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Flooding is a frequent problem in Bangkok. There is a reason why people often call Bangkok “Venice of the East.” However, I didn’t know how serious it is until I found myself in one. Here are some pictures from a flood in the middle of October.

It was a morning weekend after a week of almost constant rain. The weather was cool so I took the opportunity to explore the city. I arrived at a riverboat terminal at Wat Sri Bunreung. However, the water level was too high to allow boats to travel under bridges. No boat was operating at all. The operators were not sure when the water level would allow the boats to move.

Instead, I get on a bus traveling on Lard Phrao. That’s when I really see the flooding on the road. The water was high enough to level the sidewalk. At some section, the water goes above the sidewalk.

Most people look stressed. Still, several people smiled and went on with their day like usual. Thailand is truly the land of smiles even when it’s flooding.

I thought this flood is normal for Bangkok. After all, the title “Venice of the East” implies that waterways are everywhere in Bangkok. However, most people in the bus looked around and took pictures like they were actually in Venice.

According to the bus driver, this level of a flood is not common. There hasn’t been a flood like this since many years ago. The traffic was really bad as the cars cannot run with the water that high. I thought my plan for the weekend is over. However, the driver mentioned that Lard Phrao is often the first street in the area to flood. He was indeed right. At the north’s end of Lard Phrao, there is almost no water.

If you are traveling to Thailand in the rainy season (May to October), expects rain and flood like this. Although a flood like this doesn’t happen often in the past, there is no telling how that will change. If you should find yourself in a flood, the best way to get around is to use the rail trains since the traffic on the road will be nearly a standstill.

The post Bangkok Flooding in October 2017 appeared first on Jackchalat's.

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When people talk about beaches and Thailand, they probably don’t mean Ko Chang. Because of this, Ko Chang is still relatively a hidden-gem for tourists who love nature. Located about six hours from Bangkok by ground transport, Ko Chang is a sensible choice for a short getaway trip from cars’ farts in Bangkok.

Ko Chang

Ko Chang is an island at the eastern border of Thailand. In Thai, Ko Chang literally means “Elephant Island” due to its resemblance to an elephant’s head on a map. Despite its name, Ko Chang is the second largest island in Thailand next to Phuket. Unlike Phuket however, Ko Chang is still not heavily developed. For this reason, the town is very small and easy to navigate. In fact, there is only one main road that goes around the island.

The main road of Ko Chang

A ferry is the only way to the island. Tourists can also get there by plane if they jump out of it. Conveniently, tourists can take a car from Suvarnabhumi Airport directly to Ko Chang if they don’t feel like jumping.


Here is what the ferry looks like. Yes, I can still see. An Isolated Nature

Natural landscapes such as mountains, waterfalls and the beaches are the main attractions for Ko Chang. Along the road, you can see monkeys asking for foods. They are very smart because they often bring their young ones to make you feel bad for not giving them foods. Of course, there are bars and nightclubs for foreigners, but they will only disappoint themselves here. Because of my limited time, I visited just a waterfall and a “fishing” village.

Than Mayom Waterfall

Thai people will tell you Thailand has only two seasons: summer and not-summer. During summer, it’s very hot to explore the outdoors. Fortunately, Ko Chang is full of trees to shade travelers. For Than Mayom Waterfall, I dipped my feet into the crystal-clear water for extra cooling. Even though the sun was very hot, the trail to the fall is very cool to walk along.

Just before I arrive to the fall itself, I crossed the river. There is a rope that the Thai tourism department provide so that tourists can accidentally kill themselves with while crossing. Yes, it helps keep balance against the river’s current. But seriously, accidents can happen here as the rocks in the river can be slippery.

Than Mayom Waterfall itself is small and appears very clean. There is a lifeguard on duty to prevent tourists from getting too close to the waterfall’s base. Or maybe there’s some treasure there?

A Lifeguard at Than Mayom Waterfall, Ko Chang Bang Bao “Fishing” Village

If “fishing” means to make tourists spend more money than they should, this is indeed the “fishing” village. People don’t really fish here. While visiting, I saw a person bring in a cart of fishes from elsewhere to serve in his restaurant. With its gift shops, bars, restaurants and tour offices, this place is for no-one but tourists. How do I know things are overpriced here? Just an empty parking spot costs 60 baht.

A pier in Bang Bao Fishing Village

As touristy as it is, this is the place where the tour boats leave for scuba dive and snorkeling tour around the island. The place is beautiful although it is noisy due to the Chinese tourists and the merchants who were trying to sell stuff to them.

