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ISSUE 55

CLIMB WITH KIDS

•TRAVEL•CULTURE•AO NANG•LANTA•LEISURE•NATURE•


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Editorial

Welcome to Krabi July 2010 – ISSUE 55 EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Thomas Gennaro krabimagazine@gmail.com 089 9085990 ART GROUP Creative Director: Natta pat Sunthonphuriwat [Ton®] tonidesign@gmail.com - 089 7727858 Graphic Designers: Bandit Kanjanavarodom [Lim] CONTRIBUTING WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Thomas Gennaro – Nattapat Sunthonphuriwat Robby Attwater - Paul Stretton Ton Company – Bandit Kanjanavarodom DISTRIBUTION AO NANG - KRABI - PHUKET Newspaperdirect Krabi: 075 637459 DISTRIBUTION KOH LANTA - KOH PHI PHI PHUKET - KOH SAMUI - BANGKOK Guava Corporations: 089 9085990

K

rabi Province is considered to be one of the most beautiful regions in a beautiful country. Krabi has it all, from the limestone karsts that characterize the region to world-class beaches, islands, temples, markets, nightlife and shopping, the list is seemingly endless. Gastronomes will find Krabi a sanctuary of fine dining and lovers of the great outdoors will find plenty to keep them occupied - waterfalls, hot springs, national parks, elephant treks are all on offer and Krabi is also one of the world’s premier destinations for rock climbing and scuba diving. The coral reefs of the Andaman Sea are among the world’s best and the Railay Peninsula attracts climbers from all over the world. Rain rain rain, go to Spain and don’t come back again. Actually, we Krabi residents do enjoy the occasional spell of rain and the thunderstorms too as we endure sizzling hot weather most of the year. Do not despair tourists, since the rain is sporadic, the monsoon is delayed this year and the natural attractions look so much better in Green Season: read about it in page 18 article. My friends were visiting with their 2 kids last month. They were looking for real adventure and I took them climbing in Railay; the kids loved it, and so did my friends! Doc tells us about Thai boxing camps in local villages, Paul reports on sweet favourite Papaya and I take a ½ day out at the catfish farm for some relaxation and fun. In Koh Lanta, I rent a bike and ride the East coast looking for a cultural adventure and having a great time. Our real estate section covers holidaying with kids; helping readers to plan payments to contractors building a home; eco-architecture in Thailand; owning a car in the country of smiles; and an insight of Mac iPad, both in general terms and applied to digital newspaper reading.

KitDee Media & Design Company Limited 247/13 Moo 5, Ao Nang, Krabi 81000 Tel: 075 661144 - 075 637459 - Fax: 075 637460 E-mail: krabimagazine@gmail.com

Krabi Magazine is published and produced by KitDee Media & Design Company Limited and is protected by Copyright. No parts of this publication can be used or reproduced in any form – printed, electronic, photocopy or otherwise – without the written permission of the publishers. The publisher reserves the right to refuse to publish adverts, texts or advertising features. Advertising terms and conditions are to be obtained at krabimagazine@gmail.com Please send submissions to krabimagazine@gmail.com DISCLAIMER While great care has been taken in the receipt and handling of material, production and accuracy in this magazine, the publisher will not accept any responsibility for any errors, loss or omissions which may occur. The information and stories published are those of the writers and contributors, and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or the editor. The description of properties, the contents, whereabouts and price are given in this magazine as a guide only. Please request further details from the advertiser and seek legal advice before entering into any contract to purchase. All information and prices were correct at the time of going to press.

Climb with kids Cover picture courtesy of: Antonella Manfredi

Watch out for our extremely popular Krabi 81000 Miniguide and Krabi Maps series that are massively available to visitors to Krabi and Koh Lanta, complementing the magazine and helping you with your search for the best eats, nightlife, activities, boats and buses timetables, doctors and banks, events; an endless array of information to make your stay reasonably organized. Find Krabi 81000 Miniguide and Krabi Maps in your hotel lounge, in restaurants and pubs, at airport and boat pier or in your favourite local travel agency. Browse them avidly and make use of our local expertise. Look out for our logos, and BEWARE OF IMITATIONS! We hope you find Krabi Magazine inspirational and helpful whether you come to Krabi to eat, drink and relax on the beach or participate in any of the numerous activities on offer here in Thailand. Enjoy the magazine, enjoy our Krabi Maps and 81000 Miniguides, and above all enjoy your Green Season holiday!

Thomas Gennaro Executive Editor

ERRATA CORRIGE In the May 2010 issue of the Krabi Magazine, the article on page 45 covering Zoe Villa being managed by Ton Company said “Krabi Villas by Ton Company Ltd”. This was a mistake, as Krabi Villas Ltd is not run by Ton Company Ltd; Krabi Villas is a Company owned and directed by Mark Rollins. We apologize to Krabi Villas for any inconvenience caused as a result.


CONTENTS

A Window on Krabi

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Cover Story

10

Sport

16

Travelogue

18

Fruits of Thailand

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Nature Trails

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Highlights of this amazing province: town to temples, beaches to Islands, natural hotspots to cultural places.

Often, the more of an adrenalin rush an activity gives a child, the keener they are to have a go themselves. Last month, my friend and his wife were visiting me in Ao Nang and were looking for some safe adventure for the whole family. I took them climbing… PLUS: Climbing in Railay: Guide & Facts

Kickboxing expert Doc comments on the sport and takes us to a Muay Thai camp in a local Muslim village.

Krabi has kept much of its charm intact, particularly when compared to neighboring Phuket. Most of it is about you and nature, especially in the Green Season.

One of the more popular fruits in Thailand is the humble Papaya, known in Thai as ‘Ma-la-ko’. It is readily available all the year round in Thailand, and is used in many ways in everyday life. PLUS: Consider that..: Recipe for ‘dulce de papaya’, or candied papaya

The Giant Catfish Farm and Nature Garden is a beautiful tropical garden to spend some quiet time in. PLUS: Factfile: Facts about the catfish Recipe: Thai Spicy Catfish, Pad Ped Pladuk

July 2010, issue 55

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CONTENTS 28 Koh Lanta

Get the most out of Koh Lanta. Highlights, maps, reviews and articles: Koh Lanta Highlights: Lanta Features Road Trip: Ride Lanta in low season Health & Living: 10 days silent temple retreat

July 2010, issue 55

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36 Real Estate

Purchasing and making real estate investments made simple with Krabi Magazine. Architect Tips: Make family holidays less stressful Construction: Avoid the Avoidable Part 3 Innovations: Eco-architecture in Thailand Know the Law: Car Ownership in Thailand Media: Will iPad save Newspapers?

50 News

PressReader for iPad by Newspaperdirect.

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OPEN ALL YEAR


A window on Krabi

THE ISLANDS

THE CULTURE

Hop on or hire a longtail, the local wooden boats with their picturesque prows. Sail away to Koh Poda, surrounded by turquoise waters, or to Koh Kai, shaped as a chicken and therefore called the Chicken Island, from where a walk on a sandy pathway connects it to Koh Tub. Make a longtail boat or speedboat trip to the Koh Hong archipelago, a group of limestone islands with hidden caves and lagoons perfect for kayaking or snorkeling. Join an organized tour to amazing Koh Phi Phi islands, full of marvelous bays, limestone cliffs, waters rich in marine life, caves where swallow nests are harvested, and much more. Visit Koh Jum and Koh Siboya, small, unspoiled tropical hideaway that have a unique atmosphere. These islands still have no electricity and no cars and give visitors the time to relax and re-charge their batteries. Or venture out on Koh Lanta, the developing island at the southern end of the province home to sea gypsies communities, where you will meet nature and tradition. A National Park area that comprises many different islands surrounded by coral reefs, such as Koh Ngai and remote Koh Rok.

