Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Goodbye to January 2012
Before you know it, another month has passed and we're about to wave goodbye to January 2012.
The weather on Koh Samui was actually good this month. Of course there was some rain, but that's to be expected in January. On the other hand, we also had plenty of sunshine and the nice about it is that it doesn't heat up, rarely did the max temperature this month go over 30C.
In other parts of Southern Thailand there were flood problems, not on Koh Samui though and the weather pattern has been in sync with the last four years, except for January last year when the second half of the month saw a lot of rain around the island.
There were plenty of things to write about this month, it started early with a visit to the Sabeing Lae restaurant in Lamai, an absolute recommendation when on the island.
There was also a once more a visit to the Khao Hau Jook pagoda in Chaweng, for some spectacular views, well worth stopping by. The Food on Wheels series saw also another contribution.
A long tail boat in Bang Rak bay, at the beginning of this month
My Mum arrived for a 3 month stay and I completed the first PADI IDC of the year, as it happened to be on Koh Samui.
Highlight however was the encounter of the Chinese New Year procession and celebrations in Nathon.
Hope you enjoyed my daily scribbling and that they help you finding things to do and to see around the island. I'm looking forward to February, which if all goes well, sees me visit Gili Air in Indonesia again.
Don't forget to book your hotels through my Samui hotel recommendation blog and my Thailand hotel recommendations blog.
Today's morning is grey but with small blue spots in it. Koh Samui is in for a much drier day compared to yesterday. Current temp at 7am is 27.5C
Main road in Nathon three days ago
Yesterday saw rain in the early morning but despite rain being predicted all day long around Koh Samui, it soon cleared up and there was even a stretch of sunshine. This slowly changed again around noon and during the afternoon rain was there again, pretty much not to go away again, all late afternoon and evening it rained. Max temp reached 29.5C
The forecast didn't change, strong wind supposedly today, although right now it seems to be wind still and come the weekend, the wind and rain gradually subsides each day.
Monday, 30 January 2012
The skies show dark and wet clouds around Koh Samui this morning, just as the forecast predicted. It rained a couple of times already during this young morning and it looks like there will lots of rain today. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C
Yesterday saw a very sunny morning and early afternoon around Koh Samui. Towards the evening cloud formations moved in but it stayed dry until somewhere during the night. Max temp reached 29.3C
The forecast predicts heavy rain today, a lot drier tomorrow but some heavy wind all day long and things go back to normal over the weekend.
Sunday, 29 January 2012
The sky has turned a deeper shade blue again, this morning on Koh Samui. There are some fluffy white clouds out and about but blue seems to rule at this early hour. Current temp at 7am is 24.8C
Yesterday morning saw a cloudy sky around Koh Samui but around noon the sun broke through the cloud cover which gave us a nice afternoon. Max temp reached 29.5C
The forecast remains stable, strong wind from Monday afternoon until Friday and some rain is expected Monday, Tuesday and Friday. As from Saturday onward it should be very nice again with plenty of sunshine.
Saturday, 28 January 2012
Chinese New Year in Nathon
Going around the island today, with my mother, doing some shopping, visiting my cousin who runs the Samui Beach Resort in Lamai, we stumbled over the Chinese New Year procession in Lamai and Nathon.
Altar loaded with food and good luck charms
I was under the impression the celebrations would be tomorrow, so we were very lucky to run in to them when they were in full swing whilst passing through Nathon.
Table loaded with food, including two big roasted pig's
A few shops in Nathon had tables loaded with food outside of their houses, waiting for the procession to pass by their house so celebrations could be held.
Another table loaded with food, this includes a big pig's head
The celebrations includes the well known dragons but also people with their cheeks pierced and at this occasion, who were slashing their tongues with razor blades. The videos at the bottom of the page are not for the faint harted!
Altar, loaded with food and massive amounts of fire crackers
Procession participant with pierced cheeks and ears
The piercing was a surprise to me. I've witnessed this in Hat Yai and reported about this event in a post about the Vegetarian festival and in Phuket the vegetarian festival is also a big event each year, where my fellow blogger Jamie in Phuket reports about on a regular base.
Part of the procession
After having lived on Koh Samui since slightly over 12 years, I wasn't aware that this was happening in Nathon. Although on a lot smaller scale than in Phuket, it was rather impressive.
Two guys in trance
The participants go in trance, start to shake over their body and at some stage they pierce some steel through their cheeks. Below is a video of somebody doing that.
