2016 The King of Thailand is now
His Majesty was born on 28th July, 1952. As the tenth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, His Majesty is also styled as Rama X.
At the age of 64, King Vajiralongkorn is the oldest Thai monarch to ascend to the throne.
I add my condolences to those of Thais everywhere, as we remember the great monarch, Rama IX, who died on October 13th, 2016.
The King of Thailand was Rama IX
Phrabat Somdej Phra Paramindra Maha Bhumibol Adulyadej Mahitaladhibet Ramadhibodi Chakrinarubodindara Sayamindaradhiraj Boromanatbophit.
His Majesty recorded several songs of His Majesty's own composition which are available on tape cassette. They are a mixture of jazz, blues, pop and Latin American
songs with beautiful words and prominent saxophone. The songs have titles such as 'Candle Light Blues', 'Falling Rain', 'Love Light in my Heart' and 'Sweetword'.
I was pleasantly surprised recently with the sight of a beautiful mother
Tunkramhom Ying Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Phannavadi
Khun Ploypailin Mahidol
singing a marvellous song about children on television. They were a princess of Thailand and her daughter no less.
This beautiful tree, known by the local people as the Tonhangnokyoong Tree, has bright red flowers from about April to
June. They contrast wonderfully with green leaves. They are quite common in Bangkok and remind me of the Japanese
Maple so popular in British gardens.
Rice in bamboo or 'kao larm' can be bought for about ten baht and was a pleasant surprise when I first tried it. It was
sticky and sweet and reminded me of rice pudding. It comes in about forty-five-centimetre lengths. Highly recommended!
Safari World is situated on the south-eastern outskirts of Bangkok. It costs about seven hundred Baht
for foreigners and four hundred Baht for Thais to get in but there were no ATM machines in April 2002. They have a
dolphin show, orangutan boxing show, Wild West show, secret agent show, river rides, a copy of a very old tree, all sorts
of wild animals in captivity, a Russian circus, restaurants and shops. It's an exciting day out for just about everyone; you can
click the image to see more (500k).
This is the name of a tourist attraction just outside Bangkok in Sammot Prahgan District. It consists of a collection of about eight
hundred copies of Buddhist shrines etc. situated throughout Thailand. If you want to know more about Buddhism then this
is a good place to start.
Thais have their very own space race in the form of a rocket festival held in the eastern province in the Yahsotorng District.
They build rockets from bamboo and launch them from wooden ramps. I have seen film of them and it looks great fun!
The festival is held in June.
Outside the apartment block where I live is a small 'klorng' or canal. It takes the local rainwater runoff and has a healthy
population of mosquito larvae. It also has a lot of healthy-looking water plants. I was looking in it the other day and I saw
what I thought was a crocodile. It swam underwater and left a trail of bubbles as it cruised along. I saw it again on another
day and got a better look at its snout. I realised it was in fact a lizard as the snout was more pointed than a crocodile.
It had a light brown body about a metre long with lighter brown stripes running across it. I looked it up on a chart
and it was probably a water monitor lizard. I state was as I haven't seen it for a few days. It's a shame as I was just getting
I have just seen it again and this time I saw its tongue flick out a few times.
A few years later I saw a member of the same species (I very much doubt that it was the same animal; although it was the
same size as the first sighting) appear in a secondary school I was visiting. I think it came from an ornamental pond, although
I did not see it leave the water. The lizard entered the school through an open door and promptly climbed a staircase up to
a walkway on the first floor. I heard various screams from some of the girls, but I was on duty downstairs so I did not have
to go and help! The animal then reappeared to me on the edge of the balcony of the first floor. It waited there for a little while
until it decided to jump down in one leap. It performed a loud 'bellyflop' on the tarmac below, and then ran off into some
bushes near the building. I didn't see it again. I am surprised it could still walk after a leap like that!
Well, now it's August 2016. I have just seen a 2-metre specimen in a ditch in the Saphan Mai district. It was very shy,
but I got a photograph this time. I hope you like it!
Water monitor lizard
These are just another vegetable until you eat them. They have a taste of aniseed and I wonder if this is what aniseed balls
have at the centre. According to my Oxford Reference Dictionary aniseed is the seed of the plant Pimpinella anisum.
Makeuas are mottled green and off-white about 2-3 centimetres long with lots of little seeds inside. If anyone knows
if they are one and the same please let me know!
