Vacations are luxury that I can rarely afford. This time was different though: Wisa won flight tickets for two to Tokyo at her company’s Christmas lucky draw, so I had no excuses to take time off.
While having traveled in South East Asia quite extensively, I had previously missed out Japan completely. I used to live in a Japanese populated area in Bangkok for few years, so I wasn’t entirely off guard what to expect, but was still blown away – positively so. Unfortunately we didn’t have a tour guide, but still we managed just fine.
Being such a huge city (13 million population), Tokyo is incredibly organized. Everything works, I mean everything really works. The airport reminded me of Hong Kong in some ways: it was easy to get from the airport to the center by train/metro. 60 km was done in about 40 minutes and boom, we were right in the middle of the action.
The hotel we stayed in was in a walking distance from the Tokyo station, and after a few broken English consultations we found it quite easily. The hotel, Sotetsu Fresa Inn Tokyo Kyobashi, was quite new and very clean. The room was really small, but served it’s purpose for us as the base during the 4 nights stay.›› 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
One of the main events of the year in 3D printing took place last week in New York. Part of Mediabistro’s global tradeshow series Inside 3D Printing found it’s way back home to New York for the second time in it’s history. The first show hosted over 3000 visitors over two days, and this year things were set to be bigger – a lot bigger. The latest edition happened in Berlin last month and was praised by all the people I met who had attended.
I don’t even know where to begin, as I am still feeling a little light headed, not only over an incredible show, but also due to two 30 hour flights within seven days and 11 hours time difference.
Our trip started 2am in Bangkok, from where we took the first flight to Dubai. Quite standard flight, nothing really to report – basic Emirates stuff. The second leg to New York was with the Airbus 380, and I have to say that it is quite an amazing airplane! Flying economy was actually like flying business class with some less respected carriers. Finally landed safe and sound in New York and felt the +15 degrees (+30 in Bangkok…) in my every bone while waiting for a taxi.›› 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
I just returned from Hong Kong today. It was a great trip and very positive in many ways. Maybe I should go there more often… There were two main reasons for the trip this time: to finalize the incorporation for a new start up company, and to speak at the Hong Kong University MBA Business Lab program. On top of that I managed to squeeze in some business meetings as well, just to make sure that there would not be any laziness involved. After all it’s Hong Kong – one of Asia’s most hectic business centres!
Yesterday morning two of my business associates and I met with our trusted accounting partner, who handles Hong Kong company incorporations. I have to confess that I was expecting quite a signature marathon and was prepared defend my existence at the bank ‘interrogation’, same as last time. To my major surprise things just went incredibly smoothly. After less than 10 signatures, we were done with the accountant, and headed to HSBC’s business banking center. The previous time we had to go to a personal banking branch’s sleazy business service section, where a guy who looked like a high school sophomore, was asking questions like “what happens to your job in the company, when you find someone who knows your job better?” Not this time.›› continue reading