During the procession people look after the persons that have piercings and make sure that they're ok. The amazing part is that after the piercings are removed, no obvious scars are visible.
Before you watch the videos below, a warning that they contain slightly disturbing images of people voluntarily hurting themselves and blood can be observed
A person slashing his tongue with razor blades
Piercing of a cheek
Next year when on Samui during Chinese New Year, it's well worth checking these festivities out.
It's cloudy on Koh Samui this morning and no blue patches are to be spotted in this mornings sky. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C
Yesterday was a nice day on Koh Samui, although slightly cloudy when I woke up, the sky turned blue by 8am and it was a sunny day afterwards. Max temp reached 28.5C
The forecast now shows strong wind from Monday through Friday and rain from Monday through Wednesday. Next Saturday should be lovely again.
Friday, 27 January 2012
Koh Samui's sky is changing slightly and this morning we have fairly dark clouds with just a few blue spots. I wouldn't be surprised if we do get a few rain drops at some stage during the day. Current temp at 7am is 27.2C
The 24th January had a picture of leaving the pier, this is the view when arriving at the Seatran pier in Bang Rak
Yesterday saw a nice and mainly sunny day around Koh Samui. Max temp reached 29C
The forecast hasn't changed much, still rain expected come Monday and Tuesday but the strong wind has been pushed back a little bit.
Thursday, 26 January 2012
The sky over Koh Tao and Koh Samui is looking good again with plenty of blue spots and just a few cloudy spots. Current temp at 7am is 27.2C
This afternoon I will take the ferry back to Koh Samui.
Port in Mae Haad, Koh Tao
Yesterday saw a dry day around Koh Samui and Koh Tao but it was cloudy all day long. Max temp reached 29C
The forecast is predicting strong wind and slight rain showers starting from Monday onward.
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Koh Samui and Koh Tao have a clouded sky this morning but it doesn't look like it will rain. Current temp at 7am is 24.5C
Tomorrow afternoon I will make my way back to Koh Samui again.
Koh Tao, view from the beach yesterday
The forecast for the next 7 days looks good until Monday, when strong wind and rain is predicted.
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Blue skies all around on Koh Samui and Koh Tao, where I am right now for another two nights. Current temp at 7am is 27.1C
Yesterday was a sunny day around Koh Samui with a max temp of 29.7C
The forecast is looking good until Monday, when strong wind is supposed arrive. We'll keep an eye out on how that will develop.
Monday, 23 January 2012
Chinese New year - Kong Xi Fa Cai
The year of the Dragon has officially started today. Kong Xi Fa Cai, that you may be lucky in the year of the Dragon.
Chinese New Year Party in Maenam
Koh Samui has many Chinese descendants and especially Maenam and Nathon celebrate the Chinese New Year and in Hua Thanon you can find many Hainan style houses.
Tonight there should be a big celebration in Maenam and Nathon celebrates 29th January.
Before I moved to Thailand, over 12 years ago, I was lucky enough to one day bump into the New years procession in the Yaoworat area of Bangkok and witness the celebrations. It was quite impressive. If you have the opportunity, don't miss out on it! If you're on Samui, try to visit Maneam today or Nathon come the 29th January. If you're in Bangkok today, move down to Yaowarat and enjoy the festivities.
Party time on Maenam beach
The lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the date of Chinese New Year. The calendar is also used in countries that have adopted or have been influenced by Han culture, notably the Koreans, Japanese and Vietnamese, and may have a common ancestry with the similar New Year festivals outside East Asia, such as Iran, and historically, the Bulgars lands.
In the Gregorian calendar, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, a date between January 21 and February 20. In the Chinese calendar, winter solstice must occur in the 11th month, which means that Chinese New Year usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice (rarely the third if an intercalary month intervenes). In traditional Chinese Culture, lichun is a solar term marking the start of spring, which occurs about February 4.
The names of the earthly branches have no English counterparts and are not the Chinese translations of the animals. Alongside the 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac there is a 10-year cycle of heavenly stems. Each of the ten heavenly stems is associated with one of the five elements of Chinese astrology, namely: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The elements are rotated every two years while a yin and yang association alternates every year. The elements are thus distinguished: Yang Wood, Yin Wood, Yang Fire, Yin Fire, etc. These produce a combined cycle that repeats every 60 years. For example, the year of the Yang Fire Rat occurred in 1936 and in 1996, 60 years apart.
