A few pics from a recent trip

awgreenWat Arun and Angkor Wat in dramatic repose…

plus the silhouette of my beautiful girl.

I shot the Angkor Wat photos at dawn and then took the one above and photoshopped it a bit to obtain the pink, green and blue effects.  Just thought it looked cool.

The Wat Arun photos were taken at dusk.  I spent a night at the wonderful Arun Residence.  Just across the Chao Phraya from Wat Arun and only a short walk from Wat Pho and the Grand Palace.

These are just a few shots of some of my favorite places in Asia.  Hope you enjoy.  If you like ’em, leave a note.

The Thai Wai

Wai, like many other gestures e.g. no loud or bang when talking or shutting doors, reflects your overall etiquette that is perceived to link to your family background and stand in the society.

Thais are rooted from the hierarchical order of society; our wai thus has different height levels. To wai beautifully, it takes time to practice (and many details that i do not even remember!).

Not sure if a proper wai is at all significant in today modern lifestyle. But since i was put in the Queen school, hope that I can be little helpful here.

We wai when we want to (1) pray, (2) greet, (3) thank you, (4) apologize, and (5) denote a receiving / wai back.

Wai Monk = Thumbs between eyebrows. Index fingers touch forehead.

Wai Parent = Thumbs touch nose (parents are your breath of life). Index fingers between eyebrows.

Wai Teacher / Master = Thumbs touch lip (teacher words of mouth make you a better person). Index fingers touch nose.

Wai Senior Person than You = Thumbs touch chin. Index fingers touch lip.

Wai Same Age / Younger Person than You / or Wai Back = Thumbs touch between breast. Index fingers touch chin.

Note, bend your head down slightly a bit to cater the reaching of your index fingers.

One of the the best and simplest explanations of the Thai traditional wai that I’ve come across.

With thanks to ConcreteAngel of ThailandFreinds.com


Kanchanaburi

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On an early morning not too long ago, a few ladies and gents got together and made the world better for a school in a sleepy little place called Kanchanaburi near Bangkok, Thailand.

Funds were collected.  Supplies and Equipment purchased.  Then the task of planning and executing the movement from Bangkok to a sleepy village called Kanchanaburi and a little school on an Island.

That narrow little rope/plank bridge looks a little treacherous.  lol

The kids all look happy.

These generous folks put on a little show for the kids.  Played them a couple of animated movies.  Kung Fu Panda and another.  Served up a meal or two.  Handed out school supplies, uniforms and a few other essentials.

Spent the night in tents out on the school grounds.

And then quietly made their way home…

Leaving behind a hundred or so smiling young faces.

Here are pics of the event:

Helping others is good for the soul.

Wat Pho and around the way…in Krung Thep–the City of Angels

On my last day in Bangkok, I had some free time.  The lovely lady with whom I had happily spent most of my time in Bangkok could not see me due to family obligations and then work.  So…I had to entertain myself.  I arose early and took the BTS to the Chao Phraya river.   Walked to the pier and boarded the river bus to cruise up to Wat (Temple) Pho.  I’ve visited this temple on numerous occasions.  Usually alone, sometimes accompanied by friends like Becca.  It’s one of my favorite places in the City of Angels.

The grand and golden reclining Buddha of Wat Pho.  Magnificent.  A site to behold.  I’ve posted about it before.

These are the pics of my morning.

Probably come back and write more later…

Cambodia and Thailand: Will it be War?

Is this the Thai government attempt to divert the countries attention away from the PAD protests and madness?  What is going on in the Land of Smiles?  It seems to be going insane.  Between the PAD, the Muslims in the South and the Cambodian border, Thailand has become the land of division, protest and madness.

War threat If you have your ideas about this news, share it with others, here!

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered fresh troops to the border with an ultimatum to Thailand: Pull military forces back today or the border will become a “life and death battle zone”.

