Although Thailand is an absolutely beautiful country with some of the most incredible sights and scenes on offer, there are still a few things you’ll need to know before flying out to the Asian paradise. Here are ten essential tips for you to know before jetting away.
Be aware of the traffic
Thailand holds an unfortunate statistic to its name – its roads are the second most lethal in the world. The traffic in the country is constant, busy and largely unregulated, meaning that you’ll find it to be a massive challenge trying to traverse the land in a vehicle. Stay away from the busy junctions and main roads and instead take the quieter routes. They may take longer but they pose less of a risk.
Embrace the food
Thailand’s street food is some of the best in the whole country. It’s all freshly prepared in front of you and for ridiculously cheap prices. Bangkok thrives with the best examples of street food such as noodles and curries, at prices that are usually equivalent to less than a British pound. Go ahead and try some – you’ll find some stalls could beat some restaurants in terms of taste and price!
Lost in translation
Sure, the locals would appreciate it if you knew a slight bit of the Thai language, but be aware that it isn’t easy to grasp. Tones play a massive part in speaking Thai, and so saying something in one tone could mean something completely different! And that’s not to mention the fact that the Thai alphabet consists of 44 consonants and 32 vowels. It’d be a fun challenge trying to master the art, but maybe stick to your “khob khun ka”s for now.
Although it’s not applicable if you’re bathing in the turquoise Thai waters in your swimming costume, it’s expected for you to be covered up when possible. Don’t expose your shoulders or chest when entering a temple, and always wear relatively smart clothing – smart casual will do! As long as you don’t look unkempt and exposed, you’ll fit in just fine.
Take your shoes off
When entering any temple, religious building, home or a majority of shops in Thailand, you’ll have to take your shoes off. As your feet are the furthest thing away on your body from your head (the part of your body with the highest importance) they’re considered dirty and physically and spiritually lesser. This is a shared value throughout the country, so keep it in the forefront of your mind.
Avoid making a cultural faux pas
There are a lot of different cultural values and practices that you’ll have to obey and embrace in order to fit in. Every day people will stop to hear Thailand’s national anthem, played on every TV and radio station as well as in public spaces at 8am and 6pm. It isn’t hard to miss, but respect the locals and stop with them. Also, be careful not to say anything negative about Buddhism or any religious sites, as it will cause great offence.
Learn how to haggle
Marketplaces are big and frequent in Thailand, and if you’re easy to spot as a tourist, be prepared to haggle your way through the stalls. Often enough vendors will hike up prices knowing that you’re not a local, but you can easily negotiate the cost down – even to half the original asking price if you’re good enough!
With so much to see and do throughout the country, it’s important that you take your time and savour all it has to offer. Pick the best temples to visit instead of rushing through them all, and perhaps create an itinerary that gives you an equal balance of exploring and relaxing. Thailand is full of incredible sights and historical scenes, so don’t try and fit it all in at once. Who knows – it might entice you enough to come back!
Know the local emergency numbers
With the risk of theft and bag-snatching in Thailand, you’re going to want to know the numbers to call if you find yourself in danger. 1Cover’s handy guide includes those you’ll need for all parts of the world, as the frequency of tourists having their bags taken from thieves on motorbikes has grown recently. There’s a special tourist line for you to phone if you need to, but stay vigilant and aware that there’s potential for crime.
Don’t feel overwhelmed. Thailand is a beautiful country with so much to offer – whether you desire to lose yourself in the bustle of Bangkok or retreat to the seclusion of the Phi Phi Islands, there’s something for everyone. It’s important to let yourself go and have fun, as there’s an abundance of it to be had wherever you go.
Parramatta is a suburb of Sydney, located west of the business district on the banks of the Parramatta river. With a humid subtropical climate, offering mild cool winters and pleasant summers, Parramatta is an ideal place to live, specially for families who prioritize life quality.
Services are plenty, with great schools, excellent public transportation and easy access to the city center. There are plenty of bars and good restaurants around. Parramatta is a lively suburb packed with office workers and students. It is very safe and known for its quiet neighborhoods.
