A Travellerspoint blog

Koh Samae San

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Koh Samae San or Samae San Island is an island located off Sattahip city in Chonburi province, Thailand. This is a little known vacation island both by the locals as well as foreigners or perhaps it was simply bypassed due to its off beaten path. Most tourists prefer to visit Pattaya and head on to Koh Larn instead due to the convenience of travelling from Bangkok. While Koh Samae San may not be the preferred island retreat choice for most tourists, it indeed offers some of the most enjoyable experience of sunbathing and swimming in a far less crowded beach, opportunity to snorkel not far from the beach area as well as getting into the fun of kayaking around sea and have excitement on hiking up the hill to get some awesome view of the island.

Ticketing office
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Some informations about Koh Samae San as an orientation. This island was under the management and authority of The Royal Thai Navy Military but accessible to the public with a fee. The ticket counter was located adjacent to the pier area. Foreign visitors are charged a fee of THB600 per head for child and adult. Thais are charged THB300 for adult and THB220 for children. While this can be rather costly, the reason for charging such a fee structures comes with the underlying statement - restricted entry to preserve the island's nature and environment. Under the command of Princess Sirindhorn, Koh Samae San has been selected as one of the dozens of islands in Chonburi province to be under the island preservation projects. The main reason for this project was to limit pollutions so that the nature and environment in the island and surroundings were being protected and not damaged by tourism activities which in return this would then be benefits for future generations. There was also restrictions on number of people allowed on the island in a day which was limited to 500.

Pier to Koh Samae San
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Contrary to what has been written and said about the attire restrictions, I had seen people donning any kinds of beach and swimming apparels of their choice. However,there was a notice at the ticketing counter that indicated foreigners must be accompanied by a Thai to get to Koh Samae San. Had Luk Lom or Luk Lom beach was the main beach that can be accessed for activities including swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking. In less than 15 minutes, you will reach Koh Samae San with the ferry docking at Had Tien. These are the only 2 areas allowed for public use on the island. From Had Tien, tram will be picking up visitors to Had Luk Lom.

Arriving at Had Tien
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Once at Had Luk Lom, you will be greeted by a huge crab replica as well as clear sea water. During my arrival in the morning, the beach was literary quiet and sun was shining brightly though it was pouring quiet heavily while boarding the ferry at the pier. Awesome weather for a good swim and snorkeling day out. The good thing about snorkeling at Koh Samae San, the snorkeling spot was just a short and quick speed boat journey from the beach at Had Luk Lom. While the corals, fish and other sea livings were not impressive, you still get to see them at close vicinity within touch. Of course you avoid touching them or stepping on them. Just to enjoy watching them while you snorkel.

Had Luk Lom
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Back to the beach, there was a small hills that you can go hiking. The view of the island was marvellous and awesome from the peak of the hill. You can enjoy the panaromic and spectacular view from the top of the hill. To get to Koh Samae San, it is best to spend at least a night at Sattahip as can be read on my blog about Sattahip. Koh Samae San has no accomodation facilities and can only be access daily from 9am to 4pm. In summary, I would say that this island deserve to be explored at least once in one's travel itinerary.

Hiking view at Had Luk Lom
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Posted by kidd27 10:34 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Sattahip & Koh Samae San

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Sattahip is located in Chonburi province, Thailand and was basically overlooked by tourists both locals and foreigners. This was mainly attributed to the fact that Sattahip's location which edged close to it's popular neighborhood city of Pattaya. Pattaya has been long on the tourists radar while holidaying in Bangkok being the closest beach retreat to the capital of Thailand. While Sattahip being less travelled by many, this city in Chonburi province is also home to the Royal Thai Navy which has its base over here. The U-Tapao airport is also located not too distance away from Sattahip. Most of the areas in Sattahip in particular those that located on the coastlines were under the management and jurisdiction of Royal Thai Navy.

Had Toei Ngam
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My recent short holiday trip in Thailand brought me to Sattahip to explore this coastal city on what vacation activities can be done, what's interesting and to experience new travel spot. As the city is under the authority of Royal Thai Navy, the presence of military officers could be seen in areas including beaches that can be access by the public. Literally, any beach activities basically focused at Had Toei Ngam or Toei Ngam beach. This was also where tourists could go for sunbathing, swimming and picnic. There were some specialty store selling souvenirs as well as packaged food and a food area selling mostly coffees, grilled chicken and grilled seafood. Entrance to Had Toei Ngam would see guard posts where military men on duty would randomly check personal details for security purposes. Over here was also where the Royal Navy Military Museum being built which access was free. Some replicas of military fighter jets were seen within the area of the museum as well as a huge military monument a symbol of pride of Thai Navy Military were standing proudly greeting visitors as you arrived at the Had Toei Ngam. Inside the museum, it provided visitors with few informations and knowledge on the different military uniforms donned by the navy officers during different time period, military equipments and ammunitions, military ranks and badges as well as replicas battlefields.

Had Toei Ngam Monument of Royal Thai Military
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Royal Thai Navy Museum
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Sattahip has no bars dotted walking street staged for those looking to enjoy themselves after sunset unlike it's neighbouring city of Pattaya. But that shall be a plus point for this quiet, less touristy beach retreat city as you can enjoy the calm and the beauty of this holiday spot minus the noisy, hectic and chaotic night atmosphere. I personally enjoy it that way as you can take your time to explore the place, experience some local food in a calm surroundings and get into some conversation with the locals as you explore around.

Had Dongtan Bay

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There may not have any bars for one to have dozens of cans or bottles of beers to cheers while in Sattahip but one of the main night entertainment one can do was to head to Had Dongtan or Dongtan Bay. Here at Dongtan Bay, with the sun sets down, street food traders started to set up their food carts to start business. When the day still sees the sun shining brightly, Dongtan Bay is the heaven for many yacht enthusiasts. This is when you could witness many yachts sailing out at the Dongtan Bay during day time. The atmosphere at Dongtan Bay can be summed up as refreshing with winds blowing constantly from the sea. While there were no sandy beach at this bay to enjoy some swimming and sunbathing, you can stroll along the pine tree lined area overlooking the sea. During night time when food vendors started their trade, you can try out some of the Thai street food of all kinds available over at the Dongtan Bay Walking Street. You can rent mattress to picnic at the selected or available spots along the bay while enjoying the street food and drinks.

[b]Dongtan Bay Walking Street
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My opinion on Sattahip is that it was worth to experience this beach retreat city if you do visit Pattaya which can be paired up with a trip to Koh Samae San. The main streets for tourists to settle down and experience some good time basically centred within Dongtan Bay area where some cafes, restaurants, hotels and the walking streets can be found. There were also some hotels found within and off the main road area a little far off from Dongtan Bay as well but the best spots will surely be at Dongtan Bay. To get to Koh Samae San, transportation need to be arranged either from your accomodation facilities or asked around as the pier to the island was distance away from Sattahip city and not within walking distance. In smart, you could stay.a night at Dongtan Bay after exploring the city during the day and head over to Koh Samae San the next morning or head straight to Koh Samae San after arrival at Sattahip and head back to Sattahip in the evening and stay over the night. My thoughts on Sattahip and Koh Samae San was that this both spots deserve to be explored at least once in your travel diary.

Posted by kidd27 08:06 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Talad Sam Chuk

Century Old Thai Chinese influenced market in Supanburi province

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Suphanburi province is located not too far away from Bangkok. Getting to Sam Chuk market, the scenery were dotted with vast landscape of rice fields just like when I travelled to Ubon Ratchathani in Isaan region. Sam Chuk market is a Thai Chinese market with wide variety of Chinese style food, sweets and beverages available for sale. This market was said to be over 100 years old and was being established during the Siam era.

