Travel Tips : Private tours in Thailand and Indochina

Thailand but also Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar are great countries for traveling. And more and more people choose for organised but private tours. Sometimes just with 2 people or with a family group or with a small group of friends. To travel in comfort off the beaten track but without wasting time in finding the best places to go and the best hotels to stay. And you see that more and more companies are changing from high volume group tours to low volume private tours (FIT). Of course there are a few companies in Thailand offering this kind of tours. Yaya Asia Travel in Bangkok is one of that companies, with inside information and more as 17 years travel experience in South East Asia. They offer a serie of standard tours specially made by Yaya Asia Travel but they offer also exclusive private boutique tours. You can contact Yaya Asia Travel and ask them to help you to design an never to forget trip in Thailand or Indochina. This can be from as simple as just transpor…

Safety and change of law (enforcement)

I am now living in Thailand for more as 15 years and while reading the English language Thai newspapers and experiencing Thai traffic you learn that there is another side of the always Thai smile. That actually a lot of people die on the road due to stupid accidents on the road and due to even more stupid macho gun behaviour. And we can all discuss what the root problem is, and what should be done to change the root problem, but in the meanwhile things (the law and law enforcement) have to change to at least seriously try to lower that number of deaths in Thailand (as of deaths in traffic Thailand stands within the top of the world). Why? Well first of all because YOU or your beloved one (wife / husband / child / father or mother) could be victim of it. Secondly because it is a huge economic burden on the Thai society.

Now if this is discussed with foreigners living here the replies are like, "If you not like it here go back to your home country", "It is their way of l…

A lazy papaya tree in our garden

Finally the perfect papaya tree. Normally a papaya tree becomes at least about 4 to 5 meters high and the fruit (papaya) grows at the top. So it is a bit difficult to get the big & heavy papaya of the trees. Some papaya trees even get about 6 to 8 meters high. But not this papaya tree in the garden of our new rental house. It is a sleeping papaya tree, so it is very easy to get the papaya's. And it are delicious sweet papaya's.

New Thai money

Since a few months there is new Thai money in circulation with the new Thai King on it. Here you see bank notes of 100, 50 and 20 Thai baht. And coins of 10, 2 and 1 Thai baht. No sure if the other new bank notes (500 and 1.000) already are in circulation. Besides the new King on it the new Thai money looks very much the same as the old Thai money. Same size, same colour.

Living in our new house

Since a few months we are living in a new place, a new house, in North Thailand. It is a bungalow with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. It is very cheap for only 3.000 Thai baht per month. The house has connection to the public water system of the village. And here is a bit of a problem. It works perfect and there is good power. But when it rains the water gets dirty. Actually just mud water. Now we are not the only people with that problem, like our neighbours. Well when it rains they switch to their own water-well that they have in their garden. And luckily it are friendly neighbours as the solution for our problem is that we buy a water-pump and install that at their water-well and connect that to our water system at our house.

So yesterday morning we went to a local shop to buy a water-pump. We just bought a cheap pump as we are planning to move to our own (to be build) house next year. An Lucky PRO MQS136B for 2.670 Thai baht. Including free installation (excl. materials of course). W…

Travel Tips : Temple tourism in Thailand

Thailand is a Buddhist country so of course there are many Buddhist temples. Many of them are old but there are even much more new Buddhist temples all over Thailand. And looking on a tourist map for Thai tourists you will see the map filled with the locations of temples. Thai people like to visit temples out of religions reasons and for good luck. And nowadays more and more also to take selfies when they are visiting famous temples. But what about western tourists? In their home country most of them will probably never go to a church, let alone that they would go visit a church during a holiday.

OK I understand that when you are for the first time in Bangkok you will visit the Wat Arun along the Chao Phraya. And the Grand Palace with the Wat Phra Kaew. And when you are in Chiang Mai you will have a great view over the city from the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. But it seems that the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) and travel agencies think that Thailand is only about temples and bea…

With rain the skyline of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

While walking along the riverside there was the start of strong wind and dark clouds so I walked back to my hotel. And I made it just in time as the rain started about when I stepped into the lobby. Following are more photos of the stunning view over Phnom Penh with rain.

