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Chinese New Year Celebration in Bangkok Chinatown (Yaowarat)

 red-objects-at-yaowarat
Red Objects in Chinatown

This year, 2013,  is the year of the snake.Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is on 10th February in Bangkok Chinatown. It is not the same date in every year because it refers to the first day of the Lunar New Year. Chinese New Year is a big day of family celebration, as important as a reunion of family or Thanksgiving Day in western culture. Occasionally, during New Year, my family gives oranges or tangerines to relatives and friends for a good new year. Particularly, giving money in a red envelope to kids is a ‘must’ for this day. [Read More]

Posted in Hint Box

Touring Chinatown, Golden Buddha and Reclining Buddha in Bangkok

golden-buddha-trimith-temple
Golden Buddha in Trimith Temple

Jan 25, 2013
Hey Jane,

I can’t wait to tell you my stories about to be a tour guide (again). This time, I took my tour group to two temples in Bangkok. They, my tour group, were from Nepal, 24 of them. Most of them looked similar to Thai, although some looked like Indian.

      The first place that I took them to was The Temple of Golden Buddha near Chinatown. Although I had told them about the extraordinary story of the golden Buddha before getting there, when they saw Buddha image some of them asked me to repeat the story and information again and again. Certainly, they were surprised to see 5.5 tons in weight of solid gold Buddha image, which was built over 700 years ago. And it was also recorded by Guinness Book for the largest gold Buddha in the world. Can you imagine the price value of it? It was approximately worth US$ 21.1 million, in 1954. [Read More]

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Chatuchak Market – The Place to Go Shopping on Weekend

chatuchak-indoor-market

When my tours asked me where a good place for shopping on the weekend is, I always tell them to go to ‘Chatuchak Market’, the largest Sunday Market in Thailand. However, visitors have to be tough enough for walking your legs off. Although you can find anythings you want (I mean it, ‘anything’) at Chatuchak, this huge area could make you mad if you don’t like walking among crowded people in a hot day.

Chatuchak Market (or JJ Market for short) is a real bargain market and is also one of greatest markets in the world. [Read More]

Posted in Hint Box

Asiatique The Riverfront – Beautifully Exotic Place in Thailand II

asiatique-at-night
Asiatique The Riverfront at night

Because hot weather in Bangkok can make you tired, I think walking along the river at twilight would probably release you from such tiring day. Recently, Asiatique The Riverfront becomes a newest landmark of Bangkok where visitors are fascinated by the sight of Chao Phraya River and a unique style mall. Although it has just been about a year after its grand opening in April 2012, Asiatique now becomes one of popular places for both Thais and foreigners. [Read More]

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Asiatique The Riverfront - Beautifully Exotic Place in Thailand

Asiatique The River Front
Asiatique The River Front, Bangkok

After I got back to Thailand, I thought I could find a place in Bangkok to hangout as same atmosphere as my favorite place, Pier 39 in San Francisco. Last year around July, I remembered after my sister and I got back from her friend’s house, accidentally we found an interesting place on Charoenkrung Road, named Asiatique, “Asiatique The Riverfront” for official name. It was a new wide space mall along Chaopraya River where it decorated in attractive styles. My sister immediately said “Let’s check it!” and made a turn to a parking lots.

Although I wanted to stop her because I thought she was looking for something to eat or wanted to go shopping, I didn’t. After a survey, there were many interesting things here, the large parking lots, a clock tower, buildings which made in warehouse styles, the pathway between many shops on both side of warehouses, art decorations, especially, a large space at riverfront along the river. [Read More]

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My First Time as A Tour Guide to Kanchanaburi

spinning-tiger

Dec 29, 2012

Hey Jane,

It’s been quite long I didn’t write to you.

Anyway, I’m here to tell you what happen with me. I just got back from Kanchanaburi again yesterday. For this time, I did not go there to visit my family, but I took a tour group there instead. Yeah! It was the first time for me to go solo with a group of tourists as a tour guide. From the program tour, I have to take them to The Bridge of River Kwai, having lunch near the bridge, and then take them to the Tiger Temple. I think I should skip to talk about Kanchanaburi before you sick of it, but I will tell you how the Tiger Temple was. I confess that it was the first time I get to know this Tiger Temple. [Read More]

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Bangkok Shopping Places for Fashion Clothes and Accessories

platinum fashion mall in bangkok
Platinum Fashion Mall, Bangkok

    I’m just a window shopper when walking in brand-name department stores, but I’m a compulsives buyer for cheap and fashionable. One of my favorite shopping places is Platinum Fashion Mall. It’s just right around the corner from Central World, across San Sab Canal to Phetburi Road, known as Pratunam Intersection. Platinum Fashion Mall is packed of small shops selling mostly women fashion clothes, shoes and accessories. Recently, Hundreds of them are available in either wholesale or retail. When visiting this mall, you would be able to notice that there are two different kinds of shoppers – a group of retailers looking for wholesale clothes and a group of regular customers looking for fashion or occasional clothes. [Read More]

