Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bangkok Life May 2006

May as been a hard working month, I have done a lot of work in the garden, or should I say to get the garden ready for putting turf down.

Working in these temperatures is no joke! After around three tonne of hardcore moved and eighty bags of stone put down I feel knackered. Unfortunately Nuch doesn’t think I have done it quick enough, and is becoming impatient for me to finish. Maybe she was right and we should have got someone to do it.

I did my first MTB race early in the month, this as really affected my body in a bad way, and I should have done some training for it, not just waded straight in.

Rainy season is now with us, the temperatures in the day are climbing and in the evening it is pretty much a given that we’ll experience a hard shower. The storms are fantastic.

Hua Hin is now my favourite coastal resort, I would love to go and live there. It as everything you need, nightlife, restaurants, white sands, clear sea and superb Hotels. I will try and get back there as often as possible.

Travelling will start to become not so frequent now, Nuch, who is five months pregnant is beginning to feel uncomfortable on long journeys, so our trips out will become less frequent.

Got to go, I’m going to meet Phil who is over in Bangkok with his friend mark trying to sell one of his Condo’s.

Speak to you all soon.

Urban Legend

In this modern era of conspiracy theories and urban legends. I’m now in the position to substantiate a popular Bangkok tale.

“My mate slept with a Lady boy and didn’t know it”

To save the blushes of the poor bloke I will change his name, for the sake of this tale I’ll call him Mark, his two so called friends I will call Chris and Phil.

It was Marks first time in Bangkok, and being a bit of a lad was ready for a night out in the seedier side of Bangkok. Go-Go Bar after Girlie bar was visited on his first night, only being off the plane for a couple of hours, the stronger Thai beer had a quick effect. Alex’s Bar, The Dubliner, Long Horns, Sharkies! All the usual places were visited. Phil then suggested a trip to Pat pong, which is now a famous tourist trap were a lot of the Lady Boys work.

Anyone who doesn’t know what to look for in a Lady Boy would think he had just walked into a bar with fantastic amount of lovely looking ladies, alas this bar is 80% Lady Boys. They do look good, but they are blokes at the end of the day. Within five minutes Mark had a bikini clad man on his knee. Obviously his two mates knew straight away what was happening. Fine pert (silicon) boobs, fairly tall, way too much make up and big feet. All the giveaway signs.

Another five minutes had passed, and Marks date had her civvies clothes on, bar fine paid, fee agreed and off Mark went to his Hotel for a night of errrr!

The following morning his friends were more than keen to find out what occurred the previous night. Well! Mark explained that the woman was a nymphomaniac, and this is were anyone with a sensitive nature should stop reading. She used a lot of KY gel and loved bottom sex more than conventional sex; this was worth as she gave a good blow job! She was also a fantastic kisser. Upon being told he had just spent the night with a bloke, Mark seemed fairly none plussed, he just didn’t want it spreading around.

So the moral of the story is “Choose better Mates”

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wot! No World Cup

Since England qualified for the world cup i've been looking forward to the tournament with eager anticipation.

This morning the UBC TV Magazine came through the door, straight away I knew there was a problem. Instead of Bobby Moore gallently holding up the world cup, there was a picture of a gay tennis player on the cover and the words "The hottest sport of the month" eeerrrr, I don't think so. The French Open might as well not be taking place, as I believe the final clashes with one of the group matches of the world.

Why they are not showing it defeats me! All year we have had the build up and profile of the teams on the sport channels. It looks like I will have to trawl quite a few seedy bars bars in downtown Bangkok to find a TV with it on.

As a footnote to this post, I have found out that one of the Thai terrestial stations will be showing most games. alas this means a Thai guy doing at very bad impression of Andy Gray and adverts during the game.

This is not good, not good at all!!!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Like most people in the west I read Dan Browns "Da Vinci Code" a couple of years ago and throughly enjoyed it.

The plot, and the way it linked various conspiricy theories together were an eye opener.

I have been looking forward to the film for ages, Tom Hanks being a great actor and Ritchie Cunningham being a top director.

On the eve of the release of the film, the Thai Censor board bowed to the Facist Christian minority and issued a warning at the beginning of the film stating that the film was not a true story. They also proposed to cut the last ten minutes of the film.

Censorship in Thailand is very bizarre! Pornography, Smoking, drinking and bad lanquage are not allowed. You can show a group of Thai teens in a reality show based in an old Cambodian Death Camp being ripped to bits by ghosts which really pissed the Cambodians off. You can also show sickly sweet romantic flicks that should be banned.

The distributor of the film called the bluff and appealed stating that if the film was cut, they would pull the film from Thailand. Obviously a message was passed down and a few palms greased with silver, because an hour later the film was back on with only the disclaimer at the beginning.

