Gardening Tips: Tropical Plants That Don’t Need Full Sun

red leaf flowering tropical plant of thailand

Believe it or not, many of the beautiful plants and flowers in the tropical environment of Phuket absolutely love a little bit of shade – really flourishing when they aren’t exposed to direct sunlight or the entirety of the day, but instead really coming into their own with a bit of overhead cover and protection.


Most every major garden center in Phuket is going to have a whole host of plants that will be close set with one another, hiding under the cover of a bit of shade. Usually this shade is provided by a green mesh material that still allows the nourishing rays of the sun to touch the plants, just breaking up the directness of the sunlight enough to provide a bit of cover and protection so that these plants can explode in growth and productivity.


The majority of these plants are herbaceous, grown specifically to show off the lush, rich, and very foliage that they are capable of producing. Unfortunately – for one reason or another – a lot of us homeowners love to move these plants indoors, locking them up inside our centrally heated and air-conditioned properties and destroying their chance to thrive along the way.


In the tropical region of Phuket, however, these plants have the ability to flourish in a way that just isn’t possible indoors. Many of these plants naturally seek out the cover and protection of the natural canopy one can find throughout the tropical region of Phuket, finding spots of shade and filtered sections of sunlight to bask in the warm glow of the sun without exposing themselves to direct sun rays that would break them down and otherwise wreak havoc on their cellular structure.


green aglaonemas plant outdoorsThe overwhelming majority of these plants – Maidenhair, Bird’s Nest Ferns, Dieffenbachias, and Aglaonemas – exist primarily in the dense rain forest areas of Phuket as their natural habitat. These plants are incredibly capable and adept at utilizing the small amounts of light they would have captured in the wild, surviving and even thriving in the kinds of sun blocked conditions that other plants would have been devastated by.


Mother Nature has helped these plants adapt to their conditions, finding ways to absorb far red light (close on the spectrum to infrared light) through the broad and leafy foliage to provide them with the sustenance that all plants require through the process of photosynthesis.


Most impressive is the fact that unlike vines that climb anywhere between 60 and 100 feet or more to weave their way in a parasitic fashion through the canopy until they get the sunlight that they need, these plants stay down on the ground – usually much lower to the ground than anyone would have expected them to – while spreading out into a wider area to capture as much of the diffused sunlight that breaks through the overhead coverage as possible.


single leaf of tropic snow plantPlants like the Tropic Snow can grow incredibly large and has wide leaves to capture as much sun as they can, with the leaves themselves attaining upwards of a foot and a half wide in length to gobble up the sunlight. These kinds of plants in particular aren’t all that happy to exist in direct sunlight – though they can tolerate a few hours each day without any coverage.


If you’re thinking of adding any of these varieties to your garden, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t subjecting these kinds of plants did too much sunlight (especially if you bring them indoors and situate them near the window), has nothing will kill them faster than overexposure.


At the end of the day, you’ll want to look out for these kinds of shade hungry plants as much as possible. Keep them away from the sun, diffuse direct sunlight that comes in contact with them, provide them with plenty of water on a regular basis, and without too much micro-managing they will flourish in ways you never could have expected!


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Air Travel to and from Thailand is About to Skyrocket

thai airbus landing at airport

Thailand is becoming one of the most popular nations on the continent to visit, not only for tourists that are looking to take in all of the scenery and incredible beaches that the Southeast Asian destination has to offer (not to mention the incredible food and culture), but also for serious business people, investors, and international leaders that are looking to take advantage of all that said Thailand has to offer as well.


Because of this, the aeronautical industry in Thailand has been urging aviation officials to jumpstart necessary reforms in airspace routing and traffic management procedures to help handle a major predicted influx of air travel that’s going to take place over the next 20 years or so.


According to the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand, this nation is going to see upwards of 3 million flights coming into and going out of the country annually over the following 18 years.


This projection is going to push Thailand into the 10th spot as far as the largest global aviation markets are concerned, and while major new initiatives have been making pretty decent inroads into overhauling and upgrading the aviation world in Thailand the current system – as it sits today and is projected to sit five years into the future – is simply not going to be able to handle this major new influx of traffic.


The IATA reports that were released October 2017 corroborates this projection, and the industry association president has been imploring and encouraging the Thai government and the Thai aviation industry to pick up the pace a little bit so that they are able to meet the demands of these new travelers as safely as humanly possible.


