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Sawasdee! Welcome to Thailand Musings!

Thai Girl – Thai Brides I first went to Thailand in 1997 and immediately fell in love with the country. Thailand at that time to me was mysterious and exotic, full of potentials and pitfalls. From Chiang Mai in the north to metro Bangkok to Koh Samui and Phuket in the south, I was totally intrigued and enamored with Thailand. Little did I know that one day I would find a girl, Thai of course, that would change my life. Fast forward to 2010 and here I am after 13 years and many trips to the LOS sharing, with the help of my Thai wife Golf, my experiences and knowledge of Thailand, Thai culture, travel in Thailand and Thai girls with you here at Thailand Musings. Thailand may have lost some mystery for me, but it is still exotic and wonderful and I will always remember that first feeling when I stepped out into the Bangkok smog for the first time. With the help of my Thai bride I am learning more every day and am glad to share it with all of you.

01 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Thailand Musings Moving

The post below will be going live on my new home at today at noon EST. I’m sending it out herre first because once I make the move I believe that this feed subscription will no longer work and you will need to come on over to the new home and re-subscribe. Yes I am very excited and I’m looking forward to seeing all my old friends over at my new home. Stop by and say “Hi” and subscribe to the new feed.

Hi everyone! I’m pleased and excited to welcome my long time readers and subscribers as well as all the new visitors to my new home here at ThaiVisa. If you are already a subscriber to Thailand Musings then don’t worry, I will be writing the same style of material over here at ThaiVisa. In fact, I will likely be writing a lot more of it then I have in the past, so if you enjoy my musings you are in for a treat. To those just meeting me for the first time I hope to see you around here for a very long time and get to know you all better as we go down the rabbit hole that is Thailand together. And before I go any further let me also thank George who has been kind enough to give me a new (and more spacious) home here at ThaiVisa.

To those who don’t know about me from the old Thailand Musings my name is Steve and I am an American who has been visiting Thailand for going on 14 years now. Several years ago I married a wonderful Thai woman who made an honest man out of me and through that marriage the idea to start Thailand Musings was born. The blog was a way for me to share my own thoughts and experiences about Thailand while (hopefully) giving something back to others who were looking for information about Thailand. Over the past 3 ½ years I have written about my views on Thai culture, relationships, language, posted some authentic Thai recipes, did some news reporting and have recently started focusing more on the tourism aspect of Thailand. I’ve also been able to meet some outstanding people through the blog and hear some wonderful stories. And I hope to continue in that vein over here at ThaiVisa.

Chances are you won’t always agree with me and that’s fine. Chances are I will be wrong in some instances and your comments will help me develop a different viewpoint about Thailand. And hopefully I can do the same for you.

Moving forward I have many different plans for adding content to the blog, both in terms of written content as well as pics and video. In most cases the content here is going to be geared more for the tourist or first time visitors to Thailand. I think ThaiVisa forum has many of the expat type questions covered very well and I wouldn’t want to compete with that  With that being said, I do hope that all of you living in Thailand still take the time to come over and visit and leave comments to add to the conversation here. Your knowledge and experience is invaluable, especially for the new comers. The strength of ThaiVisa has always been its members and I hope that proves to be true for my musings on ThaiVisa as well.

Before I start getting called out I will make it clear from the start that I am not currently living in Thailand. The reason for this is twofold. First, we recently celebrated the birth of a baby girl and have decided that we should wait until after her first birthday before bringing her to Thailand. Secondly, my wife is awaiting the approval of her U.S. citizenship. So, at least for the next 6 months we will be staying here in the States and I will be drawing on memories and past experiences for my inspiration. Combining that with current events in the Kingdom I should have plenty to keep me busy writing and you all busy reading.

Let me close by saying that I am always no more than a comment or an email away if you have any questions or concerns or just want to say “Hi”. While I expect to be kept quite busy running the blog, I always try to answer all my personal emails and I will continue to do so. I am also open to ideas for posts so if there’s something you would like me to write about don’t hesitate to ask.

Popularity: 2% [?]

19 November 2010 ~ 4 Comments

What effect does age have on a relationship?

Sawasdee ka friends and I hope you are all well,

I would like to get back to talking about relationships again this week because yesterday I caught up with some friends and had some interesting conversations about age and marriage. It was a lovely day actually as I had lunch with some girl friends and then dinner with another friend because in Bangkok I like to do as much in a day as possible as getting around this City can take a lot of time if you are not careful because of traffic.

So I had lunch at a beautiful restaurant called Music Square which is on the Mahidol University Campus, Music Department. I then headed back to Bangkok Central and had a dinner with my friend at the Mall Shopping Centre.

Interesting with my friend over dinner when she told me that she feels bored with her husband. She still loves him but doesn’t have as much feeling anymore and just feels bored. Now she is still same age group as me early 40′s, she has a child of 8 and a reasonably good lifestyle so you would think not too much to complain about really.

What is interesting about her story also is that her and her husband were just boyfriend and girlfriend for 13 years before they got married. This is perhaps longer than normal when you consider that people from the City, meaning mainly Bangkok tend to get married after they finish University. In fact it seems that we are following Western Culture here also as from what I have read and heard now in Bangkok people are getting married later, more like 25, 26 and once they are more established in work and financially settled.

This also seems to apply to Thai women from Bangkok who are much more financially independent themselves today and so less reliant on finding a man for financial reasons.

