Paro, Bhutan – Entering the Land of the Thunder Dragon!

Taktsang Monastery, Paro Bhutan

In the native Bhutanese language of Dzongkha Bhutan is called  Druk Yul which is translated as “Land of Thunder Dragon“.  It got this name because of the intense thunderstorms that rushed through the valleys from the Himalayas. In those early days the booming thunder and lightning were thought to come from a dragon.

Bhutan has always been high on my bucket list of travel destinations. It’s a place of incredible landscapes, architecture, people, and food. It is also the only country in the world that has an index to measure their “Gross National Happiness“. How neat is that?

I booked a private tour with Maebar Travel which enabled me to experience this beautiful country for 9 glorious days. The itinerary took me through Paro, Thimpu, Phobjikha, Wangdue and Punakha, and the newly opened Haa Valley. Rather than write a single GIANT article encompassing the entire trip, I’ve decided to break it up into a few articles about each place I visited.

As Paro is the gateway for International travelers arriving to this beautiful kingdom, I figured this would be a great place to start! I guarantee you’ll want to buckle your seatbelt for the landing…  Continue reading “Paro, Bhutan – Entering the Land of the Thunder Dragon!”

Samut Sakhon – Mangroves, Salt Farms, and Seafood!

Samut Sakhon

I really love living in Bangkok. But sometimes it’s nice to get away from the big city and see another side of Thailand. Fortunately, for this latest trip I didn’t have to go far. In fact, adventure was found just an hour outside of the Big Mango in the lovely coastal province of Samut Sakhon.

TakeMeTour in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) have put together day trip tours under a program called “Local Table“. These private tours offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore Thailand through the eyes of locals.

I received an invitation to review the very first Local Table tour for Samut Sakhon. It was described, “Discover the Secrets of Salt and Savor Homemade Seafood at Salt Farm“. I was thrilled to accept. The tour consisted of a tour to a mangrove forest, an active salt farm, and a lunch of seafood and unique local dishes prepared by the salt farming family. Honestly they had me at seafood!

It was a fantastic break from the city, and I’m happy to share this experience. Continue reading “Samut Sakhon – Mangroves, Salt Farms, and Seafood!”

Chanthaburi – Off the Beaten Path In Thailand’s Gem City

Chanthaburi is a province in the east of Thailand that is an easy 4 hour drive (245 kilometers) from Bangkok. It’s most famous for its gems and its fruit (especially durian). As the Gulf of Thailand runs along its border and the Chanthaburi River runs through it, Chanthaburi also offers some amazing seafood (especially oysters and crab).

I had the good fortune to be invited to join a few other bloggers for a sponsored trip by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). I felt very lucky for the opportunity, and the more I read about it the foodie in me got very excited!

Though Chanthaburi is a favorite destination for Thai tourists it’s not well known to foreign tourists and is rarely visited. Hoping to get some exposure, TAT put together a fantastic 2 1/2 day itinerary. I’m happy to share my experience with you so that you might be inspired to travel to this gem of a city! Continue reading “Chanthaburi – Off the Beaten Path In Thailand’s Gem City”

Kyoto, Japan – Where to Go, Eat, and Drink!

If ever you’ve read the book or seen the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” then you’ve probably put Kyoto on your bucket list of travels. If you haven’t then should. Kyoto is an amazing place to visit!

We decided to visit in July and time our trip to overlap the famous Gion Matsuri (Festival). It was crazy hot and humid during the day. But no worse than what we’ve experienced in Bangkok and at night it cooled down and was very comfortable. Another plus of visiting during the off-season was that we were able to visit the sights without throngs of tourists and never had an issue getting a table or bar stool.

In this article I’d like to share some of the must see sights of Kyoto. There’s tons of places to visit but I’m highlighting the places that you really ought to check out. I’m also giving you some great recommendations for places to eat and drink. Basically, this article is meant to be a solid roadmap for the DIY tourist wanting to experience Kyoto.

I wish I’d had this before going!

Continue reading “Kyoto, Japan – Where to Go, Eat, and Drink!”