The entrance gate to Talad Sam Chuk
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The structures of Sam Chuck market were itself being so unique. The shops within the market consisted of old wooden buildings that double as both shop as well as house. While these shops looked old, most of the structures were still strong. I believe most of the shop houses at Sam Chuk has undergone reconstruction as well as renovations to preserve this precious old market and the surrounding structures. Since old buildings were of significant value, the community, local government and Thai government would realised the importance in heritage preservation.

The old shop house structures @ Talad Sam Chuk
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While old market and heritage always and never fail to fascinate me, what was being even more than what I expected were the street food and sweets that were so colourful and abundant available at Sam Chuk market. Because this market was established by the Chinese who arrived from China in ancient Siam era, almost every food sold here were of Chinese origin.

Shop signage in Chinese characters @ Talad Sam Chuk
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Walking along the shops and stalls within Sam Chuk market, you just want to taste each and every food and sweets on sale. When it comes to Chinese food, pork and duck were always a must eat. Over here in Sam Chuk market, this was of no exceptions. Enjoying some bbq pork or ‘charsiew’, roast pork and roast duck over cup of fresh coffee and Thai milk tea in an old wooden coffee shop should be the thing that never be missed in Sam Chuk market.

Giant pork balls, first of its kind @ Talad Sam Chuk
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Traditional Chinese made cakes and sweets were all over the place in Sam Chuk market. These also came in variety of colors and shape. Tasting these sweets, cakes and crackers should not be miss out as they were not easily available in other markets in Thailand. In addition, these were traditional food and most people of new generations no longer prepare such old style sweets.

Traditional Chinese cakes & sweets and other local Thai snacks @ Talad Sam Chuk
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The one thing that should never fail to capture visitors attention at Sam Chuk market was the extra large pork balls. Both were of Chinese influenced food but what captured my attention was the huge giant size pork balls never seen before anywhere else other than Sam Chuk market. Other than the giant size pork balls, they were also available in small and medium size range.

Enjoying roast pork & bbq pork @ Talad Sam Chuk
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While the market area was not too huge, only parts of the community were open up for purpose of trading and business. Sam Chuk market also formed part of the tourist attraction in Suphanburi province. The other part of this community which was located across the river connected with a pedestrian bridge was not open to business and tourists.

More food and snacks @ Talad Sam Chuk
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Other than food and drinks, many souvenirs were also available. What was yet another interesting thing to note was that almost all shops and business signage at Sam Chuk market has both Thai and Chinese characters carved on them. Since Sam Chuk market is not too far a distance from Bangkok, a day tour to this market is worth some time to explore, not only for the traditional Chinese influenced food but also its unique century old buildings.

Souvenirs available @ Talad Sam Chuk
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Replica of Talad Sam Chuk Community
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The bridge across the river @ Talad Sam Chuk that link to the residence community
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Posted by kidd27 08:51 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

The World of Convenience Store 2

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Convenience stores have been so phenomenal in every parts of the world. If you do not see existence of any convenience store at any place you were to be, well things seem to be so strange. Entrepreneurs will not want to lose out making money by missing out the opportunity to open such outlet in every nook and corners of a town or city. Convenience store was so crucial in our daily life that if we do not have access to such facility, we find ourselves being deprived of one of the most sought after necessity of our daily routine.

THE BAKERY SECTION
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THE COFFEE COUNTER
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My previous story on convenience store touched on one of the most outstanding 7 Eleven store in the suburb of Bangkok of the Panyapiwat Institute of Management (PIM) outlet. Located at Pakkret, the PIM outlet was said to be one of the largest 7 Eleven store in Bangkok. But in Thailand, convenience store outlet's size was not a matter of concern because in a distance of few shop units, you will find another store setup which literally means you can have access to probably up to few convenience store outlets within distance of several hundred metres.

HOT FOOD SECTION
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WORK AREA ON 1ST FLOOR WITH CHARGING STATION
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While PIM 7 Eleven was being tagged as one of the bigger 7 Eleven store in Bangkok, the less popular FamilyMart in Sukhumvit Soi 33 (S33), can be the pride of this Japanese convenience store establishment. With a 2 storey corner outlet within the busy business and tourist hub in the centre of Bangkok city, FamilyMart S33 will definitely be one of the very interesting convenience store to be given serious attention. While FamilyMart was less popular in Bangkok, it offers very similar products and services but have been often overlooked by many both locals and tourists.

READY TO EAT SECTION
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COLD BEVERAGE SECTION
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Walking into FamilyMart S33, you will embrace a spacious concourse area once stepping into it from the main entrance. Flanked with long tables complete with high stools and charging station located on the edge of the store frontage, customers will be greeted with a bakery area and also a coffee corner. Walking further into the shop, you will be greeted with huge variety of food and beverages choices, snacks, dim sum, hot food, steam buns and other selections of non-food and daily use items. The Arigato brand coffee was one of the signature item for FamilyMart and I believe this is one of the quality coffee that can be found in Thailand. It also offers some extensive quick to serve meals through microwave heat and also good choices of other cold beverages. The bakery items also being a good compliment to the coffee on the offer.

SNACKS SECTION
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NON-FOOD SECTION
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First floor has several sitting areas with some also installed with charging stations. The area on this floor is good place to chill,doing some work, social,dining and relaxing. It also has a toilet facility to complete the overall experience within a convenience store that also work like a cafe. So, if you happen to walk past Sukhumvit Soi 33 when you are in Bangkok, do get a feel of FamilyMart and the products and services there. It will definitely provide you with some of the awesome convenience store experience.

Posted by kidd27 09:29 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Polo Fried Chicken

Bangkok Famous Fried Chicken Outlet

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One of the not to be missed food while travelling Bangkok is definitely the fried chicken. While it was Hatyai, a capital city of southern province of Thailand that was well known for its tasty fried chicken, Polo Fried Chicken in Bangkok was believed to serve the best fried chicken within the capital of Thailand.

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As the name says it all, Polo Fried Chicken or Raan Gai Thord Jay Kee serve its signature dish, the tasty golden brown fried chicken topped with generous crispy garlic which further adds to the deliciousness of this chicken dish. The ideal way to get the best out of Polo Fried Chicken eating experience will definitely to complement it with the sticky rice. Grab a chunk of chicken meat from a plate of half or full chicken, then tossed the meat into a fingerful of sticky rice and you are all ready to get a taste of the tender,juicy fried chicken dish experience.

THE SIGNATURE TASTY FRIED CHICKEN
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Other than fried chicken,other notable dishes serve along with this prized chicken dish of Polo Fried Chicken include the khor moo yang (Thai style roast pork), somtam (papaya salad) and thord man pla (thai style deep fry fish) cake All these side dishes will be good to go with the sticky rice or eaten together with the fried chicken.

THE SOMTAM(PAPAYA SALAD)
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KHAO NEAW (STICKY RICE)
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KHOR MOO YANG (THAI STYLE ROAST PORK)
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THORD MAN PLA(FISH CAKE)
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I definitely agree that Polo Fried Chicken in Bangkok offers some of the best and tasty fried chicken experience. Other side dishes such as somtam and khor moo yang were also tasty and did not disappoint. So, it would be worth the time to get to Polo Fried Chicken for lunch to get a taste of the tender, juicy and delicious fried chicken along with its other side dishes if you are in Bangkok for holiday.