Many confuse their Chinese birth-year with their Gregorian birth-year. As the Chinese New Year starts in late January to mid-February, the Chinese year dates from January 1 until that day in the new Gregorian year remain unchanged from the previous Gregorian year. For example, the 1989 year of the snake began on February 6, 1989. The year 1990 is considered by some people to be the year of the horse. However, the 1989 year of the snake officially ended on January 26, 1990. This means that anyone born from January 1 to January 25, 1990 was actually born in the year of the snake rather than the year of the horse. Many online Chinese Sign calculators do not account for the non-alignment of the two calendars, using Gregorian-calendar years rather than official Chinese New Year dates.
The sky over Koh Samui looks beautiful, a nice shade of bright blue and cloud in sight. Current temp is 24C at 7am.
Today is the 'main' day for the Chinese New Year celebrations; For everyone who celebrates Chinese New Year - Kong Xi Fa Cai - I wish that the year of the Dragon brings you all the best.
Later today I will go over to Koh Tao for 3 nights, tonight will see a PADI Member Forum followed the next day by the PADI IE for Frank, my student of the recent Koh Samui IDC.
A beautiful sunset yesterday at Big Buddha
Yesterday saw a sunny day with a max temp of 29.8C, another lovely Koh Samui day.
The forecast is still looking good for the next 7 days. Dry and sunny days should be ours.
Sunday, 22 January 2012
A near blue sky reigns over Koh Samui this morning. Current temp at 7am is 25.2C
This morning there are plenty of fireworks going off to celebrate the Chinese New Year, highlighting tomorrow with the main day of celebrations.
Yesterday saw some hard rain early in the morning but by 10am it was nice and sunny and remained like that for the rest of the day. Max temp reached 28.8C
The forecast for the next 7 days looks great with plenty of sunshine and hardly any wind at all being predicted.
Saturday, 21 January 2012
Koh Samui's sky is cloud covered and it rained already twice this morning, Right now it's pouring down. This morning should see some more rain and the afternoon should be dry again. Current temp at 7am is 24.7C
Today's sky over Koh Samui, cloudy with a single blue spot, reddish from the sun rise, just in-between two showers
Yesterday saw some rain during the morning but the afternoon was dry and partly sunny. Max temp reached 28.5C
The forecast looks good for the next 7 days, plenty of sunshine is predicted.
Friday, 20 January 2012
The sky over Koh Samui is clouded this morning and rain is predicted during the morning hours. Current temp at 7am is 27.4C
Phra apay mani at Big Buddha, part of the set of sculptures that tell a famous Thai story
Yesterday saw a sunny day around Koh Samui with a max temp of 30.2C
The forecast is still looking good for the next 7 days. It should be sunny! Enjoy.
Thursday, 19 January 2012
Food on Wheels; More eye tim or ice cream
A few posts in this Food on Wheels series have already been dedicated on what the Thai people call 'eye tim' and us Westerners rather know as ice cream. Going through my photo files, I found a few more 'eye tim' related pictures and thought that they might make a good entry for this month.
The upgrade; the ice cream rather than the usual motorbike
During our son's recent 'Children's day' at his school, rather than the typical ice cream motorbike, as pictures are shown below, this ice cream car showed up at the school premises. A serious upgrade! Also a clear sign that there must be the opportunity to make some 'serious' money with selling ice cream, at least serious enough to be able to afford a car.
The ice cream menu
What remains a mystery to me, is the Thai fondness of ice cream in a bun! The menu is listed at the side of the car and you can't overlook the bun! What I also find worthwhile pointing out, is the way the ice cream vendor has a tiny little chair set up where she can sit all the time when she sells her goodies. I can't start to imagine how cramped I would feel after just a few minuted of sitting there!
A more traditional motorbike ice cream vendor
The picture above shows the more traditional motorbike ice cream vendor. Interesting to note are the soda bottles at the front of the bike, a nice little side income potential for the vendor.
More motorbike vendors
This vendor was spotted at the waterfall near Hua Thanon, surrounded by people wanting a scoop.
Above are some common ingredients to add to your ice cream. First of all, bottom right, the buns! Next to it is sticky rice, that is either added to your ice cream bun or to your ice cream in general! On the bottom left is fruit. The yellow stuff on top is soy bean. This all adds to the overall 'eye tim' experience.
If you see an ice cream vendor around Samui roads, stop them and get a portion, it's cheap, refreshing and worthwhile exploring and finding out about!
