Saturday 28 February 2009

Fair in Nathon

Fair in Nathon

Fairs are always fun, especially if it's your first Thai fair! They're colourful, strange smells from exotic food are in the air and weird things can be seen.

The yearly fair in Nathon is no different and I actually found a few interesting things, besides the usual barrage of food and cheap or second hand clothes, have a look at some of the pix below.

This machine is a first for me. It makes Kao Maak, a fermented version of rice, very popular here with local Samui people. This machine trashes the rice continuously, never seen it before.

Here's Kao Laam on sale, a sticky rice, sweet dessert, stuffed in bamboo.

Another interesting thing for the young ones was this hand powered roundabout.

As already mentioned, besides the usual food and clothes on sale, you could also pick up your long wanted teak wooden bed or other teak wood furniture!

Or, how about some garden statues?
besides this, there were animals for sale, small house hold utensils and lots more. If you're in Thailand, these fairs are worthwhile visiting and are very popular with the local population.
The fair in Nathon used to be a major event for Samui, but nowadays similar fairs are held all over the island and this specific fair has lost a bit of it's importance. Fairs like this are held all over Thailand though, so you don't want to miss out on one near you.

28th February, 2009

Today's weather;

It's a bit cloudy this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 26C.

Yesterday was steaming hot, with the result that I was as red as a lobster, after having walked around on Chaweng beach without sun protection for just half an hour after noon. This was part of the Scuba Specialty Instructor training I was conducting, for an update and pictures keep an eye out on my dive blog.
Max temp reached 30.8C yesterday.


Goodbye to February 2009

Goodbye to February 2009

It's that time of the month again and in February it's always a few days a nutshell, regarding the weather, February was magnificent, there was hardly any rain at all (I only remember one or two occasions) and loads of sunshine and very warm weather.
Although the thermometer constantly showed a max temp of around 30C, it was a lot warmer!

Despite the fact that most weather predictions aren't that favorable for (early) March, I would take that with a grain of salt. My fellow weather blogger from Phuket, Jamie, has has received a few requests and concerns over the March weather and he has this to say on his Phuket weather blog.
For Samui, I like the Windguru site, which I find fairly accurate, the Thai Metheorological Department and for a real live check, you can always look at these Samui webcams.

Dear readers of my blog, it's a great time to visit Thailand right now and especially Samui.
Hope to see you soon and I'm looking forward to March.

On a personal note, this February was a memorable one for all the wrong reasons with my Dad ending up in the Samitivej hospital in Bangkok where a tumor was diagnosed and a 6 month stay on Samui was cut short to just under 3 month. Right now my parents are back in the Netherlands and my Dad is in a local hospital.


Friday 27 February 2009

27th February, 2009

Today's weather;

A clear and sunny sky welcomes us to this new day with a current temp of 25.5C at 7 am.

Yesterday saw another hot day on Samui with a max temp of 30.5C.


Thursday 26 February 2009

26th February, 2009

Today's weather;

Another blue sky is shaping up over Samui, if you're on Samui, enjoy it since it looks like the weather is about to change come March! Right now, the current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Choengmon beach, my favorite beach on Samui, two days ago.
Yesterday was warm, with a max temp of 30.9C. It felt a lot warmer than the actual temperature!

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Hin Ta Hin Yai, Lamai

Hin Ta Hin Yai, Lamai

One of the better known tourist attractions on Samui and it takes me almost 3 years to write about it!
Here at last, is a review and some pictures of Hin Ta Hin Yai, or possibly better known amongst the English speakers as Grandfather stone and Grandmother stone.

It's located south-west of Lamai Beach, just off the 4169 ring road. Here's the entrance as seen from the ring road, it's another 4 or 500 meters before you get there. On your right hand side, after those 400 meters, there's a small parking lot, so it's no problem to visit by car.

Grandfather stone (Hin Ta) - two stone formations nearby each other - looking like an erect penis, see picture above and Grandmother stone (Hin Yai) , see picture below, looks like a vagina, hence their names.

It's always fairly busy down there and some days it's not possible to take the picture above due high waves and the water spraying around.

Besides the two stones, there's not really much to do except for visiting some souvenir shops and watching and listening to an old musician who seems to be there every day.

Most notable is the special candy which visitors can try for free, don't hesitate, it's worth a taste.
It's caramel based and it's a local Samui specialty and here at Hin Ta Hin Yai is one of the few places where you can get it on Samui.
It's part of the OTOP (One Tambon One Product) program, a local (nationwide Thai) entrepreneurship stimulus program to support the unique locally made and marketed products of each Thai tambon (subdistrict).
My wife loves this 'caramae' and always buys a couple of bags whenever we visit here!
If you visit Samui and you have a trip around the island, you just can't miss out on visiting Hin Ta Hin Yai!

