I became aware of the variety of noodles on the menu immediately I arrived in Chiang Mai. Traditional Thai noodle dishes use several types of noodle, normally accompanied with optional seasonings and textures. For instance, mild spice and sour (chilli in vinegar), harsh spicy (crushed red chilli in vinegar), fish sauce and sugar. Sukhothai Noodles are comparable in some aspects yet have a distinct style as this article will discuss. You can also enjoy them further afield in Provinces such as Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Lampang.
When visiting Sukhothai you should try these thin rice noodles (Sen Lek) with sliced, roasted and minced pork. The main difference between Thai and Sukhothai noodles is that Sukhothai noodles come with green beans, salted turnip, peanuts and lime juice. They are somewhat sweeter and sourer than typical Thai noodles with the addition of palm sugar, lime, fish sauce and crushed chilli. I found the dish full-flavoured, aromatic and filling, and you can choose two versions, either with or without soup.
Sukhothai Noodle Soup
The soup is made from delightful aromatic pork stock which is vibrantly red from the spices and sweet, barbeque pork. Meanwhile, the Sen Lek noodles become soft but dense from cooking which complements other elements of the dish. Above all the soup is an appetising, subtly sweet bowl bursting with flavours and textures which I highly recommend.
Sukhothai Noodles Dry
This version provides alternative flavours, colours and balance, and many of the ingredients maintain their crunch. Some shops serve the noodles with varying accompaniments, namely, crispy baked pork, pork crackling and fried wonton skins. For instance, green beans bring crunch while freshly toasted peanuts are a tasty accompaniment.
Locations to try Sukhothai Noodles
Ta Puy, Sukhothai New City
Ta Puy is one of many noodle restaurants on the road that connects the old and new cities of Sukhothai. Ta Puy’s primary attraction is their delicious Sukhothai noodles, served with and without soup. We stopped en route to the fabulous Sukhothai Historical Park and I can honestly say the noodles were delightful.
Noklae Sukhothai Noodle, Chiang Mai
I have recently met the owner of Noklae Sukhothai Noodle who is a fellow member of my current F45 gym. After finishing our workout my girlfriend and I frequently visit to enjoy an appetising lunch. The restaurant is popular in Chiang Mai and beyond, inside are photos with film stars who have visited. Above all, the menu options are plentiful including rice dishes like Kaao Ka Moo (braised pork leg). We’ve sampled several dishes, certainly the Sukhothai Noodles, and other members of our gym often dine here.
Khao Perb Yai Krieng – alternative Sukhothai Noodles
Khao Perb Yai Krieng was recommended by my girlfriends mother before we embarked on our trip from Korat to Chiang Mai. After visiting the amazing Sukhothai we ventured 80km north where Khao Perb Yai Krieng is hidden amongst rice fields. Rather than use stoves and pots, they use just steamers covered with cloth to cook everything they serve. We sampled the Khao Perb pork soup, Guadtiao Bae (dry version). and the colourful Mee Pun (rice noodles in homemade rice paper). Certainly these dishes were incredibly delicious and attractive, particularly Mee Pun, and to experience this style of cooking was fascinating.
Living in Thailand has taught me a remarkable amount about the way ingredients can be used to balance flavours. I am continually learning new dishes including diverse, regional variations of certain national favourites. One of these is Phrae style noodles (from Phrae Province) which can be found at Bpan Sen Nam Yoi in Chiang Mai. I’ve noticed they serve Phrae-style Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiaw, a northern noodle soup found in many Khao Soi restaurants. Meanwhile, there are several other Sukhothai Noodle restaurants in Chiang Mai which I have discovered and highly anticipate sampling.
Organising easy access to your investments without unnecessary costs can be challenging. However, the use of fintech has contributed to financial management becoming increasingly effortless and convenient. Wise and Revolut are the main fintech I use to minimise fees and in this article I provide brief reviews of each. Note, I refer to the Standard Revolut account for this article.
