A Travellerspoint blog

Nine days in Khanom area...

Gorgeous beaches and calm roads....

sunny 32 °C

Sunday, the four of us hopped on the bikes and headed into Khanom proper. The travel agent there, lovely young woman by the name of Fei (who studied for a year in Vancouver) did our flights from Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport to Bangkok where we will meet up with our friend Debbie and continue our travels to Siem Reap in Cambodia and then to northern Thailand. We are scheduled to then head to Hong Kong for a month, but that will have to be reviewed later to see what the Corona virus situation is. We may stay in Thailand or head to Laos or Burma. (See update further down the blog)

Catherine and Rainer have an inquisitive streak like us and after hearing some loud music, Catherine found a footpath that seemed to lead towards it. We cycled down the path and ended up at a community festival. There must have been over 100 people, dancing, some playing games, just having a great time. They hammed it up for us when they saw the cameras coming out and one young man, a tattoo artist, wanted to give us his Facebook information, we had lots of fun. After a few no-goes at trying to find a lunch spot that sold beer (quite a Muslim area and a holiday) we found a cute spot and had a delicious meal...with an icy cold beer, just what we needed after all that peddling. Below are some shots from our day out and some fishing boats in the river.
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This last young man turned out to be a tattoo artist and spoke a bit of English, had his buddies take his picture with the four of us! We found out from our landlady afterwards that this small community is not Thai, but is made up of Burmese refuges...look at those smiles and that dancing!

We had a good laugh one night while relaxing on Catherine and Rainers porch. We had been hearing this very strange noise over the past few weeks that sounded like someone saying “oh oh”....kind of like the sound you might say to a toddler when something spilled or if they fell. Well, we heard it again, quite loudly that evening and Catherine mentioned that she was told it was a frog. About half an hour later we saw a frog hopping towards the raised flower bed...with a six inch high concrete mini-wall around it. He tried to jump over but couldn’t quite make it and he kept hitting his head about five inches up, tried again....and again...then Rainer piped up ...that’s why they keep saying “oh oh”! Maybe it was the beer...but we thought this extremely funny at the time....failed jump...bump on the head....oh oh!! (We have since found out that it is the Tokai gecko that makes this silly noise), see picture below...this fellow was about six to eight inches long
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Another bike ride into Khanom, this time we found a real bakery, with multigrain bread (hard to find here), deli meats, condiments, European sausages, croissants and so much more...such a delight, we were like kids in a candy shop. Catherine and I headed back home while the boys continued on for a beer run, they came back with morning glory vegetable to have with our dinner. We have introduced Cat and Rainer to morning glory and gai lan greens and they both love them, two more converts as our kids and grandkids love gai lan.
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The lady at the bakery insisted on taking a picture with the giant croissant for us, everyone here is so sweet!

Well, we had unfortunate news midweek that our friend Devbie’s flight with Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong has been cancelled and after much heartbreaking thought she has decided to cancel her trip to the Far East. We feel for her as we know how excited she was to experience the area. So, that means we will probably stay put in southern Thailand and avoid going to Bangkok or Hong Kong until we fly home. Spent most of one morning trying to cancel what we could cancel and seeing if anything could be done about the rest. It’s unfortunate, but such is life, we never know what is around he corner and we have no control over it....go with the flow is my mantra.

A few shots below...mama cow and her baby, a Thai version of a “motorcycle seat” for kids, a lovely flower and the sweet street signs here...pink dolphins included as this is one of the few places in the world where you can see pink dolphins.
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We had been looking at flights to get us from the Khanom area to Hong Kong via Bangkok when I thought...Koh Samui is a really popular holiday island, why not check it. Yippee, there is a direct, non-stop flight with Bangkok Airways from Koh Samui to Hong Kong, 3 hours and 20 minutes! It was cheap, with only 6 seats left on March 27th , so we booked it. It is only a 1/2 hour taxi ride to the ferry pier and a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride to get to Koh Samui...super easy and this means we can avoid Bangkok airport and go straight to Hong Kong.

On Wednesday mornings in Khanom there is a market with wet and dry goods , a few pictures taken along the way there and at the market...you can purchase just about anything here.
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Last one is Andy and Rainer getting noodles from a mobile Chinese food truck!

Also, on the way back we found a dim sum restaurant so the boys picked up numerous items and we steamed them for our lunch...will be doing that again!

