Koh Rang Yai Island

Koh Rang Yai is a small uninhabited island about 5km off the east coast of Phuket, featuring a kilometer of sandy beach on the west side with views back to the mainland. There is a restaurant, a little bar and I believe some bungalows, I'm going to have to go again to check, but I am sure that they have some simple bungalows for rent. The island is a little slice of paradise. Really. It's as close to unspoiled as you can get in this part of the world.

Koh Rang Yai Island

To reach Koh Rang Yai, you can visit as part of a tour or take a longtail boat from Laem Hin jetty, next to Laem Hin Seafood (a favourite restaurant). On the way, you pass Koh Maphrao, a much bigger island which is basically full of coconut trees (Maphrao = coconut), has a fishing village and a resort called The Village which opened a few years ago. I'm tempted to book us in there for a night sometime soon! There are also some floating restaurants.

We've been there a few times over the years, the first time in 2006 with our kids and my parents. The parents were back again last year and did a little trip to Koh Rang Yai again after a tasty lunch at Bang Mud Seafood, which is one of the floating restaurants at Coconut Island. That first time I think we paid 800 Baht for the longtail boat, I guess it would be more now, but not too much more. I mean, there's not much there, ideal to chill on a lovely beach, but not much to do! I think the kids would love to go back and really it's a gorgeous place...

Rang Yai Island

I am quite amazed that a huge resort has not been built there yet. Doesn't seem to have changed much over the years. The second time I visited was in 2010, a great day out on my birthday - the owner of Sunrise Divers bought a cool sporty speedboat to use as a charter boat and we headed to Koh Rang Yai to do some promotional photography with Helicam...

Koh Rang Yai Island

The photo above is by Helicam - the little helicopter with attached camera was being flown by Phil (one of the owners) chasing the speedboat - they'd never tried doing really low level stuff like this before. And that's Koh Rang Yai in the background! They got some great shots. In the back of the speedboat is me taking photos and Phil controlling the helicopter. The photographer is also in the speedboat - he gets a live image from the helicam and takes photos by remote control. Amazing stuff! Some of the photos I took can be found on the blog - see Speedboats and Helicam at Rang Yai Island. You can "park" a speedboat or longtail boat easily at the beach ...

Koh Rang Yai Island

Rang Yai was in my mind again recently - we did a speedboat tour right around Phuket Island in 2013, a bit of an experimental tour by my friends at Easy Day Thailand. We did a full circumnavigation of Phuket, with several stops on the way, the first stop being at Koh Rang Yai and to be honest I think we would have been happy to stay there all day! The word "paradise" is rather overused, but anyway ....

Koh Rang Yai

Certainly fun for all the family. We stopped about 1 hour on the island. There is something about blue seas, white sand, palm trees, a cold beer that makes you want to stay a while. We'd stocked a few beers on ice in the speedboat. I saw that there is a bar there by the beach. I know that there is a small restaurant, but on that last visit in 2010 we found the restaurant to be somewhat overpriced, charging something like 200 Baht for a fried rice. If we go again soon, we're taking a picnic! Not sure what the bar charged for a beer, but sometimes any price is OK for a cold beer on a perfect day :)

Jump at Koh Rang Yai

Oh yeh, jump for joy! When we stopped on that trip, there were about 10 other boats and almost all the tourists from those boats had taken up position on the same 100 meter stretch of sand or in the shade of the trees behind the beach. If you walk 100m, you get a perfect beach to yourself. Same goes in many tourist areas. 90% of tourists in the same 10% of space. Take the road less traveled! I mean, just by heading to Koh Rang Yai you lose 99% of the tourists who are happily sitting on Patong beach or one of the other main beaches. And then walk 100m and you lose 90% of the remaining 1%. Get it? Hope so.

Koh Rang Yai Island

Inland from the beach, aside from the previously mentioned bungalows (I think), restaurant and bar, there's a shop, and then some trails through the coconut trees. You can rent a bicycle and ride around or just take a walk as we did. Yeh, not much to see, but sometimes that's great. Palm trees, nature, sand, sea, the hot tropical air. That'll do!

Bicycles at Koh Rang Yai island

(above) Bike hire on Rang Yai island

Koh Rang Yai - Island Interior

Not a bad little place! I think we'll be back again soon. The east coast of Phuket has a lot of small islands. It sounds kind of obvious but the best way to see Phuket island is by boat!

Koh Rang Yai - Location Map


View Koh Rang Yai Island in a larger map

Bilderrätsel

Und wieder ist ein Wochenende vorbei und in Hessen dazu noch die Osterferien zu Ende. Ich hoffe, Ihr hattet alle eine gute Zeit.

Heute möchte ich euch mal ein Bilderrätsel zeigen.

Wer errät was das wird? Ich bin auf eure Vorschläge gespannt.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

A Trip to Shady Maple

Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, PA celebrated its anniversary again this year during the second week in March. We had an opportunity to make a trip into PA and without a doubt we were headed to Shady Maple for dinner that night.

