Just back from 3 weeks Vietnam

I am just back from a wonderful 3 weeks traveling in Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City. It was a great trip while visiting beautiful places, temples and beaches. I managed to make the previous 2 posting while on the road but in the following weeks you will be seeing postings with information and photos of this Vietnam trip. I hope you will enjoy it and maybe even be inspired to travel to  Vietnam. Now back to Lightroom to adjust the more as 500 photos I made. All postings about this trip are labelled Relaxed Vietnam.

Sunrise in Phan Thiet, Vietnam

Another beach, another sunrise as part of traveling in Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City. This photo was taken from the verandah of Allezboo Resort (review following next week) in Mui Ne in Phan Thiet. All postings about this trip are labelled Relaxed Vietnam

Sunset in Halong Bay, Vietnam

I love sunsets and Halong Bay in North Vietnam is the perfect setting for it, while staying overnight on a luxury ship. Although it was a bit difficult to make this photo without other ships on the photo. All postings about this trip are labelled Relaxed Vietnam.

Going abroad

A last posting before I am off to the Land of the Rising Dragon. Sorry I travel light so no laptop with me. So no postings while on the road. See you back later!

After rain comes .....

After rain come sunshine they say. But not this time. It has not been raining for weeks, what is a bit weird in the raining season. But yesterday afternoon we had a short rain, just enough to make it very humid but nog enough to make the farmers happy. Luckily last night we had a longer and better rain and the mountains of Doi Phu Kha were in the clouds. I love the sight of the changing cloud formations around the mountains. I will have to make a time-lapse of that some time.

Another balcony sunrise shot

Sorry to bother you again with a sunrise photo see from our balcony. This photo is shot with my new Sony RX100M3 and I love the much better lens!

Travel Tips : Choosing your hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam

Thailand is a great place for traveling but so is Laos or Vietnam. Gooooood morning Vietnam! So you are traveling to Hanoi, the former capital city of North Vietnam. I have been there a few times and I love the small streets, colonial style buildings and the lakes in Hanoi. I actually always stay in what is called the Old Quarter and then nearby Hoan Kiem Lake. I really love that area!

How to choose your hotel? Well there are hotels in all categories from cheap Hostels & Guesthouses and middle class HomeStay's & Hotel to luxury Boutique Hotels & Resorts. Two things are important for me, price and location. And I prefer to stay in newer hotels as here in Asia hotels tend to go down the drain when getting older. Most times I start with having a look at Agoda and Booking. That is easy as both have a map that show all hotels, so easy to look where the hotels are. As of course not all hotels are mentioned by Agoda of Booking I also have a look at Google Maps and search for…

Bicycling between sunrise and moonset in Pua

This morning I did wake-up at 5:15 and took the bicycle for a spin at 5:45. Just a short ride between small Tai Lue villages, along a small river and back via another village. Although it is supposed to be the not so hot raining season (green season) it has not been raining seriously since weeks and it is bloody hot from about 10:00am. So next time I will start riding my bicycle at 5:00am.

The 6 most famous Thai street food

One of those Things Typically Thai is Thai food. Thailand is famous for its delicious food and food is a big part of the way of life in Thailand and of Thai culture. You will find places to eat almost everywhere and if Thai are not eating they probably think about eating or buying food. So yes when on holiday you should at least try Thai food. But be a little bit careful. Some Thai food can be very spicy and some food has ingredients that might not be safe to eat if you are not used to it (like Pla ra).

A few other things about Thai food, many Thai dishes are promoted as typically Thai but in reality origin from India or China. And Thai food is promoted as delicious & healthy but the latter is not always true. In the Thai kitchen a lot of sugar and fish sauce (replacement for salt) is used. And the farmer growing the vegetables are very easy in the use of pesticides, also the one's that are worldwide forbidden to use. And be careful where to eat as not all street-side places …

My new Sony RX100 3 camera

Although I am not a real photographer, I have always liked making photos. And I like cameras as gadgets. So I have always had a camera since I was 10. The best camera is the one you have with you, so it has to be small for me. This new camera is replacing my Sony HX90V that I dropped from 4 meter high. In the race for replacement were the Canon G7X 2, Panasonic LX100 2 and Sony RX100 3 or 4. I finally bought the Sony RX100 3, just because the shop made me such a good offer. My personal reason for choosing this type of camera are Small Size, Wifi, View-finder, Good Quality Zeiss lens but not too much zoom. Of course there are few drawbacks ....
The Con'sNo GPSA bit short zoomIt is a camera from June 2014 The pro'sGreat lens WifiRAWStunning software  But the best ..... it is small ..... very small .... but yet it has great software & hardware features like tilting screen, view-finder, Wifi, etc. I will not bother to write a real review ... just do a google and I am sure you…

Young & Old Mien people in Nan

The young kids are awaiting a performance to be given at a local OTOP day near our village in Nan province. The older ladies just continue their work of making their traditional cloths. Yes of course the kids & ladies are a bit dressed up for the party but in the villages in the mountains you will still seem some people wearing their traditional costumes. Not for tourists because there are no tourists coming to those villages. For more information about the beautiful Nan province see Destination Travel Guide Nan, North Thailand.