Morning and late afternoon beach walks have become our norm, usually you can walk the beach and only see one or two people in the morning, a handful in the afternoon....hope it stays this way. Below, our lovely beach, beach cows...so cute, some great statuary (can ship to Canada if you like) and a fantastic Bali style door.
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Valentine’s Day is upon us and the four of us decided to head to a resort down the beach for a pizza dinner. However, shortly before we headed out Thanyanan, our landlady, knocked on the door and had the most beautiful plate of mango sticky rice for us, along with coconut fruit jellies ...all made by her and a beautiful card with seashells made by her daughter. It just proves our point that the people here in Thailand are truly special.
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Isn’t this truly spectacular, what a sweet lady she is!!!
Our lovely dinner...
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Another morning swim and beach walk....
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Catherine and Rainers friends, Lucy and Terry, from Oakville arrived this week, to visit and check out the area with us before heading to Koh Samui and Au Nang (with Cat and Rainer). We will join them in Koh Samui but only for one night to extend our Thai visas.

Below is an officer that Lucy and I met at the Saturday market. He smiled so nicely at us then asked if he could have a picture with us .....of course we said yes, then asked if we could have one of him, his wife a sweet baby daughter!
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I considered stopping the blog at this point as we aren’t going to be travelling around any more, but I have been persuaded to continue. From now on, posts may not be as picture heavy or as “exciting” as previous posts, but we will keep everyone updated.
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From us ....to you, stay safe.

Posted by hermanita 23:30 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Koh Samui and onwards to Khanom...

Leaving the islands....

sunny 30 °C

We visited the local fair/ market on Saturday night for dinner....oh , the array of goodies to choose from!
Below is what we returned home with...spicy fried chicken, fried fish balls, green mango salad, pad Thai and tiny coconut and corn sticky rice tart things...Andy already ate his octopus on a stick.!
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There were lots of locals there as well as farangs (westerners)...eating fried bugs (they looked to be grasshoppers, grubs, some cockroach critters and another roundish bug about the size of a penny), squid, tripe salads...all sorts of meat on sticks, fresh fruit...a real “buffet”.

This fair is apparently on for 10 days...and has a very loud band that plays every night until midnight...I would like to go and pull the plug on their amplifier!! However these pictures tell the story, including one scary looking bouncy castle!

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Sunday there is a night market in Lamai town, only about a 2 km walk from us, so we made the trip there and back by foot. Lots of food vendors and people selling souvenirs. We wandered, viewing the food offerings and then grabbed a table at a mobile bar that sold mojitos for 90 baht! Andy even managed to get some roast duck and some chicharon (a Mexican favourite of his which is fried pig skin).
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The last one is sticky rice and coconut folded into a leaf and roasted on the bbq, delicious!

Also while walking we spied yet another reggae bar and truck...
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We managed to do over 18,000 steps and my feet feel it...I now have a confirmed date for my right foot surgery of May 1, will be glad to have it over with!

Oh, and if you want a shrine for your home...we found some for sale on the side of the road...good prices.
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One morning we stopped by a local hostel/ cafe run by two guys from Ireland. We had just finished eating and were getting ready to leave when this precocious wee girl hopped up on the chair beside me with two bottles of nail polish in her hand, promptly removed her shoes and said “you help”! So , I played manicurist for five minutes or so and I believe she was quite tickled.
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Just wanted to add a picture that Andy took at the temple next door to us...because I like it! Those of you that know me understand my love of doors and windows....the fact that I am framed in it is more fun!
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Our last full day on Koh Samui we walked a couple of kms to a small Muslim village where I had read there was a good family run seafood restaurant. Once we got off the main road we were transported into another world. Tiny roads lined with small houses, a wet market, little stalls selling halal food, quite interesting...and so quiet...the rest of Koh Samui (that we have seen) is very busy and loud with lots of traffic. We found the restaurant without too much trouble and proceeded to have a delicious fresh fish fried up with tamarind sauce, squid in tamarind and a plate of stir fried morning glory vegetable.
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Of course, they had a resident cat.....came to sit with me.

On the way to the village we passed a shrine to Guan Yo, a famous Chinese warrior.
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and some street art...
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We also stopped at our favourite coffee shop in Thailand, Amazon Coffee, a new place right on the water...not a bad view while sipping an iced latte!
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A little farther along we came upon a gentleman making rotisserie chicken on the side of the road....yippee, dinner!
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The ferry ride from Koh Samui to the pier on the mainland was only 1.5 hours long and uneventful, although there was some lovely scenery as we started to get close to the pier.
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Our accommodation is just outside of the town of Khanom on the gulf of a Thailand. Our friends Catherine and Rainer have been here since the second week of January and are settled in quite nicely. The “motel” is sweet, clean and run by a super nice lady who surprised us on our first day with mango and black sticky rice ...my favourite Thai treat...how did she know?
Our “landlady” has also provided us with bikes and our first full day we went off with Catherine and Rainer to visit Wat Kra Dang Nga, a Buddhist temple surrounded by rice fields and coconut trees.
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The frescos covering the walls inside were incredible.
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We got the full tour of Khanom, stopping for fruit, veg, beer, water etc before heading back home laden with goodies.

