About a month ago, Mustafa and I visited the island of Koh Lanta, Thailand. While we were there we decided to visit the number one attraction on TripAdvisor – The Koh Lanta Animal Welfare.
What we found was an enchanting place where volunteers from around the world came to take care of sick dogs and cats for a few days or a few weeks at a time. We just spent a few hours there and it was hard for us to leave because the animals were all so friendly and lovable and in need of permanent homes.
This lovely shelter is not only a temporary home for lost animals, it is also a sterilization center and the work that the vets and the rest of the staff do there is stupendous.
It really got me to thinking, what about those who have pets and need/want to travel? So far I’ve found a really great service for dogs for those in the UK and the Western European countries called DogBuddy.
Whilst you go traveling and visiting awesome places like the Koh Lanta Animal Welfare, at least you’ll know that your dog or dogs is/are safe and very well cared for.
That being said, I also encourage you to check out the Koh Lanta Animal Welfare’s Facebook page, read up on their amazing history and the touching stories of their beautiful animals:
We have recently received an email from Fozia, a person who is claiming to be this girls mother. Even though we have not been able to confirm her identity, she claims that her daughter was mentally ill and somehow did those things due to depression.
When we asked for compensation for the money her daughter scammed from us, she has replied with a threatening email stating that we will be sued. It doesn’t faze me, I can see why this girl would run away from home and act out against her parents. Besides, what kind of parents would leave such a “vulnerable” and “mentally ill” person all alone in a place like Thailand?
We urge anyone who has been scammed by this girl to come forward and demand compensation from her mother. It is not fair that kind and generous people like us are taken advantage of by rude and uncaring people like Maya and her mother Fazia.
Here is the IP address and email of Fazia, if anyone has any further information about either of them, please forward us a message in writing at the comment section below. Thank you.
Scammers come in all shapes and sizes these days. It’s not the average looking guys that are chilling in their Tuk Tuks that you have to worry about. Have a look at the images/videos below, see if you can see a scammer anywhere!?
What’s that? You don’t see a scammer anywhere? Well be warned! This is what the average pro scammer looks like these days. Cute little things that will make up some story about how they have “lost their friends” and that they don’t “have enough money to stay at a hotel tonight”. She promises you that she’ll pay the next day through Facebook somehow.
Guess what happened when we frequented the same club a couple days later? Hmm… surely she’s not gutsy enough to come back to the same ol’ club to pull of the same scam? Is that what you think? Well you think wrong my friend. This devil in disguise has a good little scam going. We bumped into her again, and guess what? Yes… ah huh… indeed, she was pulling the scam on another couple of young girls, pretending to be lost and drunk. But, she sobered up and disappeared fairly quickly when she saw us.
She’s figured out a pretty smart scheme. You see, Zoe’s in Yellow (a club in Chiang Mai) is frequented by young tourists all the time. The thing is, she knows who the regulars are (since she’s a regular herself) and targets people she sees for the first time in the club (or atleast people who look like it’s their first time). Even if the people she has “borrowed” money from try to harrass her on her facebook page. She knows that most people will either be too drunk/lazy to follow up or they will move on to another city/country before they can collect.
I have to say, I didn’t see it coming. Like WOW! It’s pretty damn smart of her to come up with a scheme like this. I mean, she looks so innocent, don’t you guys think so?
Her name is: Maya Umnia Van Elk (from what I could investigate)
Before you start reading about violence in Pattaya, have a quick look at this video:
As tourists, we travel from all around the world to visit Thailand. Now, there’s an unspoken common courtesy when you visit a new country (especially when it’s your first time). You need to show respect to the culture to whichever country you are visiting, you can’t just behave the same way you do back home. This French guy thinks he’s still in France, attacking / insulting / aggravating the motorbike taxi. From what I have gathered from the video and the blog that posted it, it’s a French guy using violence in Pattaya to solve his problems.
Be a smart tourist!
First of all, the first rule of using any services and/or product in a new place is to negotiate and agree to the cost. Heck, we even find out the cost and pre-pay sometimes (that’s only because we’ve become accustomed to this area). Never ever, use a service that you don’t the cost of. The very first few words that should be coming out of your mouth is “How much?”.
I personally feel like this French guy was in the wrong doing in this video. If you truly feel like someone is trying to scam you, you just walk away. Let them call the police and chase you up. The fact is, no scammer is going to call the police and most likely, they won’t get physical with you unless you get physical with them.
Violence in Pattaya (Thailand), it should not exist!
Thailand and Thai people treat their tourists really well, they don’t want to cause drama as we are such a big part of their economy. Having said that, they will do their best to take advantage of your situation. They do this but you can easily circumvent it. You just need to have some level of intelligence and you will be alright. On the other hand, being a brute is not welcome here. If you are a person that solves problems through violence, I repeat, violence in Pattaya or anywhere in Thailand is unacceptable and you are better off staying in your home country!