Posted by kidd27 10:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Talad Rod Fai Srinakarin

The Vintage Theme Night Market in Bangkok

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There was this saying that Bangkok is a South East Asian city that never sleeps. Well, judging from from the traffic flow, the people who move and traversing around the city, entertainment activities, food joints that operated as street food vendors as well as restaurants, cafes and night markets that operated well beyond the wee hours, the saying was indeed so true. Bangkok is definitely one of the amazing South East Asia city, probably the most amazing within the region.

TALAD ROD FAI SRINAKARIN
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Over the more than 10 years of my travel to Bangkok, I have been to some of the very interesting, awesome, astonishing and stunning places that offer phenomenal and unbelievable travel experience of my life. There were so many markets in Bangkok that provide holidaymakers and travellers huge shopping options. These markets include the floating markets, one of the most notable being Damnoen Saduak Floating market usually offering exciting Thai food experience coupled with some natural sightseeing, the weekend markets such Chatuchak Weekend Market offering enormous consumer products and souvenirs as well as vast Thai street food, food market such as Talad Or Tor Kor which has an amazing variety of fresh seafood, vegetables, fruits and also Thai street food choices and last but not least the night markets which just like the weekend markets, also offer huge selections of street food, consumer goods, restaurants dining and drinking experience.

THE STREET FOOD SECTION
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One of the remarkable night market that Bangkok has to offer was Talad Rod Fai Srinakarin, or literally known as Srinakarin Train Market. Originally located at the Chatuchak Weekend Market site, which has railway tracks that run next to the market of which how the market derived its name from, Talad Rod Fai has been moved to the current location in Srinakarin adjacent to the Seacon Square shopping mall, which was away from the usual tourist hub of Bangkok.

CONSUMER GOODS SECTION
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The theme for this distinctive night market was surprisingly nothing about the train, though some of the old trains complete with a locomotive were seen placed at one section of the market. Visitors to Talad Rod Fai Srinakarin would be in for a captivating affair for being engaged into the vintage theme brought about within the night market which offer some of the dazzling oldies feel while traversing the market. Dozens of vintage cars and other old vehicles were being displayed within several sections of the market. Some restaurants, consumer goods vendors and antique shops were operating from warehouse designed outlets setup within the night market area.

ANTIQUES SECTION
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VINTAGE VEHICLES ON DISPLAY
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The night market was divided into several sections outlining the different experience for visitors to enjoy the night out at the market including dining both street food and restaurant style, entertainment and beer drinking outing, shopping as well as photography. So many things to do within one night market and definitely Talad Rod Fai Srinakarin is the never to be missed night market while holidaying in Bangkok.

Posted by kidd27 09:33 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Koh Kret, Bangkok

Koh Kret is a sizeable village surrounded by flow of Chao Phraya river and smaller adjoining rivers around it, which made it look like an island. And I think because of the geographical structure and landscape that formed the land of which the village was established, hence the name Koh Kret (Kret Island) was being tagged on this village. So, do not be mistaken that this was yet another island in Thailand when the name was mentioned.

BOARDING THE BOAT FROM WAT SANAM NUEA TO KOH KRET
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Koh Kret is located in Pak Kret of Nonthaburi province, not far away from Bangkok. One of the most important industry in Koh Kret is the pottery production factory of which these were operating from the village homes and being the most unique industry within the village. Talk about pottery and Koh Kret will surely come into mind when you are in Bangkok.

ARRIVAL AT KOH KRET & FIRST LANDMARK-WAT PORAMAIYIKAWAT
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To get to Koh Kret, shuttle ferry can be boarded from the Wat Sanam Nuea pier with a fare of THB 2 which is a short river crossing to the island village of Koh Kret. Upon reaching Koh Kret, the first landmark and attraction is the historical Wat Poramaiyikawat.

KOH KRET OTOP VILLAGE WEEKEND MARKET & ITS SELECTION OF STREET FOOD
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The best time to visit Koh Kret is during the weekends when the OTOP Market (One Tambon (Township) One Product) is open. It could be seen from the signboard to this OTOP weekend market which was a award winning market but not sure if that was for real or just a statement to attract more visitors to Koh Kret. Regardless of the signboard saying the fact or otherwise, this Koh Kret weekend market is definitely worth a visit.

DELICIOUS MIENG KAM
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There are just so many selection of street food available to choose from and these are very tastily delicious while easy on the pocket in terms of pricing too. Just walk along the narrow footpath of the market, stroll through the market and you will definitely find some of the most interesting street food that comes in variety of snacks and sweets available among the vendors. One of the must try street food in Koh Kret is the mini ‘mieng kham’ on sticks. Mieng Kham is made from raw fresh leaves filled with roasted coconut shreds follow by other mixture of ingredients including chopped shallots, fresh chilies, cut gingers, garlic, small dried shrimps and chopped peanuts. The raw fresh leave will wrapped all the ingredients together and it is ready to be eaten. Try this when you are at Koh Kret weekend market, you will likely enjoy it I am sure if you are one that enjoy the taste of herbs.

DISTINCTIVE KHAO CHAE
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Another unique dish in Koh Kret is ‘khao chae’. This is a rice dish where the rice being soaked in jasmine flower scented water that is added with some rock or cube ice. Khao means rice while chae means soak. Apart from the soaked rice, Khao chae is served along with variety of other add ons of sweets and mouth watering side dishes. These include shrimp paste balls, stuffed shallots, battered salted egg and fried sweet pepper. Khao chae is another not to be missed food while touring Koh Kret and is served in most of the food joints overlooking the river. You can have lunch or drinks in the afternoon or after a lengthy walk around the OTOP market and enjoy the scene along the Chao Phraya river.

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Other than good street food tasting experience, Koh Kret offers more interesting activities to everyone. This include the few landmark Thai temples of which Wat Poramaiyikawat being the most iconic among them. From the shuttle ferry pier over at Wat Sanam Nuea, the slanted white Chedi of Wat Poramaiyikawat can be seen. This temple is the very first place all visitors to Koh Kret will come across when landed in this island village. Wat Poramaiyikawat was said to have been built over 200 years ago and was based on Mon style architecture. Other notable temples include Wat Phai Lom and Wat Sao Tong Thong. The village homes in Koh Kret are surrounded by huge greens including trees, fruit trees and bushes. A walk along the footpath on the island will bring you to some of the nook and corners of Koh Kret village homes.

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THE POTTERY PRODUCTS & POTTERY VILLAGE AT KOH KRET
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THE STREETS, VILLAGE HOMES & NATURAL SURROUNDINGS AT KOHKRET
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BICYCLE FOR RENT & FISH FEEDING ACTIVITY AT KOH KRET
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As pottery industry is the most vital business within Koh Kret, a visit to village homes with pottery productions should be included while in Koh Kret. These pottery house will have complete working areas where slabs of earths being produced on site, manual pot shaping and carvings right up to heating of variety of pots inside a huge heat stove all within the pottery production house. The pots produced consist of few selection of varieties suitable for kitchen use in household or commercial purpose or just for purpose of souvenir or decorations for homes or gardens. If you like it, you can purchase it for souvenir or own use and price is also affordable. Koh Kret is surely an attractions to visit while you are in Bangkok. All in, the OTOP market, the street food, the temples and Chao Phraya scene and the pottery village did not disappoint.

Posted by kidd27 21:12 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok Old Time Coffee Shop 2

Kope Hye Tai Kee

sunny 33 °C

Within the vicinity of Old Bangkok, there was another old coffee shop gem known as Kope Hye Tai Kee. Kope Hye Tai Kee is located close to Wat Suthat and The Giant Swing as well as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) City Hall building. Even though my visit was on a weekend, the shop was not as crowded as the one at On Lok Yun though customers can be seen visiting slowly on a chain one after another. The atmosphere was quite relax as the shop was located at the corner of a row of colonial style buildings while traffic condition was calm as the street was not located on the main traffic direction. It also faces a huge open concourse area overlooking Wat Suthat and Giant Swing.

