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The Land of Smiles

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Nour Saleh

on 1 October 2014

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Transcript of The Land of Smiles

Travel is fatal to prejudice,

bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
– Mark Twain
Monday, March 17, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
The Kingdom of
Southeast Asia
My Dream Vacation
The Best of Both Worlds
" The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
– St. Augustine
Phuket refers to both the name of a Thai province, as well as and the main city of said province. Made up of a large island off the western coast of the mainland, and surrounded by several smaller ones, Phuket is one of the most heavily visited areas of Thailand. Its majestic beaches and scenery are responsible for a large portion of the country's tourism. As one of Thailand's hotspots, the lush paradise is thriving with resorts, nightclubs, shopping, and a diversity of people vacationing from all over the world.
Thailand’s capital city, and by far the largest city in the country, is a buzzing cosmopolitan of high rise buildings, magnificent palaces, ancient temples, vivacious nightclubs, bustling markets and streets lined with vendors advertising charming souvenirs and tantalizing foods. While the city is sometimes described as a concrete jungle— due to its abundance of loud traffic and distinct pollution— Bangkok is not without its natural beauty. Scenic canals, green spaces and flowering tropical plants are also characteristic of this city.
The majestic country of Thailand is often referred to as the "land of smiles" due to its melange of beauty in its natural scenery and historical richness, kind locals, and charming culture. This adventure is not pre-packaged. Though I will be taking part in some organized tours, for most of my stay, I will be marching to the beat of my own drum; allowing me to focus on the images and sounds of the country, its places and its people. The novelty encompassed within non-institutionalized tourism remains at the back of my mind when it comes to my itinerary. Getting off the beaten path and experiencing new spaces and places is my main motivation on this vacation.
Spoil mind, body & soul
Let the games begin
Down Under! Well, kind of..
The Land of Smiles
A small road located about a block from the Chao Phraya River, this road is where one hopes to find other foreigners attempting to explore a strange land without tour guides. Khao San translates to “milled rice”, in commemoration of an older era where the street was a major Bangkok rice market. In past two decades, however, Khao San Road has developed into a world famous backpackers hangout. It offers cheap accommodation in the form of dorm-style hostels and reasonably priced three-star hotels, quaint little bars, food stalls, restaurants, convenience stores, internet cafes and travel agencies.
Khao San Road
Backpackers unite
Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_TyRnYPp-ULo/TD5PBOBCbBI/AAAAAAAAAko/xRwNWtYhXXs/s400/Longneck+inle+lake+2.jpg
Source: http://myfbcovers.com/uploads/somecovers/download/thailand-28_facebook_timeline_cover.jpg
Authentic. Lush. Mysterious.

Source: http://www.camino10.com/Thailand/Thailand%20Travel%20Photography.jpg
This general region
Where are we traveling ?
I am a
not a
July 3rd @ 10pm. There is no time to waste, but we also don't want to burn ourselves out. Time to sample some street food, explore Bangkok's backpacking district (Khao San Road) where our hostel is located, and maybe meet some other foreign vacationers here to do the same thing.
Day One (4th)
is a Friday! It is going to be floating market and exploring Bangkok by day, and the first club on our list by night.
Day Two

will be a Saturday spent on the tourist island known as Phuket
Day Three (6th)
is a relaxing Sunday to experience the Ayutthaya world heritage tour and club number two later that night
Day Four (7th)
is going to be a Monday spent unwinding on the beaches of Koh Phi Phi
Day Five (8th)
is a day dedicated to seeing the tiger temple, enjoying the crab festival, and going to club number three
Day Six (9th)
will be spent exploring Khoa sok national park
Day Seven (10th)
is a Thursday spent on Phuket once again and club number four upon return to Bangkok
Day Eight (11th)
is going to be dedicated to the Khanchanaburi trekking tour
Day Nine (12th)
is our second last day, and strategically planned for spending at the

shopping festival; you know, so we don't blow all our money at the beginning of the trip. Also checking out our last club on this Saturday night
Day Ten (13th)
is our last day. Since our flight doesn't depart until midnight, we will be packing, saying our goodbyes, and checking out Red Sky Bar & Bistro for dinner and a good time before heading to the airport
July 13th @ 11:55 pm

Source: http://lolomoda.com/wp-content/uploads/phuket-island-3.jpg
Carry the one..
Source: http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-bangkok/
Wat Arun
The Temple of Dawn
Source: http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-bangkok/

In Thai, Buddhist temples are referred to as "Wat"s. This monument is named after the Indian God of Dawn, Aruna. Situated on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, it is by far one of the most striking riverside landmarks in Bangkok-- specifically during sunset. The temple is an architectural representation of Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Buddhist cosmology. In the mythology of Tibetan Buddhism, Mount Meru is a place which represents the center of the universe. According to mythology, Meru is thousands of miles in height and located beyond the physical plane of reality; in a realm of perfection and transcendence. The four corners and pillars of Wat Arun (housing images of the guardian gods of the four directions) reinforces said mystical symbolism.
Ko Phi Phi
Source: http://www.touropia.com/best-islands-in-thailand/
Ko Phi Phi is a tiny archipelago in the Krabi Province in Southern Thailand. Ko Phi Phi Don is the largest island of the group, and is the only island with permanent inhabitants while the smaller Ko Phi Phi Leh is reknown as the shooting location of the movie known as “The Beach”. Ko Phi Phi was a victim of the Indian Ocean tsunami in the December of 2004; destroying nearly all of the island’s infrastructure. Building regulations are currently in place to limit the height of new hotels and other buildings to preserve the island’s stunning views, making it quite a refreshing change from the city of Bangkok and everything us Ontarians are exposed to.
Source: http://www.touropia.com/best-places-to-visit-in-thailand/
Located in western Thailand and admired for its beautiful scenery and accessibility to national parks and waterfalls, Kanchanaburi is best known for the Bridge over the River Kwaithat. It is linked with the historic Death Railway to Burma in which thousands of Asian laborers and POWS died during its construction under Japanese occupation during WWII
Source: http://at-bangkok.com/uploaded/images/restaurents/Red-Sky/Red-Sky-1.jpg
Night Life
Party. Rest. Repeat.
Ten days to check out five of Bangkok’s hottest clubs. Its a party every other night!
Route 66
Red Sky Bar & Bistro
Source: http://www.markusgrundmann.de/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Thailand-Floating-Market.jpg
Floating Market
The Tiger Temple
Source: http://images.lightstalkers.org/images/1124628/TigerMonk_large.jpg
Snap back to reality..
Thank you for taking this journey with me.
Source: https://www.stitchintheditch.com/v/vspfiles/assets/images/canada%20flag%20www.jpg
Khao Sok National Park
World Heritage Tour
Trekking Tour
Wallet Check
You're a long way from Rome
Considered by many to be one of Thailand’s most beautiful wildlife reserves, the Khao Sok National Park covers jungles, limestone karsts, rivers and lakes in the Surat Thani province of southern Thailand. The reserve is home to wildlife such as Asian elephants, barking deer, wild boar, bears, Malayan tapirs and various monkeys breeds like gibbons, and pig-tailed macaques.
Get a little wild
Source: http://www.greenandamantravel.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/khao-sok-lake-640x260.jpg
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do." At least that's the saying, right? Well, there is no better way to get a taste of Thai culture than through their simplest and highly demanded cuisine: street food! Aside from the obvious option (padthai), street vendors specialize in Prata, BBQ squid, assorted meatballs, and mango sticky rice. Oh, and lets not forget about their renown insect delicacies. In Thailand, crickets, grasshoppers and worms are fried and placed on skewers to serve. Now I know that doesn't sound common or appetizing; but if I'm going to try everything once, it might as well be in Thailand!
Source: http://www.endlesssimmer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/bugs-on-a-stick-500x375.jpg
Bewitch the mind & ensnare the senses
It is a Dream Vacation After All..
Source: http://whc.unesco.org/uploads/thumbs/site_0576_0016-594-0-20130502170141.jpg
Founded in 1350, the ancient city of Ayutthaya, was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom. Once an important center of global diplomacy and commerce, Ayutthaya is now an archaeological ruin; characterized by the remains of tall towers and Buddhist monasteries.

This tour promises to take you back to the past while discovering:

1) Bang Pa-in Palace: made up of five historic structures known as
Pha Thinang Aisawan Thippa-at, Phra Thinang Warophat Phiman, Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisathian, Phra Thinang Wehat Chamrun, Phra Thinang Withun Thatsana

2) Wat Niwet Thammaprawat: a Gothic-style temple built to resemble a Christian church.

3) Wat Phra Si Sanphet: the most important temple within the Royal Palace compound

4) Wat Yai Chaimongkol: also called Wat Chao Phraya Thai

5) Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit: the principal Buddha image and one of Thailand's largest. The Wihan was destroyed when the city was sacked in1767, but later rebuilt in 1956 in its original style.

