Thailand for Foodies – Dishes you HAVE to Try when in Thailand

Thailand for Foodies – Dishes you HAVE to Try when in Thailand

thai chillies

Thailand for Foodies – Dishes you HAVE to Try when in Thailand

 

Thai dishes are often portrayed as spicy and meaty with no room for any other kind of cuisine. It isn’t as predictable as you may think, spices might be involved but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a predictable taste as their aromatic and wonderfully tasting herbs are something of a must try. So here are some dishes you have to try when on holiday in Thailand – enjoy!

Panang Curry.

This dish is apparently a must for anyone on holiday in Thailand.

It is made with either Beef of Chicken and has flavors and aromas that reference the distant lands of India and Malaysia. This dish includes fresh herbs and a wide range of spices which are sure to keep you enjoying the taste and smell of your meal. It is a common dish and is served in most tourist resorts but is a must for traditional Thai cuisine.

It is quick for chefs to prepare so there should be no trouble getting the meal served quickly for you to enjoy!

Tom Yum Baked Chicken

Thailand is famous for spicy cuisine and this is apparently one of its ‘musts’ for visitors to experience the tongue tingling spices available.

Basically its Thai baked chicken which consists of herb and spice paste which the chicken is bathed in and then baked. It is very popular amongst tourists so no doubt it should be easily found in any tourist establishment. Its popularity is probably due to its renowned spicy and zesty taste due to the use of red chilies and lime juice.

This dish clearly should be on anyone’s list of traditional  to try.

Shrimp Green Curry.

This meal is obviously a sea food based meal which offers a wonderful mixture of tastes for the most well travelled cuisine expert.

Made with coconut milk, green curry paste, aubergine and fish sauce this meal also has the slight but unmistakable taste of Thai herbs and spices to make this dish a must try. In popular tourist places the green curry will probably be cooked with chicken or pork but if you can try to locate it, the shrimp based green curry is well worth finding.

Reportedly this Thai curry is best when found in local villages rather than in a tourist resort.

Mixed Vegetable Stir Fry

This dish is locally known as “Pad Pak Ruam Mit” and is very easily found everywhere in Thailand with it being not only a local favourite but a popular tourist meal too.

It does exactly what it says on the tin, made with mixed vegetables such as Chinese broccoli leaves, garlic, oyster sauce and Chinese cabbage it is a very wonderful tasty dish. There is a choice of what to have this dish served with if you choose to have it as a side dish; you may find that it is commonly served with either steamed rice or some curries.

Either way, this dish should be tasted whether you have it as a solitary meal or with a spicy curry.

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The Top Beach Destinations In Thailand

The Top Beach Destinations In Thailand

thailand beaches

The Top Beach Holiday Destinations In Thailand

 

Thailand is a country that is quickly developing an excellent as a tourist destination, and the range of amazingly beautiful beaches, bays and coves in the country is likely to see this reputation continue to grow.  The small nation of Thailand is one that is distinctly split between the mountainous north and the low lying coastal areas and islands of the south of the country, with the best of the beach resorts in the south of the country.  Although it enjoys a warm climate throughout the year, it is worth noting that Thailand has a significant monsoon season which is worth checking before booking your holiday.

 Patong

The town of Patong is one of several beach holiday resorts that can be found on the island of Phuket, and although it was devastated during the tsunami in 2004, it has been entirely rebuilt.  The sandy beaches of Patong are perfect for relaxing, and for those more adventurous types there are plenty of exploring opportunities around the island.  Among the most attractive features for those considering a trip to the town is the vibrant nightlife, and like much of the country the prices for nightclub entry and drinks are particularly reasonable.

Krabi

The town of Krabi is another excellent destination for those looking for easy access to top notch beaches, and beaches such as Phra Nang are among the most beautiful in the country. The azure waters and the golden sand on these beaches are often surrounded by idyllic unspoiled woods and they are also a great base for activities such as kayaking and snorkeling.  The town has grown significantly over recent years, with many more chain stores being found in the area, and accessibility to the region has improved with the opening of KrabiAirport.