The wealth gap of this village is astonishingly high. At first, I saw a few severely malnourished cats begging for foods and I thought life must be tough here. But then I saw a fat cat sleeping happily getting fatter. I guess the fat just keep getting fatter like they say.

Ko Chang Resortel

For the overnight stay, I stayed with my relatives in their resort, Ko Chang Resortel. Like most other resorts, this resort is next to the ocean. Even though its beach is full of pebbles instead of sand, this is a prime spot to enjoy a quiet sunset.

A sunset at pebble beach behind Ko Chang Resortel

The resort needs a renovation and a change in management. The exterior of the resort appears very dated. For this reason, the price is very low compared to other places nearby. There weren’t many guests here when I arrive. The place appears too quiet. However, I think this is a fine place for people like me who enjoy a quiet place to fully rest from a long day of adventure.

Ko Chang Resortel

The rooms themselves are very clean and spacious. The room attendant sometimes folds towels in many interesting ways. And yes, those are fresh flowers they harvested from the resort’s garden.

Who knows? Now that I have a free place in Ko Chang, I can visit more often.

If you’re interested in staying at the resort, here is the map for your convenience.

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Bangkok is a big city with many people and tall buildings. However, several interesting creatures also live here. While walking at Lumpini Park, I spotted several water monitors moving about in their businesses. One of them was eating and sharing his fish with crows.

Asian Water Monitors

These water monitors (varanus salvator) are common in most bodies of freshwater in Thailand. They can eat pretty much any smaller animals as well as carrion. Consequently, they can survive in most environments.

What’s interesting is that, these lizards do eat birds too. But I saw one eating his fish while also sharing the fish with the crows nearby.

The crows indeed looked very happy to eat such a fine meal for free. They were in awe of the lizard and couldn’t keep their mouth shut.

This one knows when to smile for a camera. A Generous Lizard

Having photographed many animals and observed their behavior, I expected the lizard to chase the crows away from his food. I’ve seen animals fight violently for foods too many times I can count. Instead, he didn’t seem to care that the crows eat his fish. This act of generosity goes against how primitive nature works.

Maybe I’m haven’t seen the whole story. Perhaps this lizard feeds the crows so that he can eat them later when they get fat. That’s probably unlikely for a lizard to be this smart.

A Generous Mindset

Generosity is something that’s mostly observed in beings with great intelligence. But even with human, true generosity is rare. For someone to be generous, he must understand the benefits of generosity. What does one get by being generous? For most people, it’s hard to see what they can get when they are giving something away. In other words, it’s hard to see how they are winning when they are losing.

But winning and losing depends on the mindset of an individual. For most people, winning means acquiring more possessions. But for some Buddhists for example, winning means giving all possessions away and become a monk. Most people see materialistic possessions as happiness. But the more stuff they have, the more careful they must be. They must guard them against thieves, natural disasters, and government who wants to tax everything. They are worried about losing things that bring them happiness.

People who give things away don’t worry about their possessions. Without any possession, they don’t worry if a hurricane will damage their expensive houses. They don’t worry if their stocks and bonds will lose value. They don’t worry if their US dollars will inflate and lose value. This peace of mind is happiness too. This is an example of a happiness that generosity brings. No one can steal things that are people give away freely.

A water monitor found in Lumpini Park, Bangkok

Perhaps this water monitor understands. By sharing his fish with the crows, the crows cannot steal his fish. He just enjoyed the fish with no worry. I wish I can be as generous as this lizard. But it’s not my time yet. I understand the concept but still have yet to fully realize it.

What the miser fears,

that keeps him from giving,

is the very danger that comes

when he doesn’t give.

Buddha, Samyutta Nikaya 1.32

More Lizards

Lumpini Park has several ponds inside the park. During my brief one-hour visit, I saw four lizards. The first one crossed the running trail into the water casually. He wasn’t afraid of people running.

A water monitor found in Lumpini Park, Bangkok

The next one was basking in the sun while still in the water. I don’t know why. These lizards appear rather friendly to me even though they are like snakes. Some scientists believe they are venomous like snakes too. So be careful if you approach one.

Being new to the park, I really didn’t expect to find these lizards here. I had to get very close to take these photos with my 300mm lens (35mm equivalent). Still, the lizards appear very calm. I did not sense any hostility when I moved closer. One of them even walked toward to me, allowing me to get an extremely close-up shot.

I think he thinks he’s fabulous.

The post A Water Monitor Sharing A Fish with Birds at Lumpini Park, Bangkok appeared first on Jackchalat's.

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Jackchalat's by Jackchalat - 1y ago

I’m going to Thailand and not returning to the US for a while. My reasons cover many topics including money, health, and spiritual practice. This post is useful if you are considering moving to Thailand as an expat or a digital nomad.

