An Ergonomic Chair for Village Farang ...

Sitting here writing today finds this writer much more comfy than usual.  Though comfort was not the driving force in my search of a replacement chair it is clearly a welcome consequence of that search.  Observing my father’s deteriorating physical condition and noticing my own lax posture, at least in part due to my aging chair, put me on the path of something ergonomic.  I wanted support in all the right places and infinite adjustability.  I also wanted mesh on both the seat and back for temperature control.  Yes, I wanted it to look good too.


When we moved into this house our furniture focus was on the big ticket items, so with little thought I opted for an affordable chair with an office like appearance and function.  I had no inkling at the time that I would be spending so much time seated, as I am at this moment, here in front of the computer.

As with so many of my purchases, the first chair turned out to be a starter chair.  Without the experience of the first chair I wouldn’t have had such a clear idea of what I wanted this time.  Knowing what you want and finding it here in Chiang Rai is seldom part of the same story.   Online the search is complicated not by the lack of choice but by too much.  In the end I went for something that was readily available in Bangkok with easy shipping by post.

Purchased on Thursday by trustingly depositing money into their account, the chair arrived on Saturday.  When the local postoffice called I was already in Chiang Rai for the day, with no chance of returning home before their closing time.  That left me with no option but to wait until today to go pick it up.  I had been over the specs countless times and looked at the pictures but truthfully I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Considering the cost, even with a negotiated 30% discount, my expectations should have been quite lofty but I have found one has less chance of being disappointed if one manages expectations.

So I am still fiddling with the lumbar support and tilt functions to see what works best but I have to say I am very happy with my new VF throne.  It looks like it is going to take Cookie a little longer to feel comfortable sharing her space with this new interloper.  She has only known that one chair and it had been well and truly personalized during her puppy days, with the undercarriage serving as a chew-toy.

I feel like I should be apologizing for not writing lately but this seasonal burning has blocked more than my view of the horizon.  I have a few ideas floating around in my head but can’t seem to get them onto the page.  Anyway here are a few more photos of my new chair.

Sa Nang Manora Forest Park, Phang Nga

On our little exploratory drive around Phang Nga a couple of weeks ago, as well s visiting the very interesting Wat Thamtapan temple and eating good food with a great view at Tha Sai Seafood, we also stopped for a little walk at Sa Nang Manora Forest Park which had been recommended by friends. Since we were already in Phang Nga town checking out the temple, we thought "well, why not?" and headed out of town on the road north (which incidentally I'd like to follow further one day). Sa Nang Manora is only about 5 kilometers from Phang Nga town, then another couple of km down a side road to the right. Entry appears to be free. On this hot Saturday, there were only a few cars and a couple of local songthaew buses parked at the entrance.

Sa Nang Manora Forest Park

Local Songtaew buses at Sa Nang Manora forest park, Phang Nga

It's very "jungly" with some big trees and lots of vines hanging down. A 2km nature trail is shown on a sign with such features as "Bat Cave" and "Shell Cave" marked. We did not walk 2km.. maybe next time! We just walked a way through the trees to find some pools and waterfalls.

Forest at Sa Nang Manora

And we will come back for sure, next time with swimming clothes and towels, for the nicest part of this forest park is the series of small waterfalls and pools, ideal for a swim on a hot, hot day. We'd not anticipated a waterfall that day, so did not have any swimming things with us. All we could do was paddle in the cool, cool water.

At Sa Nang Manora Forest Park

The waterfalls are nothing spectacular, but combined with the jungle setting, the lack of crowds, the peace and quiet, it's a little slice of paradise. Note to self : next time bring swimming clothes, towels ... and a picnic.

Waterfall at Sa Nang Manora

Waterfall at Sa Nang Manora Forest Park, Phang Nga

I like to get the kids out and about. They come with us wherever we go, exploring Phuket and the surrounding area. There's more to be learned than can be found in school books. They got plenty on this particular day - caves, waterfalls, a very weird temple, lots of great scenery ... a nice family day out. Here they are, posing on a fallen tree with their Mum's cousin (once removed). He's an army ranger and was having a short break staying with us before being shipped back to the restless south.