25th February, 2009

Today's weather;

Am almost perfect blue sky reigns over Samui this morning with a current temp of 25.5C at 7 am.

Yesterday was warm and sunny with a max temp of 30.8C.


Tuesday 24 February 2009

Chaweng Pagoda, almost completed

Chaweng Pagoda, almost completed

It's been a while since I last reported about the Pagoda overlooking Chaweng and Bang Rak, that was in September 2008.

Not that much seems to have been done however. The inside of the Pagoda has now been completed as it seems though.

This is the big hall at entrance level and in September the tiles were brown coloured but now they are white coloured and Buddha seems to have been moved back into this room on a more permanent base it seems.

This is the upstairs room, which was still under construction last September, but now it seems to be completed, except there's nothing positioned on the table.

On the way up to the Pagoda, there were some beautiful flowers in season and this very popular Leelawadee is an absolute beauty.
I will check in again on the Pagoda and let you know of any changes.

24th February, 2009

Today's weather;

It's a partly clouded sky ruling over our little part of Samui this morning with a current temp of 25.4C at 7 am.

Yesterday was warm and sunny with a max temp of 30.5C.
It feels a lot warmer on Samui than Bangkok, despite the lower temperatures on Samui (around 30C), compared to the higher temperatures in Bangkok (around 36C) last week.


Monday 23 February 2009

Samui Pirates - The Thai Red Cross Society Charity Bike Ride part 2

Samui Pirates - The Thai Red Cross Society Charity Bike Ride part 2

After yesterday's story, here some bike pix. There were some really cool bikes there!

A Triumph, a real cool design.

A cool looking chopper.

1940 BSA.

Cowboy bike.

An interesting rear light, with hints of Motorhead.
Although not every body's cup of tea, I hope you enjoy the pix.

23rd February, 2009

Today's weather;

An almost clear blue sky is over Samui this morning with a current temp of 24.8C at 7 am.

Yesterday saw a warm but cloudier than usual day. Max temp reached 29.5C.


Sunday 22 February 2009

Samui Pirates - The Thai Red Cross Society Charity Bike Ride

Samui Pirates - The Thai Red Cross Society Charity Bike Ride

Today during our 'around the island trip' with my sister, in our car, we encountered the Samui Pirates - The Thai Red Cross Society Charity Bike Ride organised by the Samui Pirates.

The Samui Pirates are holding the Island Charity Bike ride to help The Thai Red Cross Society. The ride will begin in the afternoon and will end with a free live Rock Concert at Nathon Pier in the evening.

Riding through Chaweng.

We leave and ride round the island at 2 PM. We will stop at Lamai, at Buddy's Bar (see picture above) for refreshments (water etc.). At 4 Pm we will arrive at Nathon ferry car park where the evening event will take place. At 5 PM we will have games and a charity auction. 7 Pm the live music starts. 9 PM we will welcome all Clubs to Koh Samui and invite Club Officials on stage. It will be a good day!!!!
This picture will give you an idea how many bikes were participating, it was well impressive!

Custom made bike.

Modern time bike

We just passed Buddy at Lamai when they were having their break and I took the opportunity to make some pictures of some really cool bikes. I'll post more pix in a second post.

22nd February, 2009

Today's weather;

It's partly cloudy and it's rather windy. Current temp at 7 am is 27.8C.

My Dad arrived safely in Europe yesterday and should be at the AZM hospital in Maastricht by now.

Yesterday was warm on Samui, it was cloudy but still plenty of sunshine was available. Max temp reached 30.5C.


Saturday 21 February 2009

21st February, 2009

Today's weather;

Back on Samui! However, this also means that my Dad has left Bangkok around noon local time back to the Netherlands. I'm back on Samui but with a small cloud over my heart!

It's cloudy on Samui but very warm, current temp at 1 pm is 29.8C.

Yesterday was warm in Bangkok with a max temp of 35.8C and Samui was warm and sunny with a max temp of 30.8C.


Friday 20 February 2009

The BTS or Bangkok Mass Transport System, Bangkok

The BTS or Bangkok Mass Transport System, Bangkok

The BTS or Bangkok Transport System is also known as the skytrain, for the simple reason that all the lines run above ground or rather above the streets of Bangkok.
It opened on 5th December, 1999.

The way payment is simple and straightforward and ticket machines like this one are all over the BTS stations.

