My adventures in and around Hua Hin

Hello everyone! Now it’s time for an update about my adventures in and around Hua Hin.

The beautiful Thai countryside minutes away from Cha Am
One of many flats during this ride..
As most of you are probably aware by now I’m quite into biking and try to seize as many opportunities as possible I can to get out and ride some. Last time I told you about the trip up to Cha Am to join in with the Hua Cha hash, well that trip is one for the history books. It was the first time I met this really cool dude Paul from Australia and I had more problems with my bike within those 65 kms than I have ever had accumulated through my life. It started when we were in the middle of nowhere and these stray dogs started chasing us and my chain snapped as I was trying to accelerate to outrun them. The chain got caught under my rear wheel causing it to lock up and I went in to a very uncontrolled powerslide because there’s not a whole lot of friction between the tarmac and metal. Luckily the noise from the chain scared the dogs off. However it left me stranded without a chain. Good thing Paul and I were front riding bastards(FRBs(Hasher language)) because one of the slower guys actually had a chain breaker and we managed to fix the chain enough so that I could ride home at a very cautious pace. Ten minutes later on the paved road my rear wheel decided to go flat. I was already taking the easiest and closest way to home but now that I only had one spare tube it was even more urgent to get home. But this is not where my problems ended, oh no.. After about 20 kms of riding at a super steady pace to save the chain from breaking again I was three kms away from the bike shop and then my front tyre went flat! But that’s life…

During the last weekend of February I went on a Bangkok Hash House Bikers hash in Khao Yoi, near Petchaburi. This is one of the main reasons I brought my bike to Thailand and this event was much looked forward to. So I managed to hitch a ride with one of the guys from Hua Hin bicyclists and we were at the site in very good time. The Saturday’s ride was going to be one of the most challenging tasks I have ever undertaken. Ride-off was at 1 pm in the deserty area around the Sawang golf resort. The temperature at ride-off was a cosy 35 degrees centigrade. By the time we reached the first water stop 1 ½ hours later the temperature was up to a scorching 42 degrees. Add to that the fact that most were riding in black or dark clothing and the total absence of shadow and the temperature alone would be enough to call it quits. After having replenished with coke and water at the first water stop we kept on going and soon my front tyre decided to go flat again. Luckily I had brought a spare tube so not much else to do but to find the nearest tree and change the thing. Fifteen minutes later and I was on my way again. This probably happened some 25 kms into the ride with another 40 kms to go and it wasn’t long until I noticed that my front derailleur was giving up on me, so the rest of the 40 kms I tried to stay on the middle chain ring to save the derailleur. It made it all the way around. With about 15 kms to go I somehow managed to break my middle chain ring in half, a feat rarely heard of which resulted in 15 kms in fourth gear at a painfully slow pace. Later on I was called to stand in the middle of the circle and confess to that it was my chain ring everyone was laughing at, and yet worse was that someone had told them that I was a bike mechanic. A hash is a really cool get together of people biking and drinking beer. For bht 300 (roughly 65 SEK) you get the riding and then a sandwich and hot dog buffet and free beer! Sweet deal! There was another ride on Sunday and luckily the bike shop that comes to all the hashs had a spare chain ring and front derailleur. Thirty minutes and a few litres of sweat later my bike was fit for fight again and off we went. This time I only had a smaller problem with a broken spoke, but otherwise this ride was quite uneventful. The scenery was stunning to say the least, the thai countryside is gorgeous.

