Caving in Trang Southern Thailand

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 6, 2009 by Finns

Others may take to the colourful lighting, but to me dressing Tham Le Khao Kob in such light seemed bizarre, if not outright stupid.

The cave system is Trang’s hidden gem, said our guide paddling the boat, me among his passengers. I dipped my fingers in water to feel the temperature, and it was indeed cold. We’re paddling through a stretch of a canal flanked by towering limestone cliffs.

“Khao Kob, rising to a height of 200 metres, is fed by three canals, two on the sides and one snaking underneath it for a distance of four kilometres, before exiting on the other side,” said my guide, pointing to the lush forest cover that extended from the water’s edge to the top of the mountain and beyond.

He then steered our boat to a small opening in the mountain, our gateway to Khao Kob. Entering it, we’re enveloped by darkness until my guide turned on his flash light. When visibility returned I found that it was not exactly pitch dark inside, after all, for the cave had spotlights allowing me to follow the course of the underground stream.

Tham Le Khao Kob is an amazing cave system. Though dimly lit, tourists can easily find their way around as the canal winds past caverns big and small, or walk the well-paved footpaths that connect them.

Amazing rock formations grace the cave’s ceiling.

Floor to ceiling the caverns are adorned with countless stalagmite and stalactite rock formations of various shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, the lighting was a bit shoddy: the choice of colour – shades of green, red and orange – failed to reflect or bring out the true beauty of these naturally forming crystals, given fancy names depending on whims or imagination of the cave’s founders and early visitors.

“This is the raak sai chamber,” said my guide, pointing to one that resembled the roots of a banyan tree. There was no talk of geology or how the crystals came to form, but as the guide rattled off the names the rock formations had been accorded, I let my imagination fly rather than question him, for I clearly wasn’t seeing things the way he did.

There’re variously a “bundle of straw”, a “roasted duck”, and so forth, until we arrived at the “bride’s chamber”. Its entrance was adorned with crystals of fine sheen, like a curtain, and inside it had bed-shaped crystalline deposits where, according to the guide, young women came to make a wish for their loved ones. Altogether there are five caverns that merit visiting.

Accessing the cave is quite easy compared to exiting it.

Khao Kob mountain is surrounded by two canals, boats the only mode of transport.

“Lie down on your back,” barked the guide as the boat passed the “dragon’s belly”, a narrow tunnel-like stretch where the cave’s ceiling was perilously low, almost touching the water’s surface.

Water here was shallow. The guide pulled back the oars and, using his hand to grip the ceiling for support, propelled the boat forward. Slowly, the boat inched toward the cave’s exit, at some points the ceiling almost kissing my nose. The dragon’s belly gradually gave way to light and eventually bright sunshine as we exited.

This is how low the ceiling can get during passage through the ‘dragon’s belly’.

All the while we’re inside the cave the going was slow, the distance covered just 300 metres, but emerging from it into bright sunshine seemed as if we had travelled a few kilometres. Negotiating the dragon’s dark belly had indeed been a challenge, but an experience worth savouring, nonetheless.

New York International Car Show – April 10-19 2009

Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2009 by Finns

Our company service is renowned as second to none, we pride ourselves in what ever service you have requested, you will always disembark fully satisfied and fresh, not only can we take you from the airport ‘exit door’ to the ‘front door’ of your home, we cover New York and the suburbs, and have inter airport connectivity with all the major hubs with our fleet having every style of vehicle to meet your needs. When you need to book an airport shuttle service look no further we are Newark Airport transportation

The chauffeur will have you on schedule and fully relaxed with any of our services from airport transfer, private, business-convention schedules, sightseeing, excursions and special events. The fleet of vehicles is extensive and caters for groups of all sizes, so if you’re booking a private charter which is of course customized to your every need, ourvip chauffeurs and if required the on board hostess and tour director will cater for your every possible need on your journey with us.

If you still want to meet your schedule on a lower budget then our share-ride scheme you may make a reservation for pick up at your home, hotel or business, plus with on board communications we are in constant contact with our reservations office to avail speedy pick up and transfer of passengers.

Our reservations office staff will take your bookings between 6am and 10.30pm or you may book on line after normal office hours and is available 24/7. Our office staff are experienced and can also plan your itinerary, make hotel reservations and book airline or theatre tickets they will also tell you about our other services and let you know about the discounts and special events which are happening now in New York and in the coming months.

