For many people driving a car in Thailand isn’t the first option that comes to mind, when traveling around the country. There are a lot risks related to it, and so many affordable other options to choose from. Living in Bangkok, you really don’t need a car, at least as a single person or as a couple without kids, because of the convenience of BTS and MRT. But every now and then, it would be nice to jump on a car and drive away for the weekend. As most rental car services require a local license, it makes renting a car a whole lot easier to have one. Here’s how it’s done.
If you have a license issued from your country, you don’t have to do the license from scratch. If you have an international license, or license from any English speaking country, you just need to contact your Embassy in Thailand, and ask for a magical thing called “embassy stamp” that clears almost everything in Thailand. But, if your license was issued in a non-English speaking country, you need to get a transcript from your country explaining what the driver’s license is for and what vehicles you can drive.›› continue reading
Using the Bangkok taxis is like playing lottery; you never know how the experience will be. I know, I have had my shares on both sides of the coin. Some times you get the driver who speaks English, takes pride of his line of business and it shows. The car is clean and it smells fresh in the car. He drives carefully and chooses the best route.
Most of the time, however, it’s not like this. The driver (if he first of all chooses to accept you in his precious cab) can be
b) angry at you for missing an intersection
c) takes the scenery route
d) hasn’t showered in days / smells like urine
e) suddenly stops to fill the gas during the trip / stops to take a piss on the roadside
f) overcharges you / gives you wrong change
h) or the worst: drives an accident
The list goes on. I’ve been through all the above and even more… So goes without saying that there would be room for improvement.
Bangkok taxis are very cheap. And unfortunately it shows in the quality of the experience. So what other options are there. BTS Skytrain and MRT Metro are my preferred options.›› continue reading
Songkran only comes once a year (thank god) and it’s the time for all the kids and child minded to roll up their sleeves and dig out their super soakers. Songkran is a new year festival celebrated in Thailand, and some other South East Asian cultures. In Thailand it’s celebrated normally from April 13-15, with few exceptions such as Chiang Mai where the party goes on for 6 days. Songkran has a long history and traditions of which relate to purifying by throwing water upon others.
Personally I have had my Songkran fun over the years, and these days I just prefer to go somewhere quiet and hope being isolated enough to escape the – sometimes fierce – water war. Usually I fail, which was the case again this year.
My holiday travels are quite limited to Wisa’s Thai labor law holidays, but Songkran is one of the few times in a year when we can escape Bangkok for longer than 3 days. This year we chose Ko Kut hoping to stay dry.
Ko Kut (or Koh Kood) is a prestige island located in south east Thailand near the Cambodian border. It’s also Thailand’s smallest province with population of 4000. The pier Laem Ngop located in Trat province is about 6 hour bus ride from Bangkok following a 1.5 hour boat ride to the island.›› continue reading
Every once in a while I have the urge to close computer & phone, and just escape Bangkok’s concrete jungle. Unfortunately most of the nice beach destinations are more than 3 hours drive or a flight away from the busy capital (Koh Kood, Koh Mak, Krabi, Phuket etc.), but luckily there are plenty of options for the beach getaways near Bangkok. One of them is Koh Kret.
Koh Kret is a tiny 2 square km island located in Chao Phraya river in Nonthaburi province north from Bangkok. It is a man made island with history that dates only to 1722, when a canal was built as a short cut to a curve in the Om Kret part of Chao Phraya river. The canal was widened many times and finally Koh Kret became an island. Koh Kret has served as a refuge for Mon tribes and even today they have kept some of the culture alive through pottery making.
Koh Kret offers a number of temples, local shopping opportunities, pottery factories, and many beautiful river view locally run small restaurants and coffee shops. There’s not that much for visitors to do on the island, but that sort of is the point of going there.›› continue reading
Lumpini park filled up last weekend with people. It’s a quite busy park over the weekends normally, but last weekend a street performance festival called Bangkok Street Show 2013 took place there. I had seen some random street shows previously, but the whole culture behind it was quite new to me.
Street performance or buskers festival as it is also known, brings to together street performers of music, theater, dance, juggling, clowning, magic etc. There is a level of interaction with the audience and humor plays a key part, after all the purpose is to entertain. The performances usually last about 20-25 minutes. At the end of the show the artists expect to get money tips from the audience, and usually the funnier or better they are, the more they get. Giving money is not compulsory, but highly appreciated. Even a small sum such as 20B (0.70USD) did seem to do the trick here in Bangkok.
The Bangkok Street Show 2013 had a full two-day program of performers in nine stages, which were set all over Lumpini park. There was no admission fee to enter, so as you can imagine the event had attracted quite a number of people, blocking the foot paths and making it very difficult for the Sunday joggers to do their exercise.›› continue reading