Things are still the same in the Country areas as they have been for a long time where it is common for couples to get married much younger because they tend to finish education much earlier and start work. In some cases it is not uncommon for girls as young as 16 to get pregnant and for the couple to get married at that age. But in the City it is almost a rule that you must finish University first.

Now the situation with my friend feeling bored made me think about a few things really. First that it shows that it really doesn’t matter when you get married after you meet someone because I know people who have gotten married quite quickly after meeting and some like my friend who have taken a lot longer to get to know each other well first and it really doesn’t seem to make any difference on whether people stay together or not.

But what about if you are much older? For example it seems that when we hit 40′s our attitudes change about life so is boredom more to do with age or her relationship or a bit of both perhaps. I understand it is not uncommon for people to make major life changes around this age whether it be a change in relationship status, changing careers or even moving to another City or even another Country. It does seem that when you look at the statistics in divorce and separation so many occur around this age. So it makes me wonder about my friend is it co-incidence that she is feeling bored with her marriage now as she enters her 40′s.

What do you think? I would be interested to know.

  • Do you think it is better to take longer to get to know a person before you marry or if you feel it is real love then just do it?
  • And what effect do you think age has on a relationship…when we hit the 40 age bracket do you think this changes things in a relationship or not?

As always I love to read your comments so please feel free to share your thoughts as this is how we all learn.

Angella Quote of the Week

‘ The only thing that is stable is change’

Until next week Sawasdee and Chock dee..

With love Hope and Solutions,


Popularity: 2% [?]

12 November 2010 ~ 3 Comments

Thai music as a reflection of our Thai culture

Hello and Sawasdee Ka friends, I hope you are all well,

I always believe you can tell a lot about a country, it’s culture and people by listening to its music. Just like Art, Food and fashion you can understand more about a culture when you read the lyrics of its popular songs.

Actually for me this was one of the ways I began to learn English and it helped me understand about Western culture when I would listen to the songs and try to understand and learn the lyrics to them.

Thailand has many styles of music but just like every other country we always sing about love in some way. But the other day I got to thinking about our music and it struck me that although we may sing about the same things our interpretations of them can be very different, so I would like to share with you a very Thai interpretation of some popular ideas about love which might give you a different insight into Thai culture that you may not have realized before.

Waiting for love

This is a very popular theme for Thai music, in fact I think it might be the most popular. It is the idea of waiting for a love even when you have not yet found the person you are waiting for. You know that person could be out there somewhere and you dream of the day you will be together and how it will be a perfect love. This theme often goes on to include then finding that love and how wonderful it is, a good example of this is the beautiful song by Rose Sirinitip called ‘More than love’ (Maak Gwaa Rak). This is a really romantic song and is very popular in Thailand.


Here is a link to this song which includes lyrics.

I love you but you but you love someone else

This song theme is about a 3 person love triangle which I know is one of the most classic themes for songs all over the world. This theme in Thailand is very often expressed in the style of ‘you love someone but they love someone else’ which makes love complicated because of the issue of whether it is wrong to love someone in this way.

An example of this theme in Thai music is

Poor Boy heads to the City and meets a girl from Hometown.

This theme is so often sung by Thai males because it is about the idea of a young man who must leave his hometown to find work and meets and falls in love with a girl from his hometown or at least from the country like him. This also connects with the theme of waiting for love very often sung by Thai females and you can begin to see how these two themes play out in Thai culture. It is very much about how people from the country understand each other and the struggles in life they are prepared to face together.

A good example of this idea is a song called ‘Num Bao Sao Parn’ by Carabao and Parn.

Our music reflects Thai culture

When I listen to styles of music from around the world I see that Thai music is in fact very soft and quite deep about matters of the heart. We don’t sing about the physical side of relationships because it is not really acceptable and can actually be banned because Thai culture is essentially a Buddhist culture. We are careful about the lyrics to our songs for this reason and so in comparison to Western music this is why our music songs are softer in nature. I think this does reflect our culture quite well in both men and women of Thailand.

So if you like to learn more about Thai culture just listen to some of our Thai music and you will find out more about our culture than you might realize.

Angella Quote of the week

Love is the song of the Soul

Until next week please take care and Chok Dee

with love, hope and Solutions

Popularity: 3% [?]

04 November 2010 ~ 1 Comment

What Do Other People Think of Our Intercultural Relationships?

Sawasdee ka dear friends and Thailand Musers…I hope you are all very well,

Last week I talked about a couple I have been working with and I am excited as next week they will meet for the first time. As I have kind of played Intercultual cupid I am fascinated to see what happens. In fact I shall be making a short video series of this case which I will let everyone know about as I feel it will be a great story to follow.

Recently I have got many comments and emails about relationships between Thais and Western people and also other types of Intercultural relationships. I must admit I just love this subject for many reasons. Of course for me it is the subject of love that is the centre of every relationship whether it is between same cultures or different, but what inspires me so much is how love does cross all boundaries, all creeds, colors and languages.

It never fails to move me when I see or hear about how love can grow between people from completely different lands and have not even met in person yet. Personally and this is from my own experience as well as studying other people I do believe it is important to meet in person as soon as possible as this really does help to confirm that attraction and that love really is there and not just the romantic dream of a love far away.