Hun Sen told reporters in Phnom Penh that he had warned Thailand’s visiting Foreign Minister Sompong Amornvivat that without a quick pullout, Thai soldiers could face being fired upon by Cambodian troops in “large-scale armed conflict”.

“If they cannot withdraw tonight, they must withdraw tomorrow,” said Hun Sen.

“We have tried to be patient, but I told the Thai foreign minister today that the area is a life-and-death battle zone.”

His comments came after talks with Mr Sompong in Phnom Penh.

Mr Sompong also met with his counterpart Hor Namhong in a bid to resolve the dispute over the area near the ancient Preah Vihear temple.

The Cambodian foreign minister said yesterday’s talks failed to end in agreement because his Thai opposite number “could not sign anything”.

Hun Sen and Hor Namhong both told reporters that Cambodia could choose to take the border dispute before an international court if it was not resolved soon.

The comments made by the Cambodian prime minister and foreign minister surprised Mr Sompong and Thai officials, who were adamant that the meetings had not been a failure.

Mr Sompong said the tone during the meetings between the two countries had been different as the Cambodian leaders agreed that both sides had to be patient in resolving the border spat.

He said no Thai troop withdrawals would be made from the 4.6 sq km overlapping area between Kantharalak district in Si Sa Ket and Preah Vihear province of Cambodia until the dispute over ownership is cleared through negotiations in the Joint Boundary Commission that was set up to demarcate the land border.

Thailand reiterated its ownership over the area, Mr Sompong said in Bangkok and rushed to report the talks to Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.

Suranaree Task Force commander Maj-Gen Kanok Netrakavaesana will hold talks with his Cambodian counterpart tomorrow on the border issues and the Thai and Cambodian defence ministers will meet next Tuesday , according to Mr Sompong.

Cambodian Deputy Defence Minister Gen Neang Phat said more Cambodian troops were heading to the area after up to 500 Thai soldiers had tried to cross the border near an ancient Hindu temple that is claimed by both countries.

“We are building up our troops at the border in response to Thailand, but I cannot reveal the number,” he told reporters.

Maj-Gen Srey Deok, who oversees the Cambodian military in the disputed area, said: “Thai troops have already entered the area. They are confronting our troops.”

But Maj-Gen Kanok denied that more troops had been sent to the disputed area near the Preah Vihear temple.

Thailand and Cambodia have 10 soldiers each at the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda near the Preah Vihear temple and 45 around the compound on joint patrol, according to the agreement between the two countries to ease border tension.

The two countries also have back-up troops near the border.

The number of soldiers there remained unchanged, Maj-Gen Kanok said.

Maj-Gen Kanok slammed Cambodia for distorting information and taking advantage of the political crisis in Thailand to launch an offensive move for its own political benefit.

The Suranaree chief, his patience wearing thin, called for a quick solution to the border spat and a clear direction to be provided by the government as it could become an armed conflict if it was left unsettled.

“I want the government to solve this problem and make it clear what to do. If it is left this way, nobody knows what is going to happen,” he said.

Tensions between Thailand and Cambodia first flared in July after the Preah Vihear temple was awarded World Heritage status by the World Heritage Committee.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belongs to Cambodia, but the surrounding land remains in dispute.

Tensions escalated into a military confrontation in which up to 1,000 Cambodian and Thai troops faced off for six weeks.

The two countries have swapped accusations of violating each other’s territory in the dispute.

(with Agency reports)

Prassat Preah Vihear

Suvarnabhumi Airport Opening Video (2005)

My gateway to Southeast Asia.

It’s the nicest, most organized Airport that I’ve experienced.  Easy in and easy out.

I don’t feel like I’m entering or leaving a Nazi concentration camp as when entering or exiting America.  There is organization and a flow to this airport that does not exist in any of the Muslim countries of the Middle East and Central Asia.  And unlike entering and exiting the Middle East there aren’t thousands with their hands out for tips and bribes.  It’s much less hectic than the European airports through which I’ve flown.

