I love my kid. But..

I love him. I really do. The only thing I love even more is his school. Because when he is there he is not at home! So I don't mind them putting a straw into me to suck my blood regularly. It's a fair deal, I think. So, for all the parents who has a kid who is not ready to go to school yet, just hang in there. Hope is around the corner. But better up stock up some money because you will need it.

Why kids are the way they are can be scientifically explained by applying murphy's law to mendel's genetics. Mendel proved that the genes of offspring are inherited from parents. The single important outcome of that discovery is lawsuits are filed and won by father against mother when a blue eye kid is born to two brown eyed parents.  But mendel didn't know this particular application of his discovery. If he had, he would have patented his findings.
Murphy's law states that "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." It has not been accepted as a scientific law like Newton's Law, Hooke's law and Sairam's law is mainly because the fifty page proof submitted by the author to the Science congress was misplaced by the postal department and Murphy himself died a couple of days later hit by the very postal van that carried his proof to some wrong destination. Later attempts to prove Murphy's law has resulted in similar fate.

When kids draw their genes (and hence behavior) from parents they have a chance of drawing the good or bad genes. But when you apply Murphy's law to Mendel's inheritance model you immediately know that the kid will draw just the bad genes from both the parents. So when an intelligent brute marries a dumb blond the kid is likely to be, no not Bush, a dumb brute.

And that's the reason why parents can't stand their kids. They know that the worst behavior of their kids has come from nowhere but themselves. And they cannot do anything but wait till the kid grows up and mellows down under society's hard rules.

And one more thing, don't use expletives in front of the kid. Kids constantly observe you and are worse than a parrot when it comes to repeating you.

Bang Pae Seafood Restaurant

This blog started just over 5 years ago (belated Happy Birthday to me) and one of the first restaurants that was blogged was Bang Pae Seafood. We are always hunting for good local food in interesting locations. I am not into haute cuisine and prefer to keep away from the main tourist beaches. I know this blog should maybe cover some more restaurants that are within walking distance of hotels in Patong or Kata, but fact is, we live near Phuket Town and I prefer real local food rather than made-for-tourists restaurants with prices to match. Phuket is so much more than the standard tourist experience, though it took me years to find out! Bang Pae Seafood has remained a favourite of mine, and a couple of weeks ago I realised that we'd not been for ages. I last went about 6 months ago with the kids, and my wife didn't come then as she was busy. We headed out for a little drive to see where the road led us...

Bang Pae Seafood is on the north east coast of Phuket. Head up the main road to the airport and turn right at the "Heroines Monument" (the statue of the 2 heroines of Thalang who rallied the people of Phuket to beat the Burmese invaders in 1785), and follow the road. After about 8km on this road there's a left turn to the Bang Pae Waterfall and Gibbon Rehabilitation Center. And less than 1km after this, a right turn to Bang Pae Seafood.. if memory serves, the sign is only in Thai (so it says บางแปซีฟู้ด). The restaurant is about 1.5km down this road, passing shrimp farms on the way. When the road ends, that's the restaurant! It's pretty popular with locals. When we arrived quite a few cars were parked.

Entrance to Bang Pae Seafood

There are a dozen or so tables, only a few were taken. The location is right by the sea, though the water here is very shallow. We arrived at low tide with the sand stretching out a few hundred meters. Mangroves and other "sea trees" grow here. It's very quiet. I do like a peaceful place to eat with a nice view.

Bang Pae Seafood

Bang Pae Restaurant

How nice to sit with such a view. Yes, this is Phuket.

View from Bang Pae Seafood

I decided to blog Bang Pae Seafood again since the restaurant is still a favourite and really has not changed in 5 years, plus I have a better camera now, and want to show some photos - this is a far cry from Patong! If you are looking to explore Phuket, to look for great local food and scenery untouched by hotels, I do recommend hiring a car, or contacting my friends at Easy Day Thailand who can arrange private island tours that show you a lot more of Phuket than any other tour.

The food! Well, I took a few photos. I have my favourite dishes. A real Phuket specialty is "Yam Gung Siap", a kind of salad made with smoked, dried shrimps plus mango and cashew nuts, tomato, onion and some chili of course! You can't find this in normal tourist restaurants, it's a real local dish. I love it!

