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Live, Terry/SE Asia, Mekong River; Pix’s!

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These boards encourage us to “write a review”! Here goes, again, in live, blogging style. Later, you can see links to our previous cruise blogs and posts. Two live/blogs are over 222,000 views while another is approaching 200,000 views. It seems that the visuals make a big, interesting difference, sharing the beauty and drama from these wonderful and varied regions of the world.

 

Tell us what you like, any questions, suggestions, etc. Don't be shy!! Love the interactive nature of live/blogs, getting feed-back and comments as we travel, etc.

 

Why this cruise/travel experience will be different? First, we are doing our first visit to Southeast Asia. This trip features Hong Kong, Bangkok, Vietnam and Cambodia, including a seven-day Mekong River cruise through Avalon Waterways. After this river cruise, we will be visiting Angkor Wat, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Hue/Danang. We will be traveling a little over one month for this latest “adventure”. The below graphic gives a good overview, the timing specifics, etc. First, here is to share our initial why and how as to what we researched, planned and are doing.

 

INITIAL OPTIONS/STRATEGY?: The first choice was for HOW to do these areas. We considered three main options/potentials:

 

1. Do a Hong Kong to Singapore ocean cruise. (Or reversing that routing direction.) Lots of cruise lines at different price ranges would provide these potential ports/areas. Pluses: Unpack once and let the ship Captain do the navigating/driving. Easier and simpler!! Con: Your depth and immersion into these unique areas/cultures are somewhat limited. Much time is wasted getting from the ship docking location and back each night for key and very large cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok. Most ships also have offerings to sample Angkor Wat, but that is not a low-cost, add-on excursion option.

 

2. Land/air only would involve just connecting from the various locations by a combination of air and ground transportation options. Pluses: Offers plenty of "depth" to spend as much or as little time as desired at each of your different priority locations. Con: Too many one- or two-night stays in many various towns can become a little challenging with these various logistics, the packing and unpacking, etc. This puts more "burden" on you to pull it "ALL" together for the flow with such a trip, doing the setting-up of the local arrangements, guides, tours, etc.

 

3. Mekong River cruise with land/air connections: Pluses: This option in using Avalon along with their experienced travel partner of Globus for the other ground arrangements and guides that allows us a more "seamless" experience. We picked which stops/cities we wanted before and after the seven-days sailing on the Mekong River. Avalon also has nice, new ships for the Mekong with a larger, more scenic type of balcony room than many other lines on this river offer. Con: This option might be more expensive than some other potentials would offer. BUT, we are on a ship with only 18 cabins and it can go to some locations that other, larger ship cannot explore along this historic and famous Mekong River. With a maximum of only 36 passengers on this ship, it will be a much more "personal" experience.

 

Much depends on your personal priorities, choices, budget, travel "style" desired, etc. My wife liked having much of the "burden" for putting it ALL together and making it work on one experienced company. Not me or us!! Less worries and uncertainty!! Yes, "coordinating" is an important word . . . and responsibility!! We have done in the past lots of our own "free-style" traveling in Europe. I am good at putting that together. BUT, as we are getting little older, we liked sharing these responsibilities with others who know these Southeast Asia areas so well. Globus has an excellent reputation for getting and having very good and experienced local guides. We liked that factor, too!! Being able to ask questions within a small group setting and deal with skilled locals helped us at this stage in our lives. Personal priorities??!! We will see how this mix of river cruising and various city stops will work.

 

We also decided to do three full days in Hong Kong prior to starting this Avalon/Globus package/plan. That worked with us getting Cathay Pacific business class through our American Airline miles, seeing that famed city and recovering a little after the long, long, 15-hour trans-Pacific flight. We could have skipped Bangkok, Ha Long Bay, Hue and/or Danang in putting together our "package" before and after the Mekong River sailing. We had that choice and option. BUT, our view was that in going this long distance, we would maximize our time in this region.

 

We arrived in Hong Kong on Monday, Jan., 22, allowing three full days to explore in and around this very cosmopolitan, historic, charming and scenic town. More details and visuals soon on Hong Kong’s spectacular sights and fun experiences.

