Loi Krathong Festival 2017

Experiencing the Loi Krathong Festival 2017 was amazing. I did not know that the Loi Krathong festival was going to on until a Thai friend of mine called me and asked me if I was going. I responded that I didn’t know what it was. She gave me a quick overview and said that we would go later.
Loi Krathong starts off as the promise to make an offering to the river Gods. “Loi” is the Thai word for River. Your offering to the Gods is floated on the river in what is called a “Krathong”.

What Is a Krathong?

A Krathong is an 6 to 10 inch “pod” made from banana leaves and bread. They are decorated elaborately and are biodegradable. Part of the tradition was to add Thai Baht coins on the Krathong. Later it was realized that the fish were eating the coins and it was unhealthy for them. In recent years people are discouraged from adding materials that may make the fish sick.

Here is a picture of the Krathong that I bought. My neighbor had a whole table full of them in various shapes and sizes. My Krathong was made entirely out of bread. At first I didn’t think it was going to float, but it did.
My Krathong For Loi Krathong Festival 2017

Loi Krathong: A Temple Gathering

Loi Krathong creates a large gathering at the temples. At my local temple, Bang Phli Yay, the gathering of people was immense. There had to have been well over 5000 people there. Down the main entrance was a line of food vendors about a quarter of a kilometer long. Everything from potpourri to mini desserts to pictures of the King. Of which I had to buy some.
Line Of Vendors Leading To Temple Loi Krathong Festival

Make A Wish

I launched my Krathong and watched it sail down the river. What a great feeling! In a way I felt like a kid! As if all my worries and fears were on that Krathong. You can hear the excitement in my voice in this video.

The Good Luck Krathong

The next stopping point for people what is this massive Krathong. Loi Krathong Festival 2017 participants offer a clipping of hair or the fingernail. It is thought that offering in this way will bring good luck. Scissors and fingernail clippers are provided next to the Krathong. I offered up a thumbnail or two. 🙂
Large Krathong For Hair And Nail Clipping Offering

Beauty In The Buddha

I saw this image of the Buddha in the halls set up around the temple. Seeing these beautiful works of art is always a treat. You will notice more and more detail the closer you look. As a result I tend to stare at Buddha images for a long time. Call me a daydreamer 🙂
Loi Krathong Festival 2017 Buddha On River Boat

Entertainment Galore

Entertainment at Thai events is never lacking. As a matter of fact I can’t recall a single event that I have been to in Thailand that the entertainment stunk. Given that, Loi Krathong was no different. Small art displays as well as a full stage with music and dancing.

Stage At Loi Krathong Festival

Smoking Dragons

The highlight was a dragon was accompanied by a rhythmic beat of the drums and cymbals, came through the crowd. Everyone took out their cameras to get a quick video, as did I.

The dragon, breathing sparklers and smoke over everyone, even stopped to take selfies with people from the crowd.

Smoke Breathing Dragon Taking Pictures With Crowd Loi Krathong Festival 2017

In closing The Loi Krathong Festival 2017 was yet another amazing experience in Thailand. If you are in Thailand on the first full moon of November be sure to participate. Any local Temple or beside any riverbank you can float your Krathong.

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We Are Closed and We Are Out

We are closed and we are out are two things you should be prepared to hear when you are in Thailand. Unlike business in the US, business in Thailand is it always on the strictest schedule. Let me explain.

Expect It Backwards

First I would like to discuss the difference between Sunday and Monday. For Thai business it is pretty apparent that Mondays in Thailand are treated like Sundays in the US. It is really common for businesses to be closed on Monday in Thailand. This throws you off at first because you have to get used to doing things that you would normally do on Monday on Tuesday.

Second businesses are always open regular hours the rest of the week either. It is common to see a business closed in the middle of the day when they are normally open. Partly because of the culture. Sometimes business owners have family matters to attend to. If something is going on with the family many times the business owners will not be open.

Opening late and closing early is another type business trait you will notice. Many times businesses don’t open until between noon and four. On the flipside some places close as early as between 8 PM and 10 PM. No the best time to catch a business possibly being open are between the new hours of 1 PM and 4 PM. A big change from the business hours in the United States.