Fintech Account Coverage
Wise multi-currency accounts can be opened in 230 countries and generate bank-to-bank payments from one currency to another. Revolut accounts can be opened in 120 countries including the European Economic Area, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and the U.S.A. Wise facilitate 56 currencies to convert and hold whilst Revolut facilitate 31 currencies. There are no account fees for either provider and both are compatible with Google and Apple pay.
Debit Cards and Withdrawals
Wise offer a physical Debit Mastercard (fee free) and you can create up to 3 virtual cards. You’re able to spend in over 200 countries with no hidden costs.
Revolut provide 3 physical cards (Visa/Mastercard, £5 for card delivery) and you can create up to 5 virtual cards. You’re able to spend in over 100 currencies and withdraw in 120+ countries.
With Wise, ATM withdrawals are free up to £200 (or currency equivalent) after which there’s a 1.75% fee.
With Revolut the withdrawal limit is the same as Wise, after which there’s a 2% fee.
Wise commit to an exchange rate (mid-market) for up to 96 hours and their fees are totally transparent, between 0.2-0.5%. Revolut transactions are free (excepting weekends) up to £1000 p/m, after which the fees are 0.5% (also mid-market rate). Compare this to standard banks which commonly charge 1.5-2.5%. Generally, fee amounts for Wise and Revolut will depend on the currency you are sending and receiving.
Speed of Exchange
Wise cross-currency transfers routinely take 1–2 days, though often they are completed faster. Revolut cross-currency transfers within the SEPA region usually take around 24 hours dependent on the receiving bank. Cross-currency payments outside this region can take 3–5 days. Yet with both companies certain methods are slower or faster.
As Wise is a peer-to-peer platform, they enable you to receive money in 10 currencies with local bank details for each. Revolut enable you to receive money in 3 currencies and in another 25 currencies with SWIFT accounts.
With Wise can send money to 80 countries in 27 currencies. They have an effective pricing tool where you can calculate rates and fees before transferring. Revolut supports 29 currencies (bank transfer) and money can be sent to over 100 countries with their Mastercard. However, they charge between £0.30 – £5.00 outside of the SEPA region. In addition, transfers can be made through WhatsApp, SMS and email to people without a Revolut account.
Fintech Savings Features
Wise have ‘Jars’ where you can save spare cash and keep funds separate from your Wise account balances. Revolut have Vaults of which there are three types: Personal, Savings and Group. With Vaults you can round-up transactions depositing the spare change and create regular payments or make single contributions.
Recurring and Regular Payments
Wise has the option to complete batch payments to up to 1000 recipients, especially beneficial for regular payments to freelancers or contractors. Revolut and Wise offer the ability to set-up recurring and scheduled payments, including Direct Debits.
Conclusion – Fintech Assets
Wise has less features than Revolut but their focus is on currency exchange and international transfers, where they perform capably. If you want to invest in cryptocurrency and stocks in addition to making international transfers then Revolut provide these. Generally Wise is cheaper if you require large transfers, especially outside of Europe, as they use local bank account details. Revolut offers fast and international transfers yet their fees are not always visible and they are solely app based.
*Disclaimer – This article includes affiliate links, if you click on these to sign up then we would receive commission. There are no additional costs to you in doing this and often you can save more money better than if you use the service directly.
In May 2021 my girlfriend and I visited her parents while there were increased travel restrictions. As on previous trips to Korat we firstly flew to Don Muang, Bangkok. Our plan was to drive one of the family delivery cars to Chiang Mai, useful given uncertainty over domestic flights. This post recounts the main highlights on the road trip including places we stayed and cultural insights.
Klang Dong, Korat
We stayed with my girlfriends parents for a week, during which took a road trip through Khao Yai National Park. Our encounters included stopping at breathtaking viewpoints, where mountains rise to 1200 metres, trekking to waterfalls and witnessing wildlife. In addition, we frequented several cafes around the Pak Chong District and inside the National Park. I was treated to fantastic home-cooked Thai food and helped to collect various fruits from the family garden to sample.