Koh Samui

The island of Koh Samui is the second largest of the islands to be found of the coasts of Thailand, and this has long been one of the most popular destinations for those heading to the country for beach holidays.  The peaceful sands and clean waters are an idyllic setting for a beach holiday, while the exciting and vibrant nightlife in the resorts is almost as good as that to be found in the capital Bangkok.  Lying further south than much of the country, Koh Samui also benefits from a drier climate, with the monsoon season being much shorter between January and September.

The coral reefs that lie off the coast of Koh Samui have also helped to make this idyllic island popular among divers and snorkelers, and provides a change of pace after a few days relaxing on the beach.

Koh Phi Phi

The island of Koh Phi Phi is a destination that has grown in popularity over recent years, and the island tends to be quieter and more idyllic than some of the more popular tourist destinations in the country.  As with many other islands in this area, the excellent beaches and clear waters are ideal for those looking to enjoy activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling, and its waters can boast some of the best marine life in the region.  The island was largely untouched until the film ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio brought the island to international attention in the 1990s, and it is still much more traditionally Thai than some of the tourist islands.

Koh Lanta

The island of Koh Lanta is another of the Thai isles that can claim to be sparsely developed in terms of the tourist industry, and many visitors will find it much closer to the Thailand that people would have found decades ago.  The beaches here are again amongst the best in the country, and the sensational waters are excellent for swimming and other water activities.  The majority of tourist accommodation on Koh Lanta is still in bamboo huts, which will really give people a taste of the traditional Thai lifestyle.

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Cultural Things to See and Do in Bangkok

Cultural Things to See and Do in Bangkok

wat po, Bangkok

Cultural Things to See and Do in Bangkok

 

Visitors to Bangkok craving the authentic Thai experience can find themselves frustrated by the modern-day trappings of this thriving metropolis and leave yearning for more full immersion cultural activities. But little wellsprings of tradition still flourish in and around Bangkok where you can savor the exotic sights, smells, sounds and tastes of this fascinating culture.

Wat Pho

Escape the hustle bustle of modern Bangkok when you step into this space that’s been held sacred for centuries. Lovingly maintained and rebuilt when necessary, the 80,000 square meter complex is aligned to the cardinal points and houses thousands of artworks celebrating Buddhism, culminating with the impressive gold-plated reclining Buddha. The Northern section has always been dedicated to the healing arts is currently home to Thai massage classes with pavilions where students practice their skills on visitors. The southern compound also exudes serenity as home to a working Buddhist monastery complete with resident monks. The entry fee includes a bottle of water you’ll be grateful for in the oppressive heat and humidity — which is why it’s preferable to visit early in the day equipped with shade hats and hand fans.

Rose Garden in Nakhon Pathom

Treat your five senses to the delights of a meticulously landscaped flower garden just a 30 minute drive from Bangkok, making it a perfect daylong escape the frenzy of the city. Covering 75 acres, it’s idyllic for taking gentle strolls, relishing leisurely picnics, taking in traditional shows and shopping. And it’s not just roses in the garden, there are pavilions featuring elephant performances that are fun for all ages and there’s even an exquisite golf course. Guided tours complete with transportation are available, but if you’re traveling with small children it is recommended to hire a taxi cab for the trip.

Khon at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre

Although this classical ‘30s theater occasionally earned its keep as a movie house, it’s now restored to its original glory to offer authentic performances of classical Thai dance, music and theatre. Every Thursday and Friday night, the Hanuman Chakri Royal Courtiers perform traditional reenactments of courtly drama and divine providence. On weekends, the Khon Thai Masked Dance uses high-tech lighting and sound to enhance legendary storylines like Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana epic poem. Open seven days a week, tickets can be purchased online or at the Grand Palace ticket office.

River Cruise on Rice Boat

Glide serenely down the Chao Phraya River through Bangkok on a lovingly restored antique rice barge that doesn’t skimp on the comforts. Romantic cruises include traditional Thai dinners complete with local entertainment and English-speaking guides that help you appreciate, and photograph, the City of Angels’ riverside icons like the impressive Temple of Dawn and the illustrious Royal Barges Boat House. Drift along under remarkable bridges outlined in tiny lights as night falls and the skyline of Bangkok defines itself against the darkness.