As the situation sits right now, about a million flights are coming into and going out of Thailand every single year. And while the aviation industry has done a real bang up job keeping everyone safe and keeping the machine of the aviation industry moving at a decent clip, the truth of the matter is there is still a number of persistent delays, overlapping airspace routing issues, and a number of other significant safety concerns that exist regarding the Thai aviation world.


The same report mentioned above highlights the fact that the UK is able to effortlessly accommodate more than 2 million flights every single year while having dramatically less airspace to manage than timely – and they have a lot fewer issues with airspace problems annually as well. A lot of this has a do with the fact that they have invested so aggressively into their aviation industry, something that Thailand has been a little bit slow to do compared to other nations around the world.


Air passageways are one of the first things that need to be addressed by these new overhauls. Currently, air passageways that are used by both the AEROTHAI and Royal Thai Air Force overlapped with one another – causing a considerable amount of safety concerns as well as cluttered airspace that simply cannot be managed as well is more outlined and delineated airspace could be.


Major initiatives are also underway to overhaul and improve many of the nation’s airports as well. Most of the airports that exist in Thailand have been built or upgraded over the last 30 years or so, but still some of them aren’t taking advantage of state-of-the-art and industry-standard technology the way they could be or the way they should be.


At the end of the day though, the AEROTHAI organization (a state run enterprise and the primary governor of air traffic throughout Thailand) feels that changes and improvements on the ground are only going to have so much of a beneficial impact. Changes have to be made to air corridors and air passageways that continue to exist under regulated, and until these issues are managed, mitigated, and resolve major problems are always going to exist in the skies over Thailand.


Last year (2017) Thailand saw a growth rate of 8% – outpacing the 5% expectations that had been outlined ahead of that year. This year, the aviation industry in Thailand expects a growth rate of between 6% and 7% – but if last year was anything to go off of, it could easily hit 10% or more (and there aren’t a lot of industry insiders around the world that would be surprised at those kinds of figures.


Plans are already underway to find the best way to move forward with new initiatives that can improve the airways above Thailand. Thailand is working closely with the United Kingdom to find ways to open up their air lanes, to streamline their operations, and to improve the overall safety and security of everyone and anyone that is to be traveling in the skies over this nation.

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Thai Tourism Myths To Ignore

Thai tourism myths

Every travel destination is subject to some unfortunate, and often untrue, myths or stereotypes that seem to make their way to would-be tourists.  Depending on what rumors are being passed off as factual information or even warnings about visiting a certain country, it can literally hamper the tourism business of that place.


Thailand is a land full of passion, loyalty, and determination. And among the opulent temples and dramatic skylines are the people. People who are among the friendliest in South East Asia. But popularity can come with a price, so as with all top tourist destinations, Thailand has developed a reputation of its own.  Great in certain spheres, but also troublesome in some regards, and depending on who’s wielding these tourism myths.


It would be foolish to say that crime does not exist in Thailand, as this would only lead to a false sense of security. However, there are many myths that circulate the internet, many of which are just plain false, and they shouldn’t keep you from checking out some wonderful Thai tourist destinations including our scenic national parks. This article is going to run through some of the biggest myths to surround tourism in Thailand.


1-         Everyone Is Out To Take Your Money


The truth of the matter is that Thai people tend to earn much less than their western counterparts. Asking for a tip, or a little extra on top of the price is not uncommon in Thailand. However, Thais are not out to empty your bank accounts or rip you off at every turn. Things are done differently among different cultures, and you may simply see their practices as alien or pushy. Go with the flow, and if you feel you are being scammed, there is nothing to stop you from walking away from the situation.


2-         Ladyboys Are All Criminals


An oft-maligned group, there are many ladyboys or Kathoey who just want to be accepted as a part of society. It is a common myth that ladyboys have an easy life in Thailand. In fact, they are not allowed to work in many types of professions and are treated with derision. Unfortunately, this forces many of them onto the street and into the bars where alcohol and miscommunication can go horribly wrong. If you have an aversion to their lifestyle, you certainly don’t need to hang out in places they frequent.  Anytime you are out drinking and partying in a foreign country you need to be vigilant – there are criminals from all walks of life that may look at a tourist as an easy mark so keep your head and don’t think only one societal subgroup is eying you up.


3-         All Tuk-Tuks Are Out to Rip You Off

red tuk tuk with blue roof in thailand

No visit to Thailand will be complete without a ride on a tuk-tuk. Yes, there are some drivers who earn a commission from taking you to a tailors or gem shop, but these are few and far between. The majority of tuk-tuk drivers are looking for short rides, which is where they make their money. In Bangkok, a 2 km Tuk-Tuk ride should cost you around 70 Baht. Any more than this is too much.


