The Imperial Phukaew Hill Resort

We were in Khao Kho for a one week stay. I’ve visited Khao Kho many times in the past but this time my partner and myself decided to stay at a hotel. Khao Kho markets itself as a Swiss style retreat. Personally I don’t see the similarities and I don’t see why it has to market itself in such a way. The climate is hot and humid on average 30 celsius. Around Sept/Oct time expect over casts and T-Storms at night but that didn’t take away our pleasure in visiting. On the contrary it was the sole reason to come at off-season- we wanted that tropical vacation.

A view of the sitting area inside the deluxe chalet.

A view of the sitting area inside the deluxe chalet.

We stayed at the Imperial Phukaew Hill Resort. The resort consists of many huts scattered across the hill side which look very scenic. Submerged within a landscape of greenery. Our room was a deluxe chalet though I like to consider the chalet as an Inca hut. But I guess the “chalet” is to impress the Westerner. Not that Inca Hut is off putting but I know that Westerners like their creature comforts.

The chalet was in a secluded spot surrounded by vegetation on a hillside overlooking other chalets. Each chalet connected by footpaths and small wooden bridges. Absolutely tranquil and peaceful and the only noise you can hear is the sounds of nature- crickets, geckos, birds etc.

As many hotels this far out in Thailand are secluded, it can be difficult to eat in other restaurants. Because of this we basically had no other option apart from eating at the hotel restaurant. The food is what you would expect, just one page of Continental and American cuisine.

The staff have little to no English but that didn’t stop us communicating in fragmented Thai and “sign” language. Extremely helpful and I can see why this is called the “Land of Smiles”.

The hotel was suited to our needs, we wanted to get away and see a little bit of the area and to relax.
Don’t expect to get all the “mod-coms”. This hotel is dated but that is expected. The room has all the basic requirements from air-con to mini fridge. We were especially pleased not encounter any other Westerners on our journey and to be amongst the locals.


The pool was always quiet.

IMG_0112 copy

Khao Kho Trip

Arrived in Thailand at 12:45 in the afternoon. After a 14 hour flight journey. We booked a taxi service prior to arriving in Thailand called Bangkok Beyond. A woman (forgot her name) waited for us with my name in huge font on a placard at the arrival gate. Luckily she waited, as we began to worry due to the lengthy queue at the customs & security check-out. The journey in the car took approximately 6 hours and we had two 15 minute short breaks at gas stations dotted along the free-way. I highly recommend using Bangkok Beyond if you’re planning on travelling around Thailand. The driver and his colleague are exceptionally hospitable and friendly.

The length of journey from Bangkok Airport to Khao Kho.

The length of journey from Bangkok Airport to Khao Kho.

What’s in Khao Kho? There is a limited amount of attractions in Khao Kho as it is not really aimed at the typical Western tourist. We visited…

  • Chedi Phra Borommasaririkkathat Khao Kho
    Bright white Buddhist temple which is quite average on the inside. Takes under 10 minutes to go round and see all the Buddhist artifacts. The temple is quite small.
  • Pratamnakkhaoko
    Absolutely magnificent views a good spot to photograph the vast forest that engulfs the entire Khao Kho landscape.
  • Khao Kho Memorial
    The Khao Kho memorial is a monument which commemorates the veterans that put themselves on the war line during the attempt of the communist expansion during the 70s and ending in the beginning of the 80s.

Khao Kho Memorial Monument

  • The Military Museum (The History of Itthi Artillery Support Base)
    The battle against the Communist forces in the 3rd Army Area, which covered the border of 3 provinces namely, Phitsanulok, Loei, and Petchabun, took almost a decade from B.E. 2511 (1968). In the fight against the communist party in the area, government forces took heavy losses, both in terms of personnel and equipment. In B.E. 2524 (1981), the Civilian-Police-Military commanded 1617.

    The museum is open air and showcases a variety of vehicles, armoury and weapons used during the war. It costs 10 baht to enter. I’ve visited this museum many times when I was younger and seems to be trapped in time.

  • Wat Pha Sorn Kaew
    This is one of the must see attractions in Khao Kho, it is designed as a retreat for Buddhist monks. The Wat Pha Sorn Kaew temple is colossal in size and fits well within the landscape. The beautiful contrast of the jungle behind turns the scenery into something fantastical.

Travelling around Khao Kho would be slightly difficult without some sort of vehicle preferable a car. I haven’t heard of any available local transportation. We were very lucky to have one of the hotel staff, Pom as a day tour guide.


Without Pom we would be isolated at the resort. Khao Kho would be a good trip for a couple of days this would give you time to relax and see all the attractions.

RavPower Pack for Travelling

The RavPower (Model: RP-PB19) is a battery charger pack I bought from Amazon. It has two USB ports and a USB micro port for charging the charger itself. By draining the battery on the Surface 3 or any device for that matter down to 20%, this is the recommended percentage to prolong the lithium battery. It takes approximately 4 hours for the RavPower to charge the Surface 3 fully. With the RavPower you can charge your phone and tablet simultaneously. However just charging the Surface 3 on its own can use up all the battery power from the RavPower. So I would recommend using the RavPower for emergencies only.

According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) if one must carry spare batteries it is recommended to carry them in your hand luggage. Also only two are permitted between each person.

Spare batteries for portable electronic devices containing lithium ion batteries exceeding a Watt-hour rating of 100 Wh but not exceeding 160 Wh when carried for personal use. 