Ban Natin, on the way from Ao Nang to Klong Muang, is the place to experience the peaceful lifestyle of the local Muslim community. Home accommodation is available, or you can simply make a stopover and see the production of handmade products such as batik paintings, pineapple-fiber paper and coconut shell carving. Wat Klong Thom Museum features various kinds of beads, stone tools, and stone and earthen ornaments in animal shapes of approximately 5,000 years old, uncovered during archeological excavations. Fire dancing, part of the beach culture, is a popular evening activity on the beaches of Koh Lanta, performed by acrobatic boys who swing burning torches around their bodies, creating sparkling artistic pictures. Ban Sang-Ka-U is a sea gypsy’s settlement in south-east Lanta Yai. It is there that an old clan of traditional Chao Ley try to preserve a disappearing way of life in this fast-developing island.

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THE TEMPLE Located just 9 km from Krabi Town the Wat Tham Seua, or Tiger Cave Monastery, is one of south Thailand’s most famous and interesting forest temples, as the monks live, meditate and worship within a maze of natural caves in an overgrown jungle valley. Many Thai women live out their old-age there as nuns. Explore the inner cave used by monks for meditation. Climb the 1,237 steps up a limestone tower to see the statue of the Buddha and the “footprint of the Buddha” embedded in the rock, and to enjoy one of the best viewpoints of the area. Take the circular walk through Krabi’s rarest of all features, a pocket of primary lowland forest, a circular rocky basin enclosed by high cliffs. Here, along a pathway used by monks to meditate and amongst a number of magnificent trees you can be amazed in front of the largest flared root base of any tree remaining in Thailand.


THE BEACHES

THE TOWN

Ao Nang, at 20km from Krabi Town, is the most developed of Krabi’s beaches, a long stretch of white sandy beach with limestone mountains as a backdrop. It has a wide range of accommodation and services and the main shopping street features restaurants, bars, pubs, souvenir shops, dive centers and tour agencies, massage centers and spas. This is the hub from which to plan your trip at sea and to the nearby islands on a typical longtail boat. Noppharat Thara beach, just around the corner from Ao Nang, is 3km long yet still undeveloped, with only a few resorts and bars. Attractive because of its natural setting, this is where local youngsters and families gather at sunset and at weekends. Savour some local Muslim snacks at the beach stalls, or fill yourself with seafood in the local restaurants at the very end of the beach, near the Noppharat Thara National Park headquarters. At low tide, walk out together with millions of small crabs on the sandy pathways to the small islands near the beach. Railay beaches are split and separated from Krabi and Ao Nang by monumental limestone mountains. Railay has two sides, east and west, and its settings are simply marvelous: crystal clear waters, pure sandy beaches, lush mountains, rocky islands emerging from the sea. Railay can only be reached by boat, a 15 minutes ride from Ao Nang or 30 minutes from Krabi Town. Enjoy a cocktail in one of the beach bars, visit the Phranang Cave, challenge yourself on a rock climbing course, hike the limestone massif to a lagoon and a viewpoint, or simply chill out. Neighbouring Tonsai lies at the base of a cliff which divides it form Railay West. Tonsai has a shallow beach with slow gradients out to sea which is profoundly affected by the tide. Klong Muang beach is a further 20km away from Ao Nang; it is the up-market side of Krabi, the place to be if you are after a peaceful holiday. Catering to families and couples, it is here that you really get the so deserved repose, surrounded by pristine nature. Tubkaek beach is another real place to hide away; long, clean and peaceful, the area has breathtaking views over Koh Hong islands archipelago, and charming sunsets. From there you can venture inside the National Park and try a walking trail to a viewpoint and a waterfall. Koh Lanta beaches have a wide selection of resorts for all tastes and pockets. Lanta Yai island has long stretches of gleaming white sandy beaches and shallow emerald waters. Lined with tropical vegetation, a private spot is never more than a short walk away on a southern beach at Lanta Yai.

Small, charming, silent at times, nice for a day’s walking tour. Krabi Town is full of old buildings, bars and restaurants, local exotic marketplaces and food stalls at the old Chao Fa pier where to sample the local food. The Krabi motto is: “lively town, lovely people”; Krabi’s simple people are definitely proud of their town and of their warm and generous character. Hop on a longtail boat at Chao Fa pier and visit Khao Kanab Nam, the unique pair of hills facing each other on the opposite banks of the Krabi River, symbols of the town; or embark on a journey to Koh Klang, an island next to town on the mouth of the river, where you will experience lives lived by the local fishing communities; or charter a boatman for a visit to the mangrove backwaters.

NATURAL HOTSPOTS Limestone mountains or karsts, characterize most of the inland Krabi area, the most spectacular being the massifs of Sai Tai. Susaan Hoi is a 40 million year-old seashell cemetery; once a large swamp where freshwater crustaceans proliferated, today home to 40 centimeter thick, shell encrusted limestone slabs, a geological uniqueness not far from Ao Nang. One must find a broken edge to see the shells clearly, since all of those on the upper surface have been walked on and worn down by the elements and are hard to identify. Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, at 20km from Krabi Town, comprises waterfalls, streams, lush forests and caves. It is home to all kind of flora and wildlife and to the highest mountain in the region from which it takes the name. One of the features of the park is Huay Toh Waterfall where water runs down onto several huge pools. Tarnbok Khoranee National Park, in the north of the region, consists of limestone mountains, verdant tropical forest, caves and beautiful islands. It is well-known for its different species of trees growing around a large natural crystal clear pool, and for the hundreds of birds’ species. Phi Hua Toh Cave, in the nearby Bor Thor area, surrounded by mangrove swamps and reachable by boat or kayak, is where to see pre-historic rock paintings depicting animals and humans. Sa Morakot, the Emerald Pool, is a natural wonder: a pond of turquoise water with an average temperature of 30-40C, fed by a hot spring in the middle of the jungle. Hot Springs of Klong Thom, natural Jacuzzis in which to lift away tensions and relieve body and mind with the mineral-enriched waters falling into rocky ponds.

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Cover Story Story by : Thomas Gennaro Photos by : Antonella Manfredi

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Climb with Kids

Krabi Magazine


Kids are very keen to try out new physical activities and often, the more of an adrenalin rush an activity gives a child; the keener they are to have a go themselves. Last month, my friend and his wife were visiting me in Ao Nang and were looking for some safe adventure for the whole family. I took them climbing…

R

ock climbing is an exhilarating, challenging, healthy and fun activity unlike any other, and an alternative activity to make your holiday more valuable, especially if you are with kids. Eventually, with this in mind, I convinced my friends Sergio and Antonella to take their kids climbing. “Is it dangerous?” they naturally asked. When approached in the correct way, climbing is nowhere near as dangerous as many people think. I made sure I chose the most reliable climbing school in the area for our adventure of course. We met our instructors Jane, Thailand’s top ranked female climber and part of the Thai National Team, and her colleague Nut in Hot Rock Climbing School shop, and started the gearing-up ceremony: we were fitted with harnesses tight enough not to slip down the hips, snug climbing shoes and Chalk bag. As we reached the climbing spot, in Railay East, and looked up at the rocks we were going to climb, the kids seemed slightly concerned, as this was their first climbing experience on real rock. Nut then laid the root using the locking carabineers while Jane explained the kids what to do once they reach the top. The truth is most kids are more afraid of coming down than going up. Antonella was astonished to see 9-year-old Stefano climb with real confidence. He quickly gained a good foundation, trusting his harness and bending knees, switching hands, shifting left to right under our instructions shouted from the ground. Once he reached the top and was ready to come down, Nut  tightened up the belay and told him to sit in the harness. Stefano was comfortable and

pushed off the rock doing little hops. It looked as if he had always climbed! After that it was 12-year-old Silvia to attempt the climb, after being prepared on what to do at the top. In fact, a new climber can get nervous and unknowing at the very top of a climb. Up there, she was instructed to unclung from the rock, she spread feet wide, bent the knees and was gradually lowered down. We adults followed suit, reaching the ring and enjoying the magnificent views from the top.