 

We arrived Friday, Jan. 26 in Bangkok. WOW!! I open with a range of just six pictures and a few details for this Thailand capital. It is not just BIG! But even bigger, with the buildings, traffic, congestion, people, shopping, food, history, etc., to match and entice.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 194,736 views for this posting.

 

Here is my graphic with an overview for our plan that mixes a Mekong River cruise in with various air flights and visits to key locations in Southeast Asia.:

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Here is an initial, quick sampling from our first major day for touring and visiting around Bangkok. First is the view from our 32nd floor hotel room window with this view/sample for some of its dramatic architecture here. Second is a unique welcoming looks we received at one of the temples visited. He's serious!! Third is one small sample from the spectacular nature of these Bangkok temples and their design. Fourth was the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace of the King. Fifth is one sample from our initial boat ride around their main river and the adjoining canals. The boat shown in this picture was like our (and with a big, noisy truck engine to power it. Lots of sights and experiences from that introductory vantage point. More to follow:

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Below is the second grouping of pictures from our first full day in Bangkok. During that first day, I took about 350 pictures, but, don't worry! I will only post a limited number here on this live/blog and hopefully most are the "best of the best" to represent this city and their country. For those who ask about my photo tips/secrets, it is fairly simple. Take lots of pictures!! Digital makes that much easier and allows you to check what are capturing visually as you progress. BUT, however, only show people the "good ones". Don't bore people with the bland and/or average. Also, hopefully, you have a good laptop for reviewing them first and doing a little fine-tuning before uploading.

 

For those who have not yet visited Bangkok, hopefully these visuals offer a nice preview. For those who have visited here previously, I desire to bring back nice memories. Is it working?

 

Our past cruising?: We have done ten different cruises. First was June 2006 on 204-passenger Seabourn Spirit, Athens to Istanbul, enjoying these Greek-Turkish areas. Late July 2008 on the 940-passenger Crystal Symphony, Dover/UK to Stockholm, for the Baltics and Russia. July 2010 on the 296-passenger Silversea Silver Cloud from Copenhagen for Norway’s dramatic coast, above the Arctic Circle, etc. June, 2011 was from Barcelona for Italy and Croatian Coast, on this same 2850-passenger Celebrity Solstice that we enjoyed for two weeks from Sydney to Auckland in early 2014. In 2015, we escaped the cold winter with 26-days doing a return to the Silver Cloud going up the Amazon River and visiting ten different Caribbean Islands on this back-to-back cruising. Early 2016 was South Africa, including ten days on the Silver Cloud, plus Botswana. In March last year, we did 15 days on the 2200-passenger Island Princess through the Panama Canal from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco. For June 2017, it was Lisbon/Portugal during eleven days on the Silversea Silver Spirit to Rouen/France with added pre- and post-time for land options in those two great and historic countries. All five lines are different and generally very good, etc. What’s best? The honest answer is . . . “It depends!!!”. Ports, schedules, timing, food, entertainment and prices vary much. Personally, the biggest plus with smaller ships is being able to better connect with fellow passengers and the staff and avoid the crowded hustle that can happen on larger ships. Our personal priority is driven by THE ITINERARY! We are not “float on a boat” type of folks. Nothing wrong with doing that. We just like to see and explore different and interesting areas as our key “guiding light”!!

 

Our later 2018 plan? Holy Lands/Middle East!! In later Nov. 2018 and early December, we are planning for our first visits to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, etc., on a twenty-day Oceania cruise from Athens to Dubai. Lots to see and do in the amazing world.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio.

 

AFRICA?!!?: Lots of interesting, dramatic pictures can be seen from this live/blog at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337

Now at 36,801 views for this visual sharing including Cape Town, along South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta area.

