Monday 30 June 2008

His Majesty The King's Isaan Palace near Sakhon Nakhon

His Majesty The King's Isaan Palace near Sakhon Nakhon

As last post for this June, a bit of a special treat; During our Isaan trip, earlier this year in January we visited The King's Isaan Palace near Sakhon Nakhon. It took me a mere 5 months before I got around posting these pictures.

King Bhumibol or Rama IX, has a Palace in each part of the country, in the South there's a Palace near Prachuap Khirikhan. Pictured above is the entrance, the Palace is located near the start of a very beautiful drive through the mountains from Sakhon Nakhon to Korat also known as Nakhon Ratchasima.

Here's a view of the actual Palace, although it looks more like a massive villa, with all modern days luxury and commodities.

The actual palace is located in lush gardens and there are two main villa's next to each other, one for the HM King and one for his 2nd Daughter. The other residencies for the Queen and the other children are located in a different area, not too far away.

This pictures a kind of cat walk were parties are held and for instance private fashion shows are held.

A view taken from the front of the villa.

A view at the rear of the main building.

Around the various buildings, details are very intricate, as this roof Kinnaree shows.

Beautiful handcrafted ornaments are displayed, like this magnificent Chinese style vase. This vase is about the same size as my at that time 5 year old daughter.

A view of some of the fauna and gardens surrounding the compound.

The place has also a big helicopter landing pad and is heavily armed and guarded by special army units and we were very lucky to be shown around a little bit off the 'beaten track'.

It was a very nice setting which I can highly recommend to visit if in the neighbourhood.


Goodbye to June 2008

Goodbye to June 2008

It's that time of the month again! June 2008 is coming to an end, with Spain as deserved European champions, congrats to them, it was a long wait for them! I enjoyed the first three games of the Dutch team and was amazed by and full of respect for the Russian performance against Oranje.

Anyway, back to the June weather, this month started out rather slowly with some wet days but towards the end of the month it turned into a nice, mostly sunny and dry month.

Am looking forward to July, where the good weather hopefully will continue!

Don't forget to visit the Top 100 Thailand Blogs site and vote for my blog, you can find me there as Camille on Samui, currently around the 40th spot!

If you enjoy reading this blog, you can support me by donating via PayPal and by visiting my Samui hotel recommendation blog and my Thailand hotel recommendation blog and book your reservations through them. Thanks!

If you're into diving, visit my dive blog or my Samui diving website. Dive conditions during July should be good.

Also keep sending in those comments, it let's me know that somebody out there is reading my blog. Hope you enjoyed visiting this blog during this month and I'm looking forward seeing you again next month.


30th June, 2008

Today's weather;

A medium sized white haze with a few blue spots is currently active over Samui with a current temp of 26.5C.

Yesterday was another hot and sunny day with a max temp of 32.8C.


Sunday 29 June 2008

Namuang Waterfall, Baan Namuang

Namuang Waterfall, Baan Namuang

Today was finally a Sunday since a while that I could spend with the family. We decided on a trip around the island, something we tend to do on a regular base.

After having driven through Hua Thanon, where I took some pictures of some old style traditional Samui/Hainan houses, we went via Baan Tong Krut, where there's a rum distillery on which I like to report at a later time, when they're in season, around December to April to Baan Taling Gnaam, where we had a quick glance into the Wat Kiri Wongkaram.

After the Temple visit we were on the road again to Namuang Waterfall and the elephants they have near the parking lot.

My son loves elephants and whenever he sees an elephant statue somewhere, and there are plenty of them in Thailand, he's in a state! Imagine when we go to see real live elephants, excitement was in the air! He loved it!

Elephant safaris are offered, currently at 600,-THB per person.

On the way to the actual waterfall are a handful of restaurants, mainly serving good Isaan food, like Naam Tok, Laab, Som Tam and some good BBQ-ed chicken (Kai Yang). One restaurant in particular is described in a different post on this blog.

This information plaque tells us how important the waterfall is to Samui, various Kings of the Chakra dynasty have visited the waterfall, Rama V and his Queen, Queen Saovapa Pongsi, later King Rama III visited once and the current King, King Bhumibol, Rama IX and his Queen visited on April 27, 1962.
It's a tine fall, consisting with a small reservoir at the fall base.

