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Asia

Khao Sok National Park: Cheow Lan Lake

Dramatic limestone karsts draped in vegetation and shores blanketed in pristine rainforest, the largest area of virgin forest in Southern Thailand, surround Cheow Lan Lake in the heart of Khao Sok National Park.

Tiny, lush islands once mountain peaks, rise out of tepid, emerald-green waters where water temperatures range between 27°C to 29 °C.

Wildlife in the national park includes Asian elephant, tiger, tapir and bear. A cacophony of jungle sounds fill the air: monkeys and gibbons chatter and howl; hornbills and other exotic birds cry and whistle; and a myriad of insects whine and shrill.

In 1982, Ratchaprapha Dam was built as a source of electricity by blocking off the Klong Saeng River and creating an artificial, 165 square kilometer lake.

Cheow Lan Lake is a popular destination for local and foreign tourists, accommodation provided by rustic, floating raft houses. Activities include trekking to view points, waterfalls and caves; fishing and kayaking; and boat safaris to glimpse wildlife and view the stunning scenery.

We stayed at Prai Wan raft houses, simple bamboo huts floating on the water. We opted for a private tour, that was well worth the money! It included: a knowledgeable and enthusiastic, English-speaking guide; wildlife safaris and cave trip by long-tail boat; hiking through rainforest to a spectacular viewpoint; kayak use and meals.

Here is just a handful from the hundreds of photos I took during our two-night stay. I plan to return to Cheow Lan Lake and to also explore other parts of Khao Sok National Park.

Lakeside raft houses, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Prai Wan raft houses, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Lakeside raft houses & long tail boat, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Long tail boat and Prai Wan raft houses, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Lakeside raft houses & long tail boat, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Long tail boats at Prai Wan raft houses, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Boatman waiting for passengers, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Our boatman waiting for us at a cave, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Giant Rock, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Giant Rock, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Lush island, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Lush island on Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Green island, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Tiny, green island on Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

View of Cheow Lan Lake from viewpoint, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

View of Cheow Lan Lake from viewpoint, Khao Sok National Park

Colors of dusk, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Colors of dusk on Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Boat trip at dusk, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Our guide & boatman on a boat safari at dusk on Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Colors of dusk, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Colors of dusk on Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Skeleton trees in water at dusk, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Skeleton trees in water at dusk on Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Sunrise Colors On Lake, Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, southern Thailand

Sunrise Colors on Cheow Lan Lake from Prai Wan raft houses, Khao Sok National Park


The Mongolian Yurt: Ger Sweet Ger

Recently, I re-discovered my 2010 Mongolia trip photos while searching my archives for images to submit to stock agencies. I’m now motivated to publish a few more blog posts about this intriguing country.

The traditional portable home for nomadic herders roaming the vast grassy steppes of Mongolia is the yurt, or ger as it’s called in Mongolian which literally means home.

Ger pepper the landscape throughout Mongolia and today between 30-40% of the country’s population (Source: Wikipedia) live in a ger, not only on the steppe but many in city suburbs.

Due to the nomadic nature of its occupants, a ger is designed to be dismantled easily and moved, so construction only takes about 2 hours.

A collapsible wooden lattice wall with a door frame supports long, roof poles and a circular crown leaving an opening for the central chimney. The entire framework is covered with layers of wool felt for warmth then ropes secure waterproof canvas over the top.

These photos show the stages of ger construction: the bare skeleton of wall lattice and roof poles, the entire framework covered in layers of felt, and the completed ger with the outer cover of waterproof canvas.

Contructing a Mongolian ger. Wooden wall lattice, roof poles and door. Khutag Ondor, Central Mongolia

Constructing a ger. Wooden wall lattice, roof poles and door.

Contructing a Mongolian ger. Layers of wool felt cover the framework. Khutag Ondor, Central Mongolia

Layers of wool felt cover the framework.

Fully constructed Mongolian ger alongside partly constructed ger. Khutag Ondor, Central Mongolia

Fully constructed Mongolian ger covered in waterproof canvas and secured with ropes alongside partly constructed ger.


Phang Nga Bay: Koh Panyee – School Views

Koh Panyee School must have one of the more unusual locations for a school, in a fishing village built on stilts set in a stunning bay of limestone karsts off the northeast coast of Phuket in southern Thailand. 

Following on from my last post Phang Nga Bay: Koh Panyee – A Thai Fishing Village On Stilts; these are some photos I took in Koh Panyee School where our local guide took us during our trip to the village.

I was previously a teacher in Thailand so this especially interested me. I bet those kids don’t even notice the view!

Playground, Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandRow of shoes outside classroom, Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandStudents in classroom, Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandHouses on stilts and mosque, view from Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandSeaside football pitch, Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandFootball pitch, mosque and limestone karsts, Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandHouses on stilts, mosque and limestone karst, view from Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandSea view from Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandHouses on stilts, mosque and limestone karsts, view from Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandClassrooms and playground, Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandClassroom interior, Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandFootball pitch with sea view, Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandClassroom exteriors, Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, ThailandMessage written on playground wall, Koh Panyee School (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand


Phang Nga Bay: Koh Panyee – A Thai Fishing Village On Stilts

Against a dramatic backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs rising out of Phang Nga Bay off the northeast coast of Phuket in southern Thailand, a web of narrow boardwalks and rickety jetties link Koh Panyee (or Ko Panyi) into a compact fishing village on stilts. 

Simple buildings with contrasting colorful roofs and wooden plank walls painted or left the rustic shades of nature, cozily nudge each other, perched above the shallow water on timber stilts sunk in the seabed.

Houses, shops, cafés and eateries cram together along a maze of wobbly walkways. Open-fronted seafood restaurants line the waterside and corrugated iron shacks reflect a mosaic of muted tin tones on the briny surface. Market stalls display sarongs, shell trinkets and other souvenirs as well as fruit, vegetables, dried fish and other wares for daily living. 

Koh Panyee School with playground and football pitch sits right on the water’s edge and a mosque with golden domes, still under construction, is sprouting up on the small area of dry land under the limestone cliff.

Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Koh Panyee

Stilted houses on Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Stilted houses on Koh Panyee

Mosque and floating houses, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Mosque and floating houses on Koh Panyee

Colorful roofs of stilted houses, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Colorful roofs of stilted houses

Floating seafood restaurants with a sea view, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Floating seafood restaurants with a sea view

Approaching Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi) in a long-tail boat, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Approaching Koh Panyee in our long-tail boat

Colorful floating houses, boats and fish traps, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Colorful floating houses, boats and fish traps

Close-up of long-tail boat engine, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Close-up of long-tail boat engine moored at Koh Panyee

I’ve read that three nomadic fisherman families left Indonesia in search of a new home around 200 years ago, agreeing to plant a flag on the highest landmark to signal they’d discovered a place to settle. When they found bountiful fishing off a tiny limestone island, they raised a flag on the cliff top.

So, it became known as Koh Panyee meaning Flag Island and inhabitants of this Muslim fishing village today are descendants of these families. Traditionally surviving off the fishing trade, tourism has more recently become a major part of the economy.

On a recent long-tail boat trip around Phang Nga Bay including a quick stop at James Bond Island, we also visited Koh Panyee. This was my second visit after about 15 years.

We arrived early to miss the boatloads of tourists having lunch at the waterside seafood restaurants and explored village life beyond before having an early lunch ourselves there.

View from Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

View from Koh Panyee walkway

Local woman mending fishing nets, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Local woman mending fishing nets outside her home

Golden domes of new mosque, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Golden domes of new mosque

Typical local restaurant behind tourist seafood restaurants, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Typical local restaurant behind tourist seafood restaurants

Woman threading strings of locally farmed pearls to sell, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Woman threading strings of locally farmed pearls to sell on souvenir stalls

Typical local restaurant, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Another typical local restaurant

Stall selling dried fish and chilies, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Stall selling varieties of dried fish mixed with chilies

Close-up of dried fish and chilies, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Close-up of dried fish mixed with chilies

Food stall, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Food stall

Houses on stilts, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Houses on stilts

Houses on stilts, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Houses on stilts

Potted flowering orchids and bougainvillea adorn floating houses, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Potted flowering orchids and bougainvillea adorn floating houses

Poster of mosque construction, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Poster of mosque construction

Washing line behind mosque construction site, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Washing line behind mosque construction site

Fish drying in the sun, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Fish drying in the sun

Mosque under construction & satellite dishes, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Mosque under construction & satellite dishes

Poster of mosque in outside kitchen area, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Poster of mosque in outside kitchen area

Boat engine & fishing paraphernalia, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Boat engine & fishing paraphernalia by the water

Between floating houses, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Between floating houses

Washing line, bird cage & life between floating houses, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Washing line, bird cage & life between floating houses

Colorful floating tin shack, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Colorful tin mosaic of floating shack on stilts

Fishing long-tail boat moored off floating raft with fish traps, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Fishing long-tail boat moored off floating raft used for storing fish traps & fish in nets in the water

Long-tail boats, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Long-tail boats moored outside restaurants

Long-tail boat, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Lone long-tail boat moored at end of jetty while boatman waits in the shade of an umbrella

Long-tail boats & limestone karsts, Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Moored long-tail boats against a backdrop of limestone karsts

Take a look at Jamie’s Phuket blog post about Koh Panyee for another perspective. At the end is a video worth checking out. In Jamie’s words “Finally – a video (actually an ad for a bank) which features Koh Panyee. The story of the kids on Koh Panyee starting their own football team, despite the lack of a pitch to play on! Nice story – great scenery!”

Also, for photos of a community built on stilts over the sea in Malaysia, check out my post Penang Snapshots: George Town’s Clan Jetties and for another island in the area Phang Nga Bay: Ko Yao Noi.


Phang Nga Bay: A Long-Tail Boat Trip – James Bond Island

In the Andaman Sea between the island of Phuket and the mainland of southern Thailand, Phang Nga Bay’s sheer limestone cliffs tower majestically out of the sea.

Ko Khao Phing Kan, one of the many islands in the Phang Nga Bay archipelago, was the film location for Scaramanga’s hideout in The Man with the Golden Gun. Now more commonly called James Bond Island it’s become a popular tourist destination on boat trips around the scenic bay.

After my recent weekend trip to another Phang Nga Bay island Ko Yao Noi, I took a private day trip (to avoid the crowds) in a long-tail boat around the bay with my friend Paula and her parents.

Here are some images from that trip.

Floating restaurants & long-tail boats, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Floating restaurants & long-tail boats

Moored long-tail boats, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Moored long-tail boats

Moored long-tail boats, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Moored long-tail boats

View of bay from long-tail boat, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

View of bay from long-tail boat

View of bay from long-tail boat, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

View of bay from long-tail boat

Long-tail boats at James Bond Island (Ko Khao Phing Kan), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Long-tail boats moored at the beach on Ko Khao Phing Kan, more commonly called James Bond Island

Long-tail boats at James Bond Island (Ko Khao Phing Kan), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Long-tail boats at James Bond Island

Morning light on plants growing on rocks, James Bond Island (Ko Khao Phing Kan), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Morning light on plants growing on rocks on James Bond Island

Ko Tapu (Nail Island) just off James Bond Island (Ko Khao Phing Kan), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Ko Tapu (Nail Island) just off James Bond Island

Souvenir stalls on James Bond Island (Ko Khao Phing Kan), Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Souvenir stalls on James Bond Island

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

View from long-tail boat of Phang Nga Bay

Limestone rocks of Phang Nga Bay towering over long-tail boat, Thailand

Limestone rocks of Phang Nga Bay towering over long-tail boat

Inside long-tail boat, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Our guide and driver

Phang Nga Bay views, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay views

Inside long-tail boat, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

My friend Paula, her parents, our guide, driver and long-tail boat pilot

Views from long-tail boat, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Views from long-tail boat

Views from long-tail boat, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Heading home


Phang Nga Bay: Ko Yao Noi

Ko Yao Noi (Small Long Island) is the baby sister of Ko Yao Yai (Big Long Island), both part of the Ko Yao Archipelago in Phang Nga Bay between Phuket and Krabi in southern Thailand.