These are great outings and our staff will discuss with you in planning a schedule to get you and your family, friends, or office staff safely to and from these events. The service doesn’t stop there we can get you sightseeing around New York on an Old English double Decker bus.

We don’t just drive our customers we have chauffeured them with years of experience in safety and on time, the only thing on our mind is to give you the one of a kind service that you will return to.

So remember! You will always score your GOALS so GOAirLinkShuttle with us.

Drug disco monk defrocked

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 14, 2009 by Finns

In an interesting story that until now has not been reported in the English language press, a monk was arrested on November 17 after police discovered he had converted his cell at the temple into a mini disco and was having drug parties.

After receiving a tip off that a monk at Wat Mukhathara, in Tambon Pak Nakhon, Muang District, was using drugs in his cell, plainclothed police went to investigate.

At the temple the officers heard music and loud chatting coming from one of the cells. When they got close, they could smell cigarette smoke and krathom (a prohibited indigenous plant with a mild stimulant effect) wafting from under the door.

The officers knocked on the door. When the monk opened it, they saw five youths all in a state of advanced inebriation. The youths tried to make a dash for the exit, but were all collared by the officers. Police released the names of the monk and two laymen as Phra Chokdee Sukkaow, 29, Jakraphan Laichaphit, 21, and Kittichai Bualuang, 23.

Two other youths were also arrested, but as they were under 18, their names were not released. According to police, Phra Chokdee’s cell was decorated “like a discotheque”, but they did not elaborate on the set up.

Police took Phra Chokdee to the temple abbot to be defrocked and contacted the parents and guardians of the youths, telling them to come and pick them up. After the defrocking, Phra Chokdee – or just Mr Chokdee as he is now known – was taken to Nakhon Sri Thammarat Provincial Police Station.

There he complained bitterly to Deputy Commander Col Somchai Uamthong that he should not have been defrocked as he had committed only pahjittee (a minor offence under the rules of the Buddhist Sangha), not pahrahchik (a grave offence).

The colonel, however, had little time for Mr Chokdee’s protestations, asking of him why he wanted to stay in the monkhood when he was only bringing the religion into disrepute. Col Somchai added that many undisciplined monks like Mr Chokdee had already been defrocked, including abbots, and that he should accept his fate graciously.

He was then sent down to the cells to wait to be charged with possession and use of a Category 5 narcotic.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 11, 2009 by Finns

weddingunderwater1
The Valentine’s Day approaching, here is a list of activities for activities travellers can forward to if visiting southern Thailand. As I am not married I shall keep well away from this as have already been in deep water, managed to swim ashore, so am staying dry for a wee while at least.

Underwater wedding is now an annual ritual marking Valentine’s Day in Trang.

Nakhon Si Thammarat will invite 10 foreign couples to a mass Viva Nai Man Mek (wedding in the clouds) ceremony scheduled February 13-16 atop Mt Mhen, 1,315 metres above sea level, in Muang district of the province.

Interested couples can apply by calling the provincial administration at 075-356-252 ext 306, or the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s provincial office at 075-346-515/6.

Trang will hold its now world-famous underwater wedding February 13-15 off Pak Meng Beach in the province’s Sikao district. This year the ceremony, being held for the 13th time, will among others feature a blind man, Suksa Laksanaprim, of the Foundation for the Blind in Thailand, taking his marriage vow the same day.

Application forms can be downloaded at http://www.underwaterwedding.com.

Phuket will see 32 couples taking the vow during a traditional Babah-style wedding in the city’s old quarter on February 14. Joining the occasion will be 25 couples from Taipei, specially invited by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, to promote Thai-Chinese relations, and eight others wishing to take the vow the old way.

Call TAT’s Phuket office at 076-211-036 for more information.

For marrying couples, Chumphon plans a wedding on raft with a cruise along the Phato Stream on February 14 and 15. For more information, call the district office at 077-539-040.

In Satun, 25 couples will join a mass wedding on Ko Khai, part of Tarutao Marine National Park. The event takes place February 14 and 15 when couples will walk through a big hole in a rock and spend a night on Ko Lipe.

So come on take the plunge, really I think it would be rather cool, beats sky diving.

Also Phuket will see 32 couples taking the vow during a traditional Babah-style wedding in the city’s old quarter on February 14. Joining the occasion will be 25 couples from Taipei, specially invited by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, to promote Thai-Chinese relations, and eight others wishing to take the vow the old way.

Call TAT’s Phuket office at 076-211-036 for more information.