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After the first few climbs, and as the tide was raising and leaving little space at the bottom of the cliff, we packed our bags and trekked to the end of Phranang Beach and through a steep and dark cave to reach a cave window perched at 50 meters from the foot of the cliff from where we enjoyed amazing views of the Railay Bay. We needed to descend that route in order to return to our starting point. Nut and Jane explained to the kids that the main feature of the abseiling technique is to hold the rope and slowly slide it in a controlled way, keeping the legs stretched and well apart at all time while dropping back to the void, with body weight serving as a puller. A challenge the kids took on with real courage. We encouraged them to have hands out and ready to push off from the rock, in case they began to roll from one side or the other. More often than not a new climber will feel more comfortable hanging onto the rope, and the kids did just that. This is okay, but care should be taken of small overhangs or other outcroppings that climbers can bonk their heads on. Eventually they reached the foot of the cliff where Jane was waiting. The kids looked relieved and contempt for the achievement. Overall, getting a new climber used to being next to the rock, hanging in their harness and protecting themselves at the same time is the key. As we were trekking the verdant foothill forest going back to the meeting point I was proud to have pushed my friends and their kids to this unique invigorating experience. Now they all know what rock climbing entails and that it is a sport that anyone reasonably fit and of nearly any age can embark upon.

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Guide & Facts

Guide Introducing Your Kids to Climbing There are no restrictions on the age you should begin to take your kids climbing. For the most part, common sense and your own climbing knowledge (if you have any) as well as understanding your kids will determine the moment you feel comfortable in taking them out climbing. However, especially for non-climber parents, it’s often better if you introduce them to the world of climbing gradually and in a nice setting as Railay is. Beginning with the very basics in a stunning place in order that they can gain a sense of confidence in themselves before moving on to more challenging climbs later on. One of the best ways to introduce your kids to climbing is to take them along to an indoor climbing wall where they’ll be instructed in the basics and taught all about safety. However, Railay’s several easy climbing routes make the area perfectly suited for parents wanting to get their kids to try this experience.

What Will They Learn? In addition to being taught the basics of the importance of safety, a typical kids’ class will focus primarily on how to find the easiest routes up a climbing wall, manoeuvring techniques, understanding and following basic commands and how to grip holds correctly. As they gain more confidence, they’ll be instructed in all of the different types of climbing gear and devices and learn skills such as how to belay, tie knots and fit harnesses correctly.

Family Fun Climbing is a good way to bond as a family. Parents quickly discover the climbing isn’t always the highlight of their adventures. Sometimes finding lizards and other fauna along the way or looking at the stunning views from up there is. You should also not push them to new climbs. It seems kids’ natural curiosity takes over and they’ll find their own enjoyment on climbing outings after a while.

Keep Them Interested Talk to them, teach them things. Many times a kid suddenly loses interest 7 or 8 feet off the ground. This can be frustrating when you just spent 15 minutes on shoes, harness, and tying in. Bouldering is a great alternative to climbing routes with kids. Friends are key. A big group is the antidote to short attention spans, and makes the time between routes less tedious.

Be Realistinc Your kid will probably not be the next top world climber. You take your kid climbing to develop a love of the sport and the outdoors.

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Facts

Hot Rock Climbing School Our climb was kindly sponsored by Hot Rock Climbing School, established in 1994, one of the most reliable climbing schools in Railay offering an array of courses to suit your needs; they are TAT registered, have full insurance for their customers and can arrange accommodation in one of the few resorts of the area, with prices to suits all budgets. They are the local experts of climbing with kids. Their instructors are professional and likeable, guide you with patience and safety, and this makes the whole experience easy and fun. You can climb in many different areas and only in small groups of up to 3 guests on 1 instructor. Small groups mean better safety, more climbing and better instruction. You choose what skills to learn and how fast to move on to new skills or new climbing techniques. Check Hot Rock Climbing School website, www.railayadventure.com or call Saralisa on 08 56419842.

Geography Laem Phranang is a kingdom of spectacular clear bays with lush limestone cliffs that drop right into the blue sea. The peninsula is made up of a huge headland that separates three main bays, Railay West, Railay East and Phranang Bay, each with its respective beach. West Railay is the beach buzzing with life (restaurants, bars, etc) but the area to go for climbing and other nature activities is situated between Tham Phranang cave and East Railay.

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Get There, Around & Back If you are holidaying in Ao Nang, catch a longtail boat at any end of Ao Nang beach (100 thb per person), or at Ao Nam Mao pier (60 thb per person). The sun sets at around 6.15pm and by 6.45pm it is already dark. Try to get back to Ao Nang before 7pm as it may be difficult and much more expensive to get a boat back after this time. From Railay West to Railay East is a 5 minutes walk, and 10 minutes more along the cliff base to reach Pra Nang Beach. There you can find vendors selling shaved ice with a choice of native fruits or beans and melon syrup, pineapple, bbq chicken.

Phra Nang Cave At the far end of Phra Nang beach you will find a small cave with a shrine notable for its phallic statues. The shrine is dedicated to a deity known locally as Sri Kunlathewi who, according to a legend, was an Indian princess wrecked on this coast in the 3rd century BC and has been called upon by fishermen ever since to provide them with a good catch.

The Lingo Belaying is the technique of controlling the rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far. While this task is typically assigned to a belayer, self-belaying is also possible as an advanced technical climbing technique. The term belay is also used to mean the place where the belayer is anchored; this would typically be a ledge, but may instead be a hanging belay, where the belayer is suspended from anchors in the rock. Quickdraws are used by rock climbers to connect the climbing rope to bolt anchors or other protection while lead climbing.


Sport Story & Photos by: Daniel C. Docto

Muslim Muay Thai

M

uslim Muay Thai” … Muay what? Okay, please allow me to be open and honest about this. I am from California USA and many from my homeland have problems with the word Muslim because most of our media only promotes the bad news in order to scare us and to keep up the commercial sales. In fact when I moved to Ao Nang one of the first things I had to face is … I now live in a dominate Muslim area and when I tell my USA friends that I do … they immediately ask me, “Is it dangerous?” Well, it is only dangerous to me because I made a choice to practice full Muay Thai with some of the best fighters and trainers in Ao Nang and they just happen to be Muslim. All of the Muslim Muay Thai families that I have met and am friends with are some of the most welcoming and beautiful people on earth. Guess what? They know I am a Christian because I have some Christ tattoos on my arms and they just love me. It is a great feeling to know there is a place on earth where true religion can focus on what we have in common and not on what we do not have in common and to just love as most Thai people do.

SawazzzzzzDEE krab this is Khun DOC, an Ao Nang Krabi Muay Thai Kickboxing Family member and a promoter of the most amazing sport in the world.

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Many of the best Muay Thai fighters in the entire world come from small Muslim villages in Southern Thailand. Most of the Champions at Ao Nang Muay Thai Stadium are from Muslim villages and you can tell they are Muslim by the way they pray. Did you know that a Muay Thai fighter will pray over 15 times during his (5) round fight? Thailand is a nation that prays and some believe that is one reason it is such a wonderful country. If you go watch the fights at the Ao Nang Stadium you can tell right away which ones are Muslim. They usually hold their hands up, some look up and they do not bow when they pray, while the non-Muslims will put their hands in a prayer position and bow up to three times. Muay Thai Muslims are some of the simplest, humble and loving people that you will ever run into and they have shown me much acceptance, respect and honor.


