Thailand is such a terrific destination. Whether you’re right here to work, to discover or to relax, this is one of those unusual locations with the capability for all of it. Christina as well as I have been lucky sufficient this trip to do all three.
Here’s what we got as much as in the past week; a convention of market leaders, an crucial AGM as well as awards evening in Bangkok, as well as a trip as much as gorgeous Chiang Mai kept us extremely busy. however in the very best possible way.
We hope you take pleasure in our most current regular Edition.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx
After three days of intense discovering from famous travel writers as well as inspiring pr leaders, the very first ASTW convention has left Christina as well as me prepared to let our hair down… well, perhaps not mine.
The ASTW (Australian society of travel Writers) is the country’s a lot of respected as well as distinguished travel media body. as well as with so lots of skilled experts being brought together at this convention, Christina as well as I are a bit awestruck to have been accepted as members of this incredible organisation.
More than that, on the second day of the seminar we provided a 45-minute presentation to the whole congregation on social network strategies. We were so well got as well as welcomed, we truly made to feel part of the society.
Tonight though, we’re enjoying a tasty meal as well as drinks at the annual ASTW awards evening. We get to see the most skilled writers, professional photographers as well as PRs get accolades for excellence in their field. It’s inspiring.
Congratulations to all the finalists as well as winners of the ASTW awards. You can see the results here.
The convention has been held right here at the Anantara Riverside resort in Bangkok… well, not here. This is our room. It’s big, however not huge sufficient to hold the 120+ delegates.
The bed is massive as well as genuinely comfortable, as well as the view out over the Chao Phraya River from our bit balcony is engrossing.
The grounds of the Anantara River resort are enormous. They even integrate a few of the mighty river into the hotel’s landscape. just where Christina is standing is where you can feed the citizen catfish that you can see swimming just under the murky surface.
There are so lots of fish in this part of the river – I believe they’ve learnt the noise of the dinner bell. I likewise identified a big screen lizard swimming together with the bank, so I thing there may be other things living in this stretch of the Chao Phraya.
The only drawback to the river’s proximity is at low tide things get a bit ripe as you cross the bridge to the restaurant as well as bars. however that’s Bangkok for you.
The Anantara Riverside resort is a quite place, full of detail as well as tropical elegance. peaceful bit nooks to take pleasure in the damp warmth of Thailand, gorgeous hanging orchids lining pathways as well as the romance of being somewhere so tranquil in a city so full of chaos.
The finest thing about being so close to the primary river running with Bangkok is this: a river cruise dinner in an old rice barge with Manohra Cruises. besides a flow of food as seemingly unending as the River of Kings itself, this cruise highlights a few of the very best parts of Bangkok.
We pass under famous bridges as well as together with grand temples that elucidate this city’s value as well as magnificence. finest of all, lots of of the sights are either only visible or finest checked out from the water.
The only problem is tearing my focus from my plate to take pleasure in the marvels of Bangkok as they glide by.
It’s our last day in Bangkok, so we’ve handled to slip over to the neighbouring hotel – the gorgeous Avani Riverside – to take a crafty dip in their spectacular infinity pool. This is likewise where their rooftop bar is as well as where we’ve ended up being locals for the duration of our go to whenever there’s been an opportunity.
Wisely, however, this pool closes early just in situation the celebration must ever spill over so to speak.
After being inside for the convention for the very best part of three days, we’re ecstatic to be enabled out! We’ve flown as much as the northern city of Chiang Mai to check out the lots of temples, markets, mountains as well as food here. It’s our very first time to this part of Thailand, which makes this trip even much better for us.
This is a gigantic guarding the gates to one of the city temples. You see them anywhere in Thailand – both temples as well as giants.
The golden temple at Doi Suthep (Mount Suthep) is one of the most sacred areas for Thai people. elevated high about the city of Chiang Mai, the views from this temple are incredible… on a remove day. For us, it’s a bit as well hazy to see much below, however the temple itself is plenty.
It’s great luck to walk three times round temples such as this in aclockwise direction. a lot of Buddhist stupas have a path leading you round. walking round this gorgeous extravagant monument becomes rather meditative as well as you begin to notice so lots of bit details that before you’d missed.
