Sunday, 31 January 2010

Goodbye to January 2010

Goodbye to January 2010

For the third time in a row, January was a nice month if it comes down to Samui weather, plenty of sunshine and hardly any rain at all, just like 2008 and 2009.

On a personal note it was not that great, with my Dad passing away, I do miss him and think a lot about him and time we spent together.

There were however lots of restaurant reviews of new places; Sakana, a new and real nice Japanese restaurant in Bophud; the 4K restaurant in the beautiful X2 resort in Hua Thanon; the conveniently located but slightly bland Ranong restaurant in Chaweng and the Catcantoo in Bang Rak with the amazing ribs!

Not to mention the places we visited again or ordered take away from, like Bravo Pizzeria and Haveli, amazing Indian food both in Bang Rak or the simple but delicious muu sateh's in Chaweng at Dcheed 2.

There were also plenty of Temple visits, both in Kanchanadit and Samui and a visit to the lovely Donsak Orchid Garden during our Surat Thani trip.

Thanks for visiting this month and hope to be seeing you again next month and many more to come!

Camille

31st January, 2010

Today's weather;

An almost near blue sky is showing off this morning with a current temp at 7am of 27.3C

Yesterday was nice in the morning with a mini shower in the early afternoon and than a couple of successive showers in the later afternoon and evening. Max temp reached nonetheless 31C.

Yesterday our 7 year old daughter had two teeth extracted at the dentist which she didn't like at all but today it's all looking fairly good and she's fine.

Camille

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Wat Kiri Wongkaram, Baan Taling Ngam, revisited

Wat Kiri Wongkaram, Baan Taling Ngam, revisited

It's been over two years ago since I posted something for the last time about Wat Kiri Wongkaram in Baan Taling Ngam and it's about time to give you an update on this temple.
First of, this is one of the two temples on Koh Samui that has a mummified monk on the premises, the other temple being Wat Kunaram near Lamai.

Both temples have seen their respective mummified monks being relocated in a nicer building than their previous ones.


This is the new building for the mummified monk in Wat Kiri Wongkaram, a real nice building especially comparing to the state of the other buildings on the temple complex.

The new accommodation for Luang Por Rerm Khun Wongkaram.

A picture of the Luang Por Rerm Khun Wongkaram when he was still alive.
The mummification is achieved by a strict diet and apparently his hair and nails still grow, according to a flyer available at the temple and sections of the nails are cut and used as protective charms.

A picture of the accommodation building, build in 1957. Still in fairly good shape though and I really like the big painting of Thai characters on the walls of this building.

The main Temple, build in 1968 and still in use for the monks daily prayer and religious ceremonies is not in that great shape and could really use some paint and general maintenance.

When you're making a trip around the island this is a beautiful and quiet get away from it all place to visit. Enjoy.

Camille




30th January, 2010

Today's weather;

There are just a few clouds in the sky, the potential for a sunny day is there. Current temp at 7am is 27.6C

Yesterday saw a bit of overcast in the early morning just to clear up and have a sunny afternoon. Max temp reached 34.5C

Camille

Friday, 29 January 2010

29th January, 2010

Today's weather;

Partly cloudy with big blue patches of blue. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C

Yesterday saw rain in the early morning at 9am, than blue skies until around noon where we encountered a little bit more rain but it there was overcast pretty much for the rest of the day with a short shower or two more. Max temp reached nonetheless 30C.

Camille

Thursday, 28 January 2010

28th January, 2010

Today's weather;

It's cloudy and it's raining but at the same time, to the left and right of the localized rain over Plai Laem, there are blue skies. Current temp at 7am is 27.8C

Yesterday saw blue skies with some cloud formations in it all day long. Max temp reached 29C

Camille

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

27th January, 2010

Today's weather;

A heavy cloud layer rules over Samui with few blue spots this morning and with a current temp at 7am of C.

Yesterday saw lots of overcast in the morning with some serious rain around 9am for a short while. After that it remained dry however. max temp reached 29.3C

Camille

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Two funny sites, a quiz and a list of Thai commercials

Two funny sites, a quiz and a list of Thai commercials

Here are two very funny sites that may entertain you for a bit, the first is a quiz and can you; Tell The Difference Between a Thai Lady and a Thai Ladyboy?

The next link is a list of; 11 of the craziest Thai TV commercials this decade

This is a sample and it's possibly the funniest and/or most tasteless Thai commercial, pending on where you draw the line, I think it's hilarious.



