Tag Archives | Thailand

20 Places You Are Saying Wrong

1) Nice, France      WRONG: Nice    RIGHT: Niece.

Trust us, Nice is Nice!

 

2) Phuket, Thailand      WRONG: Fu-ket   RIGHT: Poo-get

Read our post on skipping Phuket and visiting Krabi.

Thailand and Cambodia 2012 -2 097

3) Thames River, UK      WRONG: Th-AIMS    RIGHT: TEMs

Don’t know about you, but I could listen to Benedict Cumberbatch say “Thames,” All…day…long!

 

4) Nevada, USA       WRONG: Nev-AH-duh    RIGHT: Ne-VAD-Duh

Don’t worry too much…Americans on the east side of the USA don’t know how to say it either.

 

5) Copenhagen, Denmark      WRONG: Co-pen-hay-gen    RIGHT: Co-pen-hog-gen

Hey you! There is not no “hay” in Copenhagen!

 

6) Beijing, China       WRONG: Pee-King    RIGHT: Bay-JING

This one harkens back to very poor translation spelling.

 

7) Reykjavik, Iceland       WRONG: Ray-ka-vick    RIGHT: Ray-kia-vick

Ok…we struggle with this one.  Think of the car brand?

 

8) Taipei, Taiwan       WRONG: Tai-PAY    RIGHT: Tai-BAY

Home of one of the tallest buildings in the world, Taipei 101.

Taipei 101.

A view from Taipei 101.

9) Ibizi, Spain       WRONG: eye-BEE-zuh    RIGHT: eye-BEE-thuh

It sounds a little too much like I beat her.

 

10) Moscow, Russia       WRONG: Moss-COW    RIGHT: Moss-CO

No mossy cows in Moscow.

 

11) New Orleans, USA       WRONG: New Or-Leans     RIGHT: New Or-Luns

The faster you say it, the better it sounds.

 

12) Qatar       WRONG: cut-TAR    RIGHT: Kuh-TER.

There is plenty of tar in Qatar, just not in the name of the country.

 

13) Bangkok, Thailand       WRONG: BANG-kock    RIGHT: Bang-Gowk

This is another common mistake we hear.   Anyway you say it, one of the best cities we have visited.

 

14) Budapest, Hungry       WRONG: Budda-PEST    RIGHT: Budda-Pescht

If you are headed there, drop us a line. We know the best goulash place. Mmmmm.

 

15) Iraq       WRONG: Eye-Rack     RIGHT: EYE-Rock

Watch the evening news, and at least half of the local reporters will get it wrong.

 

16) Versailles, France       WRONG: Ver-sillys     RIGHT: VER-Sigh

This is a great drinking game standing in line for tickets to the palace.

The Grand Palace

17) Dubai       WRONG: Do-Buy    RIGHT: Do-BAY

Please do buy the duvet, not the Dubai.

 

18) Newfoundland, Canada       WRONG: New-Found- Land    RIGHT: Nyoo-fn-Land

Ok…we cant say it right either. Here is a Canuck to help us:

 

19) Gstaad, Switzerland       WRONG: Gee-STAD    RIGHT: Sch-TOT

Theres no G in Gstaad.

 

20) Cannes, France       WRONG: CANS    RIGHT: CAN

Saying it right vs. saying it wrong will cost you a good seat at any good Cannes restaurant.

 

How many did you get wrong?  Leave a comment below.

4

The Perfect Summer Fling

Finding the perfect summer fling can be a bit of a challenge. What makes a perfect summer fling anyway? Is it poolside with a cool drink? Or lounging at some remote beach with sand and surf? Or is it an alpine getaway? The Fighting Couple has the perfect suggestions to solve either of these flings.

Let’s start with the sand. Our favorite beach location is in southern Thailand, A little place called Ao Nang. What makes this location perfect for a summer fling is its laid-back approach to life, outstanding cuisine and of course, incredible water. This little part of paradise is located just north of Krabi, Thailand. It is a lot less known than its overcrowded cousin Phuket. What you will love about this place is that it doesn’t have high-rise hotels, overpriced chain restaurants or hordes of tourists. What it does offer is a friendly smile, a few T-shirt shops, and perfect beaches.

The Ao Nang Fling

Let’s talk about your itinerary for your summer fling to Ao Nang. The first step is to find and book one of the many boutique hotels in the area. Trip Adviser makes this quest incredibly simple. Research and find one that matches your pocketbook and pretenses. We like to book our hotels away from the water. Many of the hotels in the areas offer great pools and views of the mountains and water. Most offer a generous breakfast and shuttles back and forth to the water. We stayed at the Aonang Phu Petra Resort and highly recommend it!