Posted in Hint Box

Royal Grand Palace: Walking around Wat Phra Keaw and The Grand Palace II

the gate to inner court of royal grand palace
The gate to get in the inner court

      Last time, I have given you some information about getting around Wat Phra Keaw already. Now, we will get into the central court of the palace. After we walk through the door of Temple of the Emerald Buddha into the area of Throne Halls, you can see Borom Phiman Mansion, on the left, behind the big gate. This European style building was built in the inner court, the private area where it used to be the royal residence and royal guests house. This is why we can’t get in.

Before we walk in the area of Throne Halls, if you feel thirsty, you can stop by to have a drink at drinking shop on this spot. After that, we will walk to Amarindra Winichai Hall just on the left of the street. It opens for visitors to see the throne. Almost forget, for security, you cannot take pictures or record a video in this hall, but no need to take shoes off. [Read More]

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Royal Grand Palace: Walking around Wat Phra Keaw and The Grand Palace I

royal-grand-palace-walking-map
Common Walking Route in Royal Grand Palace

      If it is your first time to visit Wat Phra Keaw and The Grand Palace, don’t be afraid to get around without a tour guide. Follow me, I will lead you to highlight spots that you shouldn’t miss like having a private tour guide with you.

      After you hold the ticket, get a map and walk through the entrance gate to the monastic compound, the first thing you will see is a statue of Hermit Priest. It is believed that he was the first traditional doctor who later became the doctor of the Lord Buddha also. [Read More]

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Introduction Class of English Language for Guide Speak

terminology-study

Apr 29, 2012

Dear diary,

Today I came to the class so early to study the subject of tour guide which I had been waiting for, Terminology. It was about the technical words or expressions used in a guide field, for instance, vocabularies in architecture and art. During the entire course, I will have to study about tour guide terminology class several times, and its general contents will be mostly about temples, the royal palace, religion, characteristic of Buddha image and so on. Moreover, I also had to learn the architecture concepts, building elements and history of architecture. Will my brain have enough spaces to save them? [Read More]

Invited to The Delayed Songkarn Day 2012 in Pattaya City

songkran day in pattaya

Apr 15, 2012

Dear diary,

My friend called me to join a delayed Songkran Day in Pattaya. It’s locally called “Wan Lai”-She said it is the tradition in Pattaya to celebrate New Year on Apr 18-20. There are many activities each day, such as pouring the water to the Buddha image, the processions, traditional games and concerts. [Read More]

My First Songkran Festival in Bangkok after Coming Back

songkran  from the car
Children Play Water on Songkran Day – Photo by My Sister

I think Songkran Day is the biggest festival in Thailand. Compared with New Year celebration on January 1, traditional Thai New Year is still be the most popular celebration in Thailand. Not only Thai people have been waiting for playing with water in Songkran Day, but also the foreigners from around the world are coming to enjoy it.

Songkran Day in the past, people always prepared the food to go to temple for making merit in the morning. But today, I saw the kids wake up early to prepare water guns and buckets of water instead. [Read More]

Move Forward to The Future

future-clock

Apr 12, 2012.

Dear diary,

I miss the place I used to live in San Francisco. Six years there, I think I know San Francisco better than Thailand.  Although I live in Thailand longer than that, it seems I know nothing much about my own country. What a shame! [Read More]

Bangkok Shopping Places for shopping lovers

shopping around in bangkok

Tourists who are shopping lovers or shopaholics, especially women, love Bangkok just for shopping.

When they asked for my suggestions about the best shopping places in Bangkok, I could not give them a specific place because it depends on their budgets, personal lifestyles and what they wanted to buy. Otherwise they wouldn’t be happy if they got the answer that does not suit them well.

However, if you are one of these shopping lovers, you would want something helpful because receiving nothing after asking could also frustrate you. In this case, I think I need to recommend a few great shopping places for you to shop around this capital city of Thailand. [Read More]

Posted in Hint Box

Climb Up to Lawa Cave, Kanchanaburi

Lawa Cave ,Kanchanaburi
Lawa Cave at  Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Nov 24th, 2012

Hey Jane,

Writing to you always make me happy.

Remember? I owe you stories about trip to Lawa Cave after getting out from Dean Maha Mongkol.

My sister and I decided to follow the sign to Lawa Cave even though we knew nothing about it. It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. We drove pass an elephant camp where tourists came to get on elephants for riding experience. I will take you here for sure. I want to hear your scream after sitting on an elephant. Haha…just kidding. [Read More]

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Tiger Temple at Kanchanaburi

Giant tiger statue at Kanchanaburi
Giant Tiger Statue at Kanchanaburi

If you only have not much time in one day, you might ask where the interesting places to visit in Kanchanaburi are.