 

While entering the grounds with the Emerald Buddha and Royal Palace, our guide took a picture of the initial part of our group that will be on the Mekong River sailing. We are shown doing a little Thai bow and friendly greeting. Yes, I am the guy in the middle wearing pink, with my patient wife, Penny, next to me in blue. In the background are some of the golden and impressive towers and sites we would be visiting. We were very impressed by how well these structures have been maintained. These are spectacular sites and THE highlights in Bangkok!! Lots of contrasts and drama in this busy and charming city.:

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Here are some more visual samples from being in and around the Emerald Buddha. So many great and impressive designs, structures, towers, uses of gold, etc. Very spectacular!! These pictures do not do justice to what we experienced here. As you moved around, there were even more amazing sights and designs as you turn each corner, etc.:

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Here are two visuals to show how the Emerald Buddha appears and its large chamber for worship. The actual statue is very, very small, but has varying forms of "dress" depending on the season. It well covered now as this is officially "winter" time in Thailand. But at 90+F, it was very, very warm yesterday. Did not seem like any conditions to be call "winter". This buddha and temple was very spectacular, crowded and moving.:

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Here is another example of the views when doing our canal cruising. It is not all dramatic high-rises and temples in Bangkok. There are lots of "real people" here struggling under conditions that are not all about glamour and wealth.:

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Here is the third group of visuals from Bangkok. We are staying at the InterContinental Bangkok located at 973 Ploenchit Road. Its location is very busy and in the core of the city's business and commercial districts. Do they have shopping here? WOW!! Five malls are nearby to our hotel and they are open seven days a week, 10 am to 11 pm. Access to the rest of the city is easy with the adjacent BTS skytrain station. This hotel has impeccable service and a warm, attentive hospitality that is so welcoming and authentically Thai. Per TripAdvisor this hotel is rated as #19 of 891 Hotels in Bangkok. Earlier from this Cruise Critic boards, I had a great room tip. Get a high floor room facing Ratchaprasong intersection. YES!! It worked that way for our 32nd floor location with a round, sweeping view of this busy city. Plus, thee is a pool up at the top of this oval-shaped hotel.

 

Regarding Thailand's history, it was very important for me to learn in our early research that Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation to never have been colonized. Yes, there was European pressure, but Thailand has had a long succession of reasonably able rulers in the past four centuries. Thailand exploited the rivalry and tension between French Indochina and the British Empire to stay as a buffer state between parts of Southeast Asia that were controlled by the two colonial powers, the UK and France.

 

Last year, Thailand lost its long-serving and beloved King. We saw many of his pictures being up and this nation is still mourning his passing. We saw the large site and structure where his public cremation had taken place.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Just finished June 2017 sailing from Portugal to France along the scenic Atlantic Coast, plus great pre- and post-cruise experiences. Many interesting pictures and details on history, food, culture, etc., from my live/blog at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358

 

Here is a view of the King's Grand Palace in this 60-acre complex that is adjoiningto the Emerald Buddha Temple. Second is an adjacent Royal building that reflects this traditional Thailand style and design.:

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At another Bangkok location, we visited Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. This golden Buddha is so hugely large in contrast to the Emerald Buddha. That one shown previously is only a 30-inch tall jade or jasper statue. The Emerald Buddha is considered the most sacred statue in Thailand..:

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This is the view along the main river at the hotel/dining location where we had our Thai lunch yesterday. These are very dramatic and expensive condos in this primate location.:

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From our hotel, here is the look in another direction for some of the other innovative building designs and a nearby horse-racing track in the middle of this busy city. Great views from our 32nd floor hotel windows!!:

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Terry,

I am following with interest, as I will be on Avalon Mekong next fall with the extension to Bangkok. Tell me....were You on your own in Hong Kong for those days or with Globus? You seem to be with Globus tours in Bangkok. Or is it an extension of The river cruise under Avalon?

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Terry, am following with interest, as I will be on Avalon Mekong next fall with the extension to Bangkok. Tell me....were You on your own in Hong Kong for those days or with Globus? You seem to be with Globus tours in Bangkok. Or is it an extension of The river cruise under Avalon?

 

Appreciate this great follow-up question from our "neighbor" to the north in Canada. Yes, we made our own arrangements and arranged our tour guide for Hong Kong. Below will start a series of details and "photo evidence" for a little of what we did in Hong Kong. More to come from Bangkok, plus Vietnam, etc.