The beach near us is spectacular and pretty much empty...one or two odd souls other than us, lovely!
This place is so peaceful....
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Enjoying our toes in the water ...and below, a visit to a beach “ hippy “ bar
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Another great bike ride through the countryside and along a riverside path to Khanom, road side clothing shopping, garden store and a mama cow feeding her calf. The lack of traffic makes biking so much fun, and, the owner of our “resort” bought a new bike for me !
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We ended our week by hiring a man with a songthaew to take he four of us on a day trip to a waterfall in a National park, a few far away beaches (not reachable by pedal bike), a lovely seafood lunch and to the historic Coral Pagoda near Khanom.
As it is the dry season, there wasn’t huge amounts of water in the falls, but being in the lush jungle and clambering over the rocks to cool our feet in the pools was wonderfully refreshing. We followed that by a visit to a beach we had read about, a rocky headland making it very picturesque, a great seafood dinner at Tonyee Seafood, a stop at the Coral Pavilion, a swim at a nice calm cove and ended our day a the Saturday street market...food, clothes, shoes and just about everything else.
Here we are in the “songthaew” heading out.
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The Coral Pagoda is interesting as it is said to be over 1,000 years old.
It has gained this name because it is fashioned from coral stone; the chedi is located only a few kilomtres from the sea, and mythology ties it to an ancient sea-pilgrimage. According to Thai legend, it was founded when pilgrims from the town of Chaiya were heading towards Nakhon Si Thammarat at the time the famous shrine in that town was being built. A sea-storm forced them to come into port for the night, and the locals then told the pilgrims that the temple in Nakhon Si Thammarat had already been completed. The pilgrims decided to donate their gold relics to a new chedi instead, and they built the Coral Pagoda on top of nearby Khao That, a small mountain.

There are a couple of reasons that this myth Is intriguing. Firstly, it provides a narrative link between the Coral Pagoda with the sea, which is most suitable for a pagoda made out of coral. The second reason is because it provides an origin myth for the chedi which links its to ritual deposits. These myths were given some credence when excavations were done in 2006 at the site and a large cache of ritual items was found underneath the chedi, including Chinese porcelain, golden artifacts and a large number of Buddhist metal amulets stored in a Yuan Dynasty jar. Whether or not these items were really placed there by pilgrims who were forced ashore in a storm, there was at least some congruence between the myth and reality.

Spent the rest of this great day out exploring and eating fabulous seafood while overlooking the ocean.
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All this exploring ended with a market visit...purchased stewed pigs trotters for Andy and Rainer, some fried chicken, spicy fish cakes and some pineapple...dinner done!
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Next edition coming up in a week!

Posted by hermanita 00:27 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Koh Tao to Koh Samui...

More ferries and islands....

semi-overcast 28 °C

We happened to meet a lovely lady, Anna, one evening while looking for a taxi to our hotel. We had walked into Sairee Beach, over to Mae Haad (the next town) and back to Siaree Beach,,,about 15,000 steps and we didn’t relish the 30 minutes uphill walk back home. She was lovely and told us if we needed anything to contact her....we had been thinking about a day trip to one of the bays on the island to go snorkeling, so we called and she advised us Tanote Bay would be perfect for relaxing and snorkeling. This bay is fairly isolated on the east side of the island, about half way up, she was right! We found a spot in the shade in the beach, set up our towels and headed to he bay. The reef starts about 20-30 feet into the water and you can see fish even while standing in two feet of water. There is a huge rock in the middle of the bay that people climb up using a chain that has been anchored to the rock....a little scary...then jump from the top! Crazy people...we took pictures of a young couple from Holland that were on the beach near us...when they got back, we showed them and they were so happy, we will email them the shots for proof that they did it. We snorkeled out around the huge rock, saw a baby black tip reef shark, he was a little shy and wouldn’t come too close, but so cute. Tons of parrot fish of all colours, angel fish, a very large grouper, a barracuda and tons of brightly coloured reef fish as well as big lipped clams (purple and blue), coral (some dead unfortunately) and lots of interesting creatures. We went back in the water two more times to snorkel slightly different areas of the bay, with lots of success...actually way better than the snorkeling tour we went on!
Some pictures below of a few of the fish we saw....they were just everywhere! We don’t have an underwater camera anymore so I searched inline to find my list of fish we saw.

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A few shots of the very large rock in the middle of the bay, brave (or crazy) people climbing up and jumping off!!
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A side note to book lovers...I have been reading China Mieville while travelling....Embassytown, Kraken, Railsea ....what an amazing storyteller. Where the ideas and themes come from I have no idea, but a brain that imagines these tales is magnificent!! Even he refers to his writing as “weird fiction”!