The next step is to go and book your boat. There’re number of vendors that are available along the water. Don’t forget to negotiate the best price… this is Thailand after all.

Thailand islands

Anchors away to paradise.

Spend the entire day on the water. We paid $40 for the day for our own boat and captain. You are the boss of your day. You determine how much time you spend at each beach. The boat will take you from island to island to find the perfect beach matching even your most exotic dreams.  Avoid the big islands like Phi Phi and Railai, although Railai can be very nice in the late afternoon. There are many little islands with amazing beaches. If one becomes too crowded, have your boat captain taken to the next. Pack a well-stocked picnic basket for the day and just enjoy the beauty of Thailand.

On your return back to shore, make reservations at the best restaurant in town. It is called Lae Lay Grill. It is special. Very “fling” worthy. Give them a call and they will even pick you up from your hotel and take you back after your meal. Order the fried rice that comes in a pineapple husk. All of the pineapple sweet juices blend in with the rice making it a succulent treat. Order the daily special and watch the chefs cook in the open kitchen. This is what we loved most about the restaurant, besides that incredible view!  The open kitchen and the chefs’ tricks are worth the night out. Very entertaining.

The islands of Thailand!

The islands of Thailand!

The grand finale of your fling will definitely be a moonlight stroll on the beach. A perfect day. The perfect summer (or whenever) fling!

We almost forgot, there is one thing that you must do before you book your fling. Stop over at our friends at www.3wishes.com and pick out a floral lace lingerie teddy. What would a fling be without something to fan the flames?

The Alpine Fling

Living in the western United States, we sometimes take our beautiful Tyrolean environment for granted. The crown jewel of alpine settings in the American West is none other than Lake Tahoe. Mike grew up visiting the area and can give you an insiders guide on crafting the perfect summer fling. Mike and Luci also honeymooned in the area, but that’s another fight…

Getting to Lake Tahoe

First off, getting to the Lake is a little tricky. The nearest airport of any size is in Reno, Nevada.  Southwest Airlines flies there, so if you are west of the Mississippi, you can likely find an affordable flight into Reno. You are definitely going to need a rental car. The area is ideal for going topless…. convertibles or course! The drive from Reno to Tahoe takes about an hour. In our opinion, Reno isn’t much to look at, so head straight to the Lake. There are two ways to get there: head south from the airport, or take a more scenic route and head for the California line then turn south at Truckee.

Pure blue water of Tahoe

Pure blue water of Tahoe

Lake Tahoe has some of the clearest water we have ever seen. The mountains surrounding the Lake frame an incredible setting. Lake Tahoe is divided between two states: California and Nevada. On the Nevada side, gaming is allowed. Most of the upscale hotels and restaurants are located in South Lake Tahoe, on the Nevada side. We much prefer and we strongly recommend renting a bed-and-breakfast or even a small rental home on the California side.

There are many things to do and see in and around the Lake. A great place to start your fling is by hiking down to Vikingsholm. This castle/lodge is located right along the water on the California side. Take the 30 minute hike and tour this intriguing and eclectic home. Towering Ponderosa evergreens line the path down to the home. There are picnic benches around the home, perfect for a lovely lunch.

If you’re looking for something for your active lifestyle, Lake Tahoe beckons you. There’re many day hikes, walking paths, and state parks in the area that are just waiting for you and your lover to explore. We highly recommend visiting one of the Forest Service offices to get updates on local conditions and ideas. If golf is your game, there are a couple of world-class courses along the banks of the Lake.

The colors of Lake Tahoe

The colors of Lake Tahoe

The one “must do” we highly recommend is taking the gondola to the top of the Heavenly Ski Resort. They have some great little cafes at the top.  The vista from the top is priceless.  Watching the sunset from the top will seal the deal.

We hope that one of these two ideas will spark interest on creating your own summer fling. These two are favorites, where do you recommend?

1

The Do’s And Don’ts of Thailand

First, I’d like to thank the Fighting Couple for hosting my post here. I’m a big fan and I especially recommend their article on International travel. You’ll love the tips they have there. Thailand is really welcoming and understanding to foreigners. Most will forgive you for your mistakes without you even knowing. This does not mean you should go around without a care for their culture. Taking the time to learn even just a few polite gestures will help you go a long way in this loving country.

Do’s

-Learning to smile all the time. Thailand is known as the “land of smiles”, and for a good reason. Smiling does not mean the Thai people are in a good mood, it is just a cultural gesture so please take that into consideration.

-Travel insurance is a must when traveling to Thailand or anywhere in the world. Having insurance for your goods and health will be beneficial for you in the long run. World Nomads is a very secure travel insurance agency.

Thailand is paradise!

Thailand is paradise!

-If you ever see a monk, please treat them with the utmost respect. All monks in Thailand are well respected by the locals and should also be by tourists.