Last weekend I visited Ko Yao Noi with a friend, staying in a bungalow near the beach. It was a chilled out trip spent mostly lying in a beachside hammock reading and a sunrise wander with my camera along the sands, capturing the stunning scenery right on our doorstep.

Here are a few of my images from that weekend.

Approaching storm over Phang Nga Bay, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Approaching storm over Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay view, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay view from my hammock

Phang Nga Bay view, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay view

Stormy skies, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Stormy skies

Phang Nga Bay sunrise, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay sunrise

Early morning sunlight on the beach, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Early morning sunlight on the beach

Hammock dock at sunrise, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Hammock dock at sunrise

Phang Nga Bay sunrise, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay sunrise

Phang Nga Bay sunrise, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay sunrise

Early morning, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Early morning

Hammock on the beach in early morning light, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Hammock on the beach in early morning light

Fungi bathed in early morning light, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Fungi bathed in early morning light

Hammock dock, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Hammock dock

Long-tail boat, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Long-tail boat

Long-tail boat, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Long-tail boat

Long-tail boat, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Long-tail boat

Mid morning view of Phang Nga Bay, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Mid morning view of Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay

Tsunami hazard sign on beach, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Tsunami hazard sign on beach

Children playing on beach, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Children playing on beach

Children playing on beach, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Children playing on beach

Children playing on beach, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Children playing on beach

Children playing on beach, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Children playing on beach

View over Phang Nga Bay, Ko Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

View over Phang Nga Bay


Phuket Snapshots: Rawai’s Sea Gypsy Village

Curving along the south-eastern tip of Phuket, the northern shore of Rawai beach is the home of sea gypsies known as Chao Lay. The sea is their life and livelihood.

Children splash and shriek floating on plastic ice box lids and pieces of broken board alongside long-tail boats anchored to the beach by long lines, bobbing lazily in turquoise waters.

Rickety wooden stalls hug the beach, facing stores and seafood restaurants across the dirt road dividing beachfront from village. Long strings of varying hued pearls dangle with displays of shell handicrafts blowing in the salty, fish-scented breeze.

A rainbow of freshly caught fish lie lifelessly on metal counters alongside plastic trays packed with shellfish on ice. Over-sized, water-filled tubs placed on the ground in front of stalls crawl with live crabs and crayfish.

Locals and tourists browse and buy seafood then cross the road to one of the open-fronted restaurants where, for a small fee, the kitchen serves it up in the dish of choice.

Check out my post Phuket Snapshots: Rawai Beach and Local Life at Rawai Beach on the informative Jamie’s Phuket Blog.

Also, read the eye-opening article Tourism imperils way of life for Thai sea gypsies to learn about the plight of the Chao Lay.

Children playing in the sea at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Sea Gypsy children playing in the sea

Children playing in the sea at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Sea Gypsy children playing in the sea with ice box lids and pieces of broken board

Beachside vegetable stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Beachside vegetable stall

Beachside fish stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Beachside fish stall

Beachside fish stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Close up of colorful fish

Beachside fish stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Another fish close up

Litle girl's feet show size of giant lobster at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

A little girl’s feet show the size of lobster swimming in a tub at a seafood stall

Beachside fish stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Array of fish at a beachside stall

Beachside fish stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Close up

Beachside fish stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Freshly caught fish on ice

Beachside fish stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

More fish

Beachside fish stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Beachside shellfish stall. Prices are in Thai baht per kilo

Children playing at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Children playing behind the stalls

Beachside seafood stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Beachside shellfish stall

Beachside seafood stall at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Close up

Fish trap on the beach at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Fish trap on the beach

Old house at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Old house near the Sea Gypsy village

Long-tail boats moored off the beach at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Long-tail boats (“ruea hang yao” in Thai) moored off the beach

Dead puffer fish stabbed on long-tail boat engine shaft on the beach near the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Dead puffer fish stabbed on the shaft of a long-tail boat engine

Close up of dead puffer fish stabbed on long tail boat engine shaft on the beach near the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Close up of dead puffer fish

Beachside shrine at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Beachside shrine under a tree. Offerings include bottles of red Fanta soda and a model ship to protect the fishermen

Long-tail boats moored off the beach at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Long-tail boats moored off the beach

Fish traps by the beach & long tail boats moored offshore at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Fish traps by the beach

Beached long-tail boats & sleeping fisherman near the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Sleeping fisherman next to beached long-tail boats

Long-tail boats moored off the beach at the Sea Gypsy village, Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Long-tail boats moored off the beach and children playing in the water


Penang Snapshots: Historic George Town Facades

Historic George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island of Penang in Malaysia, is a photographer’s dream: crumbling facades and peeling paint; exquisite temples and mosques; painted Chinese shophouses and jetty homes; elaborate doors, colorful shutters and ornate wall tiles.

This post takes a closer look at some of George Town’s facades focusing on the decorative variety of doors and windows.

Check out my earlier posts Penang Snapshots: Historic George Town Scenes and Penang Snapshots: George Town’s Clan Jetties.

