Monthly Archives: May 2018

Finding the Perfect Beach in Phuket Thailand

Finding the Perfect Beach in Phuket Thailand

Some of the world’s most unforgettable beach holidays happen here, whether vacationing alone, with friends, family, or if you’re honeymooning. When someone hears Phuket, it is immediately associated with spectacular sandy stretches. But when in Phuket, where exactly do you go to enjoy the postcard-perfect beach, or the beach that suit your vibe?

If the object of your Phuket visit is to find out just how alive or vibrant beach life can be in this part of the world, Patong Beach should be your first destination of choice. By the sheer number of visitors to this beach, you can say it’s the most popular in Phuket. This is a busy and crowd-friendly beach, and nightlife here is electrifying as most would describe. If you don’t mind the crowd, and if part of your goal is to enjoy crystal clear water and white sand, this is the beach for you. Patong, itself is pretty convenient for vacationers as it offers a plethora of hotel and restaurant options. Even the shoppers and diners will find the area to be a perfect respite to a day on the beach. Its shopping center is something you should check out. You might just find something that will fascinate you and be a perfect gift for those back home..

For a long lazy walk on the beach and the enjoyment of plenty of space, Karon Beach is a great choice. Despite being the second longest beach in Phuket, Karon is not as crowded as its neighbor Patong. It exudes a more laidback atmosphere. The nice thing about spending time at Karon Beach is you usually have a vast personal space even while finding comfort in the presence of other tourists, who are also seeking a more serene environment. The beautiful water is intensely inviting too. You’ll also find that Karon has a pretty decent number of restaurants and pubs. Nightlife here is low key. The kind you probably like if you’re not into the huge party crowd but would still want to enjoy a few drinks.

If you feel Karon Beach is still pretty crowded, head to Phuket’s secret beach – Banana Beach. With its palm trees, clear blue shallow water ideal for swimming, and exceptional sand, this beach is just going to blow you away. Banana Beach is also a popular snorkeling spot. It’s not totally without people around but it is not as explored or visited by many. Perhaps, this is due to its more isolated located. Unlike in Patong and in Karon where you can easily have access to a number of restaurants, including the western chains; at Banana Beach, choices are more limited. Some visitors even opt to just bring packed meals and eat them under a coconut tree.

If the secret beach, with its charm and just a handful people even during the peak season, still doesn’t prove peaceful enough for you, try the deserted beach Haad Sai Kaew. Here you will most likely have the beach all to yourself. After your much needed time alone, head to one of the thatched roof open cottages to satisfy your hunger. There’s just no better way to cap a solitary walk or swim on a gorgeous beach than feasting on a nice fresh seafood meal!

Whichever type of beach person you are, Phuket has one that’s perfect for you!

Why Phi Phi Island in Thailand is considered the heaven on the earth?

Why Phi Phi Island in Thailand is considered the heaven on the earth?

What makes Phi Phi island a heaven on earth is that it is free from the hustle bustle of the busy lives that we usually encounter. Phi Phi Leh islands are entirely free from human inhabitants. Phi Phi Don lacks roads and you wouldn’t get lost in the maddening crowd. You can explore the place on your own which is one of its kind experiences. Located in the AndamanSea, Phi Phi Islands offer the best things for the visitors to explore. This stunning island that is second to none offers impeccable choices when it comes to the activities and the tours. You always have something or the other to indulge in Phi Phi islands. The crystal clear waters, lush green vegetation and the white sand powder on the beaches transforms Phi Phi islands into a heaven on Earth. The Maya Bay is a hot spot on the Phi Phi islands. The back end of the beach has a small terrace that offers a breathtaking view point of the Loh Sama which is famous for snorkeling. The Viking Cave is yet another attraction in the Phi Phi Islands. This cave features ancient paintings and the tourists learn how to capture swifts live in the cave through the aid of local fishermen. The Koi Phi Phi Don is a main village and is renowned for its unusual shape. Shaped like the alphabet “H”, this village is covered with jungle and features two mountains as the vertical bars of the alphabet. This village has a setting of a picture post card which is bound to enchant the visitors. This village is a Mecca for the photographers. The Pirate Island Adventures in the Phi Phi Island is one of its kinds. It is one of the popular attractions on this island and features a shop house that resembles a pirate ship wreck. The visitors have the option to enjoy the electronic shooting range with muskets and pistols. This attraction as well features rides and a 5D motion theater. The adults and the children are bound to have fun in the haunted house that sprawls over 250 square kilometers. If you love diving, then Phi Phi Islands wouldn’t disappoint you. Professional and serious dive centers offer dispensing courses to the visitors around and in the Phi Phi waters. The Anemone Reef, King Cruiser Wreck and the Shark Point are the most notable dive sites in the Phi Phi islands. The shark watching tours are quite popular and done in small groups. Snorkeling equipment under the guidance of professionals are offered to the visitors offering educational yet exciting experience to carry home with.

