24 Oct - 04 Dec 2008 Khao Pilai

Kingdom of Thailand aka The Land of Conditional Smiles 
Phang Nga Province
Ban Khao Pilai
Khao Pilai Bungalows +6676434274 saijaithai2@hotmail.com
Private holiday villa with Jacuzzi and swimming pool for THB 12,000.- or US$ 345.- per month; service, electricity and internet included.
Car (Toyota Hilux for THB 800.- per day) and scooter (THB 200.- per day) hire available.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Khao Pilai Bungalows, which we would recommend, and for directions:

Exploring the rural neighbourhood of our village Ban Khao Pilai, making friends with our Muslim and Buddhist neighbours and discovering the unspoilt Natai Beach of the Northern Andaman Coast.

Konni: Enhancing my cookery and learning from our landlady Saijai how to prepare/cook delicious Thai dishes, such as kaeng phet (spicy red curry with coconut milk), various types of phat thai (stir fried yellow noodles with prawns and veggies) and “flied lice” (fried rice with seafood, always served with naam phrik plaa on the side [fish sauce with sliced chillies, the quintessential Thai condiment]).

Visiting the many Buddhist village wats (temple compounds where men or women can be ordained as monks or nuns) between Ban Khao Pilai and Phang Nga town and admiring the steeply pitched roof systems tiled in green, gold and red, and constructed in tiered series of three levels, representing the triple gems of Buddhism: (i) the Buddha, (ii) the Dhamma (the teachings) and (iii) the Sangha (the Buddhist community).

Cruising (i) the mangrove swamps (learning that a quarter of the destruction of mangrove forests stems from shrimp farming), (II) the verdant limestone cliffs (most famous: Ko Phing Kan aka James Bond Island) and (iii) hongs (submerged karst caves) in the northern part of scenic Phang Nga Bay by means of a reua hǎang yao (long-tail boat) and visiting Ko Panyi, a Muslim fishing village (descendents of two seafaring Muslim families that arrived here from Java 200 years ago), built entirely on stilts.

Renewing our Thai visit permits for another 30 days and joining the fast and efficient one-day visa run organised by Phuket Legal Services +6676202244 to Ranong and Kawthoung for THB 1,700.- or US$ 50.- per person - all inclusive.

Noticing the many elderly Western expats with their often much younger Thai (contract) wives or girl-friends and remembering the joke about the old duffer who says he has sex 50 weeks a year with his young Thai wife: ‘Amazing,’ says a youngster, ‘but what about the other two weeks?’ The old duffer says, ‘Oh, that’s when the feller that lifts me on and off goes on vacation.

Entertaining our number-one daughter Ulrike (pregnant with our number-two grandson) and our 2;4-year young number-one grandson Raoni from Toronto who travelled 24 hours by plane and spent a three-week holiday together with us: (i) turning over the previously unspoilt beaches near Ban Khao Pilai, hunting jing-joks (geckos or house lizards; onomatopoeically called jing-jok because of the sound they make: “ching-chok”) and replacing the spent calories with delicious Thai food at the numerous nearby eateries, (ii) cooling off in the swimming pool of our villa and in the natural pools and waterfalls of the junglebook-like tropical Sa Nang Manora and Raman forest parks, abundant with lianas, moss-encrusted roots and rocks, (iii) being amazed by the popart-like interior and exterior paintings of the many renovated Buddhist temples alongside the road to Phang Nga und exploring the beautiful and lush countryside around Phang Nga Bay by hired scooter, car and boat.

Konni's treatment: Undergoing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome release surgery on my both hands (THB 7,000.- or US$ 200.- for each hand) as an out-patient at Phuket International Hospital +6676249400 info@phuket-inter-hospital.co.th; many thanks Dr. Chansak, for your expertise und skills.
Matt’s treatment: Learning that a genuine Thai foot massage (THB 200.- or US$ 5.70, one hour) can include the whole body from little toe to pinkie; thanks ladies, for your expertise, for your skills and for your great sense of humour (sign on the door of the massage parlour: “Our customers always come first”, yes indeed).

Shopping for fruits at the local village market at Khao Pilai and indulging in the incredible diversity of Thai fruits: kaeo mangkon (dragon fruit), farang (guava), khanun (jackfruit), lum-yai (longan or dragon-eyes), lin-chi (lychee), ma-muang (mango), mang-khut (mangosteen), som khiao wan (orange), malako (papaya), sapparot (pineapple), som-oh (pomelo), ngaw (rambutan), noi-naa (soursop), sala (salak), la-mut (sapodilla), taeng-mo (watermelon), kjluai (banana), chiku (chiku), chomphu (java apple), noina (sugar apple), saowarot (passion fruit), longkong (langsat), thapthim (pomegranate), maphrao (coconut), makhaam (tamarind) and the infamous and stinking thurian (durian), dubbed the king of fruits by most Thais yet despised by many foreigners.

Flying with the queen of budget carriers, Air Asia (“Now Everyone Can Fly”) +6625159999, in an Airbus A 320-200 from Phuket International Airport to Kuala Lumpur's KLIA-LCCT at Sepang for all inclusive THB 2,035.- or US$ 58.-, one way, per person and being issued with a 90-day visit pass for a “social visit” to Malaysia on arrival - free of charge, including the small print: “Be forewarned: death for drug traffickers under Malaysian law.”; selamat pagi, Malaysia.

Click below for more blog entries about southern Thailand 
29 Apr - 05 May 2013 Ko Chang
26 Apr - 29 Apr 2013 Prachuap Khiri Khan 
22 Apr - 26 Apr 2013 Hua Hin 
29 Jan - 01 Feb 2013 Songkhla 
22 Jan - 25 Jan 2013 Nakhon Si Thammarat 

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2008 Map Konni & Matt 

Click below and see more Konni & Matt Pictures 
Photos 2008-09 Kuala Lumpur II
Photos 2008-08 Kuala Lumpur I

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