Mango Bay (Taa Toh Bay), Ko Tao — April 9, 2004

Thailand Journal Entries


2 April — 23 June, 2004

My true love and I were reunited once again after five yearsราชอาณาจักรไทย. Yes, Thailand offered everything that was promised. What made it even better was that part of the time I was with my good friend Dr. Chris from Los Angeles. He flew out for a few weeks having just finished medical school. Chris said that the liver healed fast from alcohol, so was partied under the Siam sky like no tomorrow. I was also introduced to Fon, a Thai friend of the family, and she helped unlock the door to true Thai food and culture, something that isn’t always available to the hordes of faranges (foreigners) on vacation there. Thank you Fon! I also met many locals and ex-Pats and had many sweet, fun filled evenings. I will forever miss Thailand, but know that I will go there many times again in my life. After spending four months there in total, I feel like Thailand is my home away from home (although I am sure the locals think differently.)

To sum it all up, I turned 32 on KO Tao, partied under the full-moon on KO Pha-Ngan, chilled out and loved on KO Samui. I hightailed it down for a week in Malaysia to renew my visa and then returned full-force dancing, rocking, swimming, eating, drinking, tanning, diving, climbing. I didn’t deserve it, so I left with a broken heart and flew Biman Bangladeshi Airlines to the Indian subcontinent with a brief (25 day) layover in Myanmar (Burma.) Miss you Thailand!

One final Thai note: I visited my old haunt of Krabi, in South Thailand, and was stunned to see that what was once my peaceful one-bungalow beach was now teeming with 10 bungalow complexes, 7 Internet cafes, and 8 mini-marts The place where the Czechs used to sleep in the bushes is now beach cafes blaring the latest techno-pop and B. Marley. It was Back-to-the-Future in only five years. Thailand is changing fast, but still beautiful as ever. Be one of the 6,000,000 next year and visit there too!


September 19, 2004

Yep, back home again for another month. This time it starts out a bit different. In the international Airport, I sneak past the medical guys at customs and go straight to the hospital. I am tested for many weird things and finally the doc states: “Typhoid." I am shot and pilled-up with antibiotics, anti-diarrheals, vitamins and who knows what else. Three days later I emerge with a nice bill and an emaciated, skeletal body that weighs about the same that it did in high school. No problem. Thai food to the rescue. Within days, after sampling some of the freshest seafood on the planet, the weight moderately returns-- but not that Brian belly. I feel good again.

I tour an area in Northeastern Thailand known as Isan. Famous for friendly locals and beautiful landscape, Isan is a mixture of both Thai and Lao influence. It is also way off the beaten track and I meet no faranges (foreigners.) During this time I visit restored Angkor ruins and ride humming motorbikes past water buffalos and shimmering green rice fields. It is so serene that I instantly write a song on guitar.

The remainder of my time is spent in Bangkok and taking weekend trips to beach towns like infamous Pattaya and royal Hua Hin (where the King lives.) My friend of the family, Fon, puts me up in her beautiful home and I stay in the heart of thriving Bangkok in an old-style Thai-colonial home. The vibe is good and everyday I explore the growing metropolis. Everything you have heard about Bangkok is dated. Let me tell you. This place screams “cool." There are clubs, bars, museums, shops, groovy restaurants and smiles everywhere. Excitement is rife and I am never bored. It is difficult to sleep, though.

The days tick by and I meet lots of nice people, but soon my visa will expire and I have to make a decision. I throw darts at a map of the world and one lands in China. The Lonely Planet says this is the best time of year to go, and I can’t resist. But you know me: Getting there is half the fun. I do plan on China, but with the help of a clever travel agent on Khao San Road, I create several layovers…

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A brief Thai history

thailand/1999/thai_palacesPalaces of
the King

7th and 11th centuries AD — Dvaravati
(Land of Buddhism) refers to the kingdom situated in the The Chao Phraya River basin between the 7th and 11th centuries AD.