Sa Nang Manora Forest Park

And there's more I want to see in the Phang Nga area such as the fishing village at Bang Pat, a temple called Wat Bang Riang, and Raman waterfall park which is close to the temple in a cave at Wat Suwan Kuha. I do love days like this with the family when we just drive off and explore, always seem to find something unexpected.

Sa Nang Manora Forest Park - Location Map


View Sa Nang Manora Forest Park, Phang Nga in a larger map

Kaffeeklatsch (Nr. 91)

Hallo,

heute ist ein ganz besonderer Sonntag - und ein ganz besonderer Kaffeeklatsch! Merkt man schon daran, dass ich ihn heute außerplanmäßig übernehmen darf, das ist schon was ganz Besonderes für mich, denn es wird auch mein einziger Kaffeeklatsch sein... Aber der Reihe nach, ich sollte mich vielleicht erst mal vorstellen. Mein Name ist Singa, also jedenfalls ist das mein Rufname, vollständig heiße ich Singa P. Ore - und das ist schon ein klitzekleiner Hinweis auf das Besondere... an mir, am heutigen Kaffeeklatsch, am heutigen Sonntag... *freu*


Birgit und Flutterby haben heute nämlich Besuch... jawoll, und zwar ganz besonderen, von Susan (viel besser bekannt als Sans!) aus Singapur und von Rosanna aus Genua. Diese ganz außergewöhnlichenn Bloggerinnen hatten tatsächlich nichts Besseres vor, als auf ihrer Europareise von Amsterdam bzw. Arnheim kommend einen Abstecher nach Wankendorf in die Nähe von Kiel zu machen *hach... ganzgerührtbin* Na, und da hat es sich Birgit natürlich nicht nehmen lassen, für ihre Gäste ein BiWuBärchen zu sticheln. Ich werde Susan nach Singapur begleiten und vorher noch etwas von Europa sehen... Polen, Spanien, Italien... *hibbel* und mein Kumpel Earl Grey, den Ihr noch kennen lernen werdet, wird mit Rosanna zurück nach Italien reisen. Das ist ja alles so aufregend...

Ich kann Euch jedenfalls verraten, dass wir alle miteinander nachher einen richtig tollen Kaffeeklatsch abhalten werden (Pssssst, großes Geheimnis, aber wir sind ja unter uns: Es gibt eine oberleckere Marzipantorte... hmmmmmm *yammi*), na, und ein bisschen die Füße rund laufen werden die sich wohl auch *grins* Wir wünschen Euch allen jedenfalls einen schönen Rest-Sonntag, eine tolle Woche und viel Spaß bei allem, was Ihr so vorhabt. Wir jedenfalls werden jede Minute dieser außergewöhnlichen Begegnung genießen... ;O)

Liebe Grüße
Euer Singa P. Ore

Er ist's...

Hallo,

der Herr Mörike hat ja sein berühmtes Frühlingsgedicht von wegen Frühling lässt sein blaues Band wieder flattern durch die Lüfte usw. so treffend mit "Er ist's" betitelt... Bei uns kann man im Moment voller Überzeugung ausrufen: Stimmt! Der Frühling ist da und verwöhnt uns mit wunderbarem Wetter, bei dem es im Moment gar nichts zu meckern gibt. Und was macht man da - genau... ab in den Garten!

Ich war übrigens nicht der Einzige, der im Garten unterwegs war... ein kleiner Tuff mit Tulpen und in jeder zweiten Blüte war ein Bienchen fleißig am Nektar sammeln. Das ist immer ein Anblick, der mein kleines Flatterbärchenherz mit Freude erfüllt - wir Bären sind ja quasi von Geburt an Honigliebhaber... *schmunzel*


Auch den Narzissen kann man jetzt beim Wachsen regelrecht zuschauen. Hier habe ich eine einzelne Knospe entdeckt, die garantiert dieses Wochenende ihr strahlendes Gelb in voller Pracht zeigen wird.