After all this, the film wasn't that good anyway. It did not have the great story telling of the book, missing large swaves of the book out. Most of the characters portrayed themselves well, apart from Tom Hanks whose portrayal of Robert Langdon bordered on piss poor. So after all that I give the film 3/5 and the Thai Censor Board 5/5 for the forsight for money making.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Thai Websites

Thailand is awash with web sites offering information, Hotels, resorts and good laughs. I have used many of these in the past for the above reasons.

I’m going to put them in a list on this page and also in the contents bar at the side under “Useful Thai Sites”

Have a good look at them, like what you see and get over here to see me.

Sites about Thailand by Expats;

Stickman Bangkok


Baron Bonk

Thailand Stories

Thai news with a brilliantly funny twist;

Farang Affairs

Good Websites for hotels;


Asia Travel

Thailand Tourism

Spy on your loved one;

Thai Spy

There are also plenty of guide books out there for sale. Unfortunately due to the PC nature now endemic in the UK. You only get the sanitised version of Bangkok. Most only give you details of Floating Markets and Temples, plus all the expensive, safe restaurants to eat at.
I have not come across one that tells you how much a Lady drink is in Soi Cowboy or what do you get for your money at a ping pong show down Patpong. As far as eating goes, there are ten billion places to eat in Bangkok! Most of them serving good, cheap food 24 hours. The usual guide books shy away from this, being as they were probably written by a guy in the Transit Lounge at Don Mueang Airport.

Lastly, I’m always here for any questions, you or your friends have.

Hua Hin

Hua Hin is a large resort about 220km west of Bangkok. On a good day you can do it three hours. You go through Cha Am to get to it, being a further 20km south of there.

On my visit to Cha Am last year, Nuch and I had visited Hua Hin; in all fairness I didn’t like it much. A little like Skeggy.

The race I did last weekend was very close to Hua Hin so we decided to find a hotel in the south of the resort. The hotel was very nice and right on the beach. The Hua Hin I had been to before was the central/Downtown area. It was a little run down and shabby. Most of the rest of the resort is very modern and as plenty of good restaurants and plenty of nightlife. Cha Am is a very nice resort, but a bit quiet on the nightlife front.

The beach our hotel was on as got to be the best beach I have ever been on. Classic white fine sand, no litter, very few people and lovely hot clear sea. What more do you need?

We found a small market where we ate very nice fried noodles, and later found a restaurant in a little Bay, the food was great.

I could definitely live in Hua Hin. It is the centre of the Thai Golf resorts, loads of places to ride my bike. The prices for new condos are still fairly cheap. A one bed Condo for around £28000.

On the way back, like most Thai roads there are vendors on the side of the road. They seem to do a good business. The produce they sell will change from district to district. We started off with Lychee sellers, and then came the sea salt sellers then the roast chicken sellers. To finish off there are the sellers of a strange fruit that can be squeezed to make almost pure cane syrup or squeezed and then dried to form sugar cakes. Strange fruit! Nuch isn’t sure of the name. The picture shows Nuch buying a kilo of Lychee.

Haew Narok Waterfalls

During my trip to Khao Yai, I visited the Haew Narok Waterfalls. They are very close to the entrance. There is a good Car Park and several places selling drinks and food.

Be warned, the 1km walk to the falls is not for the faint hearted, the last 200m is down an old near vertical wooden step arrangement, quite dicey.

All the way down, the air around you was filled with 1000’s of butterflies like the one in the picture, they were almost tame they came that close.

The waterfall is well worth the hike; they drop about 50M in a big gorge and then split off into smaller falls.

Unfortunately, the climb back up the steps is exhausting! Each step feels like it could be your last. One poor Thai woman was in tears, it looked liked she was telling her husband she couldn’t go on. I know how she felt.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Khao Yai

Khao Yai is the largest of Thailand’s National Parks. It is located about 150km north of Bangkok.

I had planned to go there because I had heard there was a good network of mountain bike trails. There may be, but I didn’t see any. Some of the climbs up the mountains reminded me of the climbs you get on Mallorca.

The main entrance is not very well sign posted; I kept the mountains in front of me and literally stumbled on the Park entrance. The car costs 50baht and the price for Thai nationals are free. Farang (Foreigner) have to pay 200baht. Don’t get me wrong! I don’t mind paying extra. I just wish they would do the same thing in the UK Stuff like the Tower of London should be free to Brits and let Johnny Foreigner pay the high admission prices.

The roads in the park were in first class condition; I drove to the centre of the Park and had a bite to eat at a fried rice Joint. I stopped at a lay by that said it was a panoramic view. I opened the car door and the noise of the insects in the Jungle was staggering, nearly unbearable. I began to trapse off into the jungle when only 20M in, there was a huge spiders web with a juicy spider in it spun between two trees on the path. Disgracion became the better part of valour and I gave way.

