Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Beach at Khanom

Nai Plao beachAs there is no real beach around the town Surat Thani, the nearest place for a day at the beach is in Khanom district in neighboring Nakhon Si Thammarat province. I went there three times already, as when staying in Thailand at least some time at the beach simply belongs to the itinerary. What I like at the beach in Khanom is that they are still quite unknown to foreign tourists, who all are found on Ko Samui - which also has great sandy beaches, but to me is way to crowded already.

Supa Royal Beach HotelAlong the beach there are many small resorts which often include a restaurant, as for Thai tourists traveling usually means eating at a different location. Of course having fresh seafood directly at the beach is something I enjoy as well. The last two times we went to the Nai Pet beach (หาดในเปร์ต), this time we went a bit further south to Nai Plao beach (หาดในเพลา) and stayed at the Rocks between Nai Plao and Nai Pet beachonly hotel of the whole area, the Supar (sic!) Royal Beach Hotel. Nai Plao beach is much shorter than the the Nai Phet, the two are separated by a small group of rocks which make a really beautiful view.

The beach is reasonably clean, inevitably there is some garbage left by careless people but most of the non-natural stuff washed ashore is styrofoam torn off from the fishing nets. But to be honest I had to look a bit to find that long stretch of garbage in the photo. The sand is fine, some shells can be found as well, though most are already broken. Last time I also saw several eremite crabs walking on the beach, the one I successfully photographed however was already dead as that one did not run away from my camera before I could focus it well.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Suan Somdet Ya in Cha-Am

Sign of Suan Somdet YaSomewhat outside of the town Cha-Am is one of the several Somdet Ya parks (สวนสมเด็จย่าฯ) which exist around Thailand. In fact, there are at least three kinds of parks named after the mother of HM King Bhumipol. The first one is the historical park in Khlong San district of Bangkok around the birthplace of the princess mother - a place I plan to feature here later as well. Then there are several recreational parks named after her, for example the one in Nonthaburi province near Mueang Thong Thani. The one in Cha-Am district is of another kind, an educational park. The full name is สวนสมเด็จพระศรีนครินทราบรมราชชนนี, Suan Somdet Srinagarindra Boromarajajonani, the full ceremonial name of the princess mother, and is operated by the Chaipattana Foundation.

The park is located between Cha-Am and Hua Hin, west of the Phetkasem highway bypass on road 1001 leading towards the Springfield Village resort. Directly before the Huai Ta Paet reservoir the large sign "Welcome to Suan Somdet Ya" is nearly impossible to miss, there turn to the right and maybe 50 meters inside that road is the entrance. The area has just now become visible in hires in Google Earth, which will come into the WikiMapia view of the place soon as well.

Teaching hutBoth days we stayed near there I have seen several buses parking at the entrance, bringing school kids to the park. Inside the park it has several outdoor school rooms - open huts with lots of chairs. And it is probably this way to get most of this park, as there are hardly any descriptive signs on the exhibits, so without a guided tour one hardly gets anything from this park.Bridge in the herb garden Only within the herbs garden it has signs with the names of the plants, and their medic effects. The fields with various vegetables or fruits grown for either display or agricultural techniques or for experimentation come without any signs, so I can only suspect it is these two purposes of them. If looking for scenic places within the park it is really not the place to go, the only thing scenic is the fountain at the pond right at the entrance, or a few views within the herb garden.