KOPE HYE TAI KEE
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THE BANGKOK METROPOLITAN ADMINISTRATION OFFICE & THE ADJACENT OPEN CONCOURSE AREA
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THE GIANT SWING
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Kope Hye Tai Kee has a very well presented menu book as well as good choice of classic breakfast and lunch food choices. The front page of the menu book displays the old photo of the shop which has been established for a good 65 years. Some of its specialty include the black coffee as well as the mixture of coffee and tea beverage.

THE MENU BOOK
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Even though my stomach was still full from the breakfast effect over at On Lok Yun, I could not resist the food shown in the menu of Kope Hye Tai Kee. At least one of those food must be tried and tasted other than the coffee. So I ordered something light and easy which happened to be the simple roti pratha or just rotee in a Thai. Most of the rotee in Thailand can be found in street food vendors on pushcarts and topped with condensed milk and sugar. The rotee version at Kope Hye Tye Kee have a separate sugar and condensed milk placed into small cups and the rotee on the plate. So you could enjoy your rotee on the plain side or add the sugar or condensed milk to the extent of your liking. There was also the rotee version with curry available on the menu but I can have it just without any add-on but still liking it very much. The texture of the rotee was adequately crispy and not too oily as well as not overly thick. I would say that it really did not disappoint.

THE BLACK COFFEE, THE MIX COFFEE & TEA & THE ROTEE
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The interior as well as the exterior of Kope Hye Tai Kee maintained its old structures and design though renovations had been done to some parts of this coffee shop. The stools and the tables were based on the old traditional style coffee shop furnitures. The overall atmosphere was not stuffy though it was not air-conditioned and if you happened to be on a walking tour around the Rattanakosin district, perhaps a quick stop for a cup of iced coffee or a quick meal to recharge is one of the thing you could do to get some rest after some tiring walk.

THE INTERIOR
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Posted by kidd27 13:05 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok Old Time Coffee Shop 3

Eiah Sae

sunny 33 °C

Over at Yaowarat, the Chinatown of Bangkok, there is also yet another worth visiting traditional style coffee shop by the name of Eiah Sae. Yaowarat is where you could see the huge Chinese descendants formed the majority of the community. Most tourists and locals known Yaowarat as a heaven for street food and never have thought a nearly century old coffee shop ever existed here.

THE EXTERIOR OF EIAH SAE
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Eiah Sae was said to have established since 1927. The current location of the coffee shop was not where it was originally located. It shifted to current location from previous location not too distance away from present shop. Because of its location which was not on the main attractions of Yaowarat and on the back soi (Thai for lane) of the road, not many tourists or Thais known about the existence of the coffee shop. It was also within the quiet neighbourhood of Yaowarat. Unlike On Lok Yun or Kope Hye Tai Kee, Eiah Sae attracted the elderly crowds, those who have been living in the area for many years as well as those who know of this coffee shop establishment. Local community or those work around the area also formed part of its customers. If you found your way here, you will likely be the only foreigner around.

THE INTERIOR OF EIAH SAE
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THE MENU
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THAI ICED MILK TEA
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THE TOAST BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE SPREAD
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The menu of Eiah Sae was simple with selection of coffee or milk tea, hot or cold, iced lemon tea with toasted bread being the main dish served in classic butter and sugar, kaya or coconut paste as well as chocolate. Soft or half boiled eggs also formed part of the menu. The interior of the coffee shop which maintained the old colonial style design and architecture as well as the wooden tables and stools add in to the nostalgic feel of old style coffee shop experience over at Eiah Sae albeit the existence of a modern cafe within a boutique hotel & cafe nearby.

NEARBY BOUTIQUE HOTEL & CAFE
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Posted by kidd27 12:45 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok Old Time Coffee Shop 1

On Lok Yun

sunny 33 °C

In Bangkok, the rapid rate of urban developments had transformed the city landscapes into clusters of towering buildings and structures. This has resulted in huge disappearance of old structures, some could possibly dated hundreds of years in age. But fortunately, the city authority was able to shore up long term benefits of urban master plan in maintaining the old section of Bangkok known as the Rattanakosin district. Almost all the structures in Old Bangkok district consist of vintage buildings of which today, were still operating as business outlets of the heydays while others have been transformed into contemporary cafes, restaurants, art house, minimarts, boutique hotels, guesthouse, bakery shops and other trade outlets catering to locals as well as travellers. The Sino-Portuguese style building structures attracted my deep interests. I find these old architecture shops, usually built in 2 storey, very attractive and can be even seen as evergreen as they never be outdated when it comes to keeping up with current architecture design and styles though it has dated even up to hundred years of age. Over in Bangkok, the new extended MRT stations OF Hua Lamphong station, Wat Mangkon Kamalawat station and Wang Burapha station all were designed based on the Sino-Portuguese style structures which were a testament to the fact that such old architecture was never left behind times.

THE OLD SIAM SHOPPING PLAZA IN WANG BURAPHA, BANGKOK
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THE SALA CHALERM KRUNG ROYAL THEATRE
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Four years ago, I had been exploring this part of Old Bangkok on walking tour which brought me to some of the important landmarks and tourist attractions including historical buildings and temples such as Phra Sumen Fort, Democracy Monument, Dinso Road, Khao San Road, Wat Saket or Golden Mount Temple, Wat Suthat & The Giant Swing, Lohas Prasat, Wat Bowoniwet, Wat Arun and Wat Pho. Back to the Rattanakosin district, this time around I venture to this Bangkok Old city to check out some of the old time coffee shops of which today, not many has existed. This was due to the fact that the previous old generation entrepreneurs were no longer around while the current generations were not keen to take over the business. Most likely, the handful old style coffee shops in Old Bangkok may only be around for next 10 years or so and perhaps this is the time to visit before they dissapear for good, so I thought.

ON LOK YUN COFFEE SHOP, THE CROWD & THE INTERIOR
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THE ADJACENT YET TO BE OPEN NEW WANG BURAPHA MRT STATION
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One of the still famous and most visited old coffee shop in Bangkok is the On Lok Yun coffee shop. This Chinese style coffee shop was said to be existed for over 80 years and still have strong followers of locals as well as Asian holiday makers. Operating from the Sino-Portuguese style shop, the exterior as well as its interior maintained much of its golden days structure and design leaving much of it intact until now. The queue can be surprisingly long on weekends with local crowds and tourists lining up the shop walkways waiting patiently for their number to be called upon. You can try to explore the neighbourhood while waiting for your turn and another surprise may just appear right in front of you while doing so. Within the vicinity of On Lok Yun, the majestic Sala Chalerm Krung Theatre was just next door making the dining experience even more interesting as such old gems came in your way, which it really did for me because of my grave interest for old style buildings. The old theatre was built in 1933 and today it operates as a stage for the traditional Thai Khon-Masked Dance show known as The Hanuman. The theatre still until today maintained its old structures and I believe, that such plan to keep the theatre just as it is will provide benefits to the Thai government due to the value brought about by such vintage theatre. By turning it into a stage for Thai traditional dance performance show, this attracts the tourists to visit and to get to know the history of Sala Chalerm Krung Theatre and it could be turned into a museum one day should the theatre no longer in operations.

