Ko Lipe….revisited again.

It had been all of 2 months since my last snorkelling trip so it was time to head off to my favourite Thai island, Ko Lipe, way down south in Satun province and almost in Malaysia.

flippers-3We flew down with Nok Air who have combo fly-shuttle-ferry tickets which are convenient and actually cheaper than booking each transport leg yourself.

Once again I stayed at the Green View Resort, right on the beach. This place is certainly not fancy, but the bamboo bungalows are great value on what is probably Thailand’s most expensive island. Peak season had finished so it was not too crowded, even on the weekend when the Malay tourists flock over by speedboat from Langkawi.

I think that I mentioned after our last visit that a new concrete resort had replaced my favourite beach/reggae bar, I was happy to find a replacement a bit further along the beach, and also happy to see that the new ‘Art Club” resort never had more than 8 or 9 customers whenever we walked by. Stretching around 80m along the beachfront and onto Walking Street,  and looking more like something from Ibiza (I imagine) it has several bars occupying prime real estate, and at least 10 more staff than customers at any one time. I really think the owners did not do any market research, as probably half the visitors to Ko Lipe are Malay, mostly non drinking, non partying Muslims, most backpackers cannot afford their prices, and many of the remaining tourists are too old for an Ibiza style foam/pool party (yes, my hand is up 🙂 )….which does not leave many customers even now, let alone in the low season. It seems to be only partly completed, perhaps the owners have had second thoughts ? And perhaps others will have second thoughts about building yet another resort and turning the island into another Samui ?

kolipe2017-11

Anyway, it was still just as beautiful underwater 🙂

There is a coral reef literally just off the beach, although you would be wise to stick to the roped off swimming zones to avoid the longtail boats ! In the swimming zone in front of the “Z touch Resort” I found this lobster, safely surrounded by sea urchins :
kolipe2017-12

And this Moray Eel : kolipe2017-23

kolipe2017-16I think this is a Trumpetfish, although they are usually yellow or a light grey. And just after I took that photo I saw a Giant Grouper, swimming right underneath me. Not a big one, but unusual to see in that area.

There are several daily snorkelling trips by longtail boat, nearly all go to an underwater rock called Jabang, which rises from about 16m deep to about 4m below the surface. Every other time that I have been there was a strong current, last time you had to swim upstream about 10m, dive down and get carried along like an express train with time for just one quick photo before surfacing on the other side. On this visit there was no current, and the visibility was nearly perfect…the first pic is near the bottom, about 12m straight down !


And elsewhere on that trip :

kolipe2017-20

But all good things must end, and while I was snorkelling every day for hours, my GF was sitting back at the resort twiddling her thumbs for a week…like many Thai women she does n’t like the sun or the water, so after that week the next few days were for her, and she wanted to go to Langkawi, just an hour and a bit away. And then the easiest way back to Bangkok was via Penang, so we had a few days there too. All that to come…….soon.

Posted in Explorations, Photography, Thailand, Travel, Travel, Underwater | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Catch up time – a Bangkok photo walk

We have been back from our trip down south for a while now but I have n’t had time to download and go through the hundreds of photos and videos until now, what with the Songkran holiday recently and life in general ….was it John Lennon who said “Life is what happens while you make other plans” (or something like that). No doubt there will be lots of photos from above and below water to come but just to keep some sort of chronological order this post is about something else ….
Anyhow, the weekend before we headed off down to Ko Lipe I went on a photowalk with the “Bangkok Photographers” Facebook group in the Bang Kho Laem district, just off Charoen Krung road near the Asiatique complex. This was the 60th walk of the group, but the first that I had been on, coincidentally 60 photographers turned up !

map

It is a culturally mixed community, accessed by narrow alleys and paths, some barely wide enough for a motorbike, a world apart from the Sathorn business district only a few kilometers away. After each walk the organisers ask everybody to submit around 10 of their best photos and then publish an online magazine. They do ask people not to post those pics anywhere else until it is published, so I could n’t inflict mine on the world before I went away. 🙂

The group includes some pro and semi-pro photographers as well as many skilled amateurs, so I was rather pleased to see 7 of mine considered good enough !

The full issue can be read here.