As soon as I touch down at Suvarnabhumi, a smile creeps onto my face and a lightness enters my step.  I’m happy.  I’m home.  I feel more at home in Bangkok than almost anywhere on this planet.

I am entering the land of smiles.  And the land of smiles is the gateway to the East.  The true east.  Not the dirty and violent Islamic Middle East.  This is the enchanted land of myth, silk, smiles and exotic Asian mysteries.  Angkor, Luang Prabang, Sukhothai, Saigon, Phnom Penh, Xi’an, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Mekong, Lhasa and Katmandu, the Taj Mahal and the Ganges.  Ancient histories.  A region shrouded in myst and legend.  The home of the the great conqueror Genghis Khan and the religion and philosophical enlightenment of the Buddha.

It’s also home to the most beautiful beaches and women in the world.

Every time I land at Suvarnabhumi International, these thoughts run through my head.  My next adventure awaits me.  I’ll swim the Mekong and climb the Great Wall.  Explore ancient temples or dance all night at RCA.

I love this place.  Thailand uber alles.

Prassat Preah Vihear

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This is the disputed angkorean temple called Preah Vihear on the Cambodian-Thai border.  There have been a few small clashes between Thai and Khmer forces over the land in this area.  A few Cambodians have been killed by Thai soldiers.

Next trip to Cambodia/Thailand, I am going to see this place if I can.  Look at the Temple and the area.  Magnificent.  Beautiful.

And, a bit dangerous:

In the guidebook, Adventure Cambodia, published at the end of 2000, the trek to Preah Vihear from Choam Khsan town is described as follows:-

Along the way to the mountain temple, you will notice pieces of vehicles hanging from up in the trees here and there from unfortunate souls that hit a landmine. It’s an eerie reminder in this peaceful and uninhabited forest area of the deadly devices that are still lurking about this area in big numbers. The soldiers at the base camp are a friendly lot that will allow you to park your bike at their camp while you hike up to the temple and you can figure that the bike will still be there when you return. It’s not required but it’s a real nice gesture to give these underpaid guys a few thousand riel to watch your bike – good insurance and you will make some friends. It’s a good idea to have your moto guy or a soldier lead the way on the winding upward climb to the temple. The mountain is riddled with landmines and while, if you follow the golden rule for Cambodia – always stay on worn pathways and roadways – you will be okay, there are intersecting pathways, where it’s difficult to figure out which way to go. I did the hike alone but there was some question on which path to follow at a couple of spots.

Sukhothai — Wat Saphin Hin (and the attack of the gnats)

sundown at Wat Saphan Hin.

On my last trip to Thailand, my buddy Becca and I visited Sukhothai. It is a city and national historical park about 450 km north of Bangkok. It’s a small slow town that is a bit off the beaten path for most travelers. I had read much about the city and the park and was eager to visit the famous and rather large Buddha at Wat Sri Chum. Sukhothai is considered the cradle of Thai civilization. The name means literally “Dawn of Happiness.” The city was founded in 1238 by two Thai princes who seceded from the Khmer Empire. As a kingdom, Sukothai grew to be larger than modern Thailand. It lasted only 120 years before is was co-opted into a new Thai kingdom.

Sukhothai is now the provincial seat for the northern province which bears it’s name. The city itself is divided into old and new Sukhothai. Old Sukhothai is a large historical park with ruins dating back to the original kingdom. The ruins have heavy Khmer influences. At times, the ruins have an Angkorean feel to them and there is actually one temple that is attributed to Jayavarman VII.  Jayavarman VII is the builder of Bayon and several of the Angkor Temples. He is the famous Buddha King of Cambodia.

There are hundreds of ancient buildings and Wats or Temples in old Sukhothai. Hundreds of statues of Buddha throughout the park. Wat Saphan Hin is one such Wat. It is located about 7 miles outside of the old city on a hill top. The Wat houses a Buddha which is some 40 feet tall. I was very much looking forward to trekking out to this particular Wat even though it was so far out.

