Edinburgh is high on my list of cities to visit. This ancient and atmospheric city offers so much to do for visitors over a weekend or an even longer visit. In my planning of a future visit I've put together a list of great things to do in this wonderful city.
Edinburgh is well known internationally for a number of festivals and any visit is not really complete without being able to take in one of these. Hogmanay kicks off the Scottish New Year. This is surely one of the finest New Year Eves you will experience. The International and Fringe festivals are a must for anyone who enjoys comedy or theatre. And in summer the Tattoo is the festival to visit.
Things to do in Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Castle - This magnificent castle located on one of the highest points of the city is the home to the Edinburgh Tattoo. In excellent condition this castle has been in continuous use for over 1000 years and should definitely be on your list of places to visit.
- Palace of Holyrood House - This palace of royal residence in the old town of Edinburgh contains the Queen's Gallery and a fantastic collection of art from the Royal collection.
- Camera Obscura - This 150 year old camera obscura at Castle Hill in the old town focuses light from the top of the tower onto a large disk in a dark room below. This gives a 360° view of Edinburgh.
- Royal Yacht Britannia - At the Ocean terminal in Leith, this decommissioned yacht is one of Edinburgh's best new attractions. Visitors are offered the chance to walk around the royal apartments and see the selection of the many guests offered by dignitaries from around the world.
- Royal Botanical Garden - In Stockbridge, this beautiful gardens with a fantastic collection of interesting plants is definitely a great place to visit in summer.
- Edinburgh Zoo - In the west of the city. This fantastic museum is home to the world famous Penguin Parade, as well as many other great animals.
- The Museum of Scotland and Royal Museum - In the old town, this museum houses some of the finest architecture and finds in Scotland's heritage. It is home to the millennium clock which is a must to visit when it's chiming.
- The Fruitmarket Gallery - In the old town, this gallery brings together great artists and audiences. It's a non-profit organisation and a registered charity.
- Take a walk along the water of Leith - The small river that meanders through Edinburgh provides a peaceful haven from the busy city.
- Folk music - Be sure to checkout some of the fantastic folk music that plays in the pubs in the old town.
- Arthur's Seat - An extinct volcano in the east of the city which offers fantastic views from its summit. Although only 251 m high views are amazing, offering a fantastic panorama over the city.
Where to stay in Edinburgh
There is a huge choice of accommodation for travellers in Edinburgh. Be sure to plan well ahead if you're visiting a festival time in August, and anytime around Christmas and New Year.
There are hotels of all budgets, from backpackers to the finest hotels. One of the best value places to stay in Edinburgh is the Holiday Inn in Edinburgh. It's just a short walk to the Haymarket railway station, and within easy access to the city.
Edinburgh is a great place to visit, which lots to do for everyone. I can't wait to get there myself.
Think Las Vegas has had it as a holiday destination, or is off the radar as a traveler? Think again. Vegas has lots to do, lots of fun, and it can all be done on a simple budget. Miss Las Vegas as your peril!
The Las Vegas Lowdown
To the traveler or casual holidaymaker Vegas might seem like an odd choice. Cliched, overdone and to be avoided? Ask almost any season traveler and they tell you that they did visit Vegas, and they had a ball. That's because Las Vegas is one of the special places with a unique culture and a list of must dos. They're the places we visit when we travel right?
Here are the Las Vegas essentials you need to know:
- Things to do - Vegas has so much to do, you'll struggle to fit it all in on a single visit.
- Weather - fantastic weather all year around.
- Free - lots of stuff in Vegas is free! Not only things to see, but even food and drink can be free or nearly free when you visit casinos.
- Accommodation - with so many hotels jostling for your business hotels prices are low, and the hotel standards are great.
- Transport - You rarely need transport once you're in Vegas. If you're traveling you can easily get in and out of Vegas with cheap buses and flights. If your driving you can easily park up at your hotel. There are even a choice of campsites.
Must dos in Las Vegas
Image by Nadavspi
- Gamble - the obvious thing to do in Vegas. You don't need to be a seasoned pro to join in, and you don't need to gamble your kids college fun. It's a lot of fun just to play the fruit machines. Find a game you like, set a limit and join in. It's great just mingling with those who are gambling.