For marrying couples, Chumphon plans a wedding on raft with a cruise along the Phato Stream on February 14 and 15. For more information, call the district office at 077-539-040.

In Satun, 25 couples will join a mass wedding on Ko Khai, part of Tarutao Marine National Park. The event takes place February 14 and 15 when couples will walk through a big hole in a rock and spend a night on Ko Lipe.

For more information, call 074-711-074.

Songkhla will feature a cave wedding at Khao Namkhang that from 1972-87 was a sanctuary for members of the now-defunct Communist Party of Malaysia.

Since the cave are not large enough for the function. Participating love couples will take marriage vows just outside the cave, like members of the communist party used to do in the old days, with candies and a cup of coffee.

Visit http://www.songkhlatourism.org for more.

In Surin, 82 brides and their grooms will join a mass wedding riding elephants on February 14 in the province’s Tha Tum district. Held in the traditional Surin style, all couples will be issued registration papers at the end of the wedding.

Interested couples can apply at the district office or call TAT’s Surin office at 044-514-447/8.

Charity bed push

The first charity bed push in Thailand will be held on February 8 in Pattaya.

Organised by the Rotary Club of Pattaya and the local administration, it emulates similar fund-raising activities around the globe, such as in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Spectators will see teams of six people dressed in funny attires push their decorated beds along the Beach Road. If successful, this charity competition will be turned into an annual event.

Thought I would add this for those would be travellers great air fares from Cathay Pacific Airways and has cut airfares and fuel surcharges in a bid to stimulate air travel and tourism. The Thai baht to the US dollar is around 34bahts to $1

According to Yongyuth Lujintanont, its marketing manager for Thailand and Burma, the airline has launched special low-priced packages on key routes. As such, prices on the Bangkok-Hong Kong route start from 6,100 baht, Bangkok-Singapore from 3,500 baht, Bangkok-Beijing from 9,000 baht, and Bangkok-Osaka from 11,600 baht.

Bangkok-London and Bangkok-Paris are priced at 23,100 baht, while Bangkok-Los Angeles costs 25,200 baht. Meanwhile, the airline will increase flights between Bangkok and New Delhi, with a daily flight starting March 28. It also plans to open a new office in Bangkok.

Dengue Fever Alert, South Thailand hard hit

Posted in Dengue Fever. Malaria with tags on February 10, 2009 by Finns

mozzie

Well its time again but this year it’s worse, we have got super bomber mosquito’s zapping us at dawn and dusk, but now after the monsoon and floods down south it seems the mozzies have got a head start so a national war room, yes we have declared war to control the spread of dengue fever across the country after learning the situation will be far worse than last year.

The ministry has assigned all provincial public health offices, local administration organisations and health volunteers to strictly control and monitor the transmission of dengue fever in local areas. We are starting to get the tourists back so it has been well publicised and now the fogger machines are running around zapping all the areas that the mozzies love to bread in.

The ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, Dr Paijit Warachit, will chair the war room, teaming up with agencies including the World Health Organisation and the US Center for Disease Control to monitor the spread of the disease within Thailand and neighbouring countries.

They will meet at least once a week to keep a close watch on any possible outbreak. Humans @??? Mozzies @??? so in a month or so we should get some figures on the war, but I have had malaria and believe me its like going to a pink floyd concert with the dreams and on the other hand you feel like you have just run two marathons, completely drained, even picking up a cuppa tea is like lifting 100kgs. Oh and no worries on the weight loss you can shred pounds in the time your bed bound as your sweating like a pig.

Citing Bureau of Epidemiology records, Paijit said that in January this year 1,675 people were reported as new cases of dengue fever, and two had died. The figure for the same period last year was 1,553 new cases, with two lives lost.

The Central region was the hardest hit with 886 patients, of which 303 were in Bangkok. The Southern region suffered the second worst outbreak with 546 patients. Songkhla, Pattani, and Yala were the worst affected provinces.

As today is a public holiday in Thailand (Makha Bucha Day), the Phuket Gazette has been unable to reach the Provincial Public Health Office for statistics on Phuket province.

In recent years, workers in Phuket’s rubber tree plantations have been at particular risk.

Last year saw a total of 91,003 Dengue Fever patients nationwide. In 2007, there were 65,581.

Local authorities have been advised to spray insecticide to eradicate the adult aedes aegypti mosquito, which bites humans from about an hour after dawn until roughly an hour after sunset.

Residents should drain off any stagnant water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and use abates sand, a pesticide, to destroy their larvae.