Old building, Little India, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted shutters and palm tree in Little India

Crumbling old building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Crumbling old building

Painted Shuttered Windows and Balcony, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted shutters and balcony

Painted Chinese Shophouse, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Blue painted Chinese shophouse facade

Old Building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Shuttered windows on an old building

Painted Chinese Shophouse, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted doors and windows of an old Chinese shophouse

Historic Building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Battered old building with lovely muted colors

Painted Shuttered Windows, Islamic Museum, Syed Alatas Mansion, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted shuttered windows and decoration at the Islamic Museum in the Syed Alatas Mansion

Painted Chinese Shophouse, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted Chinese shophouse with decorative door and Chinese lanterns

Flower Pots Hanging in Window, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Flower pots hanging in the window of an old house

Historic Building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Fallen letters

Decorative Door, Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Chinese Temple, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Decorative door at Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Chinese Temple

Historic Building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Historic building and Chinese lanterns

Painted Door and Shuttered Windows, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Green painted door and shuttered windows

Painted Shuttered Window, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Blue shutters

Painted Windows, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Worn painted windows

Metal Tree Sculpture and Painted Shuttered Windows, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Metal tree sculpture outside painted shuttered windows

Painted Shuttered Windows, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted shutters

Sun Yat Sen Penang Base, Decorative Exterior, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Decorative exterior of Sun Yat Sen Penang Base

Painted Chinese Shophouse, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Old painted Chinese shophouse

Painted Shuttered Windows, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted shutters

Historic Building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Crumbling building

Decorative Chinese Shophouse, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Chinese shophouse with gold decorative door and colored tiles


Penang Snapshots: George Town’s Clan Jetties

Traditional houses crammed together on a series of jetties linked by wooden walkways perch on stilts over the sea. These are George Town’s Clan Jetties.

Built in the 19th century, communities of fishermen, traders and dock workers still live with their families on these austere clan jetties along the shores of historic George Town in Penang, Malaysia.

A few hours exploring by foot along George Town’s clan jetties was one of the highlights of my short trip to Penang. I love waterside living and these simple homes appealed to me. Each clan jetty is unique in character, some more rustic and unkempt than others.

Here’s a series of some of my images captured that afternoon. Check out my earlier post Penang Snapshots: Historic George Town Scenes.

Chew Jetty

A gaudy Chinese temple dominates the entrance to the workmanlike Chew Jetty. Bathed in bright sunlight blue boats moored along the boardwalk, rock lazily on the tide.

Chinese lanterns, bamboo birdcages and handmade fish traps hang outside humble homes, cozy stores and simple eateries. Laundry hangs drying under eaves, bicycles lean against walls and motorbikes stand among the clutter of everyday living. Fragrant incense glows at the seaward tip of the jetty in a Chinese shrine with a sea view.

Jetty home and rocking chairs, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty home and rocking chairs, Chew Jetty

Boats, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Boats at Chew Jetty

Jetty home with hanging bird cages and Chinese shrine, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty home with hanging bird cages and Chinese shrine, Chew Jetty

Jetty home, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Chew Jetty home

View from Chinese temple at end of jetty, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View from Chinese temple at end of Chew Jetty

Outside kitchen at end of jetty, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Outside kitchen at end of Chew Jetty

Fish traps hanging outside jetty home, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Fish traps hanging outside jetty home, Chew Jetty

Boats at end of jetty, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Boats at end of Chew Jetty

Boats, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Boats at Chew Jetty

Boats, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Boats at Chew Jetty

Nameless Jetty

The most basic jetty I walked along had no name at the entrance. I ended up staying a while, prisoner of a sudden storm.

Luckily I found a broken plastic chair to sit on under an open-sided shelter full of fishing nets, my view misted by stinging rain; a ramshackle jetty village perched on stilts over a low tide stream clogged with tangles of broken logs, like skeletal remains emerging from the dark, stinking mud.

Jetty home, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty home

View of next jetty at low tide during storm, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View of next jetty at low tide during a storm

View of next jetty at low tide during storm with fishing nets hanging in foreground, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View of next jetty at low tide during a storm with fishing nets hanging in foreground

Sunken boat at end of jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Sunken boat at end of jetty

View of next jetty during storm, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View of next jetty during a storm

View of next jetty with boat in foreground, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View of next jetty

Lee Jetty

As the rain subsided, I continued to the neater, homier Lee Jetty. A small Chinese shrine protects the entrance leading to an avenue of crimson Chinese lanterns, green wheelie bins, street lights and gaudily painted door and window frames with matching metal fences outside.

A muddle of antennas, cables and satellite dishes hang overhead. Offerings lay at simple Chinese shrines guarding each house. Bundles of incense glow in sacred pots placed on the boardwalk end, facing seaward towards the city skyline and a yellow jetty temple across the water.

Jetty homes with hanging Chinese lanterns, Lee Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty homes with hanging Chinese lanterns

Jetty home with hanging Chinese lantern and view of water, boats and city skyline, Lee Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty home with hanging Chinese lantern and view of water, boats and city skyline

Chinese offerings and flag at end of jetty with view of Chinese temple on next jetty, Lee Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Chinese offerings and flag at end of jetty with view of Chinese temple on next jetty

Jetty homes with hanging Chinese lanterns, Lee Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty homes with hanging Chinese lanterns

More exploring at George Town’s Clan Jetties awaits me next time I visit Penang!


Penang Snapshots: Historic George Town Scenes

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a cultural mosaic of food, arts and architecture, language and religion, I immediately fell in love with historic George Town on the island of Penang in Malaysia on my second visit after many years.

These photos taken on my meanderings by foot one full day and a few hours early the next morning just touch the surface. I’ll be posting more and I’ll definitely be returning for a longer visit!

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Chinese temple

Hok Teik Cheng Sin, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Chinese temple courtyard and lanterns, Hok Teik Cheng Sin Temple

Hok Teik Cheng Sin, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Close-up of Chinese lanterns, Hok Teik Cheng Sin Temple

Alleyway, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Alleyway

Alleyway, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Alleyway with hanging laundry

Mahamariamman Temple, Little India, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Mahamariamman Temple, a Hindu temple in Little India

Flower sellers, Little India, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Flower sellers in Little India

Lam Yeong Tong Yap Kongsi, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Lam Yeong Tong Yap Kongsi Chinese temple

Bicycle shop, Armenian Street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Bicycle shop in Armenian Street

Loo Pun Hong, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Loo Pun Hong Chinese temple

Old building with washing line in the street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Old building with washing line in the street

View from inside noodle shop, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View from inside noodle shop of food cart vendor selling sweets

Festival fire in street outside Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Festival fire in the street outside Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple celebrating Por Tor or Hungry Ghost Festival

Incense burning at Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Giant, colorful incense burning at Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple celebrating Por Tor or Hungry Ghost Festival

Temple goods store seller, Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Temple goods store seller outside Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple during Por Tor or Hungry Ghost Festival celebrations

Qaryah Masjid Jamek Benggali Mosque, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Qaryah Masjid Jamek Benggali Mosque against a stormy sky

Tokong NG Fook Thong Temple, Cantonese Districts Association, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

The Cantonese Districts Association Tokong NG Fook Thong Chinese temple

Rickshaw, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Colorful rickshaw with driver taking a break on the pavement reading a newspaper

Kapitan Keling Mosque, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Kapitan Keling Mosque against a stormy, late afternoon sky

Crumbling old building, Love Lane, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Crumbling old building in Love Lane

Rickshaw taxi stand, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Rickshaw taxi stand with motorcyclist riding on pavement

Cycling past old building and metal street art, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Lady cycling past old building with metal street art on the walls

Street food cart, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Street food cart in the early morning sunshine

Flower stalls, Little India, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Flower stalls in Little India bathed in early morning sunshine


Thai Flowers: A Lone Lotus

This lone lotus flower is so stunning it deserves a post all to itself! It was growing in an earthenware pot of water outside my local restaurant near where I was staying in Karon on the Thai island of Phuket.

For more of my flower posts check out Thai Flowers: Lotus Buds & Orchid Blooms and The Darling Buds of Guatemala: Lakeside Blooms.

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Krabi Town Morning Market: A Typical Thai Talad

Markets all over the world lure me with their vibrant color and local life, each country with its unique specialties and variations. Exotic fruits, nameless vegetables and unknown produce nudging the familiar are a pictorial feast for the eyes begging to be photographed. A mix of flower fragrance and cooking aromas mingle with fish and other less appealing odors in the air.

I remember markets blasting every sense. Sadly, for me, severe concussion from a horse riding accident years ago left me with little sense of smell except the odd whiff snatched occasionally. Like a constant cold blocking the nose, but without the breathing problems! It saves me from the stench but deprives me of the fragrant in life.

Thai markets, known as talad, don’t disappoint although I know I’m not getting the full experience of sensory overload. A few months ago while staying in Krabi town on the coast of southern Thailand, I visited the morning market with a friend. There was so much to see we ended up spending a few hours wandering around buying fruit and taking photos. Here are just some of my images from that day at the market.

Fish counter, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Fish counter, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Fish counter, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Dried seafood, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Fish counter, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Fish counter, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Fish counter, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Fish counter, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Horseshoe crabs & shellfish, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Fish counter, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Fish counter, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Fish counter, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Sacks of rice, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand King prawns, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Fish, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Khao mok gai, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Marigold & jasmine garlands, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Vegetables, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Chiles, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Chiles, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Dragon fruit, longan & rambutan, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Selling vegetables, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Selling chiles, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Ma-la, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Sa-tor, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Vegetables, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Vegetables, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Selling vegetables, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Banana flower buds, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand
Look neang, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Selling vegetables, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Orchids, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Incense stall, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Orchid & marigold bunches & temple offerings, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Selling jasmine & marigold garlands, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand Selling jasmine & marigold garlands, morning market, Krabi town, Krabi, Thailand


Chiang Mai Artisans: The Art of Thai Silk

Thai silk worms, caterpillars rather than worms, munch on mounds of mulberry leaves before using their spittle to form cocoons. Weavers soak these cocoons in boiling water to extract the silk thread from the cocooned caterpillar then hand reel the raw silk on wooden spindles.

After dyeing, they weave blends of colorful threads on traditional hand-looms making exquisite Thai silk cloth.

This post is the last in my series about artisans of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. I took these images in a Thai silk making and weaving workshop documenting some of the stages from silk worm cocoons to finished product.

For background on the origins and process of Thai silk making check out Wikipedia’s Thai Silk article. Also, the rest of my Chiang Mai artisan series: The Art of Making Traditional Thai ParasolsThe Art of Wood Carving and The Art of Thai Lacquerware.

Finished Thai silk products in the store, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Finished Thai silk products in the store

Thai silk worms, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thai silk worms

Close-up of Thai silk worms eating mulberry leaves, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Close-up of Thai silk worms eating mulberry leaves

Thai silk worm cocoons, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thai silk worm cocoons

Thai silk worm and cocoons, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thai silk worm and cocoons

Thai silk worm cocoons, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thai silk worm cocoons

Weaving Thai silk on a hand-loom, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Weaving Thai silk on a hand-loom

Weaving Thai silk, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Weaving Thai silk

Dyed silk threads, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Dyed silk threads

Weaving Thai silk, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Weaving Thai silk

Weaving Thai silk, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Weaving Thai silk

Gorgeous golden threads of Thai silk, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Gorgeous golden threads of Thai silk

Spindles of dyed Thai silk threads, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Spindles of dyed Thai silk threads

Bleached raw Thai silk threads before dyeing, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Bleached raw Thai silk threads before dyeing

Dyed Thai silk fabric drying, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Dyed Thai silk fabric drying

Dyeing Thai silk fabric, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Dyeing Thai silk fabric

Weaving Thai silk, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Weaving Thai silk

Weaving Thai silk, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Weaving Thai silk

Weaving Thai silk, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Weaving Thai silk

Weaving Thai silk, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Weaving Thai silk

Spindles of Thai silk thread seen through threads on loom, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Spindles of Thai silk thread seen through threads on loom

Close-up of spindles of Thai silk thread seen through threads on loom, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Close-up of spindles of Thai silk thread seen through threads on loom

Spindles of Thai silk thread, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Spindles of Thai silk thread


Chiang Mai Artisans: The Art of Thai Lacquerware

Continuing on from my series of artisan posts from the highland city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, this series of photos shows skilled artisans and their craft during various stages of the Thai lacquerware process.

Elephants, pots, boxes, trays, vases and plates, all different shapes and sizes, are just some of the lacquered handicrafts created. Engraved patterns gilded with gold leaf, broken eggshell inlays or delicate hand painted designs adorn them.

