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Projects Abroad News From our Thailand Marine Conservation Project

With the new project-dedicated website now up and running, I feel very proud and privileged to be writing the very first monthly update of the Projects Abroad Marine Conservation Project here in Ao Nang, Thailand.

The project, which has been running since May 2005, has grown over the year and a half since its conception, into an exciting and constructive project benefiting the environment and local communities within the Andaman Sea and Krabi province.

As this is the first monthly update I feel I should recount the fantastic achievements of the past volunteers before beginning to report on the current position of the project. After reviewing the records of the activities of all the volunteers that have passed through Ao Nang since May 2005 to December 2006, the figures speak for themselves as to how valuable your efforts have been.

Over 18,500 mangrove seeds and saplings were planted, helping to rehabilitate four areas of badly degraded mangrove forest, previously cut down for the land to be turned into shrimp farms. 8 tonnes of rubbish were collected between April and December 2006 from six local beaches and islands, helping to keep these beaches free of dangerous, polluting and unsightly debris, and preventing much of it from being washed back into the sea and causing harm to the marine environment. Between May and December 2006, over 600kg of debris were removed from the sea reducing the stress placed on the delicate reef ecosystems and helping to preserve many marine animals that were at risk of becoming entangled in the lost fishing nets and lines.

As well as these vital practical conservation efforts volunteers also contributed by carrying out many Reef Watch surveys of the local reefs, data which was then given to the Phuket Marine Biological Centre for further analysis on the changing conditions of the reefs within the Andaman Sea.

So, 2006 ended on a high note with the volunteers having an afternoon dive, dinner aboard the Navada and then a night dive on Christmas Eve, and two dives on Christmas Day followed by a big roast feast at a local English man’s restaurant. The volunteers then went on a canoe trip through some mangroves and spectacular caves on the 30th before seeing the New Year in at the always friendly and popular drinking hole – the Umbrella Pub in Ao Nang.

And so, on to 2007 – a new year that I’m sure will see the project progressing further as plans developed towards the end of last year are fully implemented, the monitoring and ecosystem rehabilitation programmes continue, and research into new exciting projects gets underway.

I’ll begin with the reef monitoring programme that we began towards the end of November with the four volunteers that were with us at that time. It is a six-week programme that develops volunteers’ marine observation and survey skills alongside crucial buoyancy control so as not to damage the reefs that we are monitoring. Jason, one of the volunteers that completed the full programme just before leaving the project to go on a live-a-board trip to the Similan Islands was very excited that he was going to being able to know the spectacular creatures that he would be seeing at one of the world’s top ten dive sites. Added to this was the volunteers’ satisfaction of completing surveys that were then entered into our database enabling us in the future to compare the condition of the local reefs and the number of marine organisms found from one year to the next.

Alongside the regular monitoring of the reefs that volunteers have been carrying out, there is also the practical side of conservation that is always required. I’m talking of reef salvage of course. Volunteers have made nine salvage dives during the month of January at seven different sites, predominantly around the local islands, such as Koh See and Koh Ya Wa Sam. The total weight of all the debris removed from the reefs amounts to 30.8 kg, and predominantly consists of fishing nets, lines and fish traps, but some of the other interesting items collected were a snorkel, anchor parts, engine parts, a boat lamp, and several lighters. It is always very satisfying coming up to the surface with a bag full of debris that has the potential to entrap fish and other animals, as well as smothering corals and reducing their ability to grow and reproduce. This work will continue unabated, and hopefully through our efforts the reefs will remain cleaner and safer allowing them and their marine inhabitants to prosper healthily.

Moving away from the diving side of the project and on to the crucial coastal conservation work that volunteers carry out for two days each week, I’ll talk about the much-awaited start of our mangrove research project first. Having planted four sites over the last year and a half with various species of mangrove seed or sapling, all of which have seen a satisfactory average survival rate of over 50%, we have set out sights on achieving even better success rates of survival and quicker growth. Consequently we have planned a research programme to test different methods of cultivating mangrove seeds and transplanting the young saplings. We were very kindly given some land for this purpose in late December by the Krabi Mangrove Department and local community of Ban Thung Prasan where we have helped plant several thousand trees in the second half of 2006.

It is next to an area we have previously planted, across a very rickety bridge that many of past volunteers will remember and over a particularly water-logged and muddy subsidiary canal that can be precariously crossed for the most part of the day. However, when we first got there it was overgrown with weeds taller than any of us, so for the first two mangrove days of 2007 we went out with the sickles and hoes to clear the land in preparation for our research. Then two weeks later, the volunteers went out into the very muddy Klong Jilat with small sickles on long bamboo poles and collected over 600 mature propagules (seeds) of Ceriops tagal and 53 of the larger Rhizophora apiculata propagules. The Ceriops tagal were then planted under the different conditions of shade and sunlight, into bags or straight into the ground, and on higher dryer ground or into a more water-logged area that is inundated daily by seawater.

