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Category Archives: THAILAND

Wat Tham Suwan Kuha, James Bond Island, Koh Panyi Village – Thailand

I was wrong when I thought that temples, Patong Beach and Koh Phi Phi are the only things I will look forward to when visiting Thailand. Perhaps this is exactly why I love to travel. Because travelling humbles me, travelling reminds me that I have so much more to learn, so much more of the world to see, that there are more faces to meet, more souls to touch.

Wat Tham (meaning cave temple) Suwan Kuha, located in Phang Nga province, North of Phuket, is nothing grandiose but interesting. There are a lot of monkeys outside the cave temple, waiting to be fed or a chance to grab food.

Wat Tham (meaning cave temple) Suwan Kuha, located in Phang Nga province, North of Phuket

Wat Tham (meaning cave temple) Suwan Kuha, located in Phang Nga province, North of Phuket

Wat Tham (meaning cave temple) Suwan Kuha, located in Phang Nga province, North of Phuket

Wat Tham (meaning cave temple) Suwan Kuha, located in Phang Nga province, North of Phuket

But the highlight of this temple is the giant buddha reclining inside the cave. Stalagmites and stalagtites also hang the cave walls acting like natural chandeliers.

Wat Tham (meaning cave temple) Suwan Kuha, located in Phang Nga province, North of Phuket

Wat Tham (meaning cave temple) Suwan Kuha, located in Phang Nga province, North of Phuket

the giant buddha inside Wat Tham (meaning cave temple) Suwan Kuha, located in Phang Nga province, North of Phuket

The giant buddha inside Wat Tham (meaning cave temple) Suwan Kuha, located in Phang Nga province, North of Phuket

Before Leonardo DiCaprio made a buzz about Phi Phi islands, James Bond had definitely put Thailand on the world map when it featured Khao Phing Kan in the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” in 1974. As a matter of fact, the island is popularly known as James Bond Island and its Thai name is rarely used by tourists and even the locals. It is  worth a note that there are no replicas of the Golden Gun or dvds of the movie or anything that would concern James Bond fans sold in the island but local produced mostly made out of seashells.

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At the bay, preparing for a boat ride to James Bond Island

boat ride to James Bond Island

Boat ride to James Bond Island

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Enjoying Phang Nga Bay view on the way to James Bond Island

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My first glimpse of James Bond island

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Approaching James Bond Island

A must see is the Koh Tapu or the Nail Island, a limestone about 20 meters tall. Legend says that a fisherman, after numerous attempts at fishing can only catch a nail and keeps throwing it back to the sea, furiously cut the nail with his sword and upon impact, the nail jumped and speared into the sea.

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With Ko Tapu (Nail Island) at the background.

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Taxi anyone? :)

My favorite part of the tour is probably the unique lunch experience at Koh Panyi Village. A reading from wikipedia says that this fishing village was built on stilts by Indonesian fishermen. The population consists of roughly 200 families or between 1,500 and 2,000 people descended from 2 seafaring Muslim families from Java.

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Approaching Koh Panyi Village

Koh Panyi Village, Thailand

Koh Panyi Village, Thailand

Lunch was not only unique but a truly truly wonderful experience. Sea foods and fruits were fresh and I met and shared the meal with new found friends –  a couple from Israel, a couple from Spain and a couple from New Jersey.

lunch at Koh Panyi Village, Thailand

Lunch at Koh Panyi Village, Thailand

We left Phang Nga Bay after lunch and went to Phuket Island and visited Gems Gallery, the worlds biggest jewelry store.

Gem's Gallery in Thailand is the world's biggest jewelry store

Gem’s Gallery in Thailand is the world’s biggest jewelry store

After the tour, we all went back to our respective hotels with smiles and faces to remember. I travelled to Thailand alone, but moved on with my journey with new wonderful memories, of new knowledge, new inspiration and new souls who i just touched and who also touched mine in a sweet adventurous way.

Thailand, Thank You.

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Patong Beach

 

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 12, 2012 in THAILAND, TRAVEL

 

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Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

I was twelve when the movie Titanic hit blockbuster and Leonardo DiCaprio matured into everyone’s hero overnight. His movies following that became a part of the bandwagon culture. I guess moviegoers, girls especially, will always remember him as Rose’s Jack or Juliet’s Romeo. But for me, Leo will always be Richard, the naive traveller who went to  Thailand and found himself in possession of a strange map that led him into an isolated island paradise, into a tropical bliss. And that is how I learned of Phi Phi islands.

Koh (meaning island in Thai) Phi Phi is part of Krabi province, composed of 6 islands but Phi Phi Lee and Phi Phi Don are the two main islands and that is where I am heading. The tour started at 7am, and aboard the Sea Angel Cruise, my first day as twenty-six in a foreign island and alone was awesome.