You can imagine my surprise when I saw a fisherman blowing down his fishing rod the other day at the lake near
to where I work! I stopped to watch and to my surprise it turned out to be a blowpipe and not one with a regular reel
and rings. It was white and about eight feet long. The dart had a string attached. He was obviously doing well as in his bag
were quite a few fishes.
During this festival Thai people make kratong from banana leaves and flowers such as marigolds and roses. They are
decorated with candles and incense sticks too. After dark the candles are lit and the kratong launched into a local lake
or canal where they all make a pretty sight in the darkness. There are also fireworks, music, dancing and various
other activities. It's a marvellous spectacle!
Smoke Gets In Your Ears
I was watching TV the other day and I was extremely surprised to see a man, who looked Thai, take a puff from his
cigarette and blow it out through his ears. No kidding!
I was watching TV the other day and there was an interesting programme about a man making violins from bamboo.
Obviously they are very popular with Thai people as they are so much cheaper than the Western variety. They sound
very reasonable and the man was giving lessons to many students. They are beautifully made using proper blueprints
and come in many shapes and sizes.
Last year I saw a marvellous Christmas tree in Sukhumvit Road, outside the Emporium. It was about fifteen metres tall
and made from windchimes!
Inside there were fans blowing air and making the whole thing tinkle. It was the most marvellous
sound and the most original Christmas decoration I have seen for ages. I wonder if it will be there this year.
I have just returned from Samet Island near Rayong in 'phak tawanork' in the Gulf of Thailand. It is a beautiful island with
hotels, bungalows and camping areas on or very close to the long, thin beaches. The island is covered in trees and the beaches
are soft, grey to white sand with interesting rocky headlands in between. Ferryboats take about 2-3 hours to the numerous bays
and coves you can stay in all around the coast. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to buy food, souvenirs and postcards
etc. (you can buy stamps and post them too). There are also Internet shops and phone facilities but I didn't see any ATMs
or banks. The hotels are about B1,000 per night and it costs about B500 daily to hire a small tent. The water was warm and
fairly clear even in December and in the summer must be the best place to stay!
I suddenly realized the other day that the post office over the road from my apartment has a fascinating name. I guess I will
remember the next time I have to stand in a queue waiting - it's the bored crocodile post office!
Well, I have just found out that the crocodile wasn't bored but languid probably because it had eaten a legendary 'bua' lily. A classic, Thai, double
meaning to be sure! The two words 'bored' and 'lotus' sound very similar.
Pattaya is probably the most famous holiday resort in Thailand because it is so near to Bangkok and can be reached easily in a few hours.
There are several beaches to visit along the coast and the place is still being developed. It's very westernized and 'farangs' love it.
There are very modern hotels and lots of things to do and see in the immediate vicinity. There are plenty of watersports to enjoy and the
sea is beautiful of course. However, it is also a great chance to just sit on the beach and munch away on the local delicacies for a day or two.
It's a must for anyone staying in Thailand for more than a flying visit.
I have been to visit Chiang Rai in the north of Thailand and even managed to visit an island in the middle of the Mekong River belonging
to Laos! I spent some time looking at the way Thai people grow all sorts of crops including tea, sweet corn, and oranges. There were no
phone lines where I stayed at Mae Fah Luang but the road was good blacktop. The rocks look granitic and the geography is very hilly but beautiful.
I travelled there by 'rot tua' or tour bus from Bangkok and the ticket was about 400 - 500 baht one way.
I toured around a tea processing factory at Mae Fah Luang in December 2006. They have modern ovens to speed up the drying process and the
Taiwan type of tea grown is exported to Taiwan too. The smell inside is similar to a flower shop and very refreshing.
I was upcountry on the border with Myanmar in April 2009 and I was looking around some market stalls when I saw the strangest pieces of wood I have ever seen.
The pieces were branches, about 1-1.5 inches in diameter, cut into lengths of about 18 inches for sale, but when I looked at the end grain there weren't
the familiar concentric rings so typical of western trees but a radial pattern just like a coral!
I looked for a description on the Internet, but so far I have not been able to find any record of a wood with a radial structure inside.
Updated August 2010 - I returned to discover that they were in fact roots and not branches. The local name
for them is 'jakgan' and they are bitter but edible.
Recommended web locations.....
Fax no. for U.S. residents outside the 509 area dial 15093561706.
Fax no. for int'l residents dial (your int'l code) then 15093561706.
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Nigel's Thai page created 23rd June, 2002.