Saturday 31 January 2009

Goodbye to January 2009

Goodbye to January 2009

The first month of 2009 has already gone by, almost in a flash.
The weather was very nice with lots of sunshine and not so much rain and halfway through the month the wind calmed down, making the beaches around Samui very nice and swimmable.

In my opinion this was an above average performance for January and hopefully it will get you folks out there to book your holidays in Thailand again.

My personal highlight during January was my dive trip to the Similan islands, which I reported about on my dive blog in 3 different posts. Some real nice pictures can be found at post # 1, # 2 and # 3.

Hope to see you soon in Thailand or rather on Samui!


31st January, 2009

Today's weather;

There are some clouds out there but it looks like another sunny day is shaping up with a current temp at 7 am of 23.5C.

Yesterday was warm and sunny with a max temp creeping in on 30C, it reached 29.8C.

On my dive blog I posted pictures of my Similan diving trip, have a look if you're interested, there are some really nice ones amongst them. There are more pictures at my Facebook account.


Friday 30 January 2009

30th January, 2009

Today's weather;

It's slightly cloudy but the sun is out as well with a current temp of 24.5C at 7 am.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine and no rain. Max temp reached 28.8C.


Thursday 29 January 2009

29th January, 2009

Today's weather;

A few clouds are floating around in a blue sky with a current temp of 24.7C at 7 am.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine and it stayed dry all day. Max temp reached 28.4C.


Wednesday 28 January 2009

28th January, 2009

Today's weather;

A partly cloud covered sky woke me up this morning with a current temp of 26.7C.

yesterday saw a sunny day with some rain/drizzle around 6 pm. Max temp reached 29C.


Tuesday 27 January 2009

27th January, 2009

Today's weather;

It's party cloudy with a current temp at 7 am of 24.5C.

Yesterday saw bits and pieces of sunshine and no rain with a max temp of 27.8C.


Monday 26 January 2009

Le Celtique Restaurant, Phuket

Le Celtique Restaurant, Phuket
Went for dinner with my friend Rob to a very nice French restaurant 'Le Celtique' last Friday evening when in Phuket; cuisine Fran├žaise, Thai, pizza and seafood. Excellent food and worthwhile checking out. A very nice atmosphere and outstanding food. I had a fish pate as a starter and grilled duck breast with an excellent pepper sauce. It's a little bit hard to find, but here's Lek's and Bertrand's phone number for directions; 08 9588 9517 or 08 4842 6233 or try their email adress
The restaurant sign
Frontal view of Le Celtique, note that there's a cosy outside sitting area

Saturday's menu, the rillette was outstanding and a very big portion

Inside Le Celtique

If in Phuket, try to find this lovely restaurant and enjoy a wonderful meal.


26th January, 2009

Today's weather;

It seems the good weather is following me around. Last week I had excellent weather conditions in the Similan islands, blue skies almost every day and the strong winds were gone. The last two days were sunny and hot in Phuket and today it seems that an almost blue sky reigns over Samui, after two days of rain here. Current temp at 7 am is 26.5C.

Yesterday was hot and sunny during the day time in Phuket and it rained almost all day long in Samui until the early afternoon.
Max temp reached 27.9C on Samui.


Sunday 25 January 2009

25th January,2009

Today's weather;

Woke up in Phuket and it was warm and sunny in Phuket! Now I'm back in Samui again and there was rain all day long but not when I arrived during the afternoon. As of tomorrow, we're back to the regular schedule again!

Yesterday was warm and hot in Phuket with a max temp of 33C!


Saturday 24 January 2009

24th January, 2009

Today's weather;

Hi, back online again, albeit a bit later than usual since I couldn't find a place to log. The dive trip in the Similan islands was great and pictures and updates will be announced soon.

In the meantime I'm in Phuket today and tomorrow. Phuket has a blue sky and it's hot! Current temp at 13.00 is 31.2C.

Yesterday it was 33C in Phuket and the whole last week in the Similans it was hot and blue skies!

Catch you later, it's good to be back,

Sunday 18 January 2009

Kao Lak, Phang Nga province

Kao Lak in Phang Nga province

During the afternoon I arrived in Kao Lak in Phang Nga province, today, after an uneventful flight from Samui to Phuket with Bangkok Airways. In Phuket I met my friend Rob and he drove me to Kao Lak, about an hour drive from Phuket airport.
The last time I visited Kao Lak was in March 2005, a good 3 months after the Tsunami, triggered by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and it looked very different. Total devastation back then and a seemingly drastically recovered and bustling city now. Good on them!