- Hover Dam - not actually in Vegas, but so close you've got to see it whilst you're there.
- Bellagio Fountain Show - the incredible fountain show at the famous Bellagio hotel.
- Southern Nevada Zoological Botanical Park - Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park has over 150 species of animals and plants.
- Flamingo Garden - A 15-acre garden with Flamingos and other exotic birds, as well as koi and turtles.
- Ride a Gondola at The Venetian Hotel - As close as you'll get to Venice without being in Venice!
- Kayak Trips from Kayak Las Vegas - Paddle the Colorado River from the base of Hoover Dam to Willow Beach Arizona, hike to hot springs from the river. Paddle to island beaches for a swim at Lake Mead.
- Helicopter Tours - Helicopter tours that will take you deep into the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon or soaring above the neon lights and mega resorts of the Las Vegas Strip, as well as helicopter tours that include rafting down the Colorado River.
- World-Class Circus Acts at Circus Circus - From 11am, every half-hour. Aerialists, jugglers, acrobats and trapeze artists take the stage at the world's largest permanent circus daily.
- Cirque du Soleil shows - Las Vegas hosts 7 very popular Cirque du Soleil shows.
- David Copperfield at the MGM Grand - One of the world’s most famous magicians. Some of his best known illusions are making the Statue of Liberty disappear, walking through the Great Wall of China and flying over the audience.
- Get Married - Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world! This is surely one of the cheapest ways of getting married. Might upset your parents if they're not their though!
Holidays in Las Vegas
If your appetite is wetted and you are considering a visit then look around for Las Vegas Holidays. There are lots of great packages that give you great flights with a fantastic hotel that will make your visit to Vegas even more memorable. A holiday package is by far the easiest way to visit and enjoy Las Vegas.
Barcelona typically has great weather in June, but beach goers where caught out when an unusual sandstorm hit the beach on 12th June 2012.
The storm lasted 5 minutes and brought 35mph (55kmph) winds.
It might seem that nowadays the travel industry has covered virtually every area and theme. A tourist can visit the ruins of Pompeii or go sightseeing in New York, lie under the sun on the beaches of the Maldives or cruise around the fjords of Scandinavia, ski in the Alps or scuba dive in the Mediterranean. Some lucky seasoned travellers may be able to say they have done all of them. Still, the variety of now-average choices makes the clients crave for something more, which, in turn, makes travel agencies consider new options. Three possible examples of unusual once-in-a-life-time adventures are listed below.
Trekking the Himalayas
Situated in mountainous valleys surrounded by the Himalayans, the Kingdom of Bhutan is our first feature. Though the country is rather self-isolationist, it, nevertheless, is not unreachable. An escorted trip to Bhutan would be the ultimate cultural tour. The country might give the visitor an impression of being a time paradox. Cars are rare even on the streets of the capital and the locals follow the traditional dress code, clothed in colourful robes, resembling those of Buddhist monks.
Bhutan offers numerous wonders, architectural and natural. There are a number of conservation areas where it is possible to observe indigenous Himalayan fauna and flora. Daunting monasteries and dzong (Tibetan-Bhutanese palace-temples) stand across the country, including Taktsang, situated on an edge of a cliff near the city of Paro, and Trongsa Dzong found in the rural area. In Bhutan, past is inseparable from the present. A visitor can witness a religious festival, accompanied by masked dance performances, or purchase an example of hand-made craft as a souvenir.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
For the next feature, the tourist would have to travel to the Western Hemisphere. Machu Picchu is different from other tourist-attracting archaeological sites, its secluded location one of the reasons. A way to make the experience truly unforgettable is by arranging a camping trip towards it; the Incans did not use the wheel, so it is a way of getting the feel of the ancient Andes. The walls of the city’s buildings, a marvel of masonry, are almost intact, and the might of the surrounding peaks make the location even more striking that one could become mesmerized by the lost civilization.