One of tourist attractions I recommended is Tiger Temple or Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno. It is located in Sai Yok District, only 37 kilometers from Kanchanaburi city or about half an hour drive.

Last month, I got a chance to take a group of Indian tourists to Tiger Temple. It was the first time for me to get there too. After the driver turned right from the main street to the sign of Tiger Temple, I saw a large tiger statue from faraway as a sign of the temple. Just about 5 kilometers from the main street, we were at the place where we needed to buy tickets. We arrived at almost 2 o’clock in the afternoon, where it was a busy hour. For this reason, it was so crowded that I was stunned from the picture in front of me for a while; vans, cars and private taxis came to drop their tour groups, a lot of tourists walking around and being noisy everywhere. [Read More]

Posted in Hint Box

Royal Grand Palace and Temple of Emerald Buddha

temple of emerald buddha
Temple of Emerald Buddha, at Royal Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

Whenever foreigners ask me where the most popular attraction in Bangkok is, the first place popping up in my head is The Temple of Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) and The Grand Palace. I think The Emerald Buddha Temple and The Grand Palace is a spectacular place where it reveals the history of Thailand. In addition, the unique beautiful architectures of this whole area also show the beliefs, characters and tradition of Thai people.

Then the following question from the tourists is how they could get there. The easiest way and saving time is, of course, to take a taxi or Tuk Tuk, a motorized three-wheeled vehicle. Just a warning for taking a taxi, tourists should request the taxi drivers turn on the meter. Taking a Tuk Tuk can be an interesting choice because it can provide a sense of adventure, but remember that Tuk Tuk doesn’t have the meter fare. The driver will give the tourists an approximately price, so making sure that they won’t take advantage by quoting an unfair price, taking you to the wrong direction or even offering you to go somewhere else instead. [Read More]

Posted in Hint Box

Travel Around in Kanchanaburi with My Sister

travel at Kanchanaburi
Start Traveling in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Nov 20th, 2012

Hey Jane,

When I start writing the letter about Kanchanaburi trip again, something pop up in my mind.

Do you remember Mill Valley? It is a lovely small town in Marin County which was my favorite place to hang out when I had a day off. You’d never come with me when I asked you to go hiking. You complained that after walking up to the hill the legs will be getting sore in the next day.

I haven’t understood until now. [Read More]

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Just Realized! To Become A Tour Guide I Need to Know Everything!

tons-of-books-to-study

Apr 7, 2012

Dear diary,

Do I need to know everything if I were a tour guide?

I just have time to check my study schedule, and I have just noticed that I have to study in different subjects every week. I got to know geography, geology, history, Buddhism, English, Sociology and etc . WOW! How can I remember them all?

I’m very excited to come to class because I feel like back to school again (without wearing uniform). I study from 9 AM to 5 PM, like an office worker. I have 15 mins coffee break twice, in the morning and the afternoon. It is free for hot coffee or hot chocolate. Sometimes I prefer to call it “Wake up time” more than “Break time”. [Read More]

The Same History of Thailand, But Not the Same Me

lintel at a stone sanctuary, thailand
Lintel with narrative relief

Apr 1, 2012.

Dear diary,

Boring History!

I always felt asleep in History class and Buddhism study when I was in high school. I remembered my history-class teachers told us stories about the King of Siam and the battle between Siamese and Burmese. Boys in the class were so excited with the story, but not me. I was not blame to the teacher. I just thought that narrative of history was like a sleeping pill for me. [Read More]

River Kwai Bridge, Kanchanaburi: Mirror of Golden Gate, Sanfran

river kwai bridge
River Kwai Bridge, Kanchanaburi

Nov 17th, 2012

Hey Jane,

As I told you last time, I went to Kanchanaburi, my dad hometown. This city is not far from Bangkok. I could drive there just about 2 hours if we wouldn’t take it easy at gas station for getting snacks and a cup of coffee. You know, girls have never let their mouth empty.

This trip, I got a company, my sister. She took half day off on Thursday and full day off on Friday.  I spent almost an hour picked her up at the office and drove through the traffic in Bangkok and headed west to Kanchanaburi. [Read More]

Posted in Post Box

AirportLink – An Easy Way for Bangkok to Suvarnabhumi Airport

airport link train
Airport Link Train

Calling a cab to the airport is unreliable. I used to spend over 300 Baht for taking taxi to the airport due to a terrible traffic day. I then have never wanted to take a risk for getting to the airport anymore. Recently, for saving time and money, however, the best way for me to get to the airport is using public transportation, BTS sky train and airport rail link.

