Thursday 31 December 2009

The year 2009, looking back from a Samui info point of view

The year 2009, looking back from a Samui info point of view

Symbolicaly with a sun set picture near Big Buddha (with thanks to Richard ten Brinke) it's time to say goodbye to 2009 and the first decade of the 21st Century.

It was a productive blogging year and I posted plenty of new Samui restaurant reviews and from various places that I visited this year, amongst others Koh Tao, Phuket, Kao Lak, Surat Thani, Pattaya and Bangkok.

There were also posts about new things to do and one of the nicest ones I discovered and visited at last is the Magic Garden in the Lamai mountains and here are some posts on a culinary tour and a things to do trip around the island.

The most visited post was when the airplane crash occurred on Samui in early August with over 1.000 hits per day which in turn resulted in a PR 5 ranking for a while. Thanks to all you rubberneckers, which includes my self with some hot on the spot immediate reporting!

On a personal level there where some ups and downs including my Dad being hospitalized and being evacuated back to the Netherlands with a severe cancer form. We may go see and visit and him next year, he's struggling right now.
My son was also hospitalized for a short while with a suspected Dengue fever but luckily enough turned out to be a false alarm.
The upside was the visit of my sister and my old school friend and his family, both in August.

My professional life and hobby, diving, is well captured in the year's review on my dive blog, well worth visiting and checking out once in a while or even better, regularly.

Plenty of reviews went up on my respective Samui and Thailand hotel recommendations blogs, very helpful with hands on and personal experience tips about why I like or recommend certain hotels and resorts.

Keep visiting this and my other blogs and a Happy and Prosperous New year to all of my friends and readers and hope to see you on Koh Samui in 2010.


31st December, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky is shaping up on this last day of the year 2009 with a current temp of 24.7C and a forecast of a lovely first week of 2010.
A Happy New Year to all my readers, see you next year!

Yesterday saw a partly cloudy sky all day long with a max temp of 29.3C.


Wednesday 30 December 2009

Goodbye to December 2009

Goodbye to December 2009

It's that time of  the month again, with just one more day to go this month and this year!

To start with the weather, it has been fantastic during this years December, very unlike how December can be but in sync with December 2007 and 2008. There was hardly any rain and lots of sunshine all Mont long with an average Dy time max temp of around 30C. Not bad at all.

It has been a fairly quiet blogging month due to my work during the December IDC and associated dive courses but I managed to get a few restaurant reviews in, Bravo Pizzeria and Pasta Station in Bang Rak, the Blue Star Mountain restaurant in the mountains of Samui, near the Magic Garden, the Bangkok restaurant in Bophud and the El Gringo 1 Mexican restaurant on Koh Tao.
Some of my favorite restaurants on Samui were also visited this months, amongst others the Picnic Basket, Sabeing Lae, Angela's Bakery, Il Mulino and had my share of monthly Indian take away from Haveli as well!

There was also a short one day trip to Phuket, where I visited in order to participate in the 2010 PADI Course Director update. In Phuket I stayed at the Case E Mare hotel in Kata beach, which is a very nice place to stay at.

I wrote reviews of Sandy Resort, a great low budget resort in Bophud and Le Murraya hotel in Chaweng on my Samui hotel recommendation blog, places and a blog to check out.

The 26th December also saw the 5th anniversary of the Indian Ocean earthquake that caused the 2004 Tsunami.

All in all a good month and I hope you enjoy reading my various blogs and thanks for stopping by and taking the time for reading my entries.


Bangkok Restaurant, Bophud

Bangkok Restaurant, Bophud

Last night I visited the Bangkok Restaurant in Bophud with Thai friends of mine. Just in the nick of time before the current year is over.

The Bangkok restaurant is opposite Bandon Hospital, on the ring road, near Big C and is owned by Paul, a very smart entrepeneur on Samui who is also the owner of the Irish Times, an Irish pub catering to local expats, adjacent to the Bangkok restaurant and on top of that he also owns and runs Tropical Murphy's, an Irish pub in Chaweng, that together with the Islander pub must be about the most popular pubs in town since they're full on almost any day of the week. Two pubs I frequent every once in a while and still haven't made it on to my blog, since they both serve good pub grub.

Yesterday saw a very busy day in the restaurant, way above average due to the fact that the restaurant was used by various companies to celebrate their company new years party with their employees.
My Thai friends who choose the place for last nights dinner occasion like it because the food is good and they have a good live band, two things that seem to prerequisites for a night of sanuk.
(สนุก or "SANUK" means "to have fun". An important thing in everyday life is "SANUK".
Thai people love to have fun together. "SANUK" can represent many things : eat together, to be with friends and chat, to go out with friends. For Thai people "SANUK" happens with several persons. When coming back from business, Thai people often ask "was it funny ?" (สนุกไหม) before "was it successful ?", with thanks to Thaiworld view)

The band was steaming indeed and produced a couple of very popular songs, Instinct was one of the faves.