Just something different for a change, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Just for the record, I scored 7/10, which is still withing safety margins, considering I thought two ladies to be ladyboys.

Camille

26th January, 2010

Today's weather;

Partly cloudy but with big patches of blue sky and a current temp at 7am of 27.7C.

Yesterday was sunny and warm with a max temp of 30C.

Camille

Monday, 25 January 2010

Catcantoo Bar and Restaurant, Bang Rak

Catcantoo Bar and Restaurant, Bang Rak

Back on Samui after my prolonged Koh Tao trip to teach some diving specialties and to follow the PADI IE, it's about time to post a Samui related blog item and it's about another restaurant.

Catcantoo is located opposite the Bang Rak Seatran pier and is an offshoot from the Catcando bar opposite Sweet & Soul in Soi Green Mango in Chaweng's night life area.

The location is easy to find and they have a nice menu. During the daytime you can find many retirees sipping on heir first beers of the day even before noon. Don't let that stop you to visit, they're a friendly bunch or rather, they keep to themselves and don't bite!

The restaurant is simple in lay out and it can be warm and dusty, since it's located directly next to a very busy junction and traffic from the Seatran pier can be thick plus the fact that the very busy Plai Laem market is just about a 100 meters away.

What Catcantoo is really famous for are the spare ribs as displayed above. They must be the best on the island since the meat literally will fall off the bones and it's absolutely delicious! You can get a half rack for 290,-THB, a full rack for 360,-THB and pig out on two full racks for just 460,-THB, they come with beans and coleslaw and potaters. This is a real must!

Silly enough we thought that the full rack wouldn't fill two people so we ordered a side dish as well, these 'super nachos with chicken' and we struggled to finish everything.

If you're up for spare ribs, don't look any further, this is the place to be.

Camille


25th January, 2010

Today's weather;

It's partly cloudy with potentially the wind building up again. Current temp at 7am is 28C

Yesterday saw lots of wind and lots of sunshine! Max temp reached 29.1C but it felt a lot warmer.

Camille

Sunday, 24 January 2010

24th January, 2010

Today's weather;

It's partly cloudy on Koh Tao and the wind has picked up. Current temp at 7am is 27.8C

Yesterday saw a nice and sunny day but around 9pm it all of a sudden started to rain here on Koh Tao for a short while. Max temp reached 30.4C.

We're almost done on Koh Tao, today the PADI IE finishes and we're off to Samui on the afternoon ferry. It's good to go back home again, especially to celebrate our daughters birthday today!

Camille

Saturday, 23 January 2010

OTOP Samui, Coconuts at Lipa Noi

OTOP Samui, Coconuts at Lipa Noi

Remember or ever heard of the OTOP program, One Tambon One Product, very popular under Thaksin Shinawatra's reign over Thailand.

What would suit Samui best, being known for one thing before it all turned into a tourist industry, right, the coconuts. Hence in Lipa Noi there's a small factory annex outlet for coconut carved products.

The shop is in Lipa Noi not too far away from Nathon at the Immigration office side of Nathon.

There are hundreds of different items made out of coconut wood for sale, from cups to plates and all kind of different items.

To the side of the shop is a work place where the items for sale are all being made. Two or three machines are constantly churning out new products.

All items are being lacquered and are drying here, next to the shop. This is the original shop that supplies all other souvenir shops on the island, if you want the cheapest price for your coconut made wood products on the island, here is where you can get it.
Camille

23rd January, 2010

Today's weather;

A light overcast with plenty of blue sky is ruling over Koh Tao this morning. Current temp at 7am is 27.7C.

Koh Tao, Mae Haad harbour
Yesterday missed my daily weather update, for the simple fact that I was diving around Koh Tao in the morning and didn't have time to update.
The weather was fantastic though with lots of sunshine and a max temp of slightly over 30C.

Camille

Friday, 22 January 2010

Wat Phra Pudthabat Sisurat, Kanchanadit

Wat Phra Pudthabat Sisurat, Kanchanadit

After yesterday's post about Samnak Song Tam Bo Baan Thip cave, today's post is about a Temple or Wat a little bit further down the road which holds, high up on a mountain, after you climbed about 200 stairs, Buddha's 2nd foot print in Thailand.


It's on the same road from Surat Thani to Donsak, a couple of kilometers before the road leading to the Samui ferries. You really can't miss this sign on the corner of the road!