Some useful contacts may include:
Environment outcomes: (02) 98065558
Library (02) 98065174
Costumer service and after hours emergency: (02) 98065050
If you’re moving to this area, either as an expat, a student or for professional reasons, you may want to check out some of these amazing spots.
Parramatta top 4 attractions
A must see for visitors to Sydney and residents alike; Parramatta Park is listed as a world heritage. The entrance to the park is formed by a beautiful rose garden, which contains a rare collection of heritage roses.
Families will find 2 playgrounds for children, where they can play safely. Parramatta park is ideal for picnics on a sunny day, to enjoy the many events and festivals hosted at the park, to run and cycle as well as to explore the local history.
LAKE PARRAMATTA RESERVE
Located within two kilometers of the of the Parramatta central business district, this reserve will amaze you with its 73 hectares of bushland and parkland.
Opened all year round from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm (7:30pm during daylight saving), this beautiful reserve is an ideal place to swim and enjoy other water recreation activities, have a picnic with friends and family or going for walks following the different trails along the area..
In July 2010 the Old Government House became one of the 11 Australian sites listed at UNESCO as a world heritage.
The Old Government house is a symbol of the colonialism of New South Wales and an obvious display of the expansion of European power through the presence of the convicts work. For the ones who love history and want to explore more about the old days of Parramatta, this is a site not to miss.
Before the European settlers arrived, this area was the home for the Darug people. From Church street there Is a pleasant pathway filled with aboriginal artwork. Parramatta got its name from the Aboriginal word “burramatta” which means “where the eels lie down” You will have information along the pathway, helping you understand more about the history of this area.
It’s Valentine’s day…. Love is in the air and you know, that even the smallest gesture can melt your better half’s heart. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to express your love and appreciation for the one you love. Sometimes, the most memorable presents, are actually the ones that require some imagination and a little bit of thought.
“Being loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage…” – Lao Tzu
Five amazing S. Valentine’s presents for 2017
GO TRADITIONAL AND SURPRISE HER WITH FLOWERS
Flowers were my very first gift on Valentine’s day. And I know this is probably the most conventional of gifts, however, I truly believe some things are so special, they’ll never get out of fashion.
Why not order a beautiful bouquet of flowers and get them delivered to her place early in the morning when she’s just waking up? If you happen to be traveling around Australia with your sweetheart or if you’re an Australian resident, maybe you’d like to check out Flowers for Everyone. “Our flower delivery service guaranteed in the same day if ordered before 2pm”. If you wish so, add a little gift with it, like a bottle of wine so you can have a romantic dinner together.
SURPRISE HIM / HER WITH A SPECIAL VEGAN DINNER
You can either go out for dinner…. or you can forget about the world and simply stay home. Cook a romantic dinner together, and enjoy every moment of it! Put your favorite music on, and rock that kitchen with a delicious organic meal.
One of my most memorable Valentine’s day, was actually when my sweetheart and I decided to stay home and simply spent time together, cooking and dancing in the kitchen.
Simple Chinese wok, spicy Thai, Indian curries, or that forever favorite Italian? If you need some inspiration, check out my vegan recipe section for great ideas of foods of the world. And remember that bottle of wine you sent with the flowers from Flowers for everyone? Enjoy it together!
HAVE AN AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE TOGETHER
Imagine the two of you…laying side-by-side, relaxing from the worries of the world, in a warm room with the relaxing sounds of peaceful ocean waves, the aromatherapy of calming essential oils, and the nurturing of a customized therapeutic massage. It is the perfect environment to enjoy a special bonding session for couples, to indulge in the shared experience of peace and well-being. You don’t need to do anything except relax and enjoy!
GO FOR A MAGICAL SUNSET TOGETHER
Climb the highest point of your city or village for a magical sunset together. If you have a nice (and safe to climb!) roof top you can go to, surprise him /her with this unconventional spot. Bring some food and have a picnic together while you watch the sun kissing the sky goodbye.
If you’re traveling the world together, this is a great excuse to explore a new spot together.