The food was also good, this dish here shows Pla Muek pad khai khem or squid with a salty egg sauce. A very nice and rich sauce indeed! Yummy.

This Pla Thot or deep fried fish also made it on to our table with a lovely sweet and sour sauce with cashew nuts.

A good night was had by all and definitely a place to go back to.


30th December, 2009

Today's weather;

A hazy sky rules over Samui this morning with plenty of blue spots. Current temp at 7am is 27.4C.

Yesterday saw a sunny day all day long with a max temp of 30C.


Tuesday 29 December 2009

Yearly sports event at Plai Laem

Yearly sports event at Plai Laem

The yearly New years sports event in Plai Laem is in full swing. Since early morning various sport events have been held in front of Plai Laem temple. This years event is a few days early in contrast to last years event which was held on the 31st December.

The announcement that this years event is to have the yearly sporting events, share food and have fun together.

One of the sports on the menu today is takraw aka sepak takraw.

The football and run track in front of the temple. There was only the takraw game on since it's just before 2pm local time, about the warmest part of the day and everybody is looking for shelter in the shade!

A good event and fun to watch.


29th December, 2009

Today's weather;

The blue skies keep coming on and this morning is no exception, with a current temp at 7am of 27.3C. It looks like it's going to be warm today.

Yesterday saw blue skies all day long and it was warm with a max temp of 30.5C.


Monday 28 December 2009

28th December, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky is shaping up, laced with a few clouds. Current temp at 7am is 25.5C.

Yesterday saw a lovely start of the day but later in the day some heavy cloud formations formed accompanied with some strong wind and it looked like rain but it remained dry after all. Max temp reached 29.3C


Sunday 27 December 2009

Blue Star Mountain Restaurant, Lamai

Blue Star Mountain Restaurant, Lamai

After my trip report to the Magic Garden in the Samui hills or rather mountains of last month with the road opposite Wat Kunaram in Lamai, we went again today but this time it was with my family and my good friend Eric from the Netherlands who visits Samui twice per year for the last 10 years.

Before we went to the Magic Garden we decided to have lunch in one of the many mountain restaurants, all of them claiming great view points. We ended up in Blue Star Mountain, run by a local Samui woman, Khun Ladda and her Swiss husband of 22 years, Jean.

Blue Star Mountain has a lovely location just before reaching the Magic Garden, there are sign posts to this restaurant and to all of the other restaurants as soon as you're within a few hundred meters.

Make sure to avoid lunch time or the time around 1pm since the restaurant is used by a lot of the 'around the island' tour jeeps. The food is a lot more expensive than on the lower parts of the island but that makes sense since everything has to be brought up the mountain.

The views are spectacular indeed, here Koh Taen and Koh Mudsum can be seen in the distance.

A view direction Nathon over the lush jungle and Durian trees which were just being harvested.

If you're on your trip around the island, don't forget to take the turn opposite Lamai's Wat Kunaram and have a great couple of hours in Samui mountains, visiting the Magic Garden and eat something at one of the many viewpoint restaurants.


27th December, 2009

Today's weather;

Another nice blue sky is shaping up, with some clouds scattered around. Current temp at 7am is 27.7C. Could be a hot hot one today.

Yesterday saw a blue sky, no rain and 30C max temp. Lovely Christmas weather down here!


Saturday 26 December 2009

26th December, 2009

Today's weather;

Another sunny sky reigns over Samui on the 5th memorial day for the 2004 Indian ocean earthquake that resulted in the deadly Tsunami. Current temp at 7am is 26.2C.

A picture taken in Kao Lak two and a half months after the Tsunami which still gives a good indication of the post tsunami devastation. A few more pictures from the same series can be seen on last years memorial day on my blog.

Below is a video of the first wave crashing in on Kao Lak, the devastating power is almost unbelievable, the second video is from Koh Lanta and the third video is a video taken on Kh Phi Phi. The latter two are less viewed but show the moment of the waves crashing in and all associated panica dn mayhem.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine although it was hazier throughout the day than it looked like in the morning. Max temp reached 30.2C.


Friday 25 December 2009

25th December, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky is shaping up over Samui with some isolated clouds, getting ready for a sunny Christmas day. Current temp at 7am is 24.4C.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine and a max temp of 30C.