It is true though that love really can travel any distance and cross any boundary including cultural boundaries. Yes there is much to learn about each other as you progress in an intercultural relationship and probably one of the biggest issues can often be other people, family friends etc, but again it is how you deal and manage these issues that will guide you to your positive outcome. I always believe that if you keep love as your focus, keep love as your compass then you can navigate any difficult waters even though sometimes we need to be brave.

I must admit though one of the reasons I love Australia is because of it’s attitude towards different cultures, even though I wrote about a small incident recently I have seen that even though it is a young country it is very International in it’s view and the people of Australia have such an open view of every culture that lives there. In fact they seem to embrace the differences and it is a wonderful attitude to be associated with and I am very grateful to be able to spend time there.

So what else do I notice that is important in these relationships. Well perhaps the need for understanding and patience might be the biggest requirement especially if there is language differences. Misunderstandings can happen so easily and innocently when there is a language difference but often we only realize it after we have walked the path of confusion and some emotional upset, so the ability to forgive and forget is essential also. Yes of course these are all things that are needed in any relationship but in Intercultural ones they are greater needs.

One thing that also interests me is the attitude and opinion of Western people to these relationships especially those between Thai women and Farang men. What do the men and women of America, England, Australia and Canada think about these relationships? I know that sadly Thai girls get a bad name sometimes but as many of you know that is a minority. But I am curious to always hear about views from other western people on this subject so please feel free to leave comments about this as I would love to hear them, even if they are negative I would like to know anyway.

Angella Quote of the Week

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view”

As always I wish everyone Chok dee with Love, Hope and Solutions

Popularity: 3% [?]

03 November 2010 ~ 4 Comments

Sukhumvit Road Hotels

Because it is one of the major roads in Bangkok and close to the BTS, entertainment areas and many businesses quite a few visitors to Bangkok want to stay in Sukhumvit Road Hotels. Naturally this demand is being satisfied by adequate supply and it’s possible to find great hotels at any price point all along this major Bangkok thouroghfare. Whether you are looking for a cheap place to lay your head at night after a long day of sightseeing, a long stay suite with more room and your own kitchen facilities or a major international chain hotel, there is something for every Thailand traveler along Sukhumvit Road.

Starting in lower Sukhumvit (below soi 10) you will find a nice variety of hotels which will put you close to the nightlife action in the area as well as the Nana BTS station. My favorite hotel in this area is the Adelphi Suites on Soi 8, which is a service apartment type accommodation and is within easy reach of the best in dining and entertainment, key financial districts, and Bangkok’s shopping mecca of Central World, Erawan, Gaysorn Plaze, Central Chidlom and more.

Other good lower Sukhumvit Road hotels are The Grande Sukhumvit Hotel which is on Soi 6 and is very attractively priced as well as having excellent service standards, The Landmark Hotel which has been an excellent place to stay for many years, but is a bit more on the pricey side with rooms starting around $100 a night and The Royal President Hotel which is actually a bit further up Sukhumvit at Soi 15, placing you right by the Asok BTS station. Finally, for those who are looking to be in the heart of the action at Nana Plaza why not try the Nana Hiso Hotel which is a new boutique Sukhumvit Road Hotel right on Nana Nua. I haven’t tried this one yet, but it looks nice and rates start at 2100 baht a night (600 baht surcharge for guests).

As you move further up Sukhumvit you will encounter more of the larger worldwide brands like the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit and the Westin Grande Sukhumvit, both of which are more geared to the business traveler or more luxury oriented tourists. Prices at the Sheraton start at 4000 baht and at the Westin they start at 5300 baht. If you are looking for really nice surroundings, world class service and amenities and an oasis from the heat of Bangkok these are both great choices.

My favorite mid area Sukhumvit Road hotel though is the Windsor Suites. It features large suites and a range of services and amenities like a fitness room, pool , spa and restaurant on site. Best of all it won’t break the bank with rooms starting as low as 1800 baht per night. If you want the convenience of a Sukhumvit Road hotel without the huge price tag of the International names you could do much worse than the Windsor Suites.

If you are looking for even cheaper accommodations far up Sukhumvit then try out IMM Fusion Hotel which is located minutes from the OnNut BTS station. Rates here start as low as 850 baht and the hotel blends Moroccan and Thai influences in a clean and comfortable surrounding. It may not be all that close to the nightlife, but with the BTS you are still just minutes away and you get a nice place at a rock bottom price.

I know there are dozens more great hotels along Sukhumvit, but no time to mention them all here. Comments are open below so if you have your own favorite Sukhumvit Road hotel let us know about it below.

Popularity: 3% [?]

31 October 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Thailand Musings Go(es)! Overseas

Hey everyone, I am sending out this brief post asking for your help to promote Thailand Musings as the BEST Thailand blog. I was recently added to the list of best blogs in Thailand at the website GO! Overseas and they are now holding a contest to pick the #1 Thailand blog. All you need to do is click the link below and vote for Thailand Musings. It will take about 5 seconds of your time and it will make me a very happy guy. So what do you say? Can you please take 5 seconds to add a bit of joy to my life?

Thanks to everyone that voted!

Featured Thailand Blog on GO! Overseas

Popularity: 3% [?]

29 October 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Farang, Age difference and what a Thai woman really wants

Two things I notice a lot of talk about is age difference, between Thai women with older Farang men and also what Thai women really want.

So I have a case study that I would like to share with you that may give you some interesting insights.

