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A professor of mine made an interesting comment in his lecture about Thai banks. He made the observation that Thailand’s banks could have their own parade because each bank has it’s own distinct color. Each bank is easily identified and distinguished from other banks simply by color. A rather astute observation and helpful in situations where you are searching for your bank’s ATM machine.

Here’s the run down in no particular order:

Bangkok Bank – Dark Blue
Siam Commercial Bank – Purple
Kasikorn Bank (formerly Thai Farmer Bank) – Green
Krungthai Bank – Blue
Bank of Ayudhya – Yellow
Tanachart Bank – Orange
Government Savings Bank – Pink
Siam City Bank – Red
Standard Chartered Bank – Blue and Green
TMB Bank – Red and Blue

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Thousands of people in Thailand have taken to the streets of Bangkok to celebrate the King’s 85th birthday.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is the world’s longest reigning monarch, having ascended the throne on 9 June 1946.
Each year the day sees buildings and homes all over the country adorned with flags, portraits of His Majesty and bunting, predominantly in the royal colour of yellow.

Television images showed a sea of supporters of the revered king, many wearing yellow symbolising Monday, the day of his birth, and waving royal and Thai flags.

At least 200,000 people were expected to attend the speech from a balcony at the Anantasamakom Throne Hall in front of the Royal Plaza in the capital’s historic district.

Crowds lined the streets chanting “long live the king!” along the route of the royal motorcade as it made its way from the hospital where the king has lived for three years after suffering a respiratory illness in 2009.

Bhumibol, who has served for 66 years, suffered a minor brain bleed in July, but has since made several official appearances including meeting Barack Obama during the US president’s visit to the country last month.

Thailand’s Queen Sirikit was not among the members of the royal family accompanying the king on Wednesday.

Doctors treating the 80-year-old queen, who was diagnosed with a slight loss of blood flow to the brain after being taken ill in July, said she was too weak to attend the ceremony, according to a statement from the palace on Tuesday.

Any discussion of the royal family is extremely sensitive in politically-turbulent Thailand, where the palace has been silent over the organisation of the eventual succession.

Royal Plaza was the heart of anti-government demonstrations in November that saw clashes between police and protesters in the city.

The rally — attended by members of the influential monarchist “Yellow Shirts” — was the latest street unrest in Thailand’s long-running political crisis pitting Thai royalists against supporters of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra and the current government led by his sister Yingluck.

Phi Phi island – Thailand

23 of July 2012

Phi Phi Natural Resort is located at Phi Phi Islands, one of the most popular destinations in the South of Thailand . It is just 48 kms to the southeast of Phuket and 45 kms to the southwest of Krabi.

At Phi Phi Natural Resort,you can enjoy the private long white sandy beaches, crystal clear water under the blue sky

Follow Thailand’s long leg of land stretching down to Malaysia and you’ll find Phi Phi Island to the west of the “knee” in the Andaman Sea. Technically, Phi Phi is two islands: Ko Phi Phi Don, where Long Beach, or Hat Yao in Thai, is located, and Ko Phi Phi Leh, which is smaller and only accessible by tour or chartered fishing boat. Ko Phi Phi Don is home to several dozen seafood restaurants, and even more reggae bar and coffee shops, but no motorcars. If you are looking for a beach where you can play Gilligan’s Island, this is it.

Getting There
Nearest major international airport: Phuket for Asian and European routes, and Penang, Malaysia, for direct flights from North America. It is common for travelers to fly into Bangkok and combine a stay on Ko Phi Phi with a visit to other destinations in Thailand.

Airport transportation
The only way to Ko Phi Phi is by boat.

From Phuket: Boats leave at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Most boat trips take slightly longer than two hours, although the 8:30 a.m. “Jet Cruise” makes the trip in 50 minutes.

From the Penang airport: Take the #83 yellow bus to the ferry/bus station. From there, the most straightforward route to Ko Phi Phi is to take the frequent bus to Hat Yai, Thailand (5 hours, avoid the train on this route as it takes significantly longer to clear customs), then another bus to Krabi (also 5 hours). From Krabi, you will take a boat to Ko Phi Phi. The last boat departs Krabi at 4 p.m. (others leave at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) so it is difficult making this entire trip in a single day. Krabi has plenty of accommodations around the ferry, however, if you don’t make it.

Timing
Ko Phi Phi at its most pleasant, and at its most crowded, from November through mid-January, when the skies are clear, the water is calm, and the air is at its least humid. During the rainy season, between late May and late September, Ko Phi Phi still sees long patches of sunshine, but the water is slightly wavy (fine for swimming, poor for snorkeling) and the air humidity will make you sweat buckets.

If you plan on staying in an upper-class hotel in Phi Phi during the busy December season book well in advance. Beach huts are always available – we arrived an Christmas Eve without reservations and still managed to find a vacant hut with its own lonely stretch of sand.

Lodging
The most common type of lodging on Ko Phi Phi – and the only option on Long Beach – is a basic bamboo beach hut. Generally speaking, as you move farther from the boat docks, the huts become less expensive and better. Even if you are a well-heeled traveler, do not discount a stay in a hut. They can be more comfortable than their modest exteriors suggest, and you’ll never mistake it with being at home.

Ko Phi Phi also has several mid-range hotels of the brick and mortar variety. We suggest avoiding these hotels on weekends when they tend to be packed with partying Thais.

To the relief of many, Ko Phi Phi has no large all-inclusive resorts. The closest option is the Phi Phi Island Cabana Hotel.

Cuisine
For obvious reasons, the staple food is fish or “plaa” in Thai. We are partial to the shellfish curry, “geng hoi.” When ordering, establish whether they plan to prepare your food “phet.” Any dish can be spicy, but if it is “phet” it will demolish your taste buds.

Travel Tips
Especially if you are traveling with children, be aware that there is relatively little to do during the day at Ko Phi Phi, so bring some good books and plan to relax the days away.

While you are there
Krabi, which is a two-hour boat ride from Ko Phi Phi, and its environs have some nice beaches in their own right, but what is so striking about this region of Thailand is the jagged cliffs and limestone outcroppings.

The Similan Islands, about 80 miles away from Ko Phi Phi, offer some of the world’s most amazing diving. The islands can only be visited with an extended cruise. A few companies on Phi Phi run such tours to the Similans offer 5 day / 4 night cruises with 1 or 2 dives. Tours departing from Phuket are also available.

To fake that you’ve been there
Talk about how you only planned to stay there for a few days and ended up staying a month. Ko Phi Phi is the sort of place that sucks one in; once there it is difficult to leave.

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