When Shady Maple has its anniversary week it has contests and special menu items each night. We were there on a Wednesday night and the feature that night was

und wieder Filzwollreste

Trotz der ganzen Strickereien der letzten Wochen, hatte ich immer noch Filzwollreste übrig. Damit habe ich noch ein Paar Topflappen gemacht.

Mädels, wenn ich Filzwollreste habt, probiert die mal aus. Die sind echt Klasse und sehen fertig so toll aus. Das kann man kaum in einem Foto zeigen.

Nun wünsche ich euch ein schönes, erholsames Wochenende

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Shrine of the Serene Light

Phuket Town is full of history, full of interest. I still keep stumbling upon new places... I wish there was more time to explore and less time in the office! I thought I knew the old town pretty well, but then back in 2009 I read about this shrine on the "Phuket Town Treasure Map" (a great map for exploring old town, it's made by a company called Serendipity Designs which has an office on Soi Romanee). A shrine that I did not know about? It seems I must have walked past the entrance many times, but in 2009 the entrance to the shrine was an alleyway about 4 feet wide marked by a pillar with Chinese writing (see photo here.) Felt like I was making a real discovery! The shrine itself was a bit crumbly and I was the only visitor. A couple of years ago, renovation started on the shrine, and the entrance has been widened and beautified. The renovation took ages and it only reopened officially in February 2013. So, this is an updated, re written blog post about the Shrine of the Serene Light with new 2013 photos!

Shrine of the Serene Light

(above) Entrance to the shrine on Phang Nga road

The shrine, also called Sang Tham Shrine, is built among the houses in the old town. It was built in 1889 by a local Hokkien Chinese family. The late 19th century was a boom time for Phuket, with money pouring in from the tin mining industry. Chinese families became very important here around that time. The old town is full of Chinese influence - check the shops, the shrines, the people. If you see the Google map at the bottom of the page, you can see the shrine is really in the middle of a block or houses and shops, hidden away. There's actually a "secret" passage at the back of the shrine that leads through the kitchen of a restaurant on the next street (Thalang Road). I've walked through a couple of time. Down the alleyway from Phang Nga road is the main entrance to the shrine...

Shrine of the Serene Light

Certainly looks a lot better than it used to. And on the day I visited last month there were a few other visitors including a Chinese-Thai man from Bangkok paying his respects. A reminder to everyone about being respectful ...

Shrine of the Serene Light

Externally, the shrine is very bright and colourful especially now that it's been fixed up and repainted. Inside the shrine, things are different. Everything is kept tidy by a live-in caretaker, but inside there has been no rebuilding or repainting.

Shrine of the Serene Light

The walls are covered in murals showing old stories - the walls look old. Were they originally this colour, or is that due to over 120 years of smoke from burning incense? I am happy to see that nobody has tried to restore these old walls. The local people here have a healthy respect for tradition and history. If you walk into the shrine, with the incense that always burns, there's a huge array of statues of Chinese gods.

Shrine of the Serene Light

The photo below I took from behind a row of statues looking back out the entrance of the shrine ...

Shrine of the Serene Light

It's quite a magical place and well worth looking for. I always urge people to go take a walk around town, visit a shrine, maybe the Thai Hua museum or the Chinpracha House, get some lunch at Kopitiam or try some Roti with curry. And stop by the old Chinese herb shop on Thalang Road, join the locals for a late afternoon walk at Sapan Hin park..... Phuket Town is where it's at!

Shrine of the Serene Light - Location Map


View Shrine of the Serene Light in a larger map

neue Farben bei SU

und wieder gibt es Neuigkeiten bei SU. Zum Katalogwechsel werden Neuerungen in den Farbfamilien vorgenommen.
Die auslaufenden Farben sind unten separat aufgeführt. Die roten Farben sind ehemalige Incolorfarben, die nun in den entsprechenden Farbgruppen aufgenommen wurden. Und die in den Farbgruppen grau geschriebene Farben sind neu.

Am 13.04.2013 haben wir unser Geschäftstreffen von SU in Frankfurt. Ich denke, da werden wir genauere Infos erhalten. Also habt noch ein einwenig Geduld.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Post für mich

Liebe Karolina, dein Einverständnis voraus gesetzt, möchte ich heute die liebe Post zeigen, die ich in den letzten Tagen von Dir bekam. Mir hat die Karte so gut gefallen. Seht mal.

vielen Dank noch mal dafür

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Einladungskarte Konfirmation

Heute möchte ich euch eine Einladungskarte zur Konfirmation zeigen.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

wieder Alben zum Abschied

Wieder haben sich zwei sehr nette Kolleginnen verabschiedet. Dazu habe ich Flipalben mit den Fotos und persönlichen Grüßen der Kollegen gemacht.

Stefanie und Kristina, auf diesem Wege noch mal herzlich alles Gute für eure Zukunft. Ich werde euch vermissen.