One of the newest editions to the slew of bars & clubs on Sukhumvit Soi 11, it is a nightlife hotspot in Bangkok. This is probably attributed to an absence of cover charge, live music, and well-known local DJ's. Open until 3 am, this club consists of 4 areas: an open terrace, indoor lounge, nightclub and VIP balcony section.
Glow is known as Bangkok’s best nightclub for playing underground dance music. Located on Sukhumvit Soi 23, this place keeps the party alive until 4am. Music genres range from House to Drum & Bass. Entry fee is 300THB with one free drink.
Route 66 is the biggest club located in RCA (Royal City Avenue) and is divided into 3 sections. The two largest rooms play Hip Hop and R&B music hosted by DJ Buddha & the Run BKK crew, whilst the 3rd room plays Trance or has the occasional live Thai rock band. Foreigners pay 400THB entry with two free drinks.
Located on Sukhumvit Soi. This place is made up of four floors, eight bars and three rooms. Music ranges from Trance, Hip Hop, and House depending on the floor/room. Each room has top quality sound system and laser lighting to dazzle the senses. Entry is 400THB with two free drinks.
Demo is an upscale club on Thong Lor Soi 10. Music selection includes house, tech, progressive and electro. The interior is designed like an old industrial warehouse; with graffiti-covered brick walls, high ceilings, and retro furniture. Attendees are mostly Thai residents, but this ought to give the place an authentic feel and a refreshing change. Entry is also free, which is never a bad thing!
Source: http://www.bangkoknightlife.com/bangkok-club-vibe/5-of-bangkoks-best-nightclubs
Ever since a girlfriend of mine forced me to watch an episode of
The Bachelor
some years ago, I have been enchanted with the idea of vacationing in the exotic country of Thailand. The idea of not having to choose between majestic beaches and landscapes or being submerged into a unique culture and discovering aspects of Southeast Asian history, to me, is like winning the vacation lottery. My name is Nour Saleh, and this trip is my dream early 22nd birthday present to myself.
My Dream Vacation. Geography of Tourism (Geography 2144G, Professor Smith). Western University.
“Klong” is the Thai term for canal. Historically, people used klongs for transportation and commerce; earning the city of Bangkok the nickname “Venice of the East.” Though many are now utilized as roads, one can still visit a version of a traditional floating market on the Klong Damnoen Saduak in the Ratchaburi province or take a boat through central Bangkok on the Khlong Saen Saeb to avoid city traffic.
Seeing as that this is my
dream vacation
, the things I plan to see and experience may be a bit above what I would currently be able to spend. However, with that being said, I have decided to spend more money on experiences rather than on luxury. For instance, the plan in terms of accommodations will mostly be in the form of inexpensive hostiles in the backpacking district in Bangkok. Street food and authentic cuisine will be heavily relied on. Also, since alcohol is not my choice of poison and most of the nightlife hotspots we will be visiting do not have a cover charge, this should be easier on the wallet. Unfortunately, what is saved there will inevitably be spent on tours, island getaways, shopping, and the occasional luxury restaurant. Hey-- I never said I was perfect! Though this is a trip I plan on taking with one of my best girlfriends, to keep things simple, a full calculation of all my expenses alone will be provided after I take you through a detailed itinerary. Until then, you need on keep one thing in mind:
1 Canadian Dollar = 29.08 Thai Baht
1 Thai Baht (THB) = 0.034 Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Getting there:
Departing from London on July 2nd at 7am
Arriving in Bangkok on July 3rd at 10 pm
Getting Back:
Departing from Banking on July 13th around midnight
Arriving in Toronto on July 14th at 10:22pm
stopping in Calgary, Vancouver, Shanghai, and Seoul along the way!
Before we get into details, lets map this out..
Founded in 1994, it received its first tiger cub in 1999 when the animal was discovered by nearby villagers. Since then, several cubs have been given to the temple; usually as a result of their mothers being hunted by poachers. As of 2009, the total number of tigers living at the temple has risen to around 50.
Source: http://www.tigertemplestour.com/
Source: http://www.hotelthailand.com/thailand-activities/ayutthaya-activity/ayutthaya-world-heritage-tour-bangkok-thailand.html
On the 55th floor of the Centara Grand skyscraper in the City Centre mall.

Buzzing and brightly lit with seven neon colours.

Tourists and international royalty

Jazz and the occasional live pianist

The view?
Chinatown, the Grand Palace and temples of Rattanakosin Island.

International Crab Festival.
Fresh, delicious, and premium crabs from Bang Khun Thian. The International Crab Festival offeres a number of exhibitions which tourists may take part in such as the international cooking demonstration of Thong-Larng crab, the market of the crabs from famous restaurants.

Amazing Thailand Grand Sale.
Thailand is renown for being a "shopper’s paradise". From mid-June to mid-August, Bangkok offers its annual shopping extravaganza-- providing shoppers with discounts on products of up to 80% off. And these bargains are not only limited to brand name clothing and accessories-- Hotels and restaurants also offer discounts on their products and services to cater for the shopaholic’s every need.
Round Trip Airline Tickets.

$1,119 + $ 1,495 = $ 2,614

NapPark Hostel at Khao San Road
$23/per night x 10 = $230

Meal Plan.
Street food & modestly priced authentic Thai cuisine
Up to $50 a day x 10 = $500

Transportation (Within Bangkok).
Though we plan on traveling on foot and relying on public transport, a $200 budget has been set a side as a safety net.
A one-way bus from Bangkok to the island is $25. I plan on going twice.
$50 x 2 = $100

Ayurrhaya Ancient City Tour & Cruise from Bangkok.

Koh Phi Phi.
$70 two-way bus ticket.

Khoa Sok National Park.
Tubing on Sok River, elephant riding, and ½ day educational trek.

Kanchanaburi Trekking Tour Tiger & Temple from Bangkok.


Red Sky Bar & Bistro.

Miscellaneous (i.e. recreational activities/ club expenses).

Cost of Necessities
Cost of Spoils
Grand Total. $ 4, 517 CAD
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