Showing posts from 2009

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

My home has just been visited by a corpulent bearded fellow who appears to have consumed all my rum and mince pies.... I'm assuming its Christmas and the guest was Santa, unless I've just been burgled by Oliver Reed!!!!

I have always enjoyed festive period and I can see this continuing even when I'm in my dotage!!!!
I really enjoy the food and drink, decorating the Christmas tree and hanging your stocking out for Santa!!!! But, these days, I'd much rather see the stockings on my missus!!!!

Anyway, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.
I look forward to 2010 being a great year in the bloggersphere!!!!

Beers in Thailand

Let's face it, when the mercury tips 100 degrees and the plastic flowers are even starting to wilt, there nothing is better than supping on an ice cold glass of wobbly pops!!!

Although, if you're a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, Thailand isn't exactly the best place to hold your next meeting!!!

I am well placed to comment on this aspect of Thailand, thanks to my penchant for the amber nectar and having consumed more beer over the years, than a coach load of hillbillies at a Klu Klux Klan convention.One of things that tourists often find strange is that the Thais drink their beer with ice!!! For the first time visitor this takes some getting used too, but it is an aspect of the drinking culture that I have come to accept. And you soon understand why this is the case when you're sitting in the sun and your beer starts going warm!!!

In the next few paragraphs, I shall endeavour to provide information and tasting notes covering the most popular brands together with highligh…

Destination Profile: Bangkok

Where better to review than the inimitable Thai city of Bangkok.

The capital of Thailand has many monikers, "the Big Mango, "City of Angels" or "Krung Thep" as it is known to the locals.

It currently holds the record for the world's longest place name. So, I shall give it ts full dignified title..........

"Krungthep Maha Nakorn Amorn Ratanakosindra Mahindrayudhya, Mahadilokpop Noparatana Rajthani Burirom Udom Rajnivet Mahastan Amorn Pimarn Avatarn Satit Sakkatuttiya Vishnukarm Prasit".

Wow, what a tongue-twister, I think even most native Thai speakers would struggle with that!!!

Better still, try saying it after a couple of Johnnie Walkers!!!!

Bangkok is often described as a city of contrasts. This is reflected both in the cityscape, with the juxtaposition of centuries-old temples and gleaming 21st century skyscrapers and in society itself, with beggars sharing pavement space with the Gucci-wearing members of Thailand's high-society!!!!

The city has…

Getting to know Thai food

Ahhhh.....Thai food, don't you just love it?!!!

Urm.........99% of the time yes!!!

But there are occassions when you just can't stomach noodles or fried-rice for breakfast. Or, when you're in the middle of the jungle, squatting over a toilet pan (the word toilet, being used in the loosest possible sense!!!!) and watching a spectacle that is akin to muck spreading, the thought of eating a curried rat or portion of fried crickets is probably the furthest thing from your mind.

However, despite the odd gastronomic hiccup, which has lead to me purchasing of immodium on an industrial scale and experiencing a burning sensation in the nether regions, giving a whole new meaning to Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire", overall the standard of Thai food is exceptional.

The sheer number of ingredients, flavours, aromas and textures are mind boggling, as are the different dishes and styles of cooking. Contrary to popular belief not all Thai food is so spicy it will melt your teeth!!!…

Supplier of the month: Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School

Welcome to the December installment of my supplier of the month, featuring the world-renowned Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School run by Thailand's answer to Ainsley Harriott, Khun Sompon Nabnian.

About the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School
Sompon Nabnian and his English wife, Elizabeth, were the first to open a cooking school in the north of Thailand in 1993. From humble beginnings, the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School has since spawned a phenomenon, turning cooking courses into one of the most popular tourist activities when visiting Thailand. The Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School, with over thirteen years’ experience in the business, has garnered a reputation which has reached far beyond Thailand. Sompon has been invited to appear as a special guest by numerous television programmes on food and travel, including the BBC ‘Holiday’ programme, the National Geographic Channel, ZDF and the Thai Channels 3 and ITV. In 2001 he hosted his own series for UK television titled ‘Thai Way II’.Sompon’s rec…

Warning: Don't spank your monkey

It's official chaps, spanking your monkey can prove fatal and should come with a government health warning!!!!

This is what ultimately led to the demise of poor Khun Leurit Chanchum, from the Nakhon Sri Thammarat region in southern Thailand.

Let me set the record straight before you start thinking that Khun Leurit was a boss-eyed, sex pest who spent his days looking up the skirts of the local lasses.

He was actually a professional coconut collector, ably assisted in his task by Nong Khwan, his highly-trained macaque. Believe it or not, Nong Khwan graduated with honours from "Withayalai Ling", the country's foremost monkey training college based in Surat Thani.

The morning of February 25, 2009, began much the same as any other, with a neighbour hiring Khun Leurit to collect his coconuts. The first tree was duly harvested, but when prompted to climb the next, the cheeky monkey decided to work to rule and refused.

