Monday 31 December 2007

Goodbye to December

It's that time of the month again.

Time to wave goodbye to December and the whole year of 2007!

Weather wise December was a lot better than the previous two month and probably better than usually during an average December.

There was plenty of sun with just a few times some rain and it made for some warm weather. Sometimes it was rather chilly in the mornings, only around 21C (I can hear the Scandinavians laughing all the way up here!) but you get used to it -;)
All you folks that decided to visit Samui during December should've had a good time.

All the best to you all and a splendid evening with a Happy New Year party, wherever you are!


31st December, 2007

Today's weather;

Cloudy it is this morning, the very last of 2007. At 7 am it was 25C.

Yesterday turned out once more as a very nice day, after an initial cloudy sky in the morning it cleared up during the day and we had a blue sky almost all day long with a max temp of 31.5C.

Happy New Year!


Sunday 30 December 2007

The year 2007

It's almost over; 2007 and we're getting ready for the new year; 2008.

Just a quick few moments to reflect on 2007.

It's the year that I started this weather blog on 16th February and to my own surprise, it seems a lot more successful than I had ever imagined or expected.

The highlight being late October and early November when a lot of 'rubbernecking' went on about the conditions on Samui, which by the way, where not very good, loads of rain and some parts of Samui were declared a disaster zone. Thanks for your interest by the way, I received emails on a daily base with questions about the situation.

That month alone I had over 7.000 clicks on my blog! Thanks to you all out there! Now it's back to a 'mere' 3.700 clicks during December, which again, isn't that bad at all.
Thanks again to you guys, out there in Taiwan, Russia, US of A, UK, Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, China, India, South Africa, Sweden, Norway and in the Gulf! Thanks for checking in once in a while!

Very good news towards the end of the year was that my friend Crispin got out of jail after almost a year and a half and all his charges have been dropped! Good to know you're a free man again Crispin, you deserve it!

A few folks I'd like to point out;

My friend Dave in Okinawa who has his own Japan/dive blog, who was an inspiration to me for starting my blog.

Jamie in Phuket, who runs a Phuket weather blog who was also inspirational and who also runs a very informative Phuket blog. I really wish there were more weather blogs on various parts of Thailand, if you know about any, please let me know!

Monique, another Dutchie here on Samui, who has just the most amazing photo blog with many pix about Samui.

My other blogs, the dive blog and my Samui hotel recommendations blog.

Of course, you, the readers of my blog!

If you all appreciate my blog, keep it alive, don't forget the donation button or to click on my advertisements, it keeps my blog boat floating and please keep supporting the above mentioned blogs!

All the best for the New Year to you all.


30th December, 2007

Today's weather;

Fairly cloudy, white spots in a little bit of blue sky. Current temp at 7 am is 23.5C.

Yesterday was another warm and sunny day with a max temp of 30.6C. Here's a picture of yesterday's sun set, not very romantically on the beach but behind our house.


Saturday 29 December 2007

29th December, 2007

Today's weather;

It's mainly overcast with a thin sun trying to pry through the cloud cover. Current temp at 7 am was a meagre 22.7C.

Yesterday was another warm and sunny day with a max temp of 31C.


Friday 28 December 2007

28th December, 2007

Today's weather;

A blue sky with scattered clouds in it reigns this morning. Over the ocean thicker concentrations of clouds seem to gather but it's warming up quickly. At 7 am it was only 21.3C.

Yesterday was a nice day, sunny and warm with a max temp of 30C


Thursday 27 December 2007

Good news for my friend Crispin

At last, there was good news for my friend Crispin.

After 1 year and 5 months in a Thai jail, being accused of many things, my friend Crispin got released from jail today with all charges being dropped! Justice after all.
It's been quite an ordeal for him and and I'm glad it's all over.

This is great news and I'm very happy for him. This evening he can walk around again at free will.


27th December, 2007

Today's weather;

Overcast with scattered blue spots and sunshine and dry. It's not the same dark overcast like yesterday but a lot brighter. Current temp at 7 am is 22.7C.

Yesterday saw overcast all day long with heavy showers early in the morning between 8 am and 9 am which caused some short lived flash floodings. The rest of the day it remained dry but with a heavy dark overcast. Max temp reached 29C.


Wednesday 26 December 2007

26th December, 2007

Today's weather;

There's a cloudy sky with blue in it and it's dry. Current temp at 7 am is 25.3C.

Today's it's already 3 years ago that the Tsunami hit Thailand and other countries. My thoughts go out to all the victims.

Yesterday was a lovely day, sunshine all day long with a max temp of 29.1C although it felt a lot warmer.


Tuesday 25 December 2007

25th December, 2007

Today's weather;

Merry Christmas to all my blog readers!

This Christmas starts with another blue sky and hardly any white in the sky. Current temp at 7 am is a fresh 21.6C.

