Kayaking

The Salak Kok Kayak Station ( 08 1919 3995 Ban Salak Kok), in a traditional stilt village in the island's southeast, hires kayaks for viewing the mangrove-forested bay. Kayak rental for one hour costs 100B and a 90-minute guided tour is 200B. It also runs a three-hour 'dinner cruise' (1200B per person) where you're guided through the mangroves at sunset while dining on home-cooked food. Nearby a raised concrete walkway wends its way through the mangroves. It's not the most attractive...

Udorn Sunshine Nursery

Ever seen a plant dance If not, this is the place to do it. Originally earning notoriety for producing the first ever orchid made into a perfume, the Udorn Sunshine Nursery ( 0 4224 2475 127 Th Udorn-NongSamrong S 8am-6.30pm), just west of town, has since developed a hybrid of Codariocalyx motorius ohashi leguminosae, which curiously 'dances' to music. The mature gyrant has long oval leaves, plus smaller ones of similar shape. If you sing or talk to the plant in a high-pitched voice (saxophone...

Sleep Tight Dont Let The Karaoke Bite

During the day Kanchanaburi is so peaceful that those floating raft rooms right on the river look the perfect place to be cradled to sleep. And then just when the crickets and frogs might switch on, karaoke dominates the airwaves. It seems that urban Thais de-finefun as leaving noisy Bangkokand going to quiet Kanchanaburi for all-night amplification. On weekdays most of the ruckus booms out of the karaoke restaurants and piers along Th Song Khwae, making the older guesthouses along Soi Rong Hip...

Eating Drinking

With all the markets in Trat, you're usually just metres from something tasty. The indoor market beneath the shopping centre has a food section, with cheap noodle and rice dishes from early morning to early evening. Grab a cheap breakfast at the ancient coffee stand in the old day market on Th Tat Mai. In the evenings, visit the night market advertised confidendy as 'Food Safety Street' or a vegetarian restaurant dishes 20B S 6am-11am down a nearby lane, offering tasty veggie food at knockdown...

Sawadee Trat Yahoo.com

Trat has many cheap hotels housed in traditional wooden buildings on and around Th Thana Charoen. You'll find it hard to spend more even if you want to. Guesthouse owners in Trat are becoming increasingly competitive and you may be met by a scrum at the bus station. There have been reports of travellers being offered air-con rooms, but then having to accept cheaper, more budget accommodation once they were delivered to the guesthouse. Ask the touts to ring their guesthouse for you, and try and...

Eating

Pai's range of eating options reflects the diversity of international residents and visitors, but there is also a healthy selection of well-priced Thai places. The places that we have selected are located in town. Cher Xin Jai Pure Vegetarian Food Th Ratchadamnoen dishes 20B S 8am-5pm Opposite the District Office, this simple place with low tables on rattan mats serves delicious and cheap vegan and vegetarian Thai food. Choose from the dishes in the metal trays out front, which are filled with...

Ko Tarutao

Most of Ko Tarutao's whopping 152 sq km is covered in dense, old growth jungle that rises sharply up to the park's 713m peak. Mangrove swamps and typically impressive limestone cliffs circle much of the island, and the western coast is lined with quiet white-sand beaches. Tarutao has a sordid history that pardy explains its great state of preservation today. Between 1938 and 1948, more than 3000 Thai criminals and political prisoners were incarcerated here, including interesting inmates like So...

Longnecked Padaung Villages

Some come to Mae Hong Son with the intent to visit one of the nearby Padaung refugee villages where 'long-neck' women live. The women wear a continuous coil around their necks, and sometimes their limbs, that can weigh up to 22kg but 5kg is most common and stand as tall as 30cm. The neck coils depress the collarbone and rib cage, which makes their necks look unnaturally stretched. A common myth claims if the coils are removed, the women's necks will fall over from atrophy and the women will...

Orientation

The national park Igl 0 3955 5080 entry fee 400B reserve dnp.go.th S 8am-5pm is divided into four units, with offices at Ban Khlong Son, Tha Than Mayom, just west of Nam Tok Khlong Plu and Ban Salak Phet. Entry fees are collected at any one of the four park offices. Keep your receipt as rangers may demand payment from visitors who don't have one. Only the western coast has been developed for significant tourism and 75 of the island remains untouched rainforest. The paved road down the west...

Tofrom The Airport

There are direct international flights to Phuket from Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Osaka. All other international flights arrive via Bangkok. Many of these if you are coming from North America or are routed through Tokyo in particular arrive in Bangkok too late to connect with an outgoing domestic flight to Phuket. This means even if you buy tickets directly to Phuket you will likely have to spend one night in Bangkok first - it will likely appear as a layover on your ticket. The good...

Lei Province

Lei Province

Stretching south from the sleepy arc of the Mekong River near Chiang Khan to the undulating hilltops of Phu Kradung National Park, Loei is a diverse, beautiful province untouched by mass tourism, despite all it has to offer. This isn't the wildest place in Thailand, but potholes definitely pepper a still relatively untrammelled trail that will lead you from the hush of the region's tranquil national parks to the hubbub of Dan Sai's annual Phi Ta Khon Festival. The terrain here is mountainous...