Our stay at this hotel was so comfortable that I had to do a mini-post about it.
Located close to the Silom area, i-Sanook Hotel is a visually appealing, modern hotel. The rooms are moderately large by Thai standards and include en suite toilet and showers, a mini fridge, safe, tv with cable channels, desk and chair and a sofa with a table.
The rooms also have large glass windows with black out drapes. Lots of light but only when you want it.
There is a nice pool which isn’t very deep and to be honest we were so busy exploring the alleyways around the hotel we didn’t even go swimming. There’s also a jacuzzi, which we also didn’t go to but we did hear from other guests that it was a great, relaxing experience.
We had one meal at the rooftop restaurant, which was lovely for the experience but because of all the great, cheap street food and small restaurants all around the hotel we didn’t have a second meal there.
The staff were all very nice and it was, overall, one of the best places we stayed at in Bangkok.
On May 23rd, 2016, Mustafa and I began our TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course here in Chiang Mai. Even before we’d started we knew that we’d made the right choice and by the end of the first day we were feeling positive, welcome and absolutely enthused about the next couple of weeks.
Originally, we’d considered doing a CELTA course in Bangkok. However, due to the very strict demands of the application process as well as the stressful nature of the course (or so it was presented to us), we eventually decided to look at other options.
Why would we have wanted to do a CELTA or even a TEFL course, when we had already been teaching for years, you might ask? Well, as much experience as we both have, we both know that our teaching methods can be improved. Furthermore, having a certificate of being a trained ESL teacher is invaluable, especially in South East Asia and even more so in China.
So, there we were at our lovely hotel in Bangkok, scouring the internet for TEFL schools with excellent reputations, comparable course structure and accredited by some sort of educational authority when we hit gold. We’d found the SEE TEFL website. With very little time to lose I gave the director, Mr. John Quinn, a quick phone call to find out some more information. Imagine my surprise when the director not only responded very quickly to my call but was very accommodating and genuinely patient with all my questions. It was a rare and extremely heartening experience to be treated so kindly by the director of a school. With such a warm reception, Mustafa and I made up our minds and within a few days put down our deposit for the very next course start date.
However, our experience is, of course, unique. If you are unsure whether or not you want to fly to Thailand to do either a CELTA or a TEFL course I have prepared a few questions you can ask yourself to help you decide.
Are you a little (or a lot) unsure about the technical, i.e. grammar rules, phonetics and phonology, aspects of the English language?
Are you a person that wants to work in an environment that will teach you how to create a learning environment that is genuine and supportive?
Do you feel like you would need a little more guidance or support in terms of learning, receiving constructive assistance and finding a job after your course is completed?
Now, if your answers to these questions are strong maybes or yeses then doing the SEE (Siam Educational Experience) TEFL course would be your best choice. I say it unashamedly because, after researching many other TEFL courses available, this one stood out in terms of support, clarity and results. Also, if your answers to the above questions are yes then a CELTA may be a bit daunting and time/energy consuming.
As a further bonus, if you decide up to 45 days in advance that you want to do this course SEE offers a $200 USD discount. In Chiang Mai that extra cash can cover up to ten days’ worth of living expenses, on a moderate (travel, food and accommodation) budget.
Is a CELTA worth more than a TEFL you might ask? Not anymore. The TEFL course offered at SEE is, impressively (and very usefully for trainees hoping to work in Thailand with a work permit after the course), backed by a license from the Thai Ministry of Education. Not only that, it is internationally certified by the global leader in conformity and assessment services, the Bureau Veritas, and accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. If that’s not a nice chewy mouthful for future employers, then I don’t know what is!
To wrap things up, I am extremely happy that I chose to do the TEFL course with SEE. It’s more than just an academic course, there are Thai language and culture lessons and the pace of the course suits me and my partner just fine. There are many positive reviews online and I encourage you to do a bit of research so that you can see that my blog is not a one-off.
You can take a look at this exclusive interview with the director of SEE, Mr. John Quinn, wherein he answers many more questions about TEFL, Thailand and the ESL world of work. He gives us deeper insight into some of the course content as well as the kinds of people who have taken this course before (the oldest they’ve had was 70 years old!) and what type of person is really appropriate for the course (non-native English speakers and persons without bachelor’s degrees have been successful at gaining employment after the course!).
Also, if you have decided to make the leap and come to Chiang Mai to do this wonderful course then I encourage you to hit the link below and sign up, now. Remember, if you sign up early you can get as much as $200 discounted off your fee. Good luck and have fun.