffic. It was poor planning or maybe no plannng as a beltway could have removed the through traffic of trucks and buses going south. There are pedestrian bridges to use to cross the road. But if there’s not one near by then it’s best to use a taxi or tuk-tuk, even if you are only going a few blocks away. There are accidents. It’s too busy and there’s too much emphasis on shopping here for our liking. This is also true of other Thai cities.
I’ve heard that Pranburi to the south and Cha’am to the north of Hua Hin are quieter locations but it looks as if these places are rapidly getting denser also.
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That said, we are enjoying The Marriott Resort. It is a lovely respite from the noise and traffic. Mark says “Orlando and Disney has nothing on this hotel.” Our room has a private deck that sits on the “lazy river pool. “ I’ve been walking the river against the current for exercise. There’s a lovely adult pool, big children’s pool, slides, a Splash park that makes me want to be a kid again, and of course the beach. The Gulf of Siam here is not like the famous beaches in the south. It’s more like Jacksonville Beach, which is probably why I like it. The water color and wave action is similar as are the tides and walkable sand. Some critics think that the turquoise water of the south make for nicer beaches and swimming. But Hua Hin has better weather. It has a mild microclimate. The weather has been sunny and in the 80’s with a cool breeze every day.
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The breakfast buffet is a huge affair here too. We are learning to just eat our regular breakfast and watch our portions. And exercise too!
I’ve been to 3 yoga classes and will catch another tomorrow, our last day here. It’s very nice to have a resort with that option.
On Mondays, the hotel hosts a lovely seafood barbecue on the beach. It was delicious, reasonably priced (for a hotel), and our oceanfront table was perfect for watching the cool fire show. The Marriott staff here is so welcoming. They must be trained to engage the guests. And they can’t do enough for us and the other guests. It’s a pleasure.
Beach Seafood Barbeque

Beach Seafood Barbeque

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Mark has been watching the ITF Women’s Futures Tennis Tournament at the impressive new Hua Hin True Arena. Today he watched a Young player from Taipei who is ranked 20 in the world in the juniors. The WTA will be here in January or February. If you are a tennis fan then put Hua Hin on your Thailand list. 1E4F0567-49A7-4787-A948-9C3A0CE4E4FC.jpegED0F692F-13D8-40AE-AFE0-EF965263AD75.jpeglarge_E765C0E3-8BEE-490E-B56C-59DADAB2E89F.jpeg

We had dinner in Hua Hin one night, and at Fuji (a good Japanese chain restaurant) in a mall last night. We highly recommend DAR Restaurant next to the Hua Hin Grand night market. DAR went to business school in London before switching to her passion to cook. Watching her cook is like watching a dancer who loves to dance. Her food was delicious! She started in the night market. Her restaurant is only 11 months old. She already has a local following. Tonight we ate at Andreas’ Grill. Andreas is the Italian chef and he opened the restaurant about 4 years ago. He was on Iron Chef Thailand last January. Mark had beautiful lamb chops, grass fed, no hormones, from NZ. I tried the home made spaghetti with Hua Hin lobster. We liked our meal and the ambiance lots, and we enjoyed getting to know Chef Andreas.
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Andreas Grill Hua Hin

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The main road is so busy that we had to take a taxi even short distances rather than cross the street in locations without pedestrian bridges. The Tuk Tuk taxis are fixed price...100 Baht or 150 Baht. A proper vehicle taxi all the way to the tennis arena cost us the same as going three blocks to DAR because we couldn’t cross the busy street...well we weren’t willing to take a chance with our health!
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I’ve had two inexpensive massages outside the hotel, one very good, one just ok. Venture out and see this tourist city and then retreat back to your comfortable lodging.
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We are off to Sukhothai next so stay tuned. Thanks for reading my blog!
Nancie:)

Tip: Choose a hotel loyalty program and stick with it. My loyalty to the Marriott brand for more than 14 years has granted us lifetime Platinum status. And the Platinum Benefits really do keep us loyal. If there’s a hotel in the Marriott Starwood brand where we are going, we’ll usually stay there even if it’s a little more costly. The room upgrades, club lounges and other benefits make our stays a pleasure.

