Tag - drinking

Sayabouri, Laos

Sayabouri, Laos
Sayabouri, Laos
Sayabouri, Laos
Sayabouri, Laos

Also known as Sainyabuli, this pretty province is situated in the northwest of Laos, to the west of the Mekong River. Surrounded by limestone mountains, rice fields and forests, this is a great place to explore the countryside and experience the traditional Lao way of life.

Most travellers overlook Sayabouri on their way to nearby Luang Prabang and Vientiane, but peaceful Sayabouri is a great place to relax and discover the natural beauty of the areas such and waterfalls, caves and forests.

As you wander around Sayabouri you will discover a large number of pretty temples to explore, and Wat Ban Thin, Wat Ban Phapoun and Wat Ban Natonoy are probably the largest and most popular.

A great day trip destination is the Nam Phoun National Biodiversity Conservation Area. This enormous forest contains a large number of high peaks and climbing to the top provides excellent views of the region. The conservation area is also home to a large number of animals such as the Asiatic black bear, elephant, gibbon, Malayan sun bear and Sumatran rhino.

The people of Laos have been using elephants in the forestry industry for centuries and Sayabouri is one of the few places where you can still see this practice in action, which makes a refreshing change from viewing the mighty beast from behind bars.

A good time to visit Sayabouri is during the annual elephant festival, which is held over two or three days in the middle of February by the Lao PDR National Tourism Authority to encourage the use of elephants in tourism-related activities. There are around 200 elephants in Sayabouri and during  the festival more than fifty of them take part in a procession through the town. The festival is a vibrant affair with much drinking, dancing, fireworks and boat races.

More than 10,000 people travel from all over Laos to take part in the elephant festival and this is a great time to see Laos people at their best as they dress in traditional costumes, share food and drink.

Although Sayabouri is much quieter the rest of the year you will find a warm welcome whenever you arrive and there are some interesting places to sleep and eat.

Festivals and Holidays in Cambodia

Festival and Holidays in Cambodia
Festival and Holidays in Cambodia
Festival and Holidays in Cambodia

The people of Cambodia love to party, and visitors will want to time their visit to coincide with at least one of the vibrant festivals and holidays that take place throughout the year. while many are held to mark special religious events and focus around the country’s temples, others are simply ways to mark historical and cultural events.
Whatever the occasion, the Khmer people celebrate with style, and most festivals are colourful events that feature fireworks displays as well as feasting, drinking and dancing. All are welcome to join in the fun, and foreigners especially are persuaded to get involved and let their hair down for a while.

Here are some festivals to put in your diary:

National Day
Held on January 7th, this holiday marks the end of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror.

Chinese New Year
Held somewhere between the end of January and the start of February, this vibrant festival features firework displays and parades through the streets.

Khmer New Year
This festival takes place in the middle of April and marks the end of the harvest. The people of Cambodia decorate their houses and gather for elaborate family feasts. The streets also erupt in all out war as people keep their cool during the hottest part of the year by firing water pistols at each other.  

Royal Ploughing Day
Taking place in May, the Royal Ploughing Day pays homage to the mighty ox. The best place to take in the festivities is in Phnom Penh, particularly near the Royal Palace and the National Museum.

King Sihanouk’s birthday celebration
October 31st is a special day for the people of Cambodia, who gather at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and all along the river in order to pay their respects.

Water Festival
Held at the end of October, the Water Festival lasts for three days. Like the Khmer New Year, part of the fun here is the street water fights, and those who plan to keep dry at this time of your will have to stay well hidden indoors. However, those who dare to join in are sure to have fun and among the highlights at this time of year are the boat races along the Tonle Sap and Monkong River.  

Independence Day
November 9th is the day for the Khmer people to celebrate their independence, which was finally granted by the French government in 1953. To witness the festivities, head to Phnom Penh’s Independence Monument.

Koh Samet, Thailand

Koh Samet, Thailand
Koh Samet, Thailand
Koh Samet, Thailand
Koh Samet, Thailand

Koh Samet is an extremely pretty island situated in Rayong Province, which is within easy reach of Bangkok. The island features 14 beautiful white sand beaches. Although a popular tourist destination and a major destination for Thai families on weekends, Koh Samet somehow manages to maintain the feel of a quiet remote tropical hideaway, especially during the week.

Although seemingly sleepy, there is still plenty to do on Koh Samet, especially in the evening when the beach bars come alive and there is loud music, drinking and dancing on the beach, especially on weekends or around the full moon.