-When visiting temples or shrines always take your shoes and hats off before entering any temple. Even if there is no sign in English or other languages, you can take a hint from watching the local’s actions.

-Be conservative when dressing, cover your shoulders and knees. This goes for men and woman. Wearing clean clothes is considered a respect to society. Thai people would not understand how a foreigner with enough money to visit their country cannot afford clothes in proper condition.

-When visiting others, always bring gifts, especially when visiting them at their home. The Thai people really like receiving flowers, sweets, and liquor.

-Buddhism is practiced by most of Thailand and it is generally important to respect this. It is even practiced in law and you can be arrested for disrespecting Buddha.

-If you take pictures of Buddha in a temple or anywhere in general, you must take it discreetly and from a kneeling position. Upon taking a picture, it is polite to leave a donation at nearby boxes.

-Show respect to the king and his family. This means you need to show respect to absolutely everything that has the king’s image on it. Altering images or playing around with objects with the king on it can cost you if you’re caught.

-When waving taxis or other types of public transportation down make sure you hold your hand up horizontal with your fingers pointed down.

-Introduce yourself to others by stating your first name. You will hear the prefix “Khun” a lot because this equal to Mr, Mrs, or Ms.

-Being open is a natural thing in Thailand. Do be open about yourself to others. You will be getting questions about age, marital status and even income. This is just a way of socializing for the people of Thailand.

-Spending time in Thailand as a tourist, it is important to care for your own safety. When looking for tour guides and apps on your phone, or even bank information, try to keep things even more private by masking it from others. As cybercrime is on the rise, you should install a VPN program to your phone prior to your arrival. This will encrypt your connection for protection and also anonymize your surfing to keep your activity private from government censors or network administrators.

-While eating out in Thailand you might have to do something you are not usually used to. Leaving food behind is actually a good thing here. This lets the host know you are leaving full and satisfied. If you do not leave any behind, the host might think you are leaving hungry and could possibly order more for you.

Don’ts

-Never touch others without permission. It is really disrespectful to touch others on the head.

-You do not shake hands in Thailand. Thais tend to be shy and stray away from most physical contacts. Instead you will have to “Wai” to others.

-Do not “Wai” to children or others of lower status. This can cause you to embarrass them in public.

The Grand Palace in Thailand.

The Grand Palace in Thailand.

-Public display of affection is considered disrespectful to others and is looked down upon.

-The feet are considered the filthiest part of the human body so pointing your feet or showing the sole of your shoes can be extremely disrespectful and considered an insult.

-When out, try not to shout or show your temper, if you currently have one. In the eyes of the Thai you would either be insane or of poor upbringing to be acting that way.

-Do not be surprised if you don’t get handed some chopsticks with your meal in Thailand. It is actually common to use a fork and knife.

-When eating with hands never use your left hand. The use of the left hand is considered to be used for toilet paper.

-As you enter a building try to step over thresholds, Thais believe spirits protect their home by living in their doorsill. By stepping on them you will enrage the spirits and cause a streak of bad luck for the home and the family living in it. Take off your shoes before stepping over thresholds at temples and homes.

These tips should help you to make the most of your time in Thailand and fully experience the beautiful culture waiting there for you.

 

Hi, my name is Jess Signet. My parents were travelers since before I was born. Even in the womb, I was able to travel all over the place! Boy, did things NOT change as I grew older!

Knowing there’s more to the world than the bubble I live in made me want to travel even further. Traveling is my drug and I’m addicted. (Please, no intervention!)

 

@1000Fights  Thanks Jess for giving the rundown of the do’s and dont’s!  Well done!

5

Couple Travel: Red Eye Survival

Our best traveling fights have had one key ingredient: Lack of sleep.  The culprit?  The dreaded RED EYE.   We live in the western US, so our intercontinental flights almost always involve bivouacking in the “flying tube.”    While we are far from being “Red Eye Ninjas”…we have come up some sure fire solutions that make traveling on little sleep a little more sufferable as a couple.

Give me Some Space

lost manIt’s no secret that the fighting couple often takes different flights to the same destination.  Often this is out of necessity, as we may have sky points on different carriers.   With that said, we often elect to travel separate because we can’t stand sitting next to each other. Luci likes to talk to Mike. Mike likes to ignore Luci.  We end up fighting before we even leave the runway. So, we fly separate or elect not to sit by each other if we are on the same flight.

We treat complete strangers nicer than our spouse.   It is the truth!  Flying solo or at least separated might be best for all involved. The thought of being seatmates on our recent 16 hour flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta, Ga is a new definition of hell for us.  So Mike took a detour, made a stop in Paris and our marriage was saved.  Crisis adverted.  Typically, Mike flies with the heavy luggage, arrives two or three hours before Luci and meets her at the gate with a luggage trolley and a plan to exit the terminal.  Sweet huh?