Posted by Nsevers 03:21 Archived in Thailand Tagged beach resort hua hin marriott Comments (0)

Petchaburi,Thailand 19th Century Cave Temple

Visiting Awe Inspiring Wat Khao Luang!


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We are going south of Bangkok to Hua Hin for a few days. I had the chance to visit this extraordinary Temple in 2006 when nearby on my own. About 1 & 1/2 hours south of Bangkok and a little more than an hour north of Hua Hin, it was on the way. I asked our driver, Wi Nai to make a stop there. Wi Nai had never been there or heard about this place. I think he was skeptical. I told him we would see it together, that he would come in with us. What a spectacular sight! Again, we were the only westerners there, and the Temple was uncrowded. For those who remember the phrase, every turn inside is a “Kodak Picture Moment.”
I took this photo in 2006. It’s one of my all time favorites.
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And this one in 2018:
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A little bit about Wat Khao Luang:
Petchaburi was a favorite place of the Thai King Rama IV. Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha Mongkut Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua (Thai: พระบาทสมเด็จพระปรเมนทรมหามงกุฎ พระจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว), or Rama IV, known in English-speaking countries as King Mongkut (18 October 1804 – 1 October 1868), was the fourth monarch of Siam (Thailand) under the House of Chakri, ruling from 1851 to 1868. So it’s safe to say that this Temple was widely visited during his reign.

Outside Thailand,King Mongrut is best known as the king in the 1951 musical and 1956 film The King and I, based on the 1946 film Anna and the King of Siam – in turn based on a 1944 novel by an American missionary about Anna Leonowens' years at his court, from 1862 to 1867. During his reign, the pressure of Western expansionism was felt for the first time in Siam. Mongkut embraced Western innovations and initiated the modernization of his country, both in technology and culture—earning him the nickname "The Father of Science and Technology" in Siam.

But there’s no technology in this Temple! It’s much the same as when I saw it more than 10 years ago. And I suspect it’s similar to when King Mongrut would visit there. Today, I took so many more photos. Enjoy them!

So Many Small Shrines, So Pretty!

So Many Small Shrines, So Pretty!

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We also visited Wat Matahat in the Center of Town.
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Then we stopped at a shopping center food court which is always a safe bet fora quick lunch. A Spectacular Day!
Nancie:)

Tip: Kuhn Wi Nai is a professional driver based in Bangkok. We met him when our Kanchanaburi hotel used him to arrange to take us there. I booked him directly to take us to Hua Hin. He drives a comfortable Toyota Camry and we like him. You can reach him at
66 084 699 7532 to go places in and around Bangkok.
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Posted by Nsevers 00:27 Archived in Thailand Tagged cave wat petchaburi buddha’s. Comments (0)

Kanchanaburi Side Trip from Bangkok.

Bridge Over River Kwai, a Cave Wat & Ancient Khmer Temple Ruins!

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We had an awesome side trip from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. I booked 2 nights at the X2 River Kwai Resort, on Agoda. It’s a contemporary resort in a quiet, serene location. We were ready for a break from Bangkok traffic and shopping malls. But there was a different kind of traffic jam here.
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We enjoyed our stay! I posted a review on Trip Advisor with details. My TA name is “photostoryteller” if interested. Most guests come with cars and there isn’t anything to walk to. But the restaurant was really good, there were current newspapers and magazines in the library and room, and we enjoyed the stunning view and infinity pool from our private deck.
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The resort arranged our round trip taxi. And a taxi for our sightseeing day. We travel adventurously and this trip that paid off big time.

