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1307, 2020

Visiting Grand Palace Bangkok

By |July 13th, 2020|Categories: Asia, Must-See|0 Comments

Visiting Grand Palace Bangkok.  The Grand Palace complex in Bangkok is by no means an off-the-beaten-path monument, but it is a positively a must-see masterpiece.  It is the 4th ranked Thing To Do in Bangkok on TripAdvisor with over 16,000 reviews.  The Grand Palace complex is the official residence of the King of Thailand (formally Siam).  The king departed in 1925, but the complex is still used today for official events.  In fact, I visited the palace for the funeral of the much-admired King Rama IX in 2016.  This complex dates back to the latter part of the 18th century and is located near the banks of the Chao Phraya. Within the complex is Wat Phra Kaew known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.  This is the holiest of holiest sites in Bangkok as it is considered at the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.  Construction of the temple began in 1783 under the orders of King Rama I, the first king of the current ruling dynasty.  Over the generations, the temple complex has expanded and [...]

1007, 2020

Chris Sutherland … Striking Out On His Own

By |July 10th, 2020|Categories: Podcast|0 Comments

Chris has traveled to 193 countries. Chris Sutherland Counting Countries. It was back in February and I was preparing for several months of non-stop travel.  That meant I had to record and prepare five podcasts prior to my trip so I could publish them once my travels began.  And randomly I got an email from Chris Sutherland sharing that he was swinging through Bangkok for a couple of days.  I know Chris from FB and being fellow moderators in Every Passport Stamp.  This was a great opportunity to sit down with him and hear his story in person.  In a perfect world, I would like to do all of my interviews in person.  Technically it is much better and it is also easier to get to know my guest.        It has been a frustrating time for most extreme travelers as we shelter in place around the globe.  There does not seem to be any end in sight when travel will go back to normal.  I hope everyone is well and keeping in safe.    Thanks to my patrons, [...]

2806, 2020

Visiting Koh Mak

By |June 28th, 2020|Categories: Asia, Off The Beaten Path|0 Comments

Visiting Koh Mak.  Koh Samui, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi.  When travelers think of Thai islands, these are some of the islands where travel plans are made first.  And not without good reason.  There are some fantastic beaches, great restaurants, and awesome resorts.  But, these islands are overflowing with tourists who are scramble between a McDonalds and a Starbucks. There are over 1,400 islands in Thailand so consider avoiding Phuket with its 15 million annual visitors.  On the east side of Thailand is the well-known island of Koh Chang, Thailand’s second-largest island.  Within the Koh Chang archipelago is the smaller tropical island of Koh Mak. https://youtu.be/WoiltsuV2mU Koh Mak is only 16 square km with just 800 permanent residents.  The island is privately owned by a small group of families who have successfully developed the island.  Less than 30 resorts dot the island without any jet ski touts or night club scene.  Besides tourism, the island’s economy is powered by tapping rubber trees and growing fruit. I categorized this post as off the beaten path, a really subjective classification.  [...]

1106, 2020

Joss Stone … Performing In Every Country In The World

By |June 11th, 2020|Categories: Podcast|Tags: , |3 Comments

Joss has traveled to 204 countries.  Joss Stone Counting Countries.  I have spoken to so many travel legends on Counting Countries, but this interview marks my first time speaking with a person, who gained their fame outside of the travel world.  Joss Stone is a multi-platinum artist who has won a Grammy.  But of course on this podcast, we focussed on her travel accomplishments.  Joss created the audacious project, Total World Tour, which entailed Joss performing in every country around the world. I only learned about Joss at the beginning of 2019 when Thor Pedersen, former guest, shared with me that he saw Joss perform in North Korea.  With help from Thor and Simon Cockerell from Koryo Tours, I got Joss’s email.  What proceeded next was a 13-month email drip campaign.  Joss had an interest in being on Counting Countries but it was difficult to schedule.  I increased my efforts with self-sheltering during Covid assuming Joss might have more free time.  And my efforts were rewarded with an interview in early May. I was quite hesitant to [...]

306, 2020

Visiting Wat Samphran

By |June 3rd, 2020|Categories: Asia, Must-See|3 Comments

Visiting Wat Samphran.  The visitor to Bangkok will be introduced, whether it is via Tripadvisor or companies offering day trips, to the typical circuit of temples. The tourist will witness the glorious colors of the Wat Phra Kaew, the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, and the sun set behind Wat Arun. These are all amazing temples and must be included to any visit to Thailand. But in Thailand, there are over 40,000 temples, meaning there are so many undiscovered gems, including Wat Samphran. I had spent over two months in my apartment in Bangkok, self-sheltering. Thailand has weathered Covid exceptionally well with approximately 3,000 infections and less than 60 deaths at the time of this writing in early June. For over two months, my only outings were to the market, but at the end of May, I decided to stretch my legs with an outing. I decided on Wat Samphran, a unique temple on the outskirts of Bangkok. https://youtu.be/-Xzoaf2p9yk Over the years I noticed the occasional photo on the web and mentally filed that I should plan [...]

2505, 2020

7 Most Fascinating Abandoned Wonders Of The World

By |May 25th, 2020|Categories: Advice|4 Comments

I am back with another list in my continuing series which is a play off the 7 Wonders Of The World. This time I have created a list of the 7 Most Fascinating Abandoned Wonders Of The World. I am attempting to make a distinction between Dark and Abandoned sights. The places on this list were NOT subject to genocide, assassination, incarceration, ethnic cleansing, war or disaster — either natural or accident, which is an accepted definition of dark tourism. I was quite excited to create this list of the 7 Most Fascinating Abandoned Wonders Of The World. This list is actually a collaboration with some of the most highly regarded experts in the Dark Tourism/Abandoned circles. After traveling for many years and blogging for over six years, I am fortunate to have grown my network of fascinating and accomplished travelers. I was able to reach out directly to all the collaborators and was thankful that my request for suggestions was met with enthusiasm. So, again, all of these lists are quite subjective, and always curious to [...]

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