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Behind me is Koh Phi Phi Lee, popularized by the movie “The Beach”. This was how I met Gaetano, also a traveller who came with his fiance Demet, and their mother and daughter friends Michelina and Morena. Gaetano, probably wondering why I was travelling alone, approached to help me take a photo of me with Phi Phi Lee as my background.

Koh Phi Phi Lee in Thailand as popularized by the movie The Beach by Leonardo Di Caprio

Koh Phi Phi Lee in Thailand as popularized by the movie The Beach by Leonardo Di Caprio

And this is Koh Phi Phi Don, the largest and only populated island among the 6.

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Lunch with newly-found friends at Phi Phi Don.

lunch at Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Lunch at Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

1,2,3 LEO!

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Demet and Gaetano are neigbhors with Morena and Michelina in Germany. They did not plan this trip together but only met in Phuket by accident. Small world!

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from left: me, the couple Ms.Demet and Mr.Gaetano, mother and daughter Morena and Michelina

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. ( Richard – The Beach:2000)

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in THAILAND, TRAVEL

 

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Phuket, Thailand

Last 2010, I thought of doing something different on my birthday. So at the crack of dawn when I turned twenty-something, I had my bag ready and flew SOLO from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Phuket, Thailand. Some friends thought it was crazy for me to travel alone, I cannot think otherwise. It was a crazy idea indeed and that was the point of the adventure – to be crazy and simply have fun. Phuket has been infamously known for its night life, but my trip proved that there is more this island can offer.

The hotel staff knew it was my birthday so one of them thought what was appropriate of me and brought me to Wat Chalong. It is the largest temple in Phuket, with a Grand Pagoda containing a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone.

Wat Chalong, the largest temple in Phuket, with a Grand Pagoda containing a splinter of Lord Buddha's bone.

Wat Chalong, the largest temple in Phuket, with a Grand Pagoda containing a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone.

Wat Chalong, the largest temple in Phuket, with a Grand Pagoda containing a splinter of Lord Buddha's bone.

Wat Chalong, the largest temple in Phuket, with a Grand Pagoda containing a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone.

inside Wat Chalong, the largest temple in Phuket, with a Grand Pagoda containing a splinter of Lord Buddha's bone.

Inside Wat Chalong, the largest temple in Phuket, with a Grand Pagoda containing a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone.

Wat Chalong, the largest temple in Phuket, with a Grand Pagoda containing a splinter of Lord Buddha's bone.

Wat Chalong, the largest temple in Phuket, with a Grand Pagoda containing a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone.

Thai people believe that elephants bring luck. While they are widely popular for tourism nowadays, elephants were very useful in the logging industry and they were in the old days trained for war. So as we drove, my guide thought I should feed an elephant. I have seen these giant mammals on tv and in zoos but this was my first time to see them up close. I felt very small and I knew I could die with just a kick. While my blog post about my elephant ride in Bali showed my enthusiasm, I was behaving oddly in Phuket. And you can tell from the photo.

elephant feeding in Phuket, Thailand

Elephant feeding in Phuket, Thailand

Trying to get over that awkward moment with the giants, we drove to Promtehp Cape viewpoint. Believe me, it was a sight to behold.

Promtehp Cape viewpoint, Phuket, Thailand

Promtehp Cape viewpoint, Phuket, Thailand

Promtehp Cape viewpoint, Phuket, Thailand

Promtehp Cape viewpoint, Phuket, Thailand

Promtehp Cape viewpoint, Phuket, Thailand

Promtehp Cape viewpoint, Phuket, Thailand

I returned to my hotel for a quick fix and headed out again to explore more . The hotel was just a quick walk to Patong Beach.

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

The local food was interesting. I tried their grilled squid and it was delish :)

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

The beach was crowded and it drizzled but it was still beautiful. If you are looking for a quiet beach, Patong is not for you. This beach is packed with activities, of people, of faces, of stories. I stayed until sunset and waited for a group to fly sky lanterns. I was overwhelmed, I have always been a huge fan of lanterns and lamps. I was too overwhelmed I did not take photos. I guess I just wanted to breathe in the moment that I was there. That moment I am thankful to be alive.

On my way to dinner, I passed by Loma park and I was surprised to see all yellow flowers everywhere. It dawned on me that it was also Thailand’s Agong’s (King) birthday.

Phuket has a lot to offer. I stayed in the island for 3 days and had tours which I will blog about soon. But that day, it made me feel like a royalty, on my birthday!

commemorating the birthday of the King of Thailand in Phuket

Commemorating the birthday of the King of Thailand in Phuket

commemorating the birthday of the King of Thailand in Phuket

Commemorating the birthday of the King of Thailand in Phuket

 

 

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 9, 2012 in THAILAND, TRAVEL

 

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