Ben Schatz

Schatz Family Travels

Ben Schatz

Middle East » Bahrain » Manama November 28th 2021

Our final day in Thailand. Half a day really. We found a park on the map that wasn’t too far out of the way from the route to the airport, so we spent the morning there. Getting there wasn’t trivial, the streets of Bangkok are great for people who love a difficult puzzle! We again encountered the inability of Google Maps to keep up with reality, things like telling us to stay in the 4th of 5 lanes and continue straight, when there were actually 7 or 8 lanes, each going a different direction, none of which was straight. Frustrating! But we did manage to reach the park, eventually, and had a relaxing picnic breakfast. The Chatuchak park is really nice. It’s a very large green lung in the middle of the Bangkok megapolis. There are ... read more
One of the local residents
A bamboo bridge around the gardens
Some of the water lilies are huge!

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok November 27th 2021

Our last full day in Thailand. We got up and left for our COVID tests, a 20 minute walk away. We found it quite easily and since we reserved a time for our tests we didn't wait in line. Results expected this evening. Now we're off to see a couple things we missed in the city last time. Seems so long ago, yet it was only a couple weeks. We got a taxi to the Pak Khlong Talat flower market. Another hint for travelling in Bangkok (along with DON'T DRIVE) - take a taxi, not a tuktuk (motor-tricycle thingy). As opposed to a tuktuk, a taxi is closed, quiet and air conditioned. It has seat belts and a meter, the driver won't try to cheat you and it comes out cheaper. Take a tuktuk once, for ... read more
Flowers at the market
Another flower
Hot pepper stand

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok November 26th 2021

We have a COVID test first thing tomorrow morning in Bangkok. We found one that's only ridiculously expensive, so we booked a hotel within walking distance of it, and we'll stay there for our last two nights in Thailand. But we have the whole day to go before that! And no hurry. So we started our morning with a nice breakfast at the hotel and then went for a walk on the beach. The Cha-Am beach isn't nearly as picturesque as Thai beaches appear in the brochures, it's a narrow strip of sand lined with tamarisk, not the wide white sand lined with coconut trees, but it's ok. After a short walk we checked out the hotel pool and had a nice relaxing swim. A quick shower later and with our bags all packed we checked ... read more
Shelling coconuts
And peeling them
More work to be done

Asia » Thailand » Western Thailand » Hua Hin November 25th 2021

Our plan for today is to take it a little bit easier. We're starting to wind down towards the end of our trip and it's time to relax a little. Not too much, mind you! So, today we head south, to the beach at Hua Hin. After breakfast (which was served to our room) we headed out towards the Khao Ngu Stone Park. It looks very impressive in the pictures, and it was pretty, but we both felt the pictures oversold it. But as we were approaching the site there were several monkeys on the roadside! Of course we had to stop and take pictures, and a couple of the critters came up to the car! As I rolled the window down to take a picture, one of them came closer and prepared to jump in! ... read more
Khao Ngu Stone Park
Khao Ngu Stone Park
Potato crispy

Asia » Thailand » Western Thailand » Kanchanaburi November 24th 2021

Today was intended to be a relaxing day (relatively speaking).We're going to spend the day in this area, and sleep in town another night. But not in this hotel. The breakfast served here is bad, the coffee worse, and the room is just too gloomy. So we reserved a room at the Water Park Hotel Kanchanaburi as it had good reviews and price. More on that later... We went for a walk to the famous bridge over the river Kwai, walked across it and took some selfies. We sat on the grass under the bridge and read a bit about it, and found that not only is the name a misnomer, but it's mispronounced as well! The bridge spans a river of a different name that, together with the Khwae Noi rover flows into the Mae ... read more
The bridge
On the bridge
Rose apple slices

Asia » Thailand » Western Thailand » Kanchanaburi November 23rd 2021

We are fresh and well rested, and had a good night's sleep. Even the gecko didn't bother us. There were a couple things we wanted to see in Uthai Thani before we moved on. We started with the Crystal Temple, Wat Tha Sung. We wanted to see the thing the town is most famous for - the floating houses first, but we couldn't find them, and people around there didn't understand what we wanted. So we started with the temple. I know I've said that we were all 'Watted out', and I stand by that, but the Wat Tha Sung is special. It isn't super ancient or important, but instead of covering everything in gold like most other temples, this one has a huge main hall with lots of pillars and a Buddha and shrine at ... read more
Wat Tha Sung
Worshippers at Wat Tha Sung
Purple in Uthai Thani

Asia » Thailand » Western Thailand » Uthai Thani November 22nd 2021

Today wasn't our best day yet. As I mentioned yesterday, we arrived by night bus (not recommended!) in Bangkok at 5:00AM, and were immediately mobbed by taxi drivers. After some harsh bargaining we got one to take us to the airport for 700 baht (about 70 NIS, or $22, more or less) instead of 1,200, and we paid the 25 for the toll road. When we got there he tried to get 800 from us. We stood fast. Then he didn't have change. We found someone who did and saw his back fast! We found the rental agency (it was open and the rep was there). After some paperwork we got our car for the next week, and sat down for some very much needed coffee! It was getting light now, and we headed on our ... read more
Phra Si Sanphet
Water lily in the park
Monitor lizard

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai November 21st 2021

So today is our final day in the north of Thailand. This evening we take the night bus to Bangkok for the next part of our trip. But more on that in the next blogs. What to do on our last day here? We rented a car and went to market. Warorot Market (also known as Kad Luang) to be precise. This is a huge local indoor market covering three floors, and all the streets around it are lined with stalls as well. There are lots of clothing stores, and loads and loads of groceries. You can get every variety of vegetable used in Thai cooking, as well as meat, fish & seafood, and we even saw live eel, fish, pigeons, turtles, and roasted crickets and other bugs. Lots and lots of dried fruit (we got ... read more
Chet Si Spring
Bua Tong waterfalls
At the falls

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai November 20th 2021

Today was another exciting day. We're off to an elephant excursion! We're going to visit an elephant sanctuary for animals rescued from unhealthy work environments. Our ride picked us up at the hotel right on time, and after picking up another family of four we were off to the mountains! It's quite a long ride, about an hour and a half in a songthaew (basically a pickup truck with a bench on either side of the bed and a roof over it). Not the most comfortable ride I've ever been on! At a rest stop along the way another truck joined us with four more girls for our group. Then we were off, and finally made it to the camp. And there were our elephants! Three beautiful beasts, all females. Our guide, Ken, was very enthusiastic ... read more
But soon turned into this
Grazing in the forest
Elephants can be stubborn!

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai November 19th 2021

As you probably guessed from the title, we went cooking today. The van from Thai Farm Cooking picked us up at 8:30 and we joined a young group of Germans who would attend the 'class' with us. The van took us to a local market and our instructor, Wass, took us on a short walk by the stalls, explaining some of the ingredients we'll be using today. Then we had about 20 minutes to wander and explore. Gilat and I tried some fresh jackfruit (yum!) and I tried a roasted caterpillar (less yum. Maybe as a crunchy addition to something else). We saw a few stalls preparing small floats for the festival of lights this evening and lots of stalls selling candles in little clay cups. We got back on the van and drove to the ... read more
Candles at the market
A crunchy caterpillar
Cutting jackfruit

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