The RavPower has a Watt Hour of 59.2. So it is safe to place in your hand luggage. Also it has an output of 4.5A which enables it to charge devices faster. The RavPower also has an iSmart feature which automatically determines the most suitable charging current for any connected device. So far I have tested this on my Windows Phone, iPad Air 2, iPhone 6 and Windows Surface 3 and it has worked without any problems. Additional feature on the RavPower is the 4 status LEDs which indicates the remaining power capacity. Also has a built-in flash, could be a substitute for a torchlight in dire times.

All-in-all it was a last minute purchase to help me along my travels. I didn’t really did much research before hand as there is so many of these portable battery packs online and most have almost positive reviews. However the RavPower seems to do the job and is highly recommended for any hi-tech traveller.

Prolonging Battery Life in Windows Surface 3 for Travellers

As we all know, it is compulsory to have your electronics fully charged before flight check-in. Failing to fully charge your devices before flight can result in delays. Our lives are now consumed by electronic gadgets, but what happens when our gadget’s battery slowly decreases in power? Well, we charge it of course! But what happens when we have no access to power points during your journey between flights and airports? Well, that is one dilemma which I will investigate in this post.

These past five years I have flown within Europe, so my flight duration is 2-3 hours long. In this case, I never need to conserve battery power in my electronic gadgets as I’m travelling short distances. However, I have an upcoming vacation that is a 14 hour journey. My Surface 3 can approximately last 5-6 hours with the Power Options at High Performance and Screen Brightness on High. I would be using the Surface 3 only for web browsing, taking notes and reading. Below are some tips I have experimented with that can definitely extend the life of the battery in the Surface 3.

1.) Right-click the battery symbol in the task-bar, right-hand corner on the desktop. Navigate to Power Options > Balanced. This option should turn down the brightness slightly and conserve a bit of battery power.

Locate the battery symbol on the bottom right-hand corner of the desktop.

Locate the battery symbol on the bottom right-hand corner of the desktop.

Click on Power Options.

Click on Power Options.


Choose “Balanced” option. This will enable the system to conserve battery power.

2.) I recommend installing Advanced SystemCare 3. Why? Because it has the ability to disable background services and programs that can eat up your CPU and Ram thus decreasing your battery power. It has an option to Turbo Boost your tablet/laptop. During my flight I will be using economy mode which will extend my Surface 3 battery life.


Choosing “Economy Mode” will increase battery life.

3.) If you are running Windows 10 on Surface 3 then I would advise to use Battery Saver which is located in the Action Center. This can give you an extra hour and a half of battery life.

“Battery saver” is a great feature on Window 10 and should be used alongside “Flight mode”.

4.) I usually read a lot of ebooks on long boring journeys as this doesn’t eat up the battery life. But make sure your brightness is set below 70%.

Decreasing the brightness of your screen will surely give your prolong your Surface battery.

Decreasing the brightness of your screen will surely prolong your Surface battery.

Brightness option can also be located in the Action Center.

Brightness option can also be located in the Action Center.

5.) Watching a film on your device will definitely drain your battery life quickly. When I owned the Kindle Fire I was able to get two hours of watching a film before it shutdown. I’m sure I can watch over 2 hours of film and downloaded TV shows on the Surface but I don’t want to take that chance.

The tips above may seem basic, but they do work. Following the tips can assist in prolonging the battery life in the Surface 3. I can get roughly 8 hours or more of usage. This is just reading and possibly watching one film. However, I will also be carrying an external battery pack. The trouble with this is that you also have to make sure your battery pack is charged throughout the journey of your flight, I will discuss this in an upcoming post.

My Hand Luggage in the 21st Century

Being fortunate enough to have travelled a lot throughout my life I’ve learnt a serious lesson when boarding a flight. This lesson spawns from growing up with a mother who likes to carry everything in their hand-luggage, everything including the kitchen sink. Travelling was always an ordeal as a child not to only carry my own luggage, but also to assist my mother’s 500 hand luggages containing food and other unnecessary items. So I’ve decided to make a list of all things that I consider essentials for any 21st century traveller.

My Travel Luggage

With so many restrictions on what you are allowed to carry on a flight it is of no surprise that one can become frustrated. I’m flying off to Thailand soon, however, I like to be prepared and organized. Being trapped on a plane for the first 2 to 3 hours, then lingering around Doha airport for 40 minutes before boarding a 12 hour flight! So of course I have to be prepared!

I like my gadgets a lot and can’t live without my Windows Surface. So below is a list of what I consider to be the essentials.

  1. Passport
  2. Cash
  3. Bank/Credit Cards
  4. Details of Accommodation and Taxi Hire
  5. Plane Tickets
  6. Digital Camera
  7. Phone
  8. USB Cable
  9. Windows Surface 3
  10. Camera Charger
  11. Phone Charger
  12. Travel Adapter
  13. Earphones
  14. Noise Reduction Earbuds
  15. Pens
  16. Sketchbook/Notepad
  17. Eye Mask

It differs for everyone, but I’m sure if you’re living in the 21st century, these are a MUST in your hand luggage. Make sure that your electronic equipment is fully charged, or you might have to leave it behind. To avoid delays I avoid carrying organic materials such as foods and drinks. My motto for packing hand luggage is – Keep it Simple!