The current system isn’t that big, there are currently only two lines. The one running from Mo Chit (near the Chatuchak weekend market) to On Nut is the biggest line and that’s the one that runs over Sukhumvit road. The other line currently in use is the Silom line, running from National Stadium to Saphan Taksin.
In August this year an extension is expected to open, running all the way up to Suvarnibumi airport. This has already been delayed to December 2009.

The platforms are wide and spacious and are accessible mostly by stairs although some or all seem to have moving staircases or elevators in place.

The trains are comfortable although during rush hour they tend to fill up easily, however without the scenes we know from Japan where people are literally pushed into the wagons.
Whilst in Bangkok, the sky train is very convenient since it reduces the waiting time in the 'rot thit' or traffic jams, which are notorious around Bangkok.
Whenever I book a hotel nowadays in Bangkok, I always make sure it's near a BTS station.
Besides the Sky train system, Bangkok also supports the MRTA subway system,
of which you can find a story here.

20th February, 2009

Today's weather;

It's slightly cloudy but fry and hot in Bangkok with a current temp at 7 am of 27.3C in Bangkok.

If my Dad remains stable like he is since the last few days, he and my Mother will be repatriated tomorrow, back to the Netherlands. The medical team that is going to support and accompany him, arrived yesterday.

Yesterday saw similar conditions in Bangkok as recent days, dry and hot with a max temp of 34.9C.


Thursday 19 February 2009

Pantip Plaza, IT Mecca in Bangkok

Pantip Plaza, IT Mecca in Bangkok

Pantip Plaza is like a wet dream for the IT mongers amongst us. There are 5 floors of computers, laptops and related accessories for sale.
Pantip Plaza’s address is Phyathai Road, pretty much everyone knows where it is.

There’s a similar place in Bangkok, called Fortune Tower IT Mall, the advantage of this place is that it’s accessible by the Subway system.For Pantip Plaza it’s a bit more difficult to get there. I usually take the Sky train or BTS to Chid Lom station and from there I take a taxi.
The road down to Pantip is a very busy road however and it can take a long while before you get there.

Yesterday I went to visit Pantip Plaza and overshot with the Sky train and ended up in Siam station. From there I took a motorbike taxi for 50,-THB to Pantip Plaza, which is an adventure in itself. The motorbike driver squeezed himself into the narrowest possible spaces, which at each side city buses, giving you the feeling that if a bus moves you’re going to get crunched. When traffic wasn’t moving fast enough, the sidewalk turned out to be an excellent lane for moving forwards as well. Who said that the sidewalk is for pedestrians, well, better wake up now!

Besides computer related items, there’s a lot more for sale, photo cameras, underwater housings for photo cameras , computer bags, camera bags, software (copies), toys, projectors and beamers and you name it. It’s all under one roof and there for extremely convenient.

Over the years, I bought plenty of things here, a notebook, two different Canon camera models and their respective underwater housings, a projector/beamer, software, etc.

Don’t forget that we’re in Thailand, hence, there’s a food court. Actually a fairly good one as well, on the 2nd floor and it works with the commonly used coupon system. You buy coupons at a counter, order food and pay with the coupons and any coupons left you change back in to cash money.
There are also bakeries and a KFC outlet.

In case you need anything computer related in Bangkok, Pantip Plaza is the place to be!


19th February, 2009

Today's weather;

Bangkok's weather has been steady these days and it looks like another hot and sunny day in Bangkok with a current temp at 7 am of 27.2C. There are a few clouds in the sky though.

Providing that there are no complications, my Dad and my mother will be repatriated this coming Saturday and I'll be on Koh Samui again from Saturday onwards.

Yesterday was hot and sunny in Bangkok with a max temp of 35.2C.

Samui has been hot and sunny although there was a short shower yesterday morning.


Wednesday 18 February 2009

Samitivej Hospital, Sukhumvit Soi 49, Bangkok

Samitivej Hospital, Sukhumvit Soi 49, Bangkok

This hospital is where my Dad was evacuated to from Koh Samui. He stayed for two nights in a private room and the remainder at an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) room.

The hospital is smack down in downtown Bangkok, on Sukhumvit soi 49, not too far away from Thong Lor or Asoke (both BTS stations) junctions.

Upon entering the lobby area you almost feel like entering a luxury hotel. To me it must be one of the biggest hospitals I’ve ever visited or been at. It has at least two buildings with 7 floors and various wings.The ICU station my Dad is at is just one of 3 ICU stations, this station having over 20 ICU rooms. It also supports a Childrens Hospital and it caters to a big Japanese market, the whole neighbourhood around the hospital is heavily Japanese influenced.