Euch noch einen schönen Ostermontag
Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Speculation In Chiang Rai…

There is talk and speculation everywhere, as to what the future holds for Chiang Rai.  People seem to hold strong opinions on what will be built, when, where, by whom and what effect it will have on the future of Chiang Rai.  There are reports of the Chinese buying up land and driving up prices.  Our newest golf course, Happy City, was apparently developed by Koreans. 

Chiang Mai is still the primary destination for Thais escaping Bangkok but Chiang Rai is coming into its own.  Several Thai celebrities have properties in the area and we even have a few royals from Europe who spend at least part of the year on their own private estates, with one of them sponsoring football in the area.  We are slowly becoming a destination, not just a day trip or a stopover, on the way from Chiang Mai to Laos.

The new bridge over the Mekong near Chiang Khong is supposed to bring big changes.  There is talk of a rail line or two being built, from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and perhaps more likely from Chiang Khong to Denchai, but that talk has been with us for a longtime.  No doubt it will happen one day but I think it is still far in the future.  All this talk and speculation has got me looking back, not forward.  It started me thinking about how much has changed in the relatively short time we have been living in Chiang Rai, or Phaya Mengrai to be more precise.

Other than the bridge over the Mekong there have been two new bridges opened over the Kok River to facilitate traffic flow.  The bypass road which extends from the airport has opened two sections and it looks like a third is getting near completion.  I have heard another bypass road, on the other side of town, has begun construction but we don’t often get over that way, so I have not seen it myself.

Closer to home they have been widening the 1020 road from Chiang Khong to Thoeng and there is talk of another, yet to be built, road that may pass to the east of our village.  Landfill and roadwork seems to be constant and the roads to town are marked by the slow progress of heavily laden trucks hauling gravel from the quarries and dirt excavated from the hills.

The opening of Chiang Rai’s Central Plaza shopping mall has changed the shopping landscape and spurred other retailers to renovate and upgrade in order to keep pace.  New schools and restaurants have been added.  New housing developments are everywhere and now there is flurry of condo building.  I am not a football fan but I hear there are a couple of new stadiums in the area.  When we began our house they were still in the process of installing telephone lines, so the adsl high-speed internet I depend on, didn’t arrive until around the time our house was finished.

Living to the east of Chiang Rai we have perhaps been spared the most negative effects of development.  We enjoy the modernization in town but live far enough away, we only see it when we want to.  Close to us the biggest development has been the purchase of some 8000 rai of land between our village and the Ing River which has been planted with rubber trees.  Some rice land was lost but much of the purchase was scrub and prone to flooding, so the trees are a marked improvement.  Riding my mountain bike in the area, before, was a struggle and limited to the dry season.  Now the trees are getting bigger, there are trails everywhere and there is an interesting new embankment I rode on recently that helps to keep the river at bay.  The trees are tall enough to block views of landmarks, leaving me wondering where I am part of the time but with the trees boasting fresh young leaves it is a joy to ride through the plantation on the way home and I see real potential as a recreation area.

I have no idea how much of the new development and speculation will prove profitable for the investors.  Some think there will be increased traffic from China, while others think it will only be cargo trucks passing through as they head south, thus providing little benefit to the local economy.  I still stumble upon the ruins of old dreams from time to time on my rides.  Great ideas sometime lead to great folly and make for an eerie view of the gap between what could have been and what is.  I love riding through these resorts turned ghost-town but I am sure they represent a very painful chapter in the lives of others.

Since I began this post a while back, the smoke has become overwhelming and I have stopped all outdoor exercise until it clears.  My post about the burning from last year was republished by Asiancorrespondent.com, with more people reading the post this year than last. 

I moved the mountain bike indoors and mounted it on the training stand.  Besides getting a little exercise while watching TV, I am playing with adjustments, trying to find the most comfortable and efficient riding position.  Now I know what I want for my next upgrade.  Here are a few pictures from my last couple of rides before things got bad.
Kok River near Chiang Rai.

Flowering tree spotted from the trail.
Ing River near the rubber plantation.

Nice road through the rubber trees.

Flood prevention embankment between the river and the trees.

One of the lesser used trails in the plantation.
With all the holes, not sure how long this embankment will last.

Mongolian Stir-Fry at Old Country Buffet and Ryans PART 2

See our article of March 22, 2013 for PART I

PART II

The next visit was the night I would try
it, but when I went up and that the young man who was being trained was
gone but a very personable young lady was there in his place. I went up
and she smiled - so rare at an OCB from many employees with very special
exceptions. I asked for chicken with noodles and vegetables. She filled
a large

Osterkranz

Lisa hatte ja für die Tauschpostrunde diesen Monat die Osterhasen gebastelt. Zwei Osterhasen waren nun noch übrig und sie hat sie kurzer Hand einen wunderschönen Osterkranz für die Tür gebastelt.

Ist der nicht schön?

Nun wünsche ich euch allen ein wunderschönes Osterwochenende und den Kindern viel Spaß beim Suchen.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny