I know, I know, it was always the plan to do Vegas for my 50th and sing Xanadu with Livvy up on the big stage, but the Thailand visa-minefield and returning to Australia in November has not been agreeable to head there for the big day.
Mark my words though – I will get there sooner rather than later. In saying that, a beautiful birthday dinner at the Anantasila Villa by The Sea was arranged just after the Sydney ROOSTERS played in the finals – perfect timing Jimbo! I was also spoilt with amazing cheeses, Aussie wine, Aussie steak and roses by my wonderful husband. I really missed my boys and the rest of the family and friends and puppies like mad though! Which just means we’ll have to do this all-over-again in a variety of November catch up sessions! And I was so thrilled to receive so many lovely wishes on FaceBook, via Skype calls and a lovely friend I’ve made here. Thank you everyone xx
The Tour for the >= 50’s
A Hua Hin Tour was arranged a couple of days later on Sunday. Now that I’m an old lady, I needed a recovery day before a day trip.
Khao Sa Roi Yot National Park
Jim, Denise (aka Princess Senior) and I (aka Princess Junior) set off at about 8am.
What we saw of the National Park was a bit of a disappointment but in hindsight, I probably should have done more research before committing to a “friend-of-a-Thai-friend’s” tour. I’d been wanting to go here for months and was not prepared for the amount of rock climbing etc that would be involved to see a cave that was as boring as bat shit, which we managed to dodge I might add. Consequently, thong type shoes with a heel and a sarong top didn’t really cut it for the hiking environment.
Khao Sa Roi Yot National Park was only established in 1996 as the first coastal National Park in Thailand. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Hua Hin. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded and the forest area also supports a wide variety of wildlife like antelope, deer, porcupine, monkeys (we didn’t see any though). The forest trails, on the beaches apparently lead to boat excursions to islands which have pods of dolphins along the way as this is near Dolphin Bay (didn’t see this either – gah!).
This however, is what we did see and needed a couple of cold ales after climbing into and out of a cave followed by giving our quads a workout on the steps up to the steepest hill from hell only to not end up descending because the temple was still going to be a couple of kms from the bottom of the hill and there was a shifty looking ladder on top of a boulder with a warning sign which Denise and I decided enough was enough. Needless to say a couple of cold beers were required at the end of that trek, looking over a beautiful beach.
This is a new tourist attraction which very recently opened in Hua Hin in August 2015, displaying statues of the former great Kings of Thailand:
- King Ramkhamhaeng of the Sukhothai period
- King Naresuan and King Narai of the Ayutthaya period
- King Taksin of the Thon Buri period
- King Buddha Yodfa Chulalok
- King Mongkut and
- King Chulalongkorn of the Rattanakosin period
The entrance is absolutely grand – it was well worth the visit too and no entrance fees – even for farangs!
Some of my old Uni friends may remember when Princess Chulabhorn visited Griffith University back in the early 2000’s (gah! showing my age). Princess Chulaborn is the youngest of the current King Bhumbiol’s (also known as Rama IX’s) daughters. King Bhumbiol is the world’s longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. Sorry – get caught up in history sometimes …
Important: The insult or defamation in the current Thai Criminal Code has a most notable offence against the head of state of foreign countries or lèse-majesté.
Insulting or threatening the king, queen, consort, heir-apparent, or head of state of foreign countries is punishable by 1 to 7 years imprisonment. The penalty for defaming, insulting or threatening the Thai monarch, the queen, heir-apparent, or regent is imprisonment for 3 to 15 years.
So if you’re visiting, be very mindful of your manners with regards to the monarchy.
On that note: Long Live the King
Statue of Luang Pho Tuad at Wat Huay Mongkhon
It was also worth the visit to the Wat Huay Mongkol temple. It is only around 15 kilometers or so west of Hua Hin and is famous for its enormous statue of one of Thailand’s most famous monks, named Luang Phor Thuad. The statue is about 12 meters high and 10 meters wide. This place is very popular with Thai people from all over the country, who come here to pay respect to ask for things as favours, good luck, health, fortune and happiness. On each side of the giant statue, there is a huge wooden elephant and the locals like to touch it’s…. appendage when they walk in circles under the belly of the elephant wishing for good luck. The complex also holds a Buddhist temple, a statue of King Taksin the Great on horseback and shops where Buddhist amulets can be bought. The whole complex is set in a park like environment which has a lake, waterfalls, streams, bridges, a number of pavilions and lots of shady places. It would be a nice walk through if we weren’t so hot and I wasn’t so shitty about the national park tour.
That’s it for now. Until the next post…