But, as I've always said, if you pay peanuts you get monk…

Thailand's national football team unveils new sponsor

You couldn't make this up!!!

With obesity levels worldwide hitting epedemic proportions, the next sponosr of the Thai national football team, is that bastion of healthy and nutritious cuisine............McDonalds!!!

Ronald McDonald must be laughing himself hoarse with the irony of it all!!!! You can just picture him slavering like Pavlov's Dogs and rubbing his fat, greasy hands together with the thought millions of Thai children nibbling on his McNuggets.

In terms of being a danger to children, Ronald McDonald makes Gary Glitter look like the Sugar Plum Fairy.

“This will be a great help towards our efforts to reach the 2014 World Cup Finals,” said FAT (Football Assocation of Thailand) president Worawi Makudi. “This funding will help develop our game, especially youth football, and all the players, junior and senior, will get to enjoy the food too,”.
Urrrrmmmmm lets have a little think about that Khun Worawi!!! If your players are gorging themselves on a diet of Supersized McChuffer…

Thailand's Taliban: The Muslim Insurgency in the South

"Taliban, staying here in Thailand, Fawlty!!! Bunch of Camel jockeys, Bloody bad eggs, all of 'em!!!"

I'm afraid in the current political climate that most people would probably agree with the Major on this point!!!!!

It may seem incredible to believe that a country famed for it's gentle Buddhist religion is suffering the scourge of Islamic extremism. And it will certainly cause your spinchter to pucker up tighter than a Scotman's wallet, knowing that only hours from Thailand's tourist hotspots, lurk large numbers of FundaMENTAList ragheads.

The Southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, home to many of Thailand's muslims, have been experiencing an increasingly violent insurgency over the last 5 years.

The population in the South who are mainly Malay-Muslims, had for years lived in relative peace with their Buddhist neighbours. But now there is an increasing jihadist undertone and the attacks have become more sophisticated, including car-bombings…

Thai Culture & Festivals: Loy Krathong

Thailand has a wonderfully rich and unique cultural heritage and it is famous around the world for its vibrant and colourful festivals.For me, the most striking and eagerly anticipated of these festivals is the annual, "Loy Krathong" or "Festival of Light".

It is traditionally performed on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month. For those of us using the Western Calendar, this usually means it is held during the first week of November.Unlike many Thai festivals, with their complex rituals and meanings which can often be difficult for foreigners to understand, the concept of Loy Krathong is very simple.The word 'Loy' means 'to float or sail' while 'krathong' refers to the vessel, usually lotus-shaped, upon which offerings are placed. A typical krathong will contain sweets, flowers, betel nuts and
coins, as well as candles and incense.Traditionally, the kratong was made from a lily plant or woven banana leaves, but these days modern mat…

Supplier of the month: Salil Hotel Bangkok

Welcome to the first in my series of blogs highlighting the best in accommodation, attractions, services, entertainment and dining.

The featured supplier for the month of November is the Salil Hotel in Bangkok.Hotel Description:

The Salil Hotel is a small boutique property, offering excellent service and accommodation set amongst Thai-colonial style architecture, it features 27 stylish guest rooms and suites.

Salil Hotel is centrally located on Sukhumvit Soi 8, only 2 minutes by Golf Cart to the Nana BTS Sky Train station. All main business districts, shopping centers, restaurants and tourist attractions are in very close proximity. The new international airport is only 30 minutes away. Thus Salil Hotel is suitable for both the business and leisure traveller.

The luxurious rooms are beautifully decorated in the Thai-Colonial style which provides you with the ultimate experience of a bygone era. There are different room designs ranging from 25 sqm to 35 sqm from stylish one-bedroom units t…

Destination Profile: Koh Si Chang

Ko Si Chang is a verdant, scenic island in the Gulf of Thailand which is only a 2 hour journey from Bangkok or a 30 minute drive from the resort of Pattaya.

Situated in the province of Chonburi, it is accessible by ferry, from Siracha pier (sometimes written Sri Racha). A journey of 12km which takes about 45 minutes and costs 40 baht!!!! The ferries run every hour from 7am to 7pm but as this is Thailand they don't always stick to the scheduled departure times!!!

Despite the fact that it features in a plethora of travel guides, it is off the main tourist trail and thankfully, you won't find the usual tourist hordes that you associate with many other Thai islands, like Koh Samui or Phuket.

I only saw 4 other foreign tourists on the day of my visit, in mid-October 2009. The majority of visitors are locals, which explains why the prices for food, drink and hotels are very reasonable.

Although its beaches may not rival those in Koh Samet or Koh Tao. I think it is a great destination fo…

Celebrity Interview Number 2: Frank Bough

Thank you for reading the next installment of Penfold's celebrity interviews.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to our next guest.....the broadcasting legend that is, Mr Frank Bough.

Frank enjoyed a successful career in television and is best known for being a trail blazer in the development of the breakfast TV show.