The last of the usual activities carried out by the volunteers is the cleaning of local beaches. Although we’ve only had two clean-ups so far this year at Ao Nam Mao and Andaman Beach, the five volunteers that have been here this month have collected 173 kg of all sorts of rubbish – plastic predominantly, but also a fair amount of glass and metal – that is continuously washed down the rivers or swept ashore by the waves. They even came across a crab trapped in a metal container which was subsequently freed, and a discarded thermometer. As always, it’s not the nicest of jobs but it is very rewarding to see a nice clean beach at the end of the day, so well done volunteers, both past and present.

So, that’s an account of the fantastic contribution the volunteers are making towards marine and coastal conservation in Krabi. These efforts are much appreciated by all that come into contact with our work and activities, so a great thank you to all of you that have devoted time, sweat and sore, blistered hands for the cause. On a final fun note, I’ll mention the live-a-board that the volunteers went on for three days down south to Koh Haa Yai, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang at the end of January. Unfortunately no manta rays or whale sharks were spotted (except, of course, if you count Justine’s fleeting glimpse of a whale shark’s tail), but everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves having seen spectacular reefs and far greater numbers and diversity of fish and other marine species than we see on an everyday basis in Krabi. A well-deserved trip before another work-filled, yet rewarding month ahead – I look forward to reporting on the progress of all the various activities mentioned above.

Find Out About Our Conservation Project in Thailand

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Thailand Destination, Heaven On Earth!

Thailand lays in the Southeast of Asia. Its natural geography subdivides it into four portions consisting of mountains and forests in the north, rice fields in the central plains, arid farmland in the northeast, and the tropical beaches and islands of the southern peninsula. It is divided into seventy-six provinces which are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages which are ruled by the king as Thailand is a monarchy. It is ruled by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej; who is the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty. He has reigned for over half a century, making him the longest reigning Thai monarch.

There are approximately sixty-two million citizens of Thailand, with approximately seven million living in the capital city, Bangkok. The national language is Thai and often hard to understand to outsiders. English is a popular second language commercially and spoken in many shops, hotels, and restaurants with Thai/English street signs being seen nationwide. Other European languages are often spoken as well, which makes it easy to communicate with the locals. The local culture is influenced by the surrounding countries which have helped make up the traditions of Thai and provide ethnic diversity.

There are many internationally recognized placed in Thailand, such as the bridge over the River Kwai, built by Allied prisoners during WWII. There is also Buddha Mountain, a cliff face inlaid with gold into a carving of Buddha, which is the largest image of Buddha in the world. The islands are the location of novels as well as filming locations for movies. There is also the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge which stretches into Laos. Thailand is surrounded by Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

Well recognized but not as well known by name are the dozens of pristine beaches, islands and other sparkling, exotic locales. Phuket is said to have one of the best places to watch sunsets at Phromthep Cape and is Thailand’s largest island. Pattaya is one of the most famous beach destinations in Thailand with a rich diversity and active night life. Phi Phi was the location of the movie “The Beach” and is included in a group of islands that make up the province of Krabi.

While visiting the beautiful locations in Thailand you will undoubtedly be welcomed by the people who are gracious hosts, as well as excellent dining which takes advantage of the ability to raise produce year round on much of Thailand. Fresh ingredients are always available in most areas and the local cuisine benefits from such abundance. Shopping is also wonderful in many of the cities, with a busy night life as well. As much of the country is coastline with beautiful tropical beaches there is no end of swimming, boating, snorkeling and even scuba diving that can be done to enjoy the waterscapes. Hiking, backpacking, and exploring can be done throughout the many wildlife preserves throughout the forest regions as well as around the many archeological ruins. There is no lack of things to do in Thailand as there can be with many tourist locations.

Lanta Yai – a Paradise for Your Indulgence

 

If you are looking for a secluded desert island, with lush green vegetation, pristine beaches and a aqua marine ocean then you don’t have to look to far off the Thai coast. Ko Lanta Yai which is located near the Andaman Islands on the Andaman Sea fit the description of thousands of romantic movie settings and would even make Daniel Defoe re-script “Robinson Crusoe.” Despite being close to the Phi Phi Islands off the west of Thailand the islands are for administrative purposes classified under Krabi Province. It is just a classification though, for once you arrive here all ties with the outside world are severed and all that remains is you and the deep blue ocean.

Despite its miniscule proportions (its only 30 km long and 6 km across), the Lanta Yai Island offers a diverse range of recreational activities to indulge in. It is popular for scuba diving as the rock and coral formations around the island serve as a home for many species of marine life. Experiencing a ride on a traditional Thai Long tail boat is also something no tourists should miss; nothing can beat rowing out to the vast expansive ocean and being so close to nature.