Everyone to whom I spoke and all the I read prior to visiting Sukhothai recommended renting bikes as the best way to tour the old city. Traffic is light in Sukhothai. The people are friendly. Sukhothai is not large as far as cities go but the ruins and temples are spread out. Too far to walk and not far enough for a car or Tuk Tuk. Renting bikes was an excellent recommendation. Becca and I rented bikes from our hotel. Mapped out our sight seeing trail. Then started out to see the magnificence that are the nearly 1000 year old ruins of Sukhothai. We spent most of the morning tooling around the ruins in the main part of the park. The noon sun came up and started to beat down on us. So we decided it was time to get some shade and a cold one. Grab a bite to eat and plan the rest of the afternoon. We stopped at a local restaurant and ate. I drank a couple of beers. Had a whiskey or two with our waitresses. One of whom was cute as a button. So I snapped a couple of pictures of her. We rested a bit. Then decided to head back to the hotel for a mid-afternoon nap. The 85-90 degree sun had drained us a bit and I was a bit sun burnt from being out all morning.

After resting for a couple of hours, we realized that we had missed Wat Saphan Hin. No way i was going to miss that. We decided to go back out and find the hilltop Wat and it’s massive Buddha statue. It was nearing 4 PM. The park closed at dusk. We figured sun down was a good three hours away. Plenty of time.

We headed out.

We stopped near the entrance to the park to view the foot print of Buddha that we had missed earlier. Then we headed out to find our Wat.

We biked out on the main road that should have taken us about half way to Wat Saphan Hin. When we came to the walls of the old city, I was comfortable enough that I knew where I was heading. We exited the old city. Turned down a road which ran parallel to the northern wall. About two hundreds meters up that road, we found our turn off. This road took us about half a mile into what looked to be a farm neighborhood. Lots of barns and cows and such. I had a map of the park with us. Even so, somewhere along the way, I must have confused a road or two as they weren’t marked with any kind of real signs that I could discern.

We pedaled for about 10 minutes up the country lane. It was time to ask direction. I saw a friendly looking Thai fellow. So I pulled out my map and asked for directions to Wat Saphan Hin. We were on fairly familiar ground as I remembered passing near to this location earlier in the day. We were near Wat Sri Chum and the huge seated Buddha.

After a series of failed attempts at Thai, unintelligible grunts on both of our parts and several directional gestures based on the map and our location, our Thai friend sent us off in the general direction of Wat Saphan Hin.

We pedaled back to the main road and turned right towards our destination. I thought that it would be a few hundred meters down the road. Oh no! It took another half hour to get to the road that would take us to our Temple. By the time we hit that road, the sun was fading off into the distance. The road to the Wat was closed and barred. But we bravely stayed on course. I wanted to see my Wat on the Hill. I’d be damned if a mere unmanned barrier was going to keep me from my destination.

It was another 10 minutes or so down that road when we finally reached the Temple.

Wat Saphan Hin.

We made it. Barely enough light to snap photos. But we were able to get some great sunset pics and then night photos of the Temple.

It was a beautiful site. It was also exhausting walking up the steep, rocky hill to the Wat. Especially after a long day of pedaling around and climbing on and exploring all of the ruins in the old city. Well worth the climb, though. We took our pictures. We rested a bit. And then realized that it was pretty damn dark and we were far outside of the city.

Time to go.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been out in a forest at dark. I had forgotten the bugs. The bats. All of the flying insects that would be on the road.

Becca and I started back. It was still a bit light out. So it wasn’t bad at first. As we got to the main road, it started to get dark pretty fast. Absolutely no street lights in the old city or in the area we are biking. Another thing that I didn’t take into account. Although, LonelyPlanet.com did warn me of this. Obviously, I forgot the warning.

I start cruising down the road as fast as I can pedal.

“What the hell was that!”

BAM!

BIP!

WHAP!

BAP!

WHACK!

SPLAT!