I have recently been working with a couple that I introduced to each other. He is an Australian man of 58 and she a Thai woman of 38 so a good enough age difference I feel. Their story is interesting because when I originally met the man he had met  someone else in Thailand, much younger in fact and was trying to understand where he stood with her. After some consultation and also some conversations with her from myself he finally made the decision that things would not work out between them. This is always a sensitive area for me because often I can see this early on but people need time to come to that realization by themselves so gentle advise and sharing of experiences is required as I never tell people what they should do, just help them.

Secondly he then got involved with another Thai woman who unfortunately turned out to be just playing a game with him, yes in fact it  was the classic story of Thai just getting a free ride from Farang when in Thailand and there is much more to this but I won’t go into that here right now.

Now I want to let you know this man is a very good man, he is not stupid he is a very sensitive and genuine person and of course like many Farang men he is impressed and maybe even a little overwhelmed by the beauty of Thai women and their serving nature. This is part of our culture remember, we love to serve and we do have a natural willingness to please. I would also like to add that neither of these relationships were intimate in any way, in fact with one he had trouble even being able to hold her hand while out on a date.

After his first encounter with the very younger Thai woman (in her 20′s) I had offered to introduce him to a slightly older Thai woman (38) I know but at first he wanted to focus on the second woman he had met, not until these left him a little confused and disappointed did he then ask me about the lovely Thai woman I had in mind who I felt might be a good match for him. However as always I like to be careful and make sure both sides have an understanding, I feel this is what is often missing when Farang and Thai get together.

So now he and her have been talking everyday for weeks now and getting on amazingly well. they will meet later this month and already feel they have found “The one“. They have both seen pictures of each other, and have even had talks with each others family. Yes I do believe they now need to meet to be certain but I feel they are starting off on the right foot, with the right intention and understanding. The age difference does not seem to be an issue and in fact I believe at 38 and 58 these are good ages to be together because there is a maturity on both sides.

So what does a Thai woman like this really want?

What I can tell you is it is not about money because she has no need for that. It is about security within a relationship. She feels that he has shown her with his behavior to be a caring and loving man (which I know he is) and that is what she longs for. Someone she can rely on and who thinks about her everyday, just the little things, just the simple things. She feels he can fulfill what she lacks of and has not been able to find in her previous relationships. She just wants some honesty, not perfection just honesty and without lies. Someone she can feel good about bringing into her family and who will be a positive in her life. I happen to know that these are also things that he wants too and so they both share the same wants, hopes and dreams which is a great place to start. Now they have an understanding like that they can feel more secure in getting to know each other properly when they meet.

Now maybe you feel I should not share this yet because we don’t know how things will turn out for them and yes maybe it will not work out but I still feel it is good to share this with people because it shows a perspective on many issues, age difference, culture difference, online relationships and what a genuine Thai woman really wants as well as what I feel is a good way for a relationship like this to begin, and have the best chance of success.

I hope you found this small overview of a real case study interesting and please feel free to comment with any of your own experiences as this is what helps me understand more to be able to help people.

Angella Quote of the week
“Never give up hope to find love”

With Love, Hope and Solutions

Popularity: 3% [?]

26 October 2010 ~ 2 Comments

Koh Samet Bungalows

I’ve posted previously about Koh Samet in “3 Days in Koh Samet” and here’s a guide to get you started prior to your 3 days. Obviously you’ll need a place to stay and you are going to find that there are many Koh Samet Bungalows to choose from if you want a cheap place to stay. The great thing is that most of these places, while possibly a bit Spartan for some peoples tastes, are clean, comfortable and best of all cheap!

One of my favorite places to stay when we visit Koh Samet is Jep Bungalow. I think last time we were there we paid 600 baht a night for a clean room with a comfortable bed, cable television, air conditioning and bathroom. This price also included a buffet breakfast each morning which wasn’t too bad as long as you got there early. One thing I really like about this Koh Samet bungalow is it’s location – right in the center of the beach. So, all the restaurants are close by in either direction as are all the bars for your nighttime enjoyment. Plus the beach outside the bungalow is very nice, the bungalow bar is close and the water directly off the beach is calm and fairly shallow. I highly recommend Jep bungalow if you are looking for a good, cheap Koh Samet bungalow.

I could go on here and try to throw some more Koh Samet bungalows at you, but honestly it isn’t necessary. There are none better than Jep at that price. If you are willing to spend some money then you have quite a few choices, including Sai Kaew Beach Resort starting at 4500 baht per night and the jewel of Koh Samet, Paradee Resort & Spa Hotel starting around 10,000 baht a night. These aren’t really Koh Samet bungalows though and if you have that kind of money to spend on a hotel room you are probably better off going to Koh Samui or Phuket, although the Paradee Villas are quite stunning.

Koh Samet is an exceptional place to get out of the city for the weekend, being so close to Bangkok. When you combine the proximity of the island with the value you get from staying in a Koh Samet bungalow there’s no reason not to get away to the islands as frequently as possible.

Popularity: 3% [?]

