Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Goodbye to June 2009

Goodbye to June 2009

It was a good June, warm, actually very warm at times and good weather rules all over. Yes, there were the occasional rain showers, but they were of the tropical variation and didn't last for more than 30 minutes in general and tended to cool things down, which was rather pleasant.

All in all, a very nice June, better than last year, which saw a slow start or June 2007, which was a very wet version.

Looking forward to July, especially if the nice weather stretch from June continues into July.

Please check out my other blogs; my dive blog, my Samui hotel recommendation blog and my Thailand hotel recommendation blog.
If you're interested in diving, have a read through my dive website ook in het Nederlands te lezen.

Hope to see you come out in hordes the next couple of months, to Thailand and especially to Samui, the weather should be grand and there are lots of interesting places to visit or beaches to relax at.

Camille

30 June, 2009

Today's weather;

The last day of this June this year starts nice with sunshine and a thin white layer. Current temp at 7 am is 26.2C.

Yesterday was dry and fairly sunny with a max temp of 33.5C.

Camille

Monday, 29 June 2009

Samui immigration office, the 3 monthly visit

Samui immigration office, the 3 monthly visit

Was due this morning. Since I am legally married to a Thai national, in this case my wife, I am in a slightly easier Visa situation than non married long term visitors to Thailand. Every year I need to re-new my 'non immigrant O' visa and every three months I need to show up at the Samui immigration office to proof that I'm still here and behaving.

The Samui Immigration office in Nathon
If you're not married to a Thai national, than basically you have to leave the country every 3 months for a so called border run. You can organise this yourself, by renting a (or with your own) car, public transportation or by organised trips that leave Samui 'stupid' early and come back to Samui around 6pm.


The Samui office is part of the various immigration offices and border check points around the country and any information regarding the various visa on offer in Thailand can be found on the official website of the Thai Immigration offices.

Entrance to the Samui office which is located near the big traffic crossing, just outside of Nathon, on the road which leads to the government hospital in Nathon.
Happy travels and don't forget to check your expiration date of your visa in Thailand!
Camille

29th June, 2009

Today's weather;

A partly blue sky is back. Current temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday saw a day with mainly overcast and around 6 pm a tropical shower visited for around half an hour, which again, just like the day before, cooled things down nicely. Max temp reached the lower thirties Celsius.

Camille

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Haveli, Indian restaurant in Bang Rak

Haveli, Indian restaurant in Bang Rak

Since about two months now, Haveli an Indian restaurant in Bang Rak has opened it's doors. During the last 10 days I've been there twice and I must say that this is the best Indian food I've had on Samui so far.

This is the place in question, on the main road in Bang Rak. From 9 am to 4 pm it's a bakery kind of place with wraps, sandwiches and baguettes and after 6 pm it's the restaurant that opens the doors again, with different staff compared to the day shift and Xavier is your host. Interestingly enough, Xavier is of Indian origin and completed his Open Water to PADI Instructor course last October. He's on Samui for almost two years now and an he's excellent host with good knowledge of the menu and he can recommend dishes to your liking in case you're not sure what to order.

For those who are in a hurry, Haveli has also take away and the number to call is 0 8282 3416 0r 08 2818 3417. Prices are very reasonable, between 200,-THB and 400,- THB (the latter for the lamb and prawn dishes) in general.

The kitchen staff, as pictured above, is cooking in the open, behind a glass wall, which makes it pleasant for in my opinion, since nothing is hidden and all is out in the open. Another side note is that the chefs are all of Indian origin and they can cook up a storm!

Can chicken melt on your tongue? This is a Chicken Malai Kebab, marinated in a mild creamy sauce and grilled, and it came close! One of the best chicken dishes I ever had.