Check out the article Northern Thai Lacquerware for more information on the materials, methods and history of this exquisite art form. Also, my other Chiang Mai artisan posts The Art of Making Traditional Thai Parasols and The Art of Wood Carving.

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Pots before applying lacquer

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Lacquered pots

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Polishing lacquered items

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Polishing stars after applying gold leaf

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephants and pots decorated with gold leaf

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Applying gold leaf to an elephant

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Applying gold leaf to an elephant close-up

Gold leaf inlaid lacquered Jewelry box, Thai lacquerware, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Gold leaf inlaid lacquered Jewelry box

Lacquered tray, Thai lacquerware, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painted lacquered tray with eggshell inlay

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painting pots by hand

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painting pots by hand

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Applying eggshell to pots

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painting by hand

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painting by hand close-up

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painting by hand close-up

Lacquerware workshop, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painting designs on an elephant

Lacquered elephant, Thai Lacquerware showroom, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Large painted lacquered elephant in showroom

Lacquered urn, Thai Lacquerware showroom, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Large lacquered urn in showroom

 


Chiang Mai Artisans: The Art of Wood Carving

In the highland city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, I recently photographed various artisans at work.

Here’s a series of my images taken in a furniture workshop. Skillful wood carvers chisel intricate relief scenes from blocks of teak to create screens, sculptures and elaborate chairs while other artisans inlay delicate mother-of pearl designs decorating rosewood tabletops and cabinets.

Check out my previous post Chiang Mai Artisans: The Art of Making Traditional Thai Parasols.

Carving a rural Thai scene in teak, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carving a rural Thai scene in teak

Wood carver's toolbox, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wood carver’s toolbox

Carving flowers in teak, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carving flowers in teak

Wood carver's tools, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wood carver’s tools

Carving in teak, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carving in teak

Carving in teak, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carving in teak

Carving in teak, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carving in teak

Inserting mother-of-pearl inlay in rosewood, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Inserting mother-of-pearl inlay in rosewood

Inserting mother-of-pearl inlay in rosewood, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Inserting mother-of-pearl inlay in rosewood

Cutting mother-of-pearl for inlay, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Cutting mother-of-pearl designs for inlay

Carved wooden elephants on the back of a chair, wood carving, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Carved wooden elephants on the back of a chair

Beautiful, twisted tree trunk with wood carving scene behind, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Beautiful, twisted tree trunk with wood carving scene behind


Chiang Mai Artisans: The Art of Making Traditional Thai Parasols

During my recent trip to Chiang Mai in the northern highlands of Thailand, I visited handicraft workshops to watch artisans making traditional Thai parasols, silk, wood carvings and lacquered pots, boxes and ornaments.

This series of photos shows the parasol workshop and its artisans.

Painted and unpainted parasols, Thai parasol workshop, Traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painted and unpainted parasols in the parasol workshop

Painted and unpainted parasols, Thai parasol workshop, Traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Close-up of painted and unpainted parasols

Painted and unpainted parasols, Thai parasol workshop, Traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Bundles of unpainted parasols alongside finished, painted ones

Artisans in Thai parasol workshop, Traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Artisans in Thai parasol workshop

Frames of drying sa paper made from mulberry tree bark, Traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Frames of drying sa paper made from mulberry tree bark

Frames of sa paper made from mulberry tree bark drying in the sun, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Frames of sa paper, made from mulberry tree bark, drying in the sun

Cutting bamboo spokes for parasol frames, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Cutting bamboo spokes for parasol frames

Bamboo parasol frames, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Bamboo parasol frames

Close-up of bundles of bamboo parasol frames, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Close-up of bundles of bamboo parasol frames

Bundles of bamboo parasol frames, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Bundles of bamboo parasol frames

Fixing bamboo spokes to make parasol frames, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Fixing bamboo spokes to make parasol frames

Cutting sa paper to size around a parasol frame, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Cutting sa paper to size around a parasol frame

Glueing pieces of sa paper to parasol frame, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Glueing pieces of sa paper to parasol frame

Close-up of glueing sa paper to parasol frame, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Close-up of glueing sa paper to parasol frame

Glueing sa paper to parasol frame, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Glueing sa paper to parasol frame

Glueing layers of sa paper to parasol frame, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Glueing layers of sa paper to parasol frame

Parasols in different stages of production, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Parasols in different stages of production

Glueing sa paper to parasol frame, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Glueing sa paper to parasol frame

Glued sa paper drying in the sun, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Glued sa paper drying in the sun

Fixing bamboo spokes on parasol, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Fixing bamboo spokes on parasol

Finishing touches to parasol, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Finishing touches to parasol

Painted parasols, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painted parasols

Parasol workshop, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Parasol workshop

Artisans at work in parasol workshop, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Artisans at work

Parasol paraphernalia, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Parasol paraphernalia

Painted parasols, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painted parasols

Painted parasols and artisans at work, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painted parasols and artisans at work

Painted parasols, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Painted parasols

Painted parasols, traditional Thai parasols, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Gorgeous painted parasols


The Colors of Traditional Thai Parasols: An Outdoor Exhibition

Changing the topic from my Phuket beach series, here are some photos of traditional Thai umbrellas or parasols. I stumbled on an outdoor exhibition of these colorful handicrafts during a golden hour walkabout around the streets of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

Traditional Thai umbrellas or parasols, outdoor exhibition, Chiang Mai, Thailand Traditional Thai umbrellas or parasols, outdoor exhibition, Chiang Mai, Thailand Traditional Thai umbrellas or parasols, outdoor exhibition, Chiang Mai, Thailand Traditional Thai umbrellas or parasols, outdoor exhibition, Chiang Mai, Thailand Traditional Thai umbrellas or parasols, outdoor exhibition, Chiang Mai, Thailand Traditional Thai umbrellas or parasols, outdoor exhibition, Chiang Mai, Thailand Traditional Thai umbrellas or parasols, outdoor exhibition, Chiang Mai, Thailand


Phuket Snapshots: Rawai Beach

Just around the southern tip of Phuket on the east coast sprawls Rawai beach, a more local scene than the touristy swimming beaches of Kata and Karon.