Love makes the world go round. With the stress of daily life, we sometimes forget to show appreciation for the ones we truly care for. Taking time to express your feelings, sharing quality time and surprise the other with a little gift, can bring us closer together, make our love grow stronger.
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Save Money by Holidaying Locally
If you’re anything like me then as soon as you returned from your first travel experience you immediately began planning and saving for your next trip. However, if you’re also like me, you find yourself feeling the need to escape earlier than your budget will allow. If this resonates with you, I have a few tips to holidaying locally which have helped me keep my sanity in between my big adventures.
There’s one thing I loved about the Mediterranean and that was the beaches. There were days where I would spend the entire day on the beach without speaking to anybody just enjoying the time to myself. When I felt like I needed this experience again, I found that I could get a similar sense of relaxation from visiting a local beach. With so many to choose from, a relatively inexpensive domestic flight is all it takes to enjoy a similar atmosphere. Load up your tablet with books and music, plug in your headphones and laze the days away on the sand.
Coming Back a Changed Person
The last time that I went traveling I returned home with a suitcase full of new and very different clothes along with a shaved head. No joke. And while this change of look came from a cultural journey I was lucky enough to be taken on, coming back a new person doesn’t require extensive travel. When vacationing locally, spend your budget on getting a haircut and color, completely revamp your closet and, of course, a mani and pedi. Utilizing discounts at Chicago nail salons is a great way to keep your costs down while you continue to save for your next big international adventure whilst still getting a total makeover feel.
Go It Alone
There have been a few times where I’ve taken an overseas vacation with a group of friends, but if I can be honest, I prefer to travel alone. There is a lot more which you can learn about yourself when you are alone with just your thoughts. Instead of a quick weekend away with friends, take a few extra days for some solitary camping. Find yourself a nice secluded camping spot, take a few good books and some music and enjoy the time to yourself. If you’ve been feeling stressed about a number of things in the lead-up, make a list and sort them out while you’re away.
Don’t let a restricted budget get in the way of keeping you sane in between big international adventures. Remember to keep it cost effective, look for discounts, and above all, enjoy yourself.
We all know Costa Rica is one of the best preserved tropical islands in the world. Ecotourism and environmentally conscious businesses have thrived in this small paradise, turning it into one of the best destinations for nature lovers, adventure seekers and honeymooners.
You’ll find warm weather throughout the year, welcoming locals and beautiful spots that will leave you breathless. Some have come for a visit and stayed forever. Many others fall in love with the island and return for more year after year. You can plan your Costa Rica family vacations in the comfort of your home and simply enjoy your time once you arrive!
Costa Rica is for surfers
Costa Rica is one of the world’s top spots for surfers in search for the perfect wave, but this is also the case for many folks wanting to learn how to surf.
Costa Rica is a well known and well developed surfing destination – especially since featured in Endless Summer 2, that classic surf movie that enchanted the thrilled seeker adventurers. The surfing can be broken into three main areas: The Pacific North (Guanacaste-Nicoya), the Pacific South (Punta Arenas) and the Caribbean. Surf towns are developing in places such as Jaco, Tamarindo and Puerto Viejo. Year round warm water, warm air and offshore breezes (in Guanacaste) make for great conditions.
Costa Rica is for spirituality seekers
If you’re a wellness and Yoga fan, then you’re off to the right place! Costa Rica is the capital of everything spiritual and healthy. You’ll find yoga classes, personal development groups, healthy restaurants and inspiring people who will make you never want to leave this place.
Costa Rica is for the vegetarians and vegans
I have previously shared many reasons why vegans and vegetarians keep on choosing Costa Rica, on my vegan and vegetarian Costa Rica guide.
Costa Rica is a great place to find exotic tropical fruits. Many of these fruits are native to Costa Rica, but many others were introduced from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, and North and South America. Almost all are regularly found in the stores and farmers’ markets of Costa Rica. Most of them are 100% organic and incredibly fresh.
Vegetables are mostly grown naturally in Costa Rica and you can feel the explosion of flavors in every meal.
