Author Archives: Robert Suker

An Idiot’s Ransom

Travelling is fun! I do it as often as I can. I love spending my money in various ways, and I got my opportunity recently, to spend some in a way I din’t want to – OVERSTAY FINE! A catch for some travellers and residents, alike.

The 'Ticket'

Now, I know it’s stupid to ‘forget’ when you are due to be out of the Kingdom, but this will be an expensive reminder for the future. The ‘NEW’ law (I didn’t even know they had it) is 500 Baht per day for an overstay.

Then, to top that off, I had to come back to Nakhon Si Thammarat – with the DRIVER FROM HELL!

If this fellow wasn’t ‘high’ from the mixture of M150 and ‘Strepsils’, I don’t know much. Flat-out all the way! Horn-blaring. Lights-flashing. Telephone ringing. SMS-sending. ALL AT 115-125 Kph ! This included one ‘stretch’ of 130 kph through the main street of Ron Phibun – at 5.00pm when the streets were crowded! I couldn’t believe it.

So, watch out for this company’s drivers: –

The Company

Happy Travelling !

P.S. Roberto’s Retreat is back up and running!

The True name of Ban Gkok

Hello !

Just after I came to the L.O.S., my wife, being Thai, often surprised me with the pronunciation of certain place names. This prompted me to enquire as to which one was the longest. She rattled off, what seemed like five minutes of Thai prattle, and then said; “…that’s Khrung Thep (กรุงเทพ )!”

“Oh,OK. Great!”, I said in sheepish reply. I had NO idea what she was refering to, or if she was pulling my leg! “What the devil is ‘Khrung Thep”? I pleaded. Then she explained that it was the Thai name for Bangkok, which she also said was originally, Ban Gkok.

So, being an avid researcher, I went looking. Many travellers won’t know this, naturally, and I have discovered also, that MANY Thais don’t, either!

As you can see, from the following quote, I am certainly glad that Thais understand the name Bangkok! Fancy getting in a Taxi, or going to a Travel agent in a foreign country, and asking to go to: I quote:

” – กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยามหาดิลก ภพนพรัตน์ ราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์ มหาสถาน อมรพิมาน อวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะ วิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์ ”

In the official English romanisation, this is certified as the longest place name in the world in the Guinness book of records. It’s pronounced something like:

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit ”

… click on above link to Into Asia!


Happy pronouncing!


The Floating Markets

It’s raining, it’s pouring, imagination fecund,
we’ve booked and we’ve paid, no chance of refund!
We awaited the Mini-Van, along Khao San road,
– to board the damn thing, I needed a goad!

“The markets are beautiful, you’ll be glad that you went.
You’ll be very pleased, with the money you’ve spent!”
So, I sat with my girlfriend, we sat in the back,
– ‘til we finally arrived, at Damnoen Saduak!

The Floating Markets are incredible to see,
it’s as though they are sitting right there, on a sea.
It’s a big river system, with channels and dykes,
– with long-tailed speed boats, and no motorbikes!

We climbed into one, had to sit at the back,
then powered on down that watery track!
The spray from the speedboat was worse than the swell,
I’m glad that we carried, a ‘brolly, as well!

Of course, they took us, to a central location,
from where we could mingle, amid total commotion.
I saw carved wooden statues, and 3D wall hangings,
the artistry of which, would leave your chin dangling!

There’s fruit of all sorts, all laden in boats,
the weight made me wonder, how they all stayed afloat.
I tasted a few kinds, then I tasted some more,
I couldn’t believe the varieties galore!

I gave lunch a miss, I was too full to move,
I stayed with the shopping – I was well in the groove.
I stood and I watched, as a fellow did carving,
his talent suggested – he would not be starving.

The 3D wall hanging was out of this world,
– a scene from the forest, with trees that were burled!
Elephants and people were carved in relief,
this man had blessing, from the gods – in a brief!

The close of the day came too fast in the end,
I was pleased with the trip, and I will not pretend.
The Markets are great, and although I got wet,
I’ll be back again next year, and that is a bet!



