Baan Hom Thian @ Suan Pheng

Ratchaburi is a province that provides a nice easy weekend drive from Bangkok. A major attraction in the area is Baan Home Thian (the ‘House of Scented Candles’) which is located near the kilometer 33 marker on highway No. 3087.

Baan Home Thian is a quaint photographic destination. The decorations are very retro with old items, toys, furniture and vehicles on display among the shops and gardens. The main merchandise for sale here is a large range of colorful scented candles, available in various designs and sizes. The owner makes this uniquely designed candle for local and international markets. The prices range from small (25 baht), medium (50 baht), large (120 baht) and X-large (160 baht). Don’t miss the opportunity to make your own candles at the candle making workshop.

Photobucket baan hom thian 2

Directions:  You can drive only 2 hours by using Highway 4 (Phetkasem Road), which will take you through Nakhon Pathom province on to Ratchaburi province. When you reach Ratchaburi’s Muang district, you’ll see a sign directing you to turn right for the local road (No 3087).

19th Discovery Thailand 2010

The 19th Discovery Thailand & Discovery World

Covering Queen Sirikit National Convention Center’s exhibition areas, the events will bring together over 750 leading local and international tour operators as well as fully-integrated tourism services, including hotels, resorts, airlines, domestic and outbound travel agents, national and overseas tourism promotion organizations, car rental companies, boat cruises, travel equipment providers, restaurants and many more. As such, this event is an excellent place to do some holiday planning and get good value for your money. It is expected that over 300,000 visitors will attend this event looking for travel packages and discounts over the weekend.

Dates: September 2-5, 2010

Time: 10 am – 9 pm

5 Free Thai iPhone Apps

1. BKK Transit

Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway systems are not very extensive compared to London’s Tube or the Paris Metro, but this handy app can make it easier to find out where you want to go. BKK Transit lists the attractions at each stop, such as local markets. Even more useful is its Chao Praya Express boat route info.

2. iTraffic

The most useful app for battling Bangkok’s daily gridlock, this graphic-based program lets you see what the traffice situation looks like using a simple coloring code: green means “go” and red means “stop”. iTraffic is only available in Thai, but it’s still handy for showing to taxi drivers.

Free

3. Major Movie

The helpful app makes it possible to get correct movie programs and showtimes for movies showing in any Major Cineplex movie theater. It has Thai/Eng languages and provides information about movies as well as where they are being shown. This app makes planning a night at the movies possible on the go.

Free

4. Bangkok Post News

Even the Bangkok Post, Thailand’s largest English newspaper, has a dedicated iPhone app. To keep up with current events in Bangkok and the region, this app is worth the download.

Free

5. Nation News

This new app from the Nation newspaper is packed with real-time news about Thailand. Keep up with the local news easily with this iphone app.

Free

Appreciating Being At Home

There are a lot of things you don’t fully appreciate until they are gone. For example, you don’t think about your health until it’s failing. You might take a friend for granted until they’re not in your life anymore. You might expect certain comforts in life, like dishwashers, but find them missing if you move to another country. Even being able to communicate with a person, something that you could easily do in your home country, becomes a challenge in another country.

Human beings are good at taking things for granted but occasionally one will have an insight or revelation that bring a bit of appreciation for the good things in life. It seems to be a very human tendency to appreciate “good” things a little more after they have experienced “bad” things. Similarly, one might not miss having an object or ability until one goes to use that object or ability and it is found missing or lacking. 

I firmly believe that a bit of struggle and grief will make me appreciate the times when things are good. In fact, even the times that are okay seem great in comparison to times of turmoil or sadness. It’s the contrast between the “salty” and “sweet” parts in life that makes living a more colorful experience. As with food, I wouldn’t want every meal to taste exactly the same, even if it was a declicious dish. I think that variety is the spice of life and it helps to keep things interesting.

Often when I travel, I get a glimpse into other cultures and ways of life that I wouldn’t be abe to see otherwise. The more interactions I have with people from other countries, the more open-minded I have become.  I haved learned to open my eyes to new possibilities and accept ways of doing things that might be different from my own. 

Being away from home, I often find a greater appreciate for the comforts that being home provide that I rarely consider while I’m at home. I miss the friends and family that I’ve left behind.  I miss eating familiar foods. I miss knowing where the stores are and where to find the things that I need. But, the thing I miss most is my bed and the ability to relax in my room.