4-         Places Don’t Close On Public Holidays


Wherever did the prominence of this myth come from? Yes, they do. In fact, many of the top tourist hotspots will be closed on Songkran, Loykratong, and New Year. It is a common misconception that many taxi drivers will lie and say a place is not open due to public holidays. Chances are that they may well be telling the truth. If you are in doubt, use your smartphone to check the Google business page and check whether it is open or not. Many temples won’t close on public holidays, but they may be busy during Buddhist holidays. If you are not Buddhist and arrive at a temple during a ceremony, try not to get in the way or create a disturbance.


5-         Street Food Will Make You Sick

fresh thai street food on display

If this were true, then nearly the entire population would be constantly ill. Thai street food is the best local cuisine you will ever try. It outshines food that is sold in boutique restaurants and 5-star eateries. Thai street food is generally very safe to eat. The standard you’ll find is that ingredients are prepared in front of your very eyes, freshly handled, and wrapped hygienically. The only thing to be wary of is salad leaves that have been rinsed in cold water, as the water may not be the best quality – but here, food poisoning is still quite rare. There really is nothing to worry about when it comes to street food. Once you try it you will be back time and time again.


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Be Sure to Visit Khao Sok National Park

mountains at Khao Sok National Park

Thailand is one of those amazing destinations that everyone should have on their travel bucket list, shooting to spend just as much time as humanly possible (and as earned vacation time will allow) in this amazing Southeast Asian paradise.


Everything about Thailand screams South Pacific culture, giving you an opportunity to kick back and relax on some of the most incredible beaches found anywhere on the planet but also allowing you to dive deep into amazing historical sites, developed urban areas, and some of the best outdoor adventures you’ll find anywhere on the planet.


Of course, some of the destinations you absolutely MUST visit in Thailand are going to be a little bit off the beaten path – and that’s definitely the case with Khao Sok National Park.

Spanning more than 739 km and with a 165 km² lake flowing through the middle of it, this amazing stretch of untouched rain forest is the largest in all of southern Thailand and many scientists believe it’s more ancient and with a greater amount of animal and plant diversity than the Amazon rain forest (which may be, admittedly, little bit more famous).


To give you a little bit of inspiration to visit the Khao Sok National Park, we put together this quick list of reasons why you’ll want to plan your trip ASAP!


The retro bus ride into the Khao Sok National Park is something you won’t ever forget


All of the travel buses that bring tourists into the Khao Sok National Park area are going to be the retro Mercedes and Volkswagen caravan/school buses that have been converted to tour buses and shuttles – loaded with bench seats which make the ride more than a little bit of an adventure itself.


The right is one you’ll never forget as you wind your way through urban areas and out into the park itself, and by the time you jump off you’ll be ready for more adventure, that’s for sure.


Accommodations in Khao Sok National Park are amazing


Like a lot of the national parks in the United States, the Khao Sok National Park offers plenty of lodging inside the park – and this is some of the best lodging you’ll find anywhere in all of Thailand!


Private bungalows are located throughout the park, giving you a lot of privacy, a lot of space, but also an opportunity to enjoy traditional Thailand architecture in a way that you might not have been able to otherwise. Almost all of these rooms have incredible views (360° views for the most part), and you feel like you are a big part of the rain forest when you book your visit here.


The food served in Khao Sok National Park is as authentic as it gets


All of the food available in the Khao Sok National Park area is 100% sourced locally, prepared by local culinary professionals, and about as traditional as you are going to find in Thailand today.


If you love the food in the places that you visit while you are traveling as much as anything else, you’ll be swept up in the amazing culinary delights prepared by chefs in the Khao Sok National Park restaurants and eateries. All accommodations have kitchens on site, a large variety of Thai dishes to pick and choose from, and you even have the opportunity to order meals ahead of time and have them brought to you throughout the day during your entire visit!


You’ll get to see wild monkeys!


The Khao Sok National Park is home to wild monkeys that you’ll find swinging through your path, following you around all over the park, and playing their own little games in their natural habitat. This is a unique opportunity to watch these monkeys in their own little worlds, and because people have been coming to Khao Sok National Park for so long they’ve pretty much gotten used to people.


It is important that you do not feed the monkeys forget to close to them. They can get a little bit aggressive, and then when they start to work in packs things can get out of hand really quickly. Some of these monkeys may carry rabies as well, so might be a good idea to get a rabies vaccine before you adventure into the Khao Sok National Park just to make sure you don’t have anything to worry about.

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