The reservoir at the base of the fall, inviting to swimmers. usually Thai families hang out at the opposite, picnicking through the day.

The actual waterfall, currently with a good flow, after the recent rain we had.

A shot with both the basin and the fall partially on it.

Another great place to stop during a trip around the island and a good place to stop and get something to eat or have a refreshing young coconut to drink and a favorite of our family, I lost track of how many times we visited this place already.


Market in Prachuap Khirikhan

Market in Prachuap Khirikhan

The pictures of local markets in Thailand earlier this month about Plai Laem and last month about Nathon made me dig up some pictures that I took at the local market in Prachuap Khirikhan earlier this year as part of our Isaan trip in January.

As you already should know by now, food is never far away in Thailand and especially this morning market in the city Prachuap Khirikahn had plenty on display, actually, it was mainly food, for breakfast and ingredients to cook lunch and dinner later in the day.

Here a picture of Ho Mok Thalee or a steamed seafood custard.

A picture of a fruit that looks like Makaam or Tamarind but it is different, a lot more sweetish.

Lots of freshly caught Plaa Meuk or squid.

Khanom or Thai sweets.

Very colourful fruit, oranges and mango amongst others.

As you can see, another very colourful experience for instance for the photographers amongst us and if you're there in person, also a very interesting experience for your smelling senses, in a positive way!


29th June, 2008

Today's weather;

An almost blue sky is above Samui, with some hazy, thin clouds. Current temp at 7 am is 26.3C.

Yesterday was a very nice and warm day, around noon some overcast passed by but other than that it was a sunny, dry and very warm day. It has been warm since a couple days already.


Saturday 28 June 2008

Wat Racha Tamaram, Lamai

Wat Racha Tamaram, Lamai

Or better known as Wat Silah Nguu (temple of the Stone Snake) by the locals, just a bit further down the road coming from Lamai, going towards Hua Thanon, was visited by me after my trip to Immigration in Nathon and after my stop at the Chinese Temple in Hua Thanon.
It's called the Temple of the Stone Snake because all over the temple, there are plenty of Stone Snakes, mainly next to all stairs, as (over sized) hand railings.

Located directly at the ring road, this picture taken going in to the direction of Lamai, it has always been a very small and simple Wat (temple) with no bells and whistles so to speak. I visited this Wat once before during a Temple fair when my sister and her family were visiting.

Right now there's some serious construction going on and a Bot, as pictured here and a big Sala is almost finished. In a Thai temple, the "BOT" (โบสถ์) is the finest building where monks are assembled for religious rites (สังฆกรรม) such as morning and evening prayers, ordination. It is the most sacred part of the temple.

Here's the almost completed Sala, which is serving as a community meeting centre during activities at the Wat.

Both building make for a tremendous impact and change on the Temple grounds.

Almost directly next to the entrance of the Wat, slightly to your left, you can find this big Banian tree or "Bo", surrounded by all kind of Buddha images and other deity's. Trees are considered holy in Thailand and many times trees are worshipped, like this one.

Further down on the premises, towards the ocean, the Wat is located at the top of a cliff with a beautiful view, you can find this Phra Thaat. This is a building where a bone or other relic of a local, famous monk is kept.

Below the Pra Thaat, down towards the ocean, this cemetery can be found where the urns of the deceased have an eternal view over the Gulf of Thailand.

At the back of the Wat, at your left hand, you can find these two Buddha statues, which are worshipped by the local visitors.

Interestingly enough, sitting right next to the two Buddha statues, is this Buddha statue wrapped in plastic, ready to be painted in the right colours.

Opposite the two small Buddha statues, is this Sala dedicated to Lung Phra Phum, a local monk who is revered here.

At the end of my visit I bought some more amulets, There were a few on display, including a beautiful box of a set of two amulets for 1.500,-THB.

During a trip around the island, this a small but nice Wat, not very spectacular but in all it's modesty, it has some great views over the Gulf and the local bay and you can get some good shots here. I enjoyed my visit more than I anticipated and I posted more pictures than I usually would do.


28th June, 2008

Today's weather;

It's a fairly blue sky with a few white patches in it. Max temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday was a good day, a shade of rain and a bit of sunshine here and there with a max temp of 31.5C.