Road Trip Leg 1 – Korat –Nakhon Sawan
The first part of the road trip involved travelling through the Provinces of Saraburi, Lopburi, Singburi, Chai Nat and Uthai Thani. In Lopburi we again saw monkeys in the city centre and around Phra Prang Sam Yod. Then, as we passed Chai Nat I noticed roadside stalls selling field mouse, the OTOP (and delicacy) for the province. I’ve recently learned about OTOP, a stimulus project with the goal to market unique local products of each Thai sub-district. After driving 4 hours, we arrived at Nakhon Sawan, staying at the Hop Inn, before leaving for a hike the next morning.
Nakhon Sawan Attractions
Phrachulamanee Pagoda at Wat Kiriwong
After we checked in, we drove up to Wat Kiriwong, a central landmark and the highest point of Nakhon Sawan. The temple is located on Dao-wa-dung hill where we parked and admired Buddha images, statues and the ubosot. In addition, Wat Kiriwong comprises the exquisite gold Phrachulamanee Pagoda, built in the 19th century. This is approximately 1.5km from the main part of the temple but well worth experiencing. All tiers of the Pagoda contained shrines and statues, and the top tier offered us spectacular 360-degree views of the city.Also on this level were stunning wall paintings about the life of Buddha and statues of Bronze and Emerald Buddhas.
Khao NorLimestone Mountain
We arrived to Khao Nor, 45km road trip from Nakhon Sawan, at 6.30am and parked in an enclosed area. This was a measure to protect your car from the monkeys that frequent the grounds of the temple location. A man accompanied us to the foot of Khao Nor where steps ascended into the forest. Indeed, he led us right to the top, taking 30-40 minutes and involving several ladders, rocky trails and many steps. The hike was really enjoyable, if quite energy sapping, with exceptional views and photos at the 250-metre summit. We could see far into the horizon, making out Nakhon Sawan city, Huay Kaa Keng National Park and the Burmese border. Huay Kaa Keng, in Uthai Thani province is featured on the BBC program Thailand: Earth’s Tropical Paradise.
Road Trip Leg 2–Nakhon Sawan – Sukhothai
I found the road trip from Nakhon Sawan to Sukhothai particularly fascinating and a contrast from previous parts of the journey. For instance, the roads were noticeably less busy and narrower, including less trucks, than in the Central provinces. Our one stop was at Kamphaeng Phet city to share some Grass Jelly, Kamphaeng Phet provinces own OTOP. Approaching Sukhothai, I discovered there are two Sukhothai cities, the ancient one and the modernised one. On route to the former we passed through modern Sukhothai and stopped for the famous Sukhothai Noodles. We drove to our resort, Scent of Sukhothai before visiting a section of the Sukhothai Historical Park on the first afternoon.
Sukhothai Day 1 – North of the Town Walls
The ancient capital of Thailand was founded in the 13th century AD and encompasses an area of 70sq/km. Meanwhile, there are 193 monuments, 60 inside the town walls, 27 outside to the north, 37 south, 19 east and 50 west. Several of these are of Khmer architecture from the early Sukhothai period, displaying similarities to temples (or prasats) at Angkor Wat (1107-1157). In 1988 the Historical Park was unveiled and in 1991 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Wat Phra Phai Luang (Royal Temples)
We started by visiting Wat Phra Phai Luang comprising 3 Khmer style prangs, north of the Mae Chon moat and ancient wall. Further, Wat Phra Phai Luang consists of several chedis (stupas) with Buddha images sitting inside the pagoda arched altars. Other structures include the mondop, reclining Buddha statue and many bases of small viharns (assembly halls) and bell-shaped chedis.
WAT SRI CHUM
This temple has a vast mondop with a giant seated Buddha image called Phra Achara. The image is 11 metres in width and 15 metres high and fills the total space of the shrine. Further, there are remains of chedis and viharns on the site which was deserted in the late Ayutthaya period.