Here is a Holiday, a vacation idea‌ why not visit a Muslim village? The Muslim villages in the Krabi area are full of beautiful sites, unique delicious-tasting food, simple shopping markets and wonderful Muslim Thai people. Many Muslim people can speak English, most are shy but if you show gentleness you will find that they will love to help you experience their culture and village life. Ao Nang has some of the best hotels and resorts in all of Thailand but if you get stuck inside them will you never really experience the heart of Southern Thailand. This is one wonderful thing about this amazing area: you can safely get out, truly meet the people and experience real Thai villages. Many local resorts and agencies can help you make arrangements to do so; if you do then you will truly have a Thailand Holiday vacation. It took me over 4 days to find a Muslim training camp, as it is located behind a simple house and surrounded by palm trees with chickens, goats, cows and other wild things running around it. Feel free to contact me about a visit to a Muslim Muay Thai camp. Daniel C. Docto aka DOC is the writer of monthly Muay Thai articles; he trains at all the Muay Thai gyms in the Ao Nang Krabi area, he does personal Fitness & Fight training himself and in the high season he is responsible for English announcing at Ao Nang Muay Thai Stadium on Friday nights. Feel free to contact him about Muay Thai holiday events and attractions in the Krabi area. He can be contacted on 087 8102177 by e-mail at: DocThailand@gmail.com.

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Travelogue Story by : Thomas Gennaro Photos by : Nattaphat Sunthornphuriwat

In a Good Mood for Green Krabi

Despite an impressive airport that sees several European tourists flocking to the province, Krabi has kept much of its charm intact, particularly when compared to neighboring Phuket. Most locals still treat you as a Thai, not just a fat wallet, many beaches are still pristine, and natural areas abound. It’s all about you and nature, especially in the Green Season…

EXLPORE KRABI TOWN Get your fill of curiosities and tasty food wandering down streets and through markets in Krabi Town, then head for the river walk. A wide footpath extends south from the Chao Fa Pier to Thara Park, where you can meander through a maze of walking trails, read by a pond, run laps, play tennis or football, watch the boat traffic drift by, or test your mastery of the Thai alphabet in the children’s statue park. Wat Sai Thai, Krabi’s central temple, is the local gathering point for Buddhist events and weddings and houses an impressive 15-meter reclining Buddha resting under a limestone cliff face.

KRABI MEANDERINGS Krabi has its own attractions on the river: kayaking in the mangrove forest passing canyons and caves and visiting local fishing communities are popular options. Visit Khao Kanab Nam, the 100-meter high limestone tower formation that has become the town symbol. Inside is a huge cave that contains stalactites, stalagmites, prehistoric paintings, and once housed significant human skeletal remains. It is theorized that they are the remains of people who came and established a home at Kanab Nam, but were cut off by an inundation and quickly perished. The mountains can be reached by taking a 15-minute long tail boat ride from Chao Fa Pier or by kayak, a great way to explore Krabi’s dramatic scenery without damaging the environment. For visitors interested in a more extensive excursion, it is possible to rent a boat to visit Khao Khanap Nam, mangrove forests and Ko Klang fishing village. Krabi is rich in cave monasteries. The most famous in Krabi and perhaps in Thailand, to which almost every Thai tourist to Krabi goes, is Wat Tham Seua, built into caverns and cliffs. Apart from this large monastery with a walkway through the forest there are many smaller ones. To you the task to discover them.

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NATURE WALKS A lot of forest areas are easily accessible, with clear trails to follow. Popular trekking spots in Krabi include the National Park area of Khao Phanom Bencha with its beautiful waterfall at Huay Toh; walk through rainforest and swim in natural pools in the Khao Nor Chuchi Lowland Forest Project, a verdant tangle of lowland vines, bamboo and ancient trees, at the heart of which lies the astonishing ‘crystal pool’. Treks vary from a short, half-hour-long nature trail, to overnight camping trips to the summit cloud forest of Phanom Bencha Mountain. Visitors can also spend time helping local rubber-tappers; the fees finance ecological projects.

ELEPHANT CAMPS With elephants fast disappearing from the wild in Thailand, the best place to see these fascinating animals up close is in a trekking camp. There are only a few camps in Krabi, Ao Nang and Koh Lanta - such establishments must follow strict guidelines as set by the National Livestock Department regarding the provision of adequate food, water and shade for their animals, as well as proper health care. Trekking tours - usually an hour’s ride on the elephant, combined with another sightseeing activity - are bookable through any local agent, or you can visit the camps directly if you don’t wish to do the other activities on the itinerary.


Fruits of Thailand Story and Photos by : Paul Stretton

Papaya

One of the more popular fruits in Thailand is the humble Papaya, known in Thai as ‘Ma-la-ko’. It is readily available all the year round in Thailand, and is used in many ways in everyday life. If you take a look at the trees lining the side of the road, or many of the beaches in the Krabi province, you will more than likely come across one of these impressive looking plants, that grow up to around 12 feet in height.

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apaya trees are very resilient and can produce hundreds of ripe, delicious papaya fruits per year. Starting off as a small, round, green bulb on the tree, they soon elongate into the more familiar shape, as well as ripening into the sunset-orange colour that makes them so appealing. Although they grow all over Thailand, they are more prevalent in the south, which makes them even cheaper, fresher and more readily available in the Krabi province than anywhere else in the country. To sample some papaya, you can easily find them for sale on the market stalls around Krabi and Ao Nang for around 20 Baht per kilo, which is a complete bargain when you consider how much it would cost in many Western countries! Although this price reflects the fact that you yourself need to peel of the rough outer layer and scoop out the hundreds of dark seeds that are crammed into the interior of the fruit, before eating it. If you would rather someone else did this for you, keep your eye out for the many fruit vendors that roam the highways and byways of most of Krabi, selling their wares. They will have cleaned and chopped the fruit into handy bite-size pieces before placing them in a plastic bag and serving it to you complete with toothpick for instant and easy consumption. And even though you will not be getting the whole fruit, at a measly 10 Baht per bag, it won’t eat up too much of your holiday funds! Try adding a splash of fresh lime juice to it to really bring out the flavour of the fruit. This is also a great suggestion of you are ordering a papaya fruit shake!

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As well as the sweet, orange coloured fruit that is known the world over, there is another version that is used for more specific culinary purposes. The green papaya has a more sour taste and is generally not eaten in chunks like it’s sweeter counterpart. Instead, it is shredded into thin strips, then skillfully mixed with small shrimp, chopped tomatoes, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, and of course, chillis, to create one of the most revered and sought after dishes in Thailand - ‘Som Tam’ – or Papaya Salad. Som Tam is a classic ‘street food’ and you shouldn’t be able to walk more than a couple of hundred feet around here without coming across a restaurant, tuk tuk or stall that could serve you up a bowl of this wonderful food for around 35 Baht. It can be served ‘foreign style’ with very little chilli, or ‘local style’, with a handful thrown in. It should be on every visitor to Thailand’s list of things to try, and even without the spicy factor, the other ingredients alone make a mouth watering treat. As with most other fruits and vegetables here, the papaya is easily incorporated into a plethora of recipes including curries, salads, ice creams and cakes. They contain many vitamins essential to good health, and are especially high in Vitamin C, so there has never been a better reason to go out and try some of this delicious, nutritious and cheap local fruit than today!


