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Join me, Eugene Tang, as we explore the Amazing Wonders of Thailand

Exotic Taste of Thailand – Nam Prik Maeng Da (Giant Waterbug Chili Dipping Paste)

Nam Prik Maeng Da is best eaten with fresh or boiled vegetable

Some 200 edible insect species are eaten in Thailand and the giant water bug (Lethocerus indicus) or maeng-da-na is highly appreciated in Thai cuisine for its unique flavour and Nam Prik Maeng Da is definitely one of my favourite nam priks. It is a spicy Thai chili dip that incorporates pounded giant water bugs as the main flavoring ingredient. To me, the dip has a fruity flavour like raw mango. It has a much lighter taste than the traditional nam prik pla ra or fermented fish dip of Northeastern Thailand.

This is an amazing dish with a strong exotic scent. Like durians *King of Fruits* either you love it or hate it!

A bowl of giant water bugs (Lethocerus indicus)

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Meditating Buddha Statue (Phra Phuttha Nirarokhantarai Chaiwat Chaturathit) in Phatthalung – A Gracious Gift from His Majesty The King

Meditating Buddha Statue (Phra Phuttha Nirarokhantarai Chaiwat Chaturathit ), Phatthalung

Located in downtown Phatthalung, this beautiful Meditating Buddha (Phra Phuttha Nirarokhantarai Chaiwat Chaturathit ) is one of the four Buddha statues commissioned by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is a royal tradition to establish directional Buddha images for auspiciousness as well as well-being and security of all subjects.

Phra Phuttha Nirarokhantarai Chaiwat Chaturathit resides in the cruciform pavilion of Wat Sala Daeng (Phatthalung, Thailand)

It is a Buddha image of the South made by the Territorial Defense Department. The width of the lap span is 49 inches and was casted from an alloy of bass, platinum and copper (3:1:1) and other precious metals such as gold and silver donated by the general public, weighing 1400kg in total.

The Buddha Image was enshrined in Wat Sala Daeng in the centre of Phatthalung city on 27 December 1968 and was a gracious gift from the King to the people of Phatthalung. The remaining of the three Buddha images installed at the same time are located in Lampang (North), Saraburi (East) and Ratchaburi (West).

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Her Majesty Queen Sirikit celebrates 81st birthday

Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit

Tomorrow (August 12), Thailand celebrates the 81st birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. The day is also observed as Mother’s Day in Thailand.

On the joyous occasion of birthday of Her Majesty The Queen, I would like to wish Her Majesty The Queen a very Happy 81st Birthday and long life every single day and a Happy Mother’s Day to all beautiful moms out there!!!

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Thailand Eco-Travel – Discover Nature at Ban Khao Homestay (Songkhla)

Ban Khao Homestay – a little paradise nestled in the middle of rice paddies (Songkhla, Thailand)

All huts come with mosquito netting (Ban Khao Homestay, Songkhla)

Located in Amphur Ranod, northernmost district of Songkhla province, southern Thailand, Ban Khao Homestay is an ideal place to stay for nature and bird lovers. A world away from the hectic city life. Ban Khao Homestay offers native hut accommodations (from 400THB/night) set in the middle of the rice fields. Alternative accommodation can be arranged if there are more than 15 people. The accommodation is very basic inclusive of simple breakfast.

A leisure boat ride on the waterway (Ban Khao, Songkhla)

Look who’s watching you!

With an open mind, I enjoyed every moment of my stay at Ban Khao Homestay such as taking a morning outdoor shower from rain barrels overlooking the deep green rice paddies, it was such a wonderful feeling! One of the great things to do is bird watching but prepare to wake up early in the morning (6am). Thanks to its rich diversity of habitats and wildlife, there is an impressive variety of waterfowl and waders in the territory of Ban Khao Homestay such as the Asian Openbill Stork, Little Egret, Grey Heron etc. The connecting waterways are lined with colourful tropical water lilies in full bloom early in the morning. It is a heavenly sight!!!

