Thursday, September 6, 2007

Asian blog with posts on Thailand

Here is a blog about Asia: asia hotel news, with a category for posts about Thailand. It is a fairly new blog with the earliest post, Top 5 Ways to Spot Lady Boys in Thailand dated July 13, 2007. This post gives tips about males who changed their sex to females and include the following tips on how to spot them:

1/ Check for Adam’s apple

2/ Check facial features

3/ Check the hips

4/ Check other bodily features

5/ Check passport

The blog seems fairly active, with 3 posts in July 2007, 5 posts in August 2007 and 1 post in September. The latest post is Ten Things To Do If You Are Trapped On An Island dated September 6, 2007.

Here is a post on what the blog is all about: Asia Hotels. This post is dated July 5, 2007, but never appear in the July archive. This would not be possible if the blog uses Google Blogger as the blogging platform, but a check on the page source revealed that it is using Wordpress 2.2.1. Wish I have time to try out Wordpress.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Vacation rentals in Thailand (for renters and owners)

Planning a vacation in Thailand paradise? Get your accommodation from Vacation Rentals in Thailand. However, this site is not only for people planning to visit Thailand, it is also for Thai property owners which is suitable as vacation rentals to list their properties. If you have such a property or properties, click on "List Your Rental" to get it listed. You don't need to pay referral fees, only an annual fee which gives you various benefits you can see when you click on that link.

If you are a Thai and plan to go elsewhere for your vacation, you may want to consider Florida which is located in the southeastern region of the United States of America. The climate is mainly subtropical, except for southern Florida, where the climate is tropical, much like Thailand. You will find many water parks there, like the Adventure Island in Tampa, Water Mania in Kissimmee, Disney’s Blizzard Beach in Lake Buena Vista, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon in Lake Buena Vista, Wild Waters in Ocala and Buccaneer Bay in Weeki Wachee. Looks like there are lots of Disney stuff in Florida for there are more as you will see later. With all this water parks, your children would be begging you to take them there if they ever find out about them. If they do, and you need to take them to Florida, look for accommodation at Florida vacation rentals.

Not enough of Disney stuff? Go to Orlando. There you will find Walt Disney World and Epcot, a peep into the future. At Epcot, they have Future World which will take you from the offers glimpse into the past, trips around the human body, journeys into space. Plus Mission Space which spin on the whirling centrifuge to create centrifugal forces to simulate a take-off into space. And Innoventions, a hands-on expo of futuristic gadgets and gizmos. For accommodation in Orlando, go to Orlando vacation rentals.

Attracted to Miami Beach by that TV show featuring the Miami Beach Rescue Team comprising busomy in bikinis rescuing hapless swimmers in trouble? You can see that plus lots more at Miami Beach. Miami Beach is actually a city, of which the South Beach is but a part. But the South Beach is a magnet for photo shots and you will likely see beautiful models posing for the photographers. Plus South Beach have a real lively night live. Need accommodation in Miami? Go to Miami Beach vacation rentals.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thailand, Germany and Austria

There is a world of difference between Thailand, Germany and Austria. The climate in Thailand is tropical and hot, but cooler in the northern part of Thailand. While Germany is quite near to the North Pole, the coastal parts of Germany is moderate and is generally without sustained periods of cold or heat. The inner parts of Germany is continental, marked by greater diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, with warmer summers and colder winters. A great part of Austria is covered with mountains with high peaks alternate with deep-cut valleys. Because of this geographical feature, the weather conditions are not easily predicted and depend strongly on altitude and location.

An agreement signed in 1984 between Thailand and Germany have led to close cultural ties between the two countries, with Goethe Institute in Bangkok leading in cultural exchange and promoting the German language in Thailand. Many partnership have also been formed between universities and colleges in Germany and Thailand. Bachelor and Master programmes in Germany are not uncommonly taught in English which has helped greatly Thai studying in Germany. Further, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) have a studies advice center in Thailand and offers a large number of scholarships to Thai students.

As for Austria, there was a 3-year project involving the transfer of knowledge on organic farming between Austria and Thailand with exchanges of students and staff of both universities.

There are thus many excuses for Thais to visit Germany and Austria which are neighbours, both to experience the difference in the weather, the environment, the culture, the food, and for educational purposes. This is made easier by the ease of travel between Germany and Austria, especially the easy availability and great frequency of air flight between the two country, particularly between its capital, Berlin and Vienna.

