Friday, 30 November 2007
The last day of October this year looks good again, dry and warming up today with a current temp at 7am of 27.2C, which makes a big difference compared to yesterday morning!
Yesterday was a bright sunny day all day long a with a max temp of 30C.
Thursday, 29 November 2007
This year's November did honour to the rainy season, almost a bit too much. Early this month we had so much rain, that combined with the rather unusual high amounts of rain that we experienced towards the end of October, that for one day Samui was declared a 'disaster' area in early November.
Luckily enough, that very moment when Samui was declared a disaster area, the rain pretty much stopped and things got slowly back to normal.
Now, towards the end of November, we have very nice weather, since about 10 days we didn't have any rain and the temperature is rising again and we get lots of sun. It seems that the rainy season this year came very early and very fiercefully but that it has moved on by now.
I'm really looking forward to December!
Interesting side effect of the bad weather patch was a very heavily increased amount of visitors to my Samui weather blog. At some days I had over 300 visitors per day, which was nice to see. People from Russia, Taiwan, Hungary, Israel, Australia and Ireland, just to name a few countries visited the site and asked questions.
Thanks for your support and I hope you keep coming back. If you found my blog useful, don't hesitate to make a donation.
It's a straight blue sky this morning with the sun high and dry up there. It's just cold at night and in the mornings, well, at least of you live here. This morning at 7am it was 24C.
Yesterday was a dry and warm day, with a max temp of 30.7C.
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Another blue sky is shaping up with a fairly cold morning, if you live here, of just 22.7C at 7am.
Yesterday was a nice day, max temp of 30.7C and the coming 7 days are predicted with lots of sunshine with possibly some strong wind.
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
The sun is burning through the hazy layer this morning and there's plenty of blue sky with a few scattered clouds. Current temp at 7am is 23.5C.
Yesterday was a nice day, dry and warm with a max temp of 30.5C.
Tomorrow I start another IDC again, the last one of this year. Tomorrow kicks off with the IDCS course and Thursday the actual IDC will start, regular progress and updates can be followed on my dive blog.
Monday, 26 November 2007
This year's Loy Kratong saw such a donation being made by a local women from Plai Laem to Wat Plai Laem.
At Wat Plai Laem I saw all these 'money trees' lined up. The money on the trees are gifts by 'normal' people, like you and me, or my wife. In general people give anywhere from 20 to 100 Baht but also donations of 500 and 1.000,-Baht are no exception. The money is attached to the tree and that's it.
The money that is attached to the money trees is given to the local Temple, to buy bricks, paint, wood, you name it, so a new part of the Temple can be either build or completed.
In this picture, the money trees are all loaded on to cars and driven over to the Big Buddha part of the Temple, where there will be a ceremony, not only the money trees will be handed over to the monks, but.........
..........also the gifts these people are carrying. This local family is donating 100.000,-Baht to the Temple. This is a relatively common happening at various Temples over the island, I assume that a lot of local Samui people make or made good money on land sales and donate part of that money to the local Temple. During my 8 years here, I heard of a few of such happenings, mostly when relatives where involved but so far I never witnessed such an occasion.
The 'anonymous' money trees and the big 'spenders' have arrived at the Big Buddha part of the Temple and the money (100.000,-Baht) is placed in front of the monks. The people who donate the money get to sit with the Puu Yaai Baan (Headman of the village) in font of the Monks during the ceremony in special chairs.
There are lots of people following the 'spenders' and there's music and dancing going on, on the way to the Temple. Once arrived at the Temple, all the money is put in front of the Monks and a ceremony is held, where everybody attending is seated in front of the monks, on the floor.
An interesting Thai tradition. Next time you see a new part of the Temple being build, you can silently wonder who donated part of that money.
Sunday, 25 November 2007
At last, it's November's Full Moon and time for this years Loy Kratong. We celebrated at Wat Plai Laem, which is rather unusual, since all other years it has been celebrated locally at Big Buddha. There always was an entrance fee at big Buddha however and now the Chaweng lake is in place, where no entrance is charged, Chaweng Lake grew overnight in popularity and Big Buddha has now been replaced by an entrance free Wat Plai Laem. Big Buddha and Wat Plai Laem are 'run' by the same monks.
This is the Kratong that my 5 year old daughter made at school, with some help of her teacher.
Traditionally the Kratongs are made of a section of the banana trunk but was recently replaced by foam, which caused damage to the environment. Now most Kratongs are again made of banana trunk or bread. It's the second successive year that they had Kratongs made out of bread at the local temple, like these in the picture, for 50,-Baht each.
We had my daughter's Kratong this year and a bread version for our 2 and a half year old son.
At the lake surrounding Wat Plai Laem are hundreds of fish, mainly cat fish and they are an attraction in itself. They obviously love the bread made Kratong but still tried to eat all other Kratongs, as you can clearly see in this picture where they are chasing our daughters Kratong.
This is our sons bread made Kratong, being chased down by dozens of catfish.
This photo shows some of the many dozens of Kratongs floating at the temple lake.
This year also saw the traditional beauty contest and dancing by local school girls but I missed out on these events this year and went home early.
It's a hazy blue sky right now, with all the ingredients of becoming a very nice sunny day. It was cold though this morning with a temp at 7am of just 22.6C.
It seems that the rainy season is over.
Yesterday was a dry day with mainly overcast and a max temp of 29C.
Saturday, 24 November 2007
There's overcast but it doesn't look like it's going to rain, there's a blue patch or two as well. Temp at 7am is 25.3C. The plants are being watered today in our garden, that's possibly the first time since a month or more!
Yesterday was a nice day with plenty of sunshine and a max temp of 30.5C. There was no rain!
Friday, 23 November 2007
Monique told me about a supposed Mummified Monk in Lamai's Temple and immediately my interest was peeked and I felt the urge to investigate.
Having already visited the Mummified Monks in Wat Kanuram near Lamai and Wat Kiri Wongkaram in Baan Taling Ngam this was too good to be true to find a third one and it was too good to be true, so read on if you made it this far.
The entrance sign to Wat Lamai or are we more into Motocross events?
Here's a picture of the supposed Mummified Monk, he's however sooo well preserved, that it doesn't take long to realise that it's a wax figurine. Nonetheless, a very interesting way of displaying a well honored Monk and in sharp contrast to the very common glass boxes with a more 'simple' statue in it.
Here's 'Lang Poo Thuad Yeb Num Thale Jued' or the 'The Monk who walked on fresh water'. There's not any more information available at the Temple, at least not what I could find.
This is the area where the Monk is displayed, accompanied by more Deities. The carpet in front of the Monk is used for worshippers to sit down on and pray.
On the premises of the Temple are also the Natural Museum of which I already reported (part 1 and 2) and a couple of more areas with more statues of monks, like this 'hole in the wall' alike part of the temple.
All in all a very worthwhile destination if you're doing the almost compulsory 'trip around the island'. Wat Lamai can easily kill an hour during your trip with all has to offer.
This morning sees a strong wind with an overcast but light sky. Unfortunately not too much blue or sun at the moment but it's dry. Current temp at 7am is 26.4C.
Yesterday was a nice, dry and sunny day with a max tempo of 30.8C.
Everything and everybody seems to be getting ready to celebrate Loy Kratong tomorrow, many Temples have parties/fairs at their grounds and TV is showing all kind of Loy Kratong related programs, even the daily soaps have Loy Kratong in them!
The Nation, an English newspaper based in Bangkok, has a very interesting article today about Loy Kratong. The article talks about Loy Kratong's tradition and history and a couple of thoughts about where it's going nowadays.
Thursday, 22 November 2007
After my post of part 1 of the Natural Museum in the Temple in Lamai, I thought it to a good time to post some more pictures about this fascinating place.
There's a big cabinet displaying all kinds of various Thai bank notes through the 'ages'. There are quit a few that I remember, even the 10 Baht notes and also a wide variety of 50 and 500 Baht notes. Interesting to see, in my humble opinion.
These 3 vases are also on display. Chinese I would guess, they're beautiful but unfortunately there's absolutely no information on them whatsoever.