Niklas and I chilling out ten meters below the water surface!
Last Thursday Niklas and I went on a trip down south to an island called Koh Tao which translated mean turtle island. The name comes from the shape of the island. The island is mostly known as a scuba diving paradise, but I’d definitely say just paradise, it sports some of the most pristine beaches I’ve seen and the island is hilly with jungle everywhere. So it’ what you think Thailand should be! Niklas had never been scuba diving before, but PADI has got a programme called discover scuba diving which lets people without certificates scuba dive for real to a depth of 12 meters. I got my diving license when I was in Thailand in 2007 and have been diving at Koh Tao before and my memory of it wasn’t the greatest but that was because of the timing of my visit, just after the monsoon ended means that the visibility is quite crap. The monsoon ends in late November so this time the sea had had plenty of time to settle so we had great visibility of up to 20 meters. The diving was great and the underwater life is just spectacular with a vast array of different species, including barracudas, anemone fish (Nemo’s cousin), stingray and squid. Niklas and I had a blast and did all kinds of stuff that one needs to do while in Koh Tao, like have a Snickers shake at the View Point resort, watch the sunset at Sunset view bar and watch the nightly fire shows on the beach. Koh Tao is only an easy five hour busride and then two hours on a boat away and it is so worthwhile going there. Check out the photos.
The sunset on Hat Sai Ree on Koh Tao is pretty spectacular.
Next week I am planning on catching a bus down to Phuket to go see a friend of mine who is holidaying there at the moment, will let you know next time what happens!

Until then, peace out!

// Sebbe


It's been a while!

Hello everyone. I know it’s been a while since the last post, so here goes!

Since the last time I wrote some exciting stuff has been going on here in Hua Hin. We’ll start off with the stuff that concerns school. We started a new course as I mentioned last time called CSR(corporate social responsibility) which has been a very interesting experience. It sure made everyone think once or twice extra about what their everyday choices are and how responsible those choices actually are. Since the last post we’ve had more lectures and also had the time to take a bit of a deeper dive into a case study of our choice. The case study is part of the grading for the course and it is due this Friday. I chose to write about a telecommunications company in Malaysia called DiGi and how they were struggling with their CO2 emissions. I never actually realised that telecommunication companies had such high CO2 emissions, but after doing the case study I realised that there is a major impact and a huge CO2 footprint from such companies.
The remainder of the lectures in CSR were all interesting and necessary to be able to get a grasp of how large an area CSR actually covers. Most people were quite stunned at how much work has to go in to an organisation’s efforts if they are to be successful in implementing CSR into the organisation.

7/11 is supposed to be really good when it comes to logistics, I rest my case.
On Monday we had a presentation for our logistics group work that went really well, we got some good feedback about what a presentation really is about and so forth that we are sure to take with us when doing future presentations. On Monday we have an exam in logistics as well and that will be the end of that course. It’s been quite useful to do the group work because the work that has gone in to the report and the presentation are all stuff that surely will help us get through the exam. So this week people are all about studying for the exam and not a whole lot is really going on, but it’s the same when you’re back in Sweden, a week before the exam people tend to go into isolation.

The most exciting bit about school is the field trip we’re planning in the CSR course. In late march we’re all flying to Cambodia to visit a few of IKEA’s suppliers which will offer a really good opportunity to take the theoretical knowledge from the lectures and compare it to reality. The trip also offers a good chance to see the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh and a good portion of the class will be flying out on the 26th of march and then have a few days before the school work actually starts in the morning of the 29th.

Alright, that is the school update for you.. As you can tell we’ve been quite busy with school, a lote more than when January turned into February. Keep an eye out for the update about my adventures biking around Phetchaburi and scuba diving in Koh Tao!

Until then, peace out!

 // Sebbe


School in Hua Hin

So, I promised you an update about school in Hua Hin and it’s time to deliver on that promise!
The past two weeks have been busier than the first couple of weeks in Thailand for sure. Most of the groups have started on their logistics projects and have gotten a fair bit underway. We’re doing a case study on a fictive company called Steelglove Ltd and if you’ve done an engineering degree in Sweden it’s likely that you’ve done the same case study. It is actually rather tricky, but I like how it challenges us in finding knowledge that we don’t have. My group is probably sort of half way through the process of completing the project and we aim to finish it off this week. I’ll get back to you and update you further on the process of how we’re doing.