But aren’t you two missing out on great conversation (fight) time in route?  Good question.  No, we don’t think so.  Airplanes have to be one of the worst places to discuss heady relationship concerns.  You really can’t face each other, and hearing each other is always a challenge over the roar of the Pratt and Whitneys.

What if one of the traveler’s flights is delayed or cancelled?  This actually happened to us on our recent trip to Thailand.  Luci’s connecting flight to her international flight out of Portland was nixed.  Stress!  But thanks to email, Mike found out, was able to adjust the plans and he spent a night solo in Bangkok…  Yes, delays and changes can occur.  They always do.  But candidly with flight service, delays and changes seldom extend longer than 24 hrs.  We typically add in some flex time at the front and back end of our journeys to accommodate iffy air service.  If being delayed a couple hours is the worst thing that happened on your trip, you are in good shape.

Plan to Make a Plan

We are planners.  We live by the adage:  Fail to plan-Plan to fail.  We do take it a little overboard.   Mike likes(see LOVES)  his excel spreadsheets! Set your clocks ahead to the destination time, and then lay off the caffeine if the sun isn’t shining in your last stop.  Plan ahead, you know that you have an 8 hour flight.  Make a plan of attack to survive.  Make your list:  one movie, 30 mins of reading and then shut eye.  Depending on which direction you are flying, you may want to sleep on the front or back end of the trip.

fighting coupleDivision of Labor

One of the best ways to avoid the Red Eye Fight is to agree in advance, when both parties are sane and sober, what each is going to be responsible for.   Have a conversation about what bags are going to who’s responsibility.    As we mentioned above, Mike is the muscle for the heavy baggage.  Luci on the other hand is the keeper of the camera and anything delicate ie art work, prints, ect.  Agree in advance who is carrying the passports and cash.  Working together always results in fewer travel fights.

Food and Water

One of the most underrated component of successful red eyeing is body fuel.  Grumpy will move into your relationship if either one has not eaten for long periods of time.  Pack some grub for the flight.  One of the challenges we have run into is landing at breakfast time, when our tummies are telling us it’s time for dinner.

Just a Little Patience

In the immortal words of the one of the greatest rock bands of all time Guns N’ Roses, “It takes a little patience.”  Again, follow the steps above, and build in some sleepy time at your destination before you hit the streets of Rome.    No fights make for happy travels!

5

7 Questions with Getting Stamped

The new year is a great time to ask yourself…What if?  What if I could travel anywhere that I wanted to go?  What if….I could travel with the person that I love indefinitely   What if….I sold everything that I owned and just left.  If you want to follow a couple that didn’t just think about the what if…they are actually are going to live it, you must follow Hannah and Adam of www.GettingStamped.com.

Blog: www.gettingstamped.com

Twitter: Getting Stamped

Facebook: Getting Stamped

Pinterest: Hannah and Adam

So lets get to know this daring couple a little better.

Travel couple

Hannah and Adam of Getting Stamped

1.)    Tell us a little about yourselves.  How long have you been together?  How did you meet? Whats this we hear about a Lady’s Night?

We actually just celebrated 7 years together last week at one of new favorite Thai restaurants. We have owned a house together for the last 4 years, and married just under a year 2.12.12. So we are used to not following the normal rules.

We met while Hannah had one of the best jobs a college student could ever have, she was paid to hand out free beer! The night we met happen to be a Monday night, and yes also a ladies night. Hannah was handing out free beer, Adam’s Friends wanted free beer and Adam wanted to talk more with Hannah. So Adam and his friends follow Hannah around to 3 different bars where she was promoting and handing out beer. 7 years and a lot of beers later, we are still together and getting ready to be with each other 24/7 for over a year straight!

 

2.) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?  (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)

He said: It would probably have to be my friend Matt, it was with him that I think I caught my travel bug initially. My first trip out of the country came with Matt on our spring break trips and other adventures. No matter where we go we have a good time, and we always seem to come back with a story or two.

She said: I wish I could say my best friend Rachel, but she would never be able to leave her family for the duration that we are planning.  I would travel with anyone who has the same passion for travel as I do! It could be a life long friend, or another backpacker I just met.  If we have similar travel habits/wants/needs we could make it happen!

 

couple ocean3.) A tax auditor and a mechanical engineer, you guys are up and coming professionals.   What made you guys want to sell everything and travel?

He said: Up and coming comes at a cost, 60-70 hour work weeks are a regular occurrence. Sure the money is good, but its not worth it if you don’t even have time to enjoy it. Basically my life balance is pretty far out of whack.