Thuriang Brick Kilns
The Thuriang kilns are about 2-3 metres in width and 5-6 metres in length, and many visible from the main moat. Further, we were able to examine kiln features such as the updraft and large tunnels close to the moat. I learned that Sangkhalok ceramic ware from the Sukhothai period (13th to 16th centuries) were produced here.
After exploring this group of temples and structures we returned to Scent of Sukhothai right on the edge of the ancient city. We walked to have dinner with the nearby backdrop of monuments glistening as the sunset.
Sukhothai Historical Day 2 – Inside the Town Walls
The subsequent morning we started early to cover as much of the inside of the ancient city as possible. You can hire bicycles or board a golf cart to see the monuments but we decided to walk for the experience. Overall the Historical Park contributes a remarkable amount of history and certainly ranks highly on my list of most incredible trips.
Wat Mahathat (Temple of the Great relic)
Wat Mahathat contains numerous monuments including the main chedi in lotus bud shape which symbolises common Sukhothai architecture. Likewise, there are many chedis in various styles, viharns, prangs, mondops and an ubosot with large Buddha images. Buddha images, notably standing Buddhas, are fairly unique to Sukhothai and were certainly prominent during the Sukhothai period. In my opinion, Wat Mahathat was the most spectacular and historically prominent temple at the Historical Park.
Wat Si Sawai
Wat Si Sawai contains important ancient monuments, namely three Khmer-style cone shaped stupas or prangs. Further, remnants of images of Hindu gods enshrined at the middle stupa indicate that the monuments were associated with Hinduism. The temple was subsequently converted into Buddhist style by adding a viharn to the front. Meanwhile, there are superb mural paintings inside the eastern prang at Wat Si Sawai.
Wat Traphang Ngoen
This smaller temple includes a principal chedi, a viharn, an ubosot, a smaller chedi and an image of a walking Buddha. The principal chedi is similar to the main chedi at Wat Mahathat and the viharn is in front of this. However, only the base and laterite columns that supported the roof of the viharn remain today.Further, the remains of the ubosot stand on a islet surrounded by a small lake. Many temples as well as outstanding panoramas are visible from Wat Traphang Ngoen.
Wat Sa Si
This eye-catching temple is set amidst a pond graced with lotus flowers, surrounded by trees and a larger lake. Significant buildings comprise a Sri Lankan style bell-shaped chedi, a viharn and a ubosot connected by bridge. Additionally, a larger bridge runs from the main pagoda to the area around Wat Chana Songkram and Wat Mahathat. Given its attractive location, Wat Sa Si is the centrepiece for the annual Loi Krathong festival.
Statue of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great (1279-1298)
Our final sight was the King Ramkhamhaeng statue, opened in 1976, the King who popularised and sustained Theravada Buddhism. He was a powerful king who applied the Buddhist teachings, supported the arts and created the Thai alphabet in 1283.
Road Trip Leg 3 –Sukhothai –Lampang
Lampang was our last stop and my first experience of the city having previously passed through by train from Bangkok-Chiang Mai. To reach Lampang we drove through Uttaradit and Phrae, with a lunch stop at a fascinating noodle restaurant in Uttaradit. We stayed one night, at Ma Chic and Cozy (below image), exploring a night market before a brief stroll the next morning. Finally, we completed this fantastic few days by driving from Lampang to Chiang Mai which took around 2 hours. Certainly, the final road trip was beautifully mountainous and at times the highways were steep but spectacular.
Put simply, NordPass is an encrypted Password Manager and Vault developed by the same cybersecurity team as NordVPN. You’re able to conveniently manage, store and autofill your passwords, making account logins easier and faster. Additionally, you can generate really secure passwords with the random password generator. NordPass implement extremely strong security protocols like Master Passwords and Biometric Authentication which you use to access your account. Read on for more intricate analysis on these and my own conclusions as a Premium user.
NordPassoffers a 30-day money back guarantee on the Premium Plan.