Yam Gung Siap

And another local specialty, actually quite common throughout the south of Thailand, is "Hor Mok" - a fish curry cooked in a banana leaf. We normally order a few of these as side dishes - and it normally only costs about 15 or 20 Baht each - tasty stuff, well worth a try, but again not the kind of thing that is sold in tourist restaurants. My wife swears the Hor Mok in her home town of Chumphon is the best!

Hor Mok

I find that searching Google for the Thai name of the restaurant often gives you some good pages with photos by Thai people - this one shows a lot of very tasty looking food! Bang Pae Seafood is certainly popular with locals - a good indicator of good food at a good price. Our total bill (family of 4) on that day was about 500 Baht. Yeh, we did not have lobster or crab or whole fish dishes - that would cost more, but anyway, it's good value.

After eating the kids wanted to go off and explore the sands exposed by the low tide. I followed. The area would probably be good for birdspotting. I saw a bunch of different birds. Tidal zones can be good for wildlife. Kids were looking for crabs, and there were small fish trapped in shallow pools of water left behind by the receding tide. The kids wandered off into the distance ...

Kids walking out to sea

And came running back. The restaurant is under the taller trees in the center of the photo below. Not a bad location! This is about as "untouristy" as you can get in Phuket. A lot of the east coast is like this.

Running back to mum

Just another kilometer further up the road from the Heroines monument you can turn right down to Bang Rong - you pass a new mosque (it's a largely Muslim area) and find a busy jetty with boats heading out to islands in Phang Nga Bay. We were just there a few weeks ago when we took a day trip out to Koh Yao Noi and there's a nice little floating restaurant at Bang Rong too. So far this corner of Phuket has remained very local, very traditional. We like!

Bang Pae Seafood - Google Map

View Bang Pae Seafood Restaurant in a larger map

When they didn't want Sachin to do it..

You know how Dhoni and co., Harsha Bogle and co. (and your driver , cleaner and co.) wanted to do it for Sachin in the last world cup.

Well the truth is little more complicated and is being revealed by me for the first time in these columns.

They wanted to do it for Sachin but didn't want Sachin himself to do it.
Did Sachin know it? Yes of course!
How did he feel about it? Damn pissed of course. I mean, even kids right around age of three start wanting to do things themselves. They pour the water from jug themselves. They go to the toilet themselves. Even the fact that the fluid projectile misses the target by a feet and turns the floor into... well, Sachin was damn pissed. Let's just leave it there.

How do I know all this? No, not about three year old kids. About Dhoni and Sachin. Well, I was watching the semi finals between India and Pakistan in an open air theater with booze and fun minus the booze and fun. Sachin was trying to dig a hole for himself. But no sooner was it deep enough the pakistanis tripped right into it spilling Sachin's catch. So I was thinking that it was Sachin's day after all and
then he shot himself in the foot with a horrendous shot.

The crowd went silent but for this guy next to me. He went "yessss" pumping his fist. I looked at him. No, he was not wearing any green dress. I got curiouser and scratched him. He turned out to be a normal Indian fan bleeding blue. But he got very upset. Maybe I had scratched him little hard.

Guy oozing blue: Why the hell did you do that?
Me: Why are you celebrating sachin's wicket?
Guy Bleeding blue: If he hits hundred India will loose.
Me: You are joking, right?
Guy bleeding more blue: No, everybody knows. why do you think Pakis were leaving those catches!
Me: Well... But he just scored a century against England.
Guy bleeding bucketful blue: Yes. And we lost it. That's when Dhoni and Co. said you don't do it. We will do it for you.
Me: Can't he score a hundred and we also win?
Guy in a blue pool of blood: No way! He scores, we loose. It is the just like the body language thing. If the batsmen see a bowler's shoulder drooping they hit him for six no matter whether it is yorker or bouncer. In fact, some batsmen don't even watch the bowler. They just look around for the fielders with drooping shoulders and... (he starts spitting blue in the mouth now) Sunil G.a.v.a.s.k.a.r and he fell.

Well, I talked to Gavaskar. He didn't know about "doing it for Sachin". But he absolutely agreed about body language. He told how he had advised Gary kirstein to dry clean Indian shirts and Ashish Nehra with extra starch so that their shoulders will not droop in the field.