Lanta Yai is mostly frequented by tourists who want to get away from the crowded party oriented beaches of Phuket and are instead searching for a more relaxed, laid back holiday. Due to its popularity among a niche market the island’s are extremely peaceful and non-commercialized; no red light districts or night clubs here!

As described earlier Lanta Yai is not the place to head to if you are looking rollicking nightlife or crowded night clubs. None the less a couple of more laid back night time pursuits can be enjoyed here, the island boasts of a wide variety of restaurants. They can range from banana pancake joints to fully fledged gourmet restaurants; many of them offer breathtaking locations right on the beach itself. A couple of laid back bars and pubs can also be found around the Lanta Yai Harbour and also in most hotels.

Enjoy the comforts of this exquisite paradise while staying at a krabi luxury villa such as Langham Place Koh Lanta which is highly regarded for its unmatched quality and service excellence.

Backpacking In Thailand

Planning a trip to Thailand appeals to travelers of all shapes, sizes and budgets because it is quite easy to navigate about the different cities and main attractions. The travel is also inexpensive, leaving you with more money to explore the booming silk industry, as well as the delicious cuisine. Thai food melds a combination of mind, body and soul into their spicy and sweet balanced meals, offering some of the best dishes in the world.

Why Thailand is So Popular

When planning a backpacking trip to Thailand, you may have heard of what attracts tourists to the various areas about the country. In the North, trekking through the mountains is quite popular. More than 300 temples can be located in the beautiful natural surroundings of Chiang Mai. Top-notch quality and inexpensive stays can be found at every corner, offering flavorful food and interesting shopping outlets.

As a backpacker, you will find an abundance of places to stay at in the area, including Julie’s Guesthouse. At this establishment, you will be able to sign up for a couple of days trekking through the jungle that features lovely views and a first-hand look at how the locals thrive. To avoid getting hit by the monsoon rains, plan an adventure for this area between the months of October and April.

Central Thailand brings the allure of Bangkok, which overflows with shopping, addicting cuisine, palaces and temples. The Chao Phraya River provides a great scene to explore. Main attractions to consider include the Royal Palace, the Wats and Chinatown, as well as the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Notable festivals can be experienced in Ayuthaya, where scenic riverside gardens await in Sukhothai. The endless possibilities for exploration are mind-boggling. The islands of Southern Thailand bring you closer to white sands and warm waters. The largest of the bunch is called Phuket, where other notable selections include the Phi Phi Islands and the waterfalls of Krabi.

Nightlife

Many tourists enjoy the overall aspect of Thailand nightlife. This is one of the main reasons a large amount of travelers backpack throughout the country: nature, culture, food and fun. If it’s a good time you’re looking for, try the many go-go and beer bars in Pattaya, as well as Chaweng Beach (Ko Samui) that parties into the wee hours of the night. Koh Phangan is the site where thousands of locals and tourists gather to celebrate by the light of the full moon. It’s a world famous beach party that never seems to end, offered once every month. It is one of the best places to experience the food, drink and dance of Thailand island life in an event that literally rocks the senses.

The law of the land states that bars and nightclubs close at 2 in the morning when visiting Bangkok, but there is always somewhere to go, whether it’s just a delicious restaurant tucked away on a side street. The largest area to explore is called Patpong, which provides three streets to explore. For more information on the ins and outs of Thailand, check out the latest information posted on www.jeng-thailand.com.

Need To Honeymoon Destination Thailand

The best course of action to take sometimes isn’t clear until you’ve listed and considered your alternatives. The following paragraphs should help clue you in to what the experts think is significant.

Bangkok, the city of angles or ‘Krungthep’,was established in 1782 by King Rama I. The very charm of the city, indeed the whole country, is its antiquity combined with rapid modernisation. Amidst sealed skyscrapers nestle the old pagodas of the many ‘wats’ or temples. Roadside Buddhas ,exist and profilerate, ensuring handy outless for joss-sticks and flower offerings, food and shawls. The more the offerings, the more fervent the prayer of the devotee…

Roadside stalls and shops jostle for space with these Buddhas along with food vendors-on pushcarts, on little stools, on stands, in baskets carried on a pole across the shoulders. Fruit and flower sellers stand at every corner.

Aromatic cooked rice in leaf or plastic packets are sold even in mini supermarkets, with the smell an intergral part of the atmosphere of Thailand. Seafood predominates-with a rich chilli flavour. Indians and vegetarians need not fear for there are plenty of Indian hotels in the city. In fact an Indian would instantly feel at home, wandering around the crowded city-the people are friendly and one even finds roadside cobblers here, unlike the posh Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. And best of all Indians are glorified as tourists here for they do a lot of shopping and the Thai economy practically rests on tourism.