Our last day on Koh Tao we received a message from our new friend Anna, inviting us to her house for a bbq with her fiancé and son (Mafea) It’s lovely to meet such warm hearted people and be included in their lives.
We stopped at the local supermarket to pick up some additional items to the fish and shrimp that Anna had already purchased and we climbed high above Tanote Bay where she lives a in a bungalow by a look-out. Anna got the charcoal going in a small round pot, that’s when we realized that we were having a type of hot pot for dinner. The contraption was a cross between the liquid hot pot we use at home and a Korean bbq grill...rather unique. For the hot pot, we had ....shrimp, crab sticks, morning glory, bok choi, two types of mini mushrooms, eggs, pork, weiners and a squeezable egg/ milk mixture. Along with that, a whole fried fish (done Yucatecan style) and watermelon...we could hardly move!
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The view from her place is fantastic, overlooking Tanote Bay, however behind is a reservoir...the pump high and dry, as is the reservoir. They desperately need rain to fill the reservoir, if this goes on they will have to start bringing water from the mainland at a great cost.
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We have ferry tickets for Thursday morning at 9:30 for the trip to Koh Samui, the second largest island in Thailand and one of he more well known islands.

Our “resort” on Koh Tao has been somewhat less than expected. It is old and maintenance has fallen by the wayside, the pool, I looked forward to a great infinity pool, is green, woodwork is rotting in places, there isn’t a restaurant anymore....etc. The young men , 3 or 4 of them looking after he place are sweet and trying their best. We chatted with them and found out they are all from Burma and left due to the conflict there. When the AC died on our ocean view villa, they gave us the keys to a Boutique villa overlooking the ocean that even has an upstairs for kids... it’s huge and the AC works!

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Late in the week we also wandered up the road to the last hotel on the road, called the Dusit Buncha Resort. People have to park their motorbikes and scooters outside the resort as the road down is so steep only 4-wheel drive vehicles can make it! As elsewhere on the island, huge rocks are everywhere. We stayed for a snack overlooking the ocean and islands we visited on our snorkel trip...then had to trudge up the incredibly steep hill back out to the road...yikes.
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Oh, and one more sleepy kitty pic....love the marking on this guy.
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The ferry trip from Koh Tao to Koh Samui was uneventful and for most of he way the ocean was like glass. It was fun to watch flying fish...they can go so far. At first I thought it was a low flying bird but then I saw it dive back under water, it must have gone at least 20 feet.
We are on the east side of the island, about half way down and from what we saw in our evening walk, Koh Samui is very busy!
The Three Trees Resort is a small family run place but quite cute and clean. Our first night, on our way back from dinner in Lamai, we saw lights and heard music as we approached our resort. It seems there is a huge food fair/market/ kids games thing going on. Bright lights, loud music and just about everything else (including an assortment of fried bugs) see below.
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A few pictures of our little resort for the next six nights.
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Spelled out in narrow leaves on the bed...sweet!

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Second day on Koh Samui, we are getting used to traffic again..ha ha. We walked over to Grandmother and Grandfather rock.....lots of people there “posing” with Grandfather rock...in rather unusual poses!!!! How naughty!

Grandfather...
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Grandmother...
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Some more shots of the rocks there....
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A stroll along Lamai beach in the wind and high waves, not at all like the day of our arrival when it was quite calm.

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Always seems to be someone on beaches all over the world with iguanas to pose for cash. Koh Samui is the first island in our travels that we have seen beach vendors at all. Good thing was, most of them were protecting themselves from the sun like the Chiapas ladies do in Progreso...our normal winter get-away. The wind was creating huge waves and it was funny watching people get a “sand scrub”!

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Love this last one....made us smile!
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Andy wants a rubber ducky!!! A big one...
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The boy getting a hair cut in a fun little barber shop near us....150 baht...about $6.30 Canadian! After that we stopped at a ladies hair salon....my haircut took way less time than Andy’s and cost 100 baht...around $4.25 Canadian!