She said: We realized we are working and working and for what…we have a bunch of “stuff” but there was a lot more to life than “stuff & work”.  It came apparent it was now or never to take this trip.

 

4.) With adventures are sure to come incidents, and we have had our fair share already. We have only let a few of our Travel Fails out of the bag on our website so far. Our much worse ones will be coming out soon (and some of those resulted in some real fights).

He said: I was actually kinda surprised that Hannah volunteered to go on our deep sea fishing trip, that sort of stuff isn’t really her thing. I am pretty sure I will never get her to go on another trip like that again after nearly going under while 2 miles off shore in the Dominican Republic. We didn’t catch any fish on our short expedition, but Hannah did get to feed them, if you know what I mean.

She said: I ended up on the boat only because I didn’t want to be stranded on the beach by myself, for who knows how many hours…..I would have never gone had I know how far out we were going or how rough the seas were.  This trip is where I learned that I get sea sick!

 

5.)  What is the hardest part about leaving your “home” for so long?

He said: The hardest part of being gone for me is going to be missing the people in our lives. I will miss the months of April, June-September at home, the rest of the year I will be more than glad to be gone. I will miss the baseball games with friends, the beer festivals, and all the good summer time fun.

She said: Can I say my cat, Tinkerbell? Everyone knows I love her to death, and I would do anything for my baby…. Besides my cat, I am really going to miss my friends & family.  Almost every weekend we have some sort of get together with friends or family.  We are going to miss 2 baseball seasons, 2 summers, friends 30th birthdays, weddings, and maybe some babies too…

 

6.)  If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

He said: The great inequalities between classes of people that always seem to exist in developing countries. We have planned for a few volunteering opportunities along with our world tour, in Laos and Kenya, we are hoping to find something in Central America as well.

She said: Adam nailed it, and I have an issue seeing hungry children.  I will stop and buy some food for a hungry children and not even think twice.

 

couple on beach7.)  You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?

He said: If we fight it is usually toward the end of a trip, and the stress of returning home makes us cranky. One of the biggest I can remember is an old one, where I let Hannah’s 18 year old brother borrow our rental car during a family wedding in Hawaii. Several hours later we are stranded without a car, I’m getting yelled at, and Hannah is so mad she is crying.

She said:  Currently we have the ongoing packing fight.  I have a slight clothing/bikini issue, and we cannot agree on the amount of clothing I am allowed to bring. I may have to sneak a few more things in! (Don’t tell Adam)

1000Fights:  Adam we are with you.  It is always at the end of a long trip that things get a little dicey. Any you guys are going to be gone how long?  Ha!  Keep in touch.  We always need more material for our “Fights” section.  Thank again you two.  We look forward to meeting you guys out there on your grand adventure.

2

The Traveling Innkeepers

They welcome the world’s travelers and then travel the world themselves: Meet the Traveling Innkeepers: Dan and Becky.

Dan and Becky are the proud owners of Prince Edward Island’s cozy Kindred Spirit Inn. 1000Fights has already previewed the Inn’s amazing culinary breakfast, now we’d like to introduce you to the owners of this comfortable and Anne-like property. With a name like Kindred Spirits, you imagine just how friendly the Inn really is! The Fighting Couple instantly felt a kindred spirit with Dan and Becky. They are the younger, more successful and attractive version of Mike and Luci!

Cordoba  Spain

Dan and Becky visiting Cordoba, Spain

Dan and Becky are true Islanders who both grew up on Prince Edward Island.  Dan’s grew up at Kindred Spirits after his parents ditched their desk jobs and bought the property and remodeled it.  Cavendish, PEI, the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s famous novel Anne of Green Gables, is visited by thousands of people a year.

Dan’s family lived in the Inn, but when tourist season hit from May to October, he moved out and his room became someone else’s! “I grew up with people from all over the world. I was constantly exposed to new people and new ideas.”

Growing up in PEI is a kid’s dream. It’s as idyllic as Anne describes it. “My range was only limited by geography. I could go to the beach myself and bike as far as I wanted; I just had to be back for supper — that was the rule,” Dan reminisces.

Becky and Dan married and bought the property from Dan’s folks. Becky has a knack for organization and started working at Kindred Spirits when she was in high school. Running the Inn, is a 24 hour, 7 day a week job.  And when something needs to be done, Dan and Becky fill in for every role of their 20 employees from security to house keeper, to cook to maintenance man.

But when the tourists leave, Dan and Becky do too. They take the winter and spring to tour the world.

No matter where they have traveled and they have traveled all over: New Zealand, Argentina, Thailand, Costa Rica, just to name a few, people make the difference. From the time a stranger helped them through the chaos of 100 people yelling and screaming in the Panama Airport or to the hotel clerk who helped Dan find his wallet that he left in a cab in Krabi, Thailand, the kindness of others when Dan and Becky travel, make them committed to ensuring that those who stay at Kindred Spirits have an impeccable experience.

