Author Archives: gailgrant49

April 14&15-Bangkok to Phuket

Nothing new the morning we left but the air pollution in Bangkok is just horrendous. It is not surprising as even though their highways are extensive with so many driving cars, it takes forever to get anywhere because you have to take upturn bridges that are very far apart…. just to get to the other side. I checked the numbers on Google. Bangkok had “156” to Vancouver’s “4” air pollution ratings.

We arrived in Phuket, a short 1 hour 20 minute flight away. This flight we had to pay for luggage…. 1200 baht…. close to $50 which is probably about the same price as the flight….. just guessing cuz flight was included. Our hotel Cassia Phuket by Banyantree is in the Laguna area..shuttle or boat to beach for free. Taxi to town…50 baht

35 C plus humidity. The sea temp is about 25 C with no jellyfish and no sharks.

Tin used to be main source of income ….now it’s tourism, fishing (lobster and tiger prawn), then rubber

Phi Phi is island of 500 sq kms. We will be going there on 16th. Our other tour to James Bond Island was cancelled because there weren’t the minimum of 6. This tour company never told us that they had to have the min. of 6 to go. This is the 3rd tour cancelled by them. Lovely hotels but ….. It’s very annoying.

1M population in Phuket.

Our hotel is Cassia Phuket by BanyanTree. Lovely grounds, infinity pools, situated on one of the lagoons with shuttle boat to the beach Our room is a suite which is quite “cute”. By that I mean very small. The only thing is “THE” main colour is bright yellow and the paintings on the walls and in the elevator remind me of a “Carnival Cruiseline” ship…..kinda tacky!!!

Today the temp was supposed to feel like 43C but it really was quite pleasant down at the beach…. beautiful or “perfect” as one of the many Russians said.

April 13…Floating market in Bangkok

I wasn’t able to upload anymore pictures from the floating market. I will try in this post.

Apr 13…Songran-Thai New Years in Bangkok

Lots of flowered shirts. Sinus’ are really bugging me. I’m not sure if it’s pollution or the massage oils from yesterday.

Taxi got lost or we are not sure if that was the plan….260 Baht… about 10 CAD. It took us at least 3/4 hours to get here. Cost of the tour of train and floating market is 1000 Baht or about $40 CAD….. none of it very expensive.

First we race to try to catch the train but the traffic is horrendous with everyone travelling to “go home” for the holiday……made it by taking back streets…”Kiwi” our guide was so stressed that we wouldn’t make it but we did….yeah!!!

From there we went to the floating market. I cannot believe how hot it is.

Interesting that you can buy wine ….only after 5 pm…its the law.

April 12- Pattaya to Bangkok

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that there are no nails used in the construction of the Sanctuary of Truth. Everything is held together by interlocking dovetailing.

Sleep like pig means the same as sleep like a log. Monkeys paid with peanuts for picking coconuts. The name of our hotel for last two nights is called Cholchan. “Chol”…means sea, “chan” means moon.

Red licence plate is used for 1 month on new vehicles. Green is one hotels. Garlands for cars being sold at stoplights on streets. Some were marigold is for luck… is mostly Hindu. Jasmine is sign of martyr.

Silk factory and gem stone factory is first stop today.

Mountain side huge Buddha has been lasered into it. It is called Khao Chi Chan. Mountain is 130 meters and the “Buddha” is 109 meters high. 50th anniversary of old king’s ascent to throne in 1996. Inlayed with gold leaf. Mountains are used before for the granite that is used to make cement.

Plumeria flowers if fallen to ground can be eaten but the flowers on the tree are poisonous. Must be careful to not get the sap on your skin.

Thailand food and Buddha is from India. This area (near Khao Chi Chan) has bike lanes but it was not successful in Bangkok because the food vendors kept using the space.

In the rubber plantation there are lots of mosquitoes as well there are cobras so have to wear boots. … work at 2am cuz too hot to work during the day. Yellow flowers on trees…. is called a scrambled egg tree…… Tecoma …magnolia. There are also laburnum trees. Dole pineapple factory here.

BKK, Bangkok’s newest airport (there are 2) had 65 M passengers pass through here before COVID.

Bangkok is Thailand’s 4th capital…since 1787.

Condos can be bought by foreigners but not homes…. only Thai people. Pollution is 2.5 rating. I thought that it was humidity that caused the grey skies.

After arriving at this gorgeous hotel we each had 2 hour massages for 1300 Baht just over $50.

Apr 11-Pattaya

Sanctuary of Truth started in 1981 and is still continuing. They are using teak & other woods from Thailand. It is not a temple but is private but is like a temple. It was started by one man but is now owned by Mercedes Benz foundation. Everyone has to wear a helmet cuz they are still working on it so to protect your head. Also on has to cover your legs and shoulders. It was an OMG moment upon seeing it …. Unbelievable!!! So intricate…. Details!!

Drove by beach in Pattaya and walking street… so many people. As during COVID in Canada and elsewhere, there was no one on the beaches. At that time but now it is coming back.

We have Thai New Year coming on 13-15th… Songran where everyone gets soaked. You have to make sure that cell phones are protected from getting wet. YOU WILL GET WET!.

April 10- Bangkok and Pattaya (sound Patt’ i a)

We are spend a half day in Bangkok. June to October is the rainy season. Sawaddee Ca… good morning, afternoon or evening. Expensive is Pentpent, Hongnam for Toilet. Next week is the hottest time. It is Songran ….water festival… Thai new year.

Fish (tilapia) and shrimp farms… on land surrounded by mango trees. They also have netting under and over these farms to protect them from the lizards that will eat them.