We were so hungry that we all dug in to the mains immediately when they were served, so this is what is left over of a delicious vegetable curry before it was completely finished off.
Other dishes I have enjoyed over my two visits included, vegetable Samosas, an all round fave, vegetable Pakoora, Aloo Jera; potato cubes with spices and roasted cumin seeds ( I always thought I didn't like cumin, until yesterday that is), Mushrooms & Peas Masala; stir fried with Indian spices, Saag Chicken; cooked in spinach and special herbs (which was a bit salty, but upon telling Xavier, he immediately rushed to the kitchen to inform the chef) and various Naan breads.
The only thing they need to add onto the menu is Lassi's but besides this minor detail, I can highly recommend a trip to Bang Rak and especially a visit to Haveli.
Camille

28th June, 2009

Today's weather;

It's cloudy this morning and the sun hasn't peeked through, yet. The current temp at 7 am is 27.4C

Yesterday had more clouds during the day than I expected but there was still plenty of sunshine around and the max temp reached 34,4C. Around 8.30 pm last night, there was a tropical rainstorm which lasted about half an hour but it cooled things down rather nicely.

Camille

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The 2009 version of the Plai Laem school party

The 2009 version of the Plai Laem school party

Every year around this time the Plai Laem school organises a party in order to raise funds and all of Plai Laem shows up to celebrate and donate. Last year I reported already about this yearly event, that I must have visited for at least 5 or 6 times by now, if not more.

The local Puu Yai Baan or Village Head, Plawit, makes a speech with school children in the background who are holding pictures of the King and the Queen.

As every year, it's full with people who come to eat and talk and watch their young children who attend the school perform a dance on the stage.

The 'Pong Malay' for the children, parents or family (in this case) buy them for their children or relatives and the children hang them around their neck. After a few moments, the Pong Malay's get taken back and are resold. An excellent way of raising fund.

Last but not least, before you go home, or upon arrival for the Jai Dee (good heart) people, the place to leave your envelope with your donation.
See you next year again at the 2011 version of the school party of Plai Laem.
Camille

27th June, 2009

Today's weather;

Another near blue sky wakes Samui up this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 27.3C

Yesterday was hot and sunny until the late afternoon and around 7 pm there was a serious shower that lasted for about 20 minutes which cooled things down nicely. Max temp reached 35.5C.
It was also yesterday that we finished the Instructor Training program and I posted some nice pix on my dive blog, have a look.

Camille

Friday, 26 June 2009

26th June, 2009

Today's weather;

A straight blue sky welcomes Samui to this brand new day. Current temp at 7 am is 27.2C

Yesterday must have been the hottest day of the year so far, everybody seemed to be complaining about the heat. Max temp reached 35C

Camille

Thursday, 25 June 2009

25th June, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky with a thin white veil is coming on strong this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 26.5C.

Yesterday was warm and sunny. Max temp reached the mid thirties Celsius.

Camille

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

24th June, 2009

Today's weather;

A near blue sky with some clouds in the distance. Current temp at 7 am is 26.6C.

Yesterday was dry and rather sunny on Samui, during our dive at Sail Rock however, it rained and at various times, both the islands of Koh Tao and Koh Phangang were obscured from view by rain clouds. Back on Samui it was dry and sunny again.
Max temp reached the mid thirties Celsius.

Camille

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

23rd June, 2009

Today's weather;

At last it seems the blue skies have returned, there's one shaping up right now. Current temp at 7 am is 28.3C

Yesterday was hot, hot, hot. Max temp reached the mid thirties Celsius.

Camille

Monday, 22 June 2009

22nd June, 2009

Today's weather;

The sky this morning is a bit of a mixed bag, fluffy clouds with plenty of blue sky and a current temp at 7 am of 27.8C.

Yesterday was sunny and hot with a max temp of 34.4C.

Camille

Sunday, 21 June 2009

21st June, 2009

Today's weather;

Another hot day seems to be gearing up. There's a blue sky with some cloud formation in it and the current temp at 7 am is 27.5C.
Today the PADI IE will also be completed, so keep an eye out for my dive blog update later today.

Yesterday was hot, however around 5 pm there was a serious rain storm wading through Samui. It lasted just about 15 minutes but everything got thoroughly soaked, a perfect sample of a tropical downpour. As a result it cooled down very nicely in the evening. Max temp reached 33.5C

Camille

Saturday, 20 June 2009

20th June, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky with a few clouds emerged this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 27.2C.

Yesterday saw a hot day again with a max temp of 34.9C.
The current IDC I conducted finished yesterday and the PADI IE started.

