I regretted for not heeding the advice on the forum on which Mobile operator to use in Thailand. The ORANGE SIM card almost made me turn RED. My friend Virat in Ranong ระนอง and I tried very hard to contact each other and what we got is “Kor Tuk Ka… tik-tok….”. My frustration is compounded earlier by the courtesy accorded by Budget rent-a-car in Phuket airport for assigning me a Toyota Avanza instead of Honda City which I asked for when making the booking via the Internet.
The journey from Phuket to Ranong is very scenic, especially near Khao Lak, where the Tsunami destruction is still noticeable. Along the route to Ranong, you can also find a lot of Mosque dotting the highway with signboards saying “Masjid”, a word that Malaysian are too familiar.
The SPA at Jansom
We checked into Ranong Jansom SPA resort Hotel along the highway after several minutes of “tik-tok” and “ding-dong” to contact Virat. As most of the nice places to eat were closed by then, we have to settle for the second best. Ranong is famous for soft-shell crabs and other food were yummy too.
We woke up early the next day for a dip in the nature hot SPA and cold swimming pool. Alternating with Hot-Cold pools was quite an experience. There are quite a lot of Chinese-looking faces around and I was able to converse with them in my Penang Hokkien dialect. Ranong has shared history with Malaysia, especially Penang, according to Kitjar Na Bangsar’s post and confirmed with my later findings.
Ranong is a small town with a beautiful park just outside the old town. The center of the park sits the bronze statute of Khaw Soo Cheang (许泗漳 ), the founder and first Governor of Ranong. In Ranong, Khaw Soo Cheang is a legend. The people here consider him to be the patron saint of the province and while we were at the monument, I saw a women and a small girl came on the motorbike to offer flowers to the statute.
The Khaw Soo Cheang statute
I have a lot of respect for the government of Thailand in that she is magnanimous to honor and recognize the contribution of a person regardless of his origin, race or creed. Although Yap Ah Loy was recognized by the British as the founder of Kuala Lumpur, the government of Malaysia always played down this fact and the history books always said otherwise.
At the old town, there are signs of Chinese influences everywhere – Chinese temples, Clan associations and shops. The market is lively with most of the fruits and food that you will find in a typical Thai market. Market and Wat are the usual place I will go whenever I visit a place.
Asking for direction to the ruins of residence of the ex-governor was easy. The old residence of the governor now rest in ruins. A small house is built on the ruins of the original mansion to house to serve as a family temple to house the plaque of the deceased Khaw family members and also serve as a historical museum to house photographs, newspaper cuttings and other items.
Khaw Soo Cheang temple
I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a newspaper cutting of the Star newspaper from Penang with a story on “How the Khaw rose to power”.
If you are interested in history, you can get more on www.ranong.go.th.
The other interesting place to visit is the tomb of the governor. It is located on the way to Ferry Jetty to Andaman Club where we are heading. I think the best way to describe the burial place is best with photos.
Khaw Soo Cheang Burial Ground
The place is just awesome. In Malaysia, all of the stone artifacts and moveable items are likely to be vandalized or worst cart way overnight.
I will post on my visit to Victoria Point (aka Kawthaung or Koh Song) next week.