Fact File

CONSIDER THAT… I have always been a huge fan of papaya, starting back in my days in Latin America and the Caribbean. I can eat it mixed in a fruit salad, and it’s OK with a little lemon or lime juice, and I love its blandness and its diuretic properties. I eat a bit papaya from time to time, and along with other fruit and vegetable trimmings from my kitchen, the uneaten parts end up as compost in the garden. The result was last year seeds germinated and I have two large papaya plants in my back yard. I don’t really have room for what amount to small trees, but I was curious and decided to let them be, just to watch them grow. Some months later, the plants are over ten feet/three meters tall, and producing lots of fruit. I was wondering what I was going to do with all that papaya, then I remembered about “dulce de papaya,” or candied papaya, made with unripe, green fruit. It is very tasty, and the flavour barely resembles that of mature papaya.

RECIPE You need: green papayas, sugar, cinnamon, water, large deep skillet or stew pot with lid, sharp knife. There are no fixed quantities. This example was done with a small papaya of about 1.5 kilograms. You’ll have to try it and adjust the recipe to your tastes. Peel the papaya, rinsing the sap that comes out by putting the fruit under running water. The sap of the unripe fruit is strong and exposure may cause skin irritation. When the papaya is peeled, let it soak for a few minutes to remove more of the juices from the surface so it is easier to handle. Cut the papaya in half and scoop out seeds. The fruit is hard, about the consistency of raw potato, some are seedless. Slice and soak the pieces in water for a while to leach out more of the sap. When the soaking process is about done, caramelize a cup of sugar in the bottom of your skillet or pot. Lightly stir the papaya slices in the molten sugar for a few minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning the sugar. Slowly add water to partially cover the fruit. Break up and add cinnamon. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, gently stirring occasionally, until papaya begins to soften. The papaya will take on a red-brown color. Add more sugar if you want it really sweet. Cook until the pieces reach almost the texture you want. If you want the results a bit firm, remove promptly. Drain papaya and allow to air dry until the surface is no longer wet. To me dulce de papaya tastes best when still warm, but it will keep for days in the refrigerator and makes a nice dessert served chilled. The Editor

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Nature Trails

Catfish Farm

Story by : Thomas Gennaro Photos by : Nattapat Sunthornphuriwat

A gorgeous garden to relax in!

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ust a short drive from Ao Nang, on the way to Klong Muang beach, you will find the delightful Giant Catfish Farm and Nature Garden. It is a beautiful tropical garden to spend some quiet time in. You may also choose to stay for lunch in the nearby restaurant, enjoying their specialty, Pla Duk Foo or fried catfish salad, while listening to the birds and the gentle stream bubbling by. This is a lovely mountain stream by the way. If you feel like cooling your heels, it’s just the place. You can stroll down the many tracks in any direction you choose, winding your way through the lush vegetation, around the many ponds full of fish to feed. There are several foot bridges to cross, one of which is a small swing bridge, which leads to a foot massage area, made of upturned coconut shells laid in the ground. They are quite comfortable under foot too. There are descriptions of many of the flora and fauna for those that like to learn more about the local species and even some Siamese crocodiles. Some interesting names are found here including; Cat Whiskers or Bat Lily, Betel Nut, Banyan Tree, Kapok Tree, Fig Tree, Fishtail Palm, Yellow Palm, and the King Thai Palm or White Elephant Palm. And the kids will love it. For twenty baht you receive a bag of fish food to feed the fish. Most are not shy, but some will be a little cautious if you get down close to them. Some of the ponds are teaming with fish, while others are “not so squeezy”. And how big do catfish grow? There are some as big as your leg… that’s a big fish! Here is a list of more you will find: Malaysian Forest Scorpion, Thai Tarantula, Scalopendra, Black Marsh Turtle, Burmese Mountain Tortoise, Water Monitor Lizard, Gliding Lizard, Yellowtail Catfish, Pacu, Tilapia, Giant Gourami, Tufted Jungle King Butterfly.

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CATFISH FACTFILE

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atfish are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat’s whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores (species that eat dead material on the bottom), and even to a tiny parasitic species commonly called the candiru. The Giant Mekong Catfish is the largest catfish in the world. It can grow to nearly 9 feet and weigh over 600 pounds! This large catfish would feed quite a few people at a fish fry. You could make over 1000 fish fillet sandwiches with this monster. How do you tell the difference between a male and female catfish? You can find it easily by checking the fins of and tails of catfish. Female catfish have large tale and fins so you can check it by comparing two. The second thing is that you should check is to find out fins of catfish in female catfish there is a mark on her fin, which distinguish her as female. Doradidae is a family of catfishes also known as thorny catfishes or talking catfishes. They are sometimes called “talking catfish” because of their ability to produce sound by moving their pectoral spine or vibrating their swim bladder

RECIPE Thai Spicy Catfish, Pad Ped Pladuk Ingredients  1 lb catfish, cut into “steaks” about 1 inch thick 1/2 cup Thai eggplant, diced - 6-10 cloves garlic, crushed, chopped or mashed 2 stalks lemongrass (about 2-3” long), bruised 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger - 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, chopped  - 1/4 cup fish sauce - 1 tablespoon sugar Method  Combine the sauce ingredients.  In a wok, get enough oil to shallow fry the fish smoking hot. Add the fish and stir until thoroughly coated with oil, then add the prepared sauce (careful as it may splash). Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, ensuring the fish doesn’t stick to the pan and the pieces are all thoroughly sauced. Remove to a serving dish and serve with steamed jasmine rice and the usual Thai table condiments, chilli powder and sugar. This dish cooks quite quickly - don’t overcook it or the fish will become hard. It is cooked when you can pry the flesh from the central bone stem of the steak using the tip of a table knife without undue effort.

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Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta Highlights

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oh Lanta is situated in the southernmost tip of the Krabi province. It consists of two islands, Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai. Koh Lanta Noi is the smaller of the two islands and does not have tourist facilities. Visitors traveling by road from the main land pass through the smaller island on the way to Koh Lanta Yai, the center of the tourist operations. Ban Sala Dan village, in the north of the island, is Lanta Yai’s commercial center, and the pier where visitors arrive on the island. It is a row of shops, seafood restaurants on stilts, dive shops, tour operators, banks and guest houses that cater for new comers on the island. The bulk of the Lanta beaches lie along the west coast of the island and can all be reached by road: Kho Kwang, Khlong Dao and Phra Ae all have long stretches of white sand facing the Andaman sea, while Khlong Khong, Khlong Nin and Ba Kan Tiang and other smaller bays are all nice to relax and swim but might appear less stunning. The east coast of Koh Lanta Yay is flat and has many local villages scattered along its coastline. Koh Lanta has a very diverse cultural mix of people who have lived on the island in harmony for hundreds of years: Thai-Muslim, Thai-Chinese and the original sea gypsies still inhabit the place in harmony. The biggest town on the island is Lanta Old town. Boat trips to Koh Lanta are available during the monsoon free period from October to April. May to November see the closure of some of the island businesses and of the boat passenger services due to rough seas. A minibus service is the alternative way to reach the island via land. For boat schedule to/from Koh Lanta consult our Krabi Miniguide 81000.

Ba Kantiang Beach Spectacular crystal–clear seawater and soft white sand, romantic sunsets in utmost privacy, this is why Ba Kantiang has come to symbolize an hideaway in Lanta for relaxing in natural surroundings.

Lighthouse on Lanta Located in Tanod Cape, on the southernmost tip of the island, the lighthouse tower of Lanta is the perfect symbol of solitude. It is the place where immaculate nature still survives as it is rarely reached by tourists due to the rugged road conditions.

Koh Lanta National Park The park covers a marine area dotted with several small sandy islands surrounded by coral reefs. The headquarters is located on the island’s southern extremity.

Ban San-ka-u A sea gypsy’s settlement in south-east Lanta Yai. It is there that an old clan of traditional Chao Ley try to preserve a disappearing way of life in this fastdeveloping island.