I had read about a Friday night market at the fisherman’s village of Boput , so Andy and I flagged down a songthaew (pronounced song tao) for the journey to the north end of he island. The songthaew is a pickup truck with two bench seats in the back, one on each side. They are usually covered with a by a vinyl or metal roof and often brightly painted. It’s a terrific way to get around the island as they charge a fraction of what a taxi would charge. You just stand on the side of the road and wave your hand when you see one coming., ask the driver if he can take you to your destination and how much he wants. Settle on a price, hop in the back with whoever else may be going your way and you are set. Below are some pics from the visit to Boput Friday night market.
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The last two are of a lady making the treat I have been waiting for but hadn’t found yet. The batter is a mixture of rice powder and coconut milk, poured into a cast iron pan with little circles in it. The bottom part of the “stove” is fired by charcoal. Once she has poured the batter into the form, she then plops a small spoon full of coconut milk on top of each one. The bottoms get crispy and when done they are one of my favorite Asian treats! Haven’t had these since we were in Danang, Vietnam three years ago.
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Delicious treat above......and below, a vendor using a fan to spur on the charcoal to cook Andys octopus..
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There’s a waterfront temple right beside our hotel so, this morning we went to take a peek. It is intricately carved and a brick red/pink in colour, amazing. The stairway leads down to the water and is flanked by statues of king cobras.....yikes. Funny thing was, when we were leaving a girl had just settled herself by some plants to have a cup of tea from a golden cup (not sure what that was all about) when we heard a scream ... she jumped up and her tea went flying. We thought perhaps a lizard or a spider had scared her...well, not exactly. A few men that were sitting around raced over and grabbed a broom...it was a green snake, quite a long one too! No wonder the temple is called Wat Sila Ngu...or stone snake!
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This last one was a pit in the ground that people threw donations into.
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Couldn’t resist this last one! It is at the street market that we visited earlier in the week and will go back to for dinner. I believe this lady is selling fried chicken....and doesn’t that look a teeny bit like an Asian Colonel Sanders from the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain??

That’s it for this week, we are in Koh Samui till February 5 and then we move back to the mainland to visit our friends Catherine and Rainer in Khanom which is south of Surat Thani, where our ferry will dock.

Posted by hermanita 00:16 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Koh Jum, Krabi Town and on to Koh Tao in the gulf coast

We are only in Koh Jum for four nights, then head from the Andaman Sea across the peninsula to the Gulf of Thailand

sunny 31 °C

The speedboat to Koh Jum left Koh Lanta pier an hour late...and it was bedlam...but what the heck...we’re on “island time”!
The manager of our resort, Good Morning Bungalows, came to the Koh Jum pier after our “interesting” speedboat ride of 15 minutes. He proceeded to chauffeur us in his motorcycle taxi, a motorcycle with an attachment to allow luggage and two people to squeeze in. After about 10 minutes of driving we turned on a dirt road that led through the jungle. All of a sudden he stopped and said “ok, you walk from here, I take bags”.....ok.
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We realized why, once we started walking...all uphill and very steep. He managed to get his motorcycle taxi to about 300 metres from the bungalows, parked it and then loaded our two bags on his regular motorcycle to get them up the last very steep part (as we walked)! Their cute daughter bounced out of the reception/restaurant area and handed us two bottles of ice cold water, so needed and refreshing! So, we are in a tree house in the jungle overlooking the Andaman Sea for the next four nights.
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Koh Jum pier
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A walking stick bug walking up the handle of Andy’s suitcase
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Gas pumps on the island!
We did have some sort of critter in our tree house last night, but I guess in the jungle that is to be expected....and we have seen monkeys!!
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Our little treehouse:
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Our first day exploring we found the Ban Ban restaurant I had read about and purchased some of their cinnamon buns (who knew) before turning down a side road and coming across Mrs Tiew, the batik lady I wanted to meet. We chatted for 1/2 hour or so and she said she was available to give me some instruction the next day, so, yippee! We concluded our walk with a staircase down to the beach...not as long as ours at 185 steps, but a very cute beach and beach bar.
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A sign we should all study and do something about.

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The intricate patterns above are created by Bubbler crabs. They push sand out of their homes and roll it out of the way, but in a wonderful pattern...hmmm, I think I see a project with embroidered French Knots in my future. Unfortunately, each time the tide comes in this lovely artwork is washed away...only to be recreated when the tide goes back out!

A bit of the scenery along the road...
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Koh Jum is a very small, relaxed island, with three villages, not much happens here and that is lovely. You can see by the shot below just how busy the road is....ha ha.
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Flora and fauna on our walk to Mrs. Tiew’s home to do my batik..excited!