Balancing the Present and the Future

My day job as a front-end developer allows me to work anywhere with the internet. I want to save money while living well. If I only save money and work hard, I will only get to enjoy the wealth when I’m old. I don’t want to find out what I’ll be like in the future. I already lost my hair in my early 20s. However, if I spend all my money now for fun, I will have to keep on working for income.

My problem is I am very unmotivated. I have been working for 5 years since college and I haven’t enjoyed life at all. I get two weeks of vacation per year. But that’s barely anything compared to what I must work for. I need to enjoy life now otherwise I do not see the point of working. Going to Thailand will hopefully motivate me. Asian girls are more beautiful than the West’s.

In the long run, I want to do what I enjoy. That is travel, take pictures and live a full life. I’ve tried to earn money from photography. But photography works are very demanding and stressful. Photography is becoming undervalued since the invention of the high-performance smartphone camera. Everyone with an iPhone thinks it’s easy to take pictures. This perception and the inflation of photo supplies decreases the value of photographers. As camera technology gets better, photographers will become even less valuable. Photography is neither fun or well-compensated. It will be a hobby for me.

Wealth Creation

To create wealth, I must save money aggressively. I can’t do this while enjoying life in the US. The real estate market is in a bubble. Buying and renting are very expensive. I can rent an apartment in Houston’s suburb for $700/month or rent one in Bangkok’s suburb for just $300.

Services in Bangkok are very cheap too. I do not have to own a car since there are plenty of bus and taxi here. Not having a car is beneficial since the traffic in Bangkok is very slow. Parking is hard to find and sometimes cost money. Drivers often disregard the traffic rules.

Living in Thailand will allow me to save more money so that I can retire faster through investing.

Healthy Food and Exercise

Foods price in Thailand is incredibly cheap. And Thai foods are among the best foods in the world. I can eat well while saving money. For the price of eating a one-dollar McDonald hot and spicy sandwich in the US, I can eat organic vegetarian green curry with purple rice in Thailand.

Organic vegetarian green curry, stir fried vegetables, and riceberry (purple) rice. All this for about 1 US dollar at Santi Asoke’s Vegetarian Society restaurant.

Eating organic foods is easy in Thailand. I am looking forward to trying vegetarian dishes at Santi Asoke temple in Bangkok. Buddhists at this temple are very strict. They mostly eat vegetables that they grow themselves. Financial profit is not their objective. By giving people access to affordable organic foods, they believe that they are making good karma.

Health is one aspect of wealth. A good health allows me to save money by not having to spend it on overpriced medical costs. In Thailand, there are many engaging ways to stay healthy. For example, Muay Thai is a fun sport that I can keep practicing for many hours without getting bored. Running or other repetitive exercises are mentally exhausting. I can’t keep on doing it. But Muay Thai requires proper mental coordination with the body to deliver the force where it needs to go accurately.

Pretty Women

Women in Thailand must keep their appearance to stay competitive in dating. They compete with transgenders women for the diminishing supply of Thai men. Thai straight men (who are not gay, who are not Buddhist monks, and who didn’t become a transgender) have become increasingly harder to find.

Obviously, women do not just want men. They want men with well-paying jobs. Thailand’s economy is getting worse due to the mismanagement of the military government since 2014. As a result, well-paying jobs are rare here.

Because I have a job that pays in US dollars, I can more easily date women in Thailand than women in the US. Besides, who would want to date women in the US anyway? American women are usually either fat entitled feminist princesses or physically attractive whores who casually have sex with many men.

Overall, dating is easier in Thailand for foreigners. Find the right kind of women to marry will also be easier because Thai culture is more conservative and traditional than American’s.

Safe Women

The common fact is all women are crazy. They become dangerous when a society allow them to be crazy without any repercussion. Thai women are safer to date or marry than American women because Thai society is still relatively conservative.

American women are dangerous to men because American society allows its women to be crazy.  Women in American are not worth the risks due to false rape accusation and divorce. In the US, a woman can accuse a man of rape if she later regrets having sex with him. A woman can basically revoke her sexual consent, making an initially consensual sex an act of rape.

Marriage in the US is a huge financial risk. If a divorce happens, a man can lose half of his asset. If he has children, he can expect to pay for child support. Divorce courts are notoriously corrupted to favor women. The courts make money when husbands lose money.

In Thailand, women generally do not falsely accuse men of rape. That is because being raped is extremely shameful to admit in the beginning. Law enforcement also actually investigate rape accusations. Rather than relying on anecdotal evidences, they look for physical evidences such as the man’s DNA in the woman’s body to charge a man with rape.