23 October 2010 ~ 11 Comments

The Full Name of Bangkok

I’ll bet that most of you don’t know that Bangkok is simply the name used for foreigners, it isn’t the real name of Bangkok. The Thai name for Bangkok has been recognized as the longest place name in the world and even most Thais couldn’t tell you what it is. The full name of Bangkok contains 170 characters (if I counted right) and I’ll bet you can’t pronounce it. If you can then you will be able to really shock some Thais next time you visit Bangkok. So without further ado here is the Bangkok full name both in Thai and transliterated into English:

Krungthepmahanakhon Amornrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharat Ratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amornphiman Awa-tarnsatthit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit
(กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตรโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์)

The interesting and fun thing is that the real name of Bangkok is actually something like a story about the city, or perhaps you would say a history of the city. Below is the translation of Bangkok’s name:

The Capital City of Angels, The Residence of The Emerald Buddha, The Great City of Impregnable, The Gracefulness of the city is steadfast and thriving, The Grand Capital which is abundant with The Nine Noble Gems, it is a Pleasant Capital, The City is abounding with the enormous Royal Palaces that resembles as the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated God, Home of the Gods Incarnate, which was Erected by Vishnu at Indra’s Behest.

So, there you have Bangkok’s real name and the meaning of the name. If you have nothing to do this weekend why not take the time to memorize it; I think it would be fun to pull out from time to time just for the shock value.

Popularity: 4% [?]

23 October 2010 ~ 2 Comments

Koh Chang Weather

The first thing I need to get out of the way regarding Koh Chang weather is that it will be humid no matter what time of year you choose to visit. Koh Chang is a tropical island near the equator so expect a lot of humidity and expect to sweat – A LOT.

As you might expect, the high season on Koh Chang is also the time of year with the best weather, cool and dry with plenty of sunshine. Mid-November through March is the dry cool season and you can expect little to no rainfall, lots of sunshine every day and temperatures around 82-90 degrees during the day and as low as 60-65 at night, especially in December and January.

Temperatures begin rising in March and mid-March through April are the hottest times on Koh Chang. You can expect temperatures as high as 100 degrees on some days in April. Moving into May the weather on Koh Chang changes to what is known as the rainy season and for a very good reason – it rains pretty much every day to one degree or another. Most of the rain occurs after sunset at night, but there can be scattered showers at any time.

The months of June, July and August will see anywhere from 35-40 inches of rain each month. Like I said earlier much of this is at night so you can come to Koh Chang and have sunny days, but there are no guarantees. On the up side, there are very few tourists around during this time so you will have much of the island to yourself. If you are looking for a bit of a bargain and are willing to take a chance with the Koh Chang weather then November is a good time to come as you can still take advantage of the low season prices, there are still few tourists and all the restaurants, bars, tour boats and dive shops are typically open and ready for your business.

By contrast, December and January get a mere 1 inch of rain or so. Even though Koh Chang is in the wettest part of Thailand most of that rain comes during the months of May-September and even then it isn’t the grey overcast constant drizzle you get in northern England and the U.S. Instead, these are tropical downpours typically lasting 30-60 minutes but dropping buckets of water during those short periods. So, you will get sunshine during this time of the year, but the capricious Koh Chang weather means you may find yourself frequently looking for shelter from a downpour.

So, to recap:
Cool and dry – December through March
Hot and hotter – April
Hot and wet – May through September
Toss the dice – November

Personally I have never minded the heat much so April is usually my favorite because low season prices come into effect and they can be half as much as high season prices. In addition, April is when Songkran is celebrated and that is always a good time, no matter where in Thailand you are. If you are coming to Thailand on your 2 week holiday from work then I would say don’t mess with the Koh Chang weather gods and stick to the high season from December to March when you know you will get plenty of clear skies and sunshine, plus nice cool island nights.

Popularity: 3% [?]

21 October 2010 ~ 0 Comments

More thoughts on being apart…

Sawasdee ka friends at Thailand Musings,

I would like to say thank you so much to you for amazing comments to my last post, for sharing such honest stories…I am sure that other people in similar situations will get much from your stories, as do I.

It does seem this is a very sensitive and important subject and so I think worth talking about it some more. Karl I really feel for you and your partner as it does seem you have much to endure being apart. Ivan yes you are right because even 2 weeks can seem like an eternity when the heart longs for love and Stephen thank you for such great attitude you and your girlfriend share in working towards your life together.

I will be open and share some direct experiences for you also. Yes we have had many challenges ourselves with our relationship and being together, but when we talk about it and how we have managed not only to be together so often (and not because we have money) and keep our relationship alive and healthy we find a few very important key things we have done and continue to do.

We always need Hope

We have found that one important key to have when you are apart is hope! We have always had definite plans in place to be together again, even if we cannot say the exact dates we have always had our future plans in front of us. We will always plan that either I will go to Australia or Dean will come to Thailand in so many weeks. Yes we have to be flexible because of work and family but you know what this does is always gives us hope. The hope is we know that being apart is temporary and that we are both working towards being together again and building our life together. Hope is such a basic need for humans in many ways and for many reasons and love is no different. If we lose hope then life becomes so difficult but when we have hope it gives us the strength to carry on.

Taking Action

The other thing we have found is so essential is to take action on your hopes and dreams. I know this can be easy to say and not so easy to do and believe me we have our challenges too…money, family, work and a while ago even the troubles we had here in Thailand made taking action on our plans difficult. But here we are again together and it is down to our determination to take action on our plans, make them real and not just dreams and things we talk about. It sounds simple I know and it is not always easy, you need to be brave sometimes and take a risk or two. But we always say to ourselves what is love for if we are not prepared to act on it and take a risk for it.

Does Absence really make the heart grow fonder?