The Lost Island of Komodo
The tiny island of Komodo too has much to offer, so it is worth inclusion in an Indonesia-related itinerary. Travellers interested in wildlife would love it for several reasons. Guided walks can be arranged, granting them a closer look at its famous native species, Komodo dragons spending their day in their own little world. The island is not just about dragons; there are tall tropical forests populated by other species, as well as clear shores and waters, all pleasing to the eye. Kayaking is also an option.
The world is diverse and there is a holiday that will suit everyone. The Ultimate Travel Company specialise in creating luxury holidays that are tailor made for the individual.
This British spring/summer is currently wet and cold, exactly what I hate. Grrr...
But I am here to get things done. To grow my business. So I just focus on that. The sunshine of southern Europe, Asia and South America will be there in the future.
Not travelling is an important part of travelling.
- I have rediscovered old hobbies, not possible when travelling.
- I have got good at cooking again
- I have streamlined my lifestyle
- I am building my business, which will allow better travelling in the future.
I do have a few trips planned
- A quick trip to Bradford - not very exciting, but it is to see the UK premiere of the amazing Samsara
- A long weekend in Cornwall for a wedding
- The Belgian F1 GP
- And hopefully a few campervan tips this summer too
Kadinchey is a lovely short film made with sights and sounds from Bhutan.
Definitely worth spending a few minutes to watch.
I still long for a campervan road trip in America.
I love camper vans, I load road trips, I've loved my short time in America (2 weeks in NYC and Niagara) and I love exploring the wilderness. The problem with touring and spending a long time in a campervan is that you are in a small space, and one can tire of that small space quickly.
You can help avoid the 'camper fever' in a number of ways.
- Always stay in warm weather, and get outside as much as possible
- Cook outside
- Walk or cycle everyday
- Visit nearby towns, parks and features as much as possible
Unless you have a truly massive RV or motorhome, chances are your bathroom and/or bedroom space is a bit of a compromise. You probably don't have all of the space you want. This can also cause a bit of 'camper fever'. I've found one of the best remedies for this is to, every so often, stay at a motel or hotel.
Some people think it's crazy spending money on a motel when you have your own camper. I think it's a great treat that helps continued travelling inside the camper.
When touring I like to stay in a motel once every 4 weeks. It allows one to sleep somewhere different for a change, pack and unpack a bag, spread out a bit, and just enjoy being somewhere else.
Now, it's not that I don't love the vehicle I travel in, I always do, but I also love change. I love the change that living in the motel room brings. I love the different bed, the different shower, the fact that I might have a TV for a while, and just about everything else that is different.
And then, I also love packing my bag again and returning to the camper which has been parked outside the whole time. I then love starting the engine, choosing where to go, driving off and spending the next few weeks in the camper, experiencing the freedom and flexibility only that vehicle can bring.
When choosing a motel, I tend to do a bit of research. I love the sort of feedback sites like TripAdvisor give. You can establish pretty much where to stay from the reviews other travellers have left.
If you run a motel or hotel it's fairly easy to get yourself a good name by offering great service and getting good reviews on TripAdvisor. Credit card services for motels are really important today, and all good motels need to be taking payments via credit cards. I book everything online and with a credit card, whenever possible these days. It's convent, quick and you can do lots of research.
So right now the plan is to work a bit more, enjoy living in Brighton a bit more, and save and plan for the USA road trip.
Image by Nomadic Lass
Berlin is fast becoming one of Europe's favourite cities to visit. It's a big place, and there's a lot if interesting things to do. He is my essential guide to Berlin.
Things to Do
Photo by carolynconner
The truly iconic relic of the modern times. Perhaps one of the best places to see the wall is at the East Side Gallery. It is the longest remaining piece of the wall. It consists of 106 paintings all painted on the east side of the wall.
Photo by jdn
The last remaining gate that in medieval times, would have been used to enter the city. It is one of Berlin's most important landmarks, and a symbol of the city. The gate was used by the Nazi's as a symbol of their power. The gate was not damaged during the bombing of Berlin.
Photo by dydcheung
A vast complex of classic sculpture and artefacts from Rome, Middle East, Greece and Babylon. Exhibits include the Altar of Zeus, a panel from the Palace Throne Room from Babylon and more.