ON LOK YUN'S MENU
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Another vintage landmark around the On Lok Yun is the Old Siam Plaza. Old Siam Plaza, located in the Wang Burapha Phirom area was formerly the site of Burapha Phirom Palace, a royal residence of one of the brothers of King Chulalongkorn. it is also famous in silk textiles and the new Wang Burapha MRT station is located not far from here. Not long after this, if you would like to visit On Lok Yun, Sala Chalerm Krung Royal Theatre and Old Siam Plaza, take the MRT and get off at the Wang Burapha station, which scheduled to open in 2019. All these 3 places are located within walking distance.

THAI ICED MILK TEA
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Back to On Lok Yun, the coffee shop has two floors of dining area and on weekends, due to the overcrowded customers, you may end up on the upper floor of the shop. Do not expect the comfort of the air-conditioning. Remember I mentioned that the coffee shop still keep the way it was run some over 80 years ago. The menu has probably changed, unlike the olden days of just toasted or steam white bread with the spread of butter and coconut jam otherwise known as kaya paste coupled with half boiled eggs and coffee and milk tea. On Lok Yun served the typical modern all day breakfast menu consist of bacon, ham, sausage, Chinese sausage and fried eggs. You can also have steam cube white bread with kaya and condensed milk too. Other breakfast choice include bread with butter and sugar and egg custard bread. One of the most outstanding yet distinguished from the other restaurants serving breakfast menu would be its French toast. I would say the French toast is the winner of all the others on On Lok Yun’s menu which definitely must not be missed when you are here. Topped the breakfast food with either hot or iced milk tea or coffee which will complete the fulfilled dining experience at On Lok Yun.

STEAM BREAD WITH KAYA & CONDENSED MILK
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AMERICAN BREAKFAST
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FRENCH TOAST
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On Lok Yun offers one of a kind of nostalgic breakfast dining experience. I would say if you could find your way to this coffee shop or you have some extra time to spend in Bangkok wandering off the usual shopping and eating, you can try to head to On Lok Yun for breakfast before chilling out over at the adjacent Old Siam Plaza.

Posted by kidd27 12:04 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

The world of convenience store

31 °C

Convenient store is the modern world mini or small shops offering all kinds of our daily needs. The word convenience means, you can get all your required daily use items easily. Everything can be obtained in a convenience store. From ready to eat meals, frozen meals with heat up service, assortment of snacks, sweets, bread and bun varieties, all kinds of beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholics, hot meals, books and magazines, toiletries, stationeries, you name it you have it.

THE PANYAPIWAT INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT 7-ELEVEN OUTLET IN PAK KRET, NONTHABURI
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THE ORGANISED GOODS SELECTION AREA & WIDE WALKWAYS & A ROBOT FEATURE
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When travelling, need a quick recharged, forgotten to get something from your weekly shoppings or on the go, convenience store provides the easy, hassle free solutions to all the things mentioned. Those who are frequent travellers, no matter you are backpackers, mid range traveller or luxury traveller, convenience store is a godsend. Simply said, you can just leave all the travel essentials at home or be forgetful, convenience store is always there for you.

THE READY TO EAT MEALS SECTION

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In Thailand, a country which I travel to very often, the most outstanding convenience store is no other than 7-11 store, pronounced ‘sae vaen’ In Thai. Well, 7-11 needs no introduction as the one stop solution shops are located in every corners of the streets, roads, row of shops and among buildings. Practically, there were almost everywhere of the city or township.

HOTDOGS,HAMS, STEAM BAO & BURGERS SECTION
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This 7-11 store in Bangkok that I went recently was exceptionally different from the other 7-11 available in Thailand. I was told that this store located in Pak Kret, Nonthaburi province is the largest 7-11 store available in Thailand as of now. It was opened since December 2017. Located close to the Panyapiwat Institute of Management (PIM), a higher learning education institute set up by CP All PCL, a large conglomerate in Thai corporate world under the Charoen Pokphand Food PCL Group which specialised in agribusiness, food, retail and distributions as well as telecommunications. CP All PCL owned 7-11 stores by itself in Thailand apart from those that were operating under the franchise agreements with franchise holders.

THE SNACKS SECTIONS
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This store in PIM has a very spacious walkways within the store, which provide more comfort when walking through the gondola or shelves of goods, in particular during busy hours with high human traffic. There were also a lot more selections of foods and other daily essential items available to choose from. There was even a robot of which I was not sure how does that work on because at time of visit, it was not operational. The were a long stretch of table facing outdoor where customers could sit down to enjoy their meals or simply to relax over coffee or drinks bought from the store.

COLD DRINKS SECTION
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BAKERY & SWEETS SECTION
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The food selection in 7-11 stores are excellent and you can grab anything you could get from each of the corners of the shelves, gondolas and fridges. Some of my favourite quick to eat meal include the burgers which have a good number of selections. It used to have just the CP brand but with increasing popularity probably, now, most of the burgers are packed under the brand name 7 eleven. Another of my favourite quick meal is the bao or the steam buns which also comes with range of flavor and fillings. For me, the minced pork filling taste quite good. There were also variety of ready to eat meals packed under the CP brand name which comes with rice and Thai favourite side dishes such as pad grapow gai khao dao, green curry, Tom yum and fried omelette. Over the counter, you can have the food heat up after paying the bills and wait for few minutes to have it ready and there you go with the hot meal with you.

NON-FOOD SECTIONS
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There were also a good selections of snacks including the tourists favourites such as the deep fried seaweed, chilli squids, potato chips, peanuts, all being the Thai brand. The bakery selection were also equally good that comes with fresh bread and pastries with variety of fillings available. For beverages, there were few brands of mineral and drinking water to select from, good selection of sodas, milks, yogurt drinks, coffee, tea, sweet drinks and beers. The next time if you forget about something when you go travel, do not be worry as 7-11 may saved the day.

THE DINING AREA & OVERALL INTERIOR
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Posted by kidd27 10:38 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew

semi-overcast 33 °C

It was since 10 years ago I first came to Bangkok and I was just so impressed with this Land of Sawadee the day I landed in this capital of Thailand. The city itself was massive in size and I could see many tall buildings surrounding the landscape of this amazing Asean metropolis as I get close to the city arriving at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. I even wrote that Bangkok could even be a megalopolis judging from the traffic congestion level, the size of population which nears 10 million, the compact buildings landscapes and ever growing business and commerce opportunity including the growth of shopping malls within the city. For those who have been to Bangkok multiple times, there must have been one of those visits that you would found yourself in some of the most important & historical sights of Bangkok. Everyone will not want to miss the opportunity to get a close view on such valuable, precious & sometimes grand in nature which will provide not only good & nice photography sessions but will also enriched one's travel experience. In every places that we travel to, there will always be certain sights, buildings, towns, sculptures, structures and just about anything related to the history or legendary stories of the subject place we go to that could attracts the interest of people to visit. The attractions that such places attained was never overnight in most instances. Many of these consists of places that was built for many years and which have steep historical values that come of age.

GRAND PALACE, BANGKOK
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The Grand Palace in Bangkok was one of such historical building in the capital of Thailand that has such a grave historical values throughout the over 230 years of its establishment. Grand Palace was constructed in 1782 and was the residence of the royal family during the reign of Chakri Dynasty. For any visit to Bangkok, there shall be at least 1 time that one should come & visit the Grand Palace. As the saying goes, you have never been to Bangkok if you never been to the Grand Palace. The palace was somewhat an identity to Bangkok specifically & Thailand on general. Because the Thai King was a symbol of unity, the head of the country & most respected institution in Thailand, naturally, the Grand Palace which was the official residence of the Thai royal family has also gained a status by itself as one of the most significant structures within the Thai capital.