A massive flock of Asian Openbill Storks (Ban Khao, Songkhla)

The famous Chinese fishing nets, located in the Cochin/Kochi city of Kerala can be found in Ban Khao (Songkhla, Thailand)

What about food in Ban Khao Homestay? Pee Khao’s wife is an excellent cook and a gracious host. She will prepare you sumptuous home-cooked meals using fresh, locally sourced ingredients that can be enjoyed while relaxing in the open air. The freshwater river shrimps (Goong Mae Nam) from Thale Noi are simply delicious. Must try!!!

Overall it was a good experience and I had the chance to go back to basics of life as well as a unique opportunity to experience life in the countryside. It is the perfect destination to relax and rejuvinate. Last but not least, thank you once again for the warm hospitality and sumptuous meals.

Water lilies yield edible celery-like stalks

A bowl of delicious Tom Yum Goong

Ban Khao Homestay can be visited all year long but the best time is during March to October where the water lilies are in full bloom. Undoubtedly the best time to see the migratory birds such as Redshank is during September to March.

Discover Nature at Ban Khao Homestay

Getting There:

There is no direct transportation from Hat Yai to Ban Khao Homestay. It takes about 2.5 hours drive by car from Hat Yai city. From Phatthalung, head to Thalenoi and use the Sapan Chalerm Phra Kiat 80 Pansa (Head to Amphur Ranod of Songkhla). Then follow the signboard showing direction to “Khuan Chalik”, drive another 4km, you will reach Ban Khao Homestay. If you are coming from Nakhon Si Thammarat, simply head to Amphur Ranod and look out for the signboad showing direction to “Khuan Chalik”.

For anyone taking the public transportation, after arriving Ranod then hire a local motorcycle or truck to Ban Khao Homestay.

My little companion in Ban Khao Homestay, isn’t she cute?

For more information, please kindly contact TAT Hatyai office:
1/1 Thanon Nipatuthit 3 Soi 2
Tel: 0 7424 3747, 0 7423 8518, 0 7423 1055
Fax: 0 7424 5986
Email: tathatyai@tat.or.th
www.songkhlatourism.org

My gracious hosts in Ban Khao Homestay (Pee Khao and his wife)

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TAT launches new promotional Amazing Thailand bag featuring Siamese cat

The Siamese cat Amazing Thailand bags by TAT

Good news for cat lovers!!! Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is launching a new line of promotional Amazing Thailand paper bags to promote its “Thainess” concept by featuring the traditional Siamese cat on both sides and it will be given out at travel shows and tourism road shows starting from August 2013.

The cat is of the Wichian Mat breed and it has brown fur with black and white tints and blue eyes. This sought-after Siamese cat has 9 distinguishing marks, which makes it unique among Siamese cats. It is a breed that was known by many foreigners even before Siam became Thailand. In the reign of King Rama V, His Majesty presented a Wichian Mat cat to the British Consul-General before he departed Thailand. The breed also won a cat contest in London, which led to the founding of a Siamese Cat Lovers Club overseas.

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Stand A Chance To Win A Honda Brio Amaze Car in the 12th Hua Hin and Cha-Am Golf Festival 2013

The 12th Hua Hin and Cha-Am Golf Festival 2013

The 12th Hua Hin and Cha-Am Golf Festival 2013 will kick off on 4th August 2013 and the grand prize for this year golf festival is a Honda Brio Amaze car. This festival has been held annually since 2002 under the cooperation of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khirikhan TAT Offices, and Phetchaburi/Prachuap Khirikhan Golf Course Association, a period of 2 months from August to September.

Here is a list of the participating golf courses in the 12th Hua Hin and Cha-Am Golf Festival 2013:

  • Royal Hua Hin Golf Course
  • Springfield Royal Country Club
  • The Majestic Creek
  • Palm Hills Golf Club & Residence
  • RTA Sport Centre II Suanson Pradipat (Seapine)
  • Sawang Golf Club
  • The Eagle Golf Club
  • Kaeng Krachan Country Club & Resort
  • The Imperial Lakeview Resort & Golf Club

Each of the golf courses offers the same green fee rate of 999 Baht per round. The draw will take place on 6th October 2013 at The Imperial Lakeview Resort & Golf Club.

For more information, please kindly contact:

Huahin Golf Tours Co Ltd
Tel:032-530476-8
Email:hhgolf@huahingolf.com

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Stock photography by Eugene Tang at Alamy