The national airlines of Germany, Lufthansa, fly direct to Vienna from Berlin. Lufthansa frequently have special web only deals plus a 'happy hour' page where visitors can bid for flights where you can get cheap fares. There are also a number of budget airlines operating low-cost flights between the countries with Air Berlin flying to Vienna from Dortmund, Hamburg and Duesseldor, Germanwings flying to Vienna from Cologne-Bonn and Sky Europe flying from Stuttgart to Vienna via Bratislava, which is just 50km away. From Bratislava, you can board a SkyShuttle bus to Vienna for just an extra €10.

With the easy transport plus the wide varieties of cheap flight, it will be a very difficult to resist the temptation to visit the two neighbouring countries. But of course, you will need accommodation, best arranged for ahead of arrival. A good site to do that online is Billige Hotels in Deutschland Unterkunft (Approved German hotels accommodation). If you intend to stay in Berlin and you can read German, try Hotels in Berlin. For an English version, go to Hotels in Berlin.

Similarly, for Vienna, go to Hotels in Vienna and Hotels in Vienna if you are more comfortable with English.

Monday, May 28, 2007

An Introduction To Thai Food

An Introduction To Thai Food
by: John Turner

If you mentioned Thailand to a westerner say 30 years or so ago, more than likely they would confuse the country with the Chinese Republic on Taiwan. Or, if they even knew the name at all, all it was probably through Hollywood’s slightly libelous version of Thai “history” as portrayed in Anna and the King of Siam. Nowadays, of course, Thailand is known throughout the world, and the reason is the kingdom’s fabulous cuisine. Thai restaurants can be found in almost every nation and are patronised by people who may never have set foot in Southeast Asia or possibly never even left their own.

So just what is it that makes Thai food special? Most likely it is the combination in each dish of the four basic flavours – sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Over the centuries, Thai cooking has borrowed freely from the culinary arts of China, India and Malaya, blending these different influences to create something that is truly unique. And while Thai food has a reputation for being spicy, in reality most dishes are not. The spiciness varies by region, and central Thai cuisine – the most commonly encountered variety – is probably the least spicy of all.

Recommended dishes for someone new to Thai food might be gai tawt met mamuang himapan (chicken fried with onions, cashews and mild red peppers), gai haw bai toey (seasoned chicken roasted in pandan leaves), nuea paht nam man hoi (slices of beef cooked in oyster sauce), the famous tom yam goong (a mildly spicy shrimp soup) and mee grawp (crisply fried noodles with a light coating of sugar). These favourites should be available in any proper Thai restaurant anywhere in the world.

For lunch, a light one dish meal might be preferred, say khao paht goong (fried rice with shrimp) or kweitiou paht Thai (rice noodles stir fried with an egg, tofu and dried shrimp, and garnished with ground peanuts).

A proper meal when friends gather in Thailand, however, will always include many selections. The more people present, the more the different dishes that will be ordered. Unlike a western dinner, a Thai meal will not be served in courses. There may be a light appetizer, such as baw bia tawt (fried Chinese spring rolls). But the main dishes will probably all arrive at nearly the same time. Diners help themselves by using a large serving spoon to take as much of whatever they want. There will invariably be a soup – like as not tom yang goong, possibly a mild curry made with coconut milk (not ghee as in India), and one or more chicken or fish dishes. A spicy salad may also be included, provided there are enough people to warrant it. Every effort is made to try to balance the meal, both in respect to taste and to visual appearance. (The Thais are great lovers of beauty.) At large gatherings, a common practice is to finish the meal by ordering a huge plate of fried rice to ensure that no one goes away hungry. Soft drinks or fruit juices will probably ordered for the women and children, with the men opting for the ice cold and potent Thai beer.

Sweets may follow, but desserts are not as commonly ordered in Thailand as in the west. Thai sweets are generally made from some combination of rice and coconut, but the variety is nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately, Thai sweets all do tend to taste a bit alike, and a better choice is a platter of fresh fruit. With its semi-tropical climate, Thailand has some kind of fruit always in season. Oranges are available year round, and Thai pineapples are noted for being among the best in the world. Papayas, oranges and pomelos (sort of a sweet grapefruit) will also be available most of the year, along with more exotic and seasonal fruit such as rambutan, mangosteen and durian.

In the articles on Food in Thai, that follow this one you will be introduced to the origins and types of Thai food, Thai cooking, courses and the various Cooking Schools in Thailand. We hope you will stay with us and enjoy learning more about it.

So as we say in Thailand, Sawatdee. See you next time.