His distinguished career won him many admirers but, as with many celebrities, his penchant for drugs and sado-masochistic sex caused a spectacular fall from grace!!! Behind the the facade of the loveable old man in the "grandad-style" sweaters lay a coke-raddled old pervert!!!

However, despite his many misdemeanours has agreed to come out of retirement to give us this exclusive interview!!!!

So Frank, How are you enjoying your retirement?

I'm certainly enjoying life out of the limelight, It means I can travel to Thailand to enjoy the "nightlife", without the risk of a picture of me, spanking the bare bottoms of 18 year old go-go dancers while wea…

Only in Thailand......

Where would you find a picture of one of the world's worst genocidal maniacs being used to advertise a newly-opening tourist attraction? Thailand of course!!!!

This is one many examples of the lack of cultural awareness or just downright stupidity that is displayed in thailand on a daily basis!!!!

It is understandable that the majority of Thai citizens, who have only completed a basic level of education and have not had the opportunity to travel abroad, would lack a certain level of cultural awareness and might make the odd social faux-pas.

But the number of supposedly educated Thais, who display the cultural sensitvity of their farming cousins, is mind boggling.

This was demonstrated perfectly this month by Khun Somporn Naksuetrong, managing director of Louis Tussaud's Waxworks museum in Pattaya who thought it would be acceptable to use the poster displayed above to advertise his soon-to-be opening attraction in the holiday resort of Pattaya.

It wasn't until over 100 …

Top scams in Thailand

Most countries have their fair share of con-artists and swindlers but Thailand has a particularly bad reputation. Despite the growing number of complaints from duped farangs, the Government and Police have refused act. This is often because they are directly involved in the scams!!!!

The aim of this post is to give you a run down of the top scams you are likely to encounter and how to avoid getting ripped off.

There are charlatans, confidence tricksters and petty crooks around every corner trying to seperate gullible tourists from their hard-earned, so travellers beware!!!!

The scams will start as soon as you disembark at Suvarnabhumi airport, so it is imperative that you keep your wits about you and don't fall prey to these vultures!!!

1) Airport Taxi Scam - Official looking representatives (who are normally touts working for the mafia or a local criminal gang) will pretend that they are metered taxis and tell you that it is 500-1000 baht to go to central Bangkok.

My advice is......ig…

Thailand Travellers..who are they?: Part 2

This is following on from a post I published in September 2009 about the types of people you're likely to encounter in Thailand.......

Thailand is full of weird and (sometimes not-so) wonderful people!!!! So here is my expose on some of the groups who you maybe (mis)fortunate enough to bump into........I will apply a star rating to each group, so you know who you can safely have a beer with and who to dodge when you see them coming. The star rating is a follows: 5* = fun/enjoyable company to 1* = avoid like the plague/do not approach under any circumstances.

1) Missionaries/Religious workers:

Missionary. The very name conjours up images be-spectacled, sackcloth wearing Victorians trudging through the darkest heart of Africa, waving a bible and trying to convert the local "savages" but instead, ending up in the cooking pot and being served as a canape!!!

I'm not sure how a missionary would taste, as most of them that I have met, turn incredibly sour when you question the …

Thailand: Deadliest destination for Aussie tourists......

Well the title of this post says it all........according to official figures more Aussies come a cropper in Thailand than any other country!!!

In 2008-09, a total of 1038 Australians died whilst on holiday overseas and Thailand which received 378,000 Australian visitors accounted for 105 of those deaths!!!! It is lucky that England won the Ashes or that death toll would have been a lot higher!!!!

So statistically, your average Aussie has got more chance of winning a test match, by bowling underarm, and wearing a tutu and flip-flops, as they have of staying alive in Thailand!!!

It doesn't bode well for Dame Edna or Skippy, so you'd best lay off the sang som and coke guys and watch ur back!!!

If you would like to read the the full report please click on the link below......,28318,26037202-5014090,00.html

Why is it that so many Australians end up croaking in the Kingdom? Are they complete clowns who couldn't find their arse with both hands or a…

Celebrity Interview Number 1: Ron Atkinson

From time to time I will be bringing you celebrity interviews, where famous household names and doyens from the worlds of popular entertainment, sport and politics pop in for a chat and to share their thoughts on the "Land of Smiles".

I'm delighted that the first person joining Penfold at the bar, to enjoy an ice cold Beer Chang and bag of peanuts, is football's Goldenest Geezer, "Big" Ron Atkinson , former manager and TV pundit.

As you all know, "Big" Ron is a legend of football co-commentating and before the "Desailly-gate" scandal that led to his removal from our TV screens, was responsible for bringing us inimitable football phrases like "little eyebrows", "early doors" and "lollipops".

It must only be a matter of time before he's awarded an honorary fellowship by the chaps in English faculty at Oxford University, thanks to classic guff like..... "Well Clive, It's all about the two M's - Mo…