Chiang Mai, like a great deal of Thailand, is house to lots of temples, however the ones right here seem so much calmer as well as zen than the chaotic rush you discover around Bangkok. It might have something to make with the sheer number of visitors to the capital, or it might be that things are just that much a lot more tranquil up right here in the north.
Even the regional cats are welcome here.
Outside lots of temples in Thailand – particularly the huge or crucial ones – you’ll discover bit stalls such as this selling amulets. They’re stated to secure you from evil spirits as well as poor energy, however the security can come at a price. The amulet this pleasant chappy’s holding up (how good’s that smile?) is priced at TBH50,000 – about A$2,000 or GBP1,200.
There are more affordable ones though.
You may not understand this, however the north of Thailand links directly to the Himalayan mountain Range. The peaks to the west of Chiang Mai – understood as Doi Inthanon national Park – are the foothills of this a lot of popular set of mountains. however even at well over 2500 metres above sea level, we’re still a far cry from beating Everest here!
Within the Doi Inthanon national Park is one more temple – or in truth two – devoted to King Bhumibol as well as Queen Sirikit of Thailand. The Pra Ma Ha Tat Noppamethanedon as well as Pra Ma Ha Tat Nopphonphusiri sit at the top of a broad set of steps as well as between them a monument to Buddha.
We’re so high up, these extraordinary buildings as well as the views down the mountain are shrouded in cloud fog today. In clearer weather, vistas across the national park to Chiang Mai are amazing… though I rather like the mysterious impact the clouds have.
Don’t be shocked to discover monks wondering around the temple grounds here. This is an crucial Buddhist temple as well as the gardens – even in heavy fog as well as temps of 15dC – are beautiful. It’s the legislation that a person out of ever three monks need to not wear emergency ponchos. even when it’s raining.
I made that stat up.
Heading east out of the Doi Inthanon national Park is the Wachirathan Waterfall. This hiccup in the excellently named Klang River is a prominent vacationer area as you can imagine. The water cascades far downstream as well as triggers this gorgeous mist in the air.
On warm days it need to be rather refreshing to stand here.
Back in town, however outside the walls as well as moat of the old city is the Wat Suen guy – or the Silver Temple. Chiang Mai is popular for its silver, so it stands to reason there is a temple made from it.
However, it turns out the only part of this temple that is sliver is the extremely top spire, which dates back to the 1400s. The rest is aluminium sheet as well as is part of the continuous restoration of this temple, which started just 14 years ago.
It’s still an excellent sight as well as the only one of its kind.
This temple is likewise a bit questionable as no women are enabled inside. Leaving the women outside, I go in to discover even a lot more sophisticated metalwork, designs as well as rather intimidating gothic murals of scary monsters, skulls as well as hellish scenes. It’s a appropriate mancave.
And that’s what occurs when blokes are delegated embellish by themselves. instead of tasteful depictions of custom as well as history, you get marvel superheroes.
Around the corner from the pagoda is a silverworks where monks carve pictures into silver panels to embellish walls as well as smaller ornaments. They can spend as much as 8 months crafting these tablets all by hand. You can get these artworks from them right here too.
There are a lot more temples within the walls of the old city of Chiang Mai. This is Wat Chian Man, which has stood right here considering that 1296. This is Chiang Mai’s oldest existing temple as well as is absolutely worth a visit.
Everyone has a limit on the number of temples they can go to in a day, however this truly should have its location in your quota.
Known to be the most reliable temple in Chiang Mai, Wat Pra That Doi Suthep is one of those special locations to go to in Thailand. The immense staircase as much as the temple, flanked by dragons, is a difficulty in itself – though for a bit extra, you can pay to take the cord vehicle up.
Apart from its gorgeous golden pagoda that we talked about earlier, the grounds around the temple are full of interesting details. This is the greatest gong in Thailand as well as even bumping it with your fist makes the air around you reverberate with an extraordinary resonance.
We try to picture what the noise would be like if you had a appropriate donger thing to hit it with.
