A Beginner’s Travel Guide To Thailand

Thinking of heading to Thailand this year? If not, you should perhaps consider it. It is such a diverse and unique country, you will find something that intrigues and grabs you there no matter what your personal tastes and interests are. In addition, it is quite a cheap destination, which probably explain why so many students and backpackers head there. As the Thai culture is quite different to our Western ways, travellers might get nervous before they head out to the country. This beginner’s guide to Thailand should help you find your feet once you are out there.
Buddhist Monks Procession Bangkok Thailand

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Make A Plan

As with travelling to any country, it is a good idea to make a plan before you leave home. That way, you can figure out what you want to see and do before you arrive. If you have not decided this once you land, you might feel a bit overwhelmed by all your options and could end up missing out on some important parts. Before you get there, think whether you want to backpack around, enjoy a beach holiday or volunteer in Thailand. A concrete plan can also help you reduce your nerves, as you will have definite places to go to and things to do once you arrive.
Think About The Climate

You do not want your whole trip to Thailand ruined by the weather! As the climate is tropical, you will have to expect that some months are going to be sweltering. If you know that you cannot cope with excessive heat, do not plan a trip between March and May, as these are the hottest months. You should also bear in mind that the rainy season is from May until October. Even though there are often a lot of rain showers during this season, this is still the most popular season for travellers and tourists. Just remember to pack your umbrella!

Thailand is a generally safe country. However, it has gained a bit of a reputation for being unsafe because of a few isolated cases that have hit the headlines. You will be happy to hear that such troublesome incidents are, as a matter of fact, few and far between. If you use common sense, you should not have much to worry about. Make sure you do not take any valuables out with you when you are sightseeing. Especially if you go to a tourist hotspot, as these are were many pickpockets operate. You might also consider not drinking too much on nights out. Alcohol is very cheap in Thailand, which can be tempting. It is always a good idea to be in your right senses and able to avoid decisions that could put your health and safety at risk.
Thailand is a fantastic destination for this year’s travel adventures. Hopefully this guide will help you enjoy your entire time there!
Disclosure: This post has been contributed.

Happy New Year!

For my first post of 2017, I would like to convey to all my readers the usual good wishes for a healthy, happy and successful new year. More specifically, I hope that the next twelve months will bring you defining moments to take you closer to your dreams, whatever they may be.

I decided against writing a post about my goals this time. Mainly, I want to build on the ones I have set my heart onto in recent years and our stay in the South of France a the end of December gave me the opportunity to reflect on different, untried angles to achieve them. I also realised that a change of attitude was in order. I may later on share with you on that chain of thoughts!

For now, let’s go back in time… 2016 was a funny year, one when I often felt held back, and this applied to my blog too. Having gone to Italy last July, it took me until November to finally tell you about it. Today, I am indeed taking you to France but it will be all summery and bright. As always, the whole gallery is available on Of Lens And Pen, should you need a higher dose of sun and colours – with a hint of black and white!

I would love to hear about what you got up to during the festive season and your objectives for 2017. Do tell me!


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Back To My Roots

I had not been back for nine years. My Grandmother’s native village in Piedmont. A small place built halfway up a mountain, with narrow, cobbled streets and stone houses. A short drive from beautiful Lago Maggiore and its Borromean Islands.

I spent a lovely “generation” holiday week there in the summer with my Mum, Auntie, sister and my two daughters. Cute Doggy was the only male representative! 😉 We went for walks around the village, to the nearby forest and to the “summer” hamlet, an hour’s hike up the mountain. We caught a boat to cross the lake and visited a market on the other side. As other family members were present at the same time, we had lovely meals together. Simple moments but lasting memories.

On a walk alone with the dog, I realised how much I had missed Italy. Or should I say my roots? I have always felt more Italian than Swiss. That family spirit, the love of people and spending time together with relatives and friends, often around the dinner table. I came back feeling re-energised.