A honeymoon couple would be advised to go on a pre-booked package with a reputed hotel. Bel Aire Princes is a fabulous hotel, expensive and luxurious. It also serves small variety of Indian food in the evenings. The Indra Regent area has many Indian enteries too. The package ensures a visit to the Wat Arun, the Golden Buddha temple, the Reclining Buddha, the Emerald Buddha and the City Palace. Most of these sights will be familiar to the Indian movie goer, for Bangkok has become a popular movie location.

City tours include a visit to the rose garden, the gem cutting centre and a silk factory.

Thailand is famous for its gemstones and silver jewellery, both certain to bring stars to a bride’s eyes. Chinatown is a lovely area to walk through, filled with flowers and produce. Food is a delight here.

Truthfully, the only difference between you and Honeymoon experts is time. If you’ll invest a little more time in reading, you’ll be that much nearer to expert status when it comes to Honeymoon.

Clothes are cheap as labour costs are low. Thai’mumdee’ silk or tye and dyed silk is a specially, a must-buy for most women. As for readymades, Prathunam Market is a near paradise, a whole busy enclave on Ratchprarop Road. Here are located fashion houses like Armani and Versace. But never mind them, right below their regal noses one can purchase fine imitations, complete with logo, in the open sir stall of Prathunam. The garments are churned out in the closed markets behind with sewing machines busy round the clock. ‘How many do you want?’ asks the friendly shopkeeper when I ask the price of a Boss Shirt. he laughs when I ask for just two, more used to Indians buying in bulk.

A walk along Soi 3,4 and 5 leads to Akbar, and Indian restaurant, serving good Mughlai food. Along the Sois are open air stalls selling handicrafts, clothes, cloisonne, wood masks, blue pottery, the unique metal turquoise painted Thai musician fingurines, watches-all fake, toys,VCDs. All remain open till 11p.m.

Patpong and silom-these are the famous night bazaars of Bangkok, where life begins only after 10p.m. Food-one can eat a variety of Thai food on the pavements or go into the Western food joints, pubs and bars here. Massage parlours have women standing outside, enticing unwary tourists. Heading out of the city is an option to go to Pattaya, a 2hour trip to a beach town. Pattaya is a strange place with a sightly seedy promenade where Indians are not advised to venture after dark. The cabaret show and a trip to Coral Island so it is only worth it if you are into snorkeling and water scooters. Perhaps a place best avoided by the romantic couple. For those with a sun and water fixation, islands like Krabi, Kochi Samui, Phuket, etc. are geared to be ideal resorts. Rafting and canoeing, other than just sunbathing, are sufficient thrills here-with the knowledge that Leonardo di Caprio sunbathed here as an added attraction!

A trip to Kanchanaburi, about 128 kms away, is good for nature lovers and would ensure a less crowded and more romantic scenario. The Death Railway and the Bridge on the River Kwai are, of course, not to be missed here. But the best part of a visit to Thailand is a trip to the Floating Market-about 2 hours away in Ratchaburi. Tours start early in the morning, in order to reach there well before the boats come out. One is put in the water in a long launch for a leisurely ride in the canals for about 1 1/2 hours. Old homes jut above the banks, with daily chores and baths conducted in the streams.

And then suddenly, at a turning, one sees scores of long open boats coming at you, each with one person at the helm, mostly women. And the boats are piled high with produce-hot food, fresh vegetables, etc. Breakfast is served like never before! The boat comes along and jars alongside, the old women boats sturdy enough to ram into each other. business is conducted over the water, and selling and buying has never been so charming. After the ride, the banks lined with handicraft shops entice one to buy cheap blue pottery, pewter and clothes. Romantic keepsakes will not make a deephole in the pocket here.

If going about the city on one’s own-the MRT or the lovely little tuktuk (autolike vehicle) driven merrily with scant regard for rules are safe methods of transport and cheap. In the throng of Bangkok’s traffic which turns to five packed lanes on an expressway, the tuktuk is sure to make rapid headway. And for that shopping stroll, the only way to cross the road is to do as the Thais do- hold up you hand to stop the flow and sash across.

With so many spots so soaked in romance,Bangkok is a great honeymoon destination-with a little extra honey making further lovely spots within one’s reach. Best to avoid the place in April though, when the heat touches a sizzling 42, fizzling out romance!