Buddhist Practice

As beautiful as they are, women are not the source of real happiness. These days, single or divorced men are more often happy than married men. Married men are not too different from slaves. They give money to their wives while having to please them so that the wives would have sex with them. Women are becoming bossy, even in Thailand.

Real and lasting happiness is found within oneself. That’s why I come to Thailand to practice Buddhism. Buddhism makes Thailand unique. Unlike other countries, Buddhism in Thailand remains true to its original teaching from the Buddha. There are many false Buddhists in Thailand but finding the proper Buddhist teachers is still possible.

In the United States, success means money, fame and/or family. I don’t have much of those. But in Thailand, success also mean morality. A person who carries on his livelihood honestly without harming himself and anyone is considered a success to most people in Thailand. Thai people highly respect the Buddha and everyone who seriously practice Buddhism. For this reason, I get along with people here very well.

I am encouraged to do better because I can clearly see the value of morality. In United States, there is no reward for morality. When that happens, immorality wins because doing evil often provide instant gratification. If you want to improve yourself mentally and spiritually, Thailand is a good place to be.

Conclusion

Thailand has many reasons for people to enjoy. For me, it’s the combination of unique financial and spiritual benefits that make Thailand the place to be. The foods are tasty, healthy and cheap. Living cost is low. The culture and women are beautiful. What else do you need for a good life?

Sunrise in Singapore

The post One-way Ticket to Thailand appeared first on Jackchalat's.

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Located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Yoho National Park is full of magnificent mountains and lakes that rival other more popular parks nearby. Because there are not as many tourists as other parks, Yoho let its visitors be more alone with nature.

Golden

After leaving Revelstoke, we traveled east along Trans-Canada Highway and stayed a night at Golden. It’s a typical small town with a little bit of everything. Like Revelstoke, there is a hiking trail. I happened to arrive in the afternoon.

There were many teenagers on the trail with skateboard and bikes. It reminds me of how things used to be simpler without all the technologies. Still, Golden looks modern and has all the accommodations for tourists and locals.

We left for Yoho National Park early. Along the way there, we found several bighorn sheep next to the highway. One of them was scratching its butt against the highway fence. I can’t imagine how tough the life must be when you can’t scratch your own butt.

Wapta Falls Trail

While still early, we arrived at Wapta Falls Trail. The trail is 4.8 km (3 miles) round trip with a moderate change in elevation. I walked the entire trail and reached the waterfall. Along the trail, there are several obstacles such as wetland and tree roots to watch out for. They kept me occupied. I walked quickly as there were several mosquitos wanting to eat me.

On the trail. I found two black wild chicken that I don’t know the name of. One of them kept still on a tree while letting me take pictures. It flew away once I stopped taking pictures. Perhaps he likes the attention. I was using a camera with big lens. He knew he will look good.

Because it was raining in the area often, Wapta Falls did not look its best. The water has a brownish color like Thai tea. Normally, the color should be greenish blue like emeralds. I can’t complain. Thai teas taste better than emeralds anyway.

You can also visit Wapta Falls in winter. Wapta means “running water” in Nakoda language. I wish they come up with a more creative name. The river of this waterfalls, however, is Kicking Horse River. That’s a much better name.

Natural Bridge

When something has “natural” in its name, it usually is a good thing. However, that’s not so with Natural Bridge. The bridge is basically a rock formation situated along a waterfall. Yes, you can use it a bridge. However, there are some gaps between the rocks. If you fall, the waterfalls will take you along Kicking Horse River. It’s like playing Super Mario Bros. You fall, you die. I tried to cross the bridge but decided not to risk my cameras.

There is no hiking trail for this attraction. There were several Chinese tourists in group tours. They arrived in a bus together.

Emerald Lake

The lake has an emerald color like its name. The weather was very nice in June. Some snow still covered a part of the hiking trail near the lake. There were several picnic areas. You can rent kayak too.  If you feel fancy, you can stay at Emerald Lake Lodge on a little peninsula that extends into the lake. A room costs about 300 CAD per night. A bitcoin would have worth a million USD first before I would spend that much on a room.

Like Natural Bridge, there is no hiking necessary to see the lake. As a result, there are several tourists here. Wish I could spend more time hiking.

Trans-Canada Highway

We continue on the highway east to go north on Icefields Parkway. There are always things to see. When I was there, the dandelions were blooming everywhere. These yellow flowers make good foregrounds with the Rocky Mountains in the background.

Thank you and stay tuned for the next post on Icefields Parkway.

The post Yoho National Park in One Day appeared first on Jackchalat's.

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