Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The death of Surin beach

Surin beach in Phuket was arguably Phuket's most attractive beach. Visited by people in the know from Patong as well as local expats and even the rich and famous such as Kate Moss and Rihanna, the beach was famous for its beach clubs, the forerunner of which was Catch, and restaurants ranging from the local food of the Twin Brothers restaurant to the more upmarket Taste.

In truth, things had got a little out of hand with encroachment of the beach by nearly all establishments. It had got to the point where it was almost impossible to be able to walk unimpeded along the beach. Some businesses had more or less completely taken over the beach in front of them even to the extent that one beach club had declared the beach in front of them as a private beach.

Along came the coup and it was declared that everything on the beach side of the road along the beach had to be removed but the fate of the bars and restaurants on the other side of the road was unclear a first. This appeared to be a sensible move. However after protracted deliberations the powers that be decided that all the restaurants were illegal and eventually everything was removed.

Surin beach has died, of that there is no question. Maybe in the future, as the Thais promise, it will be resurrected but certainly not as a world class beach destination for the mainly young, rich and famous.

See for yourself.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Pak Meng, Trang Province

Pak Meng is a small coastal area in Trang province. It is not so much a town or even a village although there is a small fishing community at it's northern end near the pier. It is off the well beaten tourist track but is popular at weekends with the Thais who come aboard coaches from Trang and other towns in the area. There is a long beach with many restaurants offering cheap Thai food. There are quite a few attractions in the area ranging from other beaches such as Rajamangala and Hua Hin beach (not the famous Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan province), national parks such as Hat Chao Mai and boat trips to the islands lying just off shore such as Koh Muk, Koh Ngai and Koh Kradan. There are plenty of small resorts (our favourite is Sabai Sabai run by an Italian and his Thai wife) and even a five star hotel in the Anantara Si Kao resort.

Sunset Pak Meng beach

Driftwood on Hua Hin beach

Koh Kradan

Koh Mook

Hua Hin beach at dawn

Fisherman at Rajamangala beach at sunset

Chang Lang Beach

Fishing boats, Pak Meng

Pak Meng sunset

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Nakhon si Thammarat is in the south of Thailand and is one of the lesser known provinces, at least by tourists. The province is on the east coast or gulf side of Thailand. Many of the fishermen are muslim and they fish every night weather permitting, bringing their boats high up on the beach during the day. Most of the fish are sold at markets situated where the fishermen land their catch. Of course not only fish are sold as there are vendors with fresh fruit and vegetables also. It is also not uncommon to see local restaurant owners perusing the fish looking for something to feed to their diners.

Fishing boat

Muslim woman

Women helping to bring the boat ashore
Muslim women 
Hauling the boat ashore

Muslim fisherman

Guiding the boat ashore

Friday, January 15, 2016

Pak Khlong Talat (Flower & Vegetable Market)

Pak Khlong Talat

Pak Khlong Talat (Thai: ปากคลองตลาด, "market at the mouth of the canal") is a market in Bangkok, Thailand that sells flowers, fruits, and vegetables. It is the primary flower market in Bangkok and has been cited as a "place of symbolic values" to Bangkok residents. It is on Chak Phet Road and adjacent side-streets, close to Memorial Bridge Though the market is open 24 hours, it is busiest before dawn, when boats and trucks arrive with flowers from nearby provinces.

The market has a long history. During the reign of Rama I (1782–1809), a floating market took place on the site of the modern Pak Khlong Talat. By the reign of Rama V (1868–1910), it had changed to a fish market. The fish market was eventually converted to today's produce market, which has existed for over 60 years. The market's focus has shifted from produce to flowers as the Talat Thai market on the outskirts of Bangkok has become a more attractive site for produce wholesaling.

Most of the flowers sold in the market are delivered from Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon, and Samut Songkhram Provinces, though flowers that require cooler growing temperatures may come from as far away as Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai. The market's produce selection is extensive and is delivered from across the country.

The market accommodates both consumers and wholesalers and has a wide variety of customers. Many local florists visit the market in the early morning hours to stock their shops for the coming day.The urban poor who make a living stringing and selling phuang malai (flower garlands) buy sacks of jasmine and marigold blossoms. Though the market is documented in guidebooks, it receives few foreign tourists.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Surin Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Since the army took over power in Thailand, Phuket's beaches have been "cleaned up". That is to say that the previous forest of parasols and beach chairs are no longer allowed on the beach. All illegal buildings such as, in Surin's case, beach clubs have been removed. While some people may rue the loss of  the beach chairs, the result is a far more beautiful beach.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Phaya Thai Royal Palace, Bangkok

Phaya Thai Palace

Thewarat Sapharom Hall

Statue of King Rama V

The Phaya Thai Palace was built in 1909 by King Rama V who also influenced the design. At the time the area was open countryside and the palace used to used as the venue for the Royal Ploughing Ceremony. The King died not long after taking up residence. During the reign of King Rama VI, Queen Saovabha, then Queen Mother lived there until her death in 1920. King Rama VI also lived there until he moved to the Grand Place in the later years of his reign.

 The Palace is located on the banks of the Samsen Canal on Rajavithee Road in the Ratchathewi district of Bangkok. It is a short walk from the Victory Monument.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Unseen Thailand - Koh Lao Liang, Trang Province

Koh Lao Liang is a small island of the coast of Trang which is uninhabited and only seldom visited by tourists mainly because it takes a couple of hours by long tail boat to get there. The beach is everything one has come to expect about the best of Thailand beaches - white sand and beautiful turquoise water. It is true paradise that we had to ourselves (plus boatman) for a day.