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We asked Rorn, the manager of Good Morning bungalows why some of the roosters were tied up. He explained that some people have caught “feral” roosters in the jungle and they are prized for their unique heritage and breed. They hold contests with them to see which one can “cock-a-doodle-do” for the longest time...there are semi-finals and everything! Some of the prize winning roosters can go for ten minutes....Lordy!
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Mangos growing like weeds...the green mango salad here is terrific
Below is one of Mrs Tiew’s cats...he likes to sleep in her bicycle basket!
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We walked the 20 minute walk to Mrs.Tiew’s place right after breakfast where I proceeded to draw my design on some Indonesian silk fabric. I am not a natural “drawer”, but did my best. Then she instructed me in the careful use of the hot wax and the instrument to apply it to the fabric. Andy documented the entire project which is good as I may want to do this at home. After the wax outline was complete I used fabric dyes/ paints to fill in the pattern. We shall see how it turns out, my first real attempt at batik!
At Mrs. Tiew’s workshop/ home, drawing with oil pencil, drawing with hot wax and then with fabric paint/dye.
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Above is the fabric With the wax still on it, we need to go back tomorrow to collect it after the wax has been removed.
What a fun day learning to do batik on this small island!
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Another of her cats...in his own tiny hammock!

one afternoon while cooling off on our treehouse porch we noticed a man with bags of onions and cases of beer etc ..he was placing them on the ground near our bungalow. At first Andy was “woo hoo” beer delivery..ha ha, then we watched as he pulled on a rope tied around a tree. After a short while, a large basket appeared, he loaded in some items and proceeded to send them down the hill in the basket. As I stated earlier, we are on quite a steep hill ...and there is a restaurant on the beach at the bottom....this amounted to a zip line for beer, Andy approved!
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The beer zip line!

Our last full day on Koh Jum ( no cars...just some taxi trucks) we rented two bikes and headed out for a day of exploring. It took us only 20 minutes to get to the main town, Koh Jum (we are based near Ting Rai which is midway up the west coast). It is really special to ride with out cars hogging the road, just a few motorcycles, scooters and other bikes. I had read about a lovely coffee shop called Luboa so we stopped for a break. It is a beautiful place, home made bread, cheesecake and yoghurt. We both had their hand pressed lemonade, which was very refreshing after our ride. Lovely couple that run it were so friendly and we had a nice chat with one of the owners about the political situation in Hong Kong.
From there we headed farther into town, it really isn’t very big and before we knew it the road ran out! The seafood restaurant by the pier where we had landed was recommended to us so we stayed for lunch, which was tasty. While we were eating, we had the privilege of watching one long tail boat tow another one to the pier. The boat being towed was loaded to the gills with beer, groceries, gas, propane and even a granny sitting on top of all the boxes! It took the moto-taxi guy three or four runs, totally overloaded to empty the pile on the pier...not sure which trip granny was on. Everything has to come from the mainland by long tail boats as the pier is not long or deep enough to accommodate a larger supply ship.
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On the ride back from town a troop of monkeys crossed the road in front of us, a group of at least 20-25, including a couple of mums who had babies clinging to their undersides, incredible to see.

A cycle to Mrs. Tiews to get my batik was in order, so we continued on....a hot ride...we were ready for a swim when we got back.
We have decided to take the “local” large long tail boat to Krabi town when we leave instead of the ferry which involves a mid ocean transfer from a small long tail to the ferry as the ferries are too large to dock in Koh Jum. The big long tail boat we will be on carries locals, tourists who know about it, provisions, animals and all sorts to and from Koh Jum to the mainland and back, taking about 45 minutes each way.
Upon arrival we hope to get a local songtheaw (truck/ taxi) for the 45 minute run into Krabi town. Turns out some of the dyes did not take to the fabric or were too diluted, so I will do some touch up when I get home. I actually like the “washed out” effect but the turtle shell needs more definition.

Our last morning on Koh Jum, this incredible view over the mountains....what a wonderful place, with great people.
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A young man from our accommodation took us by moto-taxi to Motu pier for the long tail boat ride to a pier near Krabi. There were 10 people on the main level of the boat and 8 or so on the upper level...along with some empty gas containers, bags of crabs, everyone’s luggage and other assorted goods. The journey took 45 minutes and was quite calm as the boat does not go at high speeds. We passed some amazing scenery along the way, many islands, most of them mountainous. We walked the plank...literally...when we arrived at the mainland pier and hopped on a truck taxi to Krabi town.
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We found a lovely fruit and vegetable market very near the hotel and wandered along the riverfront which is quite beautiful. There were sculptures everywhere and it was very clean.
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The pic below is a statue on the traffic lights...not sure why...a cave man????
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And of course, it wouldn’t be Thailand without a Reggae bar!...no, he does not have a water pipe in his mouth...this is a Thailand...not Canada. It was a tube he rigged up to blow into a tiny keyboard...he was making music!
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After a 6 am pick up by minivan, a 3 hour journey by a double decker bus and two separate catamaran ferry rides...we arrived on Koh Tao!

Some beautiful scenery along the bus ride....limestone karsts seem to rise out of nowhere.
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The town closest to us, Sairee Beach is cute, it has a rather “hippyish” feel to it which appeals to me. The beach is lovely, shallow, clear water with gigantic boulders plopped along in random fashion. We have signed up to do a full day snorkeling tour on Saturday, that should be fun...too bad we don’t have an underwater camera.