There are rooms for relatives or visitors at the hospital, just 3 floors on top of the UCI unit my Dad is at and my Mum, sister and me are staying there. It makes it so much easier, not having to find a room/hotel, transfer to the hospital all the time, etc but you just have to step in an elevator and within a minute or so we are at my Dad’s ICU room.

The Samitivej has 3 different hospitals all over Bangkok and I heard good things about them through various channels and I can confirm all the good things I’ve heard so far. The staff is outstanding and very attentive and extremely helpful. The doctors are also very competent and talk to us and inform us about what’s going on all the time. Hats off, for sure!

18th February, 2009

Today's weather;

It looks like another hot Bangkok day is brewing up, no clouds with a current temp at 7 am of 27C.

Yesterday was hot in Bangkok with a max temp of 36.6C.

Samui has had great weather this week with an average max temp each day of around 30C.


Tuesday 17 February 2009

La Bottega di Luca restaurant, Bangkok

La Bottega di Luca restaurant, Bangkok

Is a fine Italian restaurant, located next to Soi 49/1 on Sukhumvit Soi 49. It has a modern design and supports a delicious menu which my sister and me thoroughly enjoyed.

As starter we had a cold cut plate, from this lovely display, which also supplied a cheese desert. Mmm, both were yummy.
As mains we both chose homemade raviolis.

This is the pumpkin ravioli with a cream sauce that my sister ordered.

Here’s the ravioli with porcupine mushrooms and black truffles that I picked from the menu. Both dishes were delicious.

When you’re around this neighborhood, La Bottega di Luca is a choice that you won’t regret. There's also a nice, intimate outside sitting area where you can enjoy your drinks and meal.

For reservations call 02 204 1731.

Bangkok Street scenes

Bangkok Street scenes at Thong Lor

During a break from the Samitivej hospital where my Mother, my Sister and myself are tending to my Dad, I took a stroll down Sukhumvit Soi 55 or also known as Thong Lor.

This is a well known street in Bangkok and the crossing with Sukhumvit is an interesting place and typical for some good Bangkok scenes with lots of local small food shops and lots of other shops with various things for sale and the typical push carts with their street vendors that sell many different items.

This woman is selling ‘Lao Kao’ or local hard core liquor with all kinds of interesting stuff in it, which balance various body parts out. Right! Very strong and potent stuff! It can be likened to sake in appearance and flavor. Lao lao or Lao alcohol is more like a whiskey. It is also called lao khao or, in English, white alcohol. However, there is also a popular variant of lao lao made from purple rice, which has a pinkish hue.

This shows a flower shop, with flowers arranged in a way to ‘please’ Buddha, which you can please behind the rear view mirror in your car.

This cart depicts a typical view all over Bangkok, a fruit vendor with his goods. This one also had Lamut or Sapodilla, a very nice fruit which is in season right now.

17th February, 2009

Today's weather;

It's blue, sunny and warm in Bangkok with a current temp of 31.5C at 10am.

The situation with my Dad is stable and it looks like he'll be repatriated to the Netherlands this coming Saturday. Tomorrow the final decision will be made by the doctors.

Yesterday and the day before were sunny and warm. max temp yesterday reached 38.8C.


Sunday 15 February 2009

15th February, 2009

Today's weather;

Reporting from Bangkok today and on an irregular base, since I spend a lot of time with my father and listening to the various doctors. It's warm and sunny in Bangkok although a thin white layer is in the sky. Current temp at 10 am is 27.8C.

yesterday it was sunny and warm in Bangkok with a max temp of 36.5C.


Saturday 14 February 2009

14th February;

Today's weather;

A clear blue sky is reigning over Samui, the only variation on this theme right now is that there's a bit more wind this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 23C.
In a few hours I'll be off to Bangkok to meet my parents in the hospital to give moral support after 'Mulitple Myeloma' was diagnosed, before they will be evacuated back to the Netherlands.

Yesterday was once more very warm. Max temp reached 33.9C, the first time into the thirties and big time!


Friday 13 February 2009

13th February, 2009

Today's weather;

This Friday the 13th just missed the full moon by a few days but sees a near perfect blue sky with a current temp of 23C at 7 am.

Yesterday was once more warm and sunny with a max temp of 29.3C.

The PADI IE was also completed, look at my dive blog for an update and pictures.


Thursday 12 February 2009

12th February, 2009

Today's weather;

It's almost a clear sky this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 'just' 22.7C.

Yesterday felt very hot with the sun beaming down all day long. Max temp reached 29C.