The sky over Koh Samui is nice and blue again, looks like we're about to get ready for another sunny day. Current temp at 7am is 27.4C
Sun rising at Wat Plai Laem
Yesterday saw a nice and sunny day all around Koh Samui with plenty of sunshine and some warmer temperatures. Max temp reached 29.8C
The forecast is still looking good for the next 7 days with sunshine predicted on every single day and only a rare chance of a short shower.
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
A near blue sky rules over Koh Samui this morning. Current temp at 7am is 25C.
Today my mother will arrive on Koh Samui for a 3 month stay.
The old bot at Wat Plai Laem basking in the morning sun
Yesterday saw a sunny day around Koh Samui. The water in the pool during the current PADI IDC started very slowly to warm up a little bit! Max temp reached yesterday 30C
The forecast is looking great for the next 7 days. Tomorrow afternoon and Friday look like there will be slightly more ind but the rest of the week is predicted as being sunny!
Tuesday, 17 January 2012
This morning Koh Samui can show off a very nice blue sky with hardly any clouds in it. Current temp at 7am is 23.8C
Yesterday saw an almost dry day (there was a mini shower around noon) around Koh Samui and we could enjoy some sunshine as well. Max temp reached 28.3C
The forecast hasn't changed much, Thursday and Friday will see some stronger wind and a bit of rain but for the rest the next 7 days should be sunny and nice.
Monday, 16 January 2012
It looks like Koh Samui is going to enjoy a nice day today. The sky is still cloudy but there are some blue patches and there's no rain predicted. Current temp at 7am is 24C
Yesterday saw a wet day all around Koh Samui, pretty much all day long. It wasn't until the late afternoon that it started to dry up a little bit. Max temp reached 25.5C
The forecast is looking good, besides Friday which shows some rain, it should be windless and sunny.
Sunday, 15 January 2012
The Koh Samui sky is dark and grey this morning with plenty of rain to come and make this Sunday a very wet one. Current temp at 7am is 24C
Chaweng beach road yesterday
Yesterday saw a nice and sunny morning around Koh Samui but this was soon changed into a grey sky and rain in various variations, from hard to drizzle and some dry periods, all day long. Some 60mm of rain came down. Max temp reached only 26.6C
The forecast is looking really good, after today's rain, two or three cloudy but rather dry days are predicted and than it should all clear up and become sunny. The wind has also almost disappeared.
The TMD or Thai meteorological department however, has issued a "Heavy Rain and Strong Wind-Wave in Southern Thailand" warning. The 15th warning in this year already.
Saturday, 14 January 2012
The sky over Koh Samui is opening up and it looks nice with plenty of blue spots this early in the morning. Current temp at 7am is 25.8C
Today is also the official children's day in Thailand and I will start the first PADI IDC of this year here on the island.
View over the airport's landing strip from Khao Hua Jook
Yesterday saw mostly a clouded day but dry around Koh Samui, although last night I woke up once and it was raining pretty hard. Max temp reached 30C
The forecast is looking very good, some rain is predicted this Sunday and for the rest mainly sunshine and no wind are predicted. Enjoy.
This is rather strange since weather conditions in the lower Gulf of Thailand will get rough over the next few days, the National Disaster Warning Centre (NDWC) warned yesterday.
Friday, 13 January 2012
Children's day in Thailand
Although officially children's day is not until tomorrow in Thailand, pretty much all schools around the country celebrated the event today.
It's a fairly big deal around the country and various events are being organized like the Sattahip Sea tour on HTMS Chakri Naruebet for more than 1,000 children and families today.
The official slogan for this years Children day
Each child is supposed to bring a gift to school and the gifts are being mixed up all together and now each child will receive a gift from 'the pool' of gifts. Our daughter got candies, which unfortunately was the majority of gifts around at her school. Interesting in this regards to read about a warning against snack binge consumption.
Thai Airways even has a special child's menu available for 3 days.
The show is about to start at our son's school
It was a very busy day at our son's pre-school, with lots of parents watching their children perform in a dance with their classmates.
Monday the children are off since that will be Teacher day. How convenient!
It's Friday 13th today and Koh Samui's sky is fairly clouded with plenty of blue spots. Current temp at 7am is 26.3C
Yesterday saw a nice morning but a clouded afternoon with some drizzle rain and an occasional very short but harder rain on Koh Samui. Max temp reached 29.7C
The forecast is looking ok. Sunday is predicted with a lot of rain and from Wednesday onward it should be dry and without wind, which should make all boat operators on the island.
