A Night on the Tiles

Sorry if you thought this was going to be a story about raging, as the term “a night on the tiles” suggests. I actually mean tiles.

In Tile-land, (Thailand, get it?), we stayed at Thara Patong Resort, and I liked the use of blue tiles inlaid in otherwise dreary concrete pathways.

walkways with inlaid tiles

Going downstairs was always easier than returning hot and tired at the end of a big shopping day. The tiles made the stairs far more interesting to contend with each time we wended our weary way back up to the Banyan Suite on the third floor.

tiles add interest to stairs

Then there were the glass tiles, used for privacy in windows backing onto main thoroughfares.

glass tiles

Tic -tac-toe, anyone?

tic-tac-toe

The Big Buddha

It makes me think of Crocodile Dundee, where Paul Hogan’s character says,”You think that’s a knife? THIS is a knife.”

So too with the Big Buddha in Thailand. Seen from afar, it stands  atop a mountain looking quite small. Wending your way up there is probably best in an air-conditioned van such as the one in which we were driven.

Zooming in towards the Big Buddha

We stopped for lunch at a restaurant and bar called Baan Poo Doo Lay. The names of some venues do not actually encourage your custom, but remember that Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Fortunately, the food and the view were both very pleasant.

Lunch at Baan Poo Doo Lay Restaurant

Once you’re up at The Big Buddha, and you are standing underneath it, you look up and see its majesty, reminiscent of the vastness of some of the temples in Egypt. It sits 45 metres high and 25.5 metres wide, and is being built from donations.

The Big Buddha and scaffolding

The Buddha Phuket sign reminded me a little of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles.

Thailand version of the Hollywood sign

I love the monochromatic look of the next photo of the stone detail, even though it was taken in colour.

stone detail of the Big Buddha

To give an idea of the size, I am standing dwarfed in between two statues.

quite large if you look at comparisons

With toenails as large as my hand, the two flanking statues are quite impressive.

with toenails as large as my hand

 Detail of the stonework also demonstrates how large the Big Buddha is, when you see a grown man, (my husband), standing next to a slab of stone.

stone almost as big as a man

However, back in Egypt in 2001 we visited the Temple of Horus at Edfu. Take a close look at the extremely large eagle Horus, and then look at the photo of the temple to see the actual size. Now that’s a temple! But believe it or not, at 37 metres it is not as tall as The Big Buddha.

Edfu temple Egypt 2001

Musical accoutrements in the form of a big bell and some smaller bells that hang on the trees are something more for tourists to see. Women with bare shoulders must cover up with the piece of material provided, as a mark of respect for Thai traditions in this place of worship.

the big bell

Not such a glamorous look for me, but the little brass bells hanging in the trees looked gorgeous.

bells on a tree

If you need transport in Patong and its environs, I would recommend Wi-Vee and Sa, who run a family business. You can email them to organise transportation from the airport on arrival, and they are available for excursions and tours in their nice clean van. Although we only had one day trip and the return trip to Phuket Airport, they helped make our stay in Thailand run smoothly.

Wi Vee Veerasak vanSa

A Few More Amusing Sights in Patong, Thailand

Further to a previous post of amusing sights on our trip to Phuket, here are some more.

You can always find creative spelling in Thailand, as with this sign for gasoline.

creative spelling of gasoline

There seemed to be some confusion as to the difference between jumping and diving.

no jumping

You can even buy a t-shirt politely telling anyone who cares to read it that you are somewhat tired of being approached by all and sundry offering you transport, tailoring or touch. I preferred smiling and saying “No thank you”, although by the end of our stay it was definitely wearing a bit thin.

seen on a t-shirt

I love the paradox and honesty of the next one. Copying is a national pursuit in Thailand after all.

genuine fake watches

I was momentarily shocked when I saw a head in the boot of a car, relieved to find it was actually a statue.

head in a trunk

And lastly, I love the offer of daddy daycare at a local drinking establishment, obviously for spouses sick of shopping.

husband day care centre

Suit Yourself

If you are in Thailand for a reasonable length of time, getting a tailor-made suit can be a good idea.

