Thailand Travel Guide
In his new book, an Australian author named John Stapleton places one of Southeast Asia's flagship destinations amongst the most dangerous on earth. The title of the book, Thailand: Deadly Destination, pretty much says it all.
Sounds dramatic and, according to an extensive review by the Daily Mail, it doesn't get any less intense once you open the cover. Stapleton's overall theme is that "widespread police corruption, violence and crime are all blighting a country once commonly referred to as the ‘Land of Smiles.’" He claims that the boom in tourism has created "a hatred of foreigners" and a "murderous indifference" towards tourists.
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If you've fantasized about traveling the world and helping wildlife without breaking the bank, DreamJobbing has the gig for you.
The website has teamed up with The Tourism Authority of Thailand to offer an intrepid traveler the chance to become a wildlife volunteer and aid in Thailand.
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In response to decreased tourism returns this year due in part to the country’s political woes, Thailand has doubled the amount of days that tourists are allowed to stay in the country on a visa-exempt stamp from 30 to 60.
Passport holders from 49 nations, including the United States, do not need to apply for a visa to enter Thailand. Instead, travelers from these nations receive a visa-exempt stamp upon arrival which grants them 30 days in the country. Under the new rule, tourists can now obtain a one-time, 30-day extension stamp when their initial 30 days expires by visiting an immigration office. The extension will be granted same-day and costs $59 (1,900 baht).
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We have all had a terrible meal on a flight before. In fact, we have shown you some of the sadder trays slid in front of us. With this new series of amazing airline meals, we can revel in the airline culinary delights and give kudos to the airlines that got it right.
Flying on a country's flag carrier like Thai Airways is especially exciting when your travel happens to fall during a national holiday. In our case, it was Songkran, a celebration in April to welcome a new year (according to the lunar calendar). Not only were we excited to be part of the festivities on the ground, but the airline made sure their Songkran travelers had a little surprise in flight.
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Most travelers visit Krabi in Thailand for the laid-back beach culture, epic massages, and occasional, humorous run-ins with local wildlife. But for those who want to earn their beach time, the area is a haven for outdoor exploration with a number of national parks and opportunities for hiking and exploration. There's one activity in particular that combines a little athleticism with a dose of culture: A visit to Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Suea).
Situated at the top of a small summit and surrounded by jungles, this Buddhist Temple is reached by a staircase of over 1,200 steps and gets its name from the tiger prints found inside the cave. Other legends say that a tiger used to live inside of it. Those who make the hike in the heat on a clear day are rewarded with a huge panoramic view of Krabi, not to mention a little zen. Make sure you bring enough water, and pack a lunch to enjoy while mingling with the monks.
Aw, the little wild monkeys are so cute, aren't they? Totally... until they rob you blind.
We're in the south of Thailand exploring a growing beach destination called Krabi, located two hours east of Phuket but very similar, albeit currently smaller, in its approach to tourism. Besides the beach culture, the main appeals of the area are the protected national parks and easily-reached islands, such as Phi Phi and Ko Lanta Yai (both are also accessible from Phuket).
When it comes to the combination of price, quality, and setting, Thailand might be the best country in the world to get a massage, especially for those hailing from the States where visiting a spa has quickly become an experience only for the wealthy. Not the case in Thailand, where this writer got four hour-long massages in three days for a total (yes, a total) of $31. For those of us who majored in English, that's just under $8 an hour. And these were easily some of the most elite massages I've had in my travels, not to mention that all four together were about half the price of one mediocre massage in the West.
If you aren't getting rubbed down while you're in Thailand, you're missing out on a huge part of the cultural experience, not to mention huge bang for your buck. Here's a rundown of the three main types of massages you'll see throughout the country:
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When you visit Bangkok, you'll quickly realize that public transportation is pretty cheap. When using a metered taxi, rates starts at 35 baht (just over a dollar) for the first two kilometers and increase by about 2 baht for each kilometer after. This means that to jump from neighborhood to neighborhood is only a couple of bucks, and if you're in no rush, fares on the subway (MRT) and skytrain (BTS) are under 60 baht ($2) for all one-way trips.
If you're staying along the river and are looking to visit a destination up or downstream, such as the Grand Palace, taking a water taxi is a very good option both in terms of convenience and ambiance. Just as you should never take a taxi that's not metered in Bangkok, you also have to be careful of water shuttles that could cost you more.
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First-time visitors to Bangkok will no doubt be pointed in the direction of the Grand Palace as a must-see tourist attraction, and such was the case for us this week. It was a last-minute decision, and when we arrived, the complex was hot, crowded, and there was very limited explanation on site. We quickly realized that a little bit of research would have gone a long way towards a better experience. With that in mind, here's a rundown of what you should know before visiting:
View looking south down the Chao Phraya River
A few weeks ago, we told you what you needed to know about the military curfew in Thailand. Well, worry no more, because the restriction is officially gone and nightlife is back to normal across the country. With that news in hand, we arrived in Bangkok this week, very anxious to see what the city felt like during this time of military control.
Aside from one humvee we passed on the highway that appeared to simply be a standard transfer between bases, we haven't seen one sign of anything out of the ordinary. No tanks, no soldiers, and no protests. All the shops, attractions, restaurants, and bars are operating as normal. If someone who didn't read the news came here right now, they would have no idea that anything had happened in the first place.
Those currently or with plans to travel to Thailand this summer will want to stay up to date on the latest regarding the military coup and subsequent curfew. Here's the latest on what's happening across the Pacific:
· The curfew has been completely lifted in Phuket, Pattaya, and Koh Samui, and all businesses are running as usual.
The 'clink-clank' of metal cutlery during meal times on Thai Airways may soon be a thing of the past. The airline is one of the few major international carriers that still use metal cutlery in all classes, but should a trial of plastic utensils prove successful, this could be the end of it.
What prompted the switch?
Well, during a flight from Bangkok to Beijing earlier this month, an in-flight brawl started between three passengers, leaving one of the passengers with injuries sustained from being attacked with a meal's steel knife and fork. This idiotic move is having its ripple effects, causing the airline to trial the move to less-lethal flatware.