This is at ground zero level, the general Wat or temple area and it shows an interesting structure which is the entrance to some stairs, up the hill.

This a view if these stairs, I didn't count them but there must've been at least 200 or more and most of them are totally out of sync, some steep, some shallow and it almost seems never ending! Hence my comment on yesterdays post that aren't too many stairs at the cave!

Here's the actual foot print, filled with soapy water since the visitors keep cleaning the inside of the foot print. My Thai is not good enough yet to ask if there is any foot odor.

A whole family with some monks had made the climb and they were very friendly and all wanted to take a picture of our kids!
The climb down was also very interesting, to say the least and it was good to be back down again. The next day you could definitely tell which muscles in your body you hadn't used for a while!
I can however strongly recommend this place, with beautiful views on the way up and/or down, together with the cave and the Donsak Orchid Garden, all within a couple of kilometers of each other. All three have something completely different to offer and are worth a visit.
Camille

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Samnak song tam bo naam thip cave, Kanchanadit

Samnak song tam bo naam thip cave, Kanchanadit

After our recent trip to Surat Thani, just a bit over a week ago, we not only visited the Donsak Orchid Garden on our way back to Samui, but shortly before that, on the highway to Surat Thani or in this case coming from Surat Thani and on that side of the high way, there's an exit that leads to the 2nd Buddha foot print in Thailand, about which more later, and on that same road, leading to the 2nd Buddha foot print, is another small exit to this unexplored and interesting Cave temple.

This is how the exit to the cave temple looks like from the road. They're currently working very hard to bring this Temple up to scratch and attract more visitors, so right now it's beautifully unexplored and almost untouched.
The entrance to the cave system, the passing main monk showed us the lights leading up to the entrance and opened them up, which at night most certainly looks pretty good, right now, when we visited it didn't have the impact it will most likely have at night. The amount of stairs to climb is very reasonable.

Next to the cave entrance is this very serene looking Buddha statue.

Inside the cave are plenty of stalagmites and this Buddha statue.
There's work done all over the place, including inside the cave, hence the hammer in front of the statue. Once completed I would like to see the caves again and wonder what they exactly have done with the lightning, since it looked promising.

A view of the stalagmites.
Definitely a complex to visit before they complete the work, now it's raw and very interesting, although, I would like to see it in a while with the work in progress and wonder if they will attract many visitors. The potential is there.

It's easy to find, coming from Surat, just watch out for the sign pointing you to the 2nd Buddha foot print in Thailand, it's just a few kilometres before the turn to the Donsak ferry pier where the ferries to Samui leave. According to my wife it's still located in Kanchanadit well known for it's local seafood restaurants.

Well worth visiting, on your way home to Koh Samui, enjoy before the hordes discover it.

Camille


21st January, 2010

Today's weather;

Koh Tao, where I'm staying for the next 3 days for diving purposes, looks fantastic this morning with a near blue sky and a current temp at 7am of 23.1C.

Yesterday saw a lovely, sunny with a max temp of 31.3C on Samui and Koh Tao, not bad for January.

Camille

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

20th January, 2010

Today's weather;

Looking, partly cloudy and the sun is heating up. Curent temp at 7am is 22.3C, rather fresh for these shores.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine and no rain. Max temp reached around 30C.

Off to Koh Tao until Sunday for some diving and follow a PADI IE.

Camille

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

19th January, 2010

Today's weather;

Once more a blue sky mixed with clouds is shaping up, it looks nice. Current temp at 7am is 26.2C

Yesterday saw mainly sunshine but we encountered some rain between Nathon and Lamai in the afternoon. Max temp reached around 30C

Camille

Monday, 18 January 2010

18th January, 2010

Today's weather;

A blue sky with big white clouds in it is above us this morning with a current temp of 25C at 7am.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine and no rain with a max temp of 29.7C

Camille

Sunday, 17 January 2010

17th January, 2010

Today's weather;


It's cloudy and right now no sun can be spotted. Current temp at 7am is 24.8C


Yesterday saw a nice mixed bag, sunshine mixed a few times with some rain. max temp reached 30C


Camille

Saturday, 16 January 2010

16th January, 2010

Today's weather;

Plenty of overcast and it just poured down for a few minutes. The sun is trying to break through though which makes for a rather surreal yellow lightning outside right now. Current temp at 7am is 24.5C

Yesterday saw a very dry and sunny day with a max temp of 29C

Camille

Friday, 15 January 2010

15th January, 2010

Today's weather;

There's plenty of more blue in the sky compared to yesterday. Current temp at 7am is 26.5C.