I drove up to highest point in the Park, the road got a little bit dodgy towards the top, but I persevered. The view at the top was stunning, and the air was a lot colder. Maybe 5-6C colder than down in the valley.

On my way back I stopped at a waterfall, I’ll do a set post on them, they were well worth it.

So make a day of it in Khao Yai. It would be worth getting out of the city for the day.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mountain Bike Hell

Last weekend I foolishly decided to compete in my first MTB race for seven years. God knows what made me do it. I’ve been riding my bike a bit, but I’m nowhere near as fit as I should be. I’ve done this before and the shock of how unfit I am usually shocks me into doing something.

The event was at Hua Hin. A coastal resort about 200km from our house. We found a hotel, one I will speak about in a later blog. The course was only about 10km away in the mountains at a army base. I went the afternoon before to sign on and get my number.

The following morning I lined up on the start line. Probaly twice the weight of the whippet like bloke next to me. I hadn’t pre ridden the course, it was only 35km so should’nt be too hard.

The gun went off and away I went. I was quite pleased with myself, I kept up with the lead group for about 400m before they vanished into the distance. I settled down with a group of six riders, the course was technical, but flat.

Then we reached the mountains, the path was vertical, maybe at my fittest ten years ago I might have been able to ride them, but now I was struggling to walk up them. I was KNACKERED! The downhills were no better. I was in trouble, but at least I had done about 7km, so I carried on. At the top of the next climb there was sign on a tree that said 3km. Shit! I thought I had done triple that. I had already drunk one of my two bottles. No way was I going to finish.

The terrain was a jungle, lots of creatures making loud noises, insects, humidity. The temperature at that time of day was nearing 40C. My arms were red with sunburn, I was getting delirious and I still had 25km to go. I came to a tarmaced road at the top of a mountain. I could see the race HQ in the valley below. So I’m sorry to report I packed.

Yes, I’m very unfit and yes I’m going to do something about it.

I will be back next year, hopefully fitter and more prepared.

Driving in my Car II

Thailand road users have some how managed to surpass themselves in the poor quality of their driving.

I never thought I would be able to say this, but each and everyday I see examples of driving that can only be discribed as dangerous and life threatning.

The first picture is a common sight, your driving along at 100kmh in the left hand lane of an expressway. From out of no where, some idiot (usually a Taxi driver) comes up on the left and side of you, his wing mirror can only be a fag paper thickness away from knocking your mirror off. Is isn't worth worth flicking the V's. They never look at you. The problem is it is an excepted part of driving in Thailand. The Police are too busy collecting fines/bribes off moped riders to care.

Another major worry is the ability to stack unsafe loads on vehicles that at best should have been scrapped ten years ago. The second picture shows a lorry with what must be a ten tonne load being held up only by its greedy bars.

I have had discussions with several Thai people as to the Thai driving style. They get very affronted when you criticise the driving. It as to be said, even allowing for little quirks and traditions, Thai driving is shocking. If someone drove like this in the UK, if the Police didn'y book them first an angry mob of road ragers would have baseball battered him to death at the side of the road.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sin in Singapore

We caught the overnight train from KL to Singapore; it is a journey of about 450km. I booked two sleeper beds. Nuch as never has been on a train before, so she was nervous about it. The Train Station at KL is a work of art. It looks more like something you would expect in Tokyo. Very modern and functional. The fare was only £13 return. It’s a great way to travel, a good adventure.

After about fifteen minutes into the journey, and I’d finally settled into my upper bunk bed the problem started. The woman across the isle began to snore with the venom of a pneumatic drill. At first it was funny! Then it became worrying. She was blocking out the sounds of the train. I’m a light sleeper anyway, so I had resigned myself to no sleep and had a good book. Nuch however wasn’t, she sleeps through my snoring every night, and this however was different. Everyone in the carriage was getting up just to see if the woman had smuggled several farm yard animals with her.

In the morning, everyone including Nuch and I were very nasty to her. Talking in load voices about “who was sleeping with a farm yard animal last night”. I actually wanted to throttle her.

It was Monday 1st May, Labour Day. The streets were very quiet. We decided to find a Hotel for the day. A) To get some sleep and B) to get a shower. The Taxi driver took us to three Hotels, all fully booked. He then asked if we were fussy, he knew a Hotel that would have room, so long as we had open minds. Sod that! Just get me to a Hotel. We pulled up and straight away that a Hotel letting rooms for the hour was going to be interesting. We checked into the small room and went straight to sleep.

