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Published: June 23rd 2017
Geo: 12.8, 99.9667
I was woken at 10:30 after leaving breakfast abruptly because I felt sick again. At 11:15 we all trooped down to Mr Long's for him to take us around Cha-Am as Pa had organised an hour beforehand but somehow through the language barrier we were booked for 12:30. Because of this, Mr Long and the car were down in Hua-Hin still. Our first trip was to the fishing village a couple of kilometres up the road so with no other reasonable option we hired a taxi from across the road to take us. The fishing village consists of two main piers with small bamboo planks leading to particular boats. Despite Cha-Am being a small town there was a good 200 boats of all different sizes, mostly they go out at night with their illuminous green lights to attract the squids a kilometre off shore and the whole horizon, not that you can see it, is filled with these green lights. Despite the atrocious smell, the village is incredibly interesting and is an idea of how Thai villages work without being touched by 'white' man or consumerism. Walking along you see people on the boats showering in plastic tubs and
thick tubes with holes along them, people cooking in open kitchens, people crushing ice, people sorting through and cleaning the catches, people preparing the boats and the worst of all for them, people trying (not necessarily successfully) to get knots out of the fishing net..
Along the pier were bamboo houses, garages and work-places, all in together, being held up by thin sticks of bamboo and rope that I wouldn't trust for the life of me! These constructions are built around rocks, terrain and boats despite the inconvenience of it; true Thai style. Unfortunately our time ended abruptly and we had to go back to Mr Long's. Hopefully mum and I will be able to walk up there again, depending on my back and the weather.
Before long we had arrived at the Khao Nang Phanthurat National Park, we dumped Pa with all the bags (well, nicer than I worded it) while we went off exploring. The park is the same as what backs onto David and Sasi's house, the gardens were nicely manicured but the park didn't seem very extensive, as far as I can tell anyway. Mum and I went up some steep small
stairs, that were clearly not built for people with size 10 feet, made out of concrete and stones, making our way to a viewing platform, if you could call it that! Looking back now, I wish I didn't go up, stairs and my back don't go well together and it wasn't really worth it. At the top we could see other mountains, rice paddies being burnt and a few high-rises that did not at all fit in to the surrounding. Some parts of the walk up were done really nicely others but most towards the end seemed to be wooden with large gaps and rubbish along them. Halfway up was a small temple that is according to legend where some woman died, a small board at the start of the walk said there was a crematorium up there which we thankfully didn't see! "Khao Nang Phanthurat Forest Park is located at Ban Khao Mai Nuan, Tambon Khao Yai, covering a total area of approximately 1,562 rai. It was established as a forest park on 25 February, 1999, in response to the royal initiatives of Their Majesties the King and the Queen, who would like the area of Khao Nang
Phanthurat to be conserved as a national heritage site for later generations to learn about the legend of Nang Phanthurat, a female character in a famous piece of Thai literature: Sang Thong. According to legend, Nang Phanthurat, a giant, took Phra Sang as her adopted son; she and her followers appeared as humans in disguise. One day, Phra Sang clandestinely entered a restricted area, dipped himself into a gold well, put on a negrito costume to hide his gold–plated body, took a magical object, and flew away. Phanthurat, upon her return, could not find Phra Sang and went searching for him. She unsuccessfully pleaded him to return with her and died from pent-up sorrow. Phetchaburi's legend has it that, when Phanthurat died, Phra Sang held a cremation for her and her corpse turned into a mountain known among the locals as 'Khao Nang Non' or 'Khao Nang Phanthurat'. The topography of the forest park features limestone mountains surrounded by mixed deciduous forest and dry evergreen forest. Lying in the north-south direction, the beauty of the immense mountains can be seen from the highway. The range looks very much like a sleeping female giant (Nang Phanthurat)."
Lunch was meant
to be at a restaurant in the park, which had closed down and the visitor centre was inhabited by campers who got washed out in yesterday's rain. Back in the car we got dropped off at the end of the park to see the ruins of an old temple that was made out of bricks into a pyramid shape I presume, because it isn't a tourist attraction there were no signs indicating age but it is well known that in the Phetchaburi province temples date back to the 8th Century. To get to the temple we had to go through a newer but abandoned temple, squeeze through a hole in the barb-wire and dodge the possibly blackberry stretched across the land. The newer temple itself was plain with no decorations, indicating that it is no longer in use, also shown by how hard it was to get too, We would hear chanting at the Mountain View House which we assumed was from this temple as their house is only one house away but must have been from further up the hill.. Nana was relieved to see us get back in the car because she saw a "dark figure" loitering around.
After hours of google searches, Mum came up with the following information - The Forest Park contains a historical site known as Boran Sathan Thung Setthi, an ancient monument located at the foot to the east of Khao Chom Prasat. It features remains of a large brick and stucco chedi with clay mortar, where stucco reliefs and artefacts were unearthed. According to the finds, Boran Sathan Thung Setthi is believed to have been constructed in the Dvaravati period (around the 7th – 11th century).
Our next stop was Premium Outlet, but we convinced Mr Long to stop at the particular corner where all the monkeys' hang out, twenty or so little monkey's with babies were scooping up something with their hands and eating it. WE took lots of photos – they were so cute!
Once we'd arrived at Premium Outlet our first priority was obvious; lunch. Pa and I were sitting in the tiny but air-conditioned food court eating when mum and Nana came in with their waffles, Pa's face when they came in was priceless(sorry Pa!). Nana felt Pa's stinging eyes watching her so asked "do you want some?" to which Pa quickly responded "Oh yes,
I'll have one " so Nana repeated her question and Pa quickly said the same thing; mum and I couldn't help but laugh! Pa and I shared a waffle while Nana and Mum went shopping, which brings me to another benefit of being blonde, I got two scoops of ice-cream instead of one for being “boofull” which I assume means ‘beautiful'. Nana wanted to buy a top that mum got last time and mum ended up getting the same top in another colour and a dress. It started absolutely pelting with rain and within twenty minutes the puddles in some areas would've been up to your ankles if you weren't on your tippy toes.
Literally two minutes down the road there was not one sign of rain, very localised. We got in the hotel pool and before long it had again started raining.
For dinner mum and I went out alone to Aree as Nana and Pa decided to eat in. Walking to dinner in the rain, we saw huge tents, a stage and fluro lights on the beach but we decided not to stop because of the rain. Dinner was nice but our Dum Alau
(curried spuds) was too spicy, even though it was only meant to be mild! We asked Mama what was going on at the beach but the only words we understood were ‘girl, boy and Buddha'. We stopped for ¼ of an hour on our way back to the hotel. Under huge tents there were white chairs dressed with gold lace, the stage was filled with instruments and at the entrance of the tents stood a man with a shaved head dressed in white and gold robes, he seemed to have two helpers that would fuss over his clothes; random members of the public would go up to him for ½ a minute, they would talk and then leave, Mama and her daughter did this - giving the man an envelope - possibly with money in it. Mum and I decided that this man must've been the head Monk for this area, which we now don't believe; we got bored and decided to go back to the hotel and come back again in an hour.
We heard loud music in the room and decided to go back only half an hour after we'd left. This time everyone was crowded around
the stage listening to the rock music and watching the skankily dressed dances thrusting; not what you would expect to see at a religious event!! Behind the stage was a flag with what appeared to be a temple and a picture of a bald man (possibly the one who was at the entrance welcoming people earlier).
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