Camille

Friday, 19 June 2009

19th June, 2009

Today's weather;

Clouds with some blue breaks in are ruling this mornings sky over Samui. Current temp at 7 am is 27.1C.

Yesterday was nice and sunny with a max temp of 33.2C.

Camille

Thursday, 18 June 2009

18th June, 2009

Today's weather;

Parts of a blue sky are back, still with plenty of clouds but nonetheless. Current temp at 7 am is 27.3C

Yesterday started out with overcast but during the afternoon bits and pieces of sunshine action occurred and it was slightly warmer again, compared to yesterday. Max temp reached 32C.

Camille

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

17th June, 2009

Today's weather;

The clouds are persistent and it looks grey outside although dry for the time being. Current temp at 7 am is 25.7C, a considerable drop compared to previous weeks.

Yesterday saw almost all day long overcast but no rain in the parts of Samui where I went. Max temp reached 30.9C another considerable drop in temperature compared to the last few weeks.

Camille

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Some more old style pix from Samui

Some more old style pix from Samui

Received a few more pix from the mid to late 9-tees from Samui gently provided by Dave Carlo and I have a couple of my own comparison shots to go along with it. After the success and enthusiastic reactions I received of the first series, here's more;

Chaweng Beach road, looks like to road is already paved, which should place it around 98-99 and it's near the Green Mango. Obviously still a two way system. Unfortunately I don't have a comparison shot for this picture, but keep on reading.

This is a shot made earlier this year, on Chaweng Beach road, when the Samui Pirates had a charity Red Cross ride around the island.

Almost exactly at the same spot this picture was taken at least 12 or more years earlier. You can compare the red roofs at the middle right of both pictures.

Big Buddha's entrance gate, almost 4 years ago. It almost looks the same as today.

Some 10-12 years ago (or more?) however, it definitely looked different.
These kind of pictures I find very interesting and I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to Dave once more for sharing these pictures.
I hope you enjoyed these pix, there are a few more which I will post in due time.
Camille

16th June, 2009

Today's weather;

There's a change in the weather pattern and it's cloudy this morning, although there seems to be a clearer sky in the distance. Current temp is 26.7C at 7 am.

Yesterday was the usual hot and warm day until late in the afternoon. Around 5 pm there was a shower and later in the evening there was more bits and pieces of rain. It cooled things down to an agreeable temperature. Max temp reached 34.1C.

Camille

Monday, 15 June 2009

15th June, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky with a thin white haze is waking up Samui. It looks like the white haze won't be able to last very long once the sun starts blazing. Current temp at 7 am is 27.2C

Yesterday was hot and warm but around 7 pm there was some relief with a little bit of rain, not much but it cooled down a bit which was nice. Max temp reached 34C.

Camille

Sunday, 14 June 2009

14th June, 2009

Today's weather;

Another beautiful blue sky showed up this morning over Samui with a current temp at 7 am of a whooping 28C.


Yesterday was hot and sunny, as this picture of Chaweng beach shows. Max temp reached 35.8C

Camille

Saturday, 13 June 2009

13th June, 2009

Today's weather;

A bright blue sky welcomed me this lovely morning. Current temp at 7 am is 27.5C and today I will finish the first part of my current IDC course that I'm conducting by completing the AI part.

Yesterday saw sunshine pretty much all day long with a max temp of 33.3C.
So far this June has lived up to it's expectations and delivered the sunny goods.

Camille

Friday, 12 June 2009

World Blog Surf Day

World Blog Surf Day

Today, Saturday 13th June 2009 is the World Blog Surf day, where 32 blog owners that participate from all over the world write about food. They form a chain by linking to one blog in the chain of 32. My link is to one of my favorite blogs in Thailand from The TEFL DON, a blog he named ‘My Thai Friend'. If you follow all links, you can visit all 32 blogs.

Let’s move on however to the theme for this World Blog Surf Day; FOOD, something that I reported plenty of times about. On my blog you can find plenty of restaurant reviews from all over Thailand but mainly from Koh Samui, the tropical island in the Gulf of Thailand where I live with my family.