A beautiful view over Kao Lak beach.

The Andaman Sea

This Police boat may look familiar, it was swept on land by the tsunami over a distance of almost 2 km and it has been left as a permanent reminder of and monument for the Tsunami.
The police boat was in Kao Lak to protect and secure Her Royal Higness Ubonrat Rajakanya Siriwhaddana Phannawadee (daughter of HM the King Bhumibol) and her son and daughters until the Tsunami devastated the Andaman coast. Her son unfortunately perished in the waves.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be off to the Similan islands for a week of diving an no internet access.


18th January, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky seems to be shaping up although there's some thin cloud layers right now. Current temp at 7 am is 24.1C.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine and blue skies. Max temp reached 28.6C.

Today I leave for Phuket and Kao Lak and will be diving the Similan islands from 19th to 23rd January and won't have internet access. See you all back on the 24th!


Saturday 17 January 2009

17th January, 2009

Today's weather;

It's partly cloudy this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 24.2C.

Yesterday saw some sunshine during the morning but overcast during the rest of the day. Max temp reached 28.2C.


Friday 16 January 2009

16th January, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky with milky clouds is shaping up. Current temp at 7 am is 23.5C.

Yesterday saw some sunshine in the morning and overcast during the rest of the day, but no rain! Max temp reached 27.5C.


Thursday 15 January 2009

15th January, 2009

Today's weather;

It looks like a nice blue sky is about to shape up, as soon as the sun can burn the thin white layer away. Current temp at 7 am is 24.2C. The wind is dying down and over the weekend and next week, lovely weather is predicted.

Yesterday was merely cloudy with some sunshine thrown in here and there and a few scattered drops at some part of the island. Max temp reached 28C.

There was a nice surprise yesterday, since one of my readers decided to make a donation, which is highly appreciated! Please don't hold back, if you enjoy the blog and get something out of it, look for the donation buttons. Every small bit is appreciated!


Wednesday 14 January 2009

14th January, 2009

Today's weather;

It's cloudy and there's a strong wind. The wind will subside over the weekend though. Current temp at 7 am is 25.2C.

Yesterday saw cloud cover pretty much all day in Surat Thani and Samui. Max temp reached 28.4C and there were traces of rain. We had some rain when we left Surat Thani yesterday.


Tuesday 13 January 2009

13th January, 2009

Today's weather;

Surat Thani has a partially clouded sky with a current temp at 7 am of 18.5C! Brrrr. Samui had 24.5C.

Yesterday saw a max temp of 28C in Surat Thani and 27.9C on Samui. Partly clouded skies with plenty of sunshine but not too hot!

Here is one for our Northern Europeans friends; Baby, it's cold outside!


Monday 12 January 2009

Chinese restaurant opposite the Chinese Temple, Surat Thani city

Chinese restaurant opposite the Chinese Temple, Surat Thani city

That's the name the owner gave us when asked about the name of the restaurant, Chinese restaurant opposite the Chinese Temple. Well, everybody from Surat Thani knows now exactly which place you're referring to!

A rough guideline or help is that it's located near the night market in Surat Thani.

Outside they have loads of Thai/Chinese style take away food on display on big platters, including vegetarian options (tofu with vegetables, very yummy!).

If you decide to eat indoors, there are plenty of 'a la carte' dishes available and the food is really nice and totally affordable.

Rice is offered in various ways, kao pad or the stir fried rice, kao suay or steamed rice but the preferred way of eating rice here is in a small bowl of rice soup!

If in Surat Thani and you're staying over for whatever reason or during the day time you find yourselves in Surat Thani, this is a good option for some excellent food.

Last but not least, a picture of the Chinese Temple of which the restaurant derives its name. The temple is located at the same kinda traffic roundabout as the restaurant. This Chinese temple is definitely a place I would like to check out during the daytime!


Surat Thani night market

The Surat Thani night market

Is small but very nice. It's a street near the ocean and maybe just a 100 or 150 meters long with two smaller, not so busy side streets going off of the main night market street.

As usual with the average Thai night market, there's loads of food available and plenty of folks on their way home or just popping out of home to get some take away get into the action.

A wide variety of food is available, ranging from sweets, various differently prepared chicken dishes, fish, veggies, fruits, drinks, you name it and some more that you never heard of or never saw before or possibly never considered to consume! A real nice experience and never tiring. We enjoyed a nice relaxed stroll over the market.
Besides food there's plenty of other stuff for sale; clothes, cheap jewelry and cosmetics and plenty more.

Instead of take away food you can also sit down at some of the stalls and enjoy the offerings straight away, right there and than. Along the market are also a few restaurant places where you can sit, simple affairs with probably some good nosh.
Most Thai cities have a night market and if you have the opportunity, go and check it out, it's a colourful and enjoyable affair and you may end up trying some food you never had before.

Thaksin Hospital, Surat Thani town

Thaksin Hospital, Surat Thani town

Is a provincial, privately run hospital in the capital city of the province of Surat Thani, of which Koh Samui is part of. This hospital is housed in a fairly nondescript building in the outskirts of Surat Thani city, see the picture below.

It's not a fancy hospital, although it's relatively new but it has more medical equipment than all of the Samui hospitals combined, including the Bangkok - Samui hospital, for more extensive tests, like an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. If you need one of them, you can have them done in Bangkok at the various hospitals there or at Thaksin Hospital in Surat Thani. Most Westerners will opt for Bangkok, amongst others for the availability of English speaking doctors and staff, service and convenience but most Thais opt for this hospital if there's a situation that can't be dealt with on Samui. Compared to some of the nicer hospitals in Bangkok, this place is rather basic.

View from the main road to the entrance of Thaksin Hospital in Surat Thani city.
We're here to run some additional tests for my Dad who developed back problems since 3 weeks and the pain just won't go away. It makes him immobile and we hope to find a reason for his discomfort here.

Tonight we're staying overnight with an appointment for an MRI scan tomorrow morning in the hope we can leave somewhere tomorrow, back to Samui.


12th January, 2009

Today's weather;

A rather later than usual update, since I'm in Surat Thani town for a day or two at Thaksin Hospital to have some tests completed for my Dad, like an MRI, which they can't do on Samui and I didn't have access to the internet until now.
The weather in Samui was sunny this morning but it's rather chilly during the night and in the mornings, although that's probably relative to my European readers, where in the Netherlands temperatures of -20C have been recorded recently. Here it's considered cold with a temp of 23C or below! Bangkok had 14C last night!

Yesterday saw some nice sunshine and it was not too hot. Max temp reached just below 30C.


Sunday 11 January 2009

Buffalo fighting in Bang Makham, near Nathon

Buffalo fighting in Bang Makham, near Nathon

This is definitely a very 'Samui' style experience and actually a rather exclusive Southern Thai event. Even better, besides on Samui, the only other place it takes place at, is the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

The big red sign makes it very clear what's happening but not the original sign on the top left of the red sign, with all letters pretty much gone!
There are a few fight stadiums on Stadiums on Samui. I know about this one in Bang Makham, near Nathon, there's one in Maenam there's another one in Lamai and there's one around the Ghost Road section at the crossing. Let's count this one towards Bang Rak. There may be one or two more that I'm not aware of.

The road leading up to the stadium. You didn't forget for a second that we're in Thailand, did you? Hence the food stalls on the way in, you can't avoid them. Snacks and food are just everywhere.

The cashier. It's rather expensive, 360,-THB for males and females and 100,-THB for children.
Most money however will change hands during the betting! Thais just love to bet.

The actual 'arena'. Before a fight, two buffalo's are put at each end of a white linen 'wall'. The buffalo's stand there, getting accustomed to 'their' territory. Once the linen wall is pulled away, they immediately face an intruder in their territory and will defend their territory accordingly. They lock horns until one of them runs out of the arena. This can last seconds, literally or a very long time. The locking horns part is also serious business and plenty of buffalo power, sweat and blood is spilled.

At 9.30 am, during the warming up for the first fight, a couple of 100 folks are already milling around on this Sunday morning. There are up to 3 fights during the day but sometimes the fights take place over various days and than there may be just one fight per evening.
The buffalo's are treated very well and are rather expensive.
If on Samui and you get the chance to witness a buffalo fight, it may interesting to go and watch it. The buffalo's are not killed after their fight, by the way!

11th January, 2009

Today's weather;

It's partly cloudy with a current temp of 24C.

Yesterday saw lots of sunshine and a max temp of only 27.3C though, due to the very strong wind roaring yesterday.

Yesterday saw also the nationwide 'Waan Dek' or Children's Day but it was marred by some very sad and unfortunate accidents.


Saturday 10 January 2009

10th January, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky with a white haze hovers above Samui this morning, with plenty of sunshine coming down. A strong wind is blowing. Current temp at 7 am is 25.3C.

Yesterday started out nicely but in the early afternoon it became very clouded but there was no rain. Max temp reached 29.5C.


Friday 9 January 2009

Children's day at my daughters school

Today was Children's day at my daughters school.