Well this is not an easy one for sure. Yes it certainly can make the heart grow fonder because it stops us from becoming too lazy about our love. We don’t get the chance to get into a routine because we are always longing to be together and if both are happy to express themselves then it can be very romantic sending messages, videos and letters to each other dreaming of how we will feel when we are together again. The danger is if we allow ourselves to feel to separated from each others lives, if we don’t care enough for the others feelings that they can easily feel jealous, or simply not loved…even though this maybe completely innocent and accidental. we must always remember how the other may feel if we do not contact each other for a while or if we are busy with our own lives. This can create space between two people if we are not careful.

Does Culture make any difference being apart?

Although there are many things that cultural differences can make in a relationship I have not found this has any real effect on being apart. Maybe just that our lifestyles may be a little different in our own countries so it is sometimes hard to imagine each others day to day lives. But this is why I think taking action and being together as often as possible is so important.

For me if two people love each other then it really does not matter about culture or language. The problem with being apart is simply that..being apart…distance. We cannot just give each other a hug and say it’s all ok when we are feeling down. We can’t just share normal life things together like eating dinner, watching a movie or going shopping and this togetherness is what we all crave as  humans.

Maybe this sounds too simple and romantic but if it is really love then love will find a way for us to be together if we keep strong in our belief. Do  everything we can to keep watering the tree of love everyday and do everything we can to be together as often as possible until it becomes reality and permanent in some way. This is life and sometimes to get what we want may mean some discomfort, some challenges and some pain, but if we take the time to really enjoy and experience the good and the bad then it is all worth it.

For me love really is worth it.

I wish all of you who experience similar situations chok dee and please feel free to share your ideas, stories…good and bad with me as I love to learn how to help in some way.

Angella Quote of the Week

“The power of love can make anything come true”

With love, hope and Solutions

Angella – Thai Girlfriend Advisor

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20 October 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Koh Samui Honeymoon

We talk a lot here at Thailand Musings about dating and marriage, but not much about what happens after the marriage, namely the honeymoon. This post is an attempt to start to fill that gap.

I admit that while Golf and I had our honeymoon on Koh Samet (due to time constraints mainly), if I had to do it again I would definitely consider a Koh Samui honeymoon.

If you aren’t already familiar with Koh Samui, it is an island in the Gulf of Thailand, off the coast and near Surat Thani. It has become quite famous as a backpacker hangout in the past, however is increasingly becoming more upscale over the past decade. It’s no wonder that people choose Koh Samui as a marriage and honeymoon location with its tropical weather, stunning white sands and azure blue water it really is a romantic paradise.

Koh Samui is quite easy to get to from Bangkok making for another reason that it has become popular as a honeymoon destination in Thailand. Both trains and buses make the trip from Bangkok to Surat Thani or Chumphon on a daily basis where you can get a ferry or speedboat service to Koh Samui. Even better, you can get a direct flight from Bangkok to Samui International Airport, which opened in 1989 and is considered to be one of the most beautiful airports in the world, designed in harmony with the gorgeous natural surroundings. What better way to start your romantic Koh Samui honeymoon than by arriving at the most beautiful airport in the world.

Most beautiful airport

Because Koh Samui is one of the most beautiful islands in a nation full of beautiful islands, it’s not surprising that many of the resorts offer marriage ceremonies (yes marriages in Thailand are recognized as legal in most countries) as well as honeymoon packages. Below are three excellent resorts and their offerings:

Samui Zazen – This resort could be one of the best on Koh Samui and has twice been recognized as such by Trip Advisor (in 2008 & 2010). They offer stunning natural scenery along with all the expected honeymoon frills; moon-lit walks on the beach, champagne in your room, sea side candle lit dinners, spa packages and couples massages as well as special tours of the nearby islands and adventure packages. Best of all is the fact that they offer the ability to purchase gift certificates, which means your wedding guests have the ability to give you honeymoon gifts as well. Samui Zazen also has dedicated wedding and honeymoon planners on staff to help make your Koh Samui honeymoon absolutely perfect and unforgettable.

Sandalwood Luxury Villas – Sandalwood Villas also offers special packages for marriages and honeymoons on Koh Samui, including welcome drinks, complimentary wine, candle lit dinners and a lover’s spa package. Also voted a top pick in 2010 by Trip Advisor the rooms at Sandalwood come with stunning views of the mountains and the Gulf of Thailand and the Villas have infinity pools overlooking the sea that are magnificent. Dinner at the Sandalwood restaurant is sublime and for those couples who enjoy cooking together there is a special cooking class for couples where you learn to prepare the perfect romantic Thai dinner from shopping to dessert! As a couple who love to cook together I can see Golf and I having a great time with this.

Rocky Resort – While I’m not sure I would pick a resort with “Rocky” in the name for my honeymoon (bad karma?), Rocky Resort might change my mind about that. With absolutely stunning views, beach side couples massages and a romantic candle lit dinner for two overlooking the Gulf of Thailand it’s hard not to think of love at Rocky’s. You can also enjoy private half and full day spa treatments and sunset cruises to make even the most unromantic person melt.

Whether you get married in Thailand or in your home country a Koh Samui honeymoon is a great way to create memories of this special time that will last you the rest of your lives. While I may have missed the boat the first time around I believe a second honeymoon on Samui is definitely in order for one of our upcoming anniversaries (assuming we can get the in-laws to watch Alivia). I think Golf certainly deserves it.