If you’ve picked some pointers about Honeymoon that you can put into action, then by all means, do so. You won’t really be able to gain any benefits from your new knowledge if you don’t use it. http://www.rabbitresort.com

Xcellent Day Trips From Huket Sland Hailand

Phuket is named the Jewel of the Andaman. Or is it maybe the prime gem in the crown of Thailands tourism? However, Phuket is just the core of a spacious wonderful playground. And the other part of the crown is worth discovering, even if the tropical fabulous beaches youre sunbathing on seems so great you never want to get away from them. Phuket sightseeing tours are a must.

Making day trips from Phuket Island is definitely a must when you visit this South East Asian tropical piece of Heaven. Within a few hours ride or trip by boat are several mind-blowing landscapes including the renowned Phi Phi islands, the wonderful Khao Lak coast, the eye-opening Pha Nga Bay, exclusive scuba diving off the Similan islands, and the breathtakingly beautiful karst-scapes of Krabi. There are national parks boasting lush forests, picturesque fishing villages, spectacular waterfalls, crystal clear waters, private tiny islands, pristine mangroves and exclusive beaches to seek out.

Phuket is without a single doubt Thailands best developed and most popular island, a high standard, jet-set travel destination that has become a very upmarket place during the last decades. If youre travelling to Phuket for your next holiday youll invariably find yourself based at one of several wonderful bays lined along the West Coast. From this location you can either rent a private car or use the option taking one of the available day trip tours to a destination of your choice. This is highly recommendable and there are both many travel agents and opportunities.

For first time visitors exploring the island itself is absolutely a great idea. There are numerous exciting and splendid beaches. Towards the south from Kamala youll find a cluster of the best, past the popular and crowded Patong, and onwards to the posh Kata and sweeping Karon. Every beach is worth making a stop for a few hours to sunbath or sample a spicy Thai papaya salad (som tam) for lunch. Keep travelling south and youll finally reach the untouched Nai Harn beach, a good spot for avoiding the crowds. All beaches on Phuket have their own special ambience.

To reach the islands north takes about a one-hour drive. This area has not been developed and tourists do not dominate the scene. The east coasts mangroves offer an altogether different look of Phuket. While visiting this area you might want to cool off in Khao Phra Thaeo National Parks Bang Phrae Waterfall or drop in on the singing gibbons at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre. Tours to this area of Phuket are very rewarding.

The best scenery can be found offshore, the first thing on you itineraries list should be a trip to Phi Phi. This distinctive craggy island is formed like a butterfly. The island featured in the Hollywood movie The Beach and was world news because of the Tsunami tragedy. Actually there are several islands, and the majority of the available trips stop off for some mind-boggling snorkelling adventures en-route. Food is mostly served once you arrive at Phi Phi Leys paradisiacal Maya bay. Only campers and park rangers are allowed to spend the night here so youll have the immaculate beach all to yourself. Phi Phi Don is more dramatic and was drastically overdeveloped before the gigantic Tsunami washed it all away. On a tiny sandwich of coconut palms the resorts are found between two gorgeous bays, with rising to the blue sky karst cliffs all around. Once youve reached this spot you probably not want to make the trip back to Phuket!

Similarly popular and impressive is Pha Nga Bays unique karst seascape, enjoyed free promotion in the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun. Now also known as the James Bond Island, this is a must-see on all trips from Phuket but its all part of a gigantic theatre of pillars, dotting this vast bay and must be ranking as the most photogenic spot in the whole Andaman. Lunch will be served at the idyllic fishing village of Koh Phan Yee, which is positioned in the water on stilts. Dont forget purchasing some souvenirs and stroll around this remarkable community. Kayaking among the karst cliffs and caves is especially rewarding.

If diving is your thing and you have just one opportunity to see the finest, then you may want to join a few days lasting trip to the Similan islands which are located West of Phuket. There is also a protected marine reserve and diving excursions or day trips are the only way to reach the areas unspoilt reefs, or swim in the clear blue ocean. If you do not have a dive certificate, no worries there are plenty of available courses. As an alternative you could take a tour to Hong Island, between Krabi and Phuket and simply enjoy underwater snorkelling and unwind. This unique island boasts a hidden lagoon inside, reachable at low tide only through a cave tunnel.

Renting a car for a drive into the hinterland is also a great option. Phuket is by a short causeway linked to the mainland and after that you have the freedom, roaming the lush isthmus provinces of Southern Thailand. Travel to the north to Khao Lak, to explore a more untouched and wild shoreline, and some fabulous coastal parks. Khao Sok National Park is a bit beyond this with its vast lake, magnificent rainforests and distinctive landscapes. In the park chalets you can even stay overnight. Thai tropical national parks feature fantastic ecosystems full of streams, waterfalls, nature trails, a few animals and varied birdlife.

Even Krabi is a popular tourist destination attracting many visitors, it can conveniently be reached within a 90 minutes drive from Phuket and features some of most distinctive landmarks in the region. But this is a completely other destination!