Summary of main featuresandbenefits
Streamlined interface that is really easy to use, including offline.
Login and web form autofill (saves your logins and credentials).
In-built password generator.
Infinite password storage.
Automatic syncing and backup across all your devices.
Multi-factor authentication methods(protect your most sensitive data).
*Password strength analysis (pinpoint weak or compromised passwords).
*Share personal info securely (share with trusted recipients and create trusted contacts).
*Remain logged in when changing devices (up to 6 devices).
NordPass have opted for simplicity by just creating just three – Monthly, Annual and Bi-Annual.
2-year planat$1.43 per month + 1 month free or $35.76 for 2 years. Previously $2.49 per month or $59.76 for 2 years.
1-year plan at $2.99 per month or $35.88 every year. Previously $4.99 per month or $59.88 every year.
1 month plan – $4.99 per month (set price) – suits those who want a one month trial with a refund option. Yet as demonstrated you’ll make significant savings (around 50%)if you choose the yearly plans.
Disclaimer: I have included affiliate links with the above discounts on the 1 and 2-year plans (use code cybernews). Supposing you sign up to a Premium plan, I would receive a small commission at no cost to you.
Analysing specific featuresand benefits
General Encryption Process
NordPass is built with XChaCha20 encryption algorithm, a high class method of encrypting and decrypting data. For example, your passwords are encrypted on your device and only then stored in the cloud. As a result, NordPass (even their employees) cannot view, edit or by any means manage users’ passwords. Other sensitive details like login credentials, credit card details and secure notes can be stored in your encrypted vault. These are unlocked by your Master Password, the only one you do need to remember.
The autofill feature removes the need to remember your passwords meaning you’re able to create safer ones. You can bulk import your passwords from a CSV file or add them manually. Likewise, this feature also applies to credit cards, addresses and other items stored in your vault. The next time you login or shop online, your credentials are already at your disposal. Certainly, autofill is a fast, convenient and super safe method of locating and managing your information.
Secure Password Sharing
One of the most useful attributes is being able toshare passwords and other personal details with people you trust.There are two ways you can do this:
1. Select the password/s or details you want to share and simply enter the recipient’s email address.
This feature enables you access to the same password or personal detail without needing to manually enter it into NordPass. Though it’s a Premium feature, free users can access shared information, however, edits they make won’t be visible to others. Read further about the benefits NordPass Premium offers for Sharing Items and Trusted Contacts,
Your face and fingerprints are the most exclusive, secure and convenient passwords ever created. The NordPass App enables use of Touch or Face ID to unlock your account and replace your Master Password. Additionally, NordPass provides2-factor-authentication (2FA), an extra obstacle for a hacker, were they to obtain your Master Password.
Alternatively, you can use a physical Security Key (USB) as your favoured MFA login. Yet the key must fit the FIDO U2F standard to be verified with Webauthn before registering it with NordPass. This helps NordPass verify that you are you and creates an even greater challenge for anyone to hack your account. Another benefit is that the USB key is not attached to your identity and is just a verification method. Consequently, your personal details are stored on remote servers without exposing a digital trail. Ultimately, the USB key is simple to run and additionally, many support biometric authentication.
Verdict–a worthy Password Manager?
Overall, I consider NordPass efficient and inexpensive with various key features accessible on the free version. If you want to use NordPass on several devices simultaneously, the Premium version is definitely advantageous.Further, the NordPass desktop and app versions are smart, well designed and not complicated, providing an enjoyable user experience. Above all, security is highly prioritised, for instance the use of XChaCha20 encryption which is really robust in facing cyberattacks. NordPass is based in Panama where data retention laws are not compulsory. Therefore, NordPass are not required to retain logs or provide them to governments. To conclude, I highly recommend downloading NordPass as your trusty Password Manager.
Existing NordVPN Users
As an existing NordVPN user you can obtain 2 months of NordVPN free when you download NordPass. You don’t need a separate NordPass account, just log in with your NordVPN detailsand create a Master Password.