OK, so you find out that your favorite local Thai business is open. That doesn’t mean they’re going to have what you want. This happens a lot when going out to eat. You may be prepared for a certain type of dish but when you get to the restaurant they will be out of the ingredients. This can be a little bit frustrating coming from the US where we have and instant gratification lifestyle.

As A Matter Of Fact …

Another major difference is the way the service industry tells you that they are out of something. There is a matter of fact way that they have to tell you that they are out. It’s very short and usually you’ll just get a smile and a “no have “. Don’t be upset by the We Are Closed and We Are Out responses. With Thai culture, situations like these are to be taken very lightheartedly. My advice when you go to a restaurant is have at least one option that you are ready to order.

Asian Isn’t Your Size? Oh.

Lastly I will talk about “Asian Size”. You will experience this one going to shop for clothes. If you are from Western countries you will find many times you are larger than Asian people. This means that when you go shopping everything will is made to fit “Asian size “. “Asian size” means that a large being your normal size you are now an extra large or possibly to extra-large

What have I learned through all of this? I get the feeling Thais mix business WITH their life. Thais don’t separate business and family the same way we do in the United States. Even though life and business is mixed, Thais prioritize the business after family and religion. That much is crystal clear.

There you have it. Now you are ready to hear We Are Closed and We Are Out. Don’t be shocked when it happens. Take it in stride and move on. Instant gratification sometimes is non existent in Thailand.

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My Favorite Meals: Took Lae Dee

Here is another one of my favorite meals: Took Lae Dee! The quick explanation is they are a 24 hour restaurant INSIDE of a grocery store. That means they have NEVER been out of ANYTHING! Wow!!

Took Lae Dee means “Cheap and Good” in Thai. They hold true to that statement. They have an extensive menu with a mixture of foods from around the world. Anything from Papaya Salad to bacon, chances are Took Lae Dee has something to satisfy you.

My Go To … The American Breakfast

My “Go To” is the American Breakfast. Two eggs, two toast slices, coffee, juice with your choice of bacon, ham or sausage. All that for 79 Baht! I end up getting a double order every time I go. Because I eat so much the waitress normally looks at me funny. Because…you know…’Merca…

Breakfast At Took Lae Dee Restaurant FoodLand Thailand

So it’s Cheap … but is it Good?

For an American style breakfast in Thailand, it’s not bad at all. The bacon is actually some of the best I’ve had here. It holds more true to American style bacon than the ham slices restaurants normally call bacon. Definitely better quality bacon than Dennys or IHOP.

The jelly is good quality too. They have Strawberry, Grape and Orange Marmalade jellies that they bring out in small dishes. I’m not sure if the jelly at Took Law Dee is homemade but it is definitely fresh.

Nice silverware too! Budget restaurants usually have cheap silverware that bends easily. Not at Took Lae Dee! I’ve been to some fancier restaurants that have the same quality silverware. The silverware is such good quality they put their name on every piece. Haha!! Restaurant pilfering is prohibited!

Silverware At Took Lae Dee Name Stamped On Handles

There is a large bar between the kitchen and the Dining room. You can sit at the bar if you like but I usually opt for a table. It is cool to watch them cook your food right there. Sometimes you get to see the huge flames fly up from the sizzling woks … pretty exciting 🙂

When you are finished eating you pay at the front. There is a cash register at the end of the large bar. Tipping is optional, as always. Took Lae Dee puts out a box to encourage tipping though.

The best part about Took Lae Dee is not that it’s cheap or good. The best part is it is surrounded by Foodland and several other vendors at Foodland you are surrounded by all kinds of fresh pastries, all kinds of cooking needs and even the Thai lottery. All things combined it is always a fun trip to Took Lae Dee.

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Hospital Visits And Medical Treatment In Thailand

Having access to medical care in Thailand it’s not a problem. One of my concern was how would I get medical treatment should I need it. Lucky for you I have had the Hospital Visits And Medical Treatment In Thailand experience already. I’ll outline here how easy it is to get great quality medical treatment in Thailand.