There are a few (push) bicycles on display as well, to my rather big surprise. Than again, some of the things on display will most certainly raise a few eyebrows, rather obscure to say the least but I think that's also part of the charm of the place.
An intricate weighing system, similar to one that my wife's Mum used to have, a long time ago.
This is a very interesting set of items. Have a good look, see anything strange? Did you notice their iron or steel tongues sticking out? These figurines are all used to split the coconuts open, so the coconut flesh can be taken out. This is some real good and original Samui tradition on display. Similar items can sometimes still be seen in use in real life nowadays, although the 'tongues' aren't attached to such beautiful tongue holders. Most of the time it's just a steel rod connected to a piece of wood.
As already mentioned in some posts, Samui used to be Thailand's main coconut provider, until a few years back, tourism took over as the main financial provider for the island.
A funny anecdote about the coconuts is this one;
In the older days, not even too long ago, all the 'good land', being land with lots of coconut trees on it, was given to the favorite sons and/or daughters and the less popular off spring 'got stuck' with the worthless beach land. In the more popular areas like Chaweng, beach land goes nowadays for anywhere between 30 to 50 Million Baht per Rai.
Hope you enjoy these pictures and make sure to visit this Natural Museum in Lamai.
It's mostly clouded but dry with bursts of sunshine and blue patches. Temp at 7am was a whopping 26.1C.
Yesterday didn't start very good, dark and grey but very quickly, around 8.30am the sun broke through and stayed out pretty much all day with nice blue skies all over. Max temp reached 30C.
The upcoming Loy Kratong festival has been moved from Big Buddha to Wat Plai Laem and is toned down a bit since the main monk is in a Bangkok hospital and isn't doing too well. This year will only see a beauty contest, Miss Loy Kratong, but no dancing by the school children.
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
It's grey, wet and cold this morning, it's only 23.4C at 7am. It's not
raining but the air is wet and it has been raining, there's a lot more wind
today as well.
Yesterday didn't start that great, grey and wet but the afternoon was a lot
nicer with lots of sun but still an occasional shower.
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
It's been raining all morning (and all night) but it just slowed down to a drizzle. I think that there's a good chance for sunshine as well today since the clouds aren't grayish but white. It seems there are also some blue patches coming up. Current temp at 7am is 25C.
Yesterday was a very nice and hot day with plenty of sunshine, all day long actually. Around 10pm last night it started to rain and didn't really stop until this morning. Max temp reached 29.8C. I spent all morning and a bit of the afternoon in a swimming pool teaching and got slightly burned!
Monday, 19 November 2007
In all of my 8 years, I never visited here, as a few other places we visited that day, like Wat Kiri Wongkaram and the Natural museum in Lamai. The main reason being that they're quite far away from the North Eastern part of the island where my family and me live. However, all the sites and temples we visited, are well worth to visit again and this also counts for Buddha Chedi Laem Sor.
As this map tells, there's a lot to be seen here. This part is only about the Chedi or Pagoda. There's a temple here as well, beautifully located in the woods/jungle, similar to Wat Suanthamma at the Hin Lad waterfalls in Nathon. I will post about the temple at a later date and there's another Pagoda nearby build on a mountain, which we couldn't visit this time around due to the weather conditions and the road up the mountain not being safe right now.
Here's a picture of the Pagoda. It's re-construction is almost finished, marble plates are still being placed around the floor at his moment. Next year, there will be a 100 year memorial celebration for and at this place, definitely something to look forward to.
The Pagoda is covered in small yellow tiles which makes it look like it's made of gold from a distance. This optical illusion probably works better when it's nice and sunny!
A closer look on the Pagoda and it's two guards also known as 'Yak'.
Not far away from the Pagoda, is a small building which houses a boat. It's possibly just 200 meters away from the Pagoda. The story as far as I could gather so far is that a monk from Surat Thani had to flee Surat Thani during the World War II area and sailed all the way to Samui in this boat and arrived at this spot all alone.
It's finally a picture which makes me happy with the reflection of the window, since it looks like the boat is back into the water, at least half way.
The same building from a bit of distance, with the Monks boat clearly displayed.