Eco-tours These are run all year round from the east coast of Lanta Yai, not affected by the low season rough seas. Make your way to Thung Yee Pheng village for a trip with a local community - www.tungyeepeng.com, or book a tour with friendly and experienced Sun Tours - www.lantalongtail.com

Nature Lanta Old Town It was once called Ban Si Raya and was the commercial port for Chinese and Arabic trading boats that sailed between the ports of Phuket, Penang and Singapore. Today it is a village with a few rows of stilted shop houses home to an ancient community that was established on the island long ago. It is a picturesque place with, these Chinese timer shop-houses date back 100 years, from the old days of sea trading. Near the shacks along the coast, local fishermen dock their longtail boats giving the whole scene a very Thai look.

Because of its bio-diversity and richness of natural resources, Lanta is a good place for trekking. Explore limestone cave chambers and passageways in the Lanta caves, or walk upstream to the spring water waterfall, where to swim in cool rock pools.

Fire Dancing This is definitely one interesting part of the Lanta beach culture. A fire dancing show is usually performed by young boys performing twisting acrobatics swinging burning torches and ropes lit on fire around their muscular bodies. A distinguishing show that sparkles in the dark.

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Road Trip Story by : Thomas Gennaro Photos by : Nattapat Sunthornphuriwat

Ride Lanta in low season On a tour to discover Lanta natural and cultural treasures

When people think of Koh Lanta they envisage sandy beaches, a turquoise sea and soft sand. But Lanta is not only that, and the alternatives are handy especially on a green season cloudy day.

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woke up early, went out of my bungalow and contemplated the long Klong Dao stretch of beach, as a glorious sun was rising from behind Lanta’s backbone mountains striking a couple of joggers and roaming dogs, the only presence on the beach. I showered, breakfasted, went to the rent-a-bike shop, chose a Kawasaki 250, jumped on it and left for a day full of adventures. On the sides of the road, small dusty shops sold fruit, vegetables and other commodities to local villagers. A young boy strolled leisurely to the local mosque. I took my time; speed is never the theme of my motorbike wanderings, especially in Lanta where even the buffaloes seemed to go slower than usual. I immortalized a succession of shrimp farms, marshes, coconut and rubber tree plantations, cows and goats that grazed in green fields surrounded by rice paddies. This was the real Lanta, I thought. The village of Thung Yee Peng, a few kilometers away, is home to the Agro Tourism Center, a community-oriented project partly financed by the Thai government, aimed at providing funding for the development of local villages in need. I met an official guide and negotiated a longtail boat trip along the backwaters. The tide was low and the thousands of mangroves that colonize the flat islands between Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi showed off their maze of un-submerged roots. We passed a few floating fish farms, stopping near one for a quick look, then headed to Koh Lanta Noi at a slow pace through extremely narrow canals. These were the ancient safe shortcuts that boatmen used to travel between the two Koh Lanta islands when the seas were too rough for a direct crossing.

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Despite the noise of the longtail boat engine, the fauna we encountered was plentiful; a baby monitor lizard sunbathed in the mud, surrounded by miniature bright blue and yellow crabs; a big monkey showed himself for a few seconds before disappearing in the dense forest. On our approach to Koh Lanta Noi, groups of tiny fish jumped out of the water in small loops, flying fish presented us with short acrobatic shows, and a massive eagle spread its wings, flying away regally. Inside the Lanta Noi canals, big white herons were perched on dead tree branches; a high number of blue and orange winged birds flew all over us. I was speechless. On the way back, the view was excellent: to the left the limestone mountains of the mainland, to the right, the mangroves; in front of us, the several lush islands that dot the east sea of Koh Lanta Yai and, in the distance, Lanta Old Town.

ESCAPE CABIN FEB09+.pdf

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... escaping into the nature and seclusion Phra Ae, Koh Lanta

I continued my bike ride to sleepy Lanta Old Town, where I enjoyed lunch in a restaurant on stilts overlooking the islands. I then rode on; the lane to the deep south is filled with overgrowing vegetation. I sped up and down the hilly road, dense jungle separating me from both the sea and the mountain slopes. A few houses on stilts seemed precariously perched in strategic locations, with staggering views over the ocean. The visit to the sea-gypsy village was a real treat. I walked a narrow lane that cuts the village in two, with houses on stilts built right on the seashore. Children and dogs roamed carelessly in the muddy paths, while an older woman disentangled fishing nets. Villagers smiled at me as I walked. On the porches, women dressed in traditional sarongs rested or cared for newborn babies; men sorted out the catch of the day. Squid is the main fishing industry for these dark-skinned sea people, traditionally known as Chao Ley, who still retain their folk way of life and their original dialect, and have no fixed religion.

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With so much activity, the day went fast and I found myself driving back to my hotel, tired but rewarded. The sky was clouding up during my return trip, and it opened dramatically as I reached the room. The rain was copious and was going to keep the marvelous Lanta green oasis alive and growing. The bike was rented at Lanta Car Rental, Klong Dao, 075 684411, 081 7199132. Should you prefer an organized minivan tour to the motorbike ride, contact any tour agency in Saladan or in any Lanta area, your resort can arrange this trip as well.

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Health & Living Story : The Lanta Retreat

Insight Meditation 10 days silent temple retreat W

e are about 60 men and women from all around the world gathering to do one of the greatest adventure a human being can do – to watch yourself, every thought, every feeling and every emotion created by these feelings. Feelings created from within yourself and from outside stimuli. Just watching, no matter how painful and stressful it might be. To train the mind not to think and to learn to enjoy the freedom in this self-created silence. And then train in order to reach higher and higher levels of concentration. All of this in total silence…

THE RETREAT The afternoon before the retreat starts is check in time. We agree on all the rules and regulations – about the limited food intake, the silence, the concrete beds with wooden pillows, to follow all practice, no alcohol, drugs or tobacco, no sexual activities, not to leave the retreat area, to participate in caretaking of facilities and so on. We deposit all our valuables and then we are off for a round tour. Our guide is very thorough and shows us in detail where and how to throw different garbage, how to use the bathrooms and many other daily things. The purpose behind all these rules is to save nature. And nature here truly is breath-taking, so beautiful and quiet. At night we enter silence. The retreat has started. At 4.30am the entire dormitory is awakened by a longsounding bell. Many women struggle to get up, they are not used to these early hours. In fact you realize that 90% of these people have no previous experience of neither meditation nor silent retreats. It is very impressive. Many friends come here together and you sense their struggle to avoid talking when we sit around the ponds brushing our teeth, watching the stars. At 5am the teaching starts with Dhamma talks and meditation. Afterwards we practice a soft, pleasant yoga and we do our sun salutations at sunrise. Breakfast tastes great, especially since we haven´t had any food since lunch the day before. What we don´t know is that the same breakfast will be served for 10 days. The same rice porridge. You note that you portions of porridge get smaller and smaller at the end of the retreat. But the food intake is only to keep the body strong and healthy, nothing else; great teaching.