Elephant in Thailand

The Traveling Innkeepers in Chaing Mail, Thailand

“Service is never inauthentic,” says Dan. “Everyone who comes to visit PEI is on their vacation and 99 percent of them are having the best days of the year. That’s what makes our jobs great. If you are a lawyer or an accountant, you are dealing with people on their worst days of the year.”

“The tourists are the best part of the job. We meet our guests as they come through the door,” Becky added. “Our job isn’t to be right; our job is to make guests feel comfortable.”

They are so committed to making things as gracious as can be at Kindred Spirits, that Becky keeps a travel notebook when they travel to record the “Wow” moments to help replicate them at Prince Edward Island. Like the time, they were in Argentina and they stayed at a place that invited them to sit and have coffee. “The act of sitting and sharing coffee was very meaningful. They walked us to our room. It was different from being checked in behind a cold, sterile, desk,” Becky explained.

We personally experienced this with the Inn’s cookies and tea service in the evening. In fact, when we arrived there was an entire list of social activities that guests could do to mingle with other guests and the staff.

Being in the travel business has also made Dan and Becky more critical of what they see on the road. “We are ruined,” Becky says about going to other hotels to stay. “We can’t walk into a property without seeing what’s wrong and what’s right. It’s certainly allowed us to relate.”

Better yet, the two are also fighters!  One of their highlights: they didn’t realize they needed a Visa to get to Vietnam. “And that was the time we almost went to Vietnam,” Becky laughs. They didn’t have their Visa so when they got to the airport and the ticket agent asked to see it; they had to change their plans immediately! It’s a 1000 Fight Nightmare! The story did end well, they ended up going to Malaysia instead!

Want to learn more about Kindred Spirits?  Check our recent post!

 

5

A Day at Bangkok’s Grand Palace

On the banks of the Chao Phraya River stands a 200 year old tribue to power and wealth of old Siam.  The Grand Palace is a must see for any visit to the Thailand capital.  First off, the Grand place is not simply one building, it is a entire village of palaces and temples.

Before you go:

Palace Thailand

Anyone planning on visiting the Grand Place must understand what The Grand Palace is and isn’t.  First off, the grand place is a holy place held in reverence.  Monks and priests live and work on the campus.  Certain areas are held with extreme revence.  People come to the Palace to worship from all over Asia.  The Palace is also a ceremonial home to the Royal Family of Thailand.  King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit Kitiyakara are the longest current serving monarchs in the world, and according to the Forbes list the King is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world.   Thai’s revere the King and disrespect toward him or the royal family is a punishable offence.   Needless to say, visitors to the Royal Palace should be prepared the conduct themselves in a proper manner.  Here are a few of the requirements directoy from the official site of the Palace:

Proper Dress in The Grand Palace for Visitors

Visitors are requested to be dressed properly and appropriately upon entering the ground of the Bhubing Palace. Thus the following dress – code (applicable to both ladies and gentlemen) will be strictly enforced:

1. Shorts, mini-skirts, short skirts, tight fitting trousers, as well as tights can not be worn as outer garments.
2. See-through shirts and blouses, as well as culotters or quarter length trousers can not be worn.
3. Sleeveless shirts or vests can not be worn as outer garments.
4. Sandles (without ankle or heel straps) can not be worn.
5. All shirt sleeves, whether long or short, can not be rolled up.
6. Sweat shirts and sweat pants, wind-cheaters, pajamas and fisherman trousers can not be worn.

The point above saying “strictly” enforced is just that.  You will be turned away of not dressed appropriately.  Security is tight.  Of the many sites we have visited, this is only rivaled by the Vatican.  We are going to insert our opinion here, we are the Fighting Couple, it is our nature.  We couldn’t help but overhear complaints about the rigid guidelines as we were in line to enter by other tourists.  Frankly, this disappointed us.  Showing respect by the clothes you wear is appropriate.  The rules are clearly posted and advertised.  Prepare ahead and you will be fine.

We recommend getting there early.  The audio guide that is offered for a fee is actually very helpful in understanding all of the many structiures withing the compound.  We are going to highlight some of the key things to see within the Palace. Frankly, there is so much to see and expiriance, this is just a few things that we found interesting.

Budda

Many religious statues line the halls of the Palace.

Grand Palace

The Grand Palace

Grand palace tower

Temple of the Emerald Buddha

 

Chinese man beard

Many Chinese statues adorn the Palace grounds. These were actually used a ballast on ship trading between Siam and China.

Lotus

Many gardens small and large decorate the courtyards.