All in all this is a very nice place to visit, quiet and relaxed and various things to explore in real close vicinity, the Pagoda, the Temple and another Pagoda up on the hill, something I have to get back for myself.
There's also a 2nd part now to read.
A blue sky with quite a few white clouds in it. It looks nice though and it's dry! Current temp at 7am is 25C.
Yesterday was a lovely, hot day. It has been a while since the quicksilver hit more than 30C but yesterday max temp reached 31.8C.
Sunday, 18 November 2007
Is located next to the local Samui Recompression Chamber in Bang Rak and that is the reason why I visit it sometimes. Since I use the classroom in the Recompression Chamber's complex on a regular base, once in a while we end up at the Picnic Basket for lunch, like last Friday when I conducted an EFR Instructor course at the Chamber's classroom.
The Picnic Basket is heavily frequented by local expats, mainly English ones. It's run by a Scottish expat named Paul.
The place has a bit of a hole in the wall feel to it, the way it is set up, but this does not reflect on the food.
They have an extensive menu, with typical English food like pies and mash'n'bangers but have also Thai food. Although I must admit, it's not my favourite style of food, the food is decent in here, the amount of visitors tell me so. Paul must be doing something right.
My order was a baked potato with Chili con Carne and it was a nice and big potato with plenty of Chili on top.
My main reason to go and visit this temple, form my point of view, literally at the other side of the island, was to see the local mummified monk, of who's existence I recently was informed by Monique, who has her own, lovely photo blog Land of Smiles. Another reason was to meet Monique, which worked out fine since she lives not too far away from the local temple!
First off, when entering Baan Taling Ngam, one encounters this massive, impressive Elephant Gate, build by the head monk in 1979 as an entrance to Taling Ngam. With it's unique and friendly demeanor, it welcomes all who come to this traditional village and those to visit the temple.
The original families of Baan Taling Ngam descend from local islanders, mainland Thai's and Chinese fisherman, as this was the first seaport for merchant traders over 100 years ago.
First named Taling Punk or Damaged Shore after being washed away during a fierce storm in 1900, the name was changed to Baan Taling Ngam or Beautiful Shore in 1942. Taling Ngam offers a breathtaking view over the 5 Islands (Koh See Koh Haa) just off its shore. The sun sets exactly on this place thus offering the most beautiful sunsets on Koh Samui.
That there was a Mummified Monk in this temple was a big surprise for my, since I only knew about the more famous one in Wat Kunaram. I don't think too many people are aware of this one at all and this temple is also a bit more off the beaten track. This is the building he is 'resting' in.
There's a small gate in front, which you're welcome to open and step inside.
The Taling Ngam temple was build around 1900. It was named Wat Kiri Wongkaram meaning "mountainous temple' for it's pristine placement surrounded by valleys and mountains.
The current state of the temple is not that glorious, unfortunately. In stark contrast to many other temples of the island, who prosper with the local Samui inhabitants, this temple looks as old as it is.
This monk's name was Luang-Por Rerm or Khun Thummo and he was born near the temple in 1879. He was 21 years old when ordained but soon made a pilgrimage to Burma where he was initiated into deep mystical Buddhist practices. He returned to Koh Samui and passed away on 9th January, 1966 at the age of 87. After 66 years in the monk hood and a life of purity and meditation his body mummified naturally upon his death without the use of chemical preservation.
Amazingly his hair and nails still grow. Sections of the nails and hair are cut and used as protective charms.
On the right hand side is a statue of the monk and in the back is the place the Mummified Monk is sitting, behind glass.
Another beautiful artifact in the small shrine house of the Mummified Monk is this piece of Thai/Samui Buddhist tradition. You have to spin the wheel and it will come to rest on a number, which corresponds with a number on a big wooden table behind this wheel. Under the corresponding number on the table there are pieces of papers that tell you your fortune.
If you plan on a tour around the island, definitely plan in a visit to this lesser visited temple with an amazing artifact; the Mummified Monk.
A lot of the information in my post was copied from a very helpful A4 sized paper, that's available at no cost inside the temple. A great initiative that cries out loud for follow up's in other temples around Samui, so we, the visitors and/or tourists have a slight clue of what's going on and get a better insight in some of the backgrounds of traditional Samui.
