Tag - thailand

Stalking the Elusive Beauty of Phu Chi Fa

Phu Chi Fa is a mountain peak, near Chiang Rai, Thailand, in the far north of the country, on the border with Laos. Definitely not a very well traveled place by foreigners, although it is becoming a rather popular “selfie spot” for Thai’s on holiday. We decided to check it out on New Years Day 2017. Most people travel to one of several local villages (where there are loads of hostels and campsites, etc) the day before, and then wake up early and head up the mountain for sunrise. As we had no reservations for a place to stay, we opted to wake up at 2am and drive from our hotel in Chiang Rai directly to the mountain. Had we actually looked closely at a map and realized we would be driving directly across a mountain range in pitch dark, we might have made another choice. But it was an adventure! 16% grade switchbacks in a little tiny 1.2l engine car where you can’t see anything beyond the barely adequate headlight swaths…at least there was no risk of falling asleep which is usually my problem with long drives.

phu chi fa

Phu Chi Fa archway in the local town

At last, we arrive in one of several local towns where they have a big archway welcoming people to Phu Chi Fa (or Phu Chee Pha). These local towns are perched on the steep side of the mountain with terraced bungalows and campsites dotting the landscape everywhere. We arrived at 4:30am and the parking lot was already half full. A line of pick-up trucks were waiting to shuttle people up the 2km more to the “basecamp” staging area. Standing in the back of the pickup, it really felt like it might tip over as it cut back and forth on the steep steep switchback road winding up the mountain. Passing the empty trucks coming back down was harrowing. Basecamp had a horde of local kids running around selling flashlights, hot coffee, and ramen noodle cups. I tend to like “proper” coffee, but that little paper cup of Nescafe instant coffee really hit the spot that morning!

Next we start the trek up to the top of the mountain. There are stairs cut into the dirt with bamboo runners edging them out. It is a steep but not too long 1/2km to the top. Lots of people start off at a fast pace and then have to stop and rest…huffing and puffing like racehorses. Slow and steady wins the race in this case.

Its cold, foggy, misty, and starting to rain…

We arrived on top to an absolutely huge crowd of people with already staked out spots to sit and wait for the sunrise. It was rather cold up top, with foggy mist rolling through, and even a bit of light rain. The only reason you could see the fog was because there were hundreds of people flashing flashlights around, peering into the mist.

Eventually, after perhaps an hour or so of waiting in the dark, it began to lighten and we saw the grand view. Fog filled valleys and green GREEN mountaintops of Laos. The sunrise is what people come to see…unfortunately, it was a cloudy day and we never saw the sun at all.

Quick side selfie with the sign (too lazy to wait in line for a proper photo)

Have to capture the moment somehow…we were just too impatient to wait in line like everyone else for our turn at the sign.

Did I mention that it is rather popular?

Oh, and if you didn’t believe me about all the people…(I have never seen so many selfie sticks!)

beautious

Playing around with the new “bokah” (blurred background) mode…

Killing time, playing with the iPhone 7’s new Portrait/Bokah (background blur) mode…

Beautiful Phu Chi Fa, view of fog filled valleys in Laos from Thailand

At last, our best shot of the view. Fog, green, misty, and beautiful. However, no sunshine and definitely not quite as beautiful as some Phu Chi Fa pictures that I have seen. So just to show what it can look like, here are two pictures taken by other people on “good” days…

Someone else’s wonderful picture on a clear day

Another someone else’s wonderful picture on a clear day

farang guard wat pho

Then and Now: Wat Pho – Farang Guard

During a recent trip to Thailand we “retook” some pictures that we had taken about 10 years earlier. Great fun!

Farang Guard at Wat Pho (Temple in Bangkok, Thailand). Wat Pho has lots of archways guarded by statues of different people around the complex. Mostly they have Chinese or other Asian features. But one set of them are “farang” (caucasian), basically an exaggerated caricature of what caucasian features were thought of at the time. Big nose, round eyes, top hat, long coat and cane.

