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My friend Henk Landkroon, from Groningen in the Netherlands, has an excellent photoblog: STORMBLAST1953

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas in Khao Yai National Park

We decided to spend Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day in and around Khao Yai National Park. Khao Yai is a rapidly developing area which is about an hour's drive west of where we live.

First stop was a PTT Park filling station where we fueled up the car and had a visit with Santa Bear.

Next, the Great Hornbill Restaurant at the PB Valley Khao Yai winery. The desserts are lovely.

Arrival at the Balios Resort Khao Yai.

Room with a view of the pool and rainforest. In the morning we heard an elephant trumpeting somewhere out there.

The Palio shopping center, next to the hotel, was well-decorated for Christmas.

Always time for a coffee break.

Fancy dinner at Buon Appetito, next to the hotel. Probably our most expensive meal ever in Thailand.

Hotel entrance.

Santa made it to Khao Yai.

Haew Suwat Waterfall, Khao Yai National Park

Heaw Suwat Waterfall

Juvenile Gibbon

Juvenile Barking Deer

Stream in Khao Yai National Park

Mam of the Jungle

We stopped for lunch on the way home at Lam Takhong reservoir. Lunch was spicy papaya salad, grilled fish, sticky rice and grilled eggplant. It was very good.

Image of Luang Phor Toh - A Venerable Monk

Wat Luang Phor Toh - This is not really a wat, but a shrine to the monk Luang P hor Toh. It is in Sikhiu district, about 40 kilometers from Korat.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Khok Kruat and Ban Phutsa

Two of my favorite bike rides are to the villages of Khok Kruat and Ban Phutsa. Khok Kruat is right on the main highway about 20K west of Korat. It still retains a bit of old charm, with many old wooden shop houses still standing. Sadly, they are rapidly being replaced by more modern concrete structures. Luckily, the old train station still stands and serves four trains a day; two in each direction.

Khok Kruat Railway Station

Sunset at Khok Kruat Railway Station

Ban Phutsa is a small agricultural village that sits astride a minor highway. It is notable mainly for one of the few Khmer Prangs (tower) in Nakhon Ratchasima province. It also has a huge marshy wetland which was recently cleared of vegetation. I don't know why.

Khmer Prang at Wat Prang Torng

Bung Phutsa Wetland

This part of Thailand is lucky to have a good network of irrigation canals which enable many farmers to plant three crops of rice each year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Another Andaman Dive Trip

Yep, another liveaboard scuba trip to the Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, Richelieu Rock and the Boon Sung wreck.

Approaching Phuket

Dive schedule. Note the "Vodka" entries courtesy the Polish contingent. (And, yes, they did.)

Dive briefing by Chris and Michael

Robust Ghost Pipefish (a pair)

Sea Star (formerly known as "starfish")

Tiny Sea Star (about 1" or 2.5 cm)

Moorish Idol

Dorid Nudibranch (on the right)



Beach at Koh Tachai

The dive boat, the MV White Manta, anchored off Koh Tachai beach.


Nothing like a sunset at sea.

Tiny cleaner shrimp (upper left) next to a Banded Coral Shrimp.

Harlequin Shrimp

Blackspotted Moray

Twin Chromodoris Nudibranch

Uh-oh, look who's driving.

Obligatory closing sunset.

MV White Manta: November 29 - December 3, 212

Andaman Sea Cuttlefish

Andaman Sea Octopus