Jay Leshark

Jay Leshark has 5 articles published.

Jay Leshark

Having spent most of his life travelling the world teaching sailing, Jay anchored down in Phuket, Thailand, where he now does creative marketing, events and a radio show.

Vodka Lovers Paradise: Phuket

in Tips by
drinking vodka in phuket

“I drink to make other people more interesting.”

— Ernest Hemingway

Vodka is traditionally distilled from fermented grains or potatoes and the word Vodka is derived from the Slavic word voda, meaning, water. It is believed that the word vodka was recorded for the first time in 1405 in Akta Grodzkie, Poland. At the time the word wódka referred to medicines and cosmetic products, which does make some sense as my Nan always used to have a little bit of vodka in the evening and told everyone it was her medicine.

Vodka has been the drink of choice for many of the Baltic countries, or what is known as the Vodka Belt. The general definition tends to include the following states as significant producers and consumers of vodka: Russia, Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland.

phuket villa with full barVODKAS IN PHUKET

There are a variety of different vodkas available in Phuket, Thailand from your classic brands to new flavored bottles, from reasonable priced bottles to bottles that come with their own fireworks and entourage when you order them. Most of the Phuket beach clubs have a selection to choose from depending on your taste and budget.

Stolichnaya Vodka
The origins of the original premium vodka go way back to the beginning of the 20th century in Russia. Also known as Stoli, it’s a vodka made of wheat and rye grain.

Belvedere
Belvedere is a brand of Polish rye vodka. Production began in 1993 at the facility located at Polmos Żyrardów, Poland.

Beluga
Beluga made its first appearance in 2009, and has gained a reputation for exceptionally clean, pure vodka. Its distillery is located in the heart of Siberia.

Grey Goose
The French vodka that took the spirit to new heights of popularity. Made from the same winter wheat that goes into a croissant, this is the vodka everyone wants to be seen with.

Smirnoff
One of the best-known global drinks brands, Smirnoff dominates the vodka market. As well as the classic red (No. 21), blue and black bottles, the brand has added a range of flavored vodkas to its line-up in recent years.

Absolut
One of the best-known vodkas in the world, Absolut is produced near Åhus in southern Sweden.

Keep Reading

New things to do in Phuket

in Recreation by
Phuket paddleboard and kayak

Excited about your trip to Phuket, but don’t know what to do while you’re here?

Having lived in Phuket for 10 years I have experienced a multitude of the amazing activities that you can do while you stay on the pearl of the Andaman. Phuket attracts a host of different types of tourists, tourists from all over the world, all with different budgets and all with different needs and wants from their tropical island experience.

Phuket now has some amazing new and exciting attractions for you to come and try which will enhance your island experience. Here are some great activities that I recommend.

facebook.com/andamannaturephuket/

andaman nature tours bicycle tour phuket

Bike Tours

Biking and triathlons have taken the ball and rode with it over the past few years and become much more mainstream, and this has not been missed by businesses in Phuket and the amount of new biking companies offering a host of different tours has grown year on year. One truly amazing tour which is actually three tours in one is Andaman Nature Tours.

This tour starts on a boat and takes you to one of Phuket sister islands Koh Yao Noi for a biking tour. The terrain is relatively easy and has stunning scenery. You will ride through paddy fields and meet local farmers who are the real organic hipsters, then up into the rubber plantations, and then hop on a traditional Thai Longtail to take you for lunch on a secluded palm-fringed white sandy beach, back on the boat to finish the tour riding along next to the beach. This is my favorite tour 100%.

Wake Boarding and Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand Up Paddle Boarding has been one of the fastest growing watersports in the world and Phuket has its share of SUP tours and adventures. Companies such as Skylas Surf & SUP club offer a range of SUP tours and trips as well as SUP Yoga and hire.

During the surf season May – November, they also offer surf courses and board hire. The west coast, during November to April, is the perfect flat water that you need to enjoy SUP, but if you are looking for more of an adventure then book on a SUP tour to the east coast. You will experience paddling through mangroves and seeing a host of natural wildlife.

Keep Reading

Phuket’s first ethical elephant sanctuary

in Recreation by
Sophie Monk at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

“Bow your head. Show them respect. The elephants created this jungle. Where they made furrows with their tusks the rivers ran. Where they blew their trunks the leaves fell. They made all that belongs: the mountains, the trees, the birds in the trees. But they did not make you.” – Disney’s The Jungle Book movie

Sri Nuan elephant at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Growing up in Essex in the UK, my only experience with the majestic beast that is the elephant was on TV. Although I had travelled half the world by my early thirties it wasn’t until I landed on the tropical shores of Phuket, Thailand that I came face to trunk with these huge, intelligent animals.

