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2002, 2021

Visiting Koh Mak

By |February 20th, 2021|Categories: Asia, Off The Beaten Path|4 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 scrambling 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.  [...]

1102, 2021

Gina Morello … No Roof On Your Dreams

By |February 11th, 2021|Categories: Podcast|0 Comments

Gina Morello Counting Countries has traveled to every country in the world Gina and I met at the Principality of Sealand in the summer of 2019 during the Extreme Travelers International Congress.  And I have been following her travels since that time on social media.  She is one of the few women who have completed the quest of chasing 193 and she is accomplished this feat during the Covid pandemic.           Before we speak with Gina, we have an extra special with Babis Bizas who appeared originally on Episode 49.  Babis has been traveling since 1976 and is the first person to travel every country in the world twice.  Babis has named the 2020 Traveler Of The Year and he shares with us who that is.  Thanks to my patrons Phillip Jones, Thor - Once Upon A Saga - Pedersen, Simen Flotvik Mathisen, William Schelling, Steph Rowe, Ted Nims, Bisa Myles, and Adam Hickman for supporting Counting Countries. They help pay for the production of this podcast.  You can support this podcast by going to Patreon.com/CountingCountries.   My [...]

402, 2021

Spectating NLD – Aung San Suu Kyi Political Rally

By |February 4th, 2021|Categories: Asia, Unique Experiences|2 Comments

Spectating NLD - Aung San Suu Kyi Political Rally 2012 Myanmar - Burma.  When the topic of travel is brought up, often the first question posed is “what is your favorite country?”  For those who travel extensively, this query can often result in mere pretense.  Most travelers I have spoken with or interviewed do not have one true “favorite”.  They might have several or even a score of countries they would want to share with you. I am the same.  I do not have a true favorite.  But, if I am forced … I will state Myanmar in South East Asia or in the old days known as Burma. I have been to Myanmar five times with my first trip in 2005 and my last visit in 2019.  (I had a canceled trip in 2020 after Covid killed so many travel plans.) To me, Myanmar encapsulates a perfect plethora of positive reasons to travel.  Rich culture and history, varying nature, a diverse population with multiple ethnic groups, friendly people, great cost structure, and enough infrastructure to [...]

201, 2021

20 Best Photos Of 2020

By |January 2nd, 2021|Categories: Photos|1 Comment

20 Best Photos Of 2020.  Here we are again.  It is my annual wrap up for my twenty best photos.  And like every year is is not actually twenty photos, but that is a much more snappier title and better for SEO.  This year, stating the obvious, is unlike any other.  I had so many canceled trips which you read about in my A Year In Review 2020, but at least this gave me the opportunity to travel extensively in Thailand. Brunei My second visit to the tiny country of Brunei in South East Asia.  A great place for a long weekend.  Laid back and easy to explore. Senegal One of only two new countries for me in 2020, Senegal.  I was able to visit the northern half of the country.  Senegal has a lot to offer. Thailand This is where I spent the majority of my year.  While I have "lived" here for 7 years, this has been a great opportunity to see and do more than on any given year. Bangkok Bangkok's most popular and [...]

2612, 2020

A Year In Review 2020

By |December 26th, 2020|Categories: Advice, Counting Countries 193 Countdown|5 Comments

A Year In Review 2020.  I would never have anticipated writing a year in review like I am now.  Every year I enjoy writing this overview, but this year was a bit disappointing.  I have been incredibly fortunate with my health and that of my family in contrast to many across the world who have suffered healthwise or financially.  And by serendipity, I was extremely fortunate to have spent most of my year in 2020 in Thailand.  While I spent the end of March, April and May mostly quarantined in my apartment in Bangkok, since June Thailand has been open and mostly Covid free.  This has allowed me the opportunity to safely live and explore within Thailand for the last half of the year.  The only catch, Thailand has been virtually shut to inbound flights and visitors.  So if I leave, it would be extremely difficult for me to re-enter. I spent the New Year welcoming 2020 for the first time in Thailand at a friend’s house party in Jomtien Beach.  Before Covid ran rampant, I [...]

2212, 2020

Lopburi Monkey Festival

By |December 22nd, 2020|Categories: Asia, Unique Experiences|3 Comments

Lopburi Monkey Festival.  Everyone loves a great party and the monkeys of Lopburi are no different.  Think great conversation, abundant food, and some catchy music are you too can be celebrating at the Lopburi Monkey Festival. Lopburi, a town of 30,000, can be found a couple of hours north of Bangkok.  It is an easy drive, or you can take a train from Bangkok, a bit longer at four hours.  Lopburi is an ancient city of Thailand and it dates to the 14th century. Prang Sam Yod can be found in the Old Town of Lopburi and is built in the Khmer style that you might be familiar with from Angkor Wat.  This well-known Hindu landmark dates to the 13th century.  But what might be more memorable are the 2-3,000 crab-eating macaques that make their home there. These monkeys are very used to seeing humans and can be quite aggressive. If you have a monkey phobia avoid visiting Lopburi.  Within several minutes of arrival at Prang Sam Yod a trio of monkeys utilized me as a jungle [...]

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