Friday 27 June 2008

Swiss Chalet Restaurant, Lamai

Swiss Chalet Restaurant, Lamai

It's been a while that I have done a restaurant review, but in the last week I've been twice to the Swiss Chalet in Lamai for dinner and if you're in to decent Swiss/German food, this may well be your place in Lamai.

The first time I went, I shared a nice meat fondue for two, listed as a Fondue Chinoise, which had plenty of beef, pork and chicken to fill two easily! We also had a nice bottle of South African red wine, very affordable at just a bit under 1.000,-THB for the bottle. A real nice find.

The Swiss Chalet is located in Lamai center, next to the Bauhaus, on a crossing, directly at the corner and opened in December 2006.

If you find yourself in Lamai and you're up for a good and decent meal, this is the place to be and well worth a visit with also a Thai menu and Kobe steaks.

Here's my starter, from the Special of the day menu; Italian noodles with 4 sorts of cheese. A real tasty, creamy and filling choice which filled me with delight and my arteries with cholesterol.

This is my main, a Koeniginpastetli mit nudeln, erbsli und Rebli or in English; "Vol au Vent" stuffed puff pastry with creamed chicken, veal sausage cubes and mushrooms, accompanied with noodles, sweet peas and carrots.

Another dish on the table was some outstanding Eisbein mit sauerkraut (800 grams), salzkartoffeln und senf. A massive and well tasting pickled pork knuckle!

It went together with that excellent South African red wine again.

They also serve some good looking breakfasts, for the early risers and carry a children menu.

Hope you enjoy your meal!


School party time again at Plai Laem

School party time again at Plai Laem

It's that time of the year again. The local school located at Wat Plai Laem had it's yearly party, as I reported also last year.

The stage was set for performances of the local students and plenty of local folks came out to eat something, have a drink, chat with friends and watch the dancing.

What the head master of this local school does very smartly, is to arrange for all food and gifts to be donated by locals but mainly by hotels and resorts in the area. From the sales of said food and the donations everybody give during the evening, they have a perfect fundraiser in place.

Interestingly enough, it was the first time that on the invitation envelope, my full name was written in Thai, a personal invite, my first one, usually it's always my wife's name with the addition 'and husband'. I'm moving up on the local society ladder! As you may remember from previous posts, the invitation letters are supposed to be returned with money inside them. Same principle works for weddings and the like (house warming parties with monks, for instance).

One of the dancing groups performing yesterday evening. Our children enjoyed the evening very much, they met lots of local friends and liked to watch the on stage performances.


27th June, 2008

Today's weather;

There's a fair bit of overcast with small blue patches in it, supporting a 25C temp at 7am.

Yesterday was a mixed bag with overcast and blue patches, all day long and an occasional drop here and there, but nothing serious. Max temp reached 30.7C.
It looks like the wind and overcast are receding and some sunny days are coming up.


Thursday 26 June 2008

Chinese Temple, Hua Thanon

Chinese Temple, Hua Thanon

Guang Yu

Update January 2016, a new statue has replaced the 2012 statue.

Update 29th September, 2012, the new shrine has an opening ceremony today and looks really nice, well worth a visit.

 Update early January 2012 The 'old' temple has been broken down and is replaced with a new structure/building, still at the same location.

After my three monthly visit to Thai Immigration in Nathon today, I decided it would be a good opportunity to visit some temples I usually don't go to and which are located a bit further away from where I live.

First one on the agenda was the Chinese temple located in Hua Thanon. As already reported in earlier posts, there's a big Hainanese legacy on Samui.

This temple, run by the Hua Thanon Hainanese Temple Association, is a great sample of this legacy, as is actually all of Hua Thanon, with it's traditional Hainan style houses. More on Hua Thanon at a later time though, now it's time for it's temple.

Before I continue, something that makes me wonder, if this post will receive as much attention as my post about the Chinese Temple located in Maenam, which seems to be by far one of my most visited posts. Time will tell but an interesting observation to make and to follow.

Next to the entrance, at your left hand, is this big plaque, with Chinese characters on it and to be honest, I have no idea what it means, but it looked interesting!

Inside the temple, it's rather small and relatively quiet, since it's located directly at the ring road, so with it's doors open, noise from the road doesn't find it too difficult to enter.
This picture shows a view of the main altar.

This is inside the room where the main altar is located and shows the Chinese deities that are worshipped and look out over the altar.

