Daily Archives: May 14, 2006

More Beaches in Rayong

Ban Phe Market

To have a good beach holiday, most people also need to have entertainment other than just the sand and surf. During my recent holiday in Rayong, I stayed on Mae Ramphung Beach. I did enjoy myself there but as I had a car it made sense to explore the area a bit more. From our beach, it took us about ten minutes to drive to Ban Phe which is the nearest town. For most backpackers, this is the jumping off point for ferries to the nearby Koh Samet island. You can catch a bus from Bangkok all the way to this busy fishing port. It will take you at least three hours by bus. There are no beaches along the waterfront here and that is why most foreign tourists don’t think there are good beaches on the mainland. Their guidebook also tells them that there isn’t much to see in the town so they spend their time waiting for the ferry on the pier. They are missing so much.

The fish market here is very active and if you arrive early in the morning you can watch them bringing in the catch. We bought some oysters from a fisherman which was really fresh as we watched him carry them off his boat. The price was good and for a little extra his wife even boiled them for us. A bit further up, there are dozens of shops selling souvenirs to the tourists. Apart from the seashell decorations for your house, most people buy seafood. Like dried fish, squid and fish sauce. You can also buy preserved fruit. One of the favourites seemed to be fried durian. Another attraction in this seaside town is the aquarium. I wasn’t going to go at first as it wasn’t long ago that I had visited Siam Ocean World in Bangkok. But, as I only had to pay 20 baht compared to 450 baht for the one in Bangkok I decided it wouldn’t hurt. Plus the air-conditioning was a welcome break from the heat outside. The place wasn’t too bad though all the signs and descriptions are in Thai. It seems a bit unfair that foreign tourists have to pay 50 baht when they would get less out of a visit than Thai tourists. But, that is life.

Suan Son Beach

Suan Son Beach

From Ban Phe, I continued my journey eastwards along the beach road. I soon came to an avenue of pine trees that formed a kind of tunnel over the road. The beach here is called Suan Son and it was even more deserted than the beach where we were staying. From here there are some fine views of Koh Samet which is only 40 minutes away by ferry boat. Like the other beach, you can have a picnic in the shelter of the trees. Or, if you drive further down, you will find a number of makeshift kitchens as well as deckchairs and beach umbrellas. Apparently this 4 km stretch of beach gets very crowded at the weekend when Thai families arrive in their cars from Bangkok. You will find about 20 hotels along this road with prices ranging from 300 baht to 6,000 baht.

Hat Laem Mae Phim

Laem Mae Phim Beach

After Suan Son Beach, the road goes inland for a while. Along the way you will pass a few signs for beaches. Most of these are in Thai. We followed a few signs and found some very quiet beaches with limited facilities. Usually just one restaurant. Along this road we also saw many hotels and resorts which presumably had their own private beaches. We kept driving until we finally reached Laem Mae Phim Beach. This is about 45 kms east of Rayong city. The first part of the beach was very quiet and deserted. It looked ideal. Then, a short while later, the road suddenly became four lanes with parking on both sides! Although there were only a few cars as it was midweek, it was obvious that this beach becomes very crowded over the weekend. If you want to stay here, there are plenty of hotels to choose from. Most of the rooms are quite big as Thai families usually save money by staying in the same room. There are all the usual facilities which include jet skiing, banana boats and inner tubes. At the far end there are restaurants overlooking the beach where you can sit down at tables to have a meal. Otherwise you can sit on the deckchairs and have a meal on the beach.

Rayong beach

During the week you will have the beach to yourself

Our initial plan was to stay on the mainland for only one night and then catch the first boat to Koh Samet the next morning. I had never been there before and I wanted to compare the beaches on the island to what I had already experienced in Rayong. However, we woke up to the sound of thunder and then later a storm. We decided that if it was going to rain then we would be more comfortable staying on the mainland. The hotel room had a big balcony and I also had my car. More things to do here. As it turned out, the weather did clear up later though it was still overcast. For sunworshippers this would have been disappointing. But, this is Thailand and the water is still nice and warm. You can even go swimming in the rain with no problem. This day was actually the best for us as it meant we could spend more time in the water. On other days it was so hot that we could only go swimming in the early morning and late afternoon. The temperature was peaking at 40 Celsius!

In my next blog, I will tell you about our experiences on Koh Samet.


Don’t forget to check out our other blogs about Thailand at Thailand Video Blogs, Thai Travel Blogs and Thai Photo Blogs.

Entrusting Your Hair To A Thai Barber

Thais from a Farang point of view appear to be a very laid back and tolerant nation of people. Although many aspects of life are taken quite seriously, the defusing effects of Sanuk soon kick in and bring things back to natural balance.

One issue that I find Thais take quite seriously (and yet is still a Sanuk event) is personal hair care. In short, you won’t stay in business long as a hairdresser or barber in Thailand if you give lousy haircuts.