I start getting pelted by bugs. Large flying insects popping me in the forehead. Small bugs flying into my eyes and nose. Any time I open my mouth to yell back at Becca, I swallow a pound of nats, flys and mosquitos. I start laughing because I hear Becca scream once or twice. I think I was buzzed at least once by a bat. I saw something swoop down and nearly hit me on the head. At one point, I’m fairly certain a small bird landed in my hair and attempted to make a nest.

I start pedaling faster and doing that forward lean as if I were rolling against a strong headwind. All the while getting wind blasted by all manner, all sizes of insects and small birds. lol

We rocketed through this thick mass of nasty bugs for a good 30 minutes before it subsided as we came to the edge of the old city. I had dead bugs on my glasses. There were bugs in my hair. Bugs stained my shirt. Bugs crawling out of my nose and ears. I couldn’t help but laugh. So we rested there for a second as we picked small bugs and bird feathers out of our teeth and hair.

We stopped at the edge of the park for a bit. Then proceeded on to the restaurant at which we had eaten earlier. We sat and ate a bit. Drank a few beers and then returned to our hotel. I had every intention of getting out and experiencing the Sukhothai nightlife. But, apparently, the day was too much. Our adventure too great. I decided to take a quick nap and didn’t re-awaken until after midnight.

The next morning, we left Sukhothai and returned to Bangkok. We awakened early so we could see the ancient ruins at Si Satchanalai Historical Park prior to our flight. More on that later…

A view of Bangkok

Over the past few years, I’ve had several conversations with folks back in the States about Thailand. I’ve found that there is a common misconception that Thailand is a backward Third World country. People seem to have this idea in their head that Thailand and it’s capital city, Bangkok, is nothing more than a small backwater with a few hundred prostitutes, a couple of Buddhist Temples and not much more. I get this glazed look from folks when I tell them that Bangkok is a modern city that is larger than most US cities.

Reality. Thailand is a modern country. Bangkok is an ultra-modern city.

Bangkok or Krung Thep as it is called in Thai is the 22nd largest city on the planet. It is home to an estimated 15 to 20 Million Thais and foreign guests. It’s historical and cultural attractions make it one of the most popular destinations in all of Asia. It is the major Asian Business, travel and tourism hub.

That’s just the beginning. A trip to Bangkok is a visit to one of the most visually stimulating cities on the planet. It’s BTS Sky Train system makes the city easily accessible. The Chao Phraya river adds to both the beauty and accessibility of the city. One can travel the Chao Phraya river and see some of the most incredible and beautiful sites in all of Asia. Wat Arun, the Canals, the early morning floating marke, The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew as well as numerous other Wats (Temples), Cathedrals, Mosques. Magnificent Statues. Crocodile and Monkey farms. Most of the major hotel chains of the World find their home right along the Chao Phraya. The Hilton. The Sheraton. The Shangri La. Sofitel. In addition, there are innumerable wonderful B&Bs, Guesthouses and Boutique Hotels all along the river and throughout the city from Silom to Sukhumwit to Sathon and Petchaburi.

The city has a magnficent night life with numerous restarurants, bars, discotheques. There is something for every taste in Bangkok. Shopping at Siam, Silom, Pratunam. There are numerous cinemas which play both Thai and Hollywood films. There is a huge Chinatown. Little Arabia is along Thanon Sukhumwit at Soi 3.

Of course, there are Patpong, Nana and Soi Cowboy and the infamous sex districts. Patpong was a bit of a surprise for me. I ventured into the place without knowing where I was. Of course, I had heard of Patpong. I expected something completely different. I was with a Thai friend shopping along Silom Road. We walked along the road and through a maze of street vendors selling everything from beer and t-shirts to Thai Silk and tailored suits. We turned down into a larger maze of stalls and shops and, though I didn’t know it, we entered Patpong. We’re walking through the stalls and there are little blonde haired Aussie and British and Swedish children all about. I’m looking at a stall with t-shirts when I hear techno music. I turn towards the music and not more than 8 feet behind me is an open door through which one can plainly see half naked girls shaking her little Thai booties to the music. Surrounding the whole Nightmarket are Go Go Bars and all manner of Red Light shows. It was quite surreal to see all of these little Western Children and their Mothers shopping in the midst of what amounts to a sexual Disney land. I started laughing and my Thai friend looks at me and asks what it is that I find so funny. I just point to a huge Go Go sign and then to a blonde lady carrying her baby. She shrugs her shoulders as if to say; “And?” It was quite the contrast. And no one seemed to mind or pay it any attention.

