Amazing Places to Visit – Wat Larn Kuad

Bottle temple in Sisaket, Thailand at Wat Larn Kuad (Million Bottle Temple)
Bottles at Wat Larn Kuad - Million Bottle Temple in Sisaket, Thailand

Wat million bottle – is a wat in Thailand’s Sisaket province that was built using a lot of bottles. Whether it’s a million or not, I don’t know. I’m guessing 1.5 to 2 million. The place is absolutely covered in bottles.

I’ll have a video up of it in a few days or weeks – depending when I get some fast internet.

Go south to Khun Han from Sisaket following 221 to 2111 (shortcut). Once in Khun Han go almost to the roundabout and turn right at the school. Go down that alley about 150 meters and make a left. Go 100 m and make a right into the temple grounds.

A cool place to have a look at. They get a decent amount of foreigners. While I was there I saw 3 farangs with 3 bargirl girlfriends or wives that took them there.

You know bargirls… tattoos, dressing slutty at a temple…

Northeast Hotel in Sisaket – Review / Overview

The Northeast Hotel in Sisaket is a really decent hotel in the heart of Sisaket – Ampur Muang – downtown.

Basic, clean, comfortable rooms with a/c. This hotel was built only about 5 years ago. They have over 100 rooms and always have vacancy – even on New Years Day – when we were there. There is a steakhouse on the ground level – that was good when we ate there a few years back – no idea now.

Hotel Rate: 350 per night. No discount for longer stays. I asked for 1 month – 10,000+ THB. Three years ago I asked the same – and got the same answer.

WiFi: Yes, and free.

Bonus: Coffee place next door – Kiwi Coffee- makes a nice strong coffee – the guy has been there over 3 years and he said he’ll likely die there. A bit of  shame since he’s like 25 years old and has this tiny coffee shop as a business. To each his own though I guess.

Cities I Cannot Live In – In Thailand

I don’t like big cities. I moved to Thailand, in part, to escape them.

Bangkok is entirely out of the question – always was. It’s a better big city than New York City, but still – way too big for me. I did my time in NYC and won’t go back to breathing the vehicle fumes again.

Chiang Mai is out for that reason – too many cars, too much traffic, polluted air – no thanks.

Recently we checked out Khon Kaen. It’s a GIANT city. I had no idea. I thought it would be like Ubon Ratchathani. NO. It is about 9 times bigger than Ubon, and the people not nearly as nice.

We hit Korat – Nakhon Ratchasima. It’s also much too big. I don’t think it’s even as big as Khon Kaen, but it’s still too big. People are nice, traffic sucks – yes, it’s the holidays, but still… the place has 6 lane roads – maybe 8 in some places. Too big.

Phuket, I thought would be good to live in – before we had a baby. Now – it’s much too congested during high-season.

Songklha – I’ve never stayed in for long. Witht he ongoing violence it’s not likely we’ll move down there to raise our happy family.

I think that’s about it – the big cities of Thailand that I simply cannot live in.

Oh – Pattaya. I don’t really consider that a big city, but I guess it is. No, I wouldn’t consider living there either. How someone spends their life in Pattaya – I’ll never know.

Pattaya Man Kills Self with Cobra?

I’m not saying that is what happened, but lets look at what was said in the various Thailand news media.

Here’s my full article on it:

Norwegian Expat in Thailand Dies by Cobra Bite ->

What do you think?

Was he tired of life and preferred suicide by cobra?

Was he confident he wouldn’t die from the 2nd bite because he’d been bitten already once before?

Was he overcome by an allergic reaction and died so quickly he couldn’t do anything – even climb out of bed?

Death by cobra, if done right, is not all that bad. Better to have chosen a krait or a king cobra because the venom is not really hemotoxic and cytotoxic – and causes little pain at the bite site. In fact, kill yourself with a Bungarus multicinctus (Multi-banded krait; Many banded Krait) or Blue Krait (Malayan Krait) – Bungarus candidus, and you’ll probably have one of the most relaxing, peaceful, even BLISSFUL deaths possible.