Next to the entrance of the main altar room, is this scenic display, with a typical bell and drum. Other Chinese/Thai visitors present during my visit used both of them.

On the ceiling one can find some intricate lampoon style lights.
As an amateur Buddha amulet collector, I couldn't resist buying an amulet here. They had a few on display and the one ended up choosing was the last one available. They had about 15 different amulets for sale, one costing 25.000,-THB since it was made of 18K gold, cheaper ones, which still went for about 9.000,-THB were made of pink gold. I went for a copy that went for 'only' 580,-THB instead and for the first time ever, also received a numbered receipt for my purchase, which I liked very much.

Next door to this Chinese Temple, is very conveniently, a Chinese/Thai restaurant (which I haven't tried yet!), so when on a trip around the island, a nice place to stop, eat some local food and make some pictures from the temple and the very typical Hainan, and therefor also typical Samui houses in Hua Thanon. In my opinion, Hua Thanon has the most typical original style houses in all of Samui that reminds of the old days of Samui.

All in all, well worth a visit.


26th June, 2008

Today's weather;

It looks nice again, the sun is blazing through a hazy sky and the current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday was a lovely day with plenty of sunshine and we enjoyed our afternoon dives off Chaweng Beach, see my dive blog for more info. However, by the time we were getting ready to start the night dive, at around 6.30 pm it all went haywire and a strong storm passed by with strong winds and plenty of rain. Not sure when the rain stopped, but it came down for a couple of hours.
Max temp reached 31.3C.


Wednesday 25 June 2008

A reminder not to drown on your Thai holiday!

A reminder not to drown on your Thai holiday!

As already posted on this blog just before the last monsoon season on Samui, here's a quick reminder about rip tides that can prevail in Thailand.

Right now not really a threat on Samui and surrounding islands, but something that may be more likely to occur around Phuket or the Andaman coast.

This sign is up on Chaweng beach, just to remind people. Please read the article again that I'm linking to in the beginning of this post.

25th June, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy this morning but there's no wind, at least not for the time being. Current temp at 7 am is 26.5C.

Yesterday it was merely cloudy with sometimes some blue, sunny patches and it remained dry. There were also no extreme strong wind gushes, as in previous days. Max temp reached 29.3C.

Yesterday I also started a new blog, it's a blog about Thailand hotel recommendations. It's going to be a blog that will grow bigger over time, with the addition of new hotel recommendations all over Thailand. Please visit it and have a look and help me out by booking your accommodation throughout Thailand through this blog.

You can help my blog by voting for it on this blog top 100 site, my Samui weather blog is listed as Camille on Samui and currently you can find me around the 30th spot.


Tuesday 24 June 2008

A good explanation on the current political unrest in Bangkok/Thailand.

A good explanation on the current political unrest in Bangkok/Thailand.

As you may be aware of, during the last three weeks there have been protests in Bangkok again, against the current government, lead by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

Rumors of a coup have been thick and rife and keep popping up their head occasionally, although the Army vouched that they would not get involved.

The International Herald Tribune gives a good view and explanation on what's going in the linked article.

In a different article from The Nation, Samak vows not to resign or dissolve House of Parliament.

An interesting situation is brewing up in Bangkok and I hope it gets solved peacefully.


24th June, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy with blue patches. Current temp at 7 am is 25.6C.

Yesterday was a nice day, plenty of overcast but still sunny with some very strong and hard wind around 5 pm and in parts of Samui this went together with some hard rain for a short period. Max temp reached 31C.


Monday 23 June 2008

23rd June, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy this morning and there are strong winds. Current temp at 7 am is 26.5C.

Yesterday was lovely up to around 2 am when a hard storm hit Samui. After that it was windy and plenty of overcast. Max temp reached 33.3C.


Sunday 22 June 2008

Pictures of today's weather

Pictures of today's weather

It's a bit of mixed bag!

This morning started out great, during the final part and closing of this current PADI IE on Chaweng beach, see my dive blog for a full report.

The beach is lovely and sunny, like you expect a beach to be on Samui during the latter part of June.

More scenic impressions of Chaweng beach this morning.

Just when I got home after leaving Chaweng, all hell broke loose around Big Buddha and Plai Laem with a strong wind storm and some rain and since that, the sky has been dark, although it's mainly dry.
For the next couple of days, strong winds are predicted with the occasional rain.