 

Here a few of our first morning pictures from walking around near our hotel (The Salisbury/YMCA) in Hong Kong. We did much more in the afternoon with our private guide, Amy Overy (www.hkgreeters.com). Just to clarify, we are not lucky (and rich) enough to be staying at the super luxury Peninsula Hotel. Just next door! Still same great areas nearby, but saving money for other activities planned during this adventure. We had a harbor view room and this was such a great benefit during four nights staying in Hong Kong.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 222,019 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

 

Here is sampling of visuals from our first morning in Hong Kong. First is the Star cruise ship passing by our hotel early in the morning. Having a 16th-floor room overlooking this scenic and busy harbor was a super smart choice.. Second is a view inside the classic Peninsula Hotel. The final visuals are typical of the sights around this busy and booming town. Nothing too boring or bland in Hong Kong. Fourth is a new mall and tower building a many top dining places on the higher floors.:

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To prepare for these types of "adventures", doing a decent amount of research and reading helps. Below are three books, among many, that I have used. This includes a recent, well-detailed book on the Jan-Feb. 1968 Tet Offensive that centered around the historic Vietnam capital of Hue. That was a key turning point in we call the Vietnam War. Second are a couple of books that came out just recently detailing the two largest cities in Vietnam. Nice, colorful covers for both of these books:

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As we started our initial half-day tour with Amy, here are a few of the many visual samples from our first day in Hong Kong. Lots more to be shared later, but this gives an opening flavor for a few of our sites and visits. Lots of varied markets and sights here. Yes, first time in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Did a June 7-19, 2011, cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Dozens of nice visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc. We are now at 229,621 views for this live/blog re-cap, including much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

 

From our Hong Kong Temple and market visits, here are some quick visual samples. Yes, interesting and fun! Lots of shopping "opportunities", people, activity and excitement in Hong Kong with its nearly eight million people. With my wife in the third picture is our expert guide Amy Overy. She's been here for ten years after growing up in the UK.:

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The subway and public transportation are wonderful in Hong Kong. It's nice, clean and modern. Air conditioned!! Yes, lots of people, but it is fast and efficient. Below is a scene from being within one of their trains. They have glassed doors at each station that open before boarding. Very impressive system.:

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Near the Temple we visited, here is a typical view of the many high-rise apartments, the nearby mountains, etc., for Hong Kong.:

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Explored on our second full day the main island, called Hong Kong Island. Much is there to see and sample, including mountains, harbors, spectacular buildings, etc. Our highlights included going to Victoria's Peak, riding the tram, exploring nearby areas such as Aberdeen's harbor and Stanley for its market, etc. Below are only six of my many, many highlight samples. More to come later.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

From our Jan. 25-Feb. 20, 2015, Amazon River-Caribbean adventure that started in Barbados, here is the link for that live/blog. Many visuals from this amazing river and Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, San Juan, etc.):

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

Now at 54,934 views for these postings.

 

We crossed from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island on the famous Star Ferry. Second is a sample of the old and new on Hong Kong Island. Lots of tall and dramatic architecture here and across Victoria Harbour in Kowloon.:

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Here is the view when coming down from Victoria Peak on the steep tram tracks as another car is coming up.:

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The meat offered in this market is so fresh, it was actually alive in the morning before being slaughter. Then, direct to this market that offers even such unique side parts such as the tail, etc.:

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In nearby Aberdeen, we enjoyed a sampan ride. We saw a mix of floating fishing villages, luxury boats, high-rises, etc. Plus, also a view of the very touristy Jumbo Floating Restaurant.:

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Edited by TLCOhio

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Below are some more samples from our enjoying of Hong Kong. Many more to post, but need to get ready for more activities here in Bangkok.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Panama Canal? Completed Feb. 28-Mar. 15, 2017, Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco adventure through the Panama Canal with our first stops in Colombia, Central America and Mexico, plus added time in the great Golden Gate City. Lots of fun, interesting pictures!! Those visuals start on the second page, post #26. See more at:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2465580

 

While visiting in Stanley along their waterfront on this part of Hong Kong Island, these cute dogs were being "walked" by being carried in a baby carriage. Fun?:

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Lots of night action in Hong Kong!! First, some folks sampling the "street food". Second is one of my treats when we dined at a luxury location at the 30th floor level offering great service, food and views. Finally, a variety of the views last night of the Hong Kong Harbor and their amazing lights, including of a cruise ship arriving here in Victoria's Harbour.:

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When planning your first visit to Hong Kong, there is the question as to where to be based. There are two main choices!! Many pro/con factors to consider.