Yesterday was warm and sunny. The afternoon saw some cloud formation but nowhere near rain. Surprisingly the max temp only reached 29.4C


Monday 24 December 2007

Mango, Russian Cafe and restaurant in Chaweng

Last night was Russian night.

Unfortunately this restaurant has closed down.

We went to Chaweng for a Russian dinner. Steve, one of my future IDC candidates was in town with friends and since his wife is Russian, the choice was rather easily made.

It's also nice to have time again to post on this blog, since I was rather busy with diving, see my dive blog for my latest adventures.

The restaurant is located at the entrance/parking lot for TOPS supermarket in Chaweng, or kind of behind Will Wait at the beach road.

The food was outstanding and it's an interesting adventure to eat and discover new food! Most of you may have heard of the traditional beetroot soup Borscht. This is on the Russian menu but so are a lot of other delicious options. Luckily Alexei was there, Steve's wife cousin, so he and Steve's wife decided to order a mix of traditional Russian starters. This picture shows the so called ' fish under a blanket' and it's delicious. It's herring covered by veggies and other things. Other starters we had was a kind of potato salad and various other dishes who's name I forgot already.

Ask for the Russian menu once you're there!

As mains we had Chicken Kiev, a stew with tomatoes and smoked pork, stuffed peppers and how about this creamy, cheesy lobster for Russian seafood? It was all well worth while and I can recommend this restaurant if you would like to try something different.


24th December, 2007

Today's weather;

A blue sky is ruling this morning with a current temp of 26.5C at 7 am.

Yesterday was another lovely and sunny day with a max temp of 30.7C. Bring on this years Christmas!


Sunday 23 December 2007

The Cliff Grill

The Cliff Grill,

It's been a while since I had time to write a review, since I've been busy with diving but at last, I'm back in business;

Yesterday we had dinner at the The Cliff Grill, beautifully located on the hills between Chaweng and Lamai with a spectacular view over the ocean.

It's great spot for either lunch or dinner and they have a nice bar next to the restaurant.

Their menu is Mediterranean and has good fish, meat (NZ steaks, chicken), spaghetti's and vegetarian on offer.

We had a mixed seafood combo platter as starter between the three of us, which almost served as a complete meal. It was meant for two but almost stuffed the three of us. It had calamari, king prawns, mussels in white wine sauce and two white fish filets plus a salad and French fries.

It was really delicious and especially the French fries went down well with me since they were fried in olive oil, mmmm, yummy.

As mains we had line fish (sea bass), a rib eye and I had a combo of line fish and calamari. As dessert my wife had a delicious Tiramisu. There was also a special on offer; Green Tea mousse!
Wine flowed freely and it was a delicious meal in a nice location.

It's a bit more expensive than your average restaurant, meals range from around 300,- to 700,- Baht but it's well worth it.

Reservations are recommended at 077 414 266 or check their website and their kitchen is open between 12am and 10 pm.


23rd December, 2007

Today's weather;

A splendid looking clear blue sky is out an about on this important day for Thailand's democracy with elections at hand today. Current temp at 7 am is 24.3C

Yesterday was a very nice and sunny day with a max temp of 30.2C


Saturday 22 December 2007

22nd December, 2007

Today's weather;

A blue sky with some white clouds in it this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 25C.

Yesterday was a warm and hot day with sunshine all day long.

Today and tomorrow I'm still diving so unfortunately I don't have much time to post any other blogs.


Friday 21 December 2007

21st December, 2007

Today's weather;

It looks beautiful this morning, an almost perfect blue sky with some scattered clouds in it. Temp at 7 am is around 25C.

Yesterday had sun and overcast during the day time but around 5 pm it started to rain pretty hard for about half an hour. After that it cleared up again and the sky was filled with stars during the night time.

Had to pick somebody up at airport last night and it was as busy an arrival area as I've ever seen it! Samui is about to become busy!


Thursday 20 December 2007

20th December, 2007

Today's weather;

Overcast with blue spots rule this morning. At 7 am it's already 27.3C.

Yesterday I was diving around Koh Tao and it was very nice, sunshine mixed with some overcast and lovely visibility. However, back on the farm on Samui, it was a mixed bag with lots of showers and little bursts of sunshine all day long.


Wednesday 19 December 2007

19th December, 2007

Today's weather;

When I woke up it pretty much immediately started to rain, from dark grey clouds, however, the outburst was very short. It's already brightening up although it's still cloudy.
At 7 am it was already 27C.

Yesterday started out with a blazing blue sky but soon turned cloudy, around 11 am it was complete overcast with a very sporadic drop here and there but no real rain hoses. During the late afternoon it turned blue again.
Max temp reached 29.5C.


Tuesday 18 December 2007

18th December, 2007

Today's weather;

It's steadily going on to Christmas and the weather is improving. There's a blue sky shaping up and the sun is starting to heat up and the winds seem to have gone down drastically. Current temp is 25.4C at 7 am.