In 2006 and 2008, we had clothes made at Kento Tailors, but this time we decided to try Magnifique, which had good write-ups on Trip Advisor. A cool drink is offered at every visit, and Nick and the team aim to make you happy. They will even bring garments to your hotel for fittings, particularly if time is running out. The  customer service at Magnifique is great.

At the initial fitting our measurements were taken, our needs discussed, and a price agreed upon. Bear in mind, if you do bring your own material, it won’t necessarily be cheaper, as they still need to line it and add facings etc.

inside leg measurement

the first fitting

We wanted bling red sequinned jackets for our karaoke business, the material of which I purchased in Australia and took over there to be made.His would be a normal blazer, while mine would be a bolero, which I sketched.

my bolero sketch

red jacket fitting

Dutchy wanted a suit, comprising a jacket, vest and three pairs of trousers. Multiple fittings later we were happy with the result, tweaking aspects that we weren’t quite satisfied with.

Ladies, if you want a pair of trousers, may I suggest that you take a pair that you love, as they can always cut a pattern from something tangible. This way the result should be good. My theory is that if in Melbourne clothes fit well just off the rack, a tailor-made pair should be almost perfect.

If you think about it, everything in Thailand seems to be a copy. If that’s what they’re best at, doesn’t  it makes sense to take something to copy? If you do go to a tailor, don’t be afraid to speak up if you aren’t happy about any aspect. You’re paying for it, so make sure seams sit flat and neat and fit you properly. Happy tailoring.

if the vest fits...

Dutchy in his new red jacket

Sandi in her new jacket

Karon View Point

Hiring a driver for the day, the first spectacular view we saw was from Karon View Point, where you could look out at the sea from a couple of directions, either up or down the coast.

Karon View Point sign

You could also look across the mountains towards The Big Buddha, many kilometres from this vantage point. You can see it just under the large fluffy cloud on the right.

The Big Buddha in the distance

To see The Big Buddha properly, a zoom lens is helpful. This was to be one of our stops later in the day.

Zooming in towards the Big Buddha

 

Karon View Point

 

Sandi and Dutchy at Karon View Point

Coffee and Cake for under $4.00

You won’t get coffee and cake for that price in Australia, mainly because of our rates of pay. But in Thailand, it is a different matter. Labour is very cheap, so when we went to Euro Bistro craving a cappuccino and a slice of something, we were delighted to pay only 120THB each.

Both the coffee and the cake were delightful, and I have no hesitation recommending a little visit if you are in the Patong area.

The Cashew Factory

One of the places we visited was the Sri Bhurapa Orchid Cashew Factory. I had never even thought about how cashews grew, and we were very surprised to learn that the cashew nut itself grows on the end of a fruit, rather pear-shaped, but red and yellow. The cashew tree outside the factory is decorated with imitation fruit to indicate its colour and size.

Each of these larger fruits only produces ONE cashew nut. The tree only fruits once a year. I for one am never going to complain again about the price of cashews. A worker demonstrated the removal process.

I couldn’t believe the size of some of the nuts. There are so many other lines I could add to this, but won’t.

We bought a pack of cashew nut slice, coated with sesame seeds, similar to nut bars that you buy in Australia.

At the factory we were able to sample various flavoured cashews. I love cashews raw, roasted, salted, even unsalted, so I didn’t think the flavour needed tampering with. However, some of the varieties were delicious. Deciding one can each would be sufficient, (just in case our luggage weighed too much), I chose the Tom Yum flavour – we were in Thailand after all, and my husband opted for the spicier Wasabi variety.

Now that I have looked more closely at the ingredients of my tin, it appears that the tin contains only 65% cashews, 14% wheat, 11% corn flour, 8% sugar, 1.5% palm oil and 0.5% Tom Yum Powder. Oh well, I guess that’s usually the case when you buy flavoured items. It takes away from the naturalness of the actual nut. The 215 gram tin cost 195 THB, about AUD $6.50. I just realised you could have nearly a whole dinner in Patong for that price! Obviously this cashew factory is aimed very much at the tourist market, but it was a good experience.