Travel Blog

Meeting Refugees at Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Center

**NOTE: Every little bit of help you can offer refugees can make a difference, even if it seems small to you. This post is about how I had a very meaningful experience doing something very small for refugees in Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Center. If you want to learn how you can help refugees worldwide, you can start with the United Nation Human Rights Council Refugee Agency. If you are a US citizen, please also contact your representatives in the House and the Senate and tell them you support helping refugees.

 

The Syrian refugee crisis hit its media peak while we were in Bangkok. A picture of a dead little boy, washed up on the beach, and the the story of his family’s tragic flight from war covered our social media pages. People had strong reactions. Some felt for the family and called on governments to do more. Some got involved themselves and actually did something. Some people simply got offended that their friends would dare to post such a horrible picture on their news feed (how dare you make me feel sad! I am VERY SENSITIVE!!!). And the cream of the crop spun stories about how we shouldn’t feel sorry for and help the refugees because some of them might be terrorists. Continue reading

The Boating Monks of Amphawa

I stood quietly at the edge of the canal, my toes hanging over the edge of the wooden walkway that fronted the row of shops that lined the old waterway. The sun was not yet up, but already it was uncomfortably warm. I felt a drop of sweat slide down my spine.

I ignored it. I waited.

Finally, out of the pre-dawn gloom I saw what I was waiting for come gliding gently, serenely down the canal. Continue reading

Amphawa: Where Markets and Monks Float, Monkeys Swim, and Flies Fire!

Many people who come to Thailand want to see a floating market. And many of those who want to see a floating market, want to see an “authentic” floating market, rather than a “tourist” floating market.

If you want to see an authentic floating market . . . too bad. At least in Thailand. Try Vietnam. The floating markets around Bangkok are all touristy. So get over it and go anyway. The floating markets are lots of fun, and the Thais know how to do tourism better than just about anyone. Continue reading

Cruising and Crashing in Thailand’s Old Capital: Ayutthaya

 

The first two times I came to Thailand I skipped Ayutthaya, one of the old capitals of the country. Ayutthaya is famous for old ruins. I love old ruins, but I had already been to Angkor. Once you go to Angkor, there just aren’t that many archeological sites in southeast Asia (or the world?) that can impress.

So, jaded and snobby, I didn’t go.

But now I was spending almost two months in Bangkok. I had plenty of time for side trips, and Ayutthaya made the list.
Continue reading

31 Tips for Getting Around in Bangkok

Bangkok is one of my favorite cities in the world, and it makes a wonderful introduction to Asia. If you have never been to Asia before and are looking for a first taste, Bangkok is a perfect balance of exotic Asia and modern convenience.

And while the city is huge and sprawling, it is quite easy to get around most of the places where a traveler may want to visit. Here are a few tips to help you in getting around in Bangkok. Continue reading

Where to Eat in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is one of my favorite places in the world. Why? Well, there really isn’t a lot to do. There are lots and lots of wats, but you can see them in a couple of days’ worth of hard walking. There are a few museums, but most are fairly small and don’t take long to get through. Again, a couple of days at most. There are some markets: the night market (it is OK for overpriced touristy stuff), the Sunday Walking Market (OK for slightly less overpriced touristy stuff), and the Saturday Walking Market (waaaaaay tooooo crowded—skip it). But we have spent more than a month in Chiang Mai.

So what did we do?

Eat! Chiang Mai has amazing food, and we tried to eat it all. Here is where to eat in Chiang Mai (and see the map at the bottom of the map for the locations for all these places).

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Not a Guide to Mae Chaem

Mae Chaem is a small town in northern Thailand. It has just started to pop up in guidebooks, and Travelfish has a small amount of information on the place.

But in our research of Mae Chaem before we went, the most interesting information we found was from a website asking whether Mae Chaem would become the next Pai. At the time this didn’t mean much to us as we had been to neither Mae Chaem nor Pai.

Now we have been to both. Please, please, please do not make Mae Chaem into the next Pai! Continue reading

Getting to Mae Chaem, Thailand

After we were done in Mae La Oop, we came back to Chiang Mai for a little rest. For me, “rest” meant coming down with a nasty cold that put me in bed for three days, and made me light-headed for a couple of days after that. Because travel, right?

Once I felt not-quite-up-to-a-travel-day, we decided to go. We thought it would be pretty easy to get to Mae Chaem from Chiang Mai. Continue reading

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