The neurotoxic venoms of the kraits and cobras work on the nerve connections, rendering them inoperable. The muscles cannot get the impulses that say – “move” and so your eyelids, all your muscles – including diaphragm, lose the ability to move… if you are not put on a respirator when your breathing fails – you’ll die. It is said that even if you DO get treatment in the case of an envenomated bite from a Bungarus multicinctus – you still will likely die from the bite.

Anybody else know of a case of a foreigner dying from a snake bite in Thailand? I’ll have to google that… interesting topic.

Phi Phi Hotels Ripped a New One at About.com

Suzanne Nam writes at GoThailand.about.com and recently she ripped Phi Phi hotels and employees of hotels a new hole in the bummy. Sorry, I’m talking baby-talk since we had our daughter 6 months back.


She says…

The problem is, Phi Phi isn’t a secret. Hoards of travelers descend on the tiny island every year. During high season it gets very crowded. At night the bars and clubs keep pumping out loud music till the middle of the night, which is great if you’re on the dance floor and really annoying if you’re trying to sleep.The island also has the worst selection of hotels in Thailand. Ok, I might be exaggerating a little but it is true that hotels on Ko Phi Phi are often disappointing. They’re expensive and not always well kept and service is not up to par with the standard super-friendly, accommodating attitude most people in Thailand have.

I can’t comment, having never been to Phi Phi.

Is it really that bad? Sure some tourists died staying in hotel rooms there… was that ever resolved? Was it drugs they took that contributed to their deaths, or was it something in the hotels’ rooms?

If the traveling population is going by what Suzanne says about Phi Phi hotels I think some people are just going to skip the islands and go elsewhere. Lanta?

Stay in Patong and watch ladyboys dance on tables at Cocktails & Dreams on Soi Ladyboy off Bangla?

Thailand Motorcycle Driving: Keeping Your Brain in Your Head

During this morning’s motorcycle trip to a city 170 km away I experienced what was, without a doubt in my mind, the oddest, and maybe most unexplainable thing I’ve ever seen…

Riding down the road – doing 120 kph on the motorbike… through Thai countryside. Sunny morning about 9:30am. Ambulance flies by me doing about 150 kph. Wow. I sensed it was something real bad. I haven’t seen any really bad accidents in about a year in Thailand and I was due.

In 10 minutes I came up to the scene… cars stopped in lane, other lane too. Guy trying to wave people through – but those on motorcycle stopped and wanted to know who was under the blue plastic cover.

I didn’t want to stop – never do. I look quickly, but make sure I’m not going to become another statistic as people have their heads in their arse staring at accident scenes instead of driving.

Strange – there was nothing around. No cross roads, nothing. A rubber tree plantation on the left. Dead Thai motorcyclist in the street, motorbike down and destroyed. Just one.

Everyone was looking at the body and beyond and as I drove by I noticed, just to my left… 1.5 meters from my motorcycle’s front tire was a human brain.

It was intact… but missing the head it went with. It was pinkish red with some blood at the base, and whitish grey I guess… it looked just like a brain in the street.

Now why this part wasn’t covered up and the person’s body was – can only be explained by Thais. I don’t really get it. Everyone was quite curious about seeing the brain in the street though because as I passed I noticed another group of people staring at it and me for my reaction to it.

As I passed it I didn’t react at all. It took 20 minutes to come to grips with it fully. It just didn’t make sense. Not sure what happened but my own brain had a tough time admitting what it just saw.

Motorcycle accidents are horrorshow to some nth power. I’ve seen some real doozies here in Thailand – and seen brains on a couple of occasions. Not whole brains outside the head though. Must have been quite an impact.

So – if you must drive a motorcycle in Thailand think really hard about it – are you a safe rider? This person (male/female?) maybe hit someone from behind that was walking? Maybe plowed into the back of a truck that disappeared immediately after? Maybe hit someone that pulled out in front of them? The tarp was large that covered the body – so it may have covered 2 bodies and the other motorbike for all I know.

But the brain in the street got all the attention.

Drive safely…

Thailand Suzuki Raider 150r is FAST

I’m talking about within Thailand of course – the Suzuki Raider 150 / 15or is quite fast…

The 150r does not have the neck-snapping acceleration the Honda Nova 125 did, but, it has a good strong pull from 3rd gear on, and peaks well above what the Nova 125 used to do for me.