First we went to the Golden BuddhaTemple. It has the biggest Buddha in the world at 5.5 ton of solid gold. It was found by quite by accident. They thought it was just cement. They wanted to move it but when they tried, it was dropped from the crane, revealing that it was sold gold. They had encased it to hide it from the Burmese peoples that were always attacking. It was built in 13th century. Shoes & hats have to be taken off. . To take picture of monk you must ask permission. No selfie-stick are allowed inside. Rabbit is the sign of king on statues

The highways and main road…. So different than in Bali, are as many as 8 lanes wide, not so many motorcycles and people drive within the lines.

10M population in Bangkok (huge!!!) in with 74 M in country with most being Buddhist. Good transportation in city… incl. sky train. Office workers have a 8-5 workday. No time to cook so they all buy street food. 30 Baht about .88 USD. 1.20 CAD exchange rate. Lumpini Park ….with a lake, is used for exercise like tai chi. Hot bus has no AC, cool bus is with AC and costs about $1.

Chinatown Market biggest …4 generations most speak Thai but recently the younger generation are learning to speak Chinese. Coconut pancakes, soy icecream…. Yum, double yum. There are so many different products for sale plus a live market. How would you choose??? Tasted rose apples and guava. There are 136 goldsmiths in Pattaya. Cannabis drink like red bull and THC coffee …. all legal here.

Tamarind fruit tree on Thailand’s Champs d’Ellysse

Then we visited the Marble Temple… marble from Italy and stained glass from France, built in1889. In 1910, the king at the time when he died, his ashes were buried there. The present king has palaces in Germany besides here. His daughter apparently, is a wonderful person. She had a heart attack 4 months ago at 44 years old and is still in ICU in a coma. The previous king also was wonderful man that the Thai people absolutely worshipped. There are 31,000 temples in the country.

No petroleum produced so have to import (33 baht/l for gas), natural gas is brought in from Myanmar. Papaya, pineapple, tapioca (where you get MSG….I thought MSG was a chemical) is grown in the area. Tapioca takes 8-10 month to reach maturity and reaches a height of 5.5-6 feet. Beauty contest for Miss Water Buffalo called Kuai. 3000 elephants in wild 2000 in protected area for a total of 5000.

Chan Buri is the province where Pattaya is. Some of the things to see and do in Pattaya are Sanctuary of Truth, elephant sanctuary, tiger, Alcazar cabaret show. It is a place that Thais go for vacation.

After arriving at this beautiful hotel Cholchan in Pattaya. Our room on the 21st floor is facing the Bay of Thailand. After settled in we went to the pool for a bit. Oh my, it is so unbelievably hot.

In the evening we caught a taxi…. actually a pickup truck with benches along the sides called ”sont teaw” to go downtown. Only problem with the hotel is that it is so far from the downtown area of Pattaya.

Lots of transgender ….there is a hospital just for those surgeries in Bangkok. They say……Pattaya… “good man go to heaven and bad man go to Pattaya”.

After dinner we took in the Alcazar Cabaret Show made up of transgenders. Unbelievable! They look way better than most women.

April 9-Bali to Bangkok

Observations …. Bali is a mishmash of mostly housing with family temples. …..some rice fields thrown in… no order, every square inch occupied except in area around Candidasa. Someone explained that the traffic was so extremely busy because there is only the main roads and the ones that fan out from them do not connect up with any others. They are all dead ends… shortcuts. But……the roads are in surprisingly good condition (no pot holes like we have but then they don’t have the freezing and thawing). There are no “big highways” elevated or otherwise, almost all are only 2 lanes wide. The other thing I noticed was that the electrical wires are not like huge piles of spaghetti like they are in a lot of other countries I’ve been. The people are absolutely lovely. I would come back if I came to a beach location & there was a time of the year when the humidity/heat was less…..OMG!

We arrived in Bangkok with no issues at the airports in either Bali or Bangkok….yeah. That is half the battle.

I noticed flying in, that Bangkok on the other hand, is all laid out in grids (unlike Bali). The agricultural areas like the residential are all rectangular, probably 10 times longer than wide….in strips.

Our guide from UTO met us at the airport….another yeah……and took us to our hotel, the Bangkok Palace. The lobby is quite lovely and the rooms are okay but the strangely, the entrance is under the elevated highway.

“Sawaddee Ca”is good morning, afternoon or evening in Thai language. Geesh, I have a tough time remembering how to say anything in written another language. This one going to be another. And ….well the written language is just impossible… foreign to us.

Tomorrow we see some different things here and then head to Pattaya.

April 8/23….Candidasa

This is more my style. It has natural beauty of the mountains and hills with the largest volcano on Bali close by as well as the ocean.

I went snorkelling in the morning along with Hannah and Martin. I think we had the best excursion where most people went to see more temples….with more walking/hiking up hills (in their overbearing heat/humidity). They also had to pay more once they got to each temple. My excursion for 2 hours of being in the water plus the half hour noat ride in either direction for 250,000 IDR…about $25 CAD. Surprisingly, where Wayan took us was close to the freighter terminal. It had the best coral I have ever seen with lots and lots of fish including “Nemo”. I have a ton of pictures that I took just with my phone so are not as good quality as say National Geographic. I have to go through them yet.

Then I got another massage trying to get this problem/pain under control and then hung out at the pool. We all got together to say goodbye to Kristel and Kristen as they were catching a flight that evening to Singapore. Later was a goodbye dinner with Gede and the rest of the group and got to watch a Balinese dancer followed by a band. Gede was ending this tour with us 18 people while another group he was guiding to Lombok that was only 6….all women. He is a great guide! We leave in the morning for our flight back to Bangkok and the start of a tour of southern Thailand.