Asian rooftop

Even the rooftop eves are ornately decorated.

 

The Grand Palace   We made the mistake of only allowing a morning for our visit.  very bad idea.  There is so much to see and take in.  Allow the better part of a day to really experience the Palace grounds.  Photographers are going to find a new angle at ever turn.  Thailand truly holds so many great adventures!  There are many low cost airlines that fly into and out of Bangkok.  Book yours today and enjoy your visit!

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Romance, Leeches and Elephants?

Thailand is likely best known for its inviting beaches and vibrant cities.  One of the best kept secrets of old Siam is its rain forests.  A short and affordable drive from either Phuket or Krabi, is the crown jewel of the Thailand forests, Khao Sok National forest.   Khao Sok is perfect for the active couple.  There is so much to offer!

Romance Tree HouseOne fun idea for lodging is to stay in a tree house deep in the forest!  We chose “Our Jungle House” located on the edge of the national forest.  It offers “rustic” accommodation with excellent service.   The Jungle House is located right on a small river that offers great wading and if you wish, take an inner tube float from the bridge down to the resort.  The resort has a main lodge and a number of cabins and tree houses along the river.  Many command excellent views and all are spaced out enough to make you feel like you’re the only ones out there!  Of course the “Fighting Couple” elected to take “Romance Tree House”.

 

What to do

Bird of ParadiseDay hikes

There are so many great little day hikes all through the park.  When you arrive at the entrance, pay your 100Baht entry fee and they will supply you with a really good map.  Scope out your adventure according to your time.  There a many lakes, waterfalls as well as caves to explore.  Remember to pack your water and take your time as you hike due to the extreme heat and humidity.   Take your time and don’t overdo it.  Better yet, pack a picnic and spend the entire day exploring one of the pristine rain forest in Asia.   Hiring a guide is up to you.  It is Thailand, so they do come cheap.  Many of the hikes are just fine as self guided adventures.

 

If you are looking for more pictures of the Rain Forest, check out the Fighting Couple on Facebook.

Night hikes

You can arrange through the park or your lodging a night hike to explore the jungle.  A number of the creepy crawlers can only be seen at night.  Our guide’s command of english was limited, but the flora and fauna was truly beautiful.  One thing to be mindful of when traipsing through the rainforest is to beware of Leeches.  Yes, we said leeches.  They fall from the trees and are about an inch long and very skinny (that is before they latch on and begin to vampire you).   Our guide was wearing shorts and sandals.  He kept picking these little things off his toes.  Mike was supremely confident since he was wearing long slacks with tall socks and shoes that no harm would come from these pesky things.  Oh contraire!  Once we returned to our “romance” tree house,  Mike found that he had acquired an unintended souvenir, a leech.  It latched on just above the kneecap.  It came off fairly easy, but the blood flowed for quite awhile.  following are some of the shots we caught while in the Jungle:

Thailand night hike

 Elephant expedition  This is Thailand, so everywhere you turn there is a vendor wanting you to sign up with them to “ride and elephant”.   If all you want is a quick photo op, go ahead.   On you hop, then a quick saunter around the parking lot, and you are done.  Boring!   If you really want to experience a true elephant adventure, work with your accommodation to take a half day trek.  Our elephant wranglers loaded us in the back of a pickup at our hotel and took us up in the mountains.  We were assigned an “elephant driver”.  We mounted our pachyderm and off we went.  The driver sits on the elephants neck offering verbal cues as to our path.  Words and pictures cannot capture just how gorgeous our trek was.  It felt like something out of Jurassic Park.  Stunning!  At our turn around point we had a swim in a waterfall fed lake.  It was a great day!  (Sorry, no fighting on this one)

Thailand Rain Forest

 

Thailand Rain forest

 

Thailand Rain Fores

The Thailand rain forest is not to be missed.  Thailand has it all, lovely beaches, lush rain forest and  the people are some of the most welcoming and gracious we have come across in our adventures.  So, have you been to Khao Sok?  What were your impressions?

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7 Questions with Traveling 9 to 5

In our continued quest in introduce you to some of the best traveling couples, this week’s installment is one of the best.  Meet Caroline and Josh of   www.traveling9to5.com.   This duo, after working in the corporate world decided to sell (almost) everything they owned and travel the world for a year.  Their fun blog captures the ins and outs of travel as a couple.   One interesting fact about Caroline, she is a professional “cart wheeler”.  Check out her cart wheeling board on pinterest!

Give them a follow:

couple traveling1) How many countries visited between the two of you?

We have been to 18 countries between the two of us and have at least 7 left to visit this year. All of our international travel has been together. We are that cheesy couple that met in high school and got married right after college traveling together since we both had passports.