At low tide long-tail boats, fishing boats and speedboats used for island sightseeing trips, lie stranded on expanses of sand, tethered to the shore by long ropes attached to stakes while locals forage for shellfish in pools among exposed rocks.

Along the southern shore, fishermen mend nets and repair or build boats. At the northern end beyond the pier in a sea gypsy fishing village, stalls sell pearls, shells and a medley of freshly caught seafood. Here you can buy mackerel, snapper, lobster, crab, prawns, mussels, squid… then take to one of the nearby restaurants to prepare your dish of choice.

Restaurants, many just rustic eateries seating customers Thai style on woven mats, spread along most of Rawai beach offering an array of mouth-watering seafood dishes. Popular with locals and visitors to Phuket they fill up quickly with families on public holidays and weekends.

Long-tail boats (ruea hang yao), Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Long-tail boats (ruea hang yao), Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Long-tail boats (ruea hang yao), Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Boat on beach, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Boats, low tide, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Fishing nets, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Fishing nets, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Long-tail boats (ruea hang yao), low tide, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Long-tail boats (ruea hang yao), low tide, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Long-tail boats (ruea hang yao), low tide, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Boat building, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Boat building, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Long-tail boats (ruea hang yao), Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Long-tail boats (ruea hang yao), Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Long-tail boats (ruea hang yao), Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Old boat, fish traps, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Tsunami hazard zone sign, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand Long-tail boats (ruea hang yao), Thai flag, Rawai beach, Phuket, Thailand


Phuket Snapshots: Kata Beach Sunsets

Stunning sunsets seduce at beaches all along the western coast of Phuket. While selecting photos for my Phuket Snapshots: Kata Beach post and realizing most of my Kata photos were sunsets I dedicated a post to them.

For other Phuket beach photos check out my post Phuket Snapshots: Karon beach and for more in-depth information on Phuket head over to my favorite Phuket blog Jamie’s Phuket.

Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand Sunset, Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand

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Phuket Snapshots: Kata Beach

A tree-lined shore fringes a pretty, sweeping curve of white sand nudging lazy, turquoise water in high season and crashing surf during monsoon. Kata beach is another of Phuket’s popular beaches lying to the south of Karon.

A road runs between much of the leafy shoreline and the manicured grounds of the Club Med resort behind. Except for a cluster of hotels and restaurants sprawling along the sand at the southern end, most of the beach remains undeveloped. The northern end is quieter with a tiny inlet often crammed with long tail boats depending on tide and time of day.

VIewpoint, Kata Noi, Kata, Karon beaches, Phuket, Thailand

VIewpoint of Kata Noi, Kata and Karon beaches

Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand

View of Kata beach from the southern end

Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand

Late afternoon view from Villa Elizabeth at the southern end

Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand

Midday at the beach. Koh Pu is on the horizon.

Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand

Sacred tree at the northern end

Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand

Fishing boats at the northern end

Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand

Yachts at anchor during regatta

Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand

Jet ski zone at the southern end during high season

Kata beach, Phuket, Thailand

In front of The Boathouse during high season


Phuket Snapshots: Karon Beach

Karon, a three km wide, open expanse of squeaky, white sands is the second most developed beach in Phuket and an ample playground for beach bums. Here are some of my snapshots.

Sunset, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Sunset on Karon beach

Sunset, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Sunset on Karon beach

Sunset, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Sunset on Karon beach

Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Squeaky white sands of Karon beach

Umbrellas, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Quiet time

Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Quiet day at the beach

Naga shrine (pa ya nak), Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Naga shrine (pa ya nak) at northern end of Karon beach

Offerings, naga shrine (pa ya nak), Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Offerings at naga shrine

Close up, colored ribbons, naga shrine (pa ya nak), Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Close up of colored ribbons at naga shrine

Naga, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Naga’s head against deep blue evening sky

Lotus flower, jasmine garland, naga shrine, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Jasmine garlands and lotus flowers at naga shrine

Marigold, garland, naga shrine, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Marigold garlands at naga shrine

Incense, candles, offerings, naga shrine, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Incense and candles at naga shrine

Sunset, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Sunset over Karon beach

Naga, sunset, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Glowing naga at sunset

Sunset, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Sunset

Sunset, Karon beach, Phuket, Thailand

Sunset dip in the sea

Check out the excellent Jamie’s Phuket Blog for in-depth information about Phuket!


Thailand’s Sweet Tooth: Decadent Desserts

Thais have a sweet tooth and a heavy hand with sugar in much of their cuisine but especially, as in any culture, in desserts and candies.

Following on from my post Thai Street Food: Tasting a Kingdom Stall By Stall here are a few popular Thai desserts.

Sadly, I don’t yet have a photo of my personal favorite, mango with sticky rice slathered in coconut milk and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It’s always gone before my camera comes out!

Banana roti with condensed milk and sugar, iced coffee and Chinese tea at a roadside eatery, desserts, Thailand

Banana roti with condensed milk and sugar, iced coffee and Chinese tea at a roadside eatery

Making roti on a street cart, desserts, Thailand

Making roti on a street cart

Folding a roti, desserts, Thailand

Folding a roti

Ready to eat! Banana roti drizzled with chocolate sauce, sliced and served on paper with wooden sticks to eat, desserts, Thailand

Ready to eat! Banana roti drizzled with chocolate sauce, sliced and served on paper with wooden sticks to eat

Selling kanom beu ung at a street stall, desserts, Thailand

Selling kanom beu ung at a street stall

Pieces of bamboo filled with khao lam (a mixture of sticky rice, coconut milk, black beans and taro root) cooking over charcoal at a street stall, desserts, Thailand

Pieces of bamboo filled with khao lam (a mixture of sticky rice, coconut milk, black beans and taro root) cooking over charcoal at a street stall

Kanom beu ung waiting for buyers at a street stall, desserts, Thailand

Kanom beu ung waiting for buyers at a street stall

Kanom pan ping (toasted bread drenched with condensed milk and sprinkled with sugar), iced coffee, and Chinese tea at a night stall, desserts, Thailand

Kanom pan ping (toasted bread drenched with condensed milk and sprinkled with sugar), iced coffee, and Chinese tea at a night stall


Thai Street Food: Tasting a Kingdom Stall By Stall

In Thailand, locals eat cheap, taste bud tickling street food every day, sweet, spicy, salty and sour; stir-fried, deep-fried and grilled. Flavors for every mood and palate, aroma drenched smoke drifting off sizzling woks and glowing grills.

