On Deck: Samui – The unpolished marine jewel of Thailand

On Deck: Samui – The unpolished marine jewel of Thailand

PHUKET: Samui is an island of coconuts and a microcosm of Thailand’s modern tourism industry, with facilities geared to backpackers at one end of the scale, right up to five-star resorts at the other, and everything in between. From a marine perspective, it is – to some extent – an unpolished jewel. If Samui Island was on Thailand’s east coast, in the Andaman Sea, it would be one of the hottest sailing destinations in Asia; however, its location on the country’s little promoted and oft-overlooked west coast means it has never had its time in the spotlight, unlike big brother Phuket. In some ways, that is a good thing.

Friday, June 2, 2017 | 04:00 PM

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Footloose: Exploring the wonders of Racha Noi

Footloose: Exploring the wonders of Racha Noi

PHUKET: Racha Noi Island is located some 20 kilometers off the southern tip of Phuket. Unlike its big brother Racha Yai, Racha Noi is much smaller, more secluded and less frequented than Racha Yai. Construction is forbidden so it leaves Racha Noi with no hotels or accommodation. The island is covered in dense tropical jungle and is uninhabited by people. Most visitors from Phuket are more likely to visit Racha Yai, just 12 kilometers south of Phuket, being the more popular choice for tourists to Thailand. The island is bigger and better catered to, with shops, luxury resorts and plenty of mooring space for boats inside

Thursday, June 15, 2017 | 05:00 PM

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Profile: Aaron Hooper - Striving for the joy of pure creation

Profile: Aaron Hooper - Striving for the joy of pure creation

PHUKET: Aaron Hooper is an award-winning chef, originally from the US. Having moved to Thailand and worked in the restaurant business for nearly 15 years in Phuket and Bangkok, he has recently refocused his interest toward writing and photography. Aaron was an English major in college, where he also studied photography. Choosing then to take a sabbatical, he travelled around Europe for a few years. “I had my first exposure to cooking professionally while skiing near a town called Mürren in Switzerland. It’s a very small, isolated and idyllic place, unbelievable to live and work in. There were no cars – we travelled on

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 | 03:00 PM

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Hooper Trips Asia: Novice Monks walking morning alms

Hooper Trips Asia: Novice Monks walking morning alms

PHUKET: To visit Bagan in Central Myanmar is to walk through a portal back in time. Life meanders at a much slower cadence here and it's simple beauty can't help but soak into your bones. For over 2,500 years the tradition of Buddhist monks walking morning alms has been rooted here. It's a glimpse into the very fabric of Burmese culture and I wanted to capture an image that would portray this as beautifully as possible. On this balmy summer day in Bagan, I woke before dawn and knew exactly where I would spend my early morning hours waiting for the sun to rise. It was still think dark of night as I made my way to the long

Saturday, June 10, 2017 | 12:40 PM

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Excuse Buster: Health benefits of raw, natural cacao

Excuse Buster: Health benefits of raw, natural cacao

PHUKET: “Basic science has demonstrated quite convincingly that dark chocolate, particularly with a cocoa content of at least 70%, reduces oxidative stress and improves vascular and platelet function,” commented Frank Ruschitzka, professor of cardiology and Director of Heart Failure/Transplantation at the University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland. Who doesn’t love consuming chocolate in one form or another? However, one question I often hear regarding this subject is: “Is chocolate healthy?” In my opinion, it absolutely can be if it’s the right type. I know there are people who say everything is okay in moderation but

Friday, June 9, 2017 | 03:00 PM

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Hooper Trips Asia: Pao Village Girls, Inle Lake, Myanmar

Hooper Trips Asia: Pao Village Girls, Inle Lake, Myanmar

On the banks of the idyllic Inle Lake in Central Myanmar, the shores teem with life. Tribes from all over the region come down from surrounding villages to trade goods, fish, play, and of course gossip. These girls were deep into their stories as I happened upon them laughing on the Lake’s shore. The fantastic, rich colors of their headdress denote that they were members of the Pa’O tribe. The Pa’O follow the Buddhist religion and populate the difficult mountainous areas surrounding Inle Lake. They are a proud people and that is reflected in the wonderful, bold colors they wear on their heads. This girl's smile was ind

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 | 10:18 AM

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