Around Dinner Time, Nuch realised she hadn’t eaten for a few hours and off we trotted to find some food. Right! This is when things became clear. We were only in the middle of Singapore Red Light Area. Women on the side of the road, who looked very Chinese were wearing next to nothing and parading for all the guys. I had to laugh. I had just come from Bangkok, the Sin capital of Asia to Singapore. Singapore the State where you can be whipped for dropping litter or be-headed for spraying graffiti. Here we were in the middle of a vice den.

We caught a Taxi and headed Down Town. Singapore is a super clean and orderly place. It is also expensive. On a par with London. There does seem to be some night life going on, I would come back here, but harmed with a bit more info. We ate at a Thai Restaurant. You guessed it “Not as good as Thailand”.

On the way from The Hotel back to the Station we were treated to a spectacular view if the Singapore skyline, all lit up at night, it looked fantastic.

Singapore Railway Station is totally opposite to KL. It reminded me of Derby Station circa 1978. Very old, dirty and a news stand that obviously used to be a branch of W H Smith in the colonial days. We did however have a fantastic meal here. I had Fried Blackened Beef in a Chilli sauce with Special fried rice. Fantastic. This meal even rated on Nuch’s “Compared to Thailand” scale as OK.

So Singapore. A first world nation state, but don’t scratch the surface.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Kuala Lumpur

Last week Nuch and I went to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore for a few days. I have always wanted to go to KL to see the Petronas Towers.

We caught an Air Asia flight, this Airline is the region equivalent of Easy Jet. The main difference being is that the staff are a lot more courteous and the planes are always clean. The cost for both of us came to £50 including Tax.

On arrival at the new LCCT Terminal (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) we caught a bus at £1.50 to take us the 60km into the City Centre. We weren’t staying in a Hotel as we were going by train to Singapore that night. The Coach took us to the New Railway Station in KL; it was here we would catch the train to Singapore. I stashed the bag in a locker and we went to find some food.

Nuch like most Thai’s did not like leaving the Mother Country. This was no exception, Nuch had Noodles for lunch, but these weren’t as good as Thai noodles. Then we went to a Food Court to satisfy her current Pregnant Appetite. Again the food we had was no where near as good as what she as in Thailand. This is very debatable!

We caught a Taxi to the Petronas Towers, they are big, and they dominate the skyline. I had hoped to go up them, but alas we were too late to go up. Underneath there is a Huge Shopping Mall. I was amazed by the number of shops that would not look out of place on a UK High Street. Top Shop, Body Shop, Zara and M & S. I must admit I spent a fair bit in M & S. The price was the same, and they had my size, which is not the case in Thailand.

We had four hours to kill. This is when KL lived up to its reputation. It’s boring! It as no Down Town. There is a China Town on Prajling Street and errr????? That’s it. It a lovely clean first world city; however there is not a lot to do. It hasn’t the atmosphere of Bangkok or New York.

After a fairly awful KFC we trudged to get the bag and stock up on a few provisions for the train trip. In the shop I was in seventh heaven! They sold Ribena, Twirls, Cadbury’s Chocolate and Picnic bars.

So KL will be remembered for having a good M & S. Not something their Tourist Board will be happy about.

Bloody Hot!

Blinkin’ heck its been hot!

Average daily temperatures have been nudging the very high 30’s, add into the mix over 80% humidity and your clothes, shower and aircon take a beating.

Now in Bangkok they have what is called the “Heat Index” This basically is the temperature your body thinks it is. So when the temperature in the shade is 37C, the heat index will be nearer 48C, that’s 119F in old money.

Basically bloody hot!

I’ve enclosed a picture of my clock in my Office. Look at the temperature.the health and Safety should be told….

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bangkok Life April 2006

April as been a very good month. Nuch is beginning to get over her morning sickness and i'm slowly getting back on a more financial footing.

April will go down as the month of Songkran. The water festival I described earlier in the month was a complete mad time. The Thai's go barking mad and everyone seems to enjoy theirselves. Anyone who doesn't want to participate heads out of country. Asked why we didn't have the festival in the UK? Basically at this time of year everyone would freeze too death!

Jungle, VC everywhere
I've leased another car, which means I can get about alot more. Last week I went to the Khao Yai National Park. It is around 150km from Bangkok. It is Beautiful. Proper Jungle, loads of vistas and Mountains. Next time I go I will definately take my bike. The roads are just like Alpine roads, long climbs with sweeping bends. I will talk more about it in a later blog.

April also saw Nuch's Birthday. Birthdays aren't as big a thing as they are in the UK, all Nuch wanted were a few plants for the garden. So I went an

d bought the four trees in the picture. The Lelawadee Tree as beautiful Flowers that smell fantastic, when we walk out the door of the house we can smell them.

Got to now, I hope everything is well with everyone I know. The Thailand adventure continues....