Yesterday I was diving around Koh Tao and we had some rain during the second dive, but we got wet one way or the other, right? Samui had a bit more rain though but it looks like the forecast is not predicting that much rain for the next 7 days anymore. Max temp reached 29.7C.

Camille

Thursday, 14 January 2010

RIP Dad

RIP Dad

1934 - 2010
To my most loyal blog reader

14th January, 2010

Today's weather;

It's cloudy with a few blue spots in the sky. Current temp at 7am is 28.8C.

Yesterday started out nicely but more and more (dark) clouds kept coming in and by 1.30pm it started pouring down. It kept coming down almost all afternoon, varying mainly from drizzle to periods of heavy rainfall. Max temp reached around 30C.

Camille

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Sanchao Hailam Bandon, Surat Thani

Sanchao Hailam Bandon, Surat Thani

On my recent trip to Surat Thani, we had to go down town in order to find the Thai passport office and I renewed my acquaintance ship with a Chinese Temple, which turned out to be the Sanchao Hailam Bandon. Sanchao means a certain Chinese style Chinese Temple. Hailam is the way Chinese name certain districts and Bandon is the district. I posted about this temple already a year ago, but didn't realise back than that there are two temples at the same crossing, opposite each other.



Part of the Temple is used as a school for languages and unfortunately I wasn't allowed to make pictures of a big altar and shrine there.



What I really liked were these pictures from years gone by, a feat to be found in a lot of Thai Temples.



I was allowed to take pictures from a smaller shrine in the same complex and this the entrance to this smaller shrine.



The small shrine.



Next to the temple or behind, pending on how you look at it, was also the Hainan association of Surat Thani. I already posted about a big Hainanese infuence on Samui and here's more proof of the influence Hainan must've had on the Thai cities in the Gulf of Thailand.


When in Surat Thani, well worth checking out.


Camille



13th January, 2010

Today's weather;

Another blue sky with plenty of clouds, pending whether you look East or West, is shaping up with a current temp at 7am of 28C.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine with a max temp of 29.6C.

Camille

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Donsak Orchid Garden

Donsak Orchid Garden

Going over to Surat Thani to sort out a new Thai passport for our daughter brought me to the mainland by car and more specific to Surat Thani exactly to the day it was a year ago that I last visited, with my Dad, I just found out going through my own blog!

Sorting out the passport turned out to be a breeze, the passport agency or office wasn't busy at all and we were in and out of there with a mission completed within half an hour.

This opened up some time and resulted in a visit to two different Wats or Temples and a visit to the Donsak Orchid Garden.


It's located about fifteen minutes at most after arriving at Donsak ferry terminal and leaving there direction Highway 401 to either Surat Thani or Nakhon Si Thammarat

Besides hosting a beautiful orchid garden and being located in a very nice and relaxing setting, they offer food and they also have rooms available for an overnight stay. In case you miss the ferry and could do with a laid back evening? Here's a picture of an eating/sitting area with a lovely overlook over a small river floating by in the background.

This restaurant looks very inviting to just sit down and spend a couple of hours over a meal. It overlooks the orchid garden, where my wife stocked up on some real bargains in the flower dept!

One of the main buildings on the premises with a real homely feel to it. The bungalows are cheap and scattered over the area.

This orchid came out really well on the macro setting of my camera and there's plenty more to see in all kind of shapes and colours.

The visit to the orchid garden was a pleasant and unexpected stop over, before hitting the ferry back to Samui and I can highly recommend stopping by if you visit or leave Samui by car. As already mentioned before, if you miss the last ferry and don't need any bright lights, this would be a perfect place to spend the night within a few minutes of the ferry.

Camille





12th January, 2010

Today's weather;

A blue sky is shaping up with a current temp at 7am of 26C.

Today we're off to Surat Thani to get a new passport for my daughter, so hopefully there will be some interesting stories coming out of this trip.

Yesterday saw a lovely warm day with a max temp of around 30C.