A few random shots of the Sairee Beach area...second last one is someone getting a tattoo with a traditional bamboo or wooden stick! Ouch....there are more tat shops here than I have ever seen!

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Views of and from our accommodation on Koh Jum
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And some shots from our snorkel trip around part of Koh Jum...unfortunately the wind came up and the water was a bit too choppy for comfortable snorkeling, but it was lovely to see the boulders laying everywhere, sometimes very precariously perched on each other. I have never seen so many snorkeling boats or tourists all trying to snorkel...not our thing really, but we are here....so....
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And last but not least for this week....Gung Hey Fat Choy to all our family and friends...Happy New Year!!!!!
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Posted by hermanita 16:03 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Koh Lanta...

Way busier than Klong Muang!!!!

sunny 30 °C

The arrival on Koh Lanta, after a relaxing ferry Crossing, was total bedlam! At the ferry dock we stumbled from one boat to another via gangplank...with our bags... to get to the pier. Once on the pier we were accosted by hoards of drivers who meet the once daily ferry. One woman singled us out and offered to take us to our hotel for 200 bhat each. I had been informed by the hotel staff (I asked in advance) that a taxi was 300 bhat for the entire taxi. She reluctantly agreed and we trailed after her, with bags in tow, to her friends “ taxi/truck” . We had no idea Koh Lanta would be so busy...Klong Muang was so calm and quiet!

We took a stroll down the beach closest to us (Klong Nin) followed by a trip to the grocery store for a few essentials. Dinner was a road side stand that was just firing up their oil drum bbq. They had freshly caught red snapper and one of them had our name on it! ! That and a plate of garlic fried morning glory was our dinner, perfect. They had two little girls and a five month old boy....juggling the kids and the cooking...a tough job!
Below....the chef, starting his son on the bbq at a really early age! A lovely couple, we will go back again before we leave Koh Lanta.
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Snapper, squid and another type of fish, all ready for the bbq

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When the tide is out, some rocks on the beach....tide in....you can’t even find the rocks they are so far out.

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lunch..mmm..crispy tofu with spicy dipping sauce and papaya salad with fried shrimp...at Bobby Big Boys.

Koh Lanta is predominately Muslim, as we sit on our front porch eating lunch we hear the call to prayer...12:45 pm....there was also a call around 5am and again in the evening. It doesn’t last for long and is quite pleasant to listen to as it is broadcast over loudspeakers on the roof of the mosque.

Walking down the road to the 7- Elven store , I saw bushes moving....tada....monkey on the hydro pole! She had a small baby with her and one that was in between...a teenager I assume from the antics going on!
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And when you need some gas for your scooter....right by the side of the road, we saw this in Vietnam as well.

We have a kettle in our little bungalow but are reluctant to drink instant coffee. I found this cool collapsible coffee filter holder, at a kitchen shop in Almonte, and gave it to Andy for Christmas. It works really well, however I only brought 10 filters thinking about space etc. Guess what...no coffee filters in Thailand! We have used the same filters over and over, drying them out each time, but alas...there is only so many times you can use them before they fall apart.
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We have looked for paper towels, which can be used in a pinch (don’t like to as they are not food grade paper).....none available in Thailand. So, we tried something Nick’s ( our Airbnb host in Klong Muang) mum does when travelling.....she puts the ground coffee in a container and pours boiling water over it, lets it steep a few minutes, then strains the coffee through a small , fine strainer. We did find a strainer on the island, but the holes seem to be too big ...or the grind too fine. So, I have sewn the tip of a “tea sock” onto the strainer as it’s mesh is finer....we shall see if it has been a waste of time or not!
My coffee contraption...
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A cute roadside shop selling handmade leather purses, jewelry and some clothing. While coming back from the 7-Eleven store we came across a sewing cooperative that had lovely skirts made from Indonesian print cottons...being a fabric lover of course I had to go in. The woman took measurements and my two custom made skirts will be ready tomorrow...390 bhat each, which is about $16 CAD...what a deal!
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Oh, I think Nico needs some pants! too!!

A strange looking “ fruit” growing outside our bungalow....apparently fishermen use them to kill fish...don’t think I’ll be trying any of the local remedies though!