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19 October 2010 ~ 9 Comments

Choosing the Best Thai City

Depending on your reasons for traveling to Thailand, your needs and your own personality you will find that each Thai city has different attractions and turn offs for you. While some people crave the vibrancy of Bangkok, others are better suited to a more laid back city vibe, such as can be found in Chiang Mai. Some visitors and expats desire the western style amenities and activities of Pattaya while others desire a more traditional Thai experience as you would find in Khon Kaen or Udon Thani.

As you might imagine, choosing the best Thai city overall is an exercise in futility, because each person will have a different idea of what is best for them. Personally I prefer the energy and diversity of Bangkok, while others I know can’t stand the crowds, traffic and pollution in Bangkok, but would rather settle in the smaller Chiang Mai, somewhere in Issan for a more authentic Thai experience or even on one of the Thai islands, such as Krabi or Koh Samui.

If you are thinking of traveling or relocating to Thailand the best way to know which Thai city will suit you is to visit Thailand and see for yourself. If that isn’t possible or if you are doing some preliminary research here is a short description of several Thai cities that can help you to narrow down your choices and make your decision a bit easier.

This is the obvious choice or those who love the city life. Bangkok is unquestionably the most Westernized of the Thai cities and has the most diversity of attractions, people, food and culture. If you only have a few days to spend in Thailand you will almost certainly want to spend them in Bangkok as this is where you will find the greatest opportunities for world class shopping, dining and tourism.

Those coming to Thailand for business purposes almost always spend the bulk of their time in Bangkok because this is where you will find the headquarters of many International companies. Additionally, the hotels available in Bangkok are well suited to the business traveler. All of the major hotel chains have signature properties in Bangkok from the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok Thailand to the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok Thailand and the Banyan Tree Bangkok. Each has their own distinctive charm and attraction.

Budget travelers will also find Bangkok to be the ideal stop thanks to the large number of budget accommodations, the cheap and plentiful food and the diversity of experiences to be had, both during the day and night. Those planning on a longer stay may find the Bangkok cost of living to be a bit prohibitive, but rest assured there are many cheaper alternatives if you are willing to forego some things that you take for granted in the West. No matter what type of traveler you are it is quite likely you will find something of interest to you in Bangkok.

While some may ask “Is Pattaya the biggest brothel in the world”, the truth is that Pattaya has much more to offer than just beer bars and go go bars. There may be a large number of Thailand bar girls in Pattaya and you may not believe it, but outside Walking Street, Pattaya can actually be a family friendly destination. Thanks to the large population of foreigners there is are a great number of cheap hotels and restaurants that provide western style service and food. If you are looking for western amenities and food without the high prices in Bangkok then Pattaya may be ideal for you.

Families may be interested in the Pattaya floating market which makes for a nice day trip. You will also find many festivals held in Pattaya, such as the Jazz Festival, Tattoo Festival and Bike Week. If nothing else you could never say that Pattaya is boring. There is always something to do and always something new happening.

If you are looking for accommodations in Pattaya you can check out Le Prive Pattaya Thailand and the Woodlands Suites Hotel Pattaya Thailand for starters.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is world’s away from central and southern Thailand. It can be said that you haven’t really experienced Thailand until you’ve made a trip to Chiang Mai and over 1 million tourists do just that every year. The city has its own distinct vibe and history, partially because it was the capital of the Lanna empire in the past, which was actually a separate kingdom from Thailand.

Both tourists and expats will find plenty to do in Chiang Mai. There are a large number of restaurants and bars, both Thai and Western, so you won’t be at a loss for good things to eat. Chiang Mai also has a huge number of temples to see, and one of the most famous in Thailand, called Doi Suthep, is located outside the city.

When compared with Bangkok, Chiang Mai has a much more laid back feel as well as being considered much more artsy, thanks to the large number of painters, musicians and artisans that make the city their home. It is also considerably cheaper than its southern neighbor and it is still possible to find accommodations for under $5 a night, making it the perfect destination for the budget traveler.

Chiang Mai has all the amenities the Western traveler or expats could need, while also maintaining a distinctly Thai charm and friendliness. One final benefit for Western travelers is the climate in Chiang Mai which is much cooler than other parts of Thailand and can even get chilly during the winter. Chiang Mai is definitely a jewel in the north of Thailand

Khon Kaen
Khon Kaen is one of the major cities in the area of Thailand known as Issan. In fact, it is a large hub for trade and commerce because of its location in central Issan and proximity to Bangkok to the south, Cambodia to the east and Laos to the north. It has seen quite a bit of growth over the past two decades, yet maintains a rural Thai feel in many ways, mostly due to the large population from the surrounding areas.

One of the major attractions of Khon Kaen is that it is the home of Chanabot silk, specifically a variety called Mudmee silk. This silk is considered some of the best in the world and you can both see it being manufactured as well as purchase some fantastic souvenirs.

Overall, Khon Kaen is much quieter and less congested than Bangkok or even Chiang Mai. There is also a good sized expat population here so there are plenty of good western restaurants and western goods to be had. This can be a good place to enjoy typical Thai hospitality if you need a bit more excitement than rural life can provide.

Naturally there are many other places in Thailand to visit than just these 4 Thai cities. Southern Thailand is well known for its islands and beaches and if that’s your thing I would certainly recommend you head south. Some of the top beaches and scuba diving in the world are in southern Thailand and not to be missed. As you head south you will find Hua Hin, Chumphon, Surat Thani and finally Hat Yai as the major Thai cities in the south.

