Stealing from your luggage and what you can do about it.

Theft from your luggage is unfortunately a thing that can happen. Just like in daily life there are criminals that want to steal what belongs to you. This can surely happen by fellow travelers but also by people who work as luggage handlers in airports, buses or ferry boats. Thailand has seen both arrests of foreign travelers being caught for stealing as well as local employees who work as a luggage handler.

Coconuts Bangkok writes often about this problem. Its like fighting rats; no matter how much you catch of them they will come back.
Phuket airport employee caught stealing Adidas shoes from luggage.
Busted! Baggage handlers at Suvarnabhumi Airport caught stealing from passengers.
Phuket airport staff arrested for stealing from passengers’ luggage.

 

How people steal from your luggage and how to ovoid theft.

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Dutch army daypack

The Dutch army daypack aka KL daypack or KLu daypack is a small backpack but equipped with foam-padded shoulder straps like it is a full size backpack. The bag has a main compartment with an internal divider and two side pockets. The weigh is about 1,35 kg and measurements are 45 x 28 x 18cm for the main compartment and 7 x 15 x 25 cm for each of the side pockets. This gives the backpack a total volume of 28 liters. However, on online army shops and second hand trading websites the volume is very often stated as 35 liters. The outside contains two attaching belts for extra equipment like a water bottle or first aid pouch. These items can be attached with alice-clips, but also the old Dutch/British webbing system hooks.  This backpack was made during the 90’s in 3 colours; Woodland (Dutch DPM), Dessert (Dutch CDU) and olive green. The olive green one was only issued to the Dutch Airforce (KLu) and therefore harder to find nowadays. Big advantage of this last one is that the camouflage pattern will not fade out after years of usage. Also the color is more neutral and suitable for urban traveling.

3 x Dutch army backpack
The 3 different camouflage versions of the Dutch army daypack

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List with floating raft house resorts in Khao Sok National Park (Cheow Lan Lake).

There are 15 or 16 different floating house parks on the Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park. They function as remote islands on the fresh waters between the lime stone cliffs. Electricity is usually generated by diesel engines and solar panels. Supplies need to be transported by boat. Wi-Fi and mobile phone network are often not available. Many resorts offer their guests only a mattress on the floor instead of a real bed. So don’t expect too much luxury and relative high prices here. But its all worth it.

Phutawan Raft House 2(www.tripadvisor.com)
Capsule shaped floating houses at Phutawan Rafthouse resort. Source: www.tripadvisor.com

The list with floating bungalows aka raft houses are clockwise from the Ratchaprapa dam. Here is a parking area, a souvenir shop, tourist information point and a pier from where most resorts pick up their guests by long tail boat.

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Map with the different area’s and all the floating raft house resorts from the Cheow Lan Lake in the Khao Sok National Park. Source: www.khaosoklake.com

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Travel coffee makers

If you like to drink a nice fresh cup of coffee you probably also would like to do this when you are travelling. Many hotels will equip the room with a water cooker and some instant coffee. But if you want a more advanced cup of coffee you need to take a look at other devices: Travel Coffee Makers.

This movie about some different portable coffee making devices by Donny Outdoors catches the essence of travel coffee making systems perfect. Make nice coffee wherever you go, relax and enjoy the moment ….. ..  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a huge variety in water boiling and coffee brewing equipment. Al trying to let you enjoy your coffee just like it is at home.  Continue reading

Great travel item: US army patients effects bag

Some military surplus items are perfect for travellers; light weight, not to expensive, still available from unused stock and many different ways to use them. The US army patients effects bag is such an item.

When wounded soldiers were taken to a (field) hospital, staff placed an injured soldier’s personal belongings such as wedding rings, watches, glasses or letters in these bags. Each bag has two drawstrings on top and a gusseted bottom to stand upright when full. Inside the bag is a rubberised pocket to separate items. On the outside of the US GI personal effects bags is a small white square where the soldier’s name would be written. Another version which is not so common is meant for dead soldiers and has a label which much more details to be filled in. Among the details; Killed in action. Measuring 12 inches tall and 15 inches wide, these cloth bags make perfect toiletry bags, laundry bags, or other small item bags for campers, Scouts or travellers.