I could not get to the bottom of the "He scores. We loose." theory. The only scientific reasoning I can come up with is : Maybe, players like Sreesanth and Nehra get so psyched when Sachin scores a century that their shoulders start drooping even after all that starch and then body language phenomenon take over. But scientific explanation or not, everyone on the street believes "He scores. We loose" theory. Dhoni included. That's why he said "We will to do it for you."

So probably the blue bleeding guy was right. But too bad, I scratched him hard.

Does anybody watch Indian Television programs?

Indian television is horrible. I can state it for sure. How do I know that? It's an year since I cut the cable and I am not missing it at all. Not even a bit! If every television channel had put a condition that you can watch our channel only if you do the sudoku of the day or lay off that potato chips or run on that treadmill lying idle in your house people would have said f** it. And the whole career of rakhi savant, ekta kapoor and indian idols, idlis and soaps would have gone down with the tube.

In a recent survey of the quality of TV programs of all countries in the world India came 3rd from the bottom - just above Afganisthan and kryghshitistan. In Afghan TV programs men play the roles of women. And they play it wearing burqah from head to toe! And kryghshitistan is so poor that they do not have TV programs of their own and are telecasting 2008 Olympics - the opening ceremony being reserved for prime time. Those are the two countries that rated below us!

It is a shame. Is it not! Arnab Goswami thought so too. In fact he has already canned a discussion on inequalities faced by women in Afghan media. It was supposed to air this weekend. But they postponed it for the interview with Assange because they thought Arnab looked better in that episode. Do watch both the episodes and tell me whether you also think Arnab looks better in Assange episode. That is if you are not watching komal crying a bucketful in some other channel.
f* is forget about it.

Men, Women and Weekends

Men and women are not all that different, you know! Yes, I have read 'Men are from Mars and Women are From Venus'. And its sequel 'Men can read Maps upside down but women can't spell maps' too. But give me a break! Isn't Mars and Venus the closest non adjacent planets in solar system? And the distance between them is not high really, especially when you express it in light years.

My point is, men and women are superfluously different in some fundamental ways and this whole Mars and Venus thing is just a big misunderstanding. For instance, let's take the example of ...hmm..well off the top of my head..hmm.. weekends.

When GOD called Adam and Eve and told them about this weekend concept and how it is different from a weekday, Adam is supposed to have said, "Father, Ye who watcheth us from the heavens above and the earth below.." and GOD interjected and said "Will you cut to the chase, son? I have got the whole universe to make in a week. Plus I need to plant some evidences for evolution as well."
So Adam did cut to the chase and said, "All days are created equal."

Later day Evolutionary advocates point to this very dialog of Adam as strongest argument for evolution. They say that someone who cannot understand weekdays and weekends cannot be a human being but only a very primitive form of life. Surely we could have only evolved gradually from that life form to the modern day human beings who know that it is the difference between weekdays and weekends that cause the earth to rotate, life to flourish, they argue. But of course, the opposition camp says that GOD's first act of 'planting evidence' was making Adam talk that way!

Anyway, after Adam got into his head what this weekend thing is the conversation went something like below.

GOD: So, ye who went far and wide and hunted animals during weekdays, shall take rest on weekends. On sunday, you will have SABBATH.
Adam: On Saturday?
GOD: You shall have hmm... KARABATH.

(Man grunted but agreed immediately for the GOD was not only the kindest and fairest but also the angriest. Then came Eve's turn before the GOD.)

GOD: So, ye who cooked, swept and waited for Adam shall take rest with him on weekends. You shall be in the cave with Adam...
(Eve coughs gently.)
GOD: Ye wish to speak, my daughter?
Eve: Father! Just as Adam who wandered far and wide stays in cave during weekend, is it not fair that I who remained in cave during weekdays work outside during weekends?
GOD: (Slightly angry.) You want to do gardening?
Eve: You got to be kidding.

(Theologians differ on the point whether GOD flew into rage because he did not understand Eve's phrase or precisely because He understood her phrase. But for us, what matters is, he flew into rage.)

GOD: Ye who is but the rib of Adam wanteth to be like Adam. So shall ye be in the weekends. Ye shall go farther and wider in hunt of the prey, but all in vain. The prey you catcheth shall bleed you twiceth the blood it shedeth. (And now he turns to Adam.) Ye who did not stop Eve from talking against me shall suffer and suffer more for she shall not know that she is suffering but ye will wallow in your suffering.
And this is the story of eternal damnation of weekends! See how it plays out even in modern times.