Birgit hat derweil Salbeistauden eingepflanzt, Gentlebär, der ich bin, habe ich meine Pflanzschaufel geschnappt und wollte ihr helfen. Allerdings musste ich dann doch etwas schlucken, als ich Birgits Pflanzschaufel gesehen habe, da steht eine Skalierung drauf mit bis zu 10 cm... äh... meinereiner ist ja gerade mal 9 Bärchenzentimeter groß... *grübel*


Birgit meinte aber, sie würde das auch ohne meine Unterstützung schaffen und ich könne mich ruhig weiter im Garten umschauen. Na gut, dann eben nicht *Erleichterungmachtsichbreit*, also lieber mal kurz beim Pott mit den Frühlingsblümchen vorbei geschaut. Sind noch recht klein, die Hübschen, die müssen noch ein bisschen wachsen - aber wenn jetzt die Sonne scheint, dann wird das schon.


Auch bei den Bäumen zeigt sich das Wunder des Frühlings wieder ganz deutlich... jeden Tag werden die Knospen größer, teilweise zeigt sich sogar schon der erste grüne Flaum. Herrlich!!! Unsere Nelkenkirsche z. B. spriesst und sprosst, dass es eine wahre Freude ist. Nicht mehr lang, und hier ist wieder alles rosa!


Tja, und dann habe ich aber noch etwas ganz Merkwürdiges im Garten entdeckt. Was ganz Komisches, an unserem Hibiscus (Der um diese Zeit wie immer noch ausschaut, als hätte er den Winter nicht überstanden) hängen rundliche, bunte Früchte, guckt mal:

  
*Kicherpruuuuust* Okay, okay, kleiner Witz... Ostern ist eben nicht mehr fern... ;O) Ach ja, ein Bild habe ich noch für Euch, ein paar Stiefmütterchen direkt an der Haustür.


 "Welcome" steht da drüber - na, mit so einem Blumengruß fühlt sich doch bestimmt gleich jeder willkommen, der uns besuchen kommt. Hoffe ich doch... *zwinker*

Liebe Grüße
Euer Flutterby

Know a foe: Green Arrow's Constantine Drakon

It was recently announced that Constantine Drakon (played by Darren Shahlavi) would appear in the upcoming Green Arrow pilot on CW called Arrow. But who is Drakon and why should you care? Let me tell you why he's a villain worth reading and, soon enough, watching.

Being among the best in the world with a bow and arrow doesn't mean squat when your enemy can effortlessly catch every projectile sent his way. Meet Constantine Drakon, one of the most dangerous men Green Arrow has ever faced. This Greek assassin is quite a short fellow, but for what he lacks in height, he makes up for in speed and talent. This obscure enemy of the Emerald Archer was created by writer Judd Winick and artist Phil Hester, and first showed his face in Green Arrow #27 (volume 3).
The killer discovered at a young age that he excels in harming others. And if you're good at something, you might as well make money doing it, right? The deadly villain once made the claim that he has killed more people than cancer, and he certainly lived up to the hype when he humiliated Green Arrow during their first encounter. Drakon's a very skilled individual when it comes to hand-to-hand techniques, but it's his speed that makes him such a threat. Ollie claimed the assassin has super speed, and it's hard not to believe him when Drakon catches dozens of arrows without even breaking a sweat.  Despite the dark nature of his career, Drakon seems to have fun in the field. He'll compliment and even criticize his enemy's style and methods, meanwhile making it more than transparent how his target has virtually no chance of winning. Because of this, he's rather overconfident in combat (a weakness Ollie took advantage of with a glue arrow) and stated he'll only kill costumed heroes if given the right amount of cash for the job.

When you think of badass assassins in the DC Universe, one name should immediately come to mind: Deathstroke (shame on you if you said Brutale). But even the infamous Slade Wilson needs help sometimes, and in one case, he sought the aid of sir Drakon. The Greek killer was incarcerated, so Deathstroke allowed himself to be taken into custody just to meet the man. The two broke out and brought a whole new world of hurt to the Arrow family. Unfortunately for them, the pesky Justice League ended up getting in the way.

When it comes to Green Arrow villains, Drakon is among the most memorable and disputably the coolest. It's just a shame he hasn't shown his face after escaping the Justice League with Slade. Hopefully the man will reappear in the pages of the New 52 and get an opportunity to take on the likes of Batman and much more.

Want to see more of Drakon? Check out his Comicvine page for a full list of his appearances!



Von Drachen und Computern...

