Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O

No rain promised in my area for a while so I’ve looked through my photos to see what I could come up with and here are two.  Both of these were taken in Thailand, one in Koh Samui, the other in Hua Hin on the Gulf of Siam just a couple of hours drive from Bangkok.

you-can-have-fun-with-a-polystyrene-box-lid-even-without-an-x-box
Having fun at Hua Hin, Thailand

This little boy was having the time of his life on his polystyrene box lid which served as a raft from which he was trying to catch fish.  I don’t think it mattered whether he caught any or not, the fun was in trying, and in having such a marvellous float to carry him along the seashore.  Don’t worry, Dad was trawling the near water keeping an eye out so that he didn’t drift off.  They had little money, it was obvious.  Mum was digging in the sand for tiny little sandfish and crabs for supper and his sisters were gathering leaves from the hedges around.  Tech toys were unknown to him and even though I am sure he hankered after them, I confess I hoped he could continue to enjoy the childlike life he was having at the moment I took this photograph.

koh-samuii-in-rainstorm
Torrential rain in Koh Samui, Thailand

Oh dear, it wasn’t supposed to rain in Koh Samui, but it did, and heavily.  Two days of torrential rain rendered the hotel’s umbrellas unusable, the decking awash, and the grey sea a hazard if one wanted to swim.   Day and night it pounded the beach, the noise like thunder at night.  Room service was needed but by the time food got to the rooms it was cold – and sometimes very wet – so everyone waded through the water to the restaurant where the staff did their best to serve us with hot food.

Two days later it was all over.  We woke up to sunshine, dry decking, dry beaches and a placid blue sea.  Had it really been as bad as I remember?   As the locals say, “TIT” – This is Thailand”.

Hua Hin – Thailand’s Royal Town

People often ask what is my favourite town or city in Thailand.  The answer is easy, it is Hua Hin, a once quiet fishing village on the Gulf of Siam, two hours drive from Bangkok, and a world away from the bustle and noise of the capital city.  Mind you, Bangkok is up there with the favourites as well, but it is the capital city after all, and all capital cities are deserving of their popularity.

I have been visiting Hua Hin for about 25 years now, stopping off on every holiday to recharge my batteries in the peace and tranquillity of one of the hotels just outside the town.  For the last twenty years, that hotel has been the Dusit Thani Hua Hin, a 5-star establishment that attracts guests from far and wide, but it also pleases the Thai people because come the week-end, they flock to it for the great food (especially the Saturday night barbecue), the delightful seaside setting, and the chance to go horse-riding at dawn on the beach (the only hotel at which this is available).

Today’s Hua Hin owes much of its popularity to the fact that many people discovered it only after the tsunami that devastated the southern beaches of Phi Phi, Phuket, Kao Lak etc.  Before the tsunami it could be said that the fishing village atmosphere was very evident, but today, the little fishing harbour is being crowded by the shops, restaurants, and tailors that line the roads leading to the sea.

Most of the major hotel chains have a presence here – Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Aleena, Sofitel, and of course, the only already mentioned, Dusit Thani.  I choose Dusit Thani because it is a purely Thai owned hotel with service and attention to detail that reflects the Thai ideal of hospitality.  All these hotels have excellent restaurants but Hua Hin itself must be one of the best towns in which to find food from every nation.  As well as Thai restaurants, of which there are many, there are Chinese, French, German, Indian, Italian, Korean, Swiss, Japansese, Vietnamese, American and European/Mediterranean fusion.

With the growth of a well-heeled retirement colony in the town, bakeries have sprung up as well as cheese and meat importers.  Fresh vegetables can be purchased daily at the local market, or there is a Tesco/Lotus supermarket for those who feel the need for packaged veggies and air-conditioned stores.

Hua Hin is one of the most popular spots to which people want to retire as the climate is never too hot or too humid, unlike say Phuket or the islands in the south.  It is also within easy distance of Bangkok, there is a good transport network, and perhaps most important of all, there are six championship golf courses in the area.

I cannot recommend the town too much.  For me it is the perfect place for a holiday.