Thursday, 12 January 2012
Khao Hua Jook Pagoda, Chaweng
Back in February 2008 I started to blog for the first about the Khao Hua Jook Pagoda in Chaweng, although back in these days I didn't know that it had this name!
Almost at the end of the stairs
The last time I posted about the pagoda or Chedi in Thai was when the opening ceremony was conducted in April 2009. In-between the first and the last post I almost had a bi monthly update on the progress of the construction of the pagoda, which delivered a few nice pictures. If you start at the April 2009 post, there's a link in each post to the previous post, a kind of a trail to follow!
A new sign at the bottom of the stairs
Since the opening ceremony I haven't been back and today I was running some errands in the car, with my daughter who was enjoying a day off from school, when we drove by and I decided to have another look.
Buddha's (Indian) foot print
It rather surprised how busy and nice it looked now. It was all barren and very much looking like a construction site the first times I visited but now it turned into a busy tourist attraction, it seems.
A small shrine next to the pagoda
There were plenty of people checking the place out, Korean, Thai, Westerners, backpackers, from all walks of life it seemed. It was a bit strange though to see it now in full glory and function, after having it seen put together bit by bit in a slow moving progress and process.
The foot print was just a slab of concrete, the upstairs room is now showing off a glass casket with a Buddha image inside (unfortunately the glass reflected badly on my picture) and all around the surroundings were nicely maintained.
The stairs up and down to the pagoda
Even the stairs look nice now, with all the little seats, donated by the various Samui local people and businesses. As you can see, the views are still spectacular and it's well worth a visit.
The entrance is still opposite the Lake view party area, not too difficult to find, near the round about at the lake road, head north to the traffic lights. it will be on your right side hand.
Koh Samui's sky is grey this morning, plenty of clouds and no blue spots. Current temp at 7am is 24.1C
Yesterday saw a merely clouded skies around Koh Samui all day long. There were some bursts of sunshine but not many and not for too long but it remained dry all day. Max temp reached 30.2C
The forecast is predicting rain every day until next Tuesday.
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Koh Samui's sky has some blue patches but also plenty of clouds this monring. Current temp at 7am is 26.5C
Statues at Big Buddha, in front a 'Maa nien mangkon' (mix between horse, fish and dragon) and in the background a mermaid or nang nguak
Yesterday was another dry day around Samui. Not that sunny but a nice day. Max temp reached 29.8C
The forecast changed drastically overnight. Yesterday saw a massive storm predicted for Sunday and Monday but that storm has evaporated overnight. There should be some rain the coming days but nothing too serious.
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
The weather on Koh Samui for today doesn't look as good as the last couple of days. The sky is clouded but it's still dry. Current temp at 7am is 26C
The street in front of our house with a clouded sky in the background
Yesterday saw sunshine early during the day around Koh Samui but before noon the sky was clouded. No rain though. Max temp reached 29.8C
The forecast is not looking at all for the longer term. The immediate start of rain has been pushed back to Thursday but Windguru shows wind speeds of up to 45 knots and wind gusts of well over 50 knots per hour come Sunday and Monday. Especially for Monday massive amounts of rain are predicted, well over 150mm for the day.
Monday, 9 January 2012
Chinese building in Chaweng
This building is located near the end of the runway of Samui airport, near Chaweng, on a corner on the small but busy road that connects Chaweng now to the departure area of the airport.
I have been reporting about plenty of Chinese temples, one in Chaweng at the Laemdin market area, one in Maenam, one in Hua Thanon and one in Surat Thani city.
The front of the building
Initially I wrongly thought that this is a Chinese Temple, but my wife had to correct me and she explained to me that this is a building merely to 'look good or beautiful' in which merely is a Chinese graveyard.
A structure on the premises, as also shown on my daily weather update today
It's a privately build project which in my understanding belongs to one single Chinese/Thai family. It took about a year to build the whole structure. Before there were only the three graves as shown below.
The three current graves at the 'estate'
A frontal picture of one of the graves, this can be found all around the country in similar styles
A view of the roof ornaments
Chinese temples and religious building always have a very colorful look, very distinct and also very different to the Thai style temples. An interesting building in my opinion and well worth a quick visit if you're in that part of town. By the way, the building is not open to public.