The most interesting bit about school over the last few weeks is that we’ve started a new course, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR. It is hard to define CSR in a short and concise way but it is the study and methodology of how companies work to make sure their business is ethical, environmentally and socially sustainable. It deals with human rights, labour practices, environmental issues and so on. This is the course that I have been looking forward to the most since I started the IBE programme, hence I had high expectations on the course. So far we’ve only done two days of CSR, but during those two days I don’t think that it left anyone untouched. A few people have already said that “I want to work with CSR when I graduate.”. The course is headed by a Richard Welford who is the chairman and founder of CSR Asia, one of the biggest CSR consultancy businesses in the Asia Pacific region. Richard was a really good lecturer and super inspiring to listen to.
The CSR course will include a field trip later on in the course which most of us are really looking forward to. It is not yet confirmed where it will go or the exact dates, but preliminary info points to that we will be going to Cambodia to visit a factory in late march. Super exciting stuff!
When it comes to exams we will have the logistics exam on the 1st of March and the presentation for the project on the 2nd of March.
Alright, for now, peace out!
// Sebbe


Life in Hua Hin!

Alright, so a few weeks have passed since the last post, hence it is time for an update!
After the last trip to Bangkok we’ve pretty much stayed in Hua Hin for the majority of the time. There have been a few people who have seized opportunities to travel to other places in Thailand. One group did a very good job of representing the IBE crew at the full moon party at Kho Phang-Na on the 8th of February. I wasn’t part of the pack so unfortunately I can’t provide any further detail. We might go next time though, so keep an eye out in about a month’s time!

Last weekend a few of us went on a little excursion to a beach a bit further south of the main Hua Hin beach called Hat Sai Noi, literal translation is Little Sai beach. Hat = beach, noi = little or small. We had an awesome day just lazing around in the sun going for a few swims and not doing much at all really. The way a day on the beach should be spent according to most people. Personally however I can only spend so many hours before I have to do something. The beach was beautiful and the waves were a lot of fun. The best bit about the Hat Sai Noi experience was the lack of souvenir vendors that walk up and down the beach all day trying to sell whatever they can to the tourists.
On Friday we had a party for Nasser who had his 22nd birthday. Robert and I live at a place that is owned by a woman who lives in Helsingborg, Sweden, during the summer months. She helped us hook everything up and she cooked food for us and got us a cake for Nasser. The party was a huge success and everyone really had a blast. After the party the majority of the class continued on in to Hua Hin and kept partying to the wee hours of the morning.
There are a lot of Swedes in Hua Hin in general, and one of them has started a soccer team called the Hua Hin Vikings. Adam, Dilan,  Jesper, Nasser, Robert, Viktor and I have joined them to get some exercise and to help them win the series. There’s a game tonight in which most of the above mentioned will partake, and hopefully it will be a victory for the HH Vikings! The umpires here in Thailand have their own way of judging the games. One match we played got called off too early because the umpires wanted the thai team to tie the HHVs and another got called off too early because the thai team was getting aggressive and the umpire was afraid that something bad might happen. At least that game we won, by 12-4!

I have also taken up my biking a bit finally. There is a company here in Hua Hin called the Hua Hin bike tours, really original, I know! The owner of the company has also got a facebook page called the Hua Hin bicyclists in which more long term residents of Hua Hin can post to find ride buddies. I’ve been on two rides with them so far and am going again in two hours. Today there is a 40 kms ride followed by an Aussie bbq, yum yum yum! Tomorrow we’re doing a longer ride up to Cha Am to join in with the Hua Cha Hash bikers which will be a lot of fun! My behind will probably be a bit sore afterwards though as that ride is 90 kms return. Phew!

That’s all for now folks, I will write an update about actual school stuff soon too so you’ll be in the know!
For now, peace out!
// Sebbe


One, or rather three nights in Bangkok, and the world is your oyster!

Well, as I wrote in the last post, there’s more to the Bangkok trip than just the meeting with all the different companies that offer internship possibilities. The meeting with all the sponsors was the kick-off to the rest of the night which took the majority of the class to different places around Bangkok. One group went to Khao San Road which is the backpacker capital of Thailand and offers really cheap beer and party. Another group went out with a few of the sponsors and actually ended up club hopping until the wee hours of the morning.