Today I went back to the dealer and gave them the cash for the Raider 150r so I could test drive it. This dealer, unlike almost any other in the country that I’ve asked to test drive motorbikes – lets you.

I test drove the Suzuki Raider 150 with a mechanic from the dealer as a passenger. The bike was STILL fast. The brakes STILL worked well – dual disks, front and rear.

Well today I wanted to ride the Raider 150 by myself and so I had to give them the cash upfront with the caveat that I’d get it returned if I chose not to buy the motorcycle after the drive.

I headed out on the highway and let her rip… damn, it was nice. The most impressive thing was going up a moderate slope and sized hill and accelerating up it – to 130kph. I wasn’t sure I believed it. I did it again, and again. From 90 to 130 the Raider flies… actually, from 3rd gear through 6th it FLIES.

Maximum speed for Suzuki Raider 150r?

I don’t know. I never got there. I chickened out at 130kph because the rear low profile tire says maximum speed 120kph I noticed before I left. It needs some Dunlops.

So – I did some 0-130kph runs and I really enjoyed the speed. The exhaust looks stock and I wonder what a great exhaust would do for it… an open carb…

When I brought it back to the Suzuki dealer I wasn’t sure what I’d say. It took me 10 minutes of considering all the other options to tell them I’d be back possibly. I got the money back, but gave them 1,000 THB to hold it for me for 3 days – and call me if someone else wanted to buy it – I wanted right to buy it first.

So – that was today…

Oh, and the Yamaha MIO I’ve had for 4 years died yet again after fixing at the Yamaha dealer. They ‘fixed’ it for 1,054 THB. I drove away in search of a Honda dealer to find a new CBR 150r. I never made it – the bike died good. I turned around and pushed it back to Yamaha. They said – oh – have to take apart engine… this plastic piece is broken.

“Yeah, no joke!” – that’s what I told them the first time and that was the whole reason for seeing them the first time.  WTF?

So they get in there and look… they call me over to the MIO and say – who did the maintenance last time. I said  – “you.”

They said, no, there are some fake parts in there – we don’t do that. Then I remembered – oh yes, my friend did that when the entire Mio died on me and seized the engine a few months back.

They said the guy put parts in backward, put the wrong timing chain in the bike, etc, etc.

Aw man…

So, they kept it overnight – gave me a junk green one from circa 1974 and told me to come back in 24 hours and pay 3,000THB and it will be fixed the right way this time.

We’ll see tomorrow I guess.

Gotta decide which other motorbike to get quickly here…

If you’re not meeting enough Thai girls in Thailand – checkout this new Thai women’s dating site ->

Honda CBR 150r – Yamaha Mio 125 MX & Nouvo 135 lc – Suzuki Raider 150r

Suzuki Raider 150r motorcycle in Thailand

Motorcycles and scooters in Thailand and lots of WTF’s?

Recently we’ve had tragedy hit our Yamaha MIO… the engine seized going up a hill about 3 months back. After it cooled it ran enough to get it to a shop. Bill: $4,500 THB to re-do insides. Don’t ask what. I have a huge receipt with parts. The guy is a friend, he was embarrassed to give it to me. I was just happy it wasn’t 10,000 THB.

Again yesterday – the Yamaha MIO engine died going up a hill. WTF? How did I eat all the oil in a month I wondered? I didn’t… a plastic gear in the MIO crankcase broke – at least 1 piece, probably more, and somehow got into a spot it killed the entire engine. WTF – right? Why are there plastic gears in the Yamaha MIO at all?

I’ve been looking at Honda CBR 150r’s, Yamaha MIO 125 MX’s, Yamaha Nouvo Elegance’s, and what appears to be a CHERRY Suzuki Raider 150r that they tell me is from last year, but matching photos of the instrument panel I think 2005 is more likely (pictured above). There’s like not a scratch on this Suzuki Raider though. Maybe it was modded and the original stuff put on again later? It did have “racing” tires on it that said on the sidewall – don’t take over 120km/hour! WTF? That’s not RACING!

While motorcycle shopping in Thailand I’ve found:

CBR 150r’s – there are 14 used to choose from at one shop, all different years – all the same price – 42,000 THB. WTF? Same price?