Thai food is amongst my favorite cuisines of the world, first Italian food was top of the list, than I discovered Indian food and Mexican food also ranked up there for a long time. Until I discovered Thai food.
It comes in really handy that I actually live in Thailand and I eat Thai food pretty much on a daily base now.

Here’s a dish from one of my fave restaurants on Koh Samui; Yam Sabeinglae, a house salad (yam = salad) of the Saebeinglae restaurant in Lamai.

A typical Thai meal is a well balanced feast of food, a spicy dish should be balanced out by a non spicy dish, a salad is balanced out by a soup, fish is balanced out by a meat dish and if you’re lucky you find a vegetable dish ;-), etc. Rice and/or rice soup is used to complement the meal and if Thai males are participating in the meal, than usually a bottle of Johnny Walker black or similar is not far away.

Everybody joins in and all served meals are shared between all that are participating. Most plates have a relatively small amount of food on them so plenty of plates can be ordered or will be served and in typical Thai fashion almost nothing is wasted but either gets eaten right there and then or taken home in the doggy bag.

If you visit a Thai family at their home, the first question is; did you eat already? Rather than asking how you’re doing, as we do in the West. Immediately food is pulled out from all places of the house and you sit down and eat, after the meal is finished, you discuss or talk about whatever you dropped by for.

Here’s a picture of a small hole in the wall place in Chaweng, with some excellent and very cheap food. All ingredients are chopped up before hand but the actual cooking of the food is happening more or less in front of you and since Thai food in general is just tossed around in a frying pan, it’s fresh and crispy.

A lot of good food in Thailand is found in very small, similar hole in the wall like places or just on the sidewalk. In Thailand food is never far away from where you are and Thais tend to eat all day long. Little bits and pieces here and there and everywhere.

These pre-cooked Thai curries (heaven for spicy food lovers) are for sale on all markets and sidewalks all over the country. The South of Thailand where Samui is located, is well known for its spicy curries.

Thailand has very different fruits to the Western countries, one of the most notorious ones is pictured here in the front right, the Durian, the King of fruit. You either like it or love. The smell of this fruit is very special and takes some time getting used to. Most hotels in Thailand don’t allow them in the rooms!

On the left, the bean like strings are Sator, a typical Southern Thai kind of bean, that smell heavy on your breath, just like garlic does. I always manage to raise an eyebrow in local eateries if the locals see me eat this. It’s very strong in taste and probably not to everybody’s liking.

It’s just the tip of the iceberg that I’m touching here, regarding Thai food. If you’re interested in Thai food, try my blog, plenty of more information of my favorite places around the country and other food related stories for grabs.

I hope you enjoyed my small part in the chain of World Blog Surf Day and that you visit as many blog as possible that participate. Thanks for checking in, and check out Sher's blog, who organised this chain event.
Camille


This World Blog Surf Day event also has an official Twitter feed taken care of by Anastasia Ashman (Thandelike), she is an American cultural producer based in Instanbul, and is a creator of Expat Harem, the anthology by foreign women about modern Turkey. Her Tweetstream focuses on women, travel and history, and she shares resources for writers/travelers, expats, Turkophiles and culturati of all stripes



12th June, 2009

Today's weather;

It's a mixed bag this morning, there's still some overcast but there are also lots of blue patches. Current temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday started out with overcast but ended up with plenty of sunshine. Max temp reached 33C.

Camille

Thursday, 11 June 2009

11th June, 2009

Today's weather;

This morning shows overcast againwith some potential for breaking up in a blue sky. Current temp at 7 am is 27.2C

Yesterday saw a sunny day and it was warm once more without rain. Max temp reached 34.2C

Camille

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

10th June, 2009

Today's weather;

The blue sky seems to have disappeared temporarily and is replaced by overcast. Current temp at 7 am is 27.6C.

Yesterday saw sunshine and hot temperatures all day long. However, at 7 pm there was a short but very intense (thunder)storm coming through. Max temp reached 35C.

Camille

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

9th June, 2009

Today's weather;

Once more a blue sky is knocking at today's door. Current temp at 7 am is 27.7C.

Yesterday was sunny and hot all day long. Max temp reached 34.4C.