Thailand is a land of contrast. None more striking than Bangkok. Pornography and prostitution is illegal in Thailand. Drugs are illegal in Thailand. Even so, there is a thriving sex industry in Bangkok that centers on these three areas–Na Na, Soi Cowboy and Patpong. You see old pot bellied men walking around these districts with sexy, slinky little Thai girls who are a 3rd their age. It’s quite a site.

Sex is not the only attraction to Bangkok.

For those who are more culturally minded, there are numerous cultural sites. Beautiful Temples and Palaces. Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace being the most famous. The famous backpacker district known as Khaosan Road. Full of global travelers. You will meet folks from every corner of the world. Folks of all ages. I’ve met women in the 60s amongst the Khaosarn trekkers. Africans, Israelis, Euros, Arabs, Brazilians, Argentinians, Aussies and Americans. Singles, friends in twos, threes and larger groups, couples, families. Any combination imaginable. If you find yourself at Khaosarn someday, make sure to stop by Gullivers. You can’t miss it. Over the entrance hangs a Tuk Tuk.

Tuk Tuks are the three wheeled open air taxis that are ubiquitous in Bangkok. Be careful to arrange your price before getting into one of these for a ride you won’t soon forget. It’s a must have experience when visiting Bangkok.

Bangkok is a phenomenal experience. If you aren’t careful, you’ll find yourself enchanted or even addicted to the city. I know I fell for it’s charms. I love Bangkok. Might even make it my home someday.

The pictures below are the view from my hotel room in the Landmark Hotel. Landmark Hotel is downtown on Thanon Sukhumwit. It’s a great hotel. Not too pricey. Central to Bangkok. Easy access to the BTS. Close to numerous popular clubs and bars.

The official name of Bangkok:

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit

It’s listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest city name in the world. The short name is Krung Thep which translates to “City of Angels.”

The Bar Girls 10 Commandments

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1. At the end of the week, specifically Friday and Saturday, many locally employed walking ATM machines will come to your bar, choose carefully! Some have money, but others do not! If he is wearing a suit and tie, check that the tie is not a Pratunam special and check that he isn’t wearing trainers. If he is, forget him because he is most likely an English teacher, and they will only give you peanuts, if they give you anything at all.

2. No matter how fat and ugly he is, no matter how bad he may smell, no matter how drunk he is, make sure you always tell him he is handsome. Sit close to him and run your hands over his body, arousing him. As soon as he has paid the bar fine, you can stand clear of him. Even if he knows that you despise him, he’ll still pay you. The hard part is getting him to pay the bar fine, and as soon as he has done that, the rest is easy.