Hawkers sell from makeshift stalls, carts and baskets, in streets, markets and temple fairs. Some already prepared dishes, others cooked to order, all seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices.

Here’s some of my favorite Thai street food photos to make your mouth water!

Selling meat and fish balls on sticks, street food, Thailand

Selling meat and fish balls on sticks.

Chicken, pork and fish balls, sausages and prawns on sticks, street food, Thailand

Chicken, pork and fish balls, sausages and prawns on sticks.

Assortment of grilled meats and fish on sticks, street food, Thailand

Assortment of grilled meats and fish on sticks.

Chestnut seller, Street food, Thailand

Chestnut seller.

Night market stall, street food, Thailand

Night market stall. Rice and noodle dishes made to order.

Fried rice, fried noodles, spring rolls and corn, street food, Thailand

Fried rice, fried noodles, spring rolls and corn.

Cart with medley of sausages and fries, street food, Thailand

Cart with medley of sausages and fries.

Deep fried chicken, giant grilled ribs and iced drinks, street food, Thailand

Deep fried chicken, giant grilled ribs and iced drinks.

Fried array of bugs, street food, Thailand

Fried array of bugs.

Fried bugs sold in tubs drizzled in soy sauce, street food, Thailand

Fried bugs sold in tubs drizzled in soy sauce.

More crispy fried bugs, street food, Thailand

More crispy fried bugs.

Vendors selling eggs cooked on portable charcoal grill, dried squid on sticks, peanuts and fruit, street food, Thailand

Vendors selling eggs cooked on portable charcoal grill, dried squid on sticks, peanuts and fruit.

Selling plastic cups filled with strawberries drenched in sugar, street food, Thailand

Selling plastic cups filled with strawberries drenched in sugar.

Yellow khao mok gai (a muslim dish with chicken) and meat balls, street food, Thailand

Yellow khao mok gai (a muslim dish with chicken) and meat balls.

Tort man pla (fish cakes) and kai nok ka ta (quail eggs), street food, Thailand

Tort man pla (fish cakes) and kai nok ka ta (quail eggs).

Dried squid, street food, Thailand

Dried squid.

Deep fried chicken and sticky rice (khao neeow), street food, Thailand

Deep fried chicken and sticky rice (khao neeow).

Grilled meat, street food, Thailand

Grilled meat.

Grilled fish, street food, Thailand

Grilled fish.

Deep fried potato twists on sticks, street food, Thailand

Deep fried potato twists on sticks.

Deep-fried and grilled chicken, street food, Thailand

Deep-fried and grilled chicken.

Squid on sticks served with chili sauce, street food, Thailand

Squid on sticks served with chili sauce.

Grilled prawns and squid on sticks, street food, Thailand

Grilled prawns and squid on sticks.

More squid and meat on sticks, street food, Thailand

More squid and meat on sticks.

Fried meats, sticky rice and pork cake, street food, Thailand

Fried meats, sticky rice and pork cake.

Meats and fish on sticks, street food, Thailand

Meats and fish on sticks.


Songkran: Thai New Year Water Festival

Aquatic mayhem infects the kingdom during the Thai New Year Water Festival or Songkran when Thailand plunges into a frenetic nationwide water fight on the grandest scale. Not just child’s play, crowds hit the streets armed with hosepipes, water guns and cannons, pails and tubs to spray, splash and douse.

Pickup trucks stocked with barrels of icy water cruise along overflowing with drenched merrymakers showering anyone they pass, in turn receiving a deluge. Barefoot water warriors stand at the roadside targeting all who pass by, hurling bucketfuls of chilly water over motorcyclists, pedestrians and truck troopers.

Older Songkran traditions still thrive, a time to visit family, pay respect to elders, pray at Buddhist temples and leave offerings for monks. People cleanse Buddha images in homes and temples using fragrant water containing flower petals. The “blessed” water is then collected and gently poured over the hands and shoulders of elders to pay respect and bring good fortune. Throwing water in the streets originated from this custom as relief from the heat.

Shared with neighboring Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, Songkran runs from 13 to 15 April each year in the hottest month at the end of the dry season. It has been a national holiday since 1940 when Thailand’s official start to the calendar year changed from the Thai New Year to 1 January to coincide with the Western business world. The Buddhist calendar however, which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar, is still in use. The year 2013 is 2556 in Thailand!

Different parts of Thailand play with water for a varying number of days at Songkran. When I lived in Nakhon Sawan in central Thailand, it dragged on for about ten days but here in Phuket the law now allows it only on the 13th as they try to cut down on accidents. This was the first Thai New Year I dared get my camera out (from the relative safety of a doorway) and take some photos. Afterwards, I joined in the mayhem, splashing and soaking to my heart’s delight!

Songkran (Thai New Year) water fight, Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Roadside mayhem!

Songkran (Thai New Year) water fight, Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Motorcycle target!

Songkran (Thai New Year) water fight, Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Kids enjoying the fun!

Songkran (Thai New Year) water fight, Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Cooling off!

Ice truck, Songkran (Thai New Year), Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Buying ice from an ice truck to chill water for throwing.

Soaked with faces smeared in white powder. Songkran (Thai New Year), Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Soaked with faces smeared in white powder.

Ice buyers become victims of icy water, Songkran (Thai New Year), Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Ice buyers become victims of icy water!

Pickup truck armed with barrel of water gets a drenching, Songkran (Thai New Year), Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Pickup truck armed with barrel of water gets a drenching.