Normal day - in the city !
The city name means, ‘Grand city of the just king‘. It is around 830 kilometers from Bangkok, by train , and 780 kms, by car. Divided into 21 districts, or Amphoe, Nakhon is bordered by Surat Thani in the North, Trang and Krabi in the West, the Gulf of Thailand in the East, and Songkhla and Phatthalung in the South.

The city is serviced by Nok Air from Bangkok.

The city is nearly 1600 years old, and was first called Tambralinga, as well as many other names, such as Tan Ma Ling, Lochac and Ligor. Going back to the Buddhist 6th Century, the city has been a famous Buddhist centre and has a richness in Culture and History, second to none. There are many, many temples to visit.

Wat Phra Mahathat Woramaha
One of the main thoroughfares in Nakhon Si Thammarat, is Ratchadamnoen Rd. Along this road is one of the most famous of temples, ‘Wat Phra Mahathat Woramaha’ (see photo).
It is a royal temple and one of only six ( 6 ) temples of the ‘Woramaha Wihan’ type. The temple holds the holy relics of Lord Buddha in the ‘Phra Borom That Chedi’ pagoda .
The pagoda has a distinctive Ceylonese ( Sri Lankan ) style, and stands around 56 meters high. The top is entirely covered in pure gold !
Further down the road, towards the city centre, you’ll find remnants of the ‘Old City Wall’. (see photo)

The Old City Wall
One of the highlights of a trip to Nakhon, is the National Museum (see photo). Situated in Tambon Nai Muang, on Ratchadamnoen Rd, the museum was opened in 1974 and displays artifacts from 4 southern provinces, Surat, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung and Chumphon. There is also a branch of the National Library where rare and interesting books can be viewed.

National Museum and Library

In surrounding Amphoe , there are Nature Walks through National Parks , Waterfalls , Limestone caves , Ancient Wats , Rafting expeditions , Thai handicrafts , Archaeological sites and Beaches . There’s something for everyone . One of the favourites is the Khao Wang Thong cave . It’s just 78 kms from the city centre and is AWESOME !

Do yourself a favour and visit Nakhon Si Thammarat!

Lovely, quiet Sois, too!

Choke dee, nah!

Thailand Tasties !

Backyard Bananas

I’d have to be crazy not to live in Thailand . I love fruit and there’s more here than you could shake twenty sticks at !
I’ve just eaten what seems like 20 kilograms of a fantastic little fruit , called ( Lam Yai ) , or Longan . It comes from the North . Small, with light-brown husks that crack-off , they are one of the easiest fruit to open and most rewarding when you do . Lovely clear , to white flesh with a small black seed .

Mangosteens , ( Mang-Khoud ) are arriving in the markets and , of course , I eat them by the bucket-full ! They are , without doubt , one of the pleasures of life . Once you open the hard purple case with the four little leaves on top , the firm group of white fruits in the centre are gathered together in formation , just ready for a gulp ! Maddening flavour !
The little bananas ( Kluai narm-waa ) which I love , are arriving on my back-yard trees ! (see photo) . They are little fat fingers , full of flavour ! Mmmmm. They are available nearly all year round and a hand costs around 10 baht .

For the connoisseur , the Durian ( Thurian ) is everywhere . I don’t eat them anymore , mainly because of the high Sodium content . The strong aroma takes some getting used to ! Thai people rave about them but , I’m afraid , the last time I tried them , I started to sweat copiously , and decided then and there , to leave them for my friends ! Strange fruit !

Fantastic fruits are available at different times of the year ; Mango ( Ma-muang ) , Custard Apples ( Noi-na ) , Jackfruit ( Khanoun ) , Lychee ( Linchi ) , Pineapple ( Sapparot ) , Papaya ( Mala-kaw ) and Malaysian Rambutan ( Ngaw ) and many , many others .

So , if you feel the need to indulge yourself , ( ‘ like pig-out , man ‘ ) , come to Thailand and do it !

Bob ( with the bulging belly !)