Songkran, the Thai New Year! It’s a time of respecting your elders and washing away your sins from the past year. Or for most westerners (and most younger Thai folks), it’s known as the water festival, home to the biggest water fight in the world! There are actually a couple of countries that celebrate Songkran – Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, but Thailand’s is the biggest and most awesome.
Continue reading Travelogue: Songkran in Bangkok
From Vientiane, I crossed over the First Laos-Thai friendship bridge into Nong Khai, where I spent a day wandering around enjoying the sights before taking the sleeper train back to Bangkok. Which ended up being an unfortunate choice – if I had known that this would be so interesting, I would have stayed for another couple days, relaxing and enjoying the ambiance. But instead, I had to catch a night train to Bangkok. But Nong Khai was very nice while it lasted!
Continue reading Travelogue: Nong Khai
On my way from Chiang Mai to Laos, I stopped by Chiang Rai for a couple days. This city is billed as a being a less touristy version of Chiang Mai, like how Chiang Mai was 10 years ago (that’s a very common phrase, I’ve noticed, X place is like how Y was 10 years ago. I stopped here for just one night (staying at a completely deserted hostel), and visiting Chiang Rai’s two biggest attractions: the White Temple, and the Black House.
Continue reading Travelogue: Chiang Rai
While visiting Pang Mapha and staying at the Cave Lodge, I decided to go on a caving / spelunking expedition! I’ve never done any caving before (well, once, but it was such a shallow cave, it shouldn’t even count).
Continue reading Travelogue: Caving at Pang Mapha
Although Pai itself was pretty boring, it was well worth the visit – because upon renting a motorbike, I was able to travel to Pang Mapha, home of the Cave lodge and accompanying caves, as well as Mae Hong Son, a trekking town to the Western edge of Thailand. It was an amazing couple days of motorbiking.
Continue reading Travelogue: Pang Mapha and Mae Hong Son
Everyone I’ve met raves about Pai, a little hippie town near Chiang Mai. Yes, there’s not much to do there, but the vibe! The people! The ambiance! Then I visited Pai for myself, and found the town to be rather boring. Yes, it’s a little hippie town, but no, it’s not particularly interesting. It’s also chock full of Chinese tourists, which is an automatic strike in my book. Talking with some locals, a couple of years ago a Thai movie named Pai in Love came out, it was a hit in China, and an endless stream have been coming here ever since.
Continue reading Travelogue: Pai
On my first trip to Thailand, I spent almost all my time in Bangkok and the southern islands – which which were very nice, but reportedly very different from Chiang Mai, the jewel of the north of Thailand. So this visit, I had to take the train up toe Chiang Mai, where I enjoyed the fact that nights are much cooler than Bangkok, which was an absolute furnace.
Continue reading Travelogue: Chiang Mai
For some reason, I decided to visit Bangkok again – to get my visa for Myanmar, to see the protests, and to finish other unfinished business.
Coming to Bangkok during the protests, while a state of emergency has been declared, is surprisingly normal. While the US shows all sort of sensational alarming news, depicting Bangkok on the verge of civil war, it’s actually quite tranquil on the ground in Bangkok. For the most part. Arriving in Bangkok and taking a taxi to Khao San Road area, we passed through several checkpoints, with barricaded roads and military police with rifles checking everyone’s identification. Being in a taxi with three other backpackers (white, loud, and rather obnoxious), we were quickly waived passed – tourists are left unmolested – but it was still quite an experience. I didn’t expect to have to ever ride through military checkpoints in the streets of Bangkok. It reminded me of a dystopian movie that I recently watched – Children of Men.
Continue reading Travelogue: Bangkok again
Koh Phangan is the home of the (in)famous Full Moon Party, probably one of the biggest parties of the world. During high season, as many as 30 thousand people will descend onto the island in one day for a wild night of drinking, dancing, and debauchery.
So of course, for the first time in my travels, I get traveler’s diarrhea, and cannot join in.
Continue reading Travelogue: Koh Phangan
Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present: Jonathan Lee, the certified PADI advanced open water scuba diver!
Or I would, but unfortunately all the pictures from scuba diving are still being developed, so in this post, I’ll be doing a business analysis of Scuba Diving on Koh Tao.
Continue reading Business Analysis: Scuba Diving on Koh Tao