Welcome To Thailand … Try Our Medical Care

After arriving in Thailand I came down with an ear infection. After trying a couple of rounds of amoxicillin pills from the pharmacist I was ready to see a doctor. It was a Saturday night when I decided to go to the hospital. Having a good friend here in Thailand, I was able to get a ride to Thai Nakarin Hospital. Thai Nakarin Hospital is quite large and they have an international section. Depending on what language you speak you get a liaison to lead you through the hospital and filling out any needed paperwork. Thai Nakarin hospital is split up into different divisions. After you meet with the liaison for in processing they will then take you to the correct division of the hospital for you.

A Hospital With Specialists!

Each of the divisions of Thai Nakarin Hospital contains specialists for that field of medicine. There are no “General Practitioners”. In my case I went to the Ear, Eye, Nose and Throat specialists. When you get to the division of the hospital a team of medical staff will take your vitals. Once they have your blood pressure temperature weight etc. you sit down and wait for the Doctor. Depending on time of day you may wait longer. In my case the wait was only 15 minutes.

The Doctor Speaks English

Once I got into the doctors office I was relieved to learn that he spoke English. After greeting me he checked my ears and make the diagnosis of an ear infection. He took the time to explain to me how to take care of the issue and wrote me a proper prescription. I booked a follow up appointment for two weeks after my initial visit to the hospital.

To The Pharmacy, Another Division Of Thai Nakarin Hospital

When the examination was complete I was then able to make my way to the pharmacy. Thai Nakarin Hospital has a pharmacy right there on site just steps away from the hospital divisions. When you arrive at the pharmacy they automatically know what prescriptions to get for you. Once they have the prescriptions you pay for your doctors visit. In my case the doctors visit cost ฿2100 Baht.

Follow Up Visit

When I came back for my follow up visit two weeks later it was much of the same expedient, pretty well organized service. In Thailand you do not get a set appointment time you get an appointment range. In my case I was able to arrive anytime between 1 PM and 7 PM on Saturday afternoon. I got to the hospital at approximately 3 PM and my wait was only 10 to 15 minutes. The doctor quickly check my ears again and gave me instructions on continuing self-care. He also wrote me an extra prescription to have on hand in case I started experiencing problems in the future. I made my way to the pharmacy and cashier. This time for the prescription it was ฿1252 Baht. You have to admit that’s not too bad for a doctors visit!

Thai Nakarin Hospital Food Is No Joke

Making my way out of the hospital I noticed a delicious looking croissant sandwich go by. I decided I couldn’t hold back and went searching for the source. There was this great little booth there with a wide variety of sandwiches cakes and coffee’s. I did get the croissant sandwich along with the delicious slice of cake. Not only a great hospital visit but a lovely lunch as well.

5 Things To Expect At A Thai Hospital

So in short the top five things that you can expect from visiting a Thai hospital.
1.) If you are in the city chances are if the hospital will have a translator.
2.) Inner city Thai hospitals have divisions of specialists rather than general practitioners.
3.) Thai hospitals have prescription counters located in the hospital.
4.) Thai hospitals in the city have much of the same modern equipment that you find in the United States.
5.) Chances are you’ll find a delicious lunch!

If you take away nothing else from this article and video know that you will have outstanding hospital visits and medical treatment in Thailand. For some the medical care here in Thailand will be better than you receive in America. Rejoice and retire easy!

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How To Get A 60 Day Tourist Visa To Thailand

Getting a 60 day tourist visa to Thailand is much easier than you may think. That is why I thought it important to outline the steps on How To Get A 60 Day Tourist Visa To Thailand. If you are in any major city in the United States chances are there is a Royal Thai Consulate near you. To get your 60 day tourist visa to Thailand will require you to pay a visit to the Royal Thai Consulate. There is an application form that you must fill out and bring in with you. You must also bring some information about yourself, of which, I will outline in this article.

First you will need to download the PDF application form and fill it out.

I recommend using black or blue ink only and print very clearly in all capital letters. Do not complete the form in cursive script. Also do not write fast and sloppy. The person who will review your application form may deny you if it looks like you have rushed through completing the form.