If you love shopping, then Phi Phi islands offer you the best experiences. You can find most of the interesting items for purchase on these islands. Although the number of stores is few, they offer a lot of souvenirs and original articles for sale. You would be able find unusual gifts to take back home in the Phi Phi stores. Get a glimpse of the life of the islanders by visiting the Phi Phi market. You can check out the exotic vegetables, fruits and seafood that grow on Phi Phi. The tropical jungles and the azure waters of the Phi Phi islands would leave you speechless. Explore the wildlife, cruise in a long tail, unravel the mysteries of the prehistoric cave paintings and a lot more while you are at the Phi Phi Islands

Adventure and adrenaline in Thailand

Adventure and adrenaline in Thailand
Over the past few years Thailand has gained a reputation for its incredible range of adventure activities, with testosterone-fuelled highs around every corner. You don’t need to be super-fit to join in and you usually don’t require special training. Any budding Indiana Jones can stomp through jungle paths to meet remote ethnic groups while Easy Riders can bike around looping roads surrounded by swooping mountain ranges. Here is a list of the top places in Thailand for thrill-seekers to get their fix.

Kayaking and rafting

Thailand’s rivers and seas are the perfect places for some paddle power. Kayaking trips often venture inside caves glittering with stalactites and stalagmites, visit limestone islands or pass through mangrove forests. Many companies run trips around Krabi and Phuket while in Kanchanaburi you can power your way along the famous River Kwai.Some of the country’s wildest and wettest white-water rafting can be found in the north and west of the country. In Chiang Mai, for example, you can take on the fierce Mae Taeng River, which has grade three and four rapids, with Siam Rivers outfitters.

Yachting

For more upmarket adventure, learn how to sail your own yacht. Sailing Thailand runs courses around Phuket for those who wish to learn the ropes through to those who want to race. Phuket also has some reasonable rips for surfers, while kiteboarding is starting to take off, literally, in Ko Samui and Hua Hin.

Diving and snorkelling

Peer into the crystal-blue seas that surround Thailand’s 3,200km (20,000mi) of coastline and a whole new watery world appears. Snorkelling is the simplest option and nearly every island runs day-trips out to nearby coral reefs. All you need to do is grab a mask, pull on some fins and jump in.To get a closer look at the range of marine life, scuba diving in Thailand is an incredible experience. Day-trips typically include at least two dives, or you can join a liveaboard and spend several days diving.The best places to plunge are on the west coast, which includes the Similan Islands. Set in the Andaman Sea, these islands are rated among the top dive sites anywhere in the world. Along with red and purple soft corals, the marine life includes yellow boxfish, triggerfish and octopus.Ko Tao is one of the most popular places to learn to dive, thanks to its shallow waters and abundance of coral. Dive centres run courses that will teach you the basics in a few days, and after that the undersea world is your oyster. Hin Daeng (Red Rock) and Hin Muang (Purple Rock) are remote sites that are off Ko Lanta but are worth seeking out as sightings of manta rays and whale sharks are common.The best time to dive is from November to April, when the waters are at their clearest.

Ziplining

Think you’d make a great Tarzan? Then check out the high-flying, high-speed jungle adventures in the heart of Thailand’s stunning countryside.Several resorts in Kanchanaburi have specially built courses that offer visitors the chance to fly from tree to tree while attached to 500m (1640ft) ziplines, then scramble across rope bridges and over spider nets while surrounded by dense jungle. Tree Top Asia runs a Flight of the Gibbon experience that includes up to 26 platforms stretching over 3km that lets thrill-seekers whizz, crawl, fly and swing through the forest canopy. It has bases near Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Flying

If ziplining isn’t enough altitude for you, learn to fly at the Nok Aviation Flying Club near Chiang Mai or try a spot of hang-gliding and paragliding in the eastern province of Rayong with the Thai Gliding School.

Biking and cycling

By far the best way to see Thailand’s mountain ranges and lush countryside is to jump on a motorbike. An area to the west of Chiang Mai is known as the Mae Hong Son loop and in biker circles it is said to be one of the ultimate routes thanks to endless hairpins, corkscrew twists and awe-inspiring views.Cycling tours are also available, with the best routes running from Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi or Hua Hin. Organised trips can be arranged with companies such as Spice Roads, and these often include sleeping overnight in a homestay with villagers.

Trekking and camping

Meeting ethnic groups and experiencing life in their villages is a highlight of any trip. Trekking tours range from short strolls in a forest up to challenging stomps through thick jungle accompanied by expert guides who are often able to spot hidden creatures that you’d otherwise walk straight past.Thailand’s national parks are filled with dragon-toothed mountain peaks, tumbling waterfalls and dense vegetation. Camping out at designated sites means you are utterly immersed in nature. One of the best parks is Khao Yai in the northeast, which includes a giant monsoon forest, dozens of elephants and excellent trekking options.

Elephant riding

Riding through the jungle on the back of an elephant is a memorable, if somewhat jolting, experience. For those who want to understand Thailand’s national animal better, it’s possible to spend time training as a mahout. The Elephant Palace in Ayuthaya runs special courses that teach guests how to respect and care for the pachyderms.

Quad-biking

If you’re planning to visit Thailand’s beaches rather than its jungle, some of the more remote, rugged islands are ideal for quad-biking. Ko Samet is virtually filled with dirt tracks and so these machines are the best, and most enjoyable, way to get from beach to beach.

Rock climbing

Clambering up a rock face delivers the ultimate vertigo-enducing buzz. If you’re a beginner, head for Ko Phi Phi which has relatively simple ways up, but if you are more experienced, then Railay beach in Krabi is rock-climbing nirvana – and has one of the best beaches in Thailand. Andaman Adventure runs rock-climbing, fishing and kayaking packages around the southern islands.

Mouth-Watering Thai Desserts – The Flour

Mouth-Watering Thai Desserts – The Flour
There are many kinds of delicious Thai desserts, and the desserts use many kinds of flour. This article is gives examples of these desserts and recommends ways to use flour for each kind of dessert to arrive at the best texture and taste.
A friend of mine told me that my article, ” Mouth-Watering Thai Desserts” on August 9th, 2008, does not have information on flour used in Thai desserts. My friend was right – I mentioned flour in one of the seven main ingredients but I did not write anything about flour. Thus, continuing from the previous article on “Mouth-Watering Thai Desserts” this article will focus on flour used in Thai desserts. Taken together, these two articles give a fuller picture of Thai desserts.The following are the common flours used in Thai desserts: sticky rice flour, rice flour, cassave starch, corn starch, wheat flour, arrowroot starch and mung bean flour.
Sticky Rice Flour (แป้งข้าวเหนียว – paeng khao niaw)
Sticky rice flour is also referred to as “sweet rice powder” or “glutinous rice flour.” It is made from short-grain sticky rice that becomes moist, firm and sticky when cooked. This is due to its proportionally higher number of waxy starch molecules. With its chewy texture, sticky rice flour is a favorite base for buns and pastries. Sticky rice flour is often combined with plain rice flour to create a variety of Thai desserts.In Thailand there are 2 types of sticky rice flour: wet and dry. Wet sticky rice flour is finely milled with water, whereas dry sticky rice flour is finely milled without water. When buying sticky rice flour, choose products that have a white color and no smell or moisture.Example desserts using sticky rice flour are Paeng Jee (grilled coconut cakes), Bua Loy Benjarong (taro, pumpkin, and mung dal bean balls in coconut milk) and Khanom Thua Paep (mung bean stuffing coated with shredded coconut meat).
Rice Flour (แป้งข้าวจ้าว – paeng khao jao)
Rice flour is used to thicken various dishes and is also an important ingredient in various Thai desserts. Rice flour is a good substitute for wheat flour, in that the latter causes digestive system irritation in those who are gluten intolerant. However, rice flour should not be used or substituted in some desserts like cakes. This is because rice flour is not finely milled like cake flour, and would not yield the same quality of desserts. In Thailand, there are 3 types of rice flour:

  • rice flour made from rice older than a year – good for absorbing water,
  • rice flour made from new rice – does not absorb water as well because of its moisture, and
  • rice flour made from new rice without water – excellent at absorbing water.