Background information : Mien people are also called Yao people. The latter is the international name. More as 100 years ago they migrated from China to Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The all speak the same language, but in Vietnam they have a bit other traditional dress.

Night view from the Baiyoke Tower in Bangkok

The thousands of light of The Big Mango seen from the rotating floor at the 84th floor of the Baiyoke Tower in Bangkok overlooking the city by night. The Baiyoke Tower is home to an hotel, multiple restaurants and of course a rooftop bar. A great place for an evening out, although there are now higher buildings in Bangkok. For more information have a look at Baiyoke Tower

Songtheauws in Thailand

One of those Things Typically Thai are the Songtheauws, a mode of public transport. I am sure that anyone who has been in Thailand on holiday has used at least once a Songtheauw. In places like Chiang Mai and Pattaya they are very (in)famous. Most times it is a pickup car with in the back two (song) bench (theauw) seats for passengers and a roof to cover the passengers against sun & rain. But the number of passengers is not limited to the people sitting on the 2 benches. Sometimes there is a third bench in the middle and/or people are standing inside and/or outside. The Songtheauws have different colours in different cities, also as remark to what route they are riding. And in bigger cities also a number to designate the route they are driving. Basically they are riding a fixed route and stop along the route where ever people flag them down. For this kind of transport is a fixed price ranging from 10 to 30 Thai baht, depending on the length of the trip. But some Songtheauws can a…

Gold Shops in Thailand

One of those Things Typically Thai are gold shops. OK it is not typically for only Thailand because you will see Chinese run gold shops all over South-East Asia. But when you have been on holiday in Thailand I am sure you will have noticed the always red coloured gold shops. They are everywhere, even in small towns. And in shopping malls. Yaowarat road in Bangkok is famous for its gold shops. In Thailand gold shops are not really jewellery shops but more a kind of bank as you can not only buy gold but also sell gold. So gold becomes a kind of investment and a way of showing how wealthy you are. On the windows of gold shops you see the daily price of buying & selling gold. Mind you that is the price of just gold, not the price of gold jewellery. For the work that is done is added a certain % of the weight price. Gold is sold in weight. And there is an Thai weight system used as 1 baht of gold = 15.2 gram. An half bath of gold is also called 50 satang. In gold shops they jewellery …

A huge tree in Tha Wang Pha

By now you should know ..... I love trees. I was riding my motorbike in Tha Wang Pha and coming around a corner and suddenly saw this huge beautiful tree in the morning sunlight. A big WOW! It is always a bit difficult to make a good photo of a huge tree, to make you feel the impression the tree made on me. For more information about the beautiful Nan province see Destination Travel Guide Nan, Thailand.

A lovely rainy day in Pua

Yesterday was a lovely cool day with a hour of rain and this photo is the last photo my Sony HX90V camera made as I dropped it out of the window 4 meters lower into the garden. And the camera landed on its lens. After the rain we had a beautiful misty sunset with some bright beams coming from the sky reaching out to all people in Pua and Thung Chang. Safe travels Mike, see you somewhere over the rainbow.

The changing rules of living in Thailand

Today 7 July it is more or less exactly that I am living for 20 years Thailand. I lived a few years in Bangkok, moved to Pattaya, Khon Kaen and finally Nan. And I love it! Especially our new house in the middle of the rice fields and overlooking the mountains. But of course everything has its pros & cons. Also living in Thailand. Although living here now 20 years I still need a yearly visa to stay here. And slowly there are more regulations being enforced for foreigners living here. And slowly I start to dislike that sometimes. Also life begins to be more expensive with the current exchange rate. So I am even considering to think about other options, about a exit strategy. And with the current exchange rate it is a perfect time to recoup investments made in the past.

First they came for the blacks & illegals,
and I did not care for I am not black or illegal.
Then they came for the criminals & overstayers,
and I did not care for I am not a criminal or overstayer.
Then they…

Train stations in Thailand, next station Khlong Pai

I love traveling by train, especially in Thailand where it is like traveling in time. It is like an open-air museum. Not only the trains itself but also the train stations. They look like they have not changed since they build the first railroad lines in Thailand in 1889. This little train station Khlong Pai (near Sikhio in Nakhon Ratchasima province) looks on the outside unchanged, but unfortunately the inside has been changed. This photos have been made in 2015 or 2016 and I am not sure if this little train station is still unchanged as there is a lot of modernisation going on at railways in Thailand. So if you like old train stations hurry up and see them all in Thailand!