Located in Rayong Province, the island is reached by a short ferry ride from the pretty port town of Bang Phe. Bang Phe itself can be reached in 2-3 hours from Bangkok’s Ekkamai bus terminal.

A good way to see all of the island’s pristine beaches is to hire a motorbike, whilst songthaews will take you just about anywhere you want to go. Another great option is to take a boat tour around the island. Boat tours can usually be combined with snorkelling or scuba diving trips.

The island largely consists of jungle in the center, and another great way to explore is to go hiking, while you can watch the sunset from dramatic cliff side locations along the south-west coastline.

There are evening fire shows at a few of the islands beach bars. They are usually held after 8 pm and act as a showcase for some of the talented locals. While on Koh Samet you can learn a new skill and show off to people back home by taking fire juggling lessons from one of the experienced fire jugglers.

Yoga classes are held daily at Ao Pay beach and the yoga teacher has been practicing yoga for more than thirty years. You can also ease aching muscles with one of many types of massages on offer.

Food wise, the island is famous for seafood, and some of the best barbeques are found along Ao Phai and Haat Sai Kaew beaches. However, you can also find just about any style of food that takes your fancy, from curries to pizza.

Many of the bars show movies and football in the evening and a good way to escape the heat in the middle of the day and chill out is to order a coconut shake and tune in to a cheesy western movie.

One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila… Floor!

TequilaOne Star Hangover
No pain. No real feeling of illness. Your sleep last night was a mere disco nap, which has given you a whole lot of misplaced energy. Be glad that you are able to function relatively well. However, you are still parched. You can drink 10 sodas and still feel this way. You are craving a steak bomb and a side of gravy fries.

Two Star Hangover
No pain, but something is definitely amiss. You may look okay but you have the mental capacity of a staple gun. The coffee you are chugging is only exacerbating your rumbling gut, which is craving a rootie tootie fresh and fruity pancake breakfast from IHOP. There is some definite havoc being wreaked upon your bowels.

Three Star Hangover
Slight headache. Stomach feels crappy. You are definitely not productive. Anytime a girl walks by you gag because her perfume reminds you of the random gin shots you did with your alcoholic friends after the bouncer 86’d you at 1:45 a.m. Life would be better right now if you were in your bed with a dozen donuts and a meatball hero watching the E! fashion awards. You’ve had 4 cups of coffee, a gallon of water, 3 Snapples and a liter of diet coke, yet you haven’t peed once.


Four Star Hangover

Life sucks. Your head is throbbing. You can’t speak too quickly or else you might puke. Your boss has already lambasted you for being late and has given you a lecture for reeking of booze. You wore nice clothes, but that can’t hide the fact that you missed an oh-so crucial spot shaving, (girls, it looks like you put your make-up on while riding the bumper cars.) Your eyes look like one big vein and your hair style makes you look like a reject from the class picture of Grover Cleveland HS, class of ’84.

Five Star Hangover
AKA “Dante’s 4th Circle of Hell.”
You have a second heartbeat in your head, which is actually annoying the employee who sits in the next cube. Vodka vapor is seeping out of every pore and making you dizzy. You still have toothpaste crust in the corners of your mouth from brushing your teeth in an attempt to get the remnants of the shit fairy out. Your body has lost the ability to generate saliva, so your tongue is suffocating you. Death seems pretty good right now. You definitely don’t remember who you were with, where you were, what you drank and why there is a stranger still sleeping in your bed at your otherwise empty house.

Six Star Hangover
Otherwise known as the “Infinite Nut smacker”
You wake up on your bathroom floor. For about 2 seconds you look at the ceiling, wondering if the cool refreshing feeling on your cheek is the bathroom tile or your vomit from 5 hours ago. It is amazing how your roommate was as drunk as you, but somehow managed to get up before you. You try to lift your head. Not an option. Then you inadvertently turn your head too quickly and smell the funk of 13 packs of cigarettes in your hair. Suddenly you realize you were smoking, but not ultra lights… some jackass handed you Marlboro reds, and you smoked them like it was your second full time job. You look in the mirror only to see remnants of the stamp “Ready to Rock” faintly atop your forehead… the stamp on the back of your hand that has magically appeared on your forehead by alcoholic osmosis. You have to be to work in t-minus 14 minutes and 32 seconds and the only thing you can think of wearing is your “hello kitty” pajamas and your slippers.

And remember…

Keepitreal