During weekends, Men like to do all the household duties like testing the stiffness of the bed, emptying of fridge, stress test of the remote. But women! They just can't wait to go on a 'hunting expedition' to the farthest mall to check out and not buy all those different kinds of things they would like to check out and not buy. They travel farthest and widest in these hunts. They start their assault on the mall in the northern limits by going on a reconnaissance trip (also called as comparative shopping in modern days) towards western limits and then perform a feint attack by going towards Eastern outskirts (also called as change of mind nowadays) and finally descend on the target in the north.

But as GOD cursed their quest ends in a total failure all the time. Either they don't get what they want after all that effort or their 'hunted animal' bleeds them a lot of money to just end up in the in the dungeon in their house. But GOD was true to his words. Women do not understand their suffering but consider these expeditions as pleasure for GOD who watcheth from yada yada yada has wired their brain so. As to Men, he drives women in these hunting expeditions all across the city and thus wallow in the suffering as GOD cursed him.

As you see, Men and women are not very different when it comes to weekends. They are just pawns in the game played by GOD.

What? you want to know why women is obsessed with mirrors! Why women jump from wall to wall to wall to see photos of complete strangers in facebook? Well, when GOD called Adam and Eve...

Hold On! I will save some of my stories for the book deal I will eventually get. What say you?

A night in Phuket Town for Japan

December 26th 2004. The date should mean something to you. If not, please do read my thoughts on the Boxing Day Tsunami. Having "lived through" one the worst natural disasters ever, although (if you read my thoughts you'll see) I did not actually witness the tsunami or lose anything or any close friends, the memories are still there and those memories were shaken back to life on March 11th. I was at work and did not get much work done. Glued to the internet as more and more images were shown, videos that showed boats and buildings being swept away. Japan had been hit by a huge earthquake and a tsunami followed.

A big concert was planned called Love Aid, but this was cancelled due to the fact that southern Thailand was having the wettest March (ever?), there were floods (not in Phuket, but a LOT of rain) and suddenly Thailand had it's own problems to think about! But a smaller event was arranged for the weekend of 9th - 10th April in Phuket Town. There would be a concert featuring Thai and Japanese artists at the Queen Sirikit park plus performers and street stalls along Thalang Road in the old town and near the TAT office. We knew a Japanese friend of ours would be selling tshirts there so we went along to see what was happening, to make a donation and of course to take some photos! We did not stay for the concert, which went on well after midnight - I watched some of it on TV when I got home including some amazing guitar playing by Japanese star Yuki - I found some of the concert on Youtube here and here.

Some photos from the evening in Phuket Town ...

The dragon

The dragon at Queen Sirikit Park, next to the TAT office. Always a popular place for a photo... Chinese legend says that Phuket Island is a dragon risen from the water.

Phuket Japan

Phuket Japan tshirts for sale. And there was music everywhere... there were young people playing guitar or violin in the street, and several small stages set up aside from the main concert stage. These guys were playing southern Thai folk music:

Live music in Phuket Town

And this looks like a scene from "Thailand's Got Talent" - and this little girl was pretty good too ...

Young singer on stage

Thai pop group on stage

There were street stalls selling snacks and clothes and arts and kids toys and more. I do like these events in Phuket Town. I mean, I like Phuket Town anyway. The old town has so much character and history. Would like to have more time to wander about and take photos. The older buildings look great at night.

Phuket Town Street at Night

Some of the stalls along Thalang Road ...

Family selling Mango and Sticky Rice

Art stall on Thalang Road

And there was the usual sketch artist, although not the usual model:

Portrait? Suits you sir!

I do like taking photos in the night .. they don't always work due to lack of light, and the camera has to be set to ISO 1600 which can create some noise, but I like the atmosphere. Got some nice photos in town before at a Phuket Local Life festival back in December 2009. Old Phuket Town is great for photos anyway, but add a little festival or street fair and you get even more.

Face in the crowd

And the photo below is enough to assure me that Thailand is still the "Land of Smiles" - cynics abound, but ... if you smile in Thailand, you do tend to get a smile back. In fact it's quite a shock if you don't. Fair enough, you can't just go around smiling at total strangers... they might just think you're mad, but I find that in everyday Thai life, the smile is alive and well. The girl below had a street stall selling snacks. We bought some.