GRAND PALACE & SURROUNDING PALACE BUILDINGS
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The main structures of the Grand palace was impressive & beautiful with contemporary style in its overall architecture design. There were palace guards on duty seen within the main palace building and some other areas surrounding the palace ground. Apart from palace buildings that were in place on several different spots within the enlarged, gated palace ground in the Rattanakosin area or better known as Old Bangkok, just in front of Sanam Luang, there were also palace offices of where palace officials conduct their daily office work being located inside the palace ground. There were also some buildings which has been turned into museum to provide informations about the family hierarchy of the Chakri Dynasty which was the royal family under the command of King Rama 1 who oversaw the construction of The Grand Palace. Some of the most important royal ceremonies are being held at Grand Palace until today. There were also another building section which provide insights on the history & the initial structures of the adjacent Wat Phra Kaew, a royal religious temple which was initially carved out from wood.

WAT PHRA KAEW
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Wat Phra Kaew lifts up to its status as a royal temple with its majestic & regal looking architecture design that combines a golden chedi with the stylish, diamond & gold plated like materials which formed the external structures of the ubosot. The ubosot building was where the Phra Kaew or Emerald Buddha structure being placed inside. It was said that the Emerald Buddha was originated in India, then was taken to Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Ayutthaya, Chiang Rai and eventually, it settled in Bangkok in 1782 when the Grand Palace was being built. Visitors are subjected to strict dress code to Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew and those who intend to visit the sacred temple & the royal palace are expected to dress appropriately according to the temple & palace rules & regulations.

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Posted by kidd27 08:38 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Tha Chalom, Samut Sakhon

sunny 34 °C

Samut Sakhon province is a central province in Thailand and its location on the estuaries between Chao Phraya river and Gulf of Thailand making it a strategic location being one of the closest fishing port to Bangkok. One of the biggest industry in Samut Sakhon is the seafood trade where it produced some of the fresh & quality seafood products and also being one of the important mass salt production. Other than seafood & salt products, it also has massive number of land turned into aquaculture farming producing some of biggest market of shrimps & fish for export from Thailand to other countries. Mahachai Market is one of the biggest fresh seafood market in Samut Sakhon province & a town well connected from Bangkok through the railway. Mahachai train station is also the connection station to the famous railway market at Maekhlong, which I have been to & experience the market before. While I have also previously visited the other version of Mahachai market known as Mahachai New Market in Rama 2 in the suburb of Bangkok. Over at this bigger version & being the original Mahachai Fresh Market, I was overwhelmed by the number of seafood products available here either fresh from the sea to those which have been dried, preserved or packed into packages. Almost complete seafood range including snacks were available for visitors to the Mahachai Market to choose from. From Mahachai, I was told there was another town across the Tha Chin (Chinese pier) river, well known for the few Thai temples & the famous Jao Mae Guan Im temple (Goddess of Guan Im). so I thought why not spend some time to discover the town since I was already close to it.

MAHACHAI TOWN & THE TRAIN STATION

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From Mahachai pier, the ferry crossing to the Tha Chalom pier cost THB 3 which other than human passengers, it also allows for those with motorbikes to be on board. Most of the passengers travelled to Mahachai from Tha Chalom to do errands and obtain their daily necessities as Mahachai is a bigger town with wide selections of daily needs that suits the demands from smaller community over at Tha Chalom. Tha Chalom is also the connecting train station town of where train passengers disembark at Mahachai station, hop into the ferry to cross to Tha Chalom to board the connecting train from either at Ban Laem train station or Tha Chalom station to reach the final destination at Maekhlong train station for those who intend to visit the Maekhlong Railway Market. Ban Laem train station was located near to the Thai temple with the huge Golden Buddha structure while Tha Chalom station was an open air station sandwiched between Wat Chong Lom & Jao Mae Guan Im temple.

MAHACHAI & THA CHALOM PIER

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Disembarking the ferry from Mahachai pier, there was a covered walkways with both sides of it lined with shops, mostly shut as it was not a weekend during my recent visit. Not sure if these shops were fully operational on weekends but noticed very few were open for business on this week day of which these were shops dealing with sale of canned mackerel fish in cartons with very inexpensive price. Samut Sakhon province is a central province in Thailand located very close to the sea while seafood is one of the main production of this province. So, it can be well understand on why there was such a good bargain of mackerel products on sale. There maybe well some local factory producing this nutritional canned fish.One of the owner was heard said that the canned fish was even meant for export to as far as Italy. As I walked out from the pier, I noticed a wall paintings of a trishaw with a driver on a section along the walkways. As soon as I was out from the covered area, there were lines of trishaw riders waiting to take customers to their intended destinations. The trishaw riders were mostly of elderly men, plying their trade to earn some very meagre income to supplement their daily needs. One of the trishaw rider shout out if I would like to go for a round tour ride to discover Tha Chalom town. As my reason to be at Tha Chalom was to explore this unknown town,I thought renting a trishaw to explore the town would be a good idea. The rate for 1 trishaw which basically could sit 2 person by Asian size costs THB 100 where the tour will take passengers to tour Tha Chalom to experience some of the old structures including the old Tha Chalom fresh market, Tha Chalom old school, few Chinese temples, distinctive green mansion owned by a rich family in Tha Chalom,Thai wats, Goddess of Guan Yin temple & Ban Laem train station.

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The first sight was a small size Chinese temple said to be as old as over 100 years. During the Lunar New Year in January or February, the temple was said to be bustling with locals who thronged the temple to offer prayers. There were also activities arranged in conjunction with the festivity and the surroundings of the temples exterior were decorated with massive red lanterns, which brightened the town during night time. As the trishaw tour continued, "Loong" (a respected way to address elderly man) pointed to a dilapidated 2 storey structure with overgrown bushes that almost covered the building and its surroundings. According to Loong, the 2 storey structure which resembled an old English style bungalow home was formerly a Tha Chalom school back in the old days. Today,children no longer attending to this school as other bigger school complete with modern facilities were being built in town to cater to the needs of Tha Chalom school children. But, it would be good,if the local government could preserved the building,upkeep and improved the structure and turned into a museum for people to view would be a good idea since it has historic value to it. The building itself looked beautiful since it has a nostalgic feel to it and it will be worthwhile to maintained it as opposed to demolished it. Next to the abandoned school, there was yet another historic site, which was Tha Chalom old fresh market as explained by Loong.Today, the one storey semi-wooden structure has been turned into a warehouse.

THA CHALOM CHINESE TEMPLE, ABANDONED SCHOOL, OLD MARKET TURNED WAREHOUSE, THA CHALOM TOWN & SURROUNDINGS

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As the tour continued, we arrived at a very distinctive palatial mansion which according to Loong was owned by a rich family of Tha Chalom whom the man and his wife had since passed away. The mansion was rather distinguished from other surrounding buildings due to its green paints. However,since it was a private property, only the buildings fronting the main road could be seen while the other parts of the mansion insidewhich was locked from outside cannot been viewed fully. Just opposite the mansion,there was a special walkways to the private pier for the family to board the boat to cross over to Mahachai town.

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As we moved on, we encountered yet another Chinese temple.While the first stop was a rather small but compact yet beautiful & charming Chinese temple, this second one looked much more grand with its beautiful multi-tiered roof with dragon sculpture decorative. Just as compact and charming as the first Chinese temple, the presence of these temples were a testament that the Thai Chinese community plays a major role in charting the development,prosperity & the well being of the Tha Chalom community as a whole. There were also massive red lanterns seen decorating the ceilings of the temples while the main doors of the temple has 2 temple guardians being carved on them. A very creative act seen was a dragon effigy built from joss paper used commonly to offer prayers by burning them. Loong then headed towards another most important landmark in Tha Chalom. We arrived at the Wat Chong Lom which is the pillar of strength of Tha Chalom and the pride of the community here as can be seen from the overall structure of Wat Chong Lom. The temple is magnificent,splendid & beautiful both inside & outside of it. Standing proudly downtown of Tha Chalom, the temple was located just across from Jao Mae Guan Im Temple & Tha Chalom train station.