Thursday 24 December 2009

24th December, 2009

Today's weather;

A very blue sky is shaping this morning and the forecast is looking fabulous, with similar days for the next week projected. Current temp at 7 am is in the lower 23.7 C. A Merry Christmas to all my blog readers!

Surprisingly or unfortunately rather not so surprisingly corruption in Thailand seems to be on the rise, according to the Nation paper.

Christmas in Thailand, at my children's school

Yesterday saw sunshine all day long and not a single drop of rain. There were some cloud formations but the sun overruled. Max temp reached around 29 Celsius.


Wednesday 23 December 2009

Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

It's Bangkok's new international airport, also known as (New) Bangkok International Airport and is located in Racha Thewa in Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan Province, about 25 km east of downtown Bangkok. The name Suvarnabhumi was chosen by King Bhumibol Adulyadej and refers to the golden kingdom hypothesized to have been located somewhere in Southeast Asia.

It's an abstract looking building with lots of glass and to me it looks fine. I loved the old airport, Don Muang, since leaving the planes there always meant arriving in Bangkok coming from the Netherlands. The intense heat accompanying you to the gate was a feeling I won't ever forget, it always felt like coming home. With Suvarnabhumi it's different, I only used this airport for domestic flights and now Samui airport feels like coming home since the last 11 years.

Right now there's a new rail link between the city and the airport, which apparently is open now for test runs but should officially open around April 2010 which in real live most likely will see an opening somewhere mid to late 2010. TIT or This is Thailand.

The inside of the airport is rather efficient, in my opinion. At the departure car lanes it's very well indicated where your flight carrier has it's check in rows and from leaving the car to entering the check in row can be a matter of just minutes if you get out at the right gate.

So far I enjoyed using Suvarnabhumi airport, despite the big controversy which surrounded the opening but I guess problems arise which each newly opened airport, see Charles de Gaulle in Paris and the extension of Heathrow in London.

If you're there, you may want to check out this location, at the passport control, where Paris' clock is conveniently located in Africa.

Safe travels.


23rd December, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue is shaping up with an occasional cloud in it. Current temp at 7am is 26.3C.
The forecast is looking really good for the next 7 days, sunshine almost all day long.

Yesterday wasn't such a blue sky after all. It started out nice but soon dark clouds appeared and around 10am there was a serious shower. After this it got a lot better again, the clouds kept hanging around but there was plenty of sunshine as well.
Max temp reached 29.2C.


Tuesday 22 December 2009

22nd December, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky is shaping up and today should also be the last day with strong wind for the coming 7 days, happy days for the divers amongst us. Current temp at 7am is 26.5C.

Yesterday saw lots of sunshine in near blue skies with a max temp of 29.3C and no rain! Christmas is looking good on the weather front on Samui.


Monday 21 December 2009

21st December, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky is shaping up and the rain seems to have gone once again, although there is a strong wind out there. Current temp at 7am is 27C.

The forecast for Christmas shows blue skies right now.

Fishing boats at Bang Rak bay in hiding for the waves and wind.

Yesterday started out nasty with rain but to me it changed unexpectedly into a nice and sunny afternoon although the wind did pick up. Max temp reached around 30C.

Sunday 20 December 2009

20th December, 2009

Today's weather;

It's dark and wet, it rained a few times last night and it already rained this morning. Current temp at 7am is 25C.

Yesterday saw plenty of rain throughout the day although there was a very occasional bit of sunshine as well. Max temp reached around 30C.


Saturday 19 December 2009

19th December, 2009

Today's weather;

This morning's sky is obscured by dark clouds and it definitely looks like there's going to be some rain today. Current temp at 7am is 26.4C.
The forecast predicts brilliant weather again starting Wednesday 23rd, just before Christmas.

Yesterday saw sunshine and some rain, not too much of the latter, it was more like a mini drizzle. Max temp reached 29.2C.


Friday 18 December 2009

El Gringo 1, Mexican Restaurant, Mae Haad, Koh Tao

El Gringo 1, Mexican Restaurant, Mae Haad, Koh Tao

El Gringo in Mae Haad has closed, there's still an outlet in Sairee Beach

Since a few weeks El Gringo 1 in Mae Haad on Koh Tao has opened again in a new location, near the Safety Stop bar which again is located pretty much opposite the Seatran pier.

If you keep on mind that you're in Thailand, the Mexican food is actually good and I enjoy it on a regular base, just like during my last two visits to Koh Tao during the PADI IE. It's not anywhere near as good as you can get in Los Angeles or Texas, USofA, where I had some fantastic good Mexican grub with my friend Michael who lives in LA and is a food aficionado.