3. Start collecting email addresses from all of your customers, once you have a good collection of addresses, a visit to your local Internet cafe is in order. Send everyone an email. Simply change the name on each email and send it off to all the guys. If you can remember something specific about them, mention that in the email too. These walking ATMs all have a soft heart, so you need to tell them a story to get them to send you some of their riches. Start with a sick buffalo and if he doesn’t reply, next tell him that your mother is ill. As a last resort, if he still doesn’t send any money, tell him you are pregnant and the baby is his! 4. Practice crying on cue. It is essential that you can produce tears immediately. This will have the effect of helping the walking ATM machine to see things your way! 5. When you get a customer for an extended period of time, make sure he takes you shopping, with Rarn Tong (gold shop) being the best place to visit. Make sure he buys you gold and if he doesn’t, see rule 4! As soon as he has left Thailand, take the gold back to the shop and sell it straight back to them, thus increasing your pay out. 6. When locally based farangs are inside the bars, do not speak in Thai with your friends in the bar but rather use Lao, Khmer or any other dialects that you may know. It’s bad enough that some of them can speak and even read Thai, but Lao and Khmer should be kept as sacrosanct. Under no circumstances should the farang be taught our regional dialects. 7. Always see him off at the airport. Thai currency cannot be used in his country, so it is highly likely that he will give you all of his leftover Baht as he leaves and says goodbye. While accompanying him to the airport, prevent him buying going-away gifts for his family and friends in his homeland, this will leave more money for you. 8. See Asian customers. They understand that we like to gamble, and they understand that we have lots of unemployed brothers and sisters who need to eat. Therefore, they pay a lot better than the farangs. 9. Remember, when you go with a farang, you must always ask for taxi money and give him the excuse that taxi drivers cannot give change on big notes. Don’t let him see the small change in your wallet. If taxi money isn’t forthcoming, see rule 4. 10. If you are no longer making money in Bangkok, move down to Phuket where you will be able to start making money again. Give Phuket a few years, then move on to Pattaya. Even if you are approaching 50, it is no problem as the walking ATM machines in Pattaya seem to be so blind, they will not notice.

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I found this on the net. It’s pretty funny. And before anyone gets offended. It’s a quasi joke. There is truth to it but it’s not all there is to Thailand and not all there is to the Bar girls. Like anything else, people are people. Trying to make a living. This is just one way that women make a living in Thailand. They come from the poor areas in the North. Usually Isaan. Some just want to make enough to get ahead. Some save to start a business. Some, I’m certain, are cheap little cheats who want to use suckers to support a lazy lifestyle.

Not all girls in Thailand are prostitutes. Not all are looking for a buck. Not all are looking for love either. Lots of women in Asia who are just like the girls in your hometown. I’ve met nice girls in Thailand from all levels of the socio-economic ladder. I’ve had great experiences there. Of course, I’ve been given the “I love you” line several times by little ‘tweeners looking to get a line on a dumb farang. Just don’t be a sucker and fall for it. I’ve met educated women who have great jobs who refuse to let you pay for anything. Working women (business) who just want a drink and a casual relationship. I’ve met girls who are looking for a nice farang to fall in love with because they are sick of Thai men. I’ve met girls who just want sex and a man to hold them for the night.

There are clubs in Thailand that are just like any club in the States or Europe. You can meet women who are just out with friends. Some out looking for the love of their life. Hell, I’ve even met “off duty” bar girls who are looking to hang with a normal guy. Be normal and she’s your girl. One thing you gotta watch out for are the lady boys. Some of them will fool you. They’ve got all the right surgeries to look the part. And they DO look the part. Half lit in the dark, you can’t always tell. lol

The club scene in Thailand is great. The music is much better than in the States. Well, it’s better than Kentucky. They’ve got world class DJs. Locals and Internationals spinning the tables and lots of gimmicks to get people into the clubs. Not that you need an excuse to go to a club in Thailand. All those beautiful Thai women should be reason enough.

You can meet and experience almost anything you want in Thailand. Bar Girls, Good Girls, ‘tweeners, Society gals, business women out on the prowl. It’s all in how you approach it. Don’t be a sucker. Don’t be a heartless ass either. Enjoy yourself, but realize that they are just as human as are you with all the emotions, challenges and complications AND good that goes along with being human. Keep your perspective. Be human. Live and let live. Love freely. Love well.

Bottom line: Don’t be a douche!

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This movie was taken by a patron of the Safari A GO GO. These clubs don’t allow people to video. Hence the quality of the vid and the angle. But it gives you an idea of the more sedate places in Patpong on Silom Road.

Bangkok Beauty

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One of the many reasons that I love Thailand. I was walking to Thanon Khaosarn in Bangkok when I snapped this picture. I couldn’t resist. lol She was probably on her way to do some shopping. Lots to do in the area around Khaosarn Road which is the backpacker hangout. Shops, hotels, bars, restaurants and tons of folks walking around, hanging out, drinking, people watching, shopping, getting tattooed, hair weaves, planning tours to Vietnam, Laos or any of a hundred other destinations in Asia.