2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?  (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)

He Said: I would travel with Chris Guillebeau from the Art of Non-Conformity. I’d probably still be at my old job if it wasn’t for his blog and inspiration.

She Said: I would travel with Matt… the dancing one. I love to dance, more specifically I love to dance badly. His videos still make me laugh and inspire me to keep traveling. I haven’t met him yet, but he seems as if he has a good time traveling, adventures to new locations and has some wicked dance moves.

couple at cooking school3)What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?  Why?

He said: Thailand. Especially Bangkok and Chiang Mai. It’s the only country on our trip that we’ve been to  more than once. I absolutely loved the people, the food, the noise and the energy of these cities. We met so many great people and enjoyed so much good FOOD.  I can’t wait to return.
She said: Botswana. I have never fallen in love with the sky and the stars as much as I did in Botswana. Camping in the middle of nowhere lends a certain peace while at the same time is scary as &@*% considering there are wild animals creeping in every shadow. The colors of the sunset and sunrise are incredible, the terrain is constantly changing, the people you meet are so unique… I could go on forever!

4)  If you had to eat one last meal, what/where would you eat?

He said: I’d have Vietnamese pho ga (chicken soup), fresh french bread and butter, my mom’s buffalo chicken mac & cheese, a fillet mignon with sauteed mushrooms and finally, some homemade chocolate chip cookies. I’d make sure to have some Thai desserts too, so Care could eat off my plate. :)

She said: Do I have to limit the number of courses in the meal?
I would start by jumping on the first flight to Thailand .
I would pick up a fresh coconut smoothie from Pa’s stand at the Chiang Mai Gate night market.
Next, red curry from the small shack in Chiang Mai
Finally I would end with my three favorite Thai Desserts:
Mango Sticky Rice – a BIG serving of it with lots of coconut milk and fresh mangos.
Mochi Balls covered in coconut with brown sugar and more coconut in the middle
Coconut pudding balls from the street
HEAVENLY!

5)Seriously, on your site there is a tab titled: Exercise!  What’s up with that?

He said: You’ll have to ask her. :)
She said: This one is my fault. I was a personal trainer with Equinox back in Chicago. I promised my clients that I would keep up with my own workouts and document them along the way. I am a bit of a health/fitness junkie. So most of our adventures are hiking, walking, cycling, anything to get the extra exercise in!  Traveling and exercising isn’t easy, so I carry a jump rope everywhere I go and focus on a lot of body weight exercises. Many more travel workouts are on the way!

woman doing cart wheel

Caroline-The Cart Wheel Queen!

6) Josh, loved your post on “retiring” at a young age.  Tell us about
how and why you made this decision.

He said: (Caroline actually wrote this post!) Americans make a big deal out of retirement. It is seen as a phase of life that is to be feared and endlessly prepared for. That you should sacrifice everything now so you can hopefully enjoy your life when you are old. Instead I think it should be embraced as a positive change of direction. You can experience a “mini-retirement” way before your 60s. For us, it isn’t retirement in the traditional sense. It’s opting out of the rat race and choosing to live a life that fulfills us. We will still work, and we’ll still work hard, but we plan on working for ourselves and writing our own life story instead of having someone else write it for us.

couple wearing slicker7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?

She said: Our most recent argument was over Josh’s top notch driving abilities. We recently drove ourselves through Botswana and Namibia in a 4×4 Toyota Hilux. Prior to arriving in Africa, Josh hadn’t driven anything in a long time bigger than a motorbike. We got in our new home, a HUGE diesel 4×4 truck and he suddenly is Mario Andretti. He is driving over tree trunks, whizzing around cars and plowing through 3 feet of sand. I am terrified, and do what any strong-minded wife would do…I become the backseat driver that no one wants to have. I yelled out when it looked like we were going to hit trees or were plowing through thorn bushes and insisted he slow down as he tried to jump the potholes on the endless gravel roads in Namibia.
He said: It was awesome. I’m just trying to keep us from crashing into elephants, and Care keeps yelling, “Left…LEFT!” … I have no idea what this means. We both got pretty fired up over how we should warn each other to watch out for something in the road, which is a pretty dumb argument, but we were so mad. It was just a stressful drive with animals coming from every direction, but I was an awesome driver.
She said: LEFT means “look to the left, we are going to crash into a tree”. We had a $2,000 deductible, we shouldn’t be driving the huge truck like we are on a race track!He said: I had to drive fast enough to not get stuck in the sand, unless we wanted the added adventure of digging ourselves out of the sand while looking for hungry wild animals.

She said: This is why we left this argument in Namibia. :)

1000Fights:  We love it!  I think that this is the very first time we have had a fight in the post!  Impressive!
Seriously aren’t these two a kick?!
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