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After breakfast we all do our duties, keeping the facilities clean and tidy, and after a short break we continue to practice to succeed in having a one-pointed focus of the breath. We do sitting, standing and walking meditation until lunch. The lunch is also only vegetarian and the vegetables are just harvested in the garden. After a lunch break, where there is time to do laundry, shower or sleep, we continue with Dhamma talks and meditation. Afternoon walking meditation is demanding, since the heat is intense just before rainy season. Our drinking water is around 40C when we get it from the taps and I note how many struggle since they´re not used to the heat. Late afternoon, before a break, we are served tea and some other warm drink like soya milk or hot chocolate. The hunger diminishes incredibly fast. Food draws amazingly little attention after just a few days. In the evening it is so beautiful with all the candles lit along the path to the meditation gazebo. We listen to Dhamma talk and meditate. After meditation we have a group walking meditation around two big ponds, one for women and one for men. There are candles lit all around the ponds and it´s very pretty. The nature sounds and the sky filled with stars makes this part of the day magic. We end our day with our last meditation and take off to the dormitories before they are locked for the night. We are asleep before the head reaches the wooden pillow‌


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Krabi Real Estate : Architect Tips

A home away from home – and so much more Story : Pierre-Yves Loriers

Make family holidays less stressful by staying in a serviced pool villa

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etting cranky toddlers to behave in restaurants; trying to find a place to warm baby’s bottle during the night; sharing a tiny room with two active children for a week or more: if the thought of a family holiday makes you more stressed than excited, it may be time to change your tactics. Let’s face it: hotels, even those that claim to be child-friendly, rarely are – especially when travelling with younger children or infants. This is why more and more families are turning to Ton Company’s serviced holiday villas for their vacation in Krabi.   A freestanding villa offers complete privacy – a boon for breastfeeding mothers, or parents with children at a difficult age. If children don’t need to be on their best behaviour all the time, everyone can relax. Young children away from home for the first time will also find it easier to adjust, with the familiar home set-up, plus the fact that they can watch their favourite DVDs and spread out with their toys.   Space is another important advantage of staying in a villa: children have ample room to play and let off steam in the garden and swimming pool. The whole family can spread out and each person can have their own space – no more fighting over the remote control or whispering on the balcony after lights out. Parents can enjoy the amenities of the villa in full every evening and naptimes are no longer a nuisance.

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The kitchen facilities available in a villa offer families complete control over food and mealtimes, which can be a major flashpoint when travelling with infants and toddlers. All kitchens are fully equipped, and there are also chefs available on demand, allowing parents to prepare baby food, or eat at a later time than their children. And because each villa is serviced daily, there is always someone on hand to help with the washing up.   Like any good hotel, all Ton Company’s villas offer cots and high chairs as standard; there is also a full range of family tours and excursions that can be arranged by the villa manager, should you wish to explore the area. Getting around is easy: a complimentary tuk-tuk (which can take a stroller) is at your disposal for local trips to the market, convenience store or down to the beach. In other words, mums and dads, you can actually take that well-needed break – everything is taken care of for you.

Ton Company Ltd., with ten years of experience, is a leading manager and developer of exclusive holiday pool villas in Krabi, Thailand. For more information on the comprehensive villa design, construction and management services offered by Ton Company Ltd, please contact us at (075) 695-633 or by email at Ton@TonCompany.com. www.KrabiArchitect.com - www.TonCompany.com - www.KrabiVilla.com

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Construction Story by : The Lumyai Group Ld

Avoiding the avoidable

Part three: Schedule of works and payment breakdown

In the west, a verbal agreement seems to hold a lot more weight than it does in Thailand. For example, you have decided to go ahead with that extension to the side of your house, your builder has given you a costing, and is ready to get going. More than likely he will give you a finish date in which he believes he will be done in and you trust his word on that.

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ot saying that all western builders are saints, far from it, but when it comes to employing a tradesman or building team back in Farangland (the West) it is rare to be given any form of paperwork detailing what will be getting done. Things do happen in Thailand similarly, not all construction that you see being done is being done under contract, but more than likely it is a verbal agreement between two Thai parties. And they have their ways to settle any disputes that may arise. So this month’s ending article is about the importance of seeing a schedule of works and clearly understanding the payment breakdown prior to getting started. On average, standard three bedrooms, three bathroom houses should take about 6 months to construct, weather and any other unforeseen problems permitting. The first document your builder or construction team should give you is the construction contract, which will include the price. Now, unless you are using a foreign-managed company it will be written in Thai. This was the case when I came to start my first build. The owner of the company had written up a short but detailed opening contract of sorts listing the names, addresses, dates of birth of all concerned, starting date of construction and last but my know means least, the complete cost of the job. The second page of the document was a little more interesting and required more thought than first expected. Firstly, from what I could make out, a payment of 10% from the overall cost of the build was to be paid prior to any work being done. This it seemed was to act as a guarantee of sorts. I will go into more detail at the end of this article. The rest of the payments were broken down like this, a payment of 20% after a certain amount of work had been done and onwards in a 20% payment, 20% payment, 20% payment system and ending with a final payment of 10% once all work had been completed. I forgot to mention that all payments had to have the signature and be dated from the builder. Obviously it wasn’t all that plain sailing. Windows found themselves at the wrong heights, electrical points failed to turn up and tiles would be delivered in the wrong color etc. The common problems one faces when building a house. The benefit of having this schedule of works breakdown was that I could refer to it at all times before having to pay the man. When a payment was due I would walk around the site and point out all areas that should have been completed. Quite a pleasure at times especially when you are the one holding the cash that he so dearly needs‌

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There were times when the builder would ask for an advance. This would always be a tricky decision based on the bad reputation that Thai builders have. If I could have helped giving him an advance I would, but it became apparent that when the builders didn’t turn up it was because the boss didn’t have the money to pay them. A no win situation really! A clear schedule of works that will be undertaken and a detailed timeframe of when works will be finished is paramount to a smooth sailing build in my opinion. There will be material and finished quality disputes, the chances of your house being ready to move into on the date specified probably won’t happen and money advances will most certainly be a massive headache for you through the duration of the build but if you have some form of document that both parties cannot wriggle out of then you have done all you could of done.

An Example of an approximate payment and work breakdown 10% - Initial payment to enable builder to start 20% After Piles, Footings, Ground beams, Oversight, First columns, 1st PVC fit, Waste 1st fix 20% After Second floor beams, Plank lintels, Concrete topping, Second floor columns, Roof beams 20% After Roof structure, 1st Electric fit, Brickwork, Stairwell, Window and door frame , 2nd PVC fix, Rendering interior 20% After Roof tiling, 2nd electric fix, Ceiling, Tiling, Window and door fix, Exterior rendering, Sanitary fix, Light fittings, Exterior paint work 10% After Waste water and sanitary tank, Glass fit, Interior design features, Site clear, Water test, Electric test, Landscaping and driveway This article was supplied by The Lumyai group Ltd, a Development and Construction company based in Krabi. For all your Construction and Home renovation needs please contact our English speaking team for your free quote and any advice required. Please visit our web-site www.lumyaihomes.com to view our latest project.

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Innovations

Eco-Architecture takes root in Thailand

Soontorn Boonyatikarn is a man of the times; throwing around terms like “ecodesign” as he enthuses about the charcoal water recycling system at the Bangkok home he designed for his family a few years ago.

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ustainability is wholly integrated with home life with Thailands first Bio-Solar House, a completely self-reliant abode in Bangkok where nothing goes to waste. The brainchild of Soontorn Boonyatikam, a professor of architecture at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand who is also the designer and occupant, the Bio-Solar House was developed in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team comprised of students and faculty from architecture, engineering and science departments. Although the exterior features of the house differ little from the average middle-class Thai dwelling, its true powers lay in the installed functionalities that course through its interiors. Designed not only to be energy efficient but to produce energy – the Bio-Solar House was inspired by the humble mango tree, echoing the ideas of some of the brightest international names working in eco-architecture today. “I threw the mango seed into the backyard. Three years later I picked up a mango,” Soontorn said. “The mango tree does not need anything. The mango tree recycles everything, and it survives by the wind and the sun.” Unfortunately for this middle-aged professor of architecture, he is ahead of his time in Thailand, where despite abundant sunshine and a construction boom, talk of solar power and energy-efficient building design is largely rhetoric rather then reality. But a few “green” projects are taking root. When Soontorn built his first “ecohome” 15 years ago, everyone thought he was mad, he says. But in the past 10 years, he has designed about 200 homes, as well as a university and a handful of commercial properties. The Bio-solar home’s energy is generated entirely through 62sqm of solar paneling. They provide a surplus of energy, and every month Soontorn sells up to 1,000 baht of electricity back to the national power grid. Eco-consciousness is even extended beyond the premises with an electrical car that is powered by surplus electricity generated by the house. A sufficient water supply is maintained collectively via rain, dew and condensation from a cooling system, which can also be recycled and used to replenish the garden. Heat from the air conditioning warms the pool and the hot water, while the house is designed to make the most of natural light and airflow - simple measures that experts say would improve life for millions of people. The additional investment for a Bio-Solar House may seem a tad costly in comparison to a conventional home but proves worthwhile when you think about never having to pay for another utility bill ever again.