However, back to basics and we're in Thailand and when on Koh Tao, El Gringo 1 is a good recommendation and makes a good change on your Thai diet or other food that you consume whilst inland.

One of our party ordered this very appealing Chili bowl with rice.

I went for this lovely Enchilada with chicken which was juicy and had a good taste.

This hot plate fajita was also among the orders and smelled more than just delicious and made for a great show with the hot plate it came on, sizzling along.

Give it a try and enjoy, caramba!


18th December, 2009

Today's weather;

It's cloudy with small blue patches in the sky and a current temp of 24.3C at 7am. Real chilly if you live here, nothing compared to the snow and corresponding temperatures that came with the snow in Europe.

Yesterday saw rain showers in Koh Tao after noon which we left after a successful PADI IE and upon arriving in Samui it drizzled which it had been doing on and off all day long and this continued into the night. Max temp reached 30C nonetheless.


Thursday 17 December 2009

17th December, 2009

Today's weather;

Once more a lovely and sunny day seems to be shaping up over the Koh Tao. Current temp at 7am is 26C.

Mae Haad harbour
Yesterday saw lots of sunshine all day long and the max temp reached 29.8C.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

16th December, 2009

Today's weather;

A beautiful blue sky is ruling over Koh Tao this morning although the current temp at 7am was rather fresh with just 24C.

Yesterday saw a nice and sunny day over Koh Tao with a max temp of 29.3C. Tomorrow afternoon we're off to Samui again, back home.


Tuesday 15 December 2009

15th December, 2009

Today's weather;

It's cloudy with a current temp at 7am of 25.2C.

Yesterday saw sunshine all day long. Max temp reached the high twenties Celsius.


Monday 14 December 2009

14th December, 2009

Today's weather;

A late update from Samui about Phuket, where I spend all day today in a PADI Course Director update. The weather was nice and sunny just like Samui right now. The temperature was around 30C all day long although i didn't see a lot of that since I was in a conference room almost all day long!

A view of the sunset out of the plane on the way over to Phuket flying over the Thai mainland, dividing the Gulf and the Andaman side.

A view over a rather busy Kata beach during the late afternoon.
Tomorrow another update from Samui again but I will be straight over to Koh Tao tomorrow morning for two nights for another PADI IE.
Yesterday was a lovely and sunny day during which we completed the current IDC with a max temp of 29C.

Sunday 13 December 2009

13th December, 2009

Today's weather;

In sharp contrast to the very unusual weather pattern we had during the last weeks, it's very clouded this morning and I woke up with a rain showers going on outside. It also rained a few times last night. It's dry right now, about an hour after I woke up and it looks like it's going to brighten up again, the sun is just about to break through. Current temp at 7am is 27.6C.

Tonight I'll be off to Phuket for a day of meetings all day long tomorrow and will be back on Samui by tomorrow night, there will be no update tomorrow.

Yesterday started out lovely but at the end of the day there was overcast but no rain, that came during the night. Max temp reached 29.3C.


Saturday 12 December 2009

12th December, 2009

Today's weather;

Clouds? What do they look like? In the middle of the rainy season or monsoon, we have a near perfect blue sky with some haze at the outskirts. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine once more and no rain. Max temp reached 30.5C.


Friday 11 December 2009

11th December, 2009

Today's weather;

A near perfect blue sky is shaping up with a current temp at 7am of 27.3C.

Yesterday saw sunshine all day long and a max temp of 29.4C.


Thursday 10 December 2009

10th December, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky with a few clouds in it is shaping up. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C.
Today is Constitution Day or Wan Rattha Thammanun, each year on 10th December, commemorates the historic event on December 10, 1932, when King Prajadhipok (Rama VII), graciously presented the first-ever constitution to the Thai people.

Broodje kroket at Little Holland

Yesterday saw a lovely and sunny day with a max temp of 29C.

My daughter had the urge to eat poffertjes again yesterday evening so we went off to Little Holland again where she could get them and I had a broodje kroket, as pictured above.


Wednesday 9 December 2009

9th December, 2009

Today's weather;

It was a mixed bag when I woke up, a near blue to the right and clouds to the left, it seemed that the clouds were taking over but the sun is back in place again. Current temp at 7am is 27.5C.

Fishing boats getting ready near the pier in Nathon yesterday.
Yesterday saw lots of sunshine and was a warm day with a max temp of 30C.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Bravo Pizzeria and Pasta station, Bang Rak

Bravo Pizzeria and Pasta station in Bang Rak has closed since early 2012 and has opened under a new name and a new owner and this new place has consequently closed as well.