This in anticipation of tomorrow's nation wide Children days, where throughout the country plenty of activities are under way for children to participate in or to visit. Traditionally the army, navy and such give demonstrations and display hardware.

At my daughters school it was a full house with all the kids dressed up to perform a dance during a song and plenty of proud parents and grand parents were there to witness all this.

On a stage the children of the various groups/classes danced to music with the parents in front of the stage, taking pictures and shooting videos.

Plenty of presents and sweets were available which could be won by participating in a wide spectrum of various games, supervised by the various teachers.

One of the activities offered and a favored one was painting with water paint. Small figurines and drawings could be painted which attracted loads of kids to give it a try.
Our children had a blast and the school had it all well organised with plenty of free drinks and some food thrown in as well. A good was had by us all and we may venture out tomorrow to see if we can get some more action in Nathon.

9th January, 2009

Today's weather;

It's partly cloudy today but still with plenty of blue sky left. Today my daughter has a school event where she dances with her class mates, so possibly on update on this later today. This in context for tomorrow's Children day in Thailand. Current temp at 7 am is 25.2C.

Yesterday saw a near blue sky almost all day long with a max temp of 31C.


Thursday 8 January 2009

Bang Po Seafood restaurant, Bang Po

Bang Po Seafood restaurant

Is funnily enough located in Bang Po, on the main road between Maenam and Nathon, just before you reach the hills leading into Nathon.
There are a few seafood restaurants along this stretch of road and a few others call them selves also Bang Po something seafood. The 'real one' can easily be recognised by the amount of cars parked in front of it, along the road, since loads of (well off) Thais like to eat here. It looks similar to the picture below.
It's one of the few restaurants on Samui where real Samui food is still served, like Sabeinglae in Lamai. In March 2013 this restaurants was mentioned as one of the 20 best seafood restaurants on the world here.

It's been a few years since we've been here, my wife was really keen on coming out here so I gave her the pleasure. I'm a bit more reluctant in visiting, since out of the 3 times I had dinner here before this week, twice I got felled by food poisoning. Once from an oyster, which basically killed off my interest in said shell food and once from a typical Samui style Octopus soup with coconut. A soup I usually only see served at local weddings.

The food poisoning is something I experience about once a year, unfortunately I had it twice from this place, very rare.

It was time however to call the past the past and give it another try. The restaurant is well known and a lot of people rave about it. What I really liked about it is the fact that part of the restaurants tables are set up on the beach, so the kids can run freely and get themselves turned into little sandmen. Bring spare clothes!

You can also sit inside, there are plenty of tables set up there as well. We had a beautiful star filled sky though and thoroughly enjoyed the view over the ocean.

Down to the food, above is a typical Bang Po seafood specialty, Kapi yaang, a barbecued shrimp paste. That it's BBQ'ed is special about it. It's however not to my liking but my wife loves it and even my 6 year old daughter dug in seriously, although it's slightly spicy.
We also had Tom Yam Kuung, a spicy shrimp soup, which was rather nice, a Chu Chi Pla, a curried spicy mackerel, which we all found a bit too 'ground' tasting and a bit disappointing. The BBQ'd squid was nice.

The above pictured fish was excellently deep fried, a Plaa Jalamet or Pomfret an excellent tasting fish which they got done very well!
All in all though, I wasn't too impressed with the whole experience and especially considering how long we have to travel to get this restaurant, I don't feel it's worthwhile although the space for the children on the beach is nice. For the food I prefer Sabeinglae in Lamai, better quality for the same price and a similar distance to travel for me.

Oh, just for the record, I didn't get food poisoning this time around!


8th January, 2009

Today's weather;

Another blue sky reigns over Samui this morning with a current temp of 24.2C.

Yesterday was lovely, warm and blue skies with a max temp of 31.2C.


Wednesday 7 January 2009

7th January, 2009

Today's weather;

Another blue sky is welcoming us today on Koh Samui with a current temp at 7 am of 25.3C.

Yesterday saw lots of sunshine with an occasional cloud covering the sun briefly during the afternoon. Max temp reached 29C.


Tuesday 6 January 2009

6th January, 2009

Today's weather;

A clear blue sky is welcoming us this morning! Current temp at 7 am is 25C.

Yesterday saw mostly clouds but it remained dry. Max temp reached 28.5C.


Monday 5 January 2009

5th January, 2009

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy this morning with a hint of sunshine. Current temp at 7 am is 25.3C.

Yesterday saw good amounts of sunshine with still plenty of clouds in the sky. Max temp reached 29.5C.