Travel Tips : Traveling to Vietnam

Thailand is a wonderful and beautiful country to travel but neighbouring Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam are each for their own culture and way of life also great countries to travel. Traveling from Thailand to Vietnam can be done in 2 ways :
Over land, a long way from Thailand to Cambodia and then to Vietnam. Or another route would be from Thailand to Laos and then to Vietnam.By air, much faster, easier and not so expensive. Be aware that you probably need a visa for Vietnam! There are direct flights from Chiang Mai (CNX) to Hanoi, Bangkok to Hanoi (HAN) or Ho Chi Min City (SGN), Phuket (HKT) to Ho Chi Min City (SGN). When flying from Bangkok be aware that there are flights to Vietnam from both Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) as from Don Muang Airport (DMK). Following airlines are offering direct flights : VietJet AirThai Air Asia (from Don Muang Airport to Hanoi Airport & Ho Chi Min Airport. And from Chiang Mai Airport to Hanoi Airport)JetStar Pacific AirlineVietnam Airl…

Travel Tips : Getting a visa for Vietnam

June 2019 : For traveling to Vietnam most people need a visa, although some countries are exempted from a visa. Like people from most asian countries, Thailand included, will get a 30 days visa free entry to Vietnam. There are a few ways to get a visa for Vietnam :
Go to an embassy of Vietnam and apply for an visa, but that might be a bit time consuming. For the embassy in Bangkok see : Vietnam Embassy in Thailand (warning : there are many websites that pretend to be an embassy website)Get an Visa On Arrival on-line. But be aware that you are actually not getting a visa but you are getting a Letter of Approval to get an Visa On Arrival (VOA). So on-line you apply & pay for the Letter of Approval. Then at the border you will get & pay for a Visa on Arrival. Be aware that the websites offering the Visa On Arrival for Vietnam are private business (travel companies) and that not all are real or offering correct & good service.Be aware that the Visa On Arrival are only valid for…

And one of the winners is ...... Traveling 2 Thailand

You might remember that I did write about this travel blog entered as Little Elephant the TAT Newsroom Secondary Blogger Competition 2019 with a posting about Traveling to Nan province where life is still slow and tranquil. Well the voting has been done and this travel blog belongs to one of the 6 winners! Congratulations to all winners!

Another 2 rice field shots in Pua

Sorry but I am afraid in the next few weeks I will bore you to death with rice fields photos. With or without a sunset or sunrise but all made in the area where we are living in Pua, North Thailand. I hope you like them as much as I do. Following is 1 more photo.

Afternoon at Huai Nam Mushroom Farm in Pua

A lovely relaxed afternoon eating pizza with mushrooms of course at Baan Hua Nam Mushroom Farm on the outskirts of Pua in Nan province (North Thailand). One of our favourite places to sit, eat & drink in the late afternoon. But be aware that the kitchen closes at will close at 18:00 (thank you teacher Mark). For more information see Baan Hua Nam Mushroom Farm.

Visiting Wat Rong Ngae in Pua

Wat Rong Ngae is an small village temple in a small village along route 1256 in Pua, Nan province (North Thailand). Not really surprising you would think as there are many small village temples in Thailand. But the Wat Rong Ngae is different, it is an almost brand new but old Tai Lue temple originally said to be "build" around 1762. In 1927 the temple was royally granted land. The temple has been totally renovated (=build new) but in original & traditional style with an low wooden wooden roof. And if you are inside have a look up to the lights. No ugly TL here but beautiful and colourful lights are hanging on the ceiling. In 2018 a new building (the Viharn) has been build next to the main building (the Bot or Ubosot). Again this Viharn is also build in traditional style with wood and mural paintings on the walls inside. Following are more photos of the Viharn.

The temple itself is behind a small street along route 1256 in the village Ban Rong Ngae, not far from the Wat P…

Planting rice in Pua

All around us the local farmers are working in the rice paddies and I am very happy I am not a farmer. First they plant rice on dry soil and they grow that for about 1 month. Then they pull the small rice plants out the soil and make small bundles of it. In the meanwhile another rice paddy has been prepared and flooded with water. They then trow the bundles of rice plants into the water in a way that they are spread all over the rice paddy. Then they walk into the rice paddy and start planting the rice again in the new rice paddy. Wow so much work for such a low price of rice per kg! And I just realised that 99% of the people who do the planting are women.

Visiting the Wat Si Mongkol in Nan

Yesterday we did visit the Wat Si Mongkol (or Wat Khong) along route 1170 between Tha Wang Pha and Sila Phet in Nan province (North Thailand). Although I have been already many times at this temple we did visit it again with friends from the Netherlands. This temple has become a bit of a commercial tourist destination for Thai tourists because of the great view over the rice fields and mountains. But more there is also a small museum at the temple grounds and the temple has some nice new murals inside. Following are a few more photos.