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Archive for Travel

Jun
25

A Few Days In Hakone

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Dated 25 June 2013. Click here to see a list of complete video content on the Republic.

Categories : Japan, Video
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Jun
24

Hyatt Regency Hakone

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Dated 24 June 2013. Click here to see a list of complete video content on the Republic.

Categories : Japan, Video
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Jun
22

Scenes Around Tokyo

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Dated 22 June 2013. Click here to see a list of complete video content on the Republic.

Categories : Japan, Video
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Jun
21

Tokyo Disneyland

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Dated 21 June 2013. Click here to see a list of complete video content on the Republic.

Categories : Japan, Video
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Dated 21 June 2013. Click here to see a list of complete video content on the Republic.

Categories : Japan, Video
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You won't stay dry or fun-loving for very long over Songkran

You won’t stay dry or fun-loving for very long over Songkran

“Thailand has lots of holidays and festivals.   But those other special days — say the Vegetarian Festival — require the visitor to eat weird foods or learn something specific about the culture.  For merrymaking foreigners, Songkran is the perfect holiday.  All they need do is get drunk and use a squirt gun.”  Doug Knell, Doug’s Republicdotbarshort

Doug’s Republic already features a public holiday section for Thailand.  Why then is it so important that Songkran gets its own special section?

Because as I’ve observed, Songkran is the one Thai-specific holiday foreigners know, remember, and wish to experience … once.  I’ve yet to meet a foreigner who knows when or what Buddhist Lent day is.  Or Coronation Day.  Or the Royal Plowing Ceremony Day.   I’ve lived in Thailand for awhile and every time my wife tells me such-and-such a a national holiday is approaching, I have to ask her what the holiday is.  Not for Songkran.  Everyone here knows what Songkran is and unless you go out to some rural hamlet, you are forced to experience it.

Songkran is celebrated all over Southeast Asia, but it’s Thailand that put it on the map.  You could call this the Thai New Year’s Day, and it’s celebrated at the hottest time of the year, at least from April 13 to 15.  Hua Hin celebrated it en masse for just the first day.  In Chiang Mai, festival revelers started partying two days earlier and continued through the 16th.  In Kanchanaburi, the holiday was celebrated for four days.  In Pattaya, there were also Songkran festivities a week after the official event.  When my father-in-law was in the country, we went to Khao San Road, the tourist ghetto of Bangkok.   Although Songkran hadn’t officially started, people were already in full party celebration mode.  In Koh Chang, the holiday was celebrated for all three days.

[Click the picture to read the rest of this amazing article, okay, homeboy?]

Categories : Thailand, Travel
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May
02

Health In Thailand

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Take your pick.  The Thai medical establishment is waiting for you and your wallet.

Take your pick. The Thai medical establishment is waiting for you and your wallet.

“It was inevitable Thailand would develop a health tourism industry.  The country already had the vast tourist arrivals requiring medical care from time to time after abusing on drink, drugs, and dregs.  It was just a matter of time before Thailand went after citizens in other countries to cure their medical ailments before they could abuse themselves here on drink, drugs, and dregs. ”  Doug Knell, Doug’s Republicdotbarshort

There is a common misperception that Thailand is a Third World basket case economy with commensurate medical care. 

There is also the opposite misperception among, obviously, different individuals that Thailand’s hospitals are among the best in the world.  This depends upon which hospitals we’re talking about.  As of 2010, the Ministry of Public Health listed slightly more than a thousand public hospitals and 316 private hospitals.  A small percentage of those private hospitals enjoy a reputation as showpiece hospitals, hospitals held up by Thailand to the rest of the world to show that Thailand can perform a bypass or a sex change or a hair transplant as good as the best of ’em, but at a fraction the cost.  Outside Bangkok and other key tourist areas where these showpiece hospitals operate, the claim that Thailand’s hospitals are some of the best in the industry should be taken as seriously as Drew Barrymore’s acting talents.  

In today’s global economy, nations try to stand out any way they can. 36% of Thailand’s economy is based on manufacturing, and 6-7% on tourism. Thailand has been playing its huge tourist influx to its advantage by encouraging arrivals to stop on by for a botox treatment or a crown implant. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has gotten in on the act with a medical portal. You can look up the procedure you desire and see who’s performing it. The site boasts that as of 2013, Thailand has 17 Joint Commission International (JCI) certified hospitals. This is an American certification, and for what it’s worth, the standard by which consumers worldwide can assess whether a non-American hospital meets international standards. In reality, there are likely a lot more non-JCI certified hospitals in Thailand that would more than suffice for most consumers’ needs. You must know how the game is played by now. Certifying bodies convince a business why it needs certification and why they, as the certifying organization, are worth paying .

[Click the picture to read the rest of this amazing article, okay?]

Categories : Thailand, Travel
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It's official.  Doug is cool.

It’s official. Doug is cool.

“British driver’s licenses may be valid longer; American licenses, more professional looking; international licenses, more practical.  But no other license is going to let your strut around the Kingdom as an insider like a good old fashioned Thai driver’s license.  ”  Doug Knell, Doug’s Republicdotbarshort

Some people like to collect stamps or baseball cards.  I collect driver’s licenses.

I won’t get into the whys and hows of me procuring a number of different licenses. Yet in my possession, all of which have allowed me to drive a car or motorbike in Thailand, are a British license (validity: 10 years), an American license (validity: 4 years), an international driving permit (validity: 10 years), and now, a Thai driver’s license (validity: 1 year for the initial year, then 5 years thereafter).

For my first six years in Thailand, I drove predominantly with the British license. It’s a standard European Union type of license, easy to read, with a validity to straddle the decades. Thai cops and rental outlets didn’t seem to mind me driving around with a foreign license as long as it was in English.

[Click the picture to read the rest of this amazing article, okay?]

Categories : Thailand, Travel
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Apr
24

Seeking Startup Funding In Bangkok

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Dated 20 March 2013. Click here to see a list of complete video content on the Republic.

Categories : Thailand, Video
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Dated 20 March 2013. Click here to see a list of complete video content on the Republic.

Categories : Thailand, Video
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Who The Hell Is Visiting The Republic