The view from our hotel, The Rembrandt on Sukhumvit Soi 18
The next morning when it was time for the breakfast at the Rembrandt hotel there were more than a couple of people who were really hungover, so a really nice hotel buffet breakfast was much appreciated. After having re-stocked the bodies’ supplies of energy, salts and fluids it was off to do some shopping. A big group of people went to one of the more interesting shopping malls in Bangkok, namely the insanely big and maze like MBK. 7 floors so big you can’t see from one end to the other that are bursting with fake goods and souvenirs of all different types at prices that need serious bargaining. Despite the astronomically high asking prices the final price that you actually pay(if bargained correctly) is usually surprisingly low. I bought a bunch of t-shirts at 150 bht each which is equivalent to roughly 30 SEK or USD 5 for the international readers. A pair of Dickies shorts were also bought at the very reasonable price of 50 SEK(USD 8).
A night in Bangkok just doesn’t feel complete without a beer or three so for night two the brave bunch of the class went out for a couple of beers. A much more chilled night than the first night at a much slower pace, seeing how everyone was quite worn out from the night before. During one of the rides in a taxi we had gone past a street that looked like a really nice bar street with lots of neon lights. The neon lights and proximity to where we were staying made it an obvious choice. Little did I know that I was taking everyone to Soi Cowboy, one of the more infamous red-light districts of Bangkok. We rather soon discovered that we had navigated to somewhere where we did not intend to be and thus settled down at one of the two bars on the end of the street that did not offer any shows. The next place we ended up in was probably the most interesting place of them all as it was something that is extremely foreign to us to have temporary bars on the sidewalk next to the biggest street in town. It was a really cool experience and definitely something to recommend! The night ended early as we had planned a much earlier start the following day.

Hotel breakfasts are the best. They serve up the biggest array of food that one could wish for. Everything from eggs any style and bacon to yoghurt to fresh fruit, you know the feeling. Thanks to an early night in people were up much earlier and really enjoyed the breakfast. The plan for the day was sightseeing in the afternoon with no scheduled activities for the morning. I had taken on the mission of ensuring that everyone had the literature needed for the logistics course and therefore I had to go ahead of the group and catch up with them later. I met up with Roy to try to get a good deal on a boat trip for the sightseeing and we reckoned that we could get a good discount on the trip because we were a large group.

Long-tail boat cruising on the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok
The original asking price was 650 bht/person for a trip lasting an hour on the Chao Praya river and the adjacent canals that would drop us at a pier close to Wat Pho(home of the reclining Buddha) and the Grand palace. We were happy with our bargaining skills when we managed to cut the price to 350 bht/person almost half of what the original asking price was. When Håkan arrive to finish off the deal it rather soon became evident to us that we would  have been seriously ripped off if we would have settled for that price. Apparently the going rate for a long-tail boat is roughly 1000 bht/hour and we would have been paying triple that.

Khao San Road - the backpacker mecca of Bangkok
After discovering that the Grand palace had shut half an hour before we arrived we made our way yet again to Khao San Road for a dinner which everyone attended. As per tradition this was not the last stop for the night and after the next stop on Kh San Rd it was off to an English pub to gather everyone together and after the pub there were two different teams, one that went home to the hotel and one that went on to one of the bigger night clubs, Narz which is short for Narcissus.

The Sunday was totally dedicated to shopping and the main attraction was the Chatuchak weekend market which is one of the crazier shopping experiences that Bangkok offers. Almost 5000 small shops are crammed into one enormous shed-looking building that gets really hot on a sunny day. The market offers close to every single commodity that money can buy at very reasonable prices. If you set out to walk down every isles and just look at every shop it would probably still take you a full two days to do so, so to go through the shops to find what you’re looking for is a tremendous task. If you ever go to Bangkok, you need to visit this market, no visit to Bangkok is complete without seeing JJ market(short for Jatujak(another spelling of Chatuchak)).

And on that bomb shell it’s time to end this post.

So until next time, peace out!