Hallo,
   
hier sind wir wieder... hoffentlich, ganz schnell auf Holz klopfen!!! *klopfklopfklopf* Nach ganz viel Ärger, völlig unerklärlichem PC-Verhalten (O-Ton unser Experte: "So was habe ich in den all den Jahren noch nicht erlebt") und noch mehr Ärger (Als wir schon dachten, alles wäre wieder in Ordnung, hat sich das Biest plötzlich wieder nicht hochgefahren und wir mussten noch mal alles neu installieren) scheint es nun wieder zu funktionieren. Na dann... hoffen wir mal, dass sich das gute Stück jetzt beruhigt hat, brav und artig wieder seinen Dienst tut und wir wieder normal posten können. Immerhin hatte das Ganze schon mal einen angenehmen Nebeneffekt - unser Google-Übersetzer-Gadget ist plötzlich wieder sichtbar geworden... na, wer sagt's denn. Ich versuche jetzt auch mal mein Glück und zeige Euch heute die Bilder vom neuesten Bewohner des Hexenturms.
  
Wie ich Euch ja schon erzählt habe, hatten wir an Weihnachten das Giveaway von Andrea / Mistymountains gewonnen. Weil Andrea aus persönlichen Gründen wenig Zeit hatte, hat es etwas gedauert, bis wir unseren Schatz in Händen/Pfoten halten konnten, aber Vorfreude ist ja bekanntlich die schönste Freude, und die konnten wir nun ausgiebig genießen. Und das Warten hat sich gelohnt! Als das Päckchen kam, habe ich die Schachtel gaaaaaaanz vorsichtig aufgemacht, ich wollte das kleine Drachenbaby ja nicht erschrecken. Ist aber gleich ganz zutraulich und neugierig gewesen, naja, so ein Flatterbärchen wie ich wirkt ja auch nicht besonders furchteinflößend, schon gar nicht auf einen Drachen...
   
    
Purple heißt der kleine Schatz, hat sie mir verraten, und ein paar kleine Geschenke hat sie auch noch dabei gehabt, einen Minihexenhut, einen versteinerten Apfel und zwei Vogelnester. Aber das Schönste ist natürlich Purple selbst, ist sie nicht allerliebst?
  
   
Wie nicht anders zu erwarten, ist prompt eine Delegation vom Hexenturm eingetroffen, Magica und Draco natürlich, aber auch Polus, Ruby und Emmy haben es sich nicht nehmen lassen, den Neuzugang persönlich zu begrüßen.
  
   
Purple, Ruby und Emmy bilden jetzt ein Trio infernale, haben meistens nur Blödsinn im Kopf, wie halbwüchsige Drachen eben so sind (oder kleine Bärchen *hihi*, aber das ist ja ein gaaaaaanz anderes Thema). Magica de Spell ist schon erleichtert, wenn sich die Drei mal nur im Schlafzimmer die Zeit damit vertreiben, den Zauberspiegel zu ärgern. Sie meint, der könne das ganz gut vertragen, dass er selbst auch mal geärgert wird.
      
   
Aber so gerne Purple auch bei ihren neuen Drachenfreunden ist und dummes Zeug anstellt, der schönste Platz für sie ist hier:
   
   
In Dracos starken Armen - naja, sind ja auch irgendwie seeeeehr verwandt, die beiden... sind immerhin aus der gleichen Drachenhöhle gekommen! *zwinker*
   
Dear Andrea, once again - thank you so much for this dragon masterpiece. As you can see, Purple will have a loving home and will be treasured forever!
  
Bis bald (hoffe ich doch!) und liebe Grüße
   
Euer Flutterby 

Bane's Best Battles

The man who broke the Bat will face-off with Bruce Wayne on the big screen this July, and now is the perfect time to do your homework by diving into the villain's extensive comic book history. Bane's dark and brilliant mind will make Batman's life a nightmare in director Christopher Nolan's final Batman film, but it's his sheer strength and skill that will prove to be Wayne's ultimate obstacle. Bane is infamous for duking it out with the Dark Knight, but Batman is hardly the only man to get slugged in the face a few times by the villain. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the craziness as I review Bane's best battles.