Tip! Must Try:

Thong Ta Resort And Spa – Suvarnabhumi Airport

Searching for hotels in Bangkok can be daunting was so many choices, so world-wise travelers look for full-service facilities like this one that offer well organized, convenient airport pickup and delivery service. Recover from jet lag in their hot tub, catch up on your laundry and indulge in the 24/7 room service. Relax in air-conditioned comfort at the bar and restaurant and use the free Wi-Fi or enjoy reading newspapers in their outdoor area on beautiful days. The friendly tour and travel desk can help you arrange car rentals or guided excursions into Bangkok or day trips to fascinating historical sites like Angkor Wat.

 

Image(c)poo-tee-weet

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The Top Cities And Towns To Visit In Thailand

The Top Cities And Towns To Visit In Thailand

thailand

The Top Cities And Towns To Visit In Thailand

 

Thailand is one of the most interesting and diverse countries in Asia, and with regions ranging from low lying river valleys to high mountainous areas, it is a great place to visit.  The majority of places to be found in Thailand are actually quite small, with only eleven cities with a population of over a hundred thousand people.  As a city, Bangkok dominates the rest of the country, but this is not to say that the rest of Thailand isn’t worth a visit, with many fascinating places to be found across the country.

 Bangkok

As the capital of Thailand, Bangkok is the only real city in the country to have a true metropolis style district of skyscrapers, yet the city still has a number of parks and green areas around the city.  One of the real experiences for people visiting the city is that it is one of the few places in the world which has a true water bus network, and a trip on one of these during rush hour is certainly an experience.  Bangkok is also particularly famous for its vibrant nightlife, with a series of nightclubs and venues to be found throughout the city, particularly in the popular tourist areas.

Bangkok is also well known for its exceptional Buddhist temples and the wonderfully ornate GrandPalace.  Although the palace is still in use for ceremonial purposes, it now boasts a museum and is largely open to visitors.

Phuket

The city of Phuket is the largest city on the island that shares the same name, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.  The coastal city is within easy reach of many beautiful beaches and natural forests, and enjoys consistently warm weather throughout the year.  However, it is also known for its tropical monsoon climate that means the best period to visit the city is between December and April when the chances of being caught in the significant rainstorms are reduced.

The city did suffer from the effects of a Tsunami in 2004, but the hotels and tourism facilities in the city have all been restored.

Chiang Mai

The city of Chiang Mai is the most important city in the north of the country, and is set in a mountainous region that has some truly beautiful areas.  With over 300 Buddhist temples and religious buildings to be found throughout the city, there is a wealth of sightseeing to be done with Wat Chiang Man being a particularly popular site with visitors.

With so many high mountains surrounding the city, it is natural that many visitors to Chiang Mai do so to enjoy the surrounding countryside, with the DoiInthanonNational Park an important destination.  There are also many organized trekking groups that take visitors out into the wilds around the city and guiding them on visits to some of the hill tribes that still live largely untouched by modern civilization.

Buri Ram

Although Buri Ram is by itself quite a small town, it is the nearby PhanomRungHistoricalPark that makes it of great interest to visitors.  The exquisite temple at Phanom Rung was built during the period when the area was a part of the Khmer empire, and is located near an extinct volcano.  The large temple building has been significantly restored, and was a Hindu shrine dedicated to the god Shiva.

Udon Thani

Another city that owes its inclusion to its vicinity to an important historical site is Udon Thani.  The city itself does boast a number of interesting Buddhist temples, but it is the nearby archaeological site of Ban Chiang that gives it real significance.  The Bronze Age settlement was discovered in the 1960s, and some of the best discoveries of Bronze Age pottery were found at the site.  Many of these are on display at the BanChiangNationalMuseum, and include some particularly attractive pottery bearing distinctive swirl designs.

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Learning to cook in Thailand

Learning to cook in Thailand

Thai cooking-school

There is the joke that when a man suffers a midlife crisis he buys a sports car. Following my divorce I decided to go ahead and indulge my own near midlife crisis by packing it all up and traveling. Inspired by something I read in book club about traveling women, I figured why not? If they could do something different, I could too. (In fact if enough women start expressing their midlife crisis via travel maybe we can develop our own cultural stereotype).

However, being a middle-aged, American woman and not a young free-spirit backpacker type I knew I would need some structure in my daily life. I did a lot of reading and a lot of research before deciding on Thailand as my destination. It was far away, would be a fairly drastic culture change but wouldn’t be too far off the beaten path. 

 

 Since I am a city person I figured I would start in Bangkok, the capital and most famous city in the country. I was a little overly ambitious and via the web I signed up for cooking classes, language classes and Thai boxing classes before I even boarded the plane. I even prebooked all my hotels. Normally, I am not so nuerotic and I just book the first few nights but I was so excited by the trip, that I booked my whole trip right away. I need it. I spent four nights in Bangkok and then three nights in Phuket. I finish my trip with a beautiful Ko Samui hotel right now the beach. I was amazed at how cheap the hotels were. In fact everything from the hotel to the cooking class was really affordable!

Upon arrival I found that I had underestimated just how exhausting adjusting to normal life in a foreign country would be. I struggled through two days of Thai boxing before giving that up. I stayed in my language classes longer but was by no means a star pupil. However, my cooking classes became my real love and obsession.

There are now over 40 different cooking schools in Bangkok. Most of them are reputable but do your research before choosing one. Most schools teach in English but dishes, styles and prices vary. I chose a school with an informal environment that was near where I was staying and ended up loving it. Probably due to my Southern childhood some of my favorite dishes included fried chicken in Pandan leaves and deep-fried fish cakes with seasonings. My best friend laughed when she heard wondering why I had to go all the way to Thailand just to deep-fry chicken and fish. To my credit I also learned to both prepare and enjoy hot n’ sour prawn soup and coconut rice with mangoes. At first I was fairly wary of the prawns and had my doubts about mango as a desert but grew to love both of these dishes.

One great thing about learning to cook in another country is that it forces you to learn to shop in another country. I didn’t just hop in the car and go to Wal-Mart like I would at home. In order to prepare these dishes with fresh ingredients I had to learn to figure out the world unto itself that is the Thai market. Thai markets for the uninitiated are a truly amazing experience. My first time there I experienced sensory overload from the overwhelming number of stalls, colors, smells and people. But after a month of cooking school, I was weaving my way to my favorite produce stall right along with the locals.

My trip was a success; it certainly broke me out of my routine and helped me build my confidence. It wasn’t specifically where I went or what I learned but just the act of doing something- that was important for me.

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Things to Be Careful About in Thailand

Things to Be Careful About in Thailand

bangkok street scene, Thailand

Things to Be Careful About in Thailand

 

When you are visiting a country such as Thailand it is always best to understand a bit about the culture that you shall encounter and certain types of behavior that you should avoid. The way the Thai people view and talk to each other or what is acceptable can be vastly different to what you expect and some off the cuff remarks could be inflammatory even although that is not your intention.

The first thing is that Thailand is a Buddhist country and it is difficult to get away from Buddhist symbolism during your visit. It is essential that you dress politely if you are visiting any religious place so you should not show your legs or arms as you may discover you are refused entry. Things are more relaxed on the beach areas such as in Phuket but it’s always good to know in advance.  You also have to respect their beliefs at all times as it is not a joking matter with their religion for them and the tolerance of what may be interpreted as a little joke is very low.

You shall probably already know about the Buddha. However in Thailand you should not climb over any statue no matter the size and in some places you are not allowed to take photographs of certain Buddhas so it is important to ask before you take. With monks, they are not allowed to touch or take anything from a woman, so do not ask. Also the monk shall not shake your hand even if you are a man and if you are on a bus look out for seats left especially for monks. It is disrespectful to sit on them.

Apart from religion the other main sector that you should not be disrespectful to is the King and the royal family. It is actually against the law to say or do anything that is disrespectful to them as they are revered by the people and anything that is seen as damaging or against them is a very serious matter.

These are only a few of the things you have to keep in mind when visiting Thailand. There are others which are regarded more as personal etiquette when greeting people but due to its position within Thai society things connected to religion take on extra significance. One of my favourite places was its capital city Bangkok so make sure you don’t miss out on that.

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