Photo by http2007
The famous border crossing between East and West Berlin. American and Russian forces stood against each other after the creation of the Berlin wall on August 13th 1961.
After this event, Checkpoint Charlie became the only point at which tourists, western military and foreign diplomats could cross into the communist state.
The name "Checkpoint Charlie" came from the phonetic alphabet. There were two other American checkpoints - Helmstadt (Checkpoint Alpha) and Dreilinden (Checkpoint Bravo). Following this scheme, the third checkpoint on Friedrichstrasse was named "Checkpoint Charlie".
Photo by topgold
Berlin has a fantastic thriving nightlight. A long established home of dance music, especially techno. If this is your thing you'll be in heaven.
There are also a lot of great friendly bars and restaurants to visit.
German people are friendly and helpful. In my experience they are some of the friendliest people in Europe. Many speak English very well, which helps a lot when you visit.
Where to stay
Berlin is big, and can be expensive. If you're staying for more than a few days, or are travelling with more than a few people, then consider renting an apartment rather than staying at a hotel. For apartments in Berlin try Oh-Berlin.com
Berlin is an old city with lots of churches, parks and interesting streets to explore.
The best time to visit is spring and Autumn. Summer in Berlin is not as busy as cities such as Paris or Barcelona. But winter time in Berlin is COLD! So think twice before visiting in Winter.
Paris - one of the finest cities in the world, and certainly one of my favourite to visit. Problem is, there is a lot to do, and it’s hard to work out what to do given the limited time we normally have when we visit.
So here is my essential guide to visiting Paris.
Things to do
Photo by Larry Johnson
One of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, and for good reason. It's great. A massive smile came over my face the first time I saw the tower, and even now I love seeing it when it comes into view when walking around the city.
It has a unusual past, was nearly pulled down, and can be a pain to visit. But the secret is to go late in the day, and walk up. The queues are normally massive for the lifts, but frankly the lifts aren't great. Take the stairs. It's cheaper, the queues are much shorter, you get better views, and you get a work out. You don' need to be super fit to climb the stairs.
Photo by zoetnet
If you have even the smallest interest in art, you have to visit the Louvre. The building itself is amazing, let alone it's priceless contents. The essential three to see are the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Nike of Samothrace (winged Victory). These pieces along are breathtaking, and anything else you get to see is a bonus. The place is massive, and you need a good few hours at the least. The queues are also massive. Big tip though, don't use the main entrance. Simple solution: ask the security where another entrance is, I used the entrance by the miniature Arc de Triomphe near the road.
Eat and Drink
Photo by Brenda Blue
France is the home of fine food and drink. To get some great food head to the side street cafes. Find those that are reasonably busy and full of Parisians. Go for the recommendations or specials. The wine and beer in Paris is fantastic, so try a few.
Photo by zoetnet
Montmartre is home to Moulin Rouge, but also the arty set of Paris. There are loads of great cafes, street performances and interesting parks to explore. Visit at the weekend and you'll see many Parisians doing their thing.
Photo by Alexandre Van de Sande
The meeting place in the evening. This is the best place to watch the famous Eiffel Tower light show. Great a drink and a snack whilst you're there.
Photo by Moyan_Brenn
Visit this beautiful church to get a real feel of medieval Paris. It's free to visit. Try the rooftop terrace for impressive gargoyles.
Need more of a museum fix? Musée d'Orsay houses some fantastic pieces, in an amazing old railway station. Musée Rodin is a beautiful house and park, where Rodin lived. His Thinker sculpture is in the garden. Like Picasso? Then check the Musée national Picasso Paris - an amazing collection of Picasso's work.
Where to stay
Paris is big, and you need to find somewhere that meets you budget, as it's an expensive city. One of the best ways of staying in Paris is to rent an apartment. It's typically cheaper than hotels for longer stays, or with more than a few people. Click here to see available apartments in Paris.
Paris is a great place to visit and explore. I would suggest visiting in late March to mid June, and September to late October. Winter is fine for beating the crowds, but you won't have the great summer weather.
Travel insurance is the most important thing you need before setting out on your travels. Even if you are the most careful person on earth you can’t escape from a bit of bad luck now and then. You would be surprised at the amount of people that risk it and don’t buy travel insurance, hopefully i’m about to change those peoples minds.