VS Batman,  Detective Comics #701
Allied with the legendary Ra's al Ghul, Bane returns to Gotham City and has an unforgettable fight with Batman on the docks. The two narrowly escape an explosion and have a contest of skill along the water, countering and blocking the powerful strikes that fly back and forth. Bane's able to finally gain the edge when he dodges a few batarangs and then connects with a swift jump quick. In true villain fashion, Bane tries to take his time with Wayne, attempting to slowly drown his longtime enemy. Batman remembers the death of his parents (for the millionth time) and overcomes Bane, landing a few brutal hits and eventually dropping him with a kick. Bane stumbles onto a piece of debris and floats away as Batman stands victorious.

VS Nightwing (Dick Grayson), Batman: Bane
Picking up directly after the events of Detective Comics #701, Bane - exhausted and floating on debris - floats into the path of a ship. Like the boss that he is, Bane hops and on-board and takes over the place with ease. But this isn't your every day ship! It turns out the vessel is carrying nuclear supplies, and Bane wants to use the vehicle as a bomb. Batman won't have any of that nuclear nonsense, but the original Robin, Dick Grayson, busts onto the scene first. Not once but twice Bane proves that, in a direct match consisting of purely physical might and skill, Nightwing doesn't stand much of a chance against the powerhouse. An elbow to the face hurts, but Bane's verbal insult must have hurt a lot more. "But you are not the Batman.  So to me, you are nothing!" Don't worry, Grayson, pappa Wayne drops in to save the day. He smacks Bane around for a bit and manages to prevent the nuclear attack on Gotham. It's just another example of why the hero deserves the title "the Goddamn Batman."

VS Batman, Detective Comics #736
Bane leaps into Gotham City during the events of "No Man's Land" and he's dead-set on claiming what he believes to be his territory. But just like every other time, the Dark Knight stands in his way. The two slug it out in the slushy sewers and Bane manages to elude Wayne with an explosive. The two meet face-to-face shortly after in a warehouse, and so begins an awesomely destructive bout between the two. They smash one another across the room and both land their fair share of painful strikes, but Batman lands a devastating combo to Bane's face in the end. Still standing and ready for more, Bane tells Batman he has an ace up his sleeve: keep fighting and risk losing, or go defuse dynamite he planted under a Nun's soup kitchen.  Naturally, Batman leaves. (You're such a crafty fellow, Bane.) The only thing that would make this fight any better is if Mike Deodato Jr illustrated it. Oh, wait...

VS Azrael (Jean Paul Valley), Azrael #36-40
Azrael beat Bane to a pulp in "Knightfall" after he forced to foe to suffer withdrawal from venom, and Bane isn't one to forgive and forget. When Bane resurfaces, Jean-Paul Valley tells Batman he's up to the task. Bane claims he no longer needs the drug and considers it a weakness, but that's not stopping him from selling it to a small army. And so begins a few fantastic and must read fights between Azrael and Bane. Bane quickly takes the first fight against an injured JPV, but the second is absolutely brutal. The two duke it out along the cliffs, and when JPV distracts Bane with a case of venom, it allows him to send the two flying off a cliff. Both combatants slowly rise, but it's Azrael who delivers the final strike. Round three picks up shortly later, but an aftershock causes Bane to bump his head and, in turn, lose the battle. These 5 issues are something every Bane fan should read at least once.

VS Man-Bat, Gotham Underground #1
Bane has a thing for humiliating some of Batman's lamer enemies.  He tortured Penguin during the end of Secret Six, brutalized Killer Croc twice, and now he drops Man-Bat with literally no effort. This well-known Bat foe has the appearance of something fierce, but it's nothing Bane can't overcome by creating a fist and sending it via first class delivery to Man-Bat's face. Better luck next time, Man-Bat.