Sunday 4 January 2009

Day trip to Surat Thani

Day trip to Surat Thani

Yesterday we came over to the mainland with strong winds on the ferry ride but the boat stayed stable enough to have a pleasant ride. It was very busy, lots of folks are on the way back home again.

The cosy little shopping road leading up to the restaurant

We went to see our friends Kob and Chot who live in Sakhon Nakhon but originate from near Surat Thani. Kob is a school friend of my wife who we visited last year during our Isaan trip.
Our friends Sao, who's wedding we visited last year was also present, being 10 weeks pregnant now.
We went to eat at the Nai Aow Restaurant in Kanchanadit, an excellent sea food place.

This visit was no exception, the food was awesome and we ate some mighty big crabs amongst others. This picture shows the advertisements for the various restaurants, Nai Aow is to the left.

The place is massive and can easily seat well over 200 people.

There was very high water this time around, in contrast to last time we visited. In the background are the oyster farms that this area is famous for.

On the way back to the car we stocked up on fresh made sweets and candy! Absolutely delicious.
We went to Kob's house, near Phun Pin (where Surat Thani's railway station is located) and hung out for a while. Than it was off to down town Surat Thani for another night at the Diamond Plaza Hotel. We'll be on the ferry back early this afternoon but not before we hit some shops in town!

4th January 2009

Today's weather;

Atlast, it looks like the sun is back, there are plenty of blue skies above Surat Thani, mingling with a few clouds. Max temp at 7 am is 22,3C. Rather chilly for these parts of the world.

Yesterday was a dry day but there was a very strong wind all day long. Around 8 pm there was a bit of rain around Surat Thani. Max temp reached 26C in Surat Thani and 28C on Samui.


Saturday 3 January 2009

3rd January, 2009

Today's weather;

It's cloudy but for the first time since a few days, there are little bits of blue sky above! The rain seems to be leaving us and sunny days are coming up. Max temp at 7 am is 26C.
We're off the mainland today (Surat Thani), to visit our friends from Sakhon Nakhon who we visited last year. We will stay overnight in Surat Thani, so tomorrow's report will be from the mainland!

Yesterday saw mostly overcast with a very occasional bit of rain. Max temp reached 27.2C.

Death toll of road accidents hits 226 Friday; A total of 851 road accidents occurred in provincial Thailand on Thursday - New Year's Day killing 83 people and injuring 909 others, the Road Safety Monitoring Centre said yesterday. Most victims were aged under 25.

Friday 2 January 2009

Welcome to January 2009

Welcome to January 2009

And to the year 2009!

Around the holiday season the weather wasn't that great, but let's hope it's going better soon. In general January can be a bit naughty with some rain here and there but it's nothing like in November!

The interesting part will be how tourism will fare during the next couple of months. Right now it's still packed to the rafters on Samui but after this weekend I expect it to slow down, just not to a grinding halt! The world wide economic credit crunch is going to hurt, I'm afraid but I hope that you good folks out there still think that Thailand and especially Samui is worthwhile a trip!

Hope to see you soon.


2nd January, 2009

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy and it looks like it can start raining any moment. Current temp is 25.8C.

Yesterday saw merely overcast and a few times there was some rain or drizzle. Max temp reached 27C.

Thursday 1 January 2009

1st January 2009

New Year's day weather;

It's raining, pretty much as predicted. Current temp at 7 am is 26.7C.

Yesterday it rained and drizzled almost all day long, almost 40 mm of rain came down. It should've also been wet around midnight but luckily for all the revellers it was dry. Max temp reached 27.1C.
Once more we spend a nice evening with a fantastic meal at Sabeinglae restaurant in Lamai last night, this time with my parents. This restaurant became a fave in a very short time frame!

In Bangkok there was a very sad event; Fire at an Ekkamai pub kills at least 59 and injures scores in New Year countdown disaster.
Each year there seems to be a fire in a bar, pub or disco on New year's Eve, this time it unfortunately struck in Bangkok. Current death toll is around 100 in this upper class establishment with supposedly a mixture of Westerners and Thais amongst the victims.

The New Year holiday season is always a dangerous one in Thailand, with plenty of road accidents and a high death toll around the country. This year is no different and yesterday's count was 56 dead, 635 injured.
On Samui tents as pictured above are located around the island, with volunteer rescue ambulances that can be quickly at accident scenes.
It's also staffed by police in the evenings and together with Song Kran, the Thai New Year, it's about the only two times in the year that there are alcohol controls on Samui.

Nonetheless, I hope you all had a good start of the year and are have cured your hang overs by the time you read this.