For 2013

October 6

After three weeks of  Western food it’s good to be back home.  Even I was getting a bit sick of  bread and cheese every morning, followed by more bread and cheese at lunch and meat & potatoes for dinner.  All washed down with Unfortunately, no amount of walking in the Swiss Alps could prevent me from gaining about 4Kg last month.  Fortunately, Thailand’s annual Vegetarian Festival began on 4 October so I’m in the middle of 10 days of nothing but veggie food.  Got to say that Switzerland is a great place to go for some fresh air and amazing views.  Only downside is that it’s insanely expensive.

In many towns across Thailand the Vegetarian Festival is a big thing, especially with Chinese-Thai families, entire markets selling nothing but all manner of soya based food.  The event has become a tourist attraction in Phuket, where their Phuket Vegetarian festival is famous for the nutters hard core devotees whose dedication to the cause is manifested by them sticking all manner of sharp objects  – everything from fish hooks to swords through their skin. They feel no pain as they are possessed by spirits.  On Koh Chang, that doesn’t happen. Either the residents aren’t devoted enough or just feel there is something a bit wrong about stapling your cheeks together with a harpoon.  There are some restaurants that convert to selling nothing but vegetarian food for the full 10 day period, look for the places with the yellow signs with the Thai word ‘เจ’ ( pronounced ‘jay’ ) written in red.

Fishing off Klong prao beach

At the end of the rainy season, on days when the sea is calm, you’ll see local fishermen out hunting for tiny shrimps that are used to make fermented shrimp paste  – which is as delicious as it sounds.  The shrimps stay close to shore and are easily seen, the troupes of shrimp ( I didn’t know that was the collective noun either ) appear as dark clouds moving slowly with the tide.  You can scoop them out with your hands or, use a big net.  Best time to see it is early morning.

At the start of last month, the weather was great so I decided to have a walk up to Kai Bae waterfall.  There are two ways to get there. The easy way, by walking into the valley from the village.  Or the fun way, by walking over a hill and along a couple of river beds to reach the top of the waterfall.  then carefully scrambling down the side of the waterfall.  I chose the latter :-)  More photos and how to get there

And also had time to check out the Dan Mai Cycling Route which is best done by scooter as you probably wont have a bicycle as:

a) There’s nowhere to hire them in the area
b) It’s too far for a casual cyclist to get there by bicycle from the main West coast beaches and
c) Even if you could hire a bicycle there, you’d still have to get to Dan Mai and as there’s no public transport you’d need a scooter to do that.

In fairness, it did look like some more signs were going up advertising the cycling route’s presence and it is worth checking out if you are in the area.  Plus it’s a good example of a sustainable, community based, eco-friendly tourism project.  Details & photos

A Russian couple took this video during there holiday here last month.  Luckily they had sunshine for part of their stay.   Nice video, partly because it shows the beaches and the sea can be great during the rainy season and party because the guy has mastered the art of  taking a selfie video whilst riding a scooter.

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