TRAVEL DATE: 4-6 August 2017 DESTINATION: Ratchaburi Province ACCOMMODATION: Eitanic Resort & Spa
Ratchaburi province is about 80 kilometers to the West of Bangkok. It is a popular day trip with foreigners to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. However, there is a lot more to this province than this tourist trap. Although it is possible to do some of the places I visited as a day trip, it is advisable to stay overnight in the provincial capital. For this trip, I stayed two nights and three days. Although I saw a lot, I need to go back again as I missed a couple of highlights. Most notably the bat cave at Khao Chong Phran and Suan Pheung disitrict with its quirky attractions and boutique hotels. During the trip, I tweeted live on @RichardBarrow. Click here to see the embedded tweets.
TRAVEL DATE: 5 February 2017 DESTINATION: Nonthaburi Province
Every year, a free boat trip is organized to visit nine temples and shrines in Nonthaburi province. This is mainly of interest to Thai Buddhists as a way to make merit. Nine is an auspicious number and it is fashionable these days togo on trips to worship at nine different temples in a row. The starting point for this trip is in front of the Museum of Nonthaburi. During the trip, I tweeted live on @RichardBarrow. Click here to see those pictures and reports.
TRAVEL DATE: 11th April 2016 DESTINATION: Walking tour of the outskirts of the city wall in Bangkok
This is a walking tour of the old quarter in the city. We visited some communities that have been around for generations. The tour was based around the Mahakan Fort, which is on the eastern outskirts of Rattanakosin Island. The communities we visited also included Ban Bat (craftsmen who make alms bowls for monks) and Trok Shanghai (carpenters who mainly make coffins). The easiest way to reach this area is by Saen Saeb canal to Phanfa Bridge.
The following map shows the places that we visited during the walking tour:
PHOTO ALBUM – We started our walking tour at the famous Sutathip Restaurant. Their Hainanese noodles (ขนมจีนไหหลำ Khanom Chin Hailam) is particularly popular. Our first stop on the walk was the Mahakan Fort community. There used to be as many as 14 forts around the old city. This is one of only two that remain. The community here are fighting eviction notices to leave. If they are still there when you reads this, its worth exploring the narrow lanes between the houses. Look out for the singing birds and the fireworks shop. Our next stop was at Nam Ob Nang Loi which sells perfumed water. This is a very popular product during the Songkran celebration. From here we moved on to the nearby Ban Bat community. This is the only place left in Bangkok where they still make alms bowls by hand. You are welcome to come and watch them make the bowls or have a go yourself. Further down the road, we visited Shanghai Alley. The Chinese migrants here were expert craftsmen. These days, the lane is famous for coffin making. Our final stop was at Wat Saket which was built during the reign of King Rama I. It has a popular temple fair here in November. Overlooking the temple, on an artificial hill, is The Golden Mount. If you have the time and energy, climb to the top for some great views of Rattanakosin.
TRAVEL DATE: 6-8 May 2016 DESTINATION: Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces ACCOMMODATION: Rest Detail Hotel in Hua Hin
A popular destination for Bangkokians during long weekends, is to head south to the beach resorts of either Cha-am or Hua Hin. On this trip I was based mainly in Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. However, I also did a stopover on the way down and on the way back in Phetchaburi. Unlike Pattaya, its neighbour on the other side of the Gulf of Thailand, Hua Hin is less sleazy and the bars closer earlier. It is more family orientated. It has become a good destination for people thinking about retiring. During the trip, I tweeted live on @RichardBarrow. Click to see the embedded tweets for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.
TRAVEL DATE: 5 March 2016 DESTINATION: Samut Sakhon Province
Samut Sakhon is well-known as a fishing port and is the center of fresh seafood. Every year during March, the local government organize a Seafood Festival. The city is only an hour’s drive from Bangkok and is an easy day trip. I drove down there to explore some of its main attractions before visiting the seafood festival at the end of the day. During the trip, I tweeted live on @RichardBarrow. Click here to see those pictures and reports.
The following map shows the places that I visited during the trip:
At the weekend I took my Aussie cousin and her partner for a boat and temple tour of Bangkok. This is very similar to tours I have done before for other visiting relations. It includes three temples, a riverside market and a boat trip. The temples are among the top 10 for Bangkok and provide a nice variety of architecture and features. Doing a boat trip is always a bonus for me. The day tour was about 5-6 hours wasn’t too exhausting. During the trip, I tweeted live on @RichardBarrow. Click here to see those pictures and reports.
TRAVEL DATE: 5 September 2015 DESTINATION: Chachoengsao Province
At the weekend, I took the British and Canadian ambassadors and their families on a day trip to Chachoengsao. This province is to the East of Bangkok and is easily reached by train and bus. But, if you want to visit some of the more out of the way places like us, it is easier if you can arrange your own transport. Many taxi drivers will allow you to hire them for the day. I did a similar trip last year (see here) but I think the timing and variety of attractions on this trip was much better. Less exhausting at least. During the trip, I tweeted live on @RichardBarrow. Click here to see those pictures and reports.
TRAVEL DATE: 15 August 2015 DESTINATION: Samut Prakan Province
On Saturday, I went on a Bangkok day trip to Samut Prakan with my friends Chin from Chili Paste Tours and David Luekens from Travelfish. As this was my backyard, I was the tour guide this time round. Highlights of the tour were Phra Samut Chedi, Phra Chulachomklao Fortress, Ban Sakhla and Wat Khun Samut Chin. Our starting point was Paknam Market where you can catch a boat across the river to Phra Samut Chedi. You can travel to the other destinations by songtaew from the pier, but it is much easier if you have your own car like we did. During the trip I tweeted live on @RichardBarrow. Click here to see the embedded tweets from the trip.
TRAVEL DATE: 9 August 2015 DESTINATION: Koh Kret in Nonthaburi Province
On Sunday, I went on a Bangkok day trip to Koh Kret, an island on the Chao Phraya River. I went with Chin, my friend from Chili Paste Tours. We drove there, but it is easier enough to catch a bus to Pak Kret, and then take a ferry boat across the river to Koh Kret. It isn’t a real island. It is basically a loop in the river with a short cut canal down the Eastern side. There are no roads or high raised buildings on the island. It is a great place to explore at the weekend and to enjoy a unique culture that hasn’t changed much over the years. During the trip, I tweeted live on @RichardBarrow. Click here to see those pictures and reports.