 

Hong Kong Island offers a great base for sightseeing, including cultural sights, historical sites (both Chinese and Colonial), etc. Popular tourist attractions on Hong Kong Island include Victoria Peak, Stanley Market, Repulse Bay, Aberdeen, Man Mo Temple, Lan Kwai Fong, Wan Chai, Happy Valley Racecourse and Ocean Park. Many hotels on Hong Kong Island often comes with a higher price tag.

 

Kowloon is rated as excellent if you are seeking to wander around vibrant street markets and for soaking up the local atmosphere. Many street markets are located within walking distances from one another. Some “must-see” attractions on Kowloon:, Flower Market, Goldfish Market, Bird Garden, Ladies Market, Temple Street Night Market, Wong Tai Sin Sik Sik Yuen Temple, Chi Lin Nunnery, Nan Lian Garden, Museum of History, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. For staying on Kowloon, it was suggested and we picked a hotel near to an MTR station. Ideally, the Tsuen Wan Line (Red Line) gets strong pushes.

 

We were super happy with our Kowloon choice, especially having the views to Hong Kong Island and seeing the lively port and lights actions.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Super loved Dubrovnik!!! See more details and lots of great visual samples/examples at this link. Have had over 39,906 views on this posting and appreciate those who have tuned-in and dropped by.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439227

 

Here are a few more visuals samples from in and around Hong Kong Island. First was the daytime view from our hotel window. Second was the 1881 historic site (now used for upscale shopping) that we passed on the way walking to the Star Ferry boarding location The third and fourth pictures give closer views for the mix of old and new structures on Hong Kong Island. Fifth is super guide Amy checking out items for sale in the market area as residents prepare for the upcoming Chinese New Years celebrations. Finally, here is one picture taken from up at Victoria's Peak.:

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Terry,

What did you think of your stay at the YMCA in Kowloon? We are thinking of staying their instead of the TST East InterContinental on our next trip.

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Terry, What did you think of your stay at the YMCA in Kowloon? We are thinking of staying their instead of the TST East InterContinental on our next trip.

 

Appreciate this excellent question from our smart friend in the UK. YES, we were very, very pleased!! We already knew this hotel's location was super great. BUT, for our four nights, it was an very good combination of nice value, being very clean and well-maintained, offering nice in-house dining options, etc. It far, far from being what you might think of as a "Y" in most cities. It's a real hotel that has a very good staff and all of the options needed. Plus, an unbeatable location. Hong Kong is an expensive city and we found this value location to be a high-quality investment. Keep 'em coming with these types of questions and comments. In Hong Kong, I am sure that the Hyatt, InterContinental, Marriott, etc., hotels are very good. BUT, what it cost us for The Salisbury's harbor-facing room made a huge difference to amplify our great experience in Hong Kong.

 

As we finish our time in Bangkok, we had a wonderful breakfast with friends from Central Ohio who are working here. More on them later. In the afternoon, we had two major "adventures" planned. One was navigating and riding their well-regarded BTS Skytrain elevated rail transit system. The other goal was to visit the Chatuchak or JaTujak that is billed as the world's largest market. It is one of the Sunday happenings that draws tens of thousands of people to its edge of town location. It is a combination of indoor and outdoor markets and is also known as the JJ Market. It covers about about 35 acres, with 27 different sections. There are more than 10,000 shops and stalls offering a wide range of products from Thai handicrafts, handmade products, clothing, accessories, arts and painting, house decorations, households, souvenirs and gifts, pets, plants and book.