A Specialty of Living In A Holiday Villa

Holiday rental villas are perhaps the most perfect way to experience the incredibility of the tropical island destinations in Thailand. A villa is simply a single detached structure, mostly built in the form of a luxury residence or an expansive country cottage. They are mostly situated in secluded places, and are not a segment of any planned community, resort complexes, or hotels. In contrast to high end hotels and upscale resorts that are expensive, a holiday rental villa is economic and provides visitors with a unique experience.

A villa is usually complete with two or three bedrooms, specious living and dining areas, fully equipped kitchens, and superb bath areas. Further, in most cases, these villas are furnished, and come with amenities such as individually controlled air conditioning, personal safe, entertainment systems, CDs and DVDs, television with satellite channels, computers coupled with high speed broadband internet connections, and more.

Likewise, villa facilities cover private pools and sun deck, barbeque area, services of daily maid and professional chefs, laundry facilities, airport transfers, and sightseeing facilities. Depending upon the taste and budget of tourists, a variety of villa options is available such as boutique style villas, honeymoon villas, luxury villas, seaside villas, and large family villas, with more than four or five bedrooms.

One of the prime benefits of living in a rental holiday villas is that they provide maximum privacy and utter relaxation. Since mostly villas are situated in secluded places, they serve as an excellent retreat, and enable you to relax in solitude and enjoy the company of your friends as well as family in a serene space. Similarly, when staying in a villa, you have ultimate privacy in pools, Jacuzzi, and terrace.

Another great advantage of a holiday villa is that it provides you with a unique experience. As villas are tastefully appointed according to the unique culture of the place, it allows you to completely immerse in the culture of the location, thereby making your vacation memorable. Ultimate comfort is also a benefit of holiday private villa.

A specialty of holiday villas is that they are mostly attached with a fully equipped kitchen. This in turn enables you to cook your favorite dishes at any time. When you stay in a hotel, you have to follow hotel schedules and could eat only during a specified time. Further, it is not necessary that you could eat your favorite dishes. But, staying in a holiday villa avoids all these problems. Additionally, some villa providers even provide services of professional chefs for aged tourists and couples honeymooning.

In destinations such as Phuket, Pattaya, and Krabi, a range of villa accommodation choices are available to please any type of travelers. For instance, there are villas that are especially designed for westerners, such as European style villas. Also, a plus point of villa is the sheer space it renders. When compared to hotel rooms, a villa is much spacious, thereby making it a popular option for extended stays.

Likewise, a villa is an economic alternative over hotel rooms. Staying in a rental villa could sometimes save up to at least $300 per night or day. However, cost may be exceptionally high in the case of luxury villas. In addition, villas are an excellent choice for people vacationing with families or large groups. Further, since in most cases you rent it directly from the owners, it saves you money in terms of travel agent commission. Above all, a villa provides you freedom to live in your own pace as well as style. In short, a holiday rental villa truly serves as a home away from home.

A myriad of villa service providers are now in the scenario in order to help you find a villa in your desired location. There are some villa providers that render services in the form of packages covering accommodation, breakfast, maid services, laundry facilities, airport transfers, facilities for sightseeing, rental cars, and rental equipments for enjoying different water sport activities. With the introduction of the internet, it has now become quite easy to find a competent villa provider. Many of them even offer facilities for online booking.

If you have never stayed in a rental villa, then this time opt for a rental villa for your tropical vacation, and have great fun, while saving great amount of money.

The 10 Best Things About Krabi in Thailand

Located in Thailand’s deep south, Krabi is considerably more tame than it’s coastal resort counterparts. Much of the emphasis in this region is on the stunning natural beauty and there are many opportunities to venture out into forests or coral reefs. The entertainment scene is fit for the whole family, and there are plenty of planned activities to keep you engaged during your stay.

Rock climbing

Krabi is known the world over for its excellent rock climbing. The abundance of unique rocks formations and limestone cliffs make for thrilling climbs and the best marked and bolted climbs can be found at Ton Sai Beach. Independent climbers usually head here first, although local outfitters can arrange trips to other more remote locations and offer lessons to help beginners get started.

Daytrip to Wat Tham Seua

One of the most striking cultural phenomena of Krabi is the Tiger Cave Temple, or Wat Tham Seua. It’s located in the jungles of the Ao Luk Thanu Mountains and is the largest temple in the province. Buddhist monks live within the caves, worshipping in their labyrinth. A long climb up more than 1,200 stairs brings you to a summit on the limestone cliffs where you can view the chedis and Buddha statues as well as take in spectacular panoramic views of the area.

Than Bok Khoranie National Park

A daytrip to Than Bok Khorani National Park is a good way to enjoy the natural geology and plant life of Krabi. The park takes its name from a pond here that is hemmed in by wild gardenia, asoka and other botanical treasures. Camping is allowed in the park, though you have to bring your own supplies; there are no hotels or guesthouses on the premises.