 

Available at:
www.global.rakuten.com
www.hobbyswoodmilitaria.co.uk
www.colemans.com
www.go-armynavy.com
www.mooremilitaria.com
www.sportsmansguide.com This is the not so often seen bag for deceased military personal instead of the wounded one.

What to pack for Thailand

A recent article in The Daily Telegraph called What to pack for Thailand came up with the following list:

1. A good rucksack
2. Insect repellent
3. Sunblock
4. A money belt
5. Walking shoes
6. Sandals
7. Lightweight shirts and trousers
8. A light scarf (sarong)
9. Lightweight towel
10. Antibacterial wipes
11. Hair conditioner

Our list would be:
1. A good rucksack (daypack)
2. Insect repellent (especially during rain season)
3. Sunblock
4. A money belt
5. Walking shoes
6. Flip flops aka slippers
7. Lightweight shirts and trousers
8. A light scarf (sarong)
9. Lightweight towel (big)
10. Microfibre towel (small) (very useful to protect your neck from sunburn)
11. Small foldable umbrella (especially during rain season)
12. Rain poncho (especially during rain season)
13. MP3 player (if you are a music lover)
14. Blue tooth speaker (if you are a music lover)
15. International driving licence
16. Credit card (as a backup for a debit card failure)
17. Buff multifunctional scarf
18. A piece of rope
19. Duct tape
20. Instant glue (If duct tape fails to do your emergency repair)
21. Travel guide (Lonely Planet, rough guide etc.)
22. 3 way electric plug (2 extra sockets for charging your electronic devices)
23. Camera tripod (better pictures and selfies with self-timer)
24. Rubber wash bowl or bucket (if you want to do an emergency hand wash of your clothes)
25. Ear plugs (when staying in a hostel)
26. Portable luggage scale aka travel scale (If you like to buy tons of souvenirs or cheap clothing)
27. Flight bag; a thin sleeve that you put around your backpack or suitcase that act as a protective waterproof layer to catch dirt. Luggage handling is often under high time pressure and done very rough and disrespectful.

7-Eleven and other shops 
A lot of items like ear plugs, scotch tape, instant glue, shaving foam, small washing powder, toothbrush etc. are also for sale at the 7-Eleven or Mini Mart stores. They are literally located on almost every street corner in Thailand. Flip flops, light weight trousers, light weight T-shirts and a small folding umbrella can also be bought at shops and street vendor stalls on the roadside. Often for much lower prices (100 – 200 bath) then in visitors their home counties. Be aware of a poor quality. When buying flip flops it’s wise to buy instant super glue at the 7-Eleven. Usually they are glued together with water based glue that will dissolve after getting wet again. In case of a plastic disposable rain poncho it is best to look for a big western size made from a slightly thicker plastic back home. The disposable rain poncho’s sold in Thailand are usually from a poor thin quality and too small to cover a tall western person.

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Super power glue (instant glue) from 7-Eleven for all your repairs.

Some other ideas about what to pack and what not can be found in this blog from Thailandredcat.com: Your Backpack for Traveling in Thailand.

French army F1 backpack

The French army F1 backpack was in use till the mid 90s. Nowadays you can still find them in many (online) army surplus shops. Main reason for that is because they are extremely durable and made out of tough heavy duty materials. This backpack is super strong and won’t disappoint you.

f1-backpack-2-modified
The French Army F1 backpack can be extended with a chimney. That’s why the closing straps are extra long. Source: www.global.rakuten.com

The French army F1 backpack is compared to a modern lightweight backpack a bit heavy (2,2 Kg) and a bit uncomfortable. Actually it is more a very luxury duffel bag. For example; it doesn’t have side pockets and it has grip handles on both sides. Besides that you can also wear it on your back.

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The (British army) Rucksack Other Arms vs The Osprey Porter

The Rucksack Other Arms from the British army and the Osprey Porter are both “single” compartment backpacks where you can hide the shoulder straps. This allows you to use it as a hand carrying bag. Both the backpacks are not very high compared to their width.