Royal Thai Consulate Visa Forms

Chicago: http://www.thaiconsulatechicago.org/images/Visa_Form_2015.pdf

Los Angeles: http://www.thaiconsulatela.org/uploads/Fillable_Visa_Application.pdf

New York: http://www.thaicgny.com/%E0%B8%A0%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A9%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%AD-%E0%B8%87%E0%B8%81%E0%B8%A4%E0%B8%A9-english-version/visa-service/visa-applicatform/

Miami: http://www.ibuildwebs.com/thaiconsulate/Thailand-Visa-Application.pdf

If none of these Royal Thai Consulate locations are near you simply search:
[insert your city or state] thai consulate visa

How To Get A 60 Day Tourist Visa To Thailand Application Form Example
This is what the basic application form looks like for a visa to Thailand.

Second you will need to passport style photos.

When you get your passport photos wear an all black shirt. Wearing a suit and tie is also acceptable. It is not a good idea to wear a loudly colored shirt when you go to take your passport photos. There are many places to get passport photos professionally taken and in many cases it only takes 10 to 15 minutes. Most Walgreens drugstore or CVS drugstore locations have passport photo equipment. Some local for photographers may also have the correct equipment to take passport photos. Going to a professional photographer can be a great idea as well because they can Photoshop a shirt in any color and make it look like you are wearing it.

Third. You will need to take screenshots of your bank account.

When you take screenshots you will need to have the date and the total available balance visible. You will need to show that you have more than $700 US available to you. Print the screenshots and submit them with your application form.

Fourth. You will need to get a cashiers check or a money order for the total application fee.

Upon the writing of this article the fee was US$40 but it may have changed so double check. The Royal Thai consulate will not except cash for the 60 day visa application fee.

Fifth. You will need to make photo copies in color of your passport and your drivers license.

You will need to submit these with your application. Be sure to print them in color and use a high-quality printer so that they are easily readable. If they are not readable to the person reviewing your application your application will be denied.

Sixth. You will need to show that you have a flight to Thailand and leaving Thailand.

Your arrival flight can not be more than 30 days from the time of application submission. Your departure flight can be up to six months from your arrival or more, however you must show a departure flight from Thailand.

Seventh. Make your plan to visit the Royal Thai Consulate.

I would suggest planning on arriving at the consulate in the morning as soon as they open to avoid a line. Most Royal Thai Consulate offices break for lunch in the middle of the day. This means that you will have to be at the office either before or after lunch. Be sure to double check the lunch break for your Royal Thai Consulate office.

Also. There are TONS of Thai holidays as well as American holidays. The Royal Thai Consulate observes BOTH American and Thai holidays. Make sure the day you plan on visiting they will be open!

Here are two places to check holiday schedules.
A list of Thai Holidays that will effect Royal Thai Consulate Visa Issuing Services:
https://www.officeholidays.com/countries/thailand/index.php
U.S. Holidays with also effect Royal Thai Consulate Visa Issuing Services:
https://www.officeholidays.com/countries/usa/index.php

Eighth. I have at least $10 in cash with you when you go.

The Royal Thai Consulate personnel may offer to mail your visa to you at your home. This is a great option if you have to travel from a rural location to a major city to apply for your visa. Visa application fees must be paid in a cashiers check. Mailing fees for the 60 day tourist visa must be paid in cash. If you choose to take the option and have your visa mailed to you they will send it via USPS priority mail with a tracking number. Be sure to retain your tracking number so that you can monitor your packages progress through the mail.

Ninth. When you receive your visa check it over and make sure that all of the dates are correct.

Do not assume that no mistakes were made during your approval process. The staff at any Royal Thai Consulate is very competent and very trustworthy however humans make mistakes sometimes. Always double check your dates!

Tenth. When you arrive in Thailand be sure to have your passport open to the page with your 60 day visa.

This is the most important. You have to be sure that you alert the immigration official that you already have a 60 day visa. If you do not do this the immigration officials will assume that you are getting a 30 day tourist visa on arrival. I am not sure what happens if you get a double visa and I don’t want to find out. Neither should you. Be sure to show the official your 60 day visa.

Now You Know How To Get A 60 Day Tourist Visa To Thailand

So those are the steps on How To Get A 60 Day Tourist Visa To Thailand. It is not very difficult to do at all. Getting a 60 day visa only requires you to have the correct paperwork. The Thai people love tourists visiting their country. They will welcome you with open arms but only ask that you respect their land while you are enjoying yourself. Have fun on your 60 day visit to Thailand!

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