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October 2011

15/012/2554

DAY OF THE KING O

n October 23, the Kingdom of Thailand will stop and remember King Rama V, the nation’s most revered former monarch. Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Chulalongkorn Phra Chunla Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua, otherwise known as Rama V or Chulalongkorn, was Thailand’s fifth king under the House of Chakri. Chulalongkorn Day, October 23, commemorates the passing of one of Thailand’s favourite sons with a public holiday across the Kingdom. Rama V was crowned King of Siam on October 1, 1868 when he was aged only 15, and reigned until his death, at age 57, on October 23, 1910. During his 42-year reign, he abolished slavery, fended off the colonial powers of France and Great Britain, and showed his great love for his people by dressing in peasant clothing and mixing with the poor to properly understand their problems. During his early life as Prince, Chulalongkorn was educated by European tutors, and unlike previous Thai

INSIDE

Good Pub Grub

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Driving Safety Tips

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Thailand Q&A

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Do’s & Don’ts

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Map of Samui

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Thailand Fun Facts

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Romantic and luxurious: computer-generated image of the Conrad resort to be built on Samui.

Thailand’s fifth king under the House of Chakri, Chulalongkorn

kings, visited other nations to learn from them. Between 1870 and 1872, he travelled to Singapore and British India to gain valuable insight from the British colonies, which he later used to modernise Thailand. He established the Au-

ditor General Off ice, which was set up to create a single agency to collect the people’s taxes, eradicating a system which had been widely used by corrupt rogues. Today, the King of Thailand’s children are routinely sent to Europe to study, but

–Picture by ScorpianPK.

Rama V was the first to ensure his heirs would benefit from the liberal and democratic ideals that were sweeping across Europe at the time. But without doubt, King Rama V’s greatest achievement was to abolish slavery. In 1867, almost a third of

the Siamese population was registered as slaves, but in 1905, Rama V enacted the Slave Abolition Act, freeing the slaves many of whom became merchants or farmers. The current King of Thailand, Rama IX, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is Rama V’s grandson, is similarly revered by the Thai people. As October 23 is a Sunday, October 24 has been designated as a public holiday.


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Advice for driving safely in Thailand Always carry an International Driving License If you are in Thailand on a Tourist Visa you must have an International Driving Permit. You cannot use your licence from your home country unless the licence was issued in Laos, Malaysia or Singapore. Despite this, some unscrupulous rental companies still claim that you can drive or ride legally in Thailand on your home country licence – that is not true – be warned.

Drive on the left side of the road In Thailand all vehicles drive on the left side of the road. Cars are right-hand drive. Many Thai drivers prefer to keep to the lane nearest the centre of the road because of the smoother surface. In such cases it is allowed to overtake on the ‘inside’ of the vehicle in front of you.

Free left turn At many junctions with traffic lights you will see a blue sig n wh ich says “Proceed if safe” and this allows you to turn left at the junction even if the red light is showing in front of you.

Insurance (cars)

Rented cars are covered by comprehensive insurance but you may have to pay an excess charge if the vehicle is damaged in an accident. Check the rental contract carefully before taking the vehicle. Also make sure you check the vehicle for existing damage before you leave the rental company – if damage exists take photographs with date imprint to protect yourself against false claims later.

Insurance (motorcycles) Be a dv ised t hat re nt ed motorcycles are not covered by any form of insurance. I f t h e mot o r c ycle i s damaged or stolen whilst in your possession you are liable for full payment of the repairs or replacement motorcycle and also for loss of use.

Security deposit Some car and motorcycle renters will ask you to leave your passport as security during the rental period. Do not do this under any circumstances. Your passport is the property of your country’s government and is not to be handed over to third parties but kept in your possession at all times when in Thailand. Always carry your passport with you or carry photocopies of the photo page, Tourist Visa stamp page and the Arrival/ Departure card.

Obey speed limits On the main roads (both single and dual carriageway) outside towns the maximum speed limit is 90km/h. However, in towns the maximum speed limit is 50km/h.

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Helmets A ll motorcyclist s a re required, by Thai law, to wear

a safety helmet when riding any motorcycle. Your rental company should provide this for you. It is also advisable for the pillion passenger to wear a helmet, for obvious safety reasons.