Still the Land of Smiles

Apologies for this blog post being rather out of date - the photos were from the 10th, and on the 12th we drove 400km to Chumphon for Songkran. Today I was looking at the photos again and decided to blog them. For several reasons - I like Phuket Town, like the photos, and we enjoyed the evening. Phuket Town is certainly worth a visit any evening - the old town around Thalang Road in particular has lots of small restaurants and shops. The difference between this and Patong Beach is vast! It's all Phuket, but Phuket has many different worlds!

So,What do you do?

I am a "so, what do you do?" magnet. Everybody asks me the same question - in person, by phone, on wall. There was even an email from noreply@idontcare.com asking me what I do. Just imagine, there are so many topics to talk about from Anna Hazare to Zoozoo. But people home in on just one question.

So,what do you do?

It is the most difficult question I have faced. And I have had my share of difficult questions like "Am I looking fat?"* or "Papa! Why is that aunty puppy shame on T.V?" Of course, it is not THE MOST DIFFICULT question. That has to be "Soooo.., what do you do?" In general the longer the 'So', the more difficult the question is to answer. Unless of course GOD hears my prayer and blights the interrogator with amnesia whenever he says 'sooo'. Then it would be downright comic.

"Sooooo, hmm..... yeah! Sooooooo, hmm... I just forgot what I wanted to ask. There! I remember it now. Sooooo, Hey! I forgot it again.

This is weird!"
And I go, "Thank You, GOD! THANK YOU! Let him say soooo one more time. Please. Pleeease... Oh Thank You GOD! You rock."
But it never happens.

Sometimes the opening gambit is slightly different. It goes like
"Soo(I start praying here.)ooooo, I bought the new iphone yesterday."
"(somewhat relieved) That's good!"
"What do you have?"
"Well.. micromax."
"Hmm... Soo( I start praying again)ooo, What do you do?"

I think it's God's way of paying me back. (During my younger days, I used to be a chic magnet in my dreams.) Nowadays I just have nightmares of middle aged iphone totting executives frozen in the middle of their question, "Soooooo...." with their mouth in perfect "O" shape.

I had a couple of answers that used to work. The first one was "I am taking a break." It used to hold up for sometime. But it ran out of shelf life in a month. Then I hopped on to "I am trying to discover myself" bandwagon. But It didn't convince anybody. Not even me. Let's face it. Neither am I the hundred and eighteenth element in the periodic table nor am I Mendeleev. So the probability of I discovering me would be the intersection of the probability of I discovering anything (which is zero) and probability of me being discovered (which is a bigger zero). So that would be zero intersecting bigger Zero which is... Biggest Zero??

What? Is that not how probability is calculated? So now you know! I am neither mendeleev, nor Newton. What! Newton didn't discover probability. What did he discover? Algebra? Oh, Calculus! well anyway, now you know that there is fat lot of chance of me discovering anything leave alone I discovering me.

But I need to find another answer to the question, "So, what do you do?" Imagine this! we are living in a wonderful world where William is marrying Kate, Americans are killing Osama and people find just one topic to talk to me.I have thought about it long and hard and I have come to this inevitable conclusion. I have decided to run a company. I have named it "funny-side-of-life.com"**. In a way, you are my first customers. And my product? This is my product!

I know what is on your mind. If I can visualize our conversation it would go like...

"So you are going to run a blog?"
"Yeah... But I would rather say I am running funny-side-of-life.com. It's cooler that way."
"Is this your big idea?"
"How are you going to make money?"
"Do you even..?"

Don't ask your question, Okay? Pleeeaase. It is easy to ask questions but not so easy to answer them.

So let's go back to the original game. You have to start.
"So, what do you do?"
"I am running funny-side-of-life.com."
"Wow! Great."
"Yeah! It is."
"So, did you see the william-kate thing. How do you think it will pan out?"

That's better.

* It is always "Am I looking fat?" Never "Am I fat?"
** It is actually funny-side-of-life.blogspot.com. But let us just pretend it is funny-side-of-life.com

Obama in Situation room

'Obama in situation room' picture is on its way to become the most viewed photo in flickr and has already become the defining picture of his presidency. But when I saw it, all I could think was how familiar the photo looked. I have seen such tense faces in every India -Pakistan match. Don't believe me! See for yourself.