If you spend most of your time carrying your luggage at your back when hiking or going to the woods and mountains, then a real backpack is most suitable. If your backpack spends most of its time in a luggage compartment of a bus, train, air-plane, mini van, taxi etc. then a single compartment bag with no extra straps or side pockets is more suitable. This setup comes close to a suitcase that you carry on your back.

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Chillax Neighbourhood

This is the neighbourhood in front of the Chillax Resort.

Chillax Resort www.holidaycheck.de
The cosy neighbourhood in front of the Chillax Resort hotel. Source: www.holidaycheck.de

www.chillaxresort.com
www.facebook.com/ChillaxResort

The area is very close to the Khaosan Road but much more quite and relaxed. The area sees almost no traffic because it is tucked away from the big main road. It is almost like a small village inside the big city.

Chillax Resort 03 www.macontour.wordpress.com
While Chillax Resort is pure luxury the rest of the neighbourhood is basic and more authentic. Source: www.macontour.wordpress.com.
chillax-1
The Chillax Neighbourhood is in walking distance of the famous Khaosan Road.

The area is full with small coffee shops, foot massage shops, backpacker hostels and small (street food) restaurants. At the “entrance” of the area you’ll find the more upscale Nouvo City Hotel and a 7-Eleven supermarket for all your necessary supplies. One street food style restaurant that is receiving very positive reactions for their high quality sea food is Jokphochana Restaurant.

Other hotels in this neighbourhood are:
Nouvo City Hotel
The Glory Hostel
Back home backpackers
Cow Hostel
Love hostel and cafe
At Phranakorn Inn
Full Hostel
The Rajata
Samsen Sky Hostel
Samsen 360 Hostel
The glory of Samsen

As you can see from the names of the hotels, this area is on the Samsen Road. More precisely; the southeast side roads (soi) 2, 4, and 6.

Cillax neigbourhood 2
Source: www.nouvocityhotel.com

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Coffee culture in Thailand

Royal Projects
The relatively cool mountains in the north of Thailand (close to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai) are very suitable for coffee and tea production. The royal family launched several projects to support the hill tribes who lived in these mountains. One of the things was the introduction of coffee growing as a replacement for the opium growing. The small coffee farms try to focus on the production of high quality (single estate) coffees rather than big volumes of cheaper blend coffees. Some brands are Doi Tung, Phu kha, Doi Chaang, Nacha Coffee and Akha Ama.

Thai_Royal_Project_Coffee_200g
Royal Project Coffee as sold in Royal Project product shops across Thailand. Source: www.thaiorganiccoffee.com

More info about Thai Royal Projects
Travel review by Mark Wiens: Doi Chaang – How To Visit Thailand’s Coffee Paradise.
Travel report: Coffee Journey: A tour to a remote coffee village in Thailand.

Coffee shops
Coffee shops in Thailand can be found in all sizes and shapes. From simple street vendors to luxury bakeries with a shady garden. One of the biggest Thai coffee shop chains is Black Canyon Coffee. Besides coffee you can also buy food here. When you are exhausted from the heat, look around for a shop with a glass front window and door. This is very often a coffee shop with air conditioning inside ! Sometimes you can also recognize coffee shops by the drying of used coffee powder outside the shop. This is used as a natural skin scrubbing agent. Especially in the smaller streets (sois) this can be seen.

Top 5 Specialty Coffee Shops to Visit in Thailand.
Best little coffee shops in thailand.
The 8 best coffee shops in Bangkok
7 excellent coffee places outside Chang Mai’s old town

Picture source: GRAPH CAFÉ in Chiang Mai.

Iced coffee
Iced coffees in Thailand are usually prepared with condensed milk and a lot of sugar. It is so popular that there is even a page about it on Wikipedia. Pailin “Pai” Chongchitnant from www.hot-thai-kitchen.com shows how you can prepare these coffees by yourself.

Canned and instant coffee from the 7-Eleven supermarket
In every supermarket from 7-Eleven you can buy instant coffee and canned ice coffee. Usually it comes with milk and lots of sugar.

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Canned ice coffee. Source: Tripque

More information:
Coffee culture in Thailand blog by www.gogoflorist.com