I was with a friend so I couldn’t pursue.

The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.
Rudyard Kipling

Wat Pho — The Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Across the river from Wat Arun is Wat Pho (Wat Phra Chetuphon). Another of my favorite tourist stops in Bangkok. The Reclining Buddha. Golden. Majestic. At 15 Meters high and 46 Meters long, it is the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. The Temple is beautiful and peaceful even with the thousands of tourists who visit each week. The temple also houses over 1000 Buddha images on it’s grounds. The most of any temple in Thailand.

The Temple serves as the the official Thai Center for Traditional Medicine and Massage. You can get a massage here for around 200 baht. But be careful. Traditional Thai Massage is a fairly rugged experience. It’s not for the faint of heart and you may come out feeling a little sore. Even so, you’ll feel refreshed. I usually opt for the foot and leg massage at other outlets. Nothing better than a relaxing hour long massage of your feet and legs after 8 hours of tourist treks through the hundreds of incredible sites in Bangkok.

Not too far away is Wat Phra Kaew. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace. If you make it to Bangkok. Don’t miss these magnificent structures. They are incredible.

As you make your way to these three sites, you are likely to be approached by seemingly genuine folks who will attempt to steer you to other destinations. It’s a scam. Usually involving gems or a tailor shop. A nice fellow will approach you and give you advice on different sites to see in Bangkok. Then he’ll ask you where you are headed–even though it’s obvious that you are headed toward Wat Pho or the Emerald Buddha. They’ll tell you that these sites are closed for a holiday or for cleaning or some ceremony. Then they will steer you toward a “random” Tuk Tuk who will take you to another Temple. BUT along the way, you should stop at a Jewelry Store or a Gem Shop or Tailor Shop. It’s a scam. These places will attempt to overcharge you in the hundreds of dollars for Jewelry. The Tailor Shops will attempt to charge two to three times the amount of other Tailor shops. Don’t fall for it. There are hundreds of quality tailor shops around Bangkok that have reasonable prices and the more you purchase, the better the bargain. I was lucky. The first time I visited Bangkok, I met a Thai girl who took me to Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. One of the touts attempted to approach us, she yelled at him and warned me about the scam.

The last time that I visited Bangkok and Wat Pho, I ran across a tout hitting up three Japanese girls. So I stopped and watched for a minute or two. Let the guy run his scam and then stepped up and told the girls what the tout was doing to them. He had actually tried to take them on a trek around the city to make it to a Temple that was a few hundred feet away. I laughed and then pointed the girls in the proper direction. The tout got pretty angry and made as if he was going to get violent. I laughed at him and lunged back and he ran off. It was pretty funny and I felt pretty good after helping those three girls out. One of them was actually cute. lol

When I gave Becca the grand tour of Bangkok, one of the touts got us and pulled the Jedi Mind Trick on us. We almost fell for it. But came to our senses and walked on to the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha.

Chao Phraya

One of the things that I love about Bangkok is the River. The Chao Phraya is vibrant. Exciting. Full of Adventure and Life. And it reminds me of home. My hometown is a river city. So I kind of have an affinity for River Cities around the world. Phnom Penh and it’s 3 rivers. Frankfurt and the Main. Even Washington DC and the Potomac.

One of my favorite Wats or Temples in Bangkok is Wat Arun–the Temple of Dawn. It is one of the most beautiful Wats that I have had the fortune to experience in Asia. Viewing Wat Arun as the sun rises or descends beyond the horizon is an extraordinary vision that delights the eyes. I would recommend Wat Arun as a must see stop for anyone who makes the trip to Thailand.

The full name of the Temple is Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahavihara or วัดอรุณราชวรารามราชวรมหาวิหาร if you feel adventurous.

Wat Arun