Camille

Monday, 8 June 2009

8th June, 2009

Today's weather;

The blue sky continues it's stay on Samui and showed up this morning once more. Current temp at 7 am is 27C.
Today I start once more an IDC, have a look at my dive blog for more updates.

Yesterday saw all day long a nice blue sky which made it rather warm. Max temp reached 35.6C.

Camille

Sunday, 7 June 2009

7th June, 2009

Today's weather;

A prefect blue sky showed up this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 26.6C and it's going to be a steaming hot one today.
Today I'm starting an IDCS course and on Monday a new IDC course will kick off, keep an eye out on my dive blog.

Yesterday saw a nice and warm day with plenty of sunshine. Max temp reached 34C.
Last night we had some excellent Italian food at Antica Locando in Bang Rak.

Camille

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Compare Samui old style pictures with today's

Compare Samui old style pictures with today's

To follow up on Mike's prompt in his comment yesterday, here's an attempt to compare yesterday's old pictures of Samui with a more modern version;

Chaweng beach last year during late August. Totally pending on where you are at the beach and what time (early in the morning is good!) you may get a similar picture as yesterday's 84 picture. In general, during the day time, it will look different, especially the line of buildings behind the sand.
Chaweng Beach road. Now it's 'only' a mess during flash flooding, which occasionally happens. Certain parts of the beach road turn into murky swimming pools or small rivers. The sandy road has been gone since 1998 I think.

Big Buddha, yesterday's shot is nicer, but the road leading to Big Buddha has changed, is lined partially by trees and there are a lot more buildings around Big Buddha. The statue itself has had a face lift as well.
Camille

6th June, 2009

Today's weather;

An almost blue sky reigns over Samui this lovely morning and has all the ingredients for brewing up another nice and hot day. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Today I also like to commemorate the Normandy invasion in France, 65 years ago.

Yesterday had a sunny morning and early afternoon but around 3 pm a short but very intense shower visited Samui and it remained cloudy for the rest of the day. Max temp reached the lower thirties Celsius.

Camille

Friday, 5 June 2009

Old style Samui pictures

Old style Samui pictures

Since a while I've been collecting some pictures from 'old style Samui' or at least pictures that are older than 10 or 15 years and today I'm presenting you with a first set of old(er) Samui pix. Some of these pictures can be found at 'Beer Lao's' picture gallery, who's permission I obtained for using his pictures.

If you're on Samui, I can also highly recommend to visit the Natural Museum in Lamai at the local Temple there. So far I posted twice about this museum, here's access to part 1 and to part 2.

This shot shows Chaweng Beach in 1994.

Chaweng Beach road in the late 9-tees, when Beach road wasn't paved yet and looked a complete mess after some rain, as this picture shows.

A fantastic picture of Big Buddha around 1984.

A picture showing an old style song thaew or open style taxi driving along one of the few roads that Samui had back in the days.
Hope you enjoy these pictures, I've got a few more stored for later disclosure.
Camille



5th June, 2009

Today's weather;

A fairly blue sky showed up this morning and it looks like a nice warm or rather hot day. Current temp at 7 am is 28C.

Yesterday's early storm did quite some damage, especially small huts were badly damaged all over the island. During the morning the clouds evaporated bit by bit though and it turned out to be once more a sunny and hot day. Max temp reached 33.8C.
Two more days of strong winds are expected and than the wind should subside.

Camille

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Chinese house warming party

Chinese house warming party

There are many Thais who have Chinese descendants. Especially on Samui, there's plenty of proof in the building style of the old wooden houses around the island which originate from Hainan, too bad the link to the article about Hainese legacy has expired, it was a very interesting read.

To get back on track though, Samui is mainly Buddhist and I've been to and witnessed a plenty of house warming parties where the good old monks showed up and chanted away for a while and than get the best food in the house, cooked by the family who's house was blessed.

In all that time I never saw or heard of the Chinese equivalent until a few weeks ago when I drove around and saw what pretty much looked like a Chinese house warming party.

In contrast to the Buddhist version, there's only one priest or monk and it was a very cheerful occasion, at least the part that I witnessed.