ANOTHER CHINESE TEMPLE & WAT CHONG LOM

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Jao Mae Guan Im temple has a unique standing Goddess of Guan Yin statue. Below the statue was a covered structure which a cave like atmosphere was built inside with some few other Goddess of Guan Yin seen decorating the surroundings of the inner structure. The main entrance of the structure meanwhile has an altar with Golden Guan Yin figure greeting visitors.Just outside the Guan Yin temple,was the Tha Chalom train station which has no proper structure of a train station. From the Tha Chalom train station, we then head on to Ban Laem, of which the train station to board the train to Maekhlong train market was located. For those who head to Maekhlong train market in particular curious tourists who want to experience a complete train transportation from Bangkok to Maekhlong, you will surely landed at Ban Laem to board a connecting train from Mahachai town. Ban Laem train station is a very small & old station but yet it was very well maintained, clean and provide passengers a nostalgic feel to it due to its still traditional structure and the station environment which was quiet located within the edge of the Tha Chalom town. Nearby the station, there was a huge golden Buddha structure accessible from the base with the staircase built to reach the Buddha structure. From Tha Chin, this structure can be sighted from Mahachai town. Towards the end of Tha Chalom tour, we passed by a big surprise, something that I believe I have yet to see it before, the wooden Thai temple. The temple was not open on the inside but I managed to get a glimpse of the external structure of the temple. It was a great wooden temple that I have never seen before and I admire it so much that I thought I will never get bored to look at it over & over again. Great architecture work and a wonderful masterpiece.

JAO MAE GUAN IM TEMPLE

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THA CHALOM & BAN LAEM TRAIN STATION

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THA CHALOM WOODEN TEMPLE

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Posted by kidd27 07:12 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Mahachai Market, Tha Chalom, Talad Nam Tha Kha & Talad Phlu

overcast 34 °C

Bangkok is always the best city well positioned in Thailand to be connected to other destinations within the South East Asia. Apart from that, Bangkok also offers a good number of places to explore and there are just so many things to do, see & eat. Neighbouring Bangkok provinces include Samut Sakhon province of which the famous Mahachai Market, a huge & busy seafood market that offers no other than the most fresh sea products as well as Samut Songkhram province which is well known for the various floating markets such as Damnoen Saduak & Amphawa. There is also a lesser known floating market in Samut Songkhram and still a very localised floating market named Talad Nam Tha Kha. I have wrote about Mahachai New Market which was yet another version of seafood market located close to Bangkok city in suburb of Rama 2. As the name suggest, the Mahachai New Market was an extended version of the original seafood market of Mahachai Fresh Market in Samut Sakhon province. In terms of size & the seafood items available for sale, Mahachai Fresh Market offers tremendous number of items & shopping in Mahachai Fresh Market will definitely takes longer time due to the huge selection of items at this market. Mahachai Fresh Market is located very close to the Mahachai train station as well as the Mahachai pier making it one of the most strategically located town within Samut Sakhon province. Getting to Mahachai from Bangkok, the town can be reached by train from Wongwian Yai train station through the Wongwian Yai-Mahachai line also known as the commuter connecting several other towns within the line. From Mahachai train station, you could disembark to get to the Mahachai pier, where a short ferry across to Tha Chalom for a connecting train from Tha Chalom station or Ban Laem station to get to the famous train market, known as the Maekhlong Railway Market. I have also previously wrote about this railway market as I experienced it myself and such market was dubbed as one of the many amazing & unseen Thai travel experience.

MAHACHAI FRESH MARKET & THE FRESH SEAFOOD

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Mahachai is located along the Tha Chin (Chinese pier) river and from Mahachai pier, the town is connected to another town across Tha Chin river, known as Tha Chalom. Tha Chalom is a unique old town in Samut Sakhon province with very close ethnic Thai Chinese connection being well established as can be witness from few Chinese temples & the famous Jao Mae Guan Im (Guan Yin Goddess) Shrine. Exploring Mahachai Fresh Market will be best done through walking around the stalls surrounded the main market area as well as the shops around the market place of which other than fresh seafood, there were also enormous selections of dry seafood, seafood snacks & street food to buy & enjoy. Mahachai also has many old shops dotting the town, just like in Maekhlong town and it was bustling with activities with many traders, locals & visitors flocking to the market & shops in the town to trade & doing shopping.

MAHACHAI TRAIN STATION

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MORE ON MAHACHAI FRESH MARKET & SEAFOOD PRODUCE

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Since Tha Chalom was just across the Tha Chin river from Mahachai, I decided to check out the town and see what it has to offer to those who like to explore places. The short river crossing from Mahachai pier to Tha Chalom pier through the ferry which also transport those with motorbikes, cost THB 3. Once reaching the Tha Chalom pier, there were rows of shops on both side of the covered walkway exiting the pier & I noticed that, some of the shops with canned mackerel fish on display for sale with very low prices. Perhaps there were factories in Tha Chalom that produce canned mackerel fish for export as one of the shop owner was heard saying that the product was even exported to as far as Italy. But judging from the seafood market activity around Mahachai, I believe what was said could be just as true as it was. The canned fish were sold mainly in cartons for as low as THB 75 a carton. Another discovery while I was walking out from the Tha Chalom pier was a wall painting with the picture of a "samlor" (trishaw with its driver). Little did I know actually one of the things to do while in Tha Chalom was to experience the town with the samlor. It was a very interesting & distinctive way to discover Tha Chalom town with samlor visiting some of the Thai & Chinese temples, old buildings & landmarks including yet another train station at Ban Laem.

MAHACHAI PIER & THE FERRY SERVICE TO THA CHALOM

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THA CHALOM PIER, THE TOWN & ITS SURROUNDINGS

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Samut Sakhon province was also known for its Dolphine & Whale Viewpoint & Fishermen Village. Access to the Dolphine & Whale Viewpoint, there were villages around with the main activity here among others was the many aquaculture farms seen within Samut Sakhon province. While there were huge rice fields in the North East of Thailand, in Samut Sakhon province, the main industry being the seafood produce and that was the reason on why many aquaculture farms producing fish & shrimps for export were developed around the villages in this Thai central province. One of the distinguished feature that can be experience while at the Dolphin Viewpoint in Samut Songkhram was walking through the red wooden bridge of which it connects visitors from one point to another to enable a close view on dolphins or whales swimming around the sea. I could see multiple moving objects around the viewpoint area from the bridge but could not ascertained if those were exactly dolphins or whales because the distance from the bridge to the objects were too distanced away. There were some resorts nearby within the sea village and also restaurant serving seafood around the viewpoint area. Before I came to explore Samut Sakhon province, all the above activities were not known to me and now I felt privileged to get to experience what was never known before about this central Thai province.