About The Author

John Turner lives in Bangkok and recently started work on Food in Thai which is a journal where he hopes to capture some of the rare and very special moments he has experienced during the time he has spent in the Kingdom of Thailand

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Maui, the second largest island of Hawaii

Hawaii islandsHawaii has about the same weather, beaches and activities like parasailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, etc., as Thailand. But Hawaii's weather is more sub-tropical, moderated by the surrounding ocean. And you can see volcanoes plus experience snow at the top of the higher mountains in winter in Hawaii, something you can't get in Thailand. You can also see humpback whales in the ocean surrounding Hawaii.

There are six major island and a few atolls in the archipelago of Hawaii. Maui is the second largest and has what many people consider as the best beaches in the world. It also has what is claimed as the largest dormant volcano on earth, the Haleakala Crater which itself is in the Haleakala National Park in East Maui. One of the pleasures that visitors and local can enjoy is a drive up to the peak to witness the spectacular sunrise in the morning and sunset in the evening. At night you can also watch bright shinning stars undisturbed by stray lights from the cities.

Planning a visit to Maui? Book your accommodation ahead of the trip. You can do this conveniently online via Maui Vacations. There are currently 159 so such vacation rentals for you to chose from. Want something luxurious? Get it from Maui Luxury Rental. There are currently 126 such luxury rentals to chose from. Prefer hotels? Chose from 270 of them at Maui Hotels.

Perhaps even invest in Maui real estate. Fill in the form at Maui Real Estate and a real estate agent will contact you.

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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival

Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival
by: John Turner

First time visitors arriving in Thailand at the start of any October might be puzzled by the myriad of eye-catching bright yellow pennants displayed by street vendors or nowadays even strung out in front of restaurants. What it simply means is that the annual Vegetarian Festival is upon us once again.

This unique Thai festival had its origins on the southern island of Phuket some 180 years ago and has gradually spread to virtually all parts of the kingdom. Rather surprisingly, it is actually of Chinese origin and not really Thai at all. It began among the Chinese immigrants who had flocked to Phuket in the early 19th Century to work in the tin mines that once provided the island’s economy. According to local historians, about the year 1825, a mysterious epidemic struck the Chinese miners and their leaders met to discover the cause. They noted that the traditional Chinese rituals were being neglected, and the mining community was accordingly ordered to undergo a period of fasting as a penance. After nine days, the disease vanished as mystifyingly as it had arrived.

Now no one likes going hungry for days on end, so the village elders decided on a compromise. They vowed that each year on that anniversary the Chinese on the island would practice a period of cleansing by adopting a vegetarian diet. Offerings to the Chinese divinities would naturally be made and a strict code of conduct would be followed, which included sexual abstinence and foregoing the consumption of alcohol. As the years went by, something bizarre also took place. Individuals spontaneously began to be “possessed by spirits” during the festival and would take to impaling themselves with sharp object or slashing themselves with razor sharp knives. Yet once the spirit had left them, there would be no visible wounds or even the slightest scars. This Hindu like self-mutilation naturally drew Thai tourists to the island, and these Thais carried the idea of a vegetarian festival back to their home provinces.

Nowadays, the Vegetarian Festival is observed in virtually every fair sized city in Thailand. The yellow pennants one sees bear a Chinese character in red, with the Thai word “jeh” next to it. Both mean vegetarian. Any vendor displaying these flags will be selling flesh free food and the restaurants will have adapted their usual recipes to meatless cooking.

In Bangkok, the Vegetarian Festival is best seen in Yaowarat – the city’s picturesque Chinatown. It begins there on the first day of the 9th month of the Chinese lunar calendar with ceremonies similar to those on Phuket. Even before that, Chinatown residents will have started stocking up on vegetarian meat substitutes – usually high protein soy bean products, and it has been estimated that meat sales drop by as much as 70 percent during the ten days of the festival.

But the festival is not merely limited to Chinatown or the Chinese-Thais. Many ethnic Thais and even foreign expats welcome the change to a vegetarian diet, and perhaps one restaurant in five will switch over. In fact, vegetarian tourists have been known to plan their visits to the kingdom to coincide with this period.

The dishes offered during the Vegetarian Festival are nothing short of delightful. All of the Thai favourites are available, but with a slightly different twist. Instead of tom yam gung (spicy shrimp soup), there will be tom yam jeh (spicy vegetable soup). Gaeng matsaman, a delicious southern Thai curry made with chicken, potatoes, onions and peanuts, instead will have the chicken replaced by tofu. Gaeng kiao wan, a mild green curry usually made with chicken or fish, will now be made with soy protein. Mushrooms of all types will be used in abundance, and the big yellow Japanese soba noodles are used to produce a version of kweitiou pat Thai (noodles fried Thai style) that is well worth waiting for.