We visited the River Kwai Bridge and related Historic sites. There was a stunning newer temple near our hotel with an interesting Cave Wat. It’s called Wat Tham Khao Pun. We were the only westerners visiting there! Probably there was a cave Wat here for a long time. The infrastructure and two Buddha’s outside are newer. Very large, very interesting and very beautiful.
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The surprise gem of this trip was to learn that there was a 12th century Khmer Temple site about 20 minutes away. The Muang Sing Historical Park showcases a well preserved ancient temple, and another large archeological site too. This is the westernmost remaining site from the Khmer Empire 8-12th Century. Who knew we could see exquisite ruins just like you find at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, at a well manicured site without hundreds of tourist buses or thousands of other tourists. How lucky we feel. Muang Sing alone is worth this trip!
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We did not get to the waterfalls or hot springs in this province. There are many more things to do there within about 75 km.

We enjoyed just relaxing at the resort. There are kayaks and bikes for the guests, and the setting is tranquil and serene.

Next we are heading 3 hours south of Bangkok to Hua Hin. Stay tuned & thanks for reading my blog!
Nancie:)

Tip: In Thailand I use Agoda for Hotel Bookings with great ease & success. I cross check the Agoda reviews with Trip Advisor and usually we are happy with our choices. It’s reliable & works great!

Posted by Nsevers 22:43 Comments (0)

We Made It - Bangkok!

sunny
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We flew and flew and flew some more. A bus, 2 planes and a taxi, and 34 hours later we reached our Bangkok hotel. We are staying at the Royal Orchid Sheraton. It’s on the river just up from the Mandarin Oriental. The hotel has it’s own stunning Riverboat which makes getting around Bangkok outside of traffic doable. The boats runs every half hour across the river to the brand new IconSiam shopping mall and to the Sathorn Pier - Saphon Taksin BTS station. It’s easy to get around Bangkok without being stuck in Rot Dtit - Traffic Jams.

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The Garden Pool is quiet and shaded. The River Pool is great for sunning, watching the interesting boat traffic, and really swimming. Both are managed with salt water & have no chlorine. The River Pool is 10 feet deep! I haven’t seen a pool that deep in a long time. There is a tennis court, although there was a peacock on it the other day.:) The buffet breakfast was so generous and enticing that after two days we migrated to the Executive lounge to avoid gluttony. The staff can’t do enough for us and they make everything easy. It’s so very lovely and comfortable that we will be staying there each time we come in and out of Bangkok in the coming weeks.

It is wonderful to see our son and grandson, his friends, our other dear friends here, and his home and neighborhood. We’ve been sightseeing and we celebrated Loy Krathong on Thanksgiving Day. Loy Krathong is the Thai Holiday of Light. One of the most picturesque festivals in Bangkok is the evening of Loy Krathong, when people gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay respects to the goddess of water by releasing beautiful lotus shaped rafts, decorated with candles, incense and flowers onto the water. Every year, Loy Krathong falls on the night of the twelfth lunar month (usually in November and this year on our Thanksgiving Day) at the end of the rainy season when the full-moon lights up the sky. The sight of thousands of Krathongs, their flickering candles sending a thousand pinpoints of light far into the horizon is a truly magical site. We enjoyed a family dinner at our hotel, with Noah, Preeda, Terran and our friend Will. After, we released our Krathongs into the Chao Praya River. And then from our awesome 17th floor suite we were treated to fireworks show all up and down the river. (Thank you To the Royal Orchid Sheraton staff for the awesome Room upgrade!)
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After a week in Bangkok we are finally over our jet lag and off to do some exploring.
Enjoy our photos as they always tell the story!
Nancie

PS. Tip: If you are staying at the Royal Orchid Sheraton and need to have laundry done not at hotel prices, turn left out of the lobby, then take the first right and walk on the left side of the street. You will see the red laundry sign below at a shop. Bring it by 9 and pick it up in the afternoon. Reasonably priced by the kilo and the lady does a very nice job.
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Posted by Nsevers 07:13 Archived in Thailand Tagged bangkok Comments (0)

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