I don’t care about whoever says that the door of airport link train is noisy when it is shutting, or the train can be very crowded in a rush hour. This is because I spend only 45 Baht to get to the airport, and I will arrive in the airport within just 30 minutes also. I don’t think taxi can make it for me. [Read More]

Posted in Hint Box

Inexpensive Food at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand

maagic food point at suvarnbhumi airport
Magic Food Point at Suvarnabhumi Airport

      Every times I went to Suvarnabhumi Airport to wait for the flight and wanted to have a bite, it was hardly to find the cheap one. The restaurant on the 3rd floor seemed too expensive for me. It might not be too expensive for rich visitors, but how about the normal people who don’t want to spend money over 100 baht for a meal like me? Where should I get a cheaper food in the airport?

      After thinking so, I then tried walking around the airport in order to check if there is anything helping to save my cost. Finally, I found a good place to buy regular foods in a reasonable price. It is the food court at gate 8 on the 1st floor of the airport.

      After Getting inside, I bought coupons, and then walked around to find something to eat. At each counter of the food sellers, there were food displays at the front. It was easy for those who had no idea about the appearance of the food.  [Read More]

Posted in Hint Box

The First Day Of The Tour Guide Class

first day study

Mar 31st, 2012

Dear diary,

      This morning, I had a lot of energy to wake up early morning to get on the van direct to school.

      There were about 45 students in the class, and I liked this class because I was not the oldest one in the class. They all will be my classmate and friends for 6 months. However, I’m pretty quiet in the first day.

      Although there were a few games for helping us know each other, I can remember only some of them.

      So tired today, nite nite.

My Reason to Step in Thailand Tour Guide Program

wat chaiwatthanaram ayutthaya thailand
Wat Chaiwatthanaram, a famous temple in Ayutthaya, Thailand

Mar 26th, 2012

Dear diary,

      I took the test and the interview for getting in the Tour Guide Program yesterday. It was fine and just made me nervous a little. They, the interviewers, asked me why I wanted to study for this program.

      I didn’t give them a direct answer, but I told them a story of 3 years ago. When I came visiting home with Korean girl friend, she asked me so many questions about Thailand, especially Ayutthaya. She was interested in Ayutthaya histories after reading from a guidebook. She wanted me to take her to Ayutthaya. [Read More]

Another Challenge Needed After I Came Back to Thailand

step out of comfort zone

Mar 21st, 2012

“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul.
Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
Pamela Vaull Starr

Dear diary,

Two days ago, it was a turning point of my life.

I sat next to my sister while I was thinking what I should do after I had gone from home for 6 years. Sitting on a couch with a mouthful of snacks and watching TV wasn’t me at all. I’ve been working so hard in US. Coming back home to do nothing might be a sweet long vacation for someone. For me, however, home is a comfort zone that seems to be too comfortable, and that’s why I feel like it has no challenge at all. [Read More]

Go Around Koh Larn Island with A Rented Motorcycle

sea water at ta yi beach
Clear Sea Water at Hat Ta Yai

Nov 15th, 2014

Hey Jane,

Finally, I have time to sit and continue my stories to Koh Larn.

Last time, I started to tell you about the beaches around the island. Let’s me drop that scene a moment because I forgot to tell you how I got around the island after I checked in a small resort. I rented the motorcycle. It was so cheap to pay 250 Baht (about $8 per one day and a half) with full tank gas. This was a fun part that you would love it. I hope you still remember how to ride motorcycle as you did in Cambodia. Motorcycles that I mention here are not a big bike as you seen in San Francisco, but smaller as scooters. You just speed up at the handle, no need gears. Very easy. If you come to Thailand, you will see that motorcycles and scooters have been used all over the country. I wasn’t only ride the scooter to check all beaches, but I also went to the view point on the top of the hill. It was beautiful. A panoramic view of the green hill, beaches and blurry background of Pattaya city made me think of San Francisco again.

In a sunshine day, there are many activities around the island, for instance, riding a boat or offshore snorkeling. There are many one-day trip touring around here. It was pretty busy everywhere. [Read More]

Posted in Post Box
Tags: koh larn

Koh Larn - A Popular Island Near Bangkok

tawaen-beach
Hat Tawaen at Koh Larn Pattaya

Nov 7th, 2012.

Hey Jane,

I was thinking, if you come to see me in Thailand I will take you to Koh Larn. Why Koh Larn? You can ask your brother about it, I think this name remind him a lot about Thailand when he was here.

A couple week ago, I went there. It was my first time to go to this well-known island. I heard people had been talking about it since I was young, but I didn’t care about because I thought it, nowadays, might not be as beautiful anymore.

If you were Thai, you would think of anywhere else when you wanted to go to a beautiful beach or island, not here in Pattaya. So, I try thinking out of the box and make myself like a tourist to find out why there are so many tourists in Pattaya [Read More]

Posted in Post Box
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