// Sebastian


Bangkok weekend getaway

So, after a few days of settling in Hua Hin it was time for an excursion to the capital of Thailand, Bangkok. This was a trip destined to be both for pleasure and business. Let’s do the business part first, shall we??

One of the key persons behind the project of studying in Thailand is Håkan Alm who has his own business here in Thailand and at the same time works at the School for business and informatics at the University of Borås. He also has a position with the Thai-Swedish chamber of commerce here in Bangkok that enables him to interact with Swedish people working in Thailand as well as Thai companies doing business with Sweden. Every first Thursday of the month there’s a group of people that gets together for a relaxed social gathering at a local pub. For the first meeting of the year Håkan had arranged for all of the students to join in.

The meeting began at six o’clock and continued for a few hours where we had a few beers, some really good food, but most importantly made new contacts with people who are either executives or owns a business in Thailand. The time in Thailand aims at developing us as individuals as we are put into a position where many of us has not been before, far away from home where it is hard to communicate because of language barriers, where your best friends and family are far away. The meeting we had on Thursday aimed at trying to get us students in touch with some of the people who might be able to help us out with internships for those who wish to stay a few extra months and gain some invaluable knowledge and experience. To the best of my knowledge the meeting was a great success and some serious networking took place. I know that a few people have already sorted out where they want to do their internships and some have almost sealed the deal! Companies that were represented at the meeting were Nordea, SEB, Oakwood hotels, Oriflame and ScandAsia, just to mention a few.
Stay tuned for an update regarding the rest of the weekend in Bangkok!

For now, peace out!


Thailand 2012

You know how you look forward to something that you know is going to happen and as it gets closer you get more and more excited? This trip to Thailand is exactly like that. For the students in the International Business Engineering programme it is an integrated part of the course and therefore we have known that we are going to Thailand for nearly a year and a half. There’s been lots of talk about it, lots of speculations and expectations and now the time has finally come and it is still quite unbelievable that we are here.

The original plan was to study in Bangkok, but due to the flooding of Bangkok and northern Thailand we have had to move to Hua Hin instead as the campus in Bangkok was severely affected by water damages. This obviously means that there will be a little more hassle with the practicalities concerning school. So far everything has worked a charm and no problems at all just because everyone is working really hard to make everything work well. The switch to Hua Hin has so far only been for the better as Hua Hin is a beach resort on the Thai gulf coast. And Bangkok is a 2.5 hour bus ride away, so I’m not complaining! The beach is white and lined with palm trees and nice hotels and houses, so it’s a picture-postcard city!

My name is Sebastian Dahlström, I’m 25 years old and I was born and raised in Borås. I have volunteered to do some blogging from our time in Thailand and try to give a representative view of what studying in Thailand is about. My main interests are action sports and photography. I do quite a bit of mountain biking and my biggest passion is backcountry skiing. I also enjoy diving and mountaineering. I feel that Thailand presents ample opportunities to practise all of the above activities, apart from skiing obviously.

The first couple of days in Thailand have been a lot about sorting out practicalities such as buying stuff that we didn’t bring from Sweden namely fans and water boilers and towels and so forth. We’ve also spent quite a bit of time figuring out how life in Thailand actually works with transportation and timing and well, just about everything that we need to know. The first couple of days were less than easy, but that would happen anywhere. You don’t know where you’re going or how to figure it out. After five days in Hua Hin we feel that we have a much better grasp of how things work than we did when we arrived and it’ll only get easier from here!

The past two days have been spent on the beach by the majority of the students that are here from UB. The weather is spectacular with low 30s temperature and clear blue skies all day long with a light breeze. So to spend two full days at the beach laying in the sun, or the shadow depending on skin tone, isn’t too hard to do. The food on the beach is also amazing! You get a proper thai fried rice for around 15 SEK, and that is considered rather expensive!

Tonight ( Sunday January 8th) we’re all meeting up with the teachers downtown for dinner and some information about the upcoming week! I will write more when I know a little bit more about how everything works with school.

So, for now, peace out!

// Sebastian from Hua Hin