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And a very important sign....with sirens in the background...reminds us of the tragedy that took place on Dec. 26, 2004. People fled as a tsunami wave came crashing ashore at Koh Raya, part of Thailand's territory in the Andaman islands and 23 kilometers from Phuket island.
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And....few shots from our dinner table one evening...we had an incredibly fragrant green curry....
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Ok, time to learn about Koh Lanta......The Koh Lanta archipelago is located off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and belongs to Krabi Province. The island is about 800 km south from Bangkok and 200 km north of the Malaysian border. The Koh Lanta archipelago is made up of over 50 small islands. However, only three are inhabited and only one of them has a significant tourist infrastructure. The main island of Koh Lanta actually consists of two separate islands: Koh Lanta Noi, the smaller part in the north, and Ko Lanta Yai (where we are), the larger southern part of the island, which caters to tourists.
Koh Lanta is 27 km in length and only 10 km in width at its narrowest point. There are even mountains in the south with an elevation of 500 m. The water on the western side of the island is calm, crystal clear and the beach slopes gently, so swimming is fantastic. At low tide some rocks do show, but there are still places that are “rockless “.

Our little bungalow is right at the north end of Klong Nin beach...we walked the entire stretch one morning...3.8 km one way...we got our exercise for the day, had an iced coffee and a cappuccino before slipping into the ocean for a lovely swim.
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Dinner on the beach.....and cute wee bbq’s...see boys, you don’t really need those ginormous, stainless steel things!

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Above are squid boats out on the ocean...they hang poles over the sides of the boat, with bright lights attached to them, to attract the squid...they almost look extraterrestrial!

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Below a Thai cat lounging on a fridge....lots of cats here....looking very...”you woke me ...why?”
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We took a walk midweek from our beach area to the beach just north of us which involves some road walking around headlands. As we crossed a small river we spied this “bad boy”...a water monitor lizard...just hanging out, he was approximately 3 feet long!!
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We decided that Klong Kong beach was too rocky with the tide out for swimming so we headed back out to the road. After a nice frozen mango shake we found a tuk tuk and hopped on for a fun ride back to our little bungalow...lunch and a swim were in order for the afternoon. By the end of the day we had put on over 13,000 steps...ouch...pass the ice pack please!

Did I mention that there are cats everywhere...literally everywhere! Every restaurant , be it a sit down inside or benches by the road, has at least two cats...these were our breakfast cats this morning...one didn’t even bother to wake up, the other one looked like he wished he hadn’t...I call him Mr. Grumpy Pants!
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This was the view from our breakfast spot this morning....a small river runs into the sea at this point. We usually make our own breakfast with bread, peanut butter and fruit...but decided to go for the works.
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Across the road from our our bungalow is a restaurant called Bobby Big Boy Seafood and Bar. Below is what he has parked out front...no idea why, but they are in very good shape! Our friend Ian, an antique car expert, advises it is a 1960 Caddy and a 1937 Ford pick up truck...how cool.
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Love the beach here so much, it will be hard to top this one!
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Sometimes we just go for a cross between street food and a restaurant. This area has lots to choose from and we haven’t been disappointed yet. Below is last nights table by the side of the road...locals kept coming in on their motorcycles...that’s a good sign!
The “chef” was madly chopping away...and yes, there were cats, but we didn’t photo them!
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Late in the week we popped by Bobby Big Boy Bar for a pre dinner drink this evening and ended up chatting with Bobby for a while and found he has led an interesting life. He went to the U.S. when he was 16 and ended up working in restaurants all over the states....probably visited or lived in more states than most Americans have seen! His English is great and he developed a passion for cars while he was there..,hence the Caddy and the Ford antiques parked out front of his place. He advised that tourism is down all over Thailand this year and restaurants and hotels are struggling to stay afloat. He has trained his staff to “western “ standards which should help him somewhat, but it’s tough keeping them all on the pay role. I told him I would put something on Trip Advisor...which can make or break a restaurant here.

This was our dinner spot this evening...Mama Dang cooks up the delicious meals herself...she has a pretty big following and we can see why4722F6DB-0E7D-40B2-9E11-054AA449FAB4.jpeg
Passionfruit mojitos
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Our last full day on Koh Lanta we walked north to the rocky shores and wandered...just exploring....here are a few shots from our morning walk. We started by walking up a side road on the mountain side of the island, a few cows grazing and some spectacular flowers.
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Then along the rocky shore...
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Some squid boats in a wee harbour and below...a black sea cucumber with his frilly tentacles on display!
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A water monitor we saw when walking back from lunch one day....big boy!!
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It is time to say good by...or “laa gawn “ to Koh Lanta, this morning we leave on a speed boat for the 15 minute trip to the small island of Koh Jum.
We have been working on our Thai and it seems to be “sticking” (unlike Vietnamese)
Hello is Swadee ka (really draw out the kaaaaa) from a woman and Swadee Krap from a man, Swadee dawn chau ka means good morning and Swadee dawn yen ka means good evening, kawpcoon ka is thank you ....men add “krap” to the end of the words instead of “ka”...we had a good chuckle over that!

Posted by hermanita 18:55 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

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