The picture on the left was taken in 2005 and the one on the right was taken almost 10 years later in 2014. The same people are in the same positions in the picture. The black mold/mildew/or pollution stains seem to be getting darker and darker.

Wat Pho (วัดโพธิ์) is my favorite Wat to visit in Bangkok. It is very close to Khao San Road, just on the far side of the Grand Palace/Wat Pra Kaew complex. It is a bit more casual, less expensive, and less crowded than the Grand Palace and Wat Pra Kaew complex next door. The major feature is a giant reclining Buddha (initially built in 1832) that is 15 meters tall and 46 meters long (45 feet tall and 150 feet long).

Visit Thailand now! Khao San Road Area Hotel Recommendations

Then and Now: Thai Iced Tea on a hot hot day!

Thai Iced Tea is a wonderful sweet tea (with a flavor reminiscent of maple syrup earthiness) that usually has condensed milk in it. One of the bags in the picture doesn’t have the milk. It used to always be served on the street in a plastic bag filled with ice and a straw. These days, it is becoming more common to get it in a normal plastic cup.

thai iced tea on a hot day

I love Thai Iced Tea, but I’m still hot!


During a recent trip to Thailand we “retook” some pictures that we had taken about 10 years earlier. Great fun! She was just as cranky in the heat then as she is now! Taken near Khao San Road in June.

ICH BIN EIN BERLINER – 24 Nov

Glow Nightclub, Sukhumvit Soi 23

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SUPERBEAT – Dec 9

PAUL VAN DYK and EDDIE HALLIWELL

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The 10th World Film Festival – Nov 16-Nov 25

10th Edition World Film Festival, Bangkok, ThailandKriangsak “Victor” Silakong, Festival Director, brings you the 10th Edition of the World Film Festival here in Bangkok. A truly international event, the festival brings films from a wide range of countries including India, South Korea, Iran, Jordan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Myanmar, USA, France, and a host of others. A total of around 50 films will be shown.

The festival is well-known for promoting independent Thai film-makers and in the past has unearthed considerable local talent.

The event takes place at Esplanade Cineplex from November 16 to November 25 and tickets are only 100 baht a shot. It couldn’t be easier to get to – it’s on Ratchadaphisek Road and you can get there by the MRT underground – the Thailand Cultural Center station is right next to it, so no excuses. The festival opens Friday November 16 with Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Mekong Hotel – an hour-long film that was shown in Cannes earlier this year. 

Check out the festival website… 

STING: BACK TO BASS – Dec 12

STING: BACK TO BASS Live in Bangkok 2012STING: BACK TO BASS Live in Bangkok 2012

Following the critical and popular success of Sting’s 2011-2012 world tour Live Nation is pleased to announce that the Back to Bass tour will continue this fall, with Sting performing many of his greatest hits, stripped down, with a 5-piece band at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani, near Bangkok, Thailand.

Ticket prices are:  2,000/ 3,000/ 4,000/ 5,000 Baht and gold package 6,000 Baht.

Tickets available here. See Sting here.

 

Dave Vega @ GLOW by With Love – Nov 16

Dave Vega @ GLOW by With Love - Nov 1616 Nov 2012 – Glow Night Club, Sukumvit Soi 23, Bangkok

400 + 1 Drink + 1 Shoot

Dave Vega started DJing in the late ’90s in Karlsruhe in the south of Germany. It was here that Vega and friends organized illegal techno parties at secret outdoor locations, with sound systems so loud that people in other villages kilometers away could feel the bass. People would come from all over to party and would stay all day and all night. Inevitably these parties always led to fracases with the police…

After some years organising parties, Dave was bitten by the music bug and finally made the step from the dancefloor to the other side of the dj booth. In 2000, he moved to Frankfurt and began work as a music journalist. Later he met people like Ata and Heiko MSO who offered him work at their revered label empire, comprising Playhouse, Klang Elektronik and Ongaku. A residency in the famous Robert Johnson club soon followed, and Dave started to play all over the world. Over the years, he has played countless gigs in clubs like Berlin’s Panorama Bar/Berghain, Harry Klein and Rote Sonne in Munich, Rex Club in Paris, Nitza Club in Barcelona, Sugar Factory in Amsterdam, Space in Ibiza, and lately even a boat party in Honolulu, to list a few…