Talking of dongers… I’ve found this gigantic bell huge sufficientto stand up inside. There are bells such as this one (but not as big) all around the temple grounds. You can sound them (though you mustn’t push them into one another) for great ton of money as well as energy.
Today, we’ve gone into the highlands around Chiang Mai to go to hilltribe village of the Karen people. originally from Burma (Myanmar), these tribes have ended up being popular for the gold pendants used by the women. These pendants – added over time – stretch the neck to unnatural lengths. It’s seen as a barbarous tradition, so we’re happy to discover out that this specific Karen village is a ‘non-longneck’ tribe.
Instead these Karen weave material by hand which visitors can buy. The work is extraordinary as well as the women working right here make it look simple, however it’s not. At this village you can likewise try regional coffee as well as see exactly how these fairly primitive people live.
To be honest, I didn’t take pleasure in this part of the trip. Christina as well as I felt rather uneasy pertaining to look at these people. Buses of tourists come to this village daily to ogle them. as well as even though they have produced a tourism market for themselves, I’m not sure if the Karen are benefiting with this type of attention.
However, from this dark side of tourism, we do get to see into the eyes of an extraordinary culture. As we sit around the open terminate heating the coffee pot with a few of the villagers, Christina areas this gorgeous lady. She is the village’s oldest citizen at the age of 96.
Initially she sits asleep. She looks ancient as well as tired. however presently, when she wakes, she smiles to expose her younger self as well as a mind that’s clearly seen so much life.
As we are with a media trip with the Thailand tourism board, we’re enabled to go to the village proper. There is a institution right here where all the kids of the village – as well as surrounding neighborhoods – come to discover to checked out as well as write. a few of them getaway the classroom though, as well as show us exactly how well they can jump as well as hide!
We check out the village a bit as we make our method down the hill. underneath the stilt houses, piglets snooze as well as a cockerel struts. It’s a pastoral life here, however there’s appeal in its simplicity.
Around the corner we discover an old lady, teeth discolored black from chewing betel nut, as well as weaving a low fence from bamboo strips.
She’s extremely timid as well as only speaks the Karen language, not Thai.
Back on the road, we stop at a handicrafts workshop run by regional Karen people. We discover exactly how to make bit bamboo baskets, which turns out to be superbly complicated. all of us end up needing assist weaving our baskets as well as the woman in fee does a fantastic task making us feel like we’ve accomplished our task.
We likewise make tea pillows. These silk-clad cushions, full of crushed tealeaves, go into your wardrobe as well as take away that musty smell.
You can get these pillows as well as baskets from the workshop, though getting them back with customs – if you online somewhere with strict borders like Australia – may be a challenge.
Back in town, we check out the Chiang Mai night markets that run every Sunday. These markets – understood as ‘Walking Street’, which all of us agree seems much better than ‘pedestrianised area’, are awesome. There’s whatever right here from tasty hawker food to handicrafts. You can get clothes, jewellery, watches as well as any type of way of souvenirs.
The markets are big as well as run 4 blocks along the Chang Klan Road.
There are so lots of incredible locations to eat around Chiang Mai. besides the standard Thai style restaurants – any type of of which we’d be delighted to take pleasure in – there is a motion right here towards a lot more environmental dining.
The dishes that come from the kitchens at Meena Rice Based Cuisine are absolutely Thai, however keeping that subtle difference that makes a meal rather contemporary. This location utilized to be a rice farm, as well as the food that pertains to the table is organic as well as locally produced.
This meal of crispy trout goujons with a sharp, spicy sauce in the salad is my much-loved from lunch.
The restaurant itself is surrounded by water as well as has tranquil feel to it. all of us agree it reminds us extremely much of Spirit home restaurant in the Gold coastline hinterland in Australia.
One of Meena’s signature dishes is their rice triangle. The multicoloured layers are each made of natural ingredients. the blue gets its colour from the butterfly pea flower, which is utilized a great deal in Thai cooking.
There are some incredible looking desserts on offer right here at Meena. This mangosteen sorbet with fresh dragonfruit is a fantastic example of that.
Tonight, we’re being treated to dinner as well as a show! Khum Khantoke is a standard Thai style dinner served while a contempor