The monk or priest handed out fake or rather good luck bank notes to the people attending but whilst doing so he made a very strange high pitched tone, which added very much to an almost surreal and funny experience.
It was an interesting experience and the people involved were friendly enough to have me take pictures, which you can see above.
Anybody that knows more about the Chinese style house warming parties, feel free to add your knowledge as a comment to this post.
Camille


4th June, 2009

Today's weather;

Plenty of overcast this morning and it's wet. Just shortly before 6 am there was a massive storm that woke me up. Current temp at 7 am is 25C.
More strong winds are predicted until the weekend but not so much rain.

Yesterday saw a day that started with overcast but some sunshine was to be had during the afternoon. Max temp reached 32C.

Camille

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Safety on Samui roads

Safety on Samui roads

Unfortunately that safety is not very high. Most recent sample is my wife's younger sister who was run off her bike and spent the last two nights in hospital and luckily enough it looks like she has no major brain damage but only a concussion. Unfortunately she also participated in a typical Samui style habit, she didn't use a helmet.

Her luck was that she wasn't driving but waiting to cross the road whilst standing still and the person who did ran her off her bike didn't do the typical runner after the accident but actually stopped and brought her to Thai International Hospital.

Each year there are too many motorbike and other road accidents on Samui. Factors contributing to these accidents are police not regulating traffic and controlling that rules are followed. Yes, there are controls on use of helmets but these controls are merely towards the end of the month to fill the pockets of the local police boys. What the police never seems to follow up on is to stop kids too young for legally driving a bike. It gets worse if you're involved in an accident involving a youngster, since you're supposed to pay the family of the kid in case he dies because of the accident.
Sometimes the local police had you look at a book with motorbike head injuries after being caught without a helmet, a very sobering experience.

The roads are in very bad shape on Samui, they're not wide enough and there are many potholes. All roads are concrete roads rather than tarmac, except a few roads now in Nathon.

The police doesn't control for speeding, trucks and minivans use Samui roads many times as a racing track and tend to flee the scene after they get involved in an accident. Many truck drivers are paid per load rather than being paid per days work.

Foreigners/tourists who are not used to 'Thai road rules' which are very different than 'back home'. Driving on the left side of the road is for many tourists a new experience and many Thais driving motorbikes seem to be completely oblivious to any other traffic on the road.

Alcohol and driving also don't go too well on Samui. Many or most serious accidents happen during the night time with either one or both parties being intoxicated.

I can go on about other factors but unfortunately, scenes as in the picture above are too many around the island and too many people end up in one of the hospitals on Samui where the surgeons are experts in mending broken bones and head injuries.

When visiting Samui, be careful on the roads, get used to the seemingly lawlessness of the road rules (or absence of rules) and the Thai logic of driving by changing direction without notification. Drive defensively and slow and if on a motorbike wear sturdy and closed shows, not your flip flops and wear a helmet.

Good luck!

Camille

Welcome to June

Welcome to June

This June started good so far although today there are some threatening clouds out and about. The last 2 years there seemed to have been rain during early June but towards the middle and end it tends to get sunnier.

Let's cross our fingers for some real good and sunny weather.

Camille

3rd June, 2009

Today's weather;

Clouds took over and there are a few dark ones around. Very strong winds are expected the next couple of days. Current temp at 7 am is 27.5C.

Yesterday saw a very hot day with loads of sun. Max temp reached 34C and although I didn't witness any at all yesterday, somewhere there was a 7.3mm shower.
Last night we had a lovely dinner at Sabinglae in Lamai, it was good as always and a must visit when on Samui.

Camille

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

2nd June, 2009

Today's weather;

A near blue sky reigns over Samui this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 27C.

Yesterday was sunny and hot with a max temp of 34.8C.
There are very strong Western winds though and the regatta participants should have a field day.

Camille

Monday, 1 June 2009

1st June, 2009

Today's weather;

The start of this month looks good with a fairly blue sky and just a few fluffy white spots in the sky. Current temp at 7 am is 27.2C.
Today is also the start of the 8th Samui Regatta, held between 1st and 6th June.

Yesterday saw a sunny and hot day on Samui with a max temp of 34C.

Camille