In fact, Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival is probably one of the best times to visit the country, even though it does fall within the rainy season. After all, you can always carry an umbrella. And the choices of food offered at this time of year rival the best of any cuisine that Asia has to offer.

So next time you come to Thailand, look for those yellow pennants. If it is not that time of year, just tell your waiter you want to try the aharn jeh, the dishes on the vegetarian menu. Most restaurants will have one. It makes a pleasant break from the usual meat heavy diet that is so common in the west.

Aharn jeh aroy mahk! Thai vegetarian food is delicious. Try it and see if you don’t agree. You should also visit us on where you will be introduced to the origins and types of Thai food, Thai cooking, courses and the various Cooking Schools in Thailand. We hope you will stay with us and enjoy learning more about it.

About The Author

John Turner lives in Bangkok and recently started work on which is a journal where he hopes to capture some of the rare and very special moments he has experienced during the time he has spent in the Kingdom of Thailand

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Travelling Thailand: 5 Top Destinations

Travelling Thailand: 5 Top Destinations
by: Robert Thatcher

With several sights to see and surprises to offer, Thailand could be one of the best locations you should not miss to visit. Culture, beaches, people, and heritage sites are some of the things you can expect when you travel to Thailand.

Bangkok – Traveling Thailand wound not be complete without visiting Bangkok. As the nation’s capital with an estimated population of over 10 million (including the neighboring provinces), this city is by far the largest in the country. The city is divided into 50 districts or khet but for tourists and those who are new in the place, 6 divisions would be more useful. These are Ratchadaphisek in the northeast section of the city, Sukhamvit in the southeast, Silom in the south, Thonburi in the west, Rattanakosin in the central north, and Phahanyothin in the north. The whole Bangkok district would give you a diverse taste of culture, history, religion, modernity, and fast-phase life. You can actually witness how all these blend together to comprise the whole Bangkok package. Buddhist temples, historical museums, towering buildings, contemporary restaurants and hotels, shopping centers, canals and rivers, and food make Bangkok a one of a kind city in Southeast Asia.

Phuket – Down south, Phuket features magnificent beaches, tropical sunsets, white sands, blue seas, and breathtaking sceneries. No wonder it is the most popular vacation destination in Asia beating every beaches of the neighboring countries. It has several beaches like Kata Beach, Karon Beach, Patong Beach, Kamala Beach, and Surin Beach. The island showcases several water sports and activities including parasailing, jet-skiing, and scuba diving. By day, Phuket is alive with beachgoers and shoppers and by night, lights, sounds, and party people dominate the whole island.

Chiang Mai – The second largest city in Thailand with an estimated population of more than 200,000. This city located in the northern part of the country offers greener and quieter city. Chiang Mai’s tourism is becoming more and more popular and permanently settling at this city is very common. When you travel Thailand and visit Chiang Mai, you surely would want to see museums such as Hilltribe Research Institute Museum and the Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Center. With religion and history enriching the city, you can see several Buddhist temples such as Wat Chiang Mun, Wat Chiang Mun, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Oo-Mong, Wat Phra Jao Mengrai, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, and Wat Chedi Luang. The oldest temple dates back in the 11th century. Chiang Mai features attractions such as Chiang Mai Flower Festival in February, Bo Sang Umbrella & Sankampang Handicrafts Festival in January, The 2nd Orchid Fair also in January, and the Loi Krathong Festival usually falls in November.

Pattaya – Located 150 km. north of Bangkok, Pattaya is one of the most popular tourist destinations, which offers great beaches, beer and go-go bars, and a wide array of sport activities. Visit Pattaya when you travel Thailand is a must. Although it is the most overdeveloped part of the country in terms of tourism, prices in Pattaya still remains with reach. In fact, prices of foods, accommodation, and transportations are very affordable.

Krabi – In a small province of Krabi lies a small town with the same name. Paying a visit Krabi town when you travel Thailand is worth the time. Located south of Bangkok near Phuket and Phi Phi island, the town features great beaches along with high end hotels and not so expensive hotel that cater tourists of different classes.

About The Author

Robert Thatcher is a freelance publisher based in Cupertino, California. He publishes articles and reports in various ezines and provides thailand travel resources on Your Thailand Travel.