A massive, 100% blue sky is ruling over us this morning with a current temp at 7am of only 22.4C! I guess that will change quickly. The forecast for this coming week looks good as well.
Yesterday was a nice day, fantastic in the morning, with loads of sunshine but clouds came on around noon with a quick shower around lunch time. The sky remained overcast but dry after that. Max temp reached 29.8C
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Since the day started out beautifully with a blue sky, we decided to go on a trip to the Southern part of Koh Samui, the Lamai, Baan Taling Ngaam and Lipa Noi area's.
It was also part of my plan to visit two temples of which I recently found out that they supposedly have mummified monks in them. Since this came as big surprise to me, I had to investigate this. The only mummified monk I'm aware of on Samui, is in Wat Kanuram, about whom I posted already.
At the first temple we visited today, in the middle of Lamai so to speak, a pleasant surprise was sprung on me. The temple houses a Natural Museum, in all it's fantastic, dusty museum glory, filed far away on a second floor, inside the temple grounds, where time just had stood still and plenty of traditional Samui tools and artifacts are collecting dust and waiting to be discovered. I took so many pictures in this museum alone that I can easily cover three or four posts about this place. Today part 1.
The temple in question is located on the ring road and driving from Lamai to Nathon, there will be a very hard left turn in the road, that's where the temple is located, at your right hand.
Once you enter he temple grounds, pretty much straight ahead, is a 'mummified monk' who's not that mummified at all but is still very fascinating, more on him on a different day.
The museum is at your left hand, across a fairly big open space. There are stairs in the left hand corner, after you crossed the open space, that lead up to the museum and here's a picture of the museum signs.
Inside you get the feeling that time stood still. There's a back row of glass cabinets and lots of artifacts are located seemingly randomly in the big room, housing the museum. It was a pleasant surprise for me to find out that there was a museum at all but even more pleasant was to find that it is one of these absolute charming places where you just wander around and it just tastes like times long gone by. No explanations are given so it's a good thing my wife knows and/or recognises plenty of the displayed items and what they were used for!
It was really nice to find a very small corner of the floor being dedicated to the old tradition of fishing, something that on Koh Samui comes natural to many on the island. A fishing net and various fish traps are being displayed.
Some of the cabinets have just the most wonderful and seemingly completely random items displayed, in cabinets, like this one here. Some teak wood figurines next to an old 6-tees vinyl 'pick up' player which on it's turn sits next to an old gramophone player with a big horn on it! Makes no sense at all but they look just fabulous.khanom chin, a kind of Thai spaghetti.
Today was a very nice day, we saw lots of interesting places, met some nice people and found some true gems on Koh Samui, well worthwhile visiting, amongst others this Natural Museum in Lamai and there's more to come on this place, in part 2!
It's beautiful this morning with an almost perfect blue sky. Temp at 7am is 23.5C.
Yesterday was a mixed bag indeed. Sunshine and rain (around lunchtime) followed by more sunshine were the order of the day and there was some more wind. Last night the moon and some stars were visible though.
Friday, 16 November 2007
It's a bit of a mixed bag this morning, there are blue spots in a merely clouded sky with the clouds ranging from sparkling white to dark grey. At the moment it hasn't rained in the morning and the current temp at 7am is 27.8C, fairly high! It looks like the nice stretch of sunny weather is momentarily under pressure again, although we're not back to non stop rain.
Yesterday was nice in the morning, with sunshine but around 2pm it started to rain, the sky turned grey and it didn't stop for a good 4 hours.
Max temp reached nonetheless 29.5C
Thursday, 15 November 2007
Big news for me is the creation of a new blog, Camille's Samui hotel recommendations, a blog with hotels I recommend including the reasons why I like these hotels or resorts. More to follow on this shortly.
The last couple of days I've also added a new weather site; Accu weather. This seems to be a very good weather forecaster.
I've added my Facebook profile, so anybody visiting here who has a Facebook account and is desperate for a friend...............
There are also a load of new blog buttons, on some of them you can click and vote for my blog, if you got enough spare time at your hands, give it a go.