Costa Rica is for family fun
For about half the price of a top-shelf Disney vacation, you can explore a whole new world with your kids. Kids can swim and splash all they want in ocean surf, swimming pools, rivers, and hot springs. Families are amazed by the tropical wildlife-butterflies, tree frogs, monkeys and toucans-and a treetop canopy tour is not to be missed by kids or grown-ups.
COSTA RICA INTERESTING FACTS
Costa Rica has 800 miles of beaches and coastline and rugged tropical mountaintops over 12,000 feet.
Costa Rica visitors can choose from San Jose International Airport (SJO) near the capital city, or Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) near Liberia in the north.
According to Wikipedia, Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species, which represents nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide, making Costa Rica one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in the world. Of these 500,000 species, a little more than 300,000 are insects
Costa Rica has no real winter period, and the sun shines here throughout the year. In general the weather can be classified as a dry or high season and a wet or green season. With over 12 hours of sunshine a day, the sun rises at about 5:45 am and sets at about 5:45 pm consistently throughout the year.
Take the Waters of Scintillating Scandinavia
Travelers to Scandinavia can immerse themselves in many unique opportunities: taking in the culture and sophistication of major Northern European cities, discovering a multitude of activities and attractions and drinking in savoring landscapes that boast glaciers, forests, fjords and rocky coastlines. Adults and children alike will be captivated by the region’s extraordinary natural phenomena, including Lapland’s Northern Lights and Iceland’s majestic ice-caps and volcanoes. Wildlife lovers will also enjoy meeting a cacophony of snow-dwelling critters; from shaggy Huskies to Santa’s reindeer.
Scandinavia’s ancient Viking legacy makes exploring the whole region by water the natural choice. A range of Scandinavian river cruises are available through companies such as Saga Travel — so why not follow in the footsteps of one of the world’s most fearsome sea-faring races?No visit to Scandinavia would be complete without a trip along the Norwegian fjords (the most popular place to visit on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.) These long, narrow inlets edged by steep cliffs were created by ancient glacial erosion and their awe-inspiring heights must be seen to be believed.
With its rich seafaring history, Scandinavia also has a large number of historic ports that can be incorporated into the itinerary of your Scandinavian river cruise.
Here are five destinations that span the range of what Scandinavia has to offer.
1. Copenhagen — Denmark
The stylish, cutting-edge capital of Denmark boasts a lively restaurant, bar and fashion scene. The city also hides a network of quaint pastel painted houses crouching on cobbled streets, dotted with cozy cafes where you can watch the world go by. Copenhagen also has a number of museums should you wish to dabble in Denmark’s cultural heritage.
2. Stockholm — Sweden
Comprising 14 islands connected by 50 bridges, Sweden’s capital city is truly one of a kind. This buzzing modern metropolis is an endless maze of pretty parks, shops and cafes. Combined with the historical Old Town (peppered with museums and palaces) Stockholm’s diversity has something to offer every type of traveler.
3. Helsinki — Finland
Helsinki’s strong appreciation for contemporary design makes retail therapy easy to come by, the port being renowned for its boldly patterned textiles, glass-wear and jewelry. Founded in 1550, Helsinki is steeped in history, from its Lutheran Cathedral to the neo-classical buildings of Senate Square. The avant-garde Museum of Contemporary Art and the Design Museum are also well worth a visit.
4. Tallinn — Estonia
Founded in 154AD, Tallinn is one of Europe’s best preserved historic cities. Take in some history at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, but be sure to combine this with witnessing the modern face of Tallinn and take a trip to the Parliament building.
5. Oslo — Norway
Oslo is a somewhat provincial city, but there are many delights to be found in Norway’s capital. Located on the Aker River at the head of the Oslo Fjord, Oslo combines modern architecture with hundreds of lakes, numerous parks and some world-class museums and public statues. Oslo residents are nature lovers, rightly proud of their pristine forests and fjords. For cruise passengers, the ship’s approach and departure through the Oslo Fjord provides superb views of the natural scenery and small fishing villages.
Of course, these are just some of the highlights. Scandinavia has all sorts of wondrous sights to offer. The best way to learn about them is to visit!
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