Architect Soontorn Boonyatikam has always been interested in sustainable design, but personal circumstance provided additional motivation for this project. His wife suffers from pulmonary problems, and thus the family needed isolation from the notoriously polluted Bangkok air. The answer was a virtually airtight house in which the air is continuously filtered. Economics also played a major role in his design. Soontorn is also looking ahead to retirement and wanted a house in which “he’s never had to pay another energy bill”

FACTFILE The house harvests an average of 20 to 25 gallons (80 to 100 liters) of water per day. The air conditioning unit produces 8 gallons (30 liters) of condensation water daily. Dew and rain, which vary by season, are collected from the roof to make up the balance. Water is filtered and stored in a tank with a capacity of 950 gallons (3600 liters). Wastewater from the kitchen, showers, carport, and washing machine is filtered and reused for irrigation. On the roof of the 1900-square-foot (180-square-meter), threebedroom house are 670 square feet (62 square meters) of solar cells capable of generating 22 kilowatts. The system can store energy for three days. A comparable, conventional house would require 15 times more area in solar cells.

The air conditioning unit has a capacity of 9000 Btu and can operate around the clock. At peak capacity it consumes 6.45 kilowatts. On average, the system produces a surplus of 15 kilowatt-hours per day. The sun powers all equipment, including the pumps for the ovalshaped swimming pool. A modified personal computer linked to dozens of sensors controls the system. This computer, installed on the landing between the lower and upper floors, enables the occupants to monitor and adjust the equipment. They can control the temperature and humidity in all the rooms and read the outdoor wind speed. The system shows if any of the sliding windows are opened, and how far.

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Know the Law

Car ownership in Thailand W

hile public transport is nearly ubiquitous, many people will still want their own car for various reasons, such as exploring on their own, driving to a seaside resort, etc. However, if you haven’t made a decision yet on whether or not to rent or buy a car here, bear in mind that driving has considerable risks in Thailand. Most foreign drivers are not accustomed to looking out for motorcycles or to the customary ‘rules of the road’ in Thailand. Be especially careful about motorcycles, as Thailand is full of them and it is fairly easy to cause serious injury or death to someone on a motorcycle. In theory, foreigners cannot legally own a car and register it in their name unless they hold a nonimmigrant visa and either a work permit or a proof-ofaddress document from the Immigration Office for a fee of 500 baht. Usually, a foreigner who is a shareholder in a company uses the company to purchase the car, or else the foreigners’ trusted girlfriend or ceremonymarried wife owns the car. If the marriage is legally registered, then the wife married to a foreigner cannot own the car, this largely due to a history of sham marriages to foreigners for the purpose of buying up property in Thailand. When you buy a car, the dealer normally handles the registration process. However, if you are transferring a car to a new owner privately, then you do so at the Department of Land Transport. Registration cost is based on the engine size. Every car must have two stickers on the windshield. One is for the license plate registration and is renewed annually when you pay tax. The other one is your mandatory car insurance. The car vendor will usually get your tag registration for the first year, but you will need to renew it. Make sure both are current, both year and date. The date will be in the Buddhist year, currently 2552. Car insurance is mandatory and inexpensive – it ranges from 3,000 to 20,000 baht a year depending on the level of coverage. Expired car insurance entails a very large fine if the police catch you. Liability has no limit if you’re in an accident without car insurance.

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Media

Will the Apple iPad save newspapers?

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t’s a little early to say any one gadget will save anything, but Apple’s new gadget, the iPad, at least makes that a serious question. The publishing industry has to be cautiously optimistic. Here’s why:

iPad is built for displaying publishers’ content in an attractive way. The New York Times got a star demo at Steve Jobs’ big announcement, and the newspaper actually looks like an easy-to-read digital copy of a print newspaper. Based on the demo of the Times, it feels more like a print edition than any previous digital attempt at reproducing a newspaper. It has a nearly 10-inch screen, allows for intuitive navigation between newspaper sections and yet still takes advantage of the bells and whistles of the Web such as video, resizing and changing fonts, digital breaking news alerts, etc. iPad is compatible with all the apps already in the iTunes store, including any iPhone apps that publishers already built. The experience is good enough to charge for subscriptions (like e-editions on the Kindle) yet high-quality enough to display more traditional print display advertisements. To fully take advantage of the new technology, publishers need to do more than just upsize their iPhone apps, but at least there’s an easy way to already be in the space. Apple also announced the iBooks book store to allow for easy reading (and buying) on an iPad. iBooks is Apple’s answer to the Kindle. People will get in the habit of paying for content they read. That can only be good for the news industry.

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iPad supposedly has a 10-hour battery life, hours better than most laptops. Combine its good battery life with its small size (half-inch thick and 1.5 pounds), and you have something that people will carry with them just about anywhere. Some of the things I like about the iPad might also hinder it. Is the device too big? It’s certainly not going to fit in anyone’s pocket. Jobs was seen typing on it while it was resting in his lap. That doesn’t seem very ergonomic. Does it do too much? Will people spend their time on the iPad tweeting, watching YouTube videos and playing games, completely ignoring the news industry? Will publishers take advantage of all that can be done on a better processor and bigger screen that iPad offers over the iPhone or be content just letting the iPhone apps be upsized? If so, will those apps be successful or will people want more? Several other tablets have been released, and more will come. 2010 surely will become the year of the tablet. Having the iTunes apparatus in place — and Apple’s cachet from successes with the iPod and iPhone — could make the iPad the best opportunity since print for a publisher.

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News

PressReader for iPad By

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n its time-honored layout and format is now on Apple’s iPad tablet device. Available through the free Press-Reader application on Apple’s iTunes store, the digital edition replicates each day’s paper exactly as it appears in print: the headlines, news, stories, photos, captions, sections, advertisements and notices. Since its release in early May, the amount of positive subscriber feedback and media coverage PressReader for iPad has received has been nothing short of phenomenal. Here are a few of the many accolades NewspaperDirect received in the past few weeks: “Newspapers from around the world within an instance delivered to your iPad. I am such a fan.” - Yoko, USA “I love this app. It’s the first app that has nailed it from the beginning, well done guys.” Anipperess, Australia “A++ app. I don’t even like the paper…well I didn’t until now.” - Nik, USA “The PressReader app offers digital editions of newspapers and magazines from around the world. You can flick through pages, zoom in to read them as they were printed, or bring up easieron-the-eyes text versions of stories.” - The Guardian No question, PressReader is a hot product right now. But it’s not the only game in town. There are still consumers who want to read their favourite titles in print or on their computer, mobile device or eReader, and NewspaperDirect is committed to giving their publishing partners’ subscribers what they want – their favourite title everywhere, on whatever “screen” they choose. There is no doubt that PressReader for iPad is proving to be a winner for both PressDisplay.com and SmartEdition subscribers. But NewspaperDirect is just getting started - there are lots of new features in the works to make it even better! Give it a try and see for yourself - it truly is a killer app for the iPad. And if you still prefer to read your International newspaper in the paper print edition, contact your hotel reception or phone Newsaperdirect in Krabi on 075661144.

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