CBR 150r’s – new for 69,000 THB there is a black and a blue one. I’ve not looked at more than a couple shops for new ones. This is all I’ve found so far. Supposedly there is a replacement coming soon for the CBR 150r as they are not selling anymore new ones.

MIO MX 125’s – are 51,000 THB new and quite a nice power increase over the old 110 or 115cc MIO like we have.

Nouvo Elegance 135 lc‘s – are 59,000 THB, automatic engines like the MIO and faster than MIO but slower to stop than MIOs. Rubber is much bigger on the Nouvo’s.

Suzuki Raider 150r (only found 1) – they say has 23,000 km and they want 30,000 THB. I even test-drove this one – a rarity in Thailand, and it was amazing… very strong for a 4 stroke – WITH the mechanic on the back you see in the photo above. So we were like 150kg together.

In a past life I had the Honda Nova 25th Anniversary Edition 2-stroke, modded a bit, that SCREAMED. I really wish I could find a new 2-stroke. What’s the chance of that happening? Absolutely zero.

Do I have any motorcycle savvy people reading this blog?

If you can answer any of these questions-  I’d really appreciate it…

1. How long is the projected life of an automatic motorbike? Our MIO is 4 yrs old. It has 80,000+ km on it. Is it ready to be sold as junk?

2. What signs could I look for on the Suzuki Raider 150r to see if it’s been raced? Is there something in the power curve that might tell me? Loose shifting or something? If I saw the spark plug was high performance would that mean this Raider 150r was raced a lot?

3. Anyone know where I can get a year old, maybe 2, Honda CBR 150r? I’d buy that off a farang before buying used at this shop any day, but I can’t find one close by. Saw one in Chiang Mai.

4. Anyone know the true top speed of the Honda CBR 150r? I’ve heard 140 and 160. I think it’s 140. Yes?

5. Were the yellow CBR 150r’s released in Thailand? I’ve seen only 2 of them.

6. Is there a simple mod for the CBR 150 where I could get it up to 160 or so? Simple, simple – like a bolt on exhaust… I don’t want to go without an exhaust so don’t tell me to take it off…

Honday CBR 150r - blue motorcycle in Thailand
Honda CBR 150r. Stole this pic from someone advertising at ThaiVisa.com. He's in Phuket if you want to find him on TV and email him about this one. He didn't respond to my email so I think -sold already.

UPDATE:

There are NEW Honda CBR150r FI motorcycles coming to Thailand on October 30th in Bangkok.

New Thai girls for meeting in Thailand ->

Is Thailand Safe (Feb 2010) for Visitors?

Again – the question.

I have same answer as always… Thailand as a country – is safe. Come and visit and ignore the craziness going on – if there is any.

Bangkok is probably not safe at this time – as 2 embassies – AUS and CA (That’s Canada… lol) have issued statements that Bangkok might not be a good place to be in the near future.

Tourists are not being targeted. Have they EVER been? Not from my understanding of it all.

Stay away from Bangkok and the southernmost 3 provinces and you’ll likely be fine. Things are coming to a head soon because Thaksin Shinawatra, ex PM is set to lose about 2 billion US Dollars. Of course he doesn’t want that to happen. He has millions of followers, mostly in the northeast of Thailand – the red shirt country.

Look for some excitement in the next few weeks… or a total non-issue.

Bussarakam Hotel in Khon Kaen – Overview / Review

Not really an in-depth review, but an overview. We stayed here last night and found it to be a very good value for 900 THB.

Here are some positives and negatives about Bussarakam Hotel in Khon Kaen:

Positives about Khon Kaen’s Bussarakam:

  • Room is exceptionally clean, bright, airy
  • Staff is professional and helpful
  • Bed is nice – king sized
  • Free breakfast was good – Thai food and toast with butter/strawberry
  • Wifi is free in the lobby

Negatives about Khon Kaen’s Bussarakam:

  • WiFi was 150 THB extra for the password to get it to work in our room. It worked off and on – annoying. I spent all my time in the lobby using it – because it’s more steady.
  • Location – near a bunch of karaoke and fishbowl places

That’s it – I can’t say anything else negative about the place – great place to stay with a family. Wish I had known the internet sucks in the room – I’d have saved 150 THB.