According to my phone GPS we walked about 2.5kms, over a leisurely 3 hours or so, before returning to Charoen Krung road near Asiatique, where some of us had lunch at a nearby food court. After that I strolled down to the Protestant Cemetery nearby, where many of the early western missionaries and adventurers are buried.

The graves include that of Admiral Sir John Bush, the first harbour master of Bangkok, who served 2 kings of Siam, and nearby that of his son George who also served as the Royal Harbourmaster ….but I do wonder at the choice of a skull and crossbones on his memorial. A bit of piracy on the side perhaps ?

 

Posted in Explorations, Photography, Thailand, Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Here’s looking at you…..

The internet speed here at our resort on Ko Lipe is not all that great, so I will not try and upload heaps of fishy photos for your enjoyment ….that can wait till we get back ! Besides that, there are a couple of fish that are new to me and I am not sure of their ID so will wait until I get home.

But here is just a few for the time being….

 

IMG_4239

Close-up of a Hermit Crab hiding in his borrowed home

IMG_3930

Can you see me ? …Stingray hiding in the sand.

IMG_4138

One eyed bundle of spikes !


IMG_3924

 Our first day here was cloudy and a bit wet but since then the days have been mainly sunny, but with a bit of thunder and lightning at night. After a week here it is off to Langkawi tomorrow morning,a fairly short trip by ferry into Malaysia. We will have 5 nights there, and then on to Penang for 3 nights before flying back to Bangkok. Looking forward to some Laksa ! I have been making the most of the opportunity to eat real southern thai food like Panang and mussaman curries that are sometimes hard to find in Bangkok, but the missus sticks to her somtam and sticky rice ….you can take a girl out of Issan but not change her diet !

Posted in Explorations, Malaysia, Photography, Thailand, Travel, Underwater | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Songkran is coming !

In Thailand, when the shops start stocking Hawaiian style shirts you know that the Songkran festival is approaching. But like back home when the stores start getting all Christmassy much too early, it’s still a month until the world’s biggest water fight starts.

Plenty of time to stock up on gaudy shirts for the festivities, or on survival rations to let you stay at home out of the combat zone during the hostilities, depending on your attitude to this time of the year !

As the country is still in an official 12 month mourning period it remains to be seen whether Songkran is toned down or not this year …even if it is you can be sure that going out during the day will see you get wet sooner or later.

Posted in Events, Latitudes and attitudes, Thailand | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Cosplay @ Japan Expo 2017

japanexpo2017-13As I mentioned yesterday, the Japan Expo 2017 was held at one of the large shopping malls in central Bangkok over the weekend. Japan is a popular tourist destination for middle class Thais, and anything Japanese related is popular with the young hip generation …J-pop, J-food, J-fashion etc.

Inside the mall itself were many tourism related stalls, drumming up business for hotels, tour agencies, Japan Railways, etc while outside were lots of Japanese food stalls doing a roaring trade and a couple of stages for the entertainment….most of it seemed to be cover bands lip-synching from what I saw, but doing a pretty good job of it.

And wandering all around were hundreds of cosplayers dressed up as who knows what !

(as usual, click to see a larger version )


japanexpo2017-10 I have no idea who or what they are supposed to be in their costumes, but most of them were more than willing to pose for all the photographers and casual passers-by.

I guess you have to be quite an extrovert to go out dressed like they do !

This girl in particular really knew how to work the camera, perhaps she has done some modelling sometime or perhaps she is just a natural, but I’m sure there were more photos taken of her than anybody else. At times there were twenty or more photographers jostling to get a clear shot of her. Her being good looking and wearing a fairly skimpy outfit probably had something to do with that too ! 🙂

japanexpo2017-16

With those shoes I would want to sit down too !

japanexpo2017-2

If anybody wants to see more photos, or larger versions of these, then my pBase gallery is right here !

Posted in Events, Photography, Portrait, Thailand | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Cosplay Queen

cosplayer-1

cosplayer-1

The “Japan Expo 2017” was held at the CentralWorld mall here in Bangkok this past weekend, with lots of Japanese food stalls, travel agents, hotels and other businesses trying to drum up some customers, J-pop music to entertain the crowd, and hundreds of cosplayers dressing up in their costumes. I don’t know what this girl’s costume is supposed to be, but it looks more like something out of Arabian Nights than anything Japanese.

Posted in Events, Photography, Thailand | Tagged , , | Leave a comment