Public Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai has asked the public to keep a close watch on people in their households and nurseries. If anyone develops a high fever over a two-day period, they should be taken to a doctor, he said.

Thailands Full body massage by a real Babe!

Posted in Body Massage on February 8, 2009 by Finns


As I was laying there face down with my eyes closed I knew there was something wrong, nah? it couldn’t be, well in Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand the Villagers have been rushing to try the services of the village’s newest masseuse – a wild boar piglet named Phalo. Yes here you can get a Full body massage by a real Babe! In exchange for the occasional mackerel or a few sweets, Phalo uses his snout to massage tired limbs – reportedly with as much skill as the most expert human hands.

The unusual talent was discovered by the little boar’s owner, 30-year-old Wachareewong Somchai, when he took Phalo to play in the bedroom and the piglet began to use his snout to rub his owner’s calves. Mr Wacha-reewong then pointed to other parts of his body and Phalo duly obliged, giving him a complete body massage.

When word spread around the village, neighbours came to try out the piggy masseuse for themselves.

Mr Wachareewong calls Phalo’s name, points to the person and the the piglet starts the treatment. Phalo duly continues until Mr Wachareewong tells him to stop.

The pig came to live with Mr Wachareewong and his wife, 30-year-old Sao Somchai, after Mr Wachareewong found him at a friend’s house in Fang District. The friend explained to Mr Wachareewong that Phalo’s mother had given birth to a litter of five piglets, but she then trampled four of them to death.

Phalo, also trampled by his clumsy mother, somehow managed to survive. Feeling sorry for the creature, Mr Wachareewong asked his friend if he could take the piglet home. Mr Wacha-reewong and his wife raised Phalo on baby formula, then weaned him onto solid food.

However, unlike normal boars, Phalo does not like typical pig fare such as rice bran. Rather, he insists on human food. His favourite dish is mackerel with rice.

Also quite strangely, given his species, Phalo does not like playing in the mud – he is a house pig through and through, even sleeping in the same bed as his owners. Phalo, who, incredibly, has never wet the bed, wakes the couple up with his snout to go outside every morning. He also likes to go for rides on the back of his owners’ motorcycle.

As Phalo’s fame spread, offers started coming in to buy the boar – some for more than 10,000 baht ($350.00). But Mr Wacha-reewong and Mrs Sao, who have no children, said that they love Phalo like a child and could never sell him.

Mr Wachareewong said that he believes that in a previous life Phalo was a human and that the two of them must have made merit together so they could be reunited in this life.

Brit charged with drug dealing

Posted in cocaine and yah ice on February 6, 2009 by Finns


Mr Griffen kept his head down throughout the press conference to announce his arrest on drug dealing charges.

A British man faces the prospect of a lifetime in jail after being caught at a Phuket, Thailand Police checkpoint with cocaine, ya ice (crystal methamphetamine) and marijuana on Wednesday.

David Kevin Griffin, 49, was driving toward Patong when he was stopped by Kamala Police officers at around 1:45 am at the checkpoint in Nanok Village.

Police say they searched Griffin and found a total of 16.48 grams of cocaine divided into 11 sealable plastic bags in his wallet, together with 22,470 baht in cash.

Stashed in a mobile phone case on the front passenger seat they discovered 10 bags of ya ice, weighing a total of 16.31 grams, as well as a bag containing around three grams of marijuana stashed in a fanny pack, police said.

Four empty re-sealable zipper storage bags and equipment for taking yah ice were in a black bag with some clothes on the back seat, they added.

Police said they later searched Mr Griffin’s house in Tambon Thepkrassatri and found 8.25 grams of dried marijuana, 29.96 grams of marijuana resin, and eight plastic bags in a wooden box in a cupboard.

The heavy-set Mr Griffin barely raised his head as details of the arrest were made public at a press conference in front of Phuket Provincial Police Station on February 4.

The conference was led by Phuket Governor Preecha Ruangjan, Phuket Provincial Police Commander Apirak Hongtong, and Pol Lt Col Siriwat Intrayim of Kamala Police, the duty officer at Kamala police station at the time of Griffin’s arrest.

Mr Griffin confessed to charges of possession of a Class 5 drug (marijuana).

More seriously, he is being charged with possession of two Class 1 drugs (cocaine and yah ice) with intent to supply. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to five years to life in jail and fined 50,000 baht.

A report in the Manchester Evening News said Mr Griffen was a resident of Greater Manchester and had been living in Phuket for four years, working in the property industry at the time of his arrest.

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