Sep 222009
The trap on the Cambodian Border

Part of the reason I stayed so long in Bangkok (besides the wonderful people) was I was terrified to cross the infamous Thailand-Cambodia border at Poipet.I was right to be scared.

“This is NOT the border,” said Thomas. “We asked the tuk-tuk to take us to the Cambodian border and this is NOT the border.”

The man in the suit grew exasperated. “This IS the border, sir. Here– here is [...Read More!]

Sep 192009
Where are the American RTW Travelers???

Because so many of the spectacular temples in Bangkok are along the river, a night boat along the Chao Phraya is a feast for the eyes… and a feast for the belly, too, if you opt for the dinner cruise. Check it out!

As you peruse these pics, let us ponder a major question for a Round the World Traveler: WHERE ARE THE AMERICANS?? A profound cultural difference is laid bare [...Read More!]

Sep 192009
How do I Lub-d? Let me count the ways…

Two commonly heard sassy comments to me of late:

1) “Weren’t you supposed to leave for Cambodia a week ago?”

2) “You’ve been in Bangkok for nine days? NOBODY can tolerate Bangkok for nine days. What’s wrong with you?”

The answer to both of these questions is one Thai word: “Lub-d”. This word means “sleep well.” It also means “The best hostel I have ever stayed in, and may ever [...Read More!]

Sep 192009

Note to my sweet Mother: This article recounts another thing that SEEMS terrifying and dangerous, but is actually a very well-regulated and safe Thai tourist mecca. Don’t be worried!

The woman’s tiny, tan hand holds yours protectively. The dusty walls of Tiger Canyon slope down to where you stand… you, and thirty giant adult tigers.

“You hand him your camera, and we go,” the woman says firmly. “You follow me [...Read More!]

Sep 192009
Elephants, a Leopard Cub, and the River Kwai

My mind is blown by the supreme machine that is the Thai tourist industry. For varying prices between 2000 Baht ($65) and much less, a visitor to Bangkok can construct any permutation of day excursion… and the result will be giddy happiness and 300 new photos on your camera.

Yesterday, my partner in crime and I opted for the following package, graciously coordinated by our Lub-d hostel tour rep: 1) The [...Read More!]

Sep 172009
Bangkok Contrasts

One of the visual “ohh!” elements of traveling through a Developing Country is seeing sleek modernity smack dab next to human decay.

Meandering through Bangkok today, four examples of this juxtaposition burst forth.

1. Insanely modern buildings (and sculptures!) cosied up to shacks and rubble. In the U.S. there are plenty of crumbling buildings, and certainly a shack or five thousand, but in a fancy business district in the U.S. you will rarely see [...Read More!]

Sep 162009
Somphong Thai Cooking School, Bangkok!

Oh yum yum YUM and sigh of happiness! Want to spend an absolutely lovely day in Bangkok? Do a cooking class! But COME HUNGRY… or you will pop.Conrad, Adie, and I had checked out a few cooking schools in Bangkok, but the cheerful colors and soothing Thai music of Somphong Cooking School beckoned us in. Koy and her family served us iced Panda Leaf tea and breaded, [...Read More!]

Sep 152009
Bangkok’s Grand Palace: Wow to the WowWow!

There’s a certain point when the thick heat and pollution of Bangkok make your head swim so hard and your clothes stick to you so wetly, that all you want is to collapse onto a shady doorstep and yield. This is what I was doing as Adie fruitlessly pulled my arm to stand back up.

“I don’t wanna go in!” I whined, leaning back onto the pavement. “We’ve been walking around the [...Read More!]

Sep 152009
DRAMA at the Hostel

The woman’s unconscious body dangled between the tiny Thai receptionists’ arms as they dragged her into the hostel lobby. What had happened??? We all rushed from the couches towards her sprawled form. Her dyed blond hair and white dress fluttered around the table where she lay. “Go back inside,” said the hostel receptionist with a polite but firm wave. Outside we could hear another rumble brewing.

An [...Read More!]

Sep 152009
Oh, the LIES! Watch it.

I had been warned of the lies, but experiencing them in person really slaps you.

“Where you try to go?” asked the Thai man on the street, seeing me and Adie discreetly pull out our Bangkok map. “Snake farm,” said Adie, studying the tiny blue lines on the paper.

“Oh NO!” shrieked the man, “No good! No good! Bad! No snake farm!” You go somewhere else!”

Startled, [...Read More!]