Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don Hoi Lot

Trees in the tidal zone
Don Hoi Lot (ดอนหอยหลอด) is the name of a sandbar at the mouth of Mae Klong river at the town Samut Songkhram. I went there on my first trip to Thailand in 2000, and it was on my last day in the country, so I did not take many photos anymore - already had many films filled, and still not knowing much about the culture the temples and shrines started to look all the same by then. So the only thing I photographed there were some trees in the tidal zone, submerged by the high tide.

The place is a famous for its sea food restaurants, which include those shells which gave their name to the place. Don Hoi Lot means sandbar of the Lot shells, better known as Razor Clam shells (Solen regularis). Lot (หลอด) by itself means (drinking) straw, and thus refers to the shape of these shells, a long narrow tube-like shape. Actually, Lot is also a vulgar term for the female vulva... This endemic shell species was one of the reasons why this sandbar was one of 10 wetlands protected by the Ramsar Convention, inscribed in 2001.

Additional to the nature, there's also a cultural place right at the mouth of the river, the shrine of Prince Chumphon Khet-Udomsak, the father of the Royal Thai Navy. Sadly as mentioned above I did not take any photos of it. But it was hardly to overlook, or better to overhear, as the sound of firecrackers was common during all the time we stayed there. And as I did not know anything on the natural importance of this place, a good seafood meal was all I did back then. Hopefully I can make it there again, and then include a visit on the sandbar itself.

The place is easy to find, just follow the road from Bangkok to Samut Songkhram, and directly before the bridge over the Mae Klong and thus the town Samut Songkram turn into the narrow street to the sea. There's of course also a tourist sign to point to the right exit.

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