DOLPHINE VIEW POINT, THE RED BRIDGE & AQUACULTURE FARM

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From Samut Sakhon province, I moved on to the neighbouring Samut Songkhram province, well known for its floating markets. If you are in Samut Songkhram, the main reasons were definitely to visit famous floating markets including Amphawa & Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in which this is must-do thing for those who travel to Bangkok. Since I had been to both markets which were now heavily inundated with visitors, I thought it would be a good idea to discover some of the less visited floating market and still being a very localised floating market. That being said, I headed to Talad Nam Tha Kha (Tha Kha Floating Market). This is a small scale floating market in Samut Songkhram province and it offers sort of authentic floating market experience for those who seek a less hectic, less commercialised environment or atmosphere. Surrounded by coconut plantations & village homes, Tha Kha Floating Market is exactly what those who love natural landscapes, quiet & peaceful as well as the real old days floating market experience were searching for. Unfortunately, the day that I arrived to visit & explore the market, it was not open. Though a little disappointed, I was not exactly deterred as I continue to walk around the market and check out the overall structure of this small yet compact floating market complete with wooden sampans, wooden bridges that connect both side of the markets, some food stalls with banner display on Thai food available and some dining places around the river banks as well as the shops between the walkways to the entrance of the floating market. Because Tha Kha Floating Market was surrounded by a massive coconut farms, one of the main food industry is the coconut sugar which was widely available within the villages in Tha Kha Floating Market. Surrounding the floating market, there were village homes with villages working mostly on coconut farms while there were also resorts, home stays, hotels and guesthouse to cater to local & foreign tourists accommodation needs when travelling to Tha Kha Floating Market as well Amphawa Floating Market. Since there were hotels & resorts around the village,some cafe & bakery shops have been set up as there were demand for such establishments with the increase of tourists to the area. As I exit Tha Kha Floating market,I came across a cafe, Sweet November and decided to try out is coffee & cakes. The cafe was a modern setup in the midst of a quiet & tranquil village.

THA KHA FLOATING MARKET, ITS SURROUNDINGS & ENJOYING COFFEE & CAKE

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Back to Bangkok, ironically, I found myself at Talad Phlu, another train station market of which it offers some of the best Thai street food and sweets if you take some time to discover the place. Talad Phlu literally means Phlu Market situated within Talad Phlu train station and within the Wongwian Yai-Mahachai train line with Talad Phlu being the 2nd station after Wongwian Yai station. I boarded the train from Talad Phlue station to get to Wongwian Yai station just to get some old train ride experience & get the excitement & the fun of such unique local travel experience. Within Talad Phlu train station, there were a number of Thai street food stalls dotted the area around the train station. A short walk out of the station, there were shops selling Thai sweets such as the "kanom chan" (literally translated as layered sweets), "kanom bueang" (crepe topped with coconut cream & shredded salted egg yolk) as well as "kanom gu chai", (a Teo chew style chive dumplings) and some famous plant-based beverages such as lotus root beverage. Another speciality of Talad Phlu was the said to be over 100 years restaurant serving the "mi krop" (crispy rice vermicelli) which legend has it that this dish was a King Rama V's favourite. There are also dozens of old shop houses scattered around Talad Phlu town making it worth to explore to check out the town. There is also a pier located at the edge of Talad Phlu town and motorised boats both passengers & private tourist chartered ones could be seen moving along the canals on both directions.

TALAD PHLU & THE OLD TOWN, THE SWEETS, THE FOOD & BEVERAGE SPECIALITY OF THIS OLD TRAIN CITY & THE TRAIN RIDE FROM TALAD PHLU TO WONGWIAN YAI STATION

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Posted by kidd27 07:05 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Snake Temple & Mahachai New Market in the suburb of Bangkok

rain

You will never go wrong if you wanted to seek for some thrill of some very surprising travel adventure by heading to the Land of Unseen capital @ Bangkok. Before this, I have wrote about my travel stories in Bangkok about seeking the secret of what lies beneath the Thai horror movie blockbuster Phi Maak a sequel to Nang Nak (one of Thailand's best horror movie ever produced) that captured such a good cinema collections which story based on what would have been said to be a true life tale of Lady Nak. The story touched on how Lady Nak (a Thai woman ghost based on Phi Maak & Nang Nak movie) chased after her husband (Phi Maak) and other fellow villagers of where all of them then seek shelter at a Thai temple @ Wat Mahabut in Phra Khanong district in Bangkok aka On Nut from Lady Nak's assault. In this Bangkok travel series, I happened to came across this snake temple located in the suburb of the Land of Amazing capital of Rama 2. This temple yet again offers travellers who would like to see something different from the usual travel sights in Bangkok and get to know the stories behind what resulted in such events came into reality for people to see and remembered. According to local source, the land which the snake temple was built was a forested area originally slated for some sort of developments. Just before the supposed developments took place, the engineer in charge of the development was said to have dreamt of a snake who told him to differ the constructions on the land because it was about to lay eggs there. However, he did not belief what he dreamt of was true and thought nothing of what would happened as a consequences of continuing his action to start construction works as planned. When constructions began, the engineer who was about to get to work one morning, accidentally knocked down his child when he was reversing his car not realising that the child was at the rear of it. After that incident, he started to think why such tragic accidents would have happened to him and came to realised the dream about the snake he had beforeThereafter,because of fear of causing more miseries or any untoward incidents, constructions on the said land stopped immediately.

The Snake Temple at Rama 2 Bangkok
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Prayers items on sale including fresh eggs at the Snake Temple Rama 2
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The altar at the concourse of Snake Temple of Rama 2
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Today, what can be seen at the said land was where the snake temple came into existence. While the surroundings of the temple has seen developments of mall, shop houses, office buildings and industrial lots, the area on where the snake temple stands remain as just the temple,which is a single storey structure with a quite distinctive yellow paints. The temple is located right at the front of pedestrian bridge. At the concourse of the temple, there was a wooden altar on the left where devotees would be seen offering prayers before proceeding to the main altar inside the covered temple. The main altar had the snake (cobra) sculpture with a confrontational position accompanied by a standing man & woman effigy with another boy and girl statue all in Indian style traditional costume (depicting 4 in a family). On the background of the cobra and the 4 family members were many other smaller cobras effigy. Eggs were also seen being offered as part of prayer items apart from the usual jossticks and candles. Whether what was being told were of truth or was just myth, I think everything happened for some reason or reasons. You might think what this temple have to do with you. Actually there was none but perhaps it does no harm to get a glimpse of it and if you belief that it will changed your life journey, you can try to pray for what you seek for.

The interior of Snake Temple Rama 2 with the Cobra Snake flanked by a family of 4 comprising of father,mother,son and daughter. On the rear of the cobra were some smaller cobra effigy

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Not too far away from the snake temple is where the Mahachai fresh market is located. Mahachai market was known as one of the largest seafood market in Bangkok or even Thailand. Nevertheless, there appeared to be another Mahachai market which was the one noted to be the tagging as a market that offers biggest fresh seafood selection. The one which is in Rama 2 area near the Central Rama 2 shopping mall where I visited was indeed a fresh market known as Mahachai New Market with an adjacent food and consumer market located just next to the fresh market. Though Mahachai New Market offers a lot lesser fresh seafood than its older counterpart located further down to the south, there were actually some surprises after taking a stroll inside the sheltered market which not only has range of selections of seafood items but also dry seafood products mostly produced from squids as well as shrimps and its sub products, salty fish and seafood snacks can be sighted displayed and sold at most of the market stalls. Street food such as skewers also being sold within the market. It was a total surprise to me as I was able to check out 2 amazing places in suburb of Bangkok in Rama 2 district and seek out some untold stories about a snake temple located on Greater Bangkok as well as a seafood and fresh market which not usually known to tourists other than Bangkok residents or Thais living in Rama 2 and its surroundings. Perhaps if opportunity came about, I shall check out the other Mahachai market which is well known to Bangkokians and Thais.

MAHACHAI NEW MARKET AND SOME OF THE FRESH SEAFOOD
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SEAFOOD SNACKS & DRY SEAFOOD ITEMS @ MAHACHAI NEW MARKET
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Posted by kidd27 08:03 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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