In the UK I had been used to cats, dogs, and guinea pigs, and there weren’t any elephants in Antigua, Turkey or Greece, so when I first came up close and personal with the largest land mammal in the world it was rather overwhelming. I will admit that I was a little scared, not sure I had pachydermophobia, (the fear of elephants, adding to my word count with that one), but I was definitely nervous.

I have, of course, done what every tourist has done when coming to Phuket – book an elephant ride. So far in the ten years I have been in Phuket I have gone out twice. Both times has been a good experience, although not amazing, it wasn’t until I visited the new pioneering Phuket Elephant Sanctuary that I finally fell in love with Thailand’s national animal.

PHUKET ELEPHANT SANCTUARY

Located in the lush tropical jungles of Phuket’s east coast, bordering the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary offers the most idyllic retirement for sick, injured and old elephants, all of whom have had exhausting lives, either in the logging trade or working in the many elephant trekking companies around Thailand.

Founded in a partnership with Mr. Montri Todtane, ex-owner of an elephant camp in Phuket, world-renowned elephant rescuer and conservationist Lek Chailert, founder of Save Elephant Foundation, and Louise Rogerson, founder of EARS Asia, the Phuket Elephant sanctuary is a tranquil home for these majestic beasts and a place where they can be elephants again.

Elephant tourism

ELEPHANTS IN TOURISM

After the logging industry declined,

Keep Reading

Thinking of going to the Phuket Vegetarian Festival?

in Tips by
phuket vegetarian festival

During the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival (or jia chai in local Hokkien Chinese dialect) is held. The colourful event celebrates the Chinese community’s belief that abstinence from meat, sex and alcohol and merit making at the many Chinese shrines and temples throughout the seven to ten-day festival, will cleanse the body, mind, and spirit.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival can be, hold on, IS a rather gruesome, crazy and loud experience, but saying all that, it is one of the most interesting, colourful, amazing and yes gruesome and loudest festivals I have ever seen.

not recommended for the faint-hearted

If the festival is on your bucket list, the finale in Phuket town is the part you cannot miss, but make sure you take earplugs and a mask, oh yes and perhaps a few drinks.

A little history lesson

It is believed that in 1825 when Phuket was the tin mining capital of Asia, a wandering Chinese opera group, who were performing on the island to entertaining the tin miners of whom a large percentage where Chinese, fell ill with malaria. The opera group decided to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and also pray to the Nine Emperor Gods, which they believed would purify their mind and body.

As with many stories, this one has a happy ending, and the opera group made a complete recovery, which lead to everyone celebrating the fact they had survived what was and still is a fatal illness, and a festival was held to honor the gods.

My first experience, and it was an experience

Phuket Vegetarian Festival, October 2007. I had never encountered anything like this before and, although I had done some research and knew a little bit of what to expect, I was so wrong. On the first day, the whole island seemed to be waiting for the sun to go down so that the ceremonies could start, the anticipation was like a haze over Phuket. Everyone dressed in white, the official colour for everyone to wear. I knew that each night there would be these ceremonies at all the Chinese temples around Phuket, and the ceremonies included fire walking and climbing sword ladders. I also knew that some people would become mediums for the gods, and these men and women would pierce their cheeks with metal spikes,

Keep Reading

Yachting on Phuket – Best charters for island-hopping

in Recreation by
Bristol Charter Infinity One speedboat

“Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience.”

In 2000 Danny Boyle’s “The Beach” was released on the big screen and it was the first time I had ever seen the beauty of Thailand. The crystal-clear water, white sandy beaches with palm trees, the hedonistic lifestyle – it was where I wanted to be. In 2007 the dream came true. I moved to Phuket.

At first, it seemed like the perfect island, having an array of beautiful beaches and an exciting and sometimes crazy nightlife. For the first six months, I explored Phuket from east coast to west coast, from north to south and found it to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Yet it wasn’t until I took my first trip out on a traditional Thai Long Tail boat that I realized Phuket is one of the many beautiful islands within Phang Nga Bay.

Phuket is the gateway to over 100 islands, each one easily accessible by boat and offering something different, from perfect dive and snorkeling sites, long white sandy beaches for chilled-out lazing around, and some with shacks that serve fresh tasty local food. It was after my first trip out, that my eyes opened up to the place I now call home, and how beautiful it is. That’s when island-hopping around Phang Nga Bay became my passion.

Each of the islands within Phang Nga Bay has its own uniqueness. There are the distinctive features of limestone formations that rise out of the emerald waters, the best example being Koh Ta-Pu (Nail Island) known to you and me as James Bond Island. One of the most famous islands in Phang Nga Bay, having been used as the backdrop for the 1974 James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun”, now due to its popularly, it is also one of the busiest islands.

you might have (what my 5-year-old daughter calls) “boat hair” but you will have memories that last a lifetime

I have two young children,

Keep Reading

Go to Top