 

But, how to get there? Cab? No!! Let's take the BTS Skytrain that runs from right in front of our hotel to this edge of town location. Yes, this system was fairly busy and crowded, but the air conditioning on these cars was super cool, especially for this hot, HOT of a 90F+ day. Very clean rail cars and system. It all worked well. Both for going out and coming back. The cost for traveling on this rail system was about $1.20 USD per person each way. Doing this "double adventure" gave us a better sampling of this city and helped us get away from just the comfort of our tour group and being in a small van. AND, from these elevated cars, you can see more of the "variety" in this large city.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Wonderful Kotor and nearby Montenegro? Check these postings. Have had over 39,295 views on this posting and appreciate those who have tuned-in and commented.:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439193

 

Traffic is a huge issue/challenge in Bangkok. Below is a visual example for the street traffic "competition". But above is shown the elevated BTS Skytrain rail station near this Sunday market that we visited.:

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Visiting this largest market in the world was really fascinating with its wide range of items offered, the people there, its food options, etc. Did I tell it was H U G E?? Neither words or pictures can express its size. Below are a few of my visual samples from being there. Yes, the merchandise is packed into each different sales area.:

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Edited by TLCOhio

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Here is more about our experience in Bangkok and the history in Thailand. In 1932, a bloodless revolution led to a transition of power, when King Prajadhipok was forced to grant the nation its first constitution. This ended centuries of absolute monarchy. In 1939, the name for the kingdom of "Siam" changed to its current Thailand.

 

During World War II, Japan demanded the right to move troops across Thailand to the Malayan frontier. A Japanese invasion yielded an armistice with Japan getting free passage and a secret military alliance. After the war, Thailand emerged as an ally of the United States. But, during the Cold War, Thailand went through decades of political instability with coups, different military regimes and eventual progress towards democracy in the 1980's.

 

Since the political change from an absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand has had 19 constitutions and charters. The forms of government has ranged from military dictatorship to electoral democracy. However all of these different governments have agreed on a hereditary monarch as the "head of state". By one totaling, uniformed or ex-military men have led Thailand for 55 of the 83 years since absolute monarchy was overthrown in 1932. Right now, the current military leaders are saying elections will come in late 2018, but recently they have been pushing that potential election time until early 2019.

Their King has been the big "constant" and stabilizer for Thailand. However, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-serving monarch, died at age 88 in early October 2017. He reigned over the country for 70 years as it passed through the Cold War and conflicts in nearby Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as well its own upheavals, including a military coup in May 2014. Thailand has some predominantly Muslim southern provinces that adds to the country’s challenges. Most people in Thailand cannot remember a time when King Bhumibol was not on their throne. Currently, Thailand is still in its one year period of mourning. Images of the late King are all over Bangkok and his face his familiar to millions of tourists, too. His son is the new king, but this new leader has had somewhat of a "playboy" image. Lots of questions!! Many aspects of key Thailand's traditions could be in transition.

 

Bangkok and many of its tourist spots are gaining wide attention for the quality and value for what they offer. The Thai people are wonderful, friendly, helpful, etc., etc. Whether it be shopping, history, architecture, culture, food, etc., there is so much to enjoy in Bangkok. We have enjoy our time here. More visuals to share. Monday morning we fly to Ho Chi Minh City.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For Athens and nearby, look at this earlier posting for many options and visual samples from this city that is so great for seeing its great history, style and architecture. This posting is now at 18,502 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1101008

 

Here is an example of the many recognition around Bangkok for their late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger!)

CMZ_9830%206_zpsxunykzij.jpg

 

Need proof on the traffic congestion? Here is a sampling from yesterday when it took 90 minutes to get back to our hotel from the Reclining Buddha Temple.:

CMZ_9753%202_zpsk07bmvza.jpg

 

As mentioned previously, the BTS Skytrain is very impressive. Looking westward from our hotel location, this visual shows how the tracks are elevated and fit within this busy urban environment. This also shows lots of people outside, being active, etc.:

CMZ_9762%201_zps4ywca9ia.jpg

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Terry excellent photos and information as always in your travel blogs.

I will be following along with your posts, have a wonderful Voyage. Jean.

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Thank you for this Terry. Love following along. How was the smog level? DH has pretty bad asthma so unsure if we can do Asia with the smog level in some of its cities.