Shell Fossil Cemetery

The Shell Fossil Cemetery is one of Krabi’s most popular attractions, consisting of an enormous slab of rock that has been forming for the past 35 million years. Over the millennia, the composite of fossilised shells has grown to a thickness of nearly 16 inches. This archaeological find is located at Ban Laem Pho Cape, only 10 miles from the Krabi Town.

Scuba diving

Scuba diving and snorkelling is a must while you’re staying in Krabi. All of the Andaman Islands sport wonderful coral reefs and the clear water makes for fantastic snorkelling or diving. Diving certification courses can be completed in four days and expeditions lasting up to several days can be chartered through one of the many diving companies.

Koh Lanta Marine National Park

A trip to Koh Lanta Marine National Park will bring you face to face with the unique culture of the Chai Leh, or sea gypsies. These people speak a distinct language and have their own animistic religion. The island also hosts some pristine rainforests, spectacular beaches, coral reefs and laid-back guesthouses.

Exploring the archipelago

A great way to see the archipelago of islands is with a paddle in hand. Sea kayaks can be rented for offshore exploration and from Ao Nang, you can paddle to several nearby islands for great views of the many karst pillars, caves and remote beaches. Organised daytrips are easy to arrange and are well worth the expense, as they’ll take you to secluded beaches you’d never have found on your own.

Railay Beach

Any holiday in Krabi warrants a visit to Railay Beach, one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline that the Andaman has to offer. Two crescent beaches are removed from the mainland by enormous limestone cliffs making the beach only reachable by boat. The most popular attraction here, other than the beaches themselves, is the enshrined cave at Phra Nang. Resort accommodation is available if you’d like to stay overnight.

Krabi nightlife

The nightlife in Krabi isn’t as high-powered as in some of southern Thailand’s other hotspots. Most of the establishments that cater to tourists are confined to the Ao Nang Beach Resort. There are a few places aimed at visitors in Krabi Town itself, though it is mostly a local scene here. Ao Nang hosts a string of restaurants and bars. There aren’t any discos, and for the most part, an evening in Krabi will be comfortable and low-key.

Biking

Biking is another good way to see the island, particularly the area immediately around Ao Nang. Cycling inland will open up vistas holding the signature landscape of limestone outcroppings, coconut groves and quaint villages. You can hire a bike in the resort area and the inland loop can be stretched to as much as a 15 or 20-mile ride.

Resident of Krabi – Yellow Tiger-tail Seahorse

Ringing in good tidings for the new year, a newly immigrated resident to Krabi was spotted by one of our KrabiDivers.com instructors on New Year’s Day. At 4-cm long, he appears pregnant. Yes, “he” was pregnant as the male in this species are the ones to get pregnant and productive!

Krabi, south of Thailand, is the gateway to the famous Andaman Sea where scuba divers and snorkellors from all over the world convene as winter approaches in the western world. Famous for its incredible waters, great visibility and huge variety of dive terrain, Krabi is a must-stop for all nature and water lovers on vacation in Asia. KrabiDivers.com operates the premier scuba-diving and eco-tourism center in the heart of Aonang, the sea-side town of Krabi. Here, you can launch off to the amazing Similans, Richelieu Rock, Phi Phi islands, Phuket and Lanta. And lets not forget the relatively unexplored local Krabi waters where the caves and caverns provide a great underwater adventure. And here is where we found our Tiger-Tailed Seahorse on New Year’s Day!

Seahorses are amazing creatures. The seahorse is one of four families in the syngnathiform family which also includes pipefish, flag-tail pipefish and seadragons. They swim in an upright position with their tails down and their heads up using their dorsal to move forward and pectoral fins for steering control. Also unique for their prehensile tail (able to twist & grasp),tube-like mouth (with no teeth), and small gill openings. Seahorses (like chameleons) can even move their two eyes independently of each other. Ranging in size from the tiny 10mm to 35cm, the largest is the Pacific Seahorse. Seahorses eat small crustaceans which they catch by staying still and lying in wait till their prey comes near, and they snap them up. Then their tube-like mouth creates a vacuum that sucks the prey in and they swallow their food whole.

Sea horses are unusual in a couple of ways. One is that they are monogamous and have long courtship periods when mating. Monogamy is unusual in all animals but particularly among fish. The longer a couple of seahorses stick together, the better they are at producing babies. It is the males of seahorses that carry their eggs in a pouch on his belly, after the eggs have been deposited there by the female. The eggs are fertilised in the pouch and incubated between 10 days to 4 weeks before they hatch. At hatching, the male gives birth to fully developed but tiny little seahorses. The natural lifespan of seahorses is not known, but believed to be from one year for small species to five years for the larger species. Highly elusive and difficult to spot in moving water, finding a seahorse is every diver’s dream come true.