In 2007, Vega finally made the move to Berlin. Fueled by the energy of the city and a decade of DJing, he started producing his own music. After a few collaborations with friends like Mr. Statik from Athens on Mo’s Ferry, Vega is set to release his first EP in March 2011 on the Berlin based label, Exone. His second EP will be released on the Canadian label Thoughtless Music in May. Vega’s roots have always been somewhere between House and Techno – that’s what he plays and and still drives him after almost 15 years of electronic music experience.

 

Culture ONE 2012 – 5th Anniversary

 

Culture ONE 2012 – 5th Anniversary
Culture ONE 2012 – 5th Anniversary

Bangkok’s International Outdoor Dance Music Festival, Lakeside, Bitec Bangna, Bangkok
Saturday November 17th, 2012

A vision, a dream, an idea. Culture ONE, Bangkok’s first international outdoor dance music festival that put Thailand on the global festival clubbing map is back and this year, we’re turning 5. To celebrate our 5th anniversary, we’ve got something special in store for everyone who’s anyone.

Culture ONE is the first outdoor dance music festival in Thailand that gathers dance music lovers and party goers in one field of electronic vibe. The event combines 5 stages, Godskitchen Boombox, Hacienda, Club Culture BASS, Popscene, and Psyhead Community.
More than 30 artists line-up. From House to Trance, Electro to Dupstep, Indie Pop to Rock. 

The uniqueness of this festival include elaborate theme and dancer performance in combination with the world’s renowned artists and world class sound system creating the ultimate festival experience.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Culture ONE 2012: Bangkok’s International Outdoor Dance Music Festival ???????????????????????? 5 ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

????????????????????????????????????????????? 5 Culture ONE ????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????? 5 ???? ??? ???? Godskitchen Boombox, ???? Hacienda, ???? Club Culture BASS, ???? Popscene, ??????? Psyhead Community

See the Facebook Page for more or email for more info.

Google Street View Hits Thailand

Google Street View Khao San Road Bangkok Thailand
Google Street View Khao San Road Bangkok Thailand
Google Street View Khao San Road Bangkok Thailand

Google Street View launched in Thailand recently, the culmination of a six-month project that covers 95 per cent of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. The service provides “panoramic views” of the capital’s major arteries – Sukhumvit Road, Silom Road, many of the Bangkok’s surrounding areas, and of course it features Thailand’s leading backpacker and budget tourist destination – Khao San Road. Thailand is the second Southeast Asian country to be featured on Google Street View, after Singapore which launched at the end of 2009. According to Pornthip Kongchun, Head of Marketing for Google Thailand, Google Street View was launched with promoting Thailand’s tourism industry in mind.

“In Thailand, the next cities for Street View will be Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Nakhon Phanom, Hat Yai and Nakhon Si Thammarat, and also Thailand’s World Heritage cities,” Khun Pornthip was reported as saying. Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) added “The first priority is Thailand’s World Heritage. We plan to allow Google Thailand’s Street View team to collect images of the World Heritage sites started in Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, as well as Sri Satchanalai”. 

As far as Khao San Road is concerned, it’s pretty decent coverage which includes surrounding areas like Rambuttri Road and Tani Road. Unfortunately, there aren’t any nighttime pictures (or if there are we missed them) and for many, they might only recognize Khao San Road at night! That’s not really the point of the service though.

The problem they are going to face on Khao San Road is the very “fluid” situation on the strip. New businesses open and close regularly, and it’s already clear that the current pictures were taken a couple of months ago.

Apparently you can request an update from Google if you find that pictures are over three years old, but if they post pictures that old you might find Khao San isn’t recognizable from Google Street View! That said, it’s all interesting stuff and great KSR is covered so well. Images can be accessed through the Thai version http://maps.google.co.th/maps and through the English version http://maps.google.com/maps. Check it out!