Beyond the type of flour, there are many grades for each type. To buy rice flour, choose products with a white color and absence of an old smell. If you plan to make a dessert using rice flour, find flour that was finely milled so your dessert will have a smooth texture.Example desserts using rice flour are Khanom Chan (nine-layered dessert) and Khanom Thuay (coconut cakes).

Wheat Flour (แป้งสาลี – paeng sa lee)
Wheat flour is a fine white powder that has high gluten content. There are different types of wheat flour depending on the types/characteristics of wheat used and the milling process. The common wheat flours are bread flour, all purpose flour and cake flour. These 3 types of wheat flour are different in the percentage of protein contained in the flour. Bread flour has the highest percentage of protein, 12%-13%, followed by all purpose flour at 9%-10% and cake four at 6%-9%.Protein content is an important key for a buyer to know because it yields different result in cooking. High protein content means more water will be absorbed and there will be a longer mixing time to achieve optimum consistency. Thus the desserts/snacks that are chewy or sticky usually use the high protein content wheat flour.
Mung Bean Flour (แป้งถั่วเขียว – paeng tao khiaw)
Mung bean flour is made from mung beans. It is a gluten-free flour. Some brands offer a very fine texture of flour. If the flour is not finely ground, one must grind it before use to prevent lumps. Mung bean flour comes in a variety of colors depending on how much it has been precessed. When cooking mung bean flour (with water on a stove), it turns transparent. One of the most well-known uses for mung bean flour is in so-called glass/clear noodles, very fine noodles made with a highly refined form of mung bean flour. When raw, these noodles are almost transparent, and they turn completely transparent when cooked. Khanom Salim is a Thai dessert that requires mung bean flour and cannot be substituted. Khanom Salim is sweet mung bean threads in syrup with coconut milk on top. It is served cold with ice. The mung bean thread is colored with natural colors like Flower of Chitoria Tematea Linn (Dok Un Chun) yielding a blue or lac (krang) yielding a red.
Cassave Starch (แป้งมัน – paeng mun)
Cassave starch is often called tapioca starch (แป้งสาคู – paeng sa koo). It is a refined white flour which is made from cassava root. Cassave starch is very finely textured, and is a common substitute for arrowroot starch and cornstarch. Cassave starch is gluten-free and easy to digest. It is often added to gluten-free baking as a thickener. It is broadly used as a thickener for sauces, soups and desserts in Thailand. In desserts, cassave starch is almost always used in blends with other types of flour so that desserts are more soft and sticky than when using only one type of flour.
Corn Starch (แป้งข้าวโพด – paeng khao pod)
Corn starch is made from corn kernels and is finely textured. Corn starch is best dissolved in cold water. When cooking corn starch (with water on a stove), corn starch tends to form lumps. Thus, it is important to stir frequently on low heat. It is used as a thickener and used in blends with other types of flour like rice flour.
Arrowroot Starch (แป้งท้าวยายม่อม – paeng thao yay mom)
Arrowroot Starch is made from the root of the marantha arundinacea. In Thailand, arrowroot starch consists of tiny white balls that must be ground before using. However, in some brands, arrowroot starch is a fine powder just like cassave starch. Arrowroot starch is a gluten-free flour that has no identifying taste or scent. It is used as a clear thickener with any mixture or in blends with other types of flour. Its thickening power is about twice that of cassave starch. Arrowroot starch is used in many Thai desserts.Thais love desserts and they have been a part of our lives for a long time. Thai desserts cannot be perfected without attentive use of flour. For some desserts, some types of flour can be substituted for each other, but in other cases substitution is not advisable. Each type of flour has its own characteristics, which in some cases preclude substitution, depending on how they interact with the rest of the dessert. When making delicious authentic Thai desserts, it is more important to closely follow the recipe than it is for non-dessert kinds of dishes. Enjoy the many wonderful tastes and textures of Thai desserts!