I think how you feel about 9/11 depends a lot on how far you were from the point of contact when the plane touched the glass facade of the towers. The one in the cockpit would have gone 'hurray!' even though they would have been incinerated before completing their high fives. The one back in the plane would have felt fear. The one on the ground closer to the family would have felt horror first, sorrow later. But the need for justice and revenge would not have occured to them. Not right then. It would have developed as they moved away from the event in time. But for their president, it would have been a different story. Horror, sorrow would have quickly given way to revenge. So he issued a fatwa in western style - Smoke them out.

How close was I to the point of contact? Well, exactly a week before I had landed in JFK and I stayed for next four months in Connecticut for a client assignment. That's not remotely close. It's like a rock in Moon saying I was this close to becoming a civilization. Nevertheless, this distance has given me a sense of objectiveness.

Like, when Internet is labeling Obama situation room photo as the most macho moment for white house, I can't but think was U.S not violating Pakistan's sovereignty when they flew in, got him and flew out? But I also know that you cannot expect anything more from a school bully. School bullies behave consistently but not fairly. Both your and their time on swing is theirs and they are not going to ask you for it, but just take it. In a way I feel happy that there is only one bully in this world - America. The other kid, the most problematic kid, is just a fly on the wall or a rat in the hole. For if Osama had been stronger like erstwhile U.S.S.R then we would just have had a blown up classroom.

More Chiang Rai Mountain Biking ...

As I pen this piece the sky has turned grey, the wind has picked up and there can be heard in the distance the sound of thunder.  Let me take you back in time to a very different scene.  Not too far back, mind you, only as far as this morning.  Bearing the burden of a few extra pounds and a somewhat inflated ego, due in part to the comments I received from my last post, and a lack of outdoor activity during Songkran, I was of a mind to take the mountain bike out this morning.  A recent ride where I found myself walking up a hill I previously introduced you to, seemed to do a very good job of dealing with both of the above stated burdens and served as motivation on the day.

This post is not about me and my burdens, however.  It is dedicated to the brilliant blue sky, lustrous white clouds and the seductive irresistible trails that kept me company this morning.  Though I feared for the safety of my camera on the way home, we both escaped unmolested by the elements, save for the sometimes stifling heat and humidity of the first hour.  The sights, sounds and smells that engulfed me on the road, more than made up for any physical discomfort dished out by the weather.

As a break from my typically longwinded prose, today is more of a pictorial essay describing what I encountered along the way.  To find dirt, one must often traverse village lanes and the lightly trafficked roads that join them.  Exiting the east side of our village I found men tending the still juvenile rubber trees, releasing the smell of freshly cut vegetation into the air.  Before long I came across a turkey keeping company with his mate.  Ever so briefly he struck a pose for the camera before returning to the true object of his affection.

After crossing the river I came upon road construction not far from the now wilted sunflower fields that were recently so beautiful.  The final surface is probably a few weeks away but they look to have done a good job and were in the process of coring to verify the work standard.

From there I headed across the open farm land and every twist or turn the trail made, found me gazing upon a majestic display of clouds in the bright blue sky.  I stopped on occasion, as much to take in the view as to snap a picture.

Entering the next village I was greeted with chance to photograph a not so common form of transportation these days.  There was an air of dignity in their posture and unhurried pace, as they moved down the lane.

Before long I was crossing the river again, by way of another bridge.  Spying a storm cloud ahead I took an alternate trail back across the fields.  Checking behind from time to time, I found what lay ahead much more inviting.

Sri Phang Nga National Park

Last week we took a trip for a night to Khao Sok National Park, staying again at the Cliff and River Jungle Resort which has become one of our favourite places to relax for a couple of days. Khao Sok is well known for hiking, boat trips, rafting, elephant treks, bird spotting and more. I admit that we just head to the hotel pool to chill out and eat in the very nice restaurant. We have done a boat trip on Chiew Lan Reservoir before and would like to do that again sometime, but we'll skip the hiking and white water!