Epilog of 6 days Cambodia

As said I love the chaos & street-life of Phnom Penh in Cambodia but there is more. I love rivers and Phnom Penh is along where the Tongle Sap River meets the Mekong River. Life along a riverside is always great. And as Cambodia has been a colony of French I love the French heritage of architecture and food. So I enjoyed the good & affordable French food in Phnom Penh. And while having a good dinner in Phnom Penh I realised again how overpriced and overrated the French food in Thailand is. Phnom Penh has been changing over the years, more traffic, more bars, more high-rise buildings, more shopping malls. But it is still very far from being a city like Bangkok or Singapore but modern times are also reaching Cambodia. Good for the Khmer people, a bit less nice for travellers like me.

I always loved to go to Blue Pumpkin Riverside for early breakfast but something has gone wrong here because the shop did look old & dirty and service was slow. Luckily a bit further I found a …

Without rain the skyline of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Photo top is overlooking the Tongle Sap River flowing into the Mekong River along Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Following are some more photos of the skyline of Phnom Penh in 2018. I still remember flying over Phnom Penh about 10 years ago when there were only 1 or 2 high buildings. What a change to see the skyline now. So where did I take this photos?

Taking the train from Kampot to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I love traveling by train so we took the train from Kampot to Phnom Penh. Mind you the train only goes at weekends & holidays. We had been to the train station the day before to buy our tickets. For just 7us$ you travel the whole 118km to Phnom Penh. Our train was supposed to leave at 9:00am but in reality did arrive from Shinoekville at 10:30am. And we arrived at 15:00 in Phnom Penh so it took us about 4hr30min to travel. Top speed of the train was 52km/hr while we would also go sometimes just 20km/hr. No problem we enjoyed our ride. I had planned a late lunch in Phnom Penh but that became a early dinner. And although there is a kind of kitchen in the train there was only served noodle-soup and drinks. So luckily we stopped halfway and had 10min time to buy some snacks at the train station. It was a great ride going thru Cambodian countryside but you should be flexibele in your time schedule for traveling. Following are some photos of traveling thru the upcountry landscape of Ca…

Cambodian girl at Kampot train station, Cambodia

In my series of Faces of Asia here a quick snap-shot of a girl selling food at Kampot train station.

Train stations in Cambodia, next station Kampot

As you might know by now I love trains and train stations. So when I was in Kampot I did visit Kampot train station. Actually I was a bit disappointed, I thought about colonial French style train stations. But the few train stations that I was were relatively modern designs probably from the 1950's and 1960's. Kampot train station is about 4km north-east of town and takes about 10min to get there by TukTuk. At the train station you can buy your tickets to Shinaoukville or Phnom Penh. For a bit of history about this train station see Photo Documentary on Development of Cambodian Railroads Part 3.

Selling food in Kep, Cambodia

In my series of Faces of Asia, while my friends where waiting for food I made a walk along the line of restaurants and saw this Cambodian girl selling fruit. The hard working reality of Cambodia. And it was bloody hot that day!

Eating seafood in Kep, Cambodia

With a group of friends we went to Kep, what is only 30km. Kep is a small seaside town that is famous for its crab and other seafood. A typically place for Cambodian families to go to in the weekend. And we went during a long weekend, so it was busy. Passing the real town you follow the road along the sea and there is the famous seafood market and about 20 seafood restaurants. About a few km after the restaurants is Kep beach, what is not really a crystal clear white sand beach. And indeed the crab with Kampot Pepper is delicious so we ordered 3 different crab dishes.

Sunset in Kampot, Cambodia

I love sunsets so I did sit down and relaxed at The Fish Market lounge. While enjoying the sunset, drinking a few cocktails and eating a snack. A great spot to sit and overlook Kampot. Following are 2 more photos of the old bridge of Kampot.