Accidents If you are involved in an accident with a rented car or jeep the first contact will be your rental company who will arrange for an inspector from the insurance company to visit the scene of the accident. It is usual that the police will also come to the scene and take statements from all parties involved. In such cases do not surrender your passport to the police unless you have been responsible for loss of life or serious injuries to third parties.

in the evenings so make sure you have enough fuel in the tank for overnight driving.

Flashing headlamps In many Western countries when a motorist flashes the headlamps on his vehicle, the signal means ‘You go first’. In Thailand the complete opposite is true. Headlamps flashed by a Thai driver means he is coming through, and that you should ‘watch out’ ‘or ‘get out of the way’.

Indicator signals If driving behind a slower vehicle on a highway, the driver of that vehicle may use the indicators to tell you if it is safe to pass or not. If he turns on the right-side indicator it means that you should not over take as there is oncoming traffic. However, if he turns on the left side indicator it means it is clear to pass (in his opinion though – check for yourself first before overtaking).

Right of way At all junctions and roundabouts you must give way to the vehicles that are approaching from your right side. However, at all times on Thailand’s roads, elephants have first right of way.

Confiscation of your passport The police can request and retain your passport only if a crime has been committed by you and the police do not wish you to leave the country until due process of law has fully taken place. Never respond to an offer to release your passport in exchange for payment. You should advise your Embassy or the local Honorary Consul for your country immediately if your passport has been taken by the police.

Driving at night At night, local street lighting is never very bright outside the main towns. Be aware of motorcycles with no red rear light and those with sidecars attached with no red rear lights. Also look out for stray dogs sleeping in the road or by the edge of the road.

Refuelling Local gas stations close early

Traffic lights

Police checks M o t o r c ycl e r i d e r s a r e regularly stopped at police checkpoints for checks of driving licences, proper use of safety helmet and possible passport inspection. Fines may be levied on the spot to those breaking the law or you will be told to report to the nearest local police station to pay the fine. Make sure you always ask for a receipt of payment.

When the lights are red, all the motorcyclists will ride to the front of the line waiting for the green light. Be careful when driving off from traffic lights as these motorcyclists are vulnerable – be patient and give them plenty of room on the road. At many junctions there are digital ‘count-down’ displays indicating when the lights will change colour.

Practice courtesy and tolerance You will not find a lot of courtesy on the roads of Thailand, but you will find Thai drivers are very tolerant of other driver’s bad behaviour. If a driver’s bad behaviour affects you, do not respond with a negative or aggressive response – take a deep breath and count to 10, then relax.


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DO’S & DON’TS WHILE IN THAILAND

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THAILAND Q&A Q: What is the electrical supply in Thailand? A: The voltage in Thailand is 220 volts, 50 cycles per second. Generally speaking, Thailand’s plug sockets are two-pronged, so bringing along a converter is a good idea, although you can always purchase one here. Q: Can I drink water directly from the tap in Samui?

It is important to remember that Thai social nuances are different from those found in the Western world. To avoid any misunderstandings during your time in the Land of Smiles, follow these simple do’s and don’ts.

DO exercise tolerance.

A: Generally this is probably not advisable. Bottled water is cheap, and the best thing to drink if you want to avoid an upset stomach. Q: Are the dental services in Thailand of a high standard? A: Yes. If you need any dental work done, we would advise that you take advantage of the excellent dental services offered here. In most cases, they have the innovative technology that you would see in top quality dental practices in the Western world, for a fraction of the price.

It is the norm in the Western world to become agitated when things don’t go our way. Communication breakdowns can lead to heated disagreements.

Q: What are the opening hours of banks and money exchangers?

However, DO NOT lose your temper in the heat of the moment, whether it’s

A: Most banks are open Monday to Friday from 9.30am-3.30pm, except bank holidays. However, money exchangers are generally open every day from 8.30am to 10pm, while foreign currency can usually be exchanged at major hotel receptions at any hour of the day.

in a dispute over a restaurant or bar bill, or when you get in a fender-bender. Just smile, be reasonable, and you will find things sorted out much more easily.

DON’T disrespect the Thai Royal Family. The Thai Royal Family is revered across the nation and must be treated

Q: Do I always need to bargain when shopping?

with the utmost respect at all times. DO NOT publicly criticise the King of

A: Yes, though major stores usually have fixed prices and won’t bargain. Don’t forget: haggling is a game, not an argument, so enjoy it.

Thailand or any member of the Royal Family. It’s against the law and you may find yourself with a lengthy prison sentence or at best a large fine. It has happened before to unknowing visitors and it will happen again, so beware.

DO keep your feet on the ground.

Q: Can I use my credit cards in Thailand? A: Most upscale hotels, restaurants, department stores and tailors accept credit cards. All other places normally will accept cash only.

In Thai culture, the feet are the lowest part of the body, which is a negative thing. DO NOT use your feet to point at things, to move chairs or close doors, or wave the soles of your feet at other people. Keep your feet firmly on the ground (and not rested on the table) at all times and everything will fine.

DON’T cause a Thai to lose face. Thais are a non-confrontational people who would rather smile than argue. Never ridicule a Thai in private or public, because this will make them lose face. This is an important aspect of Thai culture and should always be remembered.

DO treat Thailand with respect. This one is common sense: Put your garbage in a bin, show common courtesy to those around you and don’t throw your weight around. Just because we spend lots of money while on holiday here, doesn’t mean we own the country.

DON’T wear skimpy clothing in a temple. When visiting a Buddhist temple, wear appropriate clothing. Skimpy clothing should be reserved for the beach and the clubs only. Would you go to church or the synagogue or a mosque at home only wearing a bikini? We thought not.

DO tip in restaurants when it’s warranted. While it is now customary to leave a tip after paying your bill in many upscale and international restaurants in Thailand, you don’t necessarily have to tip when you’ve already paid a service charge. Check your bill and tip accordingly, though we’d suggest that excellent staff and food should always be rewarded.

DON’T stop at a roadside incident. Sadly enough, if you see a roadside incident such as a motorbike crash, DO NOT stop to help. Maybe this goes against your human nature and instincts, but you could find yourself being blamed for the incident. You might find yourself paying a hefty fine even though you did nothing wrong. Be warned!

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THE SOUTHERN SUN - SAMUI

F5

E2

A

B

E2

C

F5

D

E

G

SAMRONG BAY

KOH SOM

LAEM NA LAN

BANG POR

F

TONG SON BAY

WAT NA PHRA LAN

1 LOMPRAYA

LAEM YAI WAT SISU WANNA RAM

MAE NAM BO PHUT

BAN TAI

VIEW POINT

VIEW POINT

BAN THONG PO

CHIEFTAIN NONTH BIG BUDDHA WAT PLAI LAEM 4171

The Frog & Gecko Pub

WAT PHUKHAO THONG

CHOENG MON

BAN PLAI LAEM WAT BO PHUT

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SAMUI AIRPORT

Bistro Journal

4169

BIG C BAMDOM INT

WAT SIETAVIB

PHRA PHUTTHABAT HAMLONG KHAO HUA CHUL

MAKRO

NATHON

4169 THAI INT TESCO LOTUS

TESCO LOTUS

SAMUI HOSPITAL

KOH MATLANG

SAMUI INT CHAWENG LAKE

WAT CHAENG WAT KHONG KHARAM

NATHON

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WAT CHAWENG

WAT HIN LAD

4172

CHAWENG

HIN LAD WATERFALL

BAN LIPA YAI

WATERFALL BANGKOK SAMUI INT KO SAMUI INT

BAN LIPA NOI

BAN CHAWENG NOI

WANORM WATERFALL

TONG YANG

VIEW POINT

4174

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THONG TANG

BUFFALO FIGHTING

WAT NARA CHAROEN SUK

BAN SA KET

WAT SAKET

4169

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TESCO LOTUS

NA MUANG 1 WATERFALL

FIVE ISLAND BEACH

BAN THURIAN BAN TALING NGAM 4173 4170

WAT KHUNARAM

WAT PRADOEM

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BAN PANG KA WATKLANG

WAT KEE REE MAS

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LAEM HIN KHOM

BAN THA PO

WAT SILA NGU HIN TA - HIN YAI

SAMUI

HUA THANON

BUDDHA’S FOOTPRINT

BAN HARN

DISTRICT

NATIEN BEACH WAT SANTI KARAM

BANG KAO

THONG TANOTE BEACH

THONG KRUT

MAP LEGEND

ROCKY’S BEACH PROVINCIAL COURT SAMUI STADIUM

4170

PANG KA BAY

LAMAI

4169

WAT KIRI WONGKARAM

Beach Republic

LAEM NAN BEACH

VIEW POINT

BUFFALO FIGHTING

TALING NGAM

Buddy Oriental Samui Beach Resort

WAT LAMAI

SURAT THANI

LAEM SET

1.5 KM.

LAEM SOR

Provincial Road Secondary Road Soi

KO PHANGAN 30 mins 40 mins KO SAMUI 30 mins

SURATTHANI

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT

3 KM.

Temple Church Bus Terminal Market/Shop Golf Course Village Government

Gas Station Bank Post Office Education Police Interesting Hospital/Clinic

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LIFE’S ALL GOOD AT THE FROG & GECKO K

OH Samui is one of Southeast Asia’s premier beach destinations, attracting thousands of holidaymakers every year, many finding their own ‘favourite place’ to hang out. The Frog & Gecko Pub, situated in the quaint Fisherman’s Village at Bo Phut Beach, is one such restaurant and bar, which has been a favourite haunt for locals and tourists since 1998. At The Frog & Gecko Pub, you can enjoy soothing beachside dining on the outdoor terrace with its dramatic seaviews, scenic palm trees and Koh Phangan in the distance. The pub menu features a large selection of Thai, British and American cuisine; the Frog & Gecko rightly has a reputation for supplying some of the tastiest and most affordable

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Hitting all the right notes.

days has been running for more than seven years and has built up a regular clientele. With regular live music, English-speaking staff, and a warm and friendly atmosphere, it is no wonder The Frog & Gecko Pub has become one of the most popular places to eat and drink on Koh Samui. The Frog & Gecko team are always ready to give you a warm welcome at any time of the year.

dishes found on the island. Everything on the menu is homemade and geared towards families, so you can expect a meal at great prices that bust the gut but not the bank balance. If you are not hungry, you

could try one of the 25 cocktails on the extensive drinks menu. With a vast selection of cold beers and New World wines, this is the ideal bar to enjoy a cool drink on a hot day. The Frog & Gecko is also

a great place to watch live sporting events from around the world, with three satellite TV systems, a large projector screen and 36-inch TVs. In addition, the always popular pub quiz held on Wednes-

■■ The Frog & Gecko Pub is open every day from midday until 2am. For further information call Raphaela on 08 7271 3371, Graham on 08 9866 8657, or email froggeckopub@hotmail.com.


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Fun facts about Thailand Have you eaten yet? The Thai greeting sawasdee is actually a fairly recent invention, only coined in the mid-1930s by Phraya Upakit Silapasan of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Apparently, in an attempt to adapt to the Westernising trends of the day, Phraya Upakit thought the term would be suitable to adopt as a polite greeting. Prior to that, the common Thai greeting was to ask “Have you eaten yet” or “Where are you going”, terms still widely used in the rural northeast. Like much of the Thai language, the actual word is Hindu in origin and derived from the Sanskrit Svasti, meaning “well-being”. The symbol for this concept was called the Svastika. Yes, that’s where the Nazis took it from before they twisted it out of all possible recognition.

Capital punishment According to the World Meteorological Organisation, Bangkok is the hottest city in the world. It has an annual mean air temperature of 28°C, but in the hottest months, from March to May, the city averages 34°C days and 90 per cent humidity.

But not even locals will refer to it by the city’s full name, which holds the record for being the longest official place name in the world. Take a deep breath, and then say:

In the trenches

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

Thais don’t know the capital as Bangkok, but instead refer to the nation’s largest city as Krungthep. The word Bangkok refers to what was originally the eastern side of the city, while Thonburi was on the western side. When Bangkok and Thonburi were joined, the capital was renamed Krungthep, but the name Bangkok has stuck with foreigners.

In English, this translates as “The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarma.”

Most people don’t realise that Thailand entered World War 1 in July 1917, sending an expeditionary force of 1,284 volunteers to the Wester n Front. I n tot al, 19 Thai soldiers were killed, and it is claimed that Thai nurses were the only women to have served in the trenches of the Western Front. In January 1920, Thailand also was a founding member of the League of Nations, precursor to the United Nations.

leave the house without underwear. Fortunately for most Western tourists, this law is not widely enforced.

Laying down the law It is illegal in Thailand for men (and women of course) to go bare-chested in public. You must wear a top at all times. It is also illegal to

Precious pachyderms White elephants in Thailand have long been considered an auspicious omen and used in numerous traditional ceremonies. One discontinued tradition though, is feeding white elephants from the bare breasts of young women.

According to Guinness World Records, the most expensive painting ever made by elephants is Cold Wind, Swirling Mist, Charming Lanna I. It sold for B1.5 million on 19 February, 2005, at Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.

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