Camille

Monday, 11 January 2010

11th January, 2010

Today's weather;

An almost clear blue sky is shaping up this morning with a current temp at 7am of 27.5C

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine mixed with some cloud cover occasionally and a max temp of 29.4C

Camille

Sunday, 10 January 2010

10th January, 2010

Today's weather;

A mixed bag is out and about, is it blue spots with clouds or clouds with some blue spots?
Current temp at 7am is 26.6C

Yesterday saw a bit more clouds than I expected in the morning but it remained dry all day long until the early evening when it poured down for about half an hour. Max temp reached 29.4C

Camille

Saturday, 9 January 2010

9th January, 2009

Today's weather;

It's hazy right now but it looks like it's going to be rather blue once the sun burns the cloud layer away. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C.
The weather forecast for the next week looks great, with plenty of sun and no rain.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine and a max temp of 30.2C.

Camille

Friday, 8 January 2010

8th January, 2010

Today's weather;

It looks a lot better again this morning with a blue sky and some occasional clouds in it. Current temp at 7am is 27.7C

Yesterday saw plenty of rain showers all day long and just a few bursts of sunshine in between the showers. Max temp reached 29C

Camille

Thursday, 7 January 2010

7th January, 2010

Today's weather;

This morning sees an unusual dark and grey sky with plenty of rain bursts during the night and this morning. Current temp at 7am is 25.8C
The weather should clear up later today.

Yesterday was warm and sunny all day long with a max temp of 30.8C

Camille

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

6th January, 2010

Today's weather;

The sky is mainly blue but there are cloud formations around and it may be a mixed bag with the supremacy being swapping around. Current temp at 7am is 28C.

Yesterday saw a few drizzles and also plenty of sunshine with a max temp of 30.8C, it was hot!

Camille

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Ranong Restaurant, Chaweng

Ranong Restaurant, Chaweng

Today's the third day running for a restaurant review and we're in Chaweng at the Ranong Thai food and sea food restaurant.

The restaurant is very popular with local, mainly younger Thai people, Westerners and nightlife residents of all sorts alike. It's also very convenient since it stays open until at least 3am. It's located on the road leading up to the ring road, just before the one way system starts in Chaweng, hang a right and than it's almost opposite the first 7-11 that you see at your left hand.

Despite being that busy, in all times that I visited the restaurant I never had a dish that blew me away or stood out and I tried a few of my fave Thai dishes.

The open kitchen is a nice touch but the food tastes rather bland to me, unfortunately. The prices are very reasonable however and that together with it's location near Chaweng's nightlife make it a popular stop.

It's your typical plastic tables and chair kind a place and it makes a great place for observing the mixed bag of people that come to eat here.

One of the dishes that we had yesterday was this Pla Meuk Pad Khai Khem.
It's a cheap and easy place if you need a quick bite with very reasonable, cheap prices and it's open late, in case you're still hungry around 3am.
Camille




5th January, 2010

Today's weather;

It's partly cloudy but there seem to be plenty of blue spots, more than yesterday. Current temp at 7am is 28C.

Yesterday saw plenty of clouds and some dark threatening ones as well, however, there was hardly any rain at all. Max temp reached around 30C.

Camille

Monday, 4 January 2010

4K restaurant, Hua Thanon

4K restaurant, Hua Thanon

Yesterday we visited the X2 resort (X2 is pronounced 'cross to')in Hua Thanon and had a lovely lunch at the 4K restaurant (4K is pronounced 'fork') at X2. A great day's out was had by my family and the second restaurant review of this year is another good one!

The 4K restaurant is build and designed in the same contemporary style as the X2 resort.

A spectacular view over the ocean from the restaurant.

It's really relaxing to have a seat in this quiet environment and enjoy the tranquility, there are no jet ski's and beach vendors of the resort.

The design is very nice and the menu is a mix of eastern and western dishes and the best of fusion. Local products in season tend to dominate the menu, which is prepared by their international chef.

All through the resort and the restaurant you can experience the fusion by concrete and wood, which has some remarkable nice effects.

On to the food, I had this delicious sauteed chicken liver and banana compote on raisin toast, a real interesting starter with a great taste.

My main was this baked sea bass fillet over Asian mushrooms and wok sauteed rice.

I was full already but when I saw the desert list, this X2 apple tart with warm butterscotch sauce caught my eye and I had to try it. It was served in a different way than I expected but it was really outstanding.

The prices in 4K are very reasonable and I can definately recommend to make the trip over to Hua Thanon beach for a nice, relaxed afternoon at the beach with either lunch or dinner at the 4K

Camille