I’m a careful person and guard my processions, especially when traveling, with my life! My camera is my most important thing i carry when traveling so i really do guard it with my life. In 2007 whilst traveling in Malaysia i had it stolen, literally from right under my nose. We had taken the overnight train from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, I had a terrible night sleep and so when we got off the train we decided to grab a quick coffee. As I was sat in the cafe with my camera bag on the seat next to me someone came a took it. I literally looked away for a second and when I turned back, it was gone. I was pretty hysterical but still managed to file for a police report. My camera was gone.
I, like almost 100% of other travelers, didn’t have a spare £600 to replace my camera. I had three months left of my trip and really couldn’t afford not to have a camera. All it took was a phone call to my insurance company and they could ensure my on the phone that with a police report I would be able to claim back the money for my camera. I begged and borrow the money for a new camera and as soon as I returned back my claim went though and I could repay the money. I am so grateful that I decided to take out travel insurance, the fact I may have lost out on three months worth of photos doesn’t bare thinking about.
Here are 5 reasons you should never over look the most important travel purchase, travel insurance,
- The number one reason for travel insurance should of course be for medical emergencies. Medical treatments can be very expensive especially when traveling in the US and Canada. Medical repatriation on average costs about £25,000. If you have a medical emergency whist traveling in a foreign country it can be quite scary to try and find a suitable and safe hospital. Travel insurance companies have the knowledge and resources to help you find treatment.
- Your passport cash or valuables get lost and you need to replace immediately. Sometimes if your traveling to a few different countries to loose your passport will mean you loose your trip. A travel insurance company may help you get a new passport quickly so you can carry on with your trip.
- Protect your investment if you can’t go. If for some reason you have to cancle you trip you may be able to recover some or all of your cash. Travel insurance can cover you for inclement weather, natural disaster, terrorist accident and even jury duty.
- Peace of mind. You can fully relax on your holiday in the knowledge that if anything where to go wrong your not alone.
- Lost baggage. Costs can be as much as £1000 if your were to have to replace your whole bag. insurance may cover for lost and delayed baggage.
Finding the right travel insurance can take quite a bit of time. However Money Supermarket makes it really easy to find the right travel insurance. Their comparison service compares loads of insurers and find the right policy for you.
Image by Shayne Kaye
If you're looking to buy a guitar in Kuta, Bali there are a few options.
1. Matahari Department Store
Matahari sell acoustic guitars from around IRP500,000.
They are called Sky Lark and are resonable good. Fine for everyday playing. The strings are reasonably good, not rusty, superlight about 10 gauge.
I also bought a immitation leather carry bag for the guitar for IRP 58,000. It offers fair protection, is easy to carry, and has some pockets.
Matahari also sell classical guitars from about IRP300,000. I didn't try one, but they seemed OK.
2. On Poppies I lane
Near the top of Poppies I lane there is a shop with a few guitars in. They are priced from IRP 600,000. I didn't try them, but they looked OK. I think they are Sky Lark guitars, just like the Matahari store above. So take a walk to save a few quid.
Whilst walking back from buying my guitar at the Matahari a western guy stopped me and asked where I bought it from. So, if ever you want to sell a guitar you should be able to do it easily. Just walk around with a for sale sign on it, or sit on the beach with a for sale sign.
The local guys will definitely buy it from you, but you'll get less from them.
I bought an acoustic guitar in Yogjakarta in 2008 for IRP 175,000. It was ok, and slim, but not very well made. When I changed the strings, they were a heavier gauge, and after a little while the weight of the strings pulled the saddle off the body. I left it with a guy in Vietnam to fix and keep.
The Sky Lark guitar I bought in 2009 in Kuta was much better made. The action is maybe a little high for advanced players, but I play slide guitar so it suited me fine.
If you buy a cheap acoustic guitar, keep the strings superlight gauge.
Have you bought a guitar in Kuta? Let us know in the comments below.
Bali has a good selection of reasonably priced 3G providers. If you need regular high-speed access from your laptop it's a great option.
There are a few different providers to choose from. Here are my experience of them.