So, you can imagine our absolute euphoria when we spotted the little yellow Tiger-Tail. Being creatures of habit, once settled into a location, they tend not to move too much. Hence, we can find it again and would love to show it to you.

Come dive with KrabiDivers.com and let us take you out to the amazing underwater world of Krabi, Phi Phi, Phuket and Lanta. Or join one of our liveaboards for the Similans Islands. We run fun dive trips daily. Our group of international instructors are available to conduct all scuba-diving courses in English, Italia, Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Chinese. Centrally located at the Sea of Love Plaza (opposite McDonalds) in heart of Aonang, Krabi in Thailand, come visit us if you are planning a trip to Krabi. Or email us for more information info@krabidivers.com. Also check out our website www.krabidivers.com where you will find lots more in store about our adventures.

Diving, Rock Climbing, Spas, Canoeing, Kayaking, Natural Spring Pools – all at Krabi

“What is there in Krabi to do?” There is a crazy lot of adventures and fun that Krabi offers travellers of all ages. Krabi in Thailand has much more to offer to visitors than any other place in the Kingdom, and one might even add, than in most places in South East Asia. With a good combination of adventure, relaxing, shopping and food, you will not find yourself lacking great activities. Plus, the newly built Krabi International Airport is wonderfully clean and efficient. Read on to find out more about just a few of the many things that Krabi offers the traveller.

Scuba diving – Undoubtedly Krabi is the gateway to the Andaman Sea of Thailand. From Krabi, you can launch off into the various dive locations : Phi Phi, Similans, Phuket, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang, Lanta. Apart from colour marine life, sightings of whale sharks, mantas, leopard sharks and sting rays, also expect to have some fun weaving through the caves and caverns which make Krabi and its surrounding areas such a great adventure. We have of course the full range of dive courses for you to choose from. Our experienced instructors have at least 7 years’ each of diving instruction in many parts of the world. Simply book your dives and courses with us and we’ll take care of the rest for you.

Snorkeling – Untainted hard and soft corals are found just off the shorelines of Krabi, making it the perfect residence of marine fish life. Some of the best snorkelling in Thailand is found just off Krabi. At KrabiDivers.com, we will take you to explore the crevices and caverns just off our shores, offering an exciting day out for all snorkellors!

Rock climbing – Krabi is enveloped by many limestone and hard rock mountains, making its terrain ideal for both experienced rock-climbers and those who want to try out this sport. Afraid of heights? Don’t worry, there are many levels of rocks and we can help you book your rock-climbing lessons with a reputable and reliable instructor.

Sea Kayaking & Canoeing - Amidst the many rock islands that surround Krabi are many waterways which twine through water pools that are perfect for kayaking. Even those who have not tried it before will easily do so under the guidance of your experienced leader. Take half a day out and explore the ravines that surround the Krabi region. KrabiDivers.com will help you arrange a great day out for you and your family and friends.

Jungle Trekking – Krabi region is surrounded by fabulous mountains and hills that makes your holiday a complete adventure.

Elephant Trekking – What a novelty! Imagine mounting one of these gentle giants, and let them take you on a hour-long trek through the jungles of Krabi.

Emerald Pool & Crystal Pool – Believe it or not, there are some natural water pools filled with cool spring waters from the surrounding mountains tucked in the middle of the forests in Krabi. Take a tour with KrabiDivers.com, and visit some of these natural spots and have a dip in the cool shallow water. Great especially for kids.

Spas & Massage – You cannot visit Thailand without going for one of the local Thai massage. Choose between an oil massage and non-oil, and let the skilful hands of the experienced masseuse rub away all your aches and pains. Wonderful especially after a day of diving or trekking. Something that everyone gets pretty hooked on!

Large variety of hotels and resorts – From budget to luxury, Krabi has it all. Coupled with the hospitable service of the friendly Thais, you can pick from a wide selection of resorts and hotels according to your requirement. KrabiDivers.com is a privileged partner with many of the hotels and resorts to offer priority booking for rooms in high season (Nov to Apr) and preferential rates for our guests. Let us help you with your booking.

Krabi has so much to offer the adventurous visitor. At KrabiDivers.com, we believe in giving our guests a total experience of what Krabi can offer. If you are interested in any of these, simply drop us a request – and we are pleased to recommend to you some of the best Krabi has to offer. There is simply so much to do.

KrabiDivers.com is your premier scuba-diving and eco-adventure partner. But, as you can see, we do a lot more for our guests than just scuba-diving. Simply drop us a line to info@krabidiver.com with your requests, we can plan a wholesome holiday for you.