On the drive back from Khao Sok to Phuket the road goes via Takua Pa, a small town which is not far north of Khao Lak with all it's hotels. Just before reaching Takua Pa the road splits north towards Ranong, and it's along this road that you find Sri Phang Nga National Park. It's about 30km from Takua Pa heading towards Kuraburi which is about the only major town between Takua Pa and Ranong. We'd decided to check the park out on the recommendation of a friend who'd posted some nice photos on Facebook of rivers and a pool full of fish - and she told us you can jump in with the fish! Sounded interesting enough for a 30km detour. Sri Phang Nga National Park was easy enough to find, very well signposted and good roads, though the road that led to the park from the main highway was quite narrow in places. I did for a minute or two wonder if we'd wasted our time!

Sri Phang Nga Entrance

The park entrance was very tidy and well kept. We were charged only 100 Baht for the whole family to come in. Plenty of parking and we could see a small restaurant, plus we found some very clean bathrooms (with big mosquitoes!). There was also a large grassy camping area and some national park huts to sleep in too. Looked good and we had not seen any rivers or fish yet! And it was quiet. We saw a few other cars, a couple of people. I had read that Sri Phang Nga was quiet. Seems to be true. We like quiet! Now, at the main entrance/restaurant, a sign said that the nearest waterfall and the fish pool was 1.5km away. We reeled in horror at the prospect of such a hike! Luckily you can drive that far along a bumpy dirt road. At the end of that track we found a few more cars, a little river full of fish and some young girls selling fish food at 20 Baht per bag. We went directly to the nearest water and started throwing food to the fish. I decided that I could wade in the shallow water - cool and refreshing on such a hot day. We already decided that next time we're coming ready for a swim! OK, so lots of fish, cool water .. I threw food around my legs and the fish swarmed - very tickly! I encouraged the kids to do the same.

Fish tickling my legs

I then noticed a "NO WADING" sign right by the river. Oops! A little further away was a deeper pond with a "NO SWIMMING" sign. Hang on.. our friend had told us that you can swim here... So we went for a little walk. A sign pointed to Tamnang Waterfall only 500m. Let's try this way. We walked through the jungle, rather like a walk at Kathu Waterfall or Ton Sai Waterfall in Phuket.

Walking at Sri Phang Nga

Tamnang waterfall (according to the official national park website) is 63 meters high. Not sure it looked that high, but anyway .. taller than any Phuket waterfall! I was impressed and happy to find only 3 other people at the falls, all wading in the water. I got the feeling they had been very happy to be the only 3 people there... we came along and shattered their peace! They left soon after we arrived.. which meant that we had Tamnang waterfall to ourselves :)

Tamnang Waterfall

Now, downriver from the waterfall, there were pools where fish were swimming, and in the main pool under the falls, the fish were everywhere. The water was fresh, cool and clear. Yes, next time we'll come with swimming clothes. Well, my dear wife took the plunge anyway. A bra is the same as a bikini? Well, if nobody else is around, yes. I was happy paddling.. well actually it was a hot day and I should have just leapt fully clothed into the pool, but I am not so anarchic! Me and the kids just carried on feeding the fish.

Fish at the waterfall

Tamnang Waterfall

We had our own private waterfall! The other waterfalls at Sri Phang Nga are a bit more of a hike (not far actually, just 2 - 3km). Next time maybe we'll be ready for a hike and a swim. This was a bit of a discovery. Kids loved it. They do like a bit of nature! Having the fish swimming all around us was cool... with that slight hint of danger - will they perhaps decide to bite me? Kids were unsure until dad was already in the water surrounded by fish.

Boy and Fish

After half an hour at Tamnang waterfall, we got this kind of "we could stay here all day" feeling, except we were on the way home, and to drive home would take about 3 hours. Back at the main entrance, we ate at the restaurant, cheap and tasty Thai food, and asked about the accommodation and were told its just 420 Baht per night to book a hut with 4 beds (no aircon!) or 600 Baht at the weekend. We'd not try to visit as a day trip, a bit too far, though if someone was staying in Khao Lak, a day trip would be easy. Next time we'll stay overnight and go throw ourselves into a pool full of fish for the day! Happy to have found Sri Phang Nga and we'll plan a weekend trip sometime in the near future.

Related Links ...

Sri Phang Nga National Park official website
Khao Lak Hotels - less than an hour to drive to Sri Phang Nga from Khao Lak.
Our Holidays in Khao Lak
Khao Sok - Cliff and River Resort - about an hour to drive from here to Sri Phang Nga


I will be back as soon as they get my computer repaired, don't know what happened , but all of a sudden my computer went crazy.  Malcolm