Irrespective if they are rich or poor, Thais pay great attention to personal hygiene, neatness of dress and above all a well-groomed hairstyle. As such Thai Cities, Towns and even some villages abound with hairdressing establishments. Hair Care even comes with its own traditions and superstitions such as Monday being a propitious time for a haircut whereas Wednesday is deemed to be unlucky for a cut.

mali in the chair

Another aspect is the scattering of cut hair over water for luck. It would be rare for me to visit Thailand without being instructed by a female member of the family for me to take a plastic bag full of their freshly cut hair out to the rice fields and scatter it over a river or canal.

hair on water

But next to the mechanics of hair care and lets start with the Ladies first. When Mali and our daughter Natalie visit the Kingdom several trips to the hairdresser are usually involved. Mali revels in this and will go to one hairdresser one day just to get her hair washed and visit another a few days later to have it styled and cut. When she has it done at the village hairdresser, she can also catch up with all the local gossip, who’s sleeping with who, the weather and listen to another opinion on Thaksin.

natalie at hairdresser

Through all the professionalism at the hairdresser “Thai Time” still reigns supreme and many hours can be whiled away in the hairdressers chair. My daughter had her hair straightened a few years ago, which involved a six hour process including a meal brought in from a local restaurant.

And now for the men. One aspect of male haircuts that I find endlessly fascinating is that more often than not is that you tend to end up with not the cut that you asked for but the one the Thai barber subtly believes you should have. As such at times I have emerged after 45 minutes with my hair much neater but still the same length. Other times the barber has whooped so much off that I have ended up looking like a mature aged schoolboy.

But I don’t want to sound like a whining Farang. For a relatively small outlay in Baht, you usually get a very meticulous haircut, your neck and shoulders massaged, the hair in your nose cut and sometimes your ears given a perfunctory cleanout. When I am standing at the cash register I think of how much a haircut in Australia costs (more than having the oil in your car changed).

Of course like a pub or a bar you sometimes find a hair cutting establishment that you keep gravitating back to. Mine is a barbershop in the Isaan town of Phimai. It can only be described as a real “Blokes Barbershop” – crud on the walls and ceiling, the obligatory “men’s magazine” calendar on the wall and the chairs a bit worse for wear.

My favourite anecdote of this shop (run by a two man partnership) was about 5 years ago. I had ridden into Phimai from the village for a haircut, but when I arrived at the shop I found the senior barber dead drunk and sleeping in the doorway of the shop. He wasn’t in any physical distress and had the contented look of a tomcat on his face.

I stepped gingerly around his body (careful not to step over it) and entered the shop. I was soon followed in by two more Thai males. One of them was smiling broadly while the other was poker faced (although I suspect not out of disgust but simply because he had seen it all before)

The person who seemed to be the most amused by it all was the junior barber who was left to shoulder the wheel that day. A few days later I was walking past the barbershop and I noticed that the formally prostrate barber up on his feet, bright eyed and bushy tailed as they say and giving superb haircuts.


Level of Diabetic treatment in Thailand

I am a retired Board Certified American Orthotist, that has been living in the Philippines for the past 5 years. I have decided to sell my house, and move to Pattaya, where my son has a condo.

I have only been to Pattaya two time, on short vacations, but each time I was impressed with the friendlyness of the people. By just association with them, I feel like I would like to be more like them, rather than like the loud, agressive, dominant forginers that I see vacationing in Thailand. In America, I did not realize that there was such a vast differiance in the two cultures.

Where ever I have worked or lived in the past, I have found that my knowledge and experiance as a Orthotist, has been head and sholders above my peirs, and has been very helpful to the Doctors, in helping them attain the highest level treatment plan, for their patients.

This my seem like I am just a conceeded person that wants to blow his own horn, but i am just trying to give you some background on who I am, and how you can help me, help Diabetics in Thailand from ending up with a apputation, that could have been prevented.

Many times a Diabetic has had a partial foot amputation, or even lost their leg, because of complacations to their Diabetic condition. The Doctor needs a multidisciplinary team of specialist to attain the highest level of treatment care for their patients. Quite offen the knowledge and experiance of those people on the team, are the best avalable in the area, but not adequit to provide the highest level of treatment care. Sharing of knowledge of the specialist on the team, can help raise the level of knowledge of each person on the team, and the patient benifits with a higher level of treatment.

Diabetics usually end up with a apputation because of a Ulcer(open sore)on their foot or leg, because of Diabetic complication like Lack of normal sensation(Neuropathy), Blood flow(Dysvascular), Minor trama, etc.). Also because the skin tears with joint movement(flexion/extention), because the sweat and oil no longer keep the skin elastic and pliable(Autonomic Neuropathy). It is not unreasonable to reduce the number of apputations by 50%, with a good multidisaplanary team. Infact there was a hospital in San Diego, California, USA that reduced their annual Diabetic apputations by over 90%.

That is all very interesting, but why am I writting this as a Blog? I am hoping to motivate Readers, Patients, Doctors, into voicing their support to modivate Doctors and Hospitals to think more towards preventing the problem in the first place. By treating the condition before it becomes a problem, rather than apputation of the problem.

Talk to your diadetic friends and relatives, and ask them to support more prevention in their treatment plan, by asking their Doctors, nurses, etc., about how the Multidisciplinary team approach to the Diabetic treatment plan can help them maintain the quality of life that they should have.

When you get a team of experts working together, pooling their knowledge and their energy toward a comon goal—Miracles happen!! That miracle is prevention. For the pinnacle of a physicians art is not treatment of the problem, it is to prevent the condition from becoming a problem, in the first place.