Getting There Away

Than Bok, as the locals call it, is near the town of Ao Leuk. The park headquarters is about 1.5km south of Ao Leuk town along Rte 4039. Buses and sawngthaew from Krabi cost 25B and stop on Hwy 4. From here you can walk about 1.3km to the park headquarters or take a motorcycle taxi for 15B. The easiest way to visit the caves is to join a sea-kayaking tour from Krabi or Ao Nang that way you don't have to worry about transportation . To get to Ban Bho Tho from Ao Leuk on your own steam to...

Baan Th Dusit

East of the island and just beyond the train station is another collection of ruins in a more pastoral setting than central Ayuthaya. Tourist groups are rare out here and most of the grounds are kept trimmed by local farmers' livestock. Wat Maheyong is an operational temple with a popular weekend meditation retreat held in a leafy courtyard beside the temple ruins. The historic portion of the temple was built in 1438. The outstanding chedi is bell shaped and was once surrounded by a ring of...

Nam Tok Thilawsu

In Amphoe Um Phang you can arrange trips down Mae Nam Mae Klong to Nam Tok Thilawsu and Karen villages - inquire at any guesthouse. Typical three-day excursions include a raft journey along the river from Um Phang to the falls, then a two-day trek from the falls through the Karen villages of Khotha and Palatha, where a 4WD picks up trekkers and returns them to Um Phang 25km from Palatha by road . Some people prefer to spend two days on the river the first night at a cave or hot springs along...

Pattaya Vice

Pattaya's notoriety for sex tourism revolves around the agglomeration of discos, outdoor 'beer bars' and go-go clubs making up Pattaya's red-light district at the southern end of the beach. Known as 'the village', the area attracts a large number of prostitutes, including kathoey trans-vestites , who pose as female hookers and ply their trade among the droves of farang Western sex tourists. There is also a prominent gay sex-for-sale scene in Pattaya, especially at nearby Hat Dongtan. This...

Around Trat Beaches

The sliver of Trat Province that extends southeast along the Cambodian border is fringed by several Gulf of Thailand beaches. Hat Sai Si Ngoen Silver Sand Beach lies just north of the Km 41 marker off Hwy 3. Nearby, at the Km 42 marker, is Hat Sai Kaew Crystal Sand Beach and at the Km 48 marker, HatThapThim also known as Hat Lan they're OK to walk along the water's edge or picnic in the shade of casuarina and eucalyptus trees. The only place for accommodation here is the Sun Sapha Kachat Thai...

Detour Islands Around Phuket

There are several islands off the coast of Phuket that make for quieter, more romantic getaways. Ko Heh also known as Coral Island and sometimes spelled Ko Hae is a few kilometres south of Ao Chalong. It's a good spot for diving and snorkelling the coral is beautiful if you don't plan on going further out to sea, although jet skis and other pleasure craft can be an annoyance. The island gets lots of day-trippers from Phuket, but at night it's pretty quiet. Coral Island Resort g 0 7628 1060 fax...

Around Khon Kaen Chonabot

Chiang Yun Khon Kaen Thailand

This small town located 55km southwest of Khon Kaen is one of Thailand's most successful silk villages. The easiest place to see the fabrics is at Sala Mai Thai Thai Silk Pavilion no roman-script sign 0 4328 6160 donations appreciated S 8am-5pm , a resource centre for the local silk industry on the campus of Khon Kaen Industrial amp Community Education College. There are a couple of traditional northeastern wooden houses with looms and other artefacts ask the staff to unlock them , plus an...

Letongkhu To Sangkhlaburi

From Ban Mae Khlong Mai, just a few kilometres north of Um Phang via the highway to Mae Sot, a graded dirt road Rte 1167 heads southwest along the border to Beung Kleung sometimes spelt Peung Kleung - a Karen, Burmese, Indo-Burmese, Talaku and Thai trading village where buffalo carts are more common than motorcycles. The picturesque setting among spiky peaks and cliffs is worth the trip even if you go no further. Impressive Nam Tok Ekaratcha is an hour's walk away. Sawngthaew from Um Phang...

Hin Pholeung Diving

Sailboards, boogie boards, inner tubes and snorkelling equipment can all be rented on the beaches at Hat Sai Kaew, Ao Hin Khok and Ao Phai. Dive operators run trips to nearby sites the best diving is at Hin Pholeung, halfway between Ko Samet and Ko Chang. This isolated spot is well away from destructive boat traffic and has two towering underwater rock pinnacles with excellent visibility up to 30m . Here you can spot large pelagics like manta rays, barracuda, sharks and, if you're lucky, whale...

BUDGET

Jai Restaurant amp Bungalow go 7642 0390 Th Phetkasem r 350-500B Shack up at Jai's if you don't need air-con or other frills to survive, and are just looking for a cheap place to lay your head. A thatched, leafy eatery serves tasty local fare in front the bungalows are out back. Happy Lagoon go 7642 3408 bungalows 600B E The best part about Happy Lagoon is the fabulous old-fashioned bar. The garden area is also great full of tucked-away benches and gnarled old trees. Just a short hop from the...

Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife Forest Reserve

This mountain range, in the northern interior of the island, protects 23 sq km of rainforest evergreen monsoon forest . There are nice jungle hikes in this reserve and a couple of waterfalls, Ton Sai and Bang Pae. The falls are best seen in the rainy season between June and November in the dry months they slow to a trickle. Because of its royal status, the reserve is better protected than the average Thai national park. A German botanist, Dr Darr, discovered a rare and unique species of palm in...