Click the link below for a translated version of XL 3G's service page. It is worth reading, as it contains important information.
XL 3G Coverage
- Kuta - I got good 3G signal around most of Kuta and it's surroundings. Even with 1 of 5 bars of signal I got reasonable data rates.
- Legian - No 3G signal, just GPRS
- Ubud - 3G across most of the town, even on the edges near the rice paddies
- Sanur - Excellent 3G signal
- Nusa Lembongan - 3G signal on the beach at Pondok Baruna (near Permana boat), but only GPRS further inland.
XL List 2 APN settings
XL list 2 APN's. The accelerator version reduces the resolution of images to make them load quicker. HOWEVER, I found the accelerator APN to be slow and congested. I found it better to use the Without Accelerator APN. Speeds were twice as quick, and much better response times. If you want to keep costs down (bandwith) and don't care about speed then go with the With Accelerator APN.
Modem, Dongle, Phone advice
To use the 3G networks you will need a 3G compatible modem, dongle or phone.
Many modern mobile phones have 3G network capabilities. If so, you can use your phone as a modem.
To make life simpler you can also buy a 3G dongle, which is like a flashdrive, just a bit bigger. They cost around IRP 1,000,000 from phone shops in Denpasar. Or get one from home before you leave. Always make sure it is SIM unlocked, so that you can use it anywhere.
I bought a 3G phone whilst in Bali. I bought a Sony Ericsson G502i phone. It was the cheapest 3G phone available, and is actually quite a good handset (MP3 player, 2MB camera, radio, 3G). I paid IRP 1,200,000 from the Electrical City store in the Discovery Mall in Kuta. I also saw the same phone for IRP 1,450,000 in the Carrefour supermarket on Sunset Road in Kuta.
Ultimately a 3G phone is more useful than just a 3G dongle.
iPhone experience in Bali
I have a 2G iPhone, which has EDGE capabilties only, not 3G. This phone is unlocked, so that I can use it with any SIM card. I have happily used this as my modem (using the PDA Net modem software) in many countries. EGDE only runs at around 25KB/s maximum, but this is OK for me. Faster would be nice, but hey...
In Bali (and probably the rest of Indonesia) the phone operators run only 3G technologies, and not 2G. Therefore my iPhone 2G could not use the EDGE networks. This meant I had to buy another phone to use anything other than GPRS speeds. This was fine in the end.
If you have an unlocked 3G iPhone (or 3GS) you should be fine using the 3G networks in Bali, and probably the rest of Indonesia. However, I don't have first hand experience of this.
Other Internet options in Bali
If you only need occasionally internet access 3G is probably overkill for you.
There are loads of internet cafes around. They vary a bit, but all charge around IRP 150 per minute.
If you have your own laptop I think the best options are the mini-marts that line the main roads. Most have seating areas inside and out, and provide free WiFi, as long as you buy something in the shop. You can always just buy a cheap bottle of water and make it last a few hours. They are not going to move you on.
Cafes and restaurants often also offer Wifi. It often doesn't work well, and can be expensive. But it's a good option if you want to eat and check your emails at the same time.
Let us know about your Bali 3G experiences in the comments below
Thailand, like anywhere warm or troipical, has a lot of ants. If you live in a house in Thailand you will almost certainly have a problem with ants at some point. Here are my top tips for dealing with ants, and keeping them away.
- Ants live in colonies. Some stay in the nest and look after the young, others go looking for food (scout ants).
- Once scout ants have found a food source, they make a scent trail back to the nest, so that the other ants can follow the trail to the food source. These are the lines of ants you see taking the same path. The trail can last for days, even after the food source is gone.
- Ants love food. They will find any crumbs or traces of food you have left in your kitchen. Once they have found them the rest of the colony will turn up to take a share.
- The ant colony lives around the queen ant, the leader of their colony.
How to get rid of ants
- For ants in the kitchen, use a old cloth or tissue paper, spray with surface cleaner, and wipe the ants up. Once you have got all of the ants, thouroughly clean the whole area. You need to remove the traces of food, and any scent trails they have left. Follow the trails up the walls, floors, etc and clean these too.