Sure, I love traveling and I love all the experiences that I have when I’m away from home, but coming home after being away is an experience in itself. Although the feeling might wear off in a few weeks, I am perfectly happy being a homebody at the moment.

Running Into Other Thais in Europe

For the past month I have been running around various countries in Europe with some of my family. It turns out that we are not the only people from Thailand enjoying our summer holidays abroad because in every country we visited we ran into at least one Thai person doing the same thing. The months of March, April and May are prime time for Thais, especially those with children who are normally in school, to get out of Thailand and hopefully evade the intense summer heat.

In larger cities or popular tourist spots like Vienna and Venice, one would be wise not to make a wise crack about someone in Thai in case a fellow Thai might overhear your bad manners. Many times, we’d run into other Thai tourists and briefly chat about where they were from and where they were going to visit next. In Versailles, we waited in line for almost two hours in front of a Thai woman and her French boyfriend without knowing it until she asked us if we were Thai. In smaller towns around Europe, you’ll hardly find another Asian face other than the ones belonging to the group you’re travelling with.

Some of the people we met were living and working in Europe. It was most useful to run into this type of Thai person since we could ask them advice on where to go for good eats and the like. One Thai woman we met was on holiday with her American husband in France, although they are currently living in Germany. Another man we met was actually Chinese but owned a wonderful Thai and Chinese restaurant in Rouen, France where we satisfied our craving for rice and spicy dishes. How I envied these people their ability to speak the local language, whether it be German, French or Italian, because while normally you can get by with English, they were occasions where we had to “use our hand and feet” (German saying) to get our point across.

 

National Geographic’s World’s 25 Best New Adventures for 2007

This is a list created by National Geographic of the 25 best adventure trips in 2007. These destinations will be sure to broaden your horizons and give you a new perspective. Even though 2007 is almost over, it’s never too late to go out and explore your world.

The World’s 25 Best New Adventures for 2007
(listed alphabetically)
Africa
1. Rwanda: Tracking mountain gorillas 
        Outfitter:
Governors’ Camp

2. Tanzania: Sustainable island travel and game safari
        Outfitter: Seacology

3. Zambia: Safari in Kafue National Park
        Outfitter: Wilderness Safaris

Asia
4. China: Biking lush rural hinterlands
        Outfitter:
Bike Asia

5. Bhutan: Trekking remote valleys
        Outfitter:
Wilderness Travel

6. Russia: Kayaking Lake Baikal
        Outfitter: H2Outfitters

7. Thailand and Malaysia: Cruising tsunami-recovered islands
        Outfitter: National Geographic Expeditions

Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand
8. Antarctica: Discovering a penguin colony
        Outfitter: Zegrahm Expeditions

9. Australia: Exploring an undeveloped shore
        Outfitter: World Expeditions

10. New Zealand: Multisport backcountry odyssey
        Outfitter: Active New Zealand

Europe
11. Croatia and Montenegro: Rafting and hiking the Balkans
        Outfitter: Mountain Travel Sobek

12. Georgia: Hiking the Caucasus Mountains
        Outfitter: Explorers’ Corner

13. Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland: Biking Budapest to Krakow
        Outfitter: Backroads

Latin America
14. Argentina and Chile: Trekking in Patagonia
        Outfitter: Geographic Expeditions

15. Brazil: Sailing the coast in a colonial vessel
        Outfitter: GAP Adventures

16. Mexico: Tracking gray whales
        Outfitter: Earthwatch Institute

17. Peru: Multisport exploration of the Cordillera Azul    
        Outfitter: Sierra Club Outings

North America
18. Alaska: Cruising the Inside Passage
        Outfitter: Lindblad Expeditions

19. British Columbia: Paddling the Great Bear Rainforest coast       
        Outfitter: Pacific Northwest Expeditions

20. British Columbia: Cycling the Okanagan Valley
        Outfitter: Austin-Lehman Adventures

21. California to Maine: Weekend getaways
        Outfitter: REI Adventures
 
22. Northwest Territories: Paddling and hiking the tundra
        Outfitter: Black Feather

23. Washington: Climbing the Ptarmigan Traverse
        Outfitter: Mountain Madness

24. Wyoming: Climbing the Grand Teton
        Outfitter: Exum Mountain Guides

World-Wide Trips
25. Flying Around the Globe: Peru, Chile, Samoa, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, India, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania, and Morocco                    Outfitter: World Wildlife Fund