I have to go back. Soon.
Piedmont - Italy - Church
Piedmont - Italy - Nautre
Piedmont - Italy -  Valley with river
Piedmont - Italy - Roman stone bridge
Piedmont - Italy - Religious painting
Piedmont - Italy - Oratory
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Frankfurt Book Fair 2016

At the end of October I attended the Frankfurt Book Fair for the fourth time and spent a wonderful two days there. Unfortunately, I had very little time to plan my visit beforehand but simply wandering around the various exhibition halls is always a pleasure. Thousands and thousands of books beautifully arranged on shelves and tables, inviting the passerby to enter their own magical universe. I especially love the owl shelf from Ullstein Verlag, so pretty! It is like coming across an old friend every year. So many different countries and cultures are represented, huge publishing houses and niche ones, all bound by the same passion. Bestsellers are neighbours to cookery books, graceful art publications in one alley and mangas in the next, there is something catching the visitor’s attention at every corner. Books are only on sale on Sunday, the last day of the fair. As I always go there during the week I sadly come home empty handed… Well, not quite. I collect reading samples for Second Daughter, brochures, pretty postcards and other bits and pieces. Once home I can look at new releases and decide what to buy next.

This year I did have an opportunity to buy books, though. The Guest of Honour was the Netherlands and Flanders, and in their Pavilion I found a selection by authors from the two countries. I picked two, in German of course, as I cannot speak a word of Dutch. I am looking forward to reading them and discovering these authors new to me.

There is a plethora of talks to choose from and I spent for example a couple of hours in front of the Amazon stage. First were two German self-published writers describing what they do to promote their work and answering the questions of aspiring authors. And second, a presentation from Amazon Publishing Germany, given by Janine Pelosi, the company’s Marketing Manager. I found this especially interesting, but it will be the subject of another post on Of Lens And Pen, my writing and photography website.

The two days flew by and I came home with aching feet but a happy heart. Bring on the 2017 edition!
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Ende Oktober besuchte ich zum vierten Mal die Frankfurter Buchmesse und verbrachte dort zwei wunderschöne Tage. Leider hatte ich dieses Jahr vorher sehr wenig Zeit, meinen Besuch zu planen, aber einfach durch die verschiedenen Messehallen zu wandern macht schon Spaß. Tausende und tausende Bücher, schön auf Regalen und Tischen arrangiert, die den Passanten einladen, in ihr eigenes, magisches Universum einzutreten. Ich liebe besonders das Eule-Regal vom Ullstein Verlag, sehr süß! Es ist wie jedes Jahr einen alten Freund zu treffen. Zahlreiche verschiedene Länder und Kulturen sind vertreten, riesige und Nischen-Verlage, alle durch die gleiche Leidenschaft verbunden. Bestseller sind Nachbarn von Kochbüchern, anmutige Kunstpublikationen in einem Gang und Mangas im nächsten… An jeder Ecke gibt es etwas, das den Besucher begeistert. Die Bücher können nur am Sonntag, dem letzten Tag der Messe, verkaufen werden. Da ich immer in der Woche hingehe, komme ich leider mit leeren Händen nach Hause… Aber nicht ganz. Ich sammele Leseproben für meine Tochter, Broschüren, hübsche Postkarten und Krimskrams. Daheim kann ich dann die neuen Veröffentlichungen anschauen und meine nächsten Käufe planen.

Dieses Jahr hatte ich allerdings die Gelegenheit, Bücher zu kaufen. Der Ehrengast waren Flandern und die Niederlande gemeinsam und in diesem Pavillon fand ich eine Auswahl von Autoren dieser beiden Länder. Ich habe mich für zwei entschieden, natürlich auf Deutsch, da ich kein Wort niederländisch sprechen kann. Ich freue mich schon, die beiden Bücher zu lesen und diese mir neuen Autoren zu entdecken.

Selbstverständlich gibt es auch eine Menge Vorträge. Zum Beispiel habe ich ein paar Stunden vor der Amazon Bühne verbracht. Erst kamen zwei selbst veröffentlichte Deutsche Autoren; sie beschrieben, was sie tun, um ihre Bücher zu bewerben und beantworteten die Fragen von aufstrebenden Autoren. Dann folgte eine Präsentation von Amazon Publishing Deutschland von Janine Pelosi, die Marketing Managerin der Firma. Diese fand ich besonders interessant, aber das wird das Thema eines separaten Posts auf Of Lens And Pen sein, meiner Website über das Schreiben und die Fotografie.

Die zwei Tage vergingen sehr schnell und ich kam mit schmerzenden Füßen aber einem fröhlichem Herzen nach Hause. Bis 2017!
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
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