Last month I added a button for Nomad Insurance, who offer travel insurance.
Last but not least, if you like this blog and you find it useful, please make a small donation. Everything is welcome and appreciated!
Hope you enjoy the current changes, I'm sure there's more to come in the future and I most certainly hope to see you coming back here.
When I woke up this morning around 6.30am I thought 'Oh no, not again', since it was raining. However, a few minutes later it stopped and the dark grey clouds were moving over to the Nathon side and from the East there was sunshine coming. Right now, almost an hour later, there's full on sunshine again with blue skies scattered with big white clouds. Current temp at 7am is 25.7C
Yesterday was a pleasant day, sunshine almost all day with some isolated short showers in the morning. Towards the evening the sky became more grey and last night there was some rain.
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Located on the ring road, just before the Bangkok Samui Hospital and Bangkok Airways main office on the ring road (going from Tesco Lotus direction Lamai) on the other side of the road, they offer small slices of pizza and home made Italian bread tasting exactly the same as if you were in Italy.
Run by Salvatore and Tha, his lovely wife, they have been baking and providing bread to all the major hotels on the island and plenty of other places since 1994.
To come here and have chat with both of them is a nice break in the day and their food is absolutely delicious.
They offer a extensive menu with various breads and salads and slices of pizza and many times they offer specials, like lasagna.
Outside they have a very nice sitting area where you can enjoy your meal, together with some excellent coffee, cappuccino or espresso.
Here's a small selection on what's on offer, the slices of pizza in the front left are amazing and they come with various toppings.
Their daily bread was just being delivered 10 minutes before I arrived, otherwise the whole picture would've covered in bread!
Besides their menu, they also have some exclusive Italian imported cheeses and sausages for sale.
Well worth a visit and highly recommended by me and they were long overdue on my blog!
Good news; the One Dollar cafe was closed down for a while but has been renovated and has opened up again under a new name as of around 11 October 08; Khao Hom
Directly opposite Nara Garden hotel, where the Bangkok Airways staff is at home.
The food is decent and very cheap and lots of locals come here to eat, including lots of Bangkok Airways staff, who live across the road. Most meals are within the 40 Baht range, as the name suggests and offer good value.
It's a fairly simple affair, just a roof and some pillars, almost open air. It's very pleasant although in the evening there can be a few mossies out and about. Opening are roughly from 9am to 9pm.
If you're in the neighbourhood, definitely worthwhile checking out. My fave here is the Penang Curry.Camille
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
A mainly blue sky with a shining sun in it. Big white clouds are located over the ocean bit the island seems almost cloud free. Current temp at 7am is 23.8C.
Yesterday was a lovely day, sunshine all day long, enough to easily get a sun burn. Max temp reached 30.3C.
Monday, 12 November 2007
Here's some pix that show the situation at our daughters school, and it's the worst damage that I've personally witnessed.
On the road in front of the school entrance, opposite where the new university is being build, constructions were underway to build a new water disposal system. During the whole month of October, it seemed that almost nothing has been accomplished by the constructors/contractors, although they must've been full aware of the pending rainy season. As if they haven't lived here long enough.......
Result is that the structure collapsed by the massive amount of waters and worse, under the public road, the sand has been washed away, creating voids. Have a look at other pictures, it will explain itself.
This is the river created by the water coming off the mountain at the other side of the road and since this was the only way down, water must've come from various ends to join the party, consequently to flood the playground in front of the school knee high.
Here you can see how the space below the actual road has been hollowed out, although traffic is still allowed to continue. As warning signs small iron bars with a flag are used.
This is a common problem on many of Samui roads, where the road just collapsed at the sides, since the ground (sand only) is washed away. Many dangerous pot holes have been created all over the island.
We decided against having our daughter going to school, since it was relatively easy now to drop her off since we arrived rather late, but once come pick up time, it must turn into complete and utter chaos, since there's only parking space for about 5 or 6 cars at a time in front of the school and knowing the parking capabilities of fellow parents at the school, it's just not worth it. It may be worthwhile just jutting over to see the chaos develop -;) I'm surprised the school is open at all under these conditions.