Yesterday was wind still, my dive outing to Koh Tao was very pleasant yesterday with a very flat ocean which made for smooth sailing and we had some great diving, see my dive blog. The sun was out all day with a nice blue sky in the background.


Monday 17 December 2007

17th December, 2007

Today's weather;

A blue sky is shaping up with plenty of sunshine. Current temp at 7 am is 25.3C.

Yesterday was a dry day with bouts of sunshine but also periods of overcast. All in all a nice day.

Very soon I'll be starting to write some other blog entries since I'm almost done with the current IDC program.


Sunday 16 December 2007

16th December, 2007

Today's weather;

Overcast and windy but dry so far and there were bits and pieces of sunshine earlier this morning. At 7 am it was 27.5C.

Yesterday was a windy day with a max temp of 29,3C and no rain, there was mostly overcast but the sun was out on occasion as well.


Saturday 15 December 2007

15th December, 2007

Today's weather;

Big fat clouds mingled with blue sky bits and pieces and fairly strong winds this morning. At 7 am it was already 27.3C.

Yesterday was a mixed day, there were bits and pieces of rain but also sunshine. Max temp reached 28.3C.


Friday 14 December 2007

14th December, 2007

Today's weather;

Today's update is a bit late since it was a bit of a late night yesterday, celebrating a very successful ending of the PADI IE, there are pix up on my dive blog.
It's grey and raining. Ouch! It started out as a drizzle about half an hour ago but by now it's been a steady downfall. It looks like things will/may clear up after the weekend again though.
At 7 am it was 24.5C.

Yesterday started out lovely on Koh Tao but on the way over to Koh Samui it started to rain, just before we got into Koh Phangan and back on Samui the roads were wet everywhere.
Last night, during the night out in Chaweng, the sky had cleared up again with tons of shiny starts in it, but this morning those stars were replaced by rain again.
Yesterday's max temp reached 29.4C


Thursday 13 December 2007

13th December, 2007

Today's weather;

There's an almost perfect blue sky over Koh Tao this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 23C.

Yesterday was a lovely day with plenty of sunshine and a max temp of 23C.

This afternoon I'm back off to Koh Samui, so tomorrow's update will be from Samui again.


Wednesday 12 December 2007

12th December, 2007

Today's weather;

Koh Tao has a blue sky and lovely sunshine with some fluffy clouds in it. At 7 am the temp was 23.3C, rather chilly!

Yesterday was a nice day, the trip over to Koh Tao saw an ocean as flat as a mirror so we had a smooth ferry ride. It was warm and sticky on the rock with a max temp of 31C.

Don't forget to check out my dive blog for updates on the PADI IE and if you're coming to Samui soon, diving is good around Koh Tao right now, which is where we dive coming from Samui.
By the way, I'm staying again at the Sea Lodge.


Tuesday 11 December 2007

11th December, 2007

Today's weather;

It looks good this morning, a blue sky with white clouds in it. Let the sun shine! Current temp at 7 am is 23C however, rather cold.

Yesterday was a lovely day with lots of sunshine and no rain.

Today I'm off to Koh Tao for the next two days for another PADI IE after my IDC finished yesterday. You can follow progress on my dive blog, I will keep reporting here a swell though, the Koh Tao weather is not that much different to the Samui variation, well, at least, most of the time ;-)


Monday 10 December 2007

10 December, 2007

Today's weather;

A blue sky with lots of thin white clouds in it and bits of sunshine. Current temp at 7 am is 25.4C.

Yesterday started out promising but soon became filled with overcast and little bits of pieces of rain two or three times. Nothing too serious though.


Sunday 9 December 2007

9th December, 2007

Today's weather;

It's massive blue sky with some sporadic cloud formations in it. At 7 am the temp is 26C. It's got all the makings of a very nice day!

Yesterday was a rather sunny day until the early afternoon and with overcast afterwards but very dry. Max temp reached 29.5C


Saturday 8 December 2007

8th December, 2007

Today's weather;

It's a mixed bag this morning, it started out nice and blue, now it's blue with clouds and it looks like some big grey cloud formations are moving in. Current temp st 7 am is 25.9C. I'm not sure if there was rain last night but it is very moist this morning.

Yesterday saw for the first time since three weeks rain again around noon and in the early afternoon, which actually wasn't bad at all, it got rid of all the dust on the road! Unfortunately some of the usual 'problem' roads flooded again due to minor flash floods, but nothing serious.


Friday 7 December 2007

7th December, 2007

Today's weather;

It's overcast this morning. No sunbeam to be seen at all! Current temp at 7 am is still 27.4C.

Yesterday turned out to be a very warm and sunny day with a blue sky all day long and a max temp of 31.3C.