My parents visit came to a premature end yesterday, at least the Samui part, as my father has been hospitalized for the last 5 weeks with back problems. Last night he got emergency evacuated (together with my mother) to a Bangkok hospital in order to conduct more tests and there it will be determined if onward travel back to the Netherlands is recommended or further treatment in Bangkok will happen first. Good luck to them!
At 11 pm they were flown to Bankok in a Bangkok Air plane, with just them, a medical crew and the plane's staff in it!


Wednesday 11 February 2009

11th February, 2009

Today's weather;

Currently we can see a white haze blocking the view to a blue sky, once the sun starts heating up, the white haze will evaporate and it looks like a very sunny day.
Yesterday saw another sunny and warm day. Max temp reached the high twenties Celsius.

The IDC was also completed yesterday and today the PADI IE starts, so stay tuned and check in to my dive blog.


Tuesday 10 February 2009

10th February, 2009

Today's weather;

It's partly cloudy but it looks like it's going to be another sunny day. The current temp at 7 am is 26.7C.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine although during the afternoon it was partly cloudy. Nonetheless, plenty of blue out there and a lovely temperature. Max temp reached 29C.


Monday 9 February 2009

9th February, 2009

Today's weather;

Today is Buddhist Lent day or also known as Makha Bucha day, one of the most revered Buddhist holidays.
The Buddhist holiday of Sangha Day is called Makha Bucha Day in Thailand. It is observed in Thailand on the full moon of the third lunar month, which is usually the end of February or early March. In most other parts of Asia, Buddhist observe Sangha Day about a month later.
Big parties are held with plenty of food at the various Temples or Wat's all over the country.

The weather continues to be nice, a thin white layer is about to break up under the morning sun and the current temp at 7 am is 26.7C.

Yesterday was nice and agreeably warm with a max temp of 28.3C.


Sunday 8 February 2009

8th February, 2009

Today's weather;

There are a few more more clouds than usual this month but a blue sky is still very likely to shape up later today. There's already plenty of blue out there right now with a current temp of 27C right now at 7 am.

Yesterday was once more warm (not too warm, which is nice) and sunny with a max temp of 28.3C.


Saturday 7 February 2009

7th February, 2009

Today's weather;

An almost clear blue sky prevails over the part of Samui that we live at with a current temp of 26.3C.

Yesterday was nice and sunny although at 11 pm there was a short and rather unexpected shower. Max temp reached 29.3C.

The current IDC is halfway since yesterday, have a look at my dive blog for an update.


Friday 6 February 2009

6th February, 2009

Today's weather;

The sky is a bit more milky looking today, meaning that there are thin layers of clouds above us. Current temp at 7 am is 25C.

Yesterday was once more a sunny and warm day with a max temp of 29C.


Thursday 5 February 2009

5th February, 2009

Today's weather;

A near, perfect blue sky is reigning over Samui this morning. Time to come and spend your holiday here! Current temp at 7 am is 23.5C.

Yesterday was sunny and warm and for the first time this month the quicksilver hit 30C, max temp was just that!


Wednesday 4 February 2009

4th February, 2009

Today's weather;

A few scattered clouds seem to be around this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 26C.

Yesterday saw lots of sunshine and with a max temp of 28.3C it's not too warm but very enjoyable.


Tuesday 3 February 2009

3rd February, 2009

Today's weather;

It's the same as the previous days, a blue sky with some overcast. The current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday saw almost clear blue skies during the morning changing into slightly overcast skies during the afternoon. It was dry and warm though with a max temp of 28.5C.


Monday 2 February 2009

2nd February, 2009

Today's weather;

If you're looking for a blue sky with some isolated clouds in it, Samui is the place to be. Current temp at 7 am is 25C.

Yesterday was sunny and nice with a max temp of 28.3C.


Sunday 1 February 2009

Welcome to February 2009

Welcome to February 2009

We're well on our way into 2009 with the second month of the year kicking off. Last year, February was nice, warm and sunny, similar to what is predicted for the first week of this month.

February is usually a quiet month for tourism in Thailand, in the West there are no big holidays until April (Easter) and in the East it's similar regarding big holidays, none are coming up.

Considering the weather we had during February it's a actually a good month to visit.

Come 16th February 2009, it'll be exactly two years ago that I started this blog and so far well over 60.000 visits have been made to my blog. Thanks for visiting and I hope you will keep coming back!


1st February, 2009

Today's weather;

The beginning of February looks lovely, an almost clear sky with a sun warming up to burn down on us! Current temp at 7 am is 26.5C and the current forecast for the whole week is looking goooood!
Today I start another IDC course, my 50th! Stay informed about the candidates progress on my dive blog.

Yesterday saw a blue sky in the morning and some overcast later in the day but once more no rain. Max temp reached 28.5 degrees Celsius.