March 29, 2015 by cathyfitz Southeast Asia, Thailand 0

Southern Thailand, The Beaches | Thailand 2015/2058

Flying from Northern Thailand to the beaches in the South was like being in another country. The south is all about the beaches which have an incredible beauty, but are not always the soft white sand you might expect. The beaches we experienced had course sand, were hemmed in by unique limestone cliffs, had a beautiful vista of smaller islands. We did experience a few with pristine white sand, but these also were the areas most crowded. The tide every six hours is extreme and completely changes the view. A man we met from England described them as “…beautiful during high tide, but rubbish at low tide.” We used Airbnb to find an apartment for the week. It’s a great way to save money and stay in a more homelike setting. Follow the link here for a $25 coupon for Airbnb, a great option to a hotel with places available all over the world. Our apartment was near Ao Nang Beach in Krabi and connected to Mandawee Resort & Spa. We were able to use their free shuttle to town and the beach at Ao Nang as well as book day trips through their services. The first Day trip we took was a full day speed boat 4 […]

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March 21, 2015 by cathyfitz Southeast Asia, Thailand 0

Not All Massages are Created Equal | Thailand

Several years ago I began to realize the health benefits of massage. A holistic approach including a healthy diet, gentle exercise like yoga, reduced stress and a good massage have been much more beneficial than medicines for my past struggles with chronic pain and fatigue. Being in Thailand has been the perfect place to enjoy fresh fruits & vegetables as well as outdoor yoga, a calm, stress free environment and cheap massages. You can get a great massage in Thailand for as cheap as 180 baht ($5.47) per hour. They’re everywhere – on the streets, in the market, and in all the hotels. My favorite type of massage in Thailand is a Thai massage. It is much more active than what you might think of as a typical massage with a lot of movement and stretching. There is no oil applied so you are fully clothed and they usually provide very comfortable loose fitting fisherman’s pants and shirts before you head to a mat on the floor. Traditional Thai massage incorporates acupressure, reflexology and some yoga type moves. They use their feet, elbows, knees, and hands to work out deep muscle tension & stretching for joint mobility giving great relief for headaches, […]

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Chiang Mai | Thailand

 Chiang Mai city was a little more hectic than expected, but the people were so lovely it really was a great place to spend some time. We arrived at a perfect time of year – just after the monsoons and before the extreme heat of summer. The temperature was a beautiful 22 Celcius (71.6 fahrenheit) the beginning of February and already has climbed to over 100 degree temperatures by the first of March. The city, in the north of Thailand, is surrounded by mountains with an old city section once enclosed by stone walls and a moat. The walls, built over 700 years ago, still stand in places, adding to its mystique and history. The culture, arts, festivals, food, and traditions are an eclectic mix of ethnic groups. Along with the charm of the old city, there is a sense of the modern. I was able to get my teeth cleaned by a UCLA trained dentist in a wonderful facility for a fraction of the cost back home. From there you can walk a few blocks to this old iron bridge across the Ping River. There is no lack of places to shop in Chiang Mai. There are boutiques and […]

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February 22, 2015 by cathyfitz Myanmar (Burma), Southeast Asia 0

Bagan Myanmar (Burma) | Travels in Southeast Asia

When you first see the ruins and temples covering the landscape in Bagan, Myanmar, there is a magical feeling that is hard to describe. Bagan is the spiritual center of Myanmar (once known as Burma), and full of rich history. There are currently 2000-3000 temples, pagodas, and monasteries still standing where over 10,000 were originally constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries. Between the ancient ruins dotting the landscape and the horse drawn carriages, this rich archaeological city feels like a fairy tale land forgotten in time. We traveled to this destination primarily to update our visas for Thailand. If you stay more than 30 days you need to either apply for a special visa or cross the border and return. We decided to go for adventure and check out this country we had only recently heard about. Because they just opened to tourism in 2012, it was a little challenging making travel arrangements and getting a visa to enter the country, but it was worth the effort. Sandy Ko at www.intrepidtravels.com was a great help. Not only did she get us booked, but stayed in touch through email with updated flight information. Unsure what to expect we only booked three nights and […]

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February 14, 2015 by cathyfitz Southeast Asia, Thailand 0

Chiang Mai Flower Festival | Thailand

The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is held the first weekend of February each year, showcasing the areas beautiful array of tropical and temperate flowers in full bloom. We just happened to be spending the weekend of February 6-8, 2015 in the city of Chiang Mai the weekend of this year’s festival – the 39th. Starting Thursday we could see things beginning to set up. Already there were fresh flowers everywhere and the stage was set for the weekends performances. Watching a stage rehearsal brought back a rush of memories from years of performance rehearsals with my dance students – at times like this I really miss it. These kids were so impressive with their rapt attention to the directors. On Friday at Thapae Gate the opening ceremonies & performance of the group we had seen in rehearsals the night before kicked off the weekend celebrations. Walking back to our room that night we saw floats being prepared for the parade. We learned that many would be up all night putting on the final touches. Saturday morning we were up bright and early to walk a few blocks from our hotel to Nawarat bridge  – the start of the parade. Because of the fresh […]

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February 7, 2015 by cathyfitz Southeast Asia, Thailand 0

Mae Ann Village | Thailand

From Bangkok we took a short flight north to Chiang Mai followed by a 45 minute taxi ride to our home for the next month. The townhouse where we are staying is located on a resort. We found it on Airbnb for the total price of $790 for 28 days. If you do any long term travel, I really recommend Airbnb as a great alternative to hotel rooms. Click here to get a $25 credit on Airbnb. You can often find an apartment or home for your stay at a great price. Just be sure to read the fine print of what is provided and what former guests have to say about the accommodations. Staying at the resort has given us a great opportunity to join daily meditation and yoga classes in an outdoor sala overlooking the mountains with the sounds of birds and wildlife in the background. The food here is also amazing – much of it fresh from the organic garden on the property. Other than the peaceful mornings, one of my favorite parts of where we are staying is the interaction with local villagers. I always love learning of other cultures and the peaceful, happy people of Thailand […]

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February 1, 2015 by cathyfitz Southeast Asia, Thailand 0

One Day in Bangkok | Thailand 2015/2558

My travels for 2015 have taken me to the beautiful country of Thailand. It’s actually the year 2558 here because they use the Buddhist calendar. So does that mean I’m living in the future? Hmmm…. The trip is just getting started and already there is so much to share.  After 23 hours of travel time from Miami, through Doha, Qatar, to Bangkok Thailand, the first night was dinner, a massage, and bed. We woke refreshed, had a great breakfast at our hotel, and set out for a full day of exploring Bangkok. Even though we don’t typically enjoy touristy locations or urban areas, Bill & I wanted to at least get a taste of Bangkok. We set out for the city with only a general outline of what we would do, and enjoyed one great surprise after another. In this beautiful land of smiles you can feel a difference immediately. At first I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Bangkok is a large city – overcrowded with streets full of buses, cars, trucks, taxis, tuk tuks and motorcycles. Then it hit us – there was no sense of anger, urgency or honking horns. The kind, giving people of this country somehow find […]

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