VS Killer Croc, Batman #489 & Detective Comics #660
Killer Croc (Waylon Jones) is a villain that is written all over the place in regards to power levels. One day he's a force that requires a small amount of explosives to take down, and the next an unarmed Harvey Dent can embarrass him. But during "Knightfall," Croc proved he was able to hold his own against Jean-Paul Valley and Robin. The duo could barely hurt him, but then big daddy Bane stepped in. He took some venom and completely wrecked Croc. He smacked him around, broke his arm, and then booted him into a pile of stuffed animals, leaving the green villain broken and helpless. The line "You're too ugly to hit" was just icing on the harsh cake. But that was just round 2. After taking down Robin, Bane found himself in the sewers... Killer Croc's territory. Despite the home field advantage, Bane still gets the jump on Waylon, but Croc manages to destroy Bane's venom supply. Unfortunately for him, this doesn't even the odds nearly as much as he had hoped it would. Bane further injures Croc's broken arm and proves that even without venom his uppercuts are more than enough to put a hurting on Croc. The two go back and forth before tumbling into the water below and become separated. Bane has a great track record against the Bat family and their villains, but he should be grateful he's never had to face Deathstroke or Deadshot. That would certainly not end well for The Dark Knight Rises villain.

Bane vs Catman, Secret Six #35
After learning he's destined to end up in Hell regardless of his actions, Bane takes a moment to reevaluate what's important to him, and the answer is obvious: destroying the Bat. But he already broke Batman's spine, and he realizes that in the long run the crippling move accomplished nothing. Now, Bane wants to destroy Batman by killing his loved ones, a weakness Bane became aware of when he jumped into action to defend his own date. While sharing this idea, Catman tries to reenact how a fight with Batman would go. Bane casually withstands strike after strike, even calling one "dainty" until he decides he has had enough and puts an end to the assault. Almost nonchalantly, Bane catches Catman's fist and crushes it, leaving Catman at his mercy until he completes talking about his plan.

VS Batman, Batman #497
Ah, the infamous moment that put Bane on everyone's radar. The first half of "Knightfall" was all about Bane's elaborate plan to destroy the Caped Crusader. To beat the great detective, Bane forced Wayne through a cruel and unrelenting gauntlet. He created a massive breakout and Batman, already tired from previous events, was now forced to push himself beyond his own limits as he traveled the city and attempted to stop the rampaging threats which included Joker, Scarecrow, Amygdala, and much, much more. When all is said and done, Bane is waiting for Wayne in the comfort of his own mansion. In a futile last effort, the weakened Batman tries to stop the villain, but Bane is simply too much for the severely exhausted Wayne. What ensues is a horrific beating through the mansion and it travels into the batcave. When Bane is finished toying with Batman, he finally lifts Wayne over his head and crushes the detective's spine against his knee. Bane has accomplished what dozens of villains have failed to do for years and years: he broke the Bat. Fret not, Bruce, Jean-Paul puts an equally bad hurting back on Bane for ya.

VS Azrael, Detective Comics #666 & Batman #500

With Bruce Wayne out of commission, Jean-Paul Valley steps up to the plate and puts on the cowl. The old cowl isn't enough for him, though, so Jean-Paul makes some awesome upgrades, including assorted weapons, claws, and armor. The violent hero rushes into action against Bane, but quickly realizes he needs more upgrades. He gets some good slashes and stabs in, but Bane almost chokes him out and eventually Azrael suffers a devastating fall. Next time the two face off, JPV decides to put a few more advantages into his dark take on Batman's costume. 

VS Joker, Detective Comics #740
A physical confrontation between Bane and Joker would have a rather obvious outcome, and Detective Comics #740 shows us just how fun it is to watch Bane slug Joker around. The Clown Prince of Crime tries to distract Bane with banter and pull a weapon, but Bane's too focused to let a mere insult or two faze him.  Instead, he has a grand old time punching Joker in the face numerous times.

VS Batman, Batman: The Dark Knight #6

While I can't say I'm a fan of the New 52 Bane so far, there's no denying the fact that his debut made quite an impact. Bane is now sporting an image similar to the one he often receives in media... and that's a lumbering 'roid head (e.g. Batman: Arkham Asylum, Young Justice, Batman & Robin). Bane reveals he's behind the new toxin/venom that's circulating, and promptly proceeds to put a major hurting on Batman.  Wayne barely escapes with an electric attack, but now we're left waiting to see how it'll conclude in the next issue. My guess? Batman wins, of course. While Bane is clearly being built as a purely physical threat in the new 52 (he displayed no skill  whatsoever, just brute force), he's at least still a genius and claims this venom will further increase his IQ. If he's so smart, why can't he see how ridiculous this new outfit looks?


This article is barely scratching the surface of the many, many times Bane has been in a battle, so if your favorite didn't make the cut, please don't forget to talk about it in the comments section below!