Thursday 6 December 2007

6th December, 2007

Today's weather;

There's overcast but still sunshine as well. It's still dry, this part of the island, the north east, still hasn't seen any serious rain since mid November. At 7 am it was 27C.

Yesterday started out nice but it turned to a complete overcast around noon but stay dry.
Max temp reached 29.9C.


Wednesday 5 December 2007

Sunset Restaurant in Nathon

The Sunset restaurant in Nathon was our stop today.

We visited the children's doctor in Nathon today, since our oldest had a minor problem. The doc is always open between 5 and 7 pm so on the way out of Nathon, we decided to visit the Sunset restaurant, since a few people have recommended it over the years.

The restaurant is located at the end of Nathon when you take the road back to the pier, it's exactly before the curve to your right, which leads onto the ocean 'boulevard'.

The menu is extensive and starts with a varied Thai menu followed by a massive Western menu which seems to be dominated by Italian food, pizza's and pastas.

I ordered a Chicken Kiev and it was nice.

One thing we liked about the place is the extensive garden and seating arrangements. You can sit inside, outside with a roof and completely 'uncovered' outside. It's very spacious so excellent for children to run and play around.

The Thai menu has plenty of fresh on it and outside of the restaurant, to the left, are a couple of water basins with crabs and plenty of other fresh fish in it. Hard to beat in freshness!

This is how the view is during a sunset, amazing indeed and it definitely fits the name.

This won't be the last time that we will visit the Sunset restaurant in Nathon. Thumbs up.


5th December, 2007

Today's weather;

It's a beautiful blue sky, with some clouds in it but mainly sunny. At 10am it's already 29.2C.

Yesterday was a dry and sunny day although in the afternoon there were some patches of threatening black clouds, but it stayed dry where I was on Samui. Max temp reached 29.5C

Today is HMR The King Of Thailand 80th birthday and it's a National Thai holiday.


Tuesday 4 December 2007

4th December, 2007

Today's weather;

A mainly blue sky with white clouds in it which is looking very sunny. Current temp is 24.7C at 7am.

Yesterday was a nice, sunny and dry day with a max temp of 29.3C.


Monday 3 December 2007

3rd December, 2007

Today's weather;

A blue sky with plenty of clouds in it but very sunny this morning with a max temp of 24.2C at 7am.

Yesterday was a sunny day with a max temp of 29.5C


Sunday 2 December 2007

2nd December, 2007

Today's weather;

There are blue spots in the sky with big clouds but it's still dry! Current temp at 7am is 24.7C.

Yesterday was a sunny and dry day.


Saturday 1 December 2007

Welcome to December

Welcome to December 2007

This is a month to look forward to, it's not that wet anymore and towards the middle of the month things start to really lift up.
In general December is rather sunny and pleasant and not too hot!

It's also a very busy month for Samui, around Christmas and New year Samui there will be lots of tourists and in general there's a good atmosphere.

Hope you enjoy this coming month as well and that some of the readers of my blog will actually enjoy their time on Samui during this month.

All the best,

1st December, 2007

Today's weather;

There's overcast with plenty of blue patches and sunshine. Current temp at 7am is 26.3C.

Yesterday was a dry day but all day long saw grey overcast but no rain! Maybe in some areas of Samui, but not where I was. Max temp reached 28.2C


Friday 30 November 2007

30th November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

Goodbye to November

It's time to say goodbye to 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.


29th November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

28th November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

27th November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

A donation to the local Temple

Sometimes during a Buddhist Holiday, people donate a large amount of money to the local Temple.

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.


26th November, 2007

Today's weather;

The sun is burning it's way through a whitish layer of overcast. Current temp at 7am is 23.6C.

Yesterday was a nice and dry day with a max temp of 30C.


Sunday 25 November 2007

Loy Kratong 2007

This years Loy Kratong was a good festival.

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.

The temple had plenty of visitors early on. At around 7pm when we arrived it was already full and there was a blessing ceremony for the King followed by a money offering event which happened at Big Buddha about which I will report later.
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.


25th November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

24th November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

The not so mummified Monk in Wat Lamai.

On the search for Mummified Monks on Samui.

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.


23rd November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

Natural Museum Lamai, part 2

Here are some more pictures of the Natural Museum in Lamai.

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.


22nd November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

21st November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

20th November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

Buddha Chedi Laem Sor, part 1

Part of our trip last Saterday included a visit to the Buddha Chedi Laem Sor.

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.


19th November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

The Picnic Basket, Bang Rak

The Picnic Basket in Bang Rak,

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.


Wat Kiri Wongkaram, Baan Taling Ngam

Yesterday we also visited Wat Kiri Wongkaram in Baan Taling Ngam.

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.


18th November, 2007

Today's weather;

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

Natural Museum Lamai, part 1

Today was a day of exploration.

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.

This wooden construction is an old style 'machine' to make 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!