Fairly recently, about a month or so ago, a new pizzeria and pasta station opened in Bang Rak; Bravo (the name since has been changed into 'Bravissimo'). It's a shared venture between a very long standing Italian guy, Davide, who's been already more than 20 years on Samui and has earned his mark in the Italian restaurant industry on Samui together with a Hungarian partner, Silvia and her husband. Quality is guaranteed!

Bravo is located directly opposite Mermaids resort in Bang Rak or next to the Premier's Sport bar, you can't miss it.

Today I went together with my kids and they loved it! They finished a spaghetti with tuna between the two of them, which is a good feat!

The interior of Bravo is done very nice and warm, with charming chairs and the ambiance is very inviting and relaxing.

For starters I had a simple bread with tomatoes and basil and they were lovely, with olive oil and some garlic, even my daughter thought they were excellent.

As a main I had these cannelloni's with spinach and ricotta cheese fillings and I had the choice between 4 sauces; tomato, 4 cheese, pesto and another one I forgot. I went for the 4 cheese and it was lovely.

Definitely a place I will be seeing again and recommended when you're in the neighbourhood.
For reservations call 08 7628 0084 and long term residents get a discount.


8th December, 2009

Today's weather;

A near blue sky is waking us up this morning with a current temp at 7am of 27.9C and a forecast that looks fantastic, no clouds and no rain for the next week!

Yesterday was a grey and wet day. It rained through out the day but as in typical monsoon style, there were also sunny patches during the day. Max temp reached nonetheless 29.2C.


Monday 7 December 2009

7th December, 2009

Today's weather;

It's grey, clouded and wet, it just rained around 6am this morning and the current temp is 27.8C

Yesterday saw a sunny and dry day up until 11pm when it rained. Max temp reached 30C.


Sunday 6 December 2009

6th December, 2009

Today's weather;

A nice mixed bag is shaping up over Samui with blue patches and some clouds. Current temp at 7am is 27.2C with a forecast for the next week that shows almost no rain at all.

Yesterday saw little bits of sunshine but mainly overcast without rain. Max temp reached 29.8C.

Saturday 5 December 2009

5th December, 2009

Today's weather;

Today is the birthday of the Kong of Thailand HM Bumibol Adulyadej. It's his 82nd birthday and I can only hope that he recovers quickly from his current illness.

Weatherwise, there's a nice blue sky with plenty of clouds in it but it looks like a dry day again. Current temp at 7am is 26.2C.

Yesterday saw a drizzle during most of the day with a couple of more serious watersheds, however, nothing too serious and no (flash)flooding as far as I know. Max temp reached 29C.

My current IDC is under way again, an update can be found on my dive blog.


Friday 4 December 2009

4th December, 2009

Today's weather;

We started out with a short shower shortly after 6am this morning. The sky has changed into a mixed bag, big blue patches with fairly dark clouds hovering around those blue patches. Current temp at 7am is 27.9C.
The forecasts don't predict a lot of rain for the next 7 days.

Yesterday saw a break in the dry spell and we had two periods of rain during the morning with overcast all day long and no sunshine. Max temp reached 29.8C.


Thursday 3 December 2009

3rd December, 2009

Today's weather;

Cloudy with a couple of blue spots in between the clouds and still dry! Current temp at 7am is 27.2C.

Yesterday saw overcast all day long but no rain although it looked threatening a few times. Max temp reached 30.9C
The unusual weather conditions for this time of the year hold on.


Wednesday 2 December 2009

2nd December, 2009

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy this morning but also very warm and dry with a current temp at 7am of 272C.

Yesterday saw once more a nice and sunny day with a max temp of 31.2C


Tuesday 1 December 2009

Welcome to December 2009

Welcome to December 2009

Bring it on, December 2009, with all it's festivities, like HM The King's Birthday 5th December, for the Dutch; Sinterklaas 6th December, 10th December gives us Constitution Day in Thailand and by the 25th it's Christmas time again followed by New years Eve. Busy busy and lots of party opportunities.

Right now it looks like we will have a nice and dry first week of this month where usually it's typically very wet during the first 10 to 15 days in December.

It looks like a real busy month for me, with an IDC starting tomorrow and straight after that a mixture of Instructor level specialty training and an Assistant Instructor course, which will pretty much keep me busy until the end of the year!

A good December wished to all my readers and hope to see you soon in Samui.


1st December, 2009

Today's weather;

Yesterday we waved goodbye to November and here we are, welcoming December in the same style as we parted from November, with blue skies and sunny weather. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C

Yesterday was another dry and warm day with a max temp of 31.2C