Thailand experienced a recurrence of COVID-19 in April meaning restrictions returned, most notably a ban on eating in restaurants and cafes. This occurred during the time my girlfriend and I planned to travel to Mae Wang to hopefully encounter Elephants. Several days before we checked that the resort we wanted to stay at were accepting guests, and thankfully they were.Further, we researched certain activities we could undertake in the circumstances. For instance we were able to have Breakfast and Dinner on the premises which was a welcome comfort. Above all, we felt grateful that we could still travel given most of the COVID cases were in Chiang Mai city.
Journeying by Scooter and Experiences with Elephants
Travelling from the city to Chiang Mai Elephant Friends, a distance of 50km, took us 1 hour 15 minutes. The journey to Mae Wang municipality was simple yet subsequently the road becomes steeper and twisty, eventually reaching Doi Inthanon. Nevertheless, this stretch of highway leading to our resort, approximately 15km, offered fabulous mountain scenery.Before checking in we continued past the resort, where the road became steeper still, to a Cafe deep in the forest. While there were restrictions, here we could still sit and have our coffee given the far-flung location. Additionally, there were Elephants meandering around the vicinity, a fabulous sight and we interacted with them by feeding bananas.
Chiang Mai Elephant Friends – Sightings of Elephants
The setting of Chiang Mai Elephant Friends was certainly fantastic and we could already see elephants as we parked. One of the staff ushered us to follow him on our scooter, driving through rough tracks of the main elephant camp. The track continued further into forest as far as the bungalow-style lodging and accommodation facilities. Our room was one of the most elevated, adjacent to the restaurant, with views over the other bungalows. During the afternoon we walked to see the elephants and then the river below, before cooling off in the plunge pool. Our dinner included Pad Thai and Yam Khai Dao, two of many delicious options available. We had our food served to the room which felt more convenient and relaxing. Breakfasts comprised a range of options from Rice Porridge to Eggs and Sausages, Fried Rice and Fresh Fruit.
Brief Excursionsand Meals
On our first morning we drove into Mae Wang to explore the market and buy lunch, Kanom Jeeb and Salapao. En route back, we found a Cafe amongst Mango trees and ordered iced drinks to replenish in the midday heat. I felt that the route reminded me of the Samoeng Loop because of the expansive forest around us. After we finished some work, our dinner comprised of the flavoursome Steamed (Nile) Tilapia Fish with Lime. Likewise, on our third day we scooted to Mae Wang, visited a local temple and enjoyed iced coffees.Our lunch comprised of Sticky Rice with Grilled Pork Skewers andKhao Gan Chin, both firm street-food favourites of mine. After another short walk and a swim our dinner consisted of Pork Panang Curry and Chicken and Rice with Oyster Sauce.
Activitiesnot-related to Elephants
Early on the first morning we ran the track leading out of the resort and along the main road. Subsequently, we explored the river further, paddling across the rocks prior to a downpour which was pleasantly cooling. Originally, we considered hiring a raft but the weather on the day wasn’t favourable with a storm incoming. When the rain again fell before dusk the views of the clouds circling over the mountains were spectacular. Another activity involved my girlfriend filming the ride from the guest lodgings across a wooden-beamed bridge and to the main road. This was particularly thrilling as there were sharp turns and the bridge was of considerable height with water below. Check the video out on the Jeffo Blogs Instagram Highlights (jeffo_blogs90).
Journey back to CM
We slowly made our way back to Chiang Mai as, compared with other recent trips, the distance was short. Our morning Cafe stop was at The Rectangle Coffee x Tower, a scenic spot and interesting building to enjoy Iced Coffee. In addition, you could climb up to the second and third floors to experience the 360 degree mountain views. On the whole the trip was fantastic, highlights include waking up to Elephants (almost) and the general location of the resort. Since returning to Chiang Mai in 2021, I’ve been fortunate to accomplish several provincial trips without too much disruption.