Getting Ready



"There is no way to progress deeply into the future without taking leave of the past--making a leap of faith into an unknown future"
--- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

what i love about getting ready....
leaving my now, too-small cocoon
sadness and loss behind me after proper due respect
feeling renewed about what's most important
and reconnecting with the things i love most:
birds more than exhaust
genuine more than glamour
people more than things; and
guts more than glory.
making new friendships
playing with a new language
...and laughing a lot!
feeling a tiny spark of excitement
of what might be---
and trusting everything will be okay
and that somehow....
the timing will be just right!

Wat Thamtapan, Phang Nga

I know the blog is called "Jamie's Phuket" but the blog is not always limited to only things in Phuket province / on Phuket island. A day trip exploring in Phang Nga is easy enough. Phang Nga province is where you find yourself on the north side of the Sarasin Bridge. And we like Phang Nga, you can find a lot to do here, such as exploring Phang Nga Bay, including James Bond Island and Koh Panyee. A couple of weeks ago, we headed north towards Phang Nga Town. I had never ever stopped in Phang Nga Town because normally we drive towards Krabi and the east coast, and the junction where you turn off is just before the town. I wanted to drive through town and visit Wat Thamtapan, which I'd seen on Cathy and Gary's website (see here). The town is quite small, I was hoping for something like an "old town", but there was not so much to see. We stopped at Phung Chang Cave which was interesting, and then on to Wat Thamtapan, which was easy enough to find on a side street called Soi Thamtapan. This temple is a little different ...

Wat Thamtapan Phang Nga

Scary statue at Wat Thamtapan

I'm sure there's a Buddha somewhere, but the temple grounds are full of bizarre statues. And this is just the start. Hard to know where to look. We knew that there was a "hell" section to the temple, but first we saw a stairway leading up into the jungle, so we followed that, passing a statue of Lakshmi on a crocodile on the way. Well, why not?

Lakshmi on a Crocodile

And then we climbed up, and up, and up. A rather steep stairway, I nearly stepped on a snake. We had no idea where the stairs would lead! Well, it must have been built for something. Through the trees we climbed, until we reached a shrine with a great view across the town of Phang Nga.

View of Phang Nga Town

Heading back down .. it really was steep!

Stairway in the jungle

And then, hell. Enter through the dragon's mouth. You then walk about 50 meters through the dragon, descending all the time. To hell.

Entrance to hell at Wat Thamtapan

As you exit from the dragon, statues show people seemingly praying to be spared the punishment. The Buddhist "hell" is called "Narok" in Thai. My kids cottoned on to the meaning pretty fast when we saw some of the statues. They decided quite fast that they should "Be good, for goodness sake". Or end up like these poor folks.

Entering Hell at Wat Thamtapan

Vision of Hell at Wat Thamtapan

Visions of Hell at Wat Thamtapan

Not really something for kids, but, hey, call me a modern parent! Our daughter (age 10) was interested. Our son (age 7) was traumatised a bit worried. So, be good!

There is also a pretty big cave here, near the hell statues. It reaches back about 100m into the rock, and there is a path. Will investigate further next time, but it's the biggest cave I have seen in the area.

Cave at Wat Thamtapan, Phang Nga

Cave at Wat Thamtapan

This really is a different kind of temple. Glad to have found it. If you have young kids, the visions of hell might not be such a good idea, and although I object to the use of religion as a form of control. My kids picked up the vibe pretty fast! Well, they are good anyway. One of these days, I have to write a blog post about things to do with kids, but look... I started this blog in 2006 when our daughter was 4, our son was 2. Almost everything here involves them. The whole blog is "Phuket for kids"! And look, there was a Buddha in Wat Thamtapan...

Wat Thamtapan Phang Nga

After this temple, we checked out a waterfall "forest park" called Sa Nang Manora, a few km north of Phang Nga Town. There are lots of waterfalls and caves in this area. Phang Nga is sparsely populated and very green. And there is more we want to see in the area. If you rent a car, Phang Nga town is only about 1 ½ - 2 hour drive from Phuket (depends where you start in Phuket!). Explore!

Wat Thamtapan - Location Map


View Wat Thamtapan, Phang Nga in a larger map