- If you have big ants elsewhere in the house (e.g. bathroom) you most likely have a queen ant in there somewhere. You MUST find the queen ant and get rid of it. The queen ant is much bigger than the others. The other ants are coming to work for the queen, and they are settling a colony. You do not want it in your house. If you have a wet bathroom, hose all of the ants down the drain. Ensure you get all of the ants, especially the queen.
How to keep ants away
- Keep everything very clean. Ants are only coming for food
- Empty the bin everyday. Keep the waste outside.
- Ants don't like talcum powder. Try sprinkling around areas where ants are coming into the home.
- Ant killer trays are available from shops. These trays contain posined food that the ants take back to their nests. The ants in the nest also die.
- Ant chalk bars are available. Draw chalk anywhere where ants are entering the home. It will turn them back, and kill any who come into contact with it.
Hopefully these tips will help keep ants our of your home. If you know of any other tips, please leave them in the comments below.
In Thailand, and many other Southeast Asian countries, you will find many fake products, particularly major brands and labels that visiting tourists are keen to buy.
Flip-flops, being the national footwear of Thailand, are everywhere. Fake copies are very popular. Havanaias are the most popular and the most copied.
I have been through many pairs of flip-flops during my travels in Asia, so I thought I'd give you some tips, so that you can save some money, and get the most comfortable footwear.
Fakes are not worth it
In my opinion, fake copes of major brand flip-flops are not worth buying. Whilst they look nice, they will not last, and they are not the comfiest option.
On Kh San Road in Bangkok, and many other places, you see endless sellers selling very good looking copies. They generally starts from 150 Baht.
I've been through many pairs of these, generally lasting between 1 and 3 months, before the deck wears out, and the thong pulls through, also known as a 'blow out'. On the island of Ko Samui I did buy a pair for 50 Baht. But within a few weeks the deck was squashed flat and they had become too uncomfortable to wear.
Buy real flip-flops
Whilst real Havanias will cost a lot (US$20), good quality Thai flip-flops will cost from 200 Baht. Head to a Thai shoe shop, or sports shop, and you'll find a great choice of high quality, and ultra comfy flip-flops.
These flip-flops (above) cost me 250 Baht from a sports shop at the Big C near Chaweng in Ko Samui. They had so many to choose from, it was a tough choice. These flip-flops are by far the most comfortable I have ever worn, and they will last so much longer than the cheap copies. And they only cost 100 Baht more.
Spending the little bit more, but on the right product, will save you money in the long run, and keep you feet happy.
It is possible to extend a 60 day tourist visa in Thailand for another 30 days. This is available to almost everyone, unless you have some bad history with Thai immigration. The process is quick and easy, and takes about 1 hour.
The Ko Samui immigration office is an easy place to get this visa extension. The staff are friendly, and the service prompt.
From Ko Phangan or Ko Tao take a ferry to the Nathon ferry terminal on Samui. Make sure it's the Nathon terminal, is it's very close to here. You can walk from the ferry to the immigration office, but it will take 30 minutes, so maybe better to take a pickup.
Types of visa service available
30 day extension to 60 day tourist visa - Costs 1,920 Baht. Takes about 1 hour.
Finding the office
The Ko Samui immigration office is 1 - 2 km south of Nathon, the main town on the Northwest corner of the island. Local pickups and taxis will drop you there, or you can easily find it on a scooter, as it is signposted about 2kms before the office, and again at the actual office.
There is parking for scooters and bigger vehicles.
They sell refreshments at normal shop prices. There is a nice seating area outside the office.
What you need
To extend a visa you will need the following:
- Your passport (with 6 months validity remaining)
- 1,920 Baht fee
- 2 passport sized photos
- 1 x photocopy of your passport photo page
- 1 x photocopy of your visa & entry stamp page (these are almost always on the same page in your passport)
- 1 x photocopy of your TM.6 immigration card (the one they staple into your passport)
- 1 x TM.7 visa extension form (get this at the immigration office. You can download from their website, but better to get it there).
Note: Right outside the immigration office is a small shop that will photocopy your passport. So you can get everything there.
Monday - Friday
08:30 - 16:30