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Amazing photos as always Terry. Thanks for the photos and commentary always very interesting and informative.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Glad you are underway, Terry, with both the cruise and the blog. Looking forward to living this trip vicariously through your story and pictures. We've looked at this part of the world but it will likely be a while before we can get there so your trip will be our virtual trip for now.

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Hard to believe, but we were last in Bangkok in 1995, seems like yesterday until I saw all the new huge buildings in your photos. Following along, glad you liked the Salisbury--wish we could have spent more than 2 nights there.

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Thank you for this Terry. Love following along. How was the smog level? DH has pretty bad asthma so unsure if we can do Asia with the smog level in some of its cities.

 

Appreciate these great comments and follow-ups from silkismom, J.P. in Albany/NY, Got2Cruise, dolllover and liptastic. On the very good question above from dolllover, we had heard really bad stories about smog in both of these large urban cities. But, things, as shown in my pictures, have been reasonably decent for both Hong Kong and Bangkok in air quality. Clearly much will spend on the person and how they are affected by their own asthma conditions.

 

My guess, like in L.A. and other U.S. cities is that when the air quality and weather conditions combine together, then there will be the most serious, visible signs of bad conditions. So far, so good here during our first visit to Southeast Asia. Keep it coming with these types of great questions, plus am happy to let people such as J.P. to be "living this trip vicariously". It's free and easy. Keep traveling along with us. The best is yet to come.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Super loved so different many parts of the Caribbean in 2015!!! See more details and lots of great visual samples/examples at the link of "Barbados: Our Pix's, Experiences!":

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2262999

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Following and Thank you for your informative report. We are doing the Mekong cruise next March in the upstream direction,. Do you have a recommendation on which side of the boat to choose cabin?

 

Mike

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Both sides are fascinating. Can't go wrong. Just got back fri Jan 26 from Scenic Spirit Mekong cruise. Please read my review. Excursions are out of this world and fabulous boat!

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Terry,

 

Love your reviews. I remember when I was preparing for my trip to Venice, your blog was incredibly helpful. I'm very much enjoying this one!

 

Robin

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Following and Thank you for your informative report. We are doing the Mekong cruise next March in the upstream direction,. Do you have a recommendation on which side of the boat to choose cabin? Mike

 

Appreciate all of these great follow-ups and Mike's above very good question. My guess is that sugar333 is 100% correct in saying: "both sides are fascinating. Can't go wrong." After we start and spend some time sailing on the Mekong later this week, I can give you some better information in response to this question. Nice to hear the specifics from acwmom, Keith, etc., about their following along for this "adventure". Don't be shy!! Let me or us know any and all of your questions, comments, etc.

 

Just arrived yesterday in Ho Chi Minh City and checked into our super luxury hotel, The Reverie Saigon. TripAdvisor rates this hotel as #1 of 468 Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City. It is at 22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard. In a building rising up 39 floors above city, we are on the 31st floor with spectacular south-facing views. This hotel opened September 2015 after a seven-year build from the ground-up as part of the Times Square Building in the heart of District 1. Wait till you see the pictures from this hotel!! Lots of Italy, marble, over-the-top furniture and detailing, etc., etc. Amazing!! No wonder that last year CondeNast Traveler ranked this hotel 4th best on their Gold Top 50 Listing. That ranking is not just for Vietnam or Southeast Asia, but they listed this hotel in this way for the entire world.

 

Below are some pictures from our last night in active and happening Bangkok. Lots to see, experience and enjoy there.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 194,826 views for this posting.

 

Within a half block of our InterContinental Bangkok hotel, here are three night-time examples for the action. There were also five different large malls within a couple blocks of our hotel location.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger!)

IMG_2462_zpsw0yhpcy0.jpg

 

IMG_2465%204_zpssqvybfr4.jpg

 

IMG_2456%202_zpsdylywwf1.jpg

 

Here is the small Shrine right in front of our hotel location. Lots and lots of Shrines all over Bangkok and Thailand.:

IMG_2476%205_zpspkkbbf3f.jpg

 

Here is one of our "good friends" we got to know well in Bangkok!! It's the popular local beer brand that we liked so much, especially when it is served very cold to help us battle the heat and humidity.:

IMG_2453%201_zpsebq3jvsn.jpg

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