What happens when you set your capital on fire

Drop in hotel reservations due to chaos in Thailand

They say that a picture says a thousand words so I won’t waffle on about the about chart (bigger version here), other than to say it represents the rather precipitous fall in daily hotel reservations through Travelfish via one of our affiliate partners.

This is all reservation enquiries, so doesn’t take into account cancellations — meaning the fall is actually considerably worse than what the above illustrates. I should also note the airport shutdowns instigated by the yellow shirts had an equally destructive effect on reservations — I just don’t have time right now to make two charts!

Given that matters are sizing up for another meltdown around October/November this year (ie just in time for the peak tourist season) it is difficult to understate just how damaging all this is to the Thai economy. While it is clear Thailand has very serious societal issues that do need to be addressed, crucifying the travel and tourism industries seems hardly to be the way forward.

Who would have thought six years ago (when we started Travelfish.org) that today Indonesia would be seeing relatively progressive economic development accompanied by encouraging signs on the tourism side of things, while Thailand would be actively working to reinvent itself into the region’s new basketcase.

New Travelfish destination: Sri Racha

Sri Racha seafrontSo you’ve heard of the spicy sauce, now visit its spicy home! Sri Racha, located midway between Bangkok and Pattaya barely rates a second thought in most travellers’ itineraries, but if you’ve got the time up your sleeve — why not? There’s a few half decent places to stay, an offshore island and a bucket-load of good eating!

You’ll probably need no more than a night to take in most of the town’s delights and luckily for you, we’ve summed them all up for you over on the main Travelfish site. So please do check out our Sri Racha travel guide.

New Travelfish Guide to Ko Phi Phi 2009/2010 edition

Travelfish Guide to Ko Phi Phi coverWe’ve just added a new Travelfish Guide to the store — the third edition of our top-selling Travelfish Guide to Ko Phi Phi in southern Thailand.

The guide is easily the most comprehensive guide to Ko Phi Phi available and as it was researched on the ground in October 2009, the information doesn’t get any fresher than this!

We’ve increased the font size a bit to make the guide a bit easier on the old eyeballs, so it’s a good deal longer than the previous editions. There are also four maps, detailed reviews on 50 (yes fifty) places to stay across the island. In our accommodation reviews we looked at all budgets — from 150 baht dorms to 15,000 baht private pool villas — and everything in between. There’s also information on where to eat and drink, a diving guide and tips on how to do the island on the cheap.

We’re also, for the first time ever, offering a couple of pages as a free download so that you can check for yourself and decide if it really is worth the US$4.95 we’re asking.

Of course there is the Travelfish 7-day money-back guarantee — no questions asked.

Sounds interesting? You can buy the guide online here — it is available for download immediately after purchase.

New destinations south of Chiang Mai

We’ve been busy deepening our coverage along the famous Mae Hong Son loop in northern Thailand and have just added seven new spots working south from Chiang Mai.

First stop is Hang Dong, followed in quick succession by Sanpatong, Chom Thong, Hot, Mae Chaem, the very little visited Mae Na Chon and last but not least, Thailand’s tallest peak, Doi Inthanon.

So if you’re doing some slow travel along this route, you might want to give some of these spots a looksee.

Khun Yuam travel guide

For most people doing the Mae Hong Son loop, the blip of a town of Khun Yuam is little more than a halfway point between the far larger town of Mae Sariang to the south and the provincial capital of Mae Hong Son to the north. But, if you’ve the time, it’s a comfortable spot to break up the journey.

As such, we’ve just added some coverage onto the main Travelfish site. Afterall Khun Yuam is an ideal spot from which to visit the breathtaking Mae Surin Waterfall and, in November and December the fields coime alight with flowering wild sunflowers, painting the hills yellow. There’s a good place to stay, a handful of cheap eateries and even a local wat to poke around in, so if you’ve the time, slow down and give Khun Yuam a night — our complete Khun Yuam travel guide is here.

What is a good beach on Ko Tao

What makes the perfect beach? Are you looking for stretches where no other speedo has swum or are sunset bars and thumping music more your thing? While Ko Tao is best known for its diving industry, it’s also home to more than its fair share of glorious stretches of sand. So here is a round up on some of Ko Tao’s best beaches — note though, this isn’t an exhaustive list — we don’t want to take away all the fun!

Call me Dr Dive Bum

We’ve just added a new feature story, titled “How to become a dive instructor on Ko Tao” written by someone who knows what she is talking about — an experienced dive instructor on Ko Tao!

The story is a useful read for anyone considering following this path and includes details on the cost of the various courses, the amount of time required to learn and, importantly, what you can expect to earn working as a dive instructor on Ko Tao.

You can read the full story here. How to become a dive instructor on Ko Tao.

Corruption in Thailand

We’ve just added a new feature to the site titled “Corruption in Thailand”. As you’ve probably heard or read, Thailand has had a lot of bad press of late and this story briefly discusses the issues. How big are the risks really?

We reflected on out personal experiences of over 12 years in Asia and in the end, conclude that as long as you don’t forget to pack your brain, the risks are minimal.

You can read the full story here: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/144

I look forward to hearing some tales of woe … or not perhaps!

And don’t forget if the police robbed you, use the story to enter our competition to win a Pacsafe bag!

Bangkok’s top ten guesthouses for 2009

In a massive city like Bangkok, where there are quite literally hundreds of places to stay, finding the right place to stay can be both a challenge and, well, a bit of a headache.

We thought we’d save you the pain and on a recent trip through Bangkok we door-knocked and room-inspected our way across the city before coming up with our list of what we consider to be the ten best guesthouses and hostels in the entire city.

Our final list spans different budgets from backpacker, through flashpacker to midrange and also covers different districts of the city.

You can read our opinions on each place and even see where each is located see the story on Travelfish here: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/137

That said, Bangkok’s a big place and everyone has their favourite — if you’ve an opinion to share, please feel free to drop in leave your thoughts in the comments section of the story.

Cheers

Stuart and Sam @ Travelfish