11th to 13th centuries AD — Lopburi
The culture was centered in the city of Lopburi and was much influenced by Khmer art and culture as it spread through Northeast Thailand. Lopburi art is similar to the Khmer art of Cambodia.

11th to 18th centuries AD — Chiang Saen-Lanna
This period sees many northern walled-city capitals including Chiang Saen, Chiang Mai, Nan, Chiang Rai, Kentung, and Chiang Kong.

14th to 17th century AD — Sukhothai
King Sri Indrathit declared Sukhothai’s liberation from the Khmer and adopted a form of Buddhism based on the Sri Lankan School.

15th to 18th century AD — Ayutthaya
The Ayuthaya period began when King Ramathibodi I (King U Thong) established Ayuthaya as a capital city in the 15th century AD. The city survived until its second defeat in 18th century AD at the hands of the Burmese.

18th century to current — Rattanakosin (Bangkok)
The current era, known as the Rattanakosin period began when King Rama I established Bangkok as the capital in 18th century AD.

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Thailand vitals

My favorite eateries:

Khinlom Chomsaphan Restaurant — Thai seafood, et al. $$
My all-time favorite Thai eatery
11/6 Samsan Soi 3, Samsan Road
Watsampraya Phanakorn, Bangkok 10200 Thailand
Tel. 0-2628-8382-3
Web :: 1

Roti-Mataba — Southern Thai roti/curry with Malay and Indian influence $
It doesn’t get better than this, service is a bit limited
136 Pra Artit Road, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel. 02-282-2119
(Across from Santichaiprakarn Park on the Chao Phraya)
Web :: 1 :: 2

Bed Supperclub — Hip Thai w/DJ $$
Great vibe, fun drinks, good music, centrally located
26 Soi Sukhumvit 11,
Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey-nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Thailand
Tel. +66 (0)2 651 3537
Web :: 1

Ana Garden & Groove Kitchen — Hip Thai w/DJ $$
Good Thia food with a good beat, a bit far away
67 Thonglo 1-3 Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel. 02 391 1762
Hours: Open 5pm - 1am
Web :: 1 :: 2

The Lady selling duck & rice on the corner of Th. Chakrabongse and Rambutri (She wasn’t there in 2007)
Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand

Vertigo Grill & Moon Bar @ Banyan Tree Hotel — 61st floor, rooftop $$$
The view is great, food is nothing special
21/100 South Sathon Rd Sathon
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel. 02 679 1200
Hours: Open 5pm - 1am (weather permitting)
Web :: 1 :: 2

Travel Agents:

(I have compared prices at around 30 agents around Banglamphu. These are the cheapest while still being 100% reliable.)

VEGA Ticket Center — Used for five+ tickets, very friendly
Attn: Khun Ratt
tel: 026294881-2
mobile: 0814478345
fax: 022824625
92 Rambutree Road Taladyod (parallel to Khao San)
Pranakorn Bangkok 10200
(Most reliable with a smile)

Nat Tour & Travel — Used for one ticket, very friendly.
Attn: Jaroen Bartstra
tel: +66 2629-0539
tel: +66 2629-4122
tel: +66 2629-2257
tel: +66 2629-0539
tel: +66 2629-3769
Ratchadamnoen Plaza Trade Centre
1/1 Room A 16 Ratchadamnoen Road (parallel to Khao San)
Bangkok 10200 Thailand

This company produces the most creative tours I have ever seen including Trans-Siberian, Iran, South America, trans-Africa. The owners are experts in World Travel ticketing and their prices are incredible. Highly recommended for off-the-beaten-track tickets and everything eles.

IBS Travel Company, LTD — Absolute rock-bottom cheapest ticket in Asia, not so friendly, no telephone, and therefore I never used.
108/11 Khao San Road
Bangkok, Thailand

Photo developing:

IQ Lab — The best in Bangkok for slides and special photo needs
Silom Branch
160/5 ITF Silom Palace Building
Silom Road
Bangkok, 10500

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