As with any country, each Thai city has its own unique style and flavor and I think each one could be considered the best Thai city based on your own needs and likes. What about you? Which Thai city do you consider to be the best in Thailand and why?

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16 October 2010 ~ 4 Comments

Thought’s on being apart….

Firstly can I say thank you for some great comments to last weeks post. I do think it was an interesting situation to talk about because it is always good learning experience between different cultures and of course I cannot judge because I love Australia, it’s people and culture.

On to this week and I must confess my mind is a little distracted from writing so I apologize now if this post maybe a little short and I would like to know how many of you share my experience this week.

Why you ask?

Well the reason is because tonight my partner Dean arrives in Bangkok from Australia so now you may smile and forgive my distraction I hope. It has been 4 weeks now since I returned from Australia and to be honest with you these times apart are always difficult. But as we try to manage our lives to be together and continue to build our future we must accept and endure times apart.

I know this is common for Intercultural relationships and especially for many Thai women who have Farang boyfriends and husbands. Yes we talk every day on Skype, email and phone but it is never easy. In fact sometimes I wonder if talking on webcam actually makes us miss each other more.

We also notice that we often have misunderstandings because of the language difference which is made slightly worse because we are not together and not so easy to read each others body language or the look in our eyes and sometimes if we are just writing we get each other wrong.

But then once we are together again it is such a good feeling and we begin to understand the meaning of the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”.

So what about some of you readers here. Do you have similar experiences like this and if so how do you cope, I would be interested to hear about your experience and your thoughts on what effect it has on a relationship. Do you think absence makes the heart grow fonder or can it really push you apart?

Angella quote of the week

“Parting is often such sweet sorrow”

With love, hope and Solutions

Angella – Thai Girlfriend Advisor

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08 October 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Koh Tao Accommodation

Planning on a trip to Koh Tao during your travels through Thailand and Southeast Asia? Have you considered where you are going to stay when you’re there? Maybe not, but that’s ok because you can probably just show up anyway and find a place to stay, unless it’s a Thai holiday weekend of course in which case you had better book ahead. Even so, how do you know you will be able to find a suitable Koh Tao accommodation without booking in advance?

While it may not be true for everyone, for a lot of us the place we stay can have a major impact on how much we enjoy a vacation. It’s not even that you always need to stay in a luxury place either, a good part of the enjoyment factor comes simply from our expectation of the place. Golf and I have stayed in places ranging from one room affairs with a simple fan for cooling to luxury places that have restaurants, spas, pools and all the trimmings. Now I would be a liar if I said I enjoyed the fan rooms more, but I can say that the fact we were staying in an inexpensive place didn’t have an impact on my vacation enjoyment, simply because I knew where I would be staying before I went. I had a certain expectation and the place met that expectation perfectly…cheap and hot :>)

So, before you head off to Thailand I recommend that you at least get an idea of what kind of Koh Tao accommodation you will be staying in and better yet go ahead and book it so you are exactly sure. At least that one piece of your vacation puzzle will be taken care of and you can focus on other things. There’s nothing that can ruin your vacation more than a bucket full of worries. Get everything planned and you can get rid of those worries too.

So here are my picks for Koh Tao accommodations at various price levels.

Budget Koh Tao Accommodation:
Diamond Beach Bungalows in Ao Tanote are the perfect place to get away from the stress and crowds of the big city. Tanote is one of the quieter beaches on Koh Tao and the Diamond Beach Bungalows nestle nicely on the hillside. Starting at just 500 baht per night these bungalows are clean, quiet and peaceful and best of all they won’t break the bank. While the rooms are not air conditioned, they are still fairly cool thanks to the way they catch the breezes of Koh Tao. They are also large and open providing plenty of light and air.

Moderate Koh Tao Accommodation:
Koh Tao Star Villas get my vote in the moderate price range. Prices for the apartment start at 3000 baht and you can get discounts for booking early (10% for 3 months in advance and 20% for 6 months in advance) and for staying more than 7 nights (5%). By all accounts you will want to book early anyway because the Star Villas fill up quickly. It seems they have a very passionate set of returning visitors, so if you want to stay here book early and get the discount. The villas are privately owned by a couple named Alan and Heidi and they take care of you as if you were staying in their homes. How can it possibly get better than that? Take note that the villa is set on a hill overlooking Sairee so if walking up the hill could be a problem you may need to pass on Koh Tao Star Villas or better yet just rent a motorcycle or ATV. And if you were worrying about how to get to the Villas I just received this from Alan; “we do provide a free taxi service to and from Sairee and we can normally run this at times to suit our guests.”

Luxury Koh Tao Accommodations:
Jamahkiri Spa & Resort is located in the southern part of Koh Tao in Chalok Baan Khao. This 5 star resort set in idyllic Koh Tao will take your breath away with the views, the food and the accommodations. Well worth the price (which starts at 5900 baht low season deluxe room and goes all the way to 25k baht high season for the palatial Royal Suite), you will be pampered and taken care of like royalty. There is no better place on the island currently at any price, so if money is no object then by all means treat yourself to a stay at the Jamahkiri Spa & Resort.

Hopefully this rundown of a few Koh Tao accommodations will give you some idea where to stay or at least get you started in your quest for the perfect hotel, bungalow or villa on Turtle Island – Koh Tao!

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