Shareware Beach

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

After the Sunset

Filed under: Photography,Thailand — Jan @ 18:02

After the sunset

I took this picture on a trip to Phuket last May. I was at Panwa beach, on the other side of Chalong bay than Rawai beach. Rawai beach is where I was when I took the panorama at the top of this blog. The picture shows the hills behind Rawai beach just after sunset.

Yes, the colors in the picture are genuine. I did no post-processing other than downsize it for the web. The trick is to wait until after sunset, and to get lucky with the weather conditions.

Monday, 2 January 2006

Happy 2549

Filed under: Thailand — Jan @ 19:35

Last week I promised I’d tell you a bit more about the New Year celebrations in Thailand, which indeed take place three times a year.

Since 1940, January 1st is the official start of the year in Thailand. The official calendar is the Gregorian calendar, except that the year number follows the Buddhist calendar. The current year is 2549. Celebrations take place on December 31st with partying, countdown and fireworks at midnight. Not much different from many Western countries.

The next New Year is the Chinese New Year, which is widely celebrated in Thailand. Many Thais are ethnic Chinese. 29 January 2006 is the start of the Year of the Dog. Since the start of the year is determined by the moon’s position, Chinese New Year is on a different day in the Western calendar each year, somewhere in late January or early February.

April 13th is the Buddhist New Year, and was Thailand’s official start of the year until 1940. It is still an official holiday, locally known as “Songkran”. The official holiday period is three days, but in some parts of the country celebrations can last a whole week. The contemporary way to celebrate Songkran is to throw water at passers-by. If you venture out on the streets anywhere in Thailand, expect to get wet. April is the last month of the dry season, and Thailand’s hottest month. The custom stems from a religious New Year ceremony in which youngsters respectfully pour water over the hands of elders.

Wednesday, 13 April 2005

Happy New Year!

Filed under: Thailand — Jan @ 21:37

Thailand is one of a few countries in the world where New Year is celebrated three times a year. Western New Year on January 1st, Chinese Lunar New Year in early February, and Thai New Year in mid April.

Thai New Year is better known by its Thai name “Songkran”. Nowadays, its celebration involves going out on the streets to throw water at passers-by. This stems from a religious custom celebrating the new year with a day of cleansing. Younger people would pour water on the hands of older people to show respect.

Friday, 28 January 2005

One Month after The Tsunami

Filed under: Thailand — Jan @ 18:36

It’s heart-warming to see the international relief effort that has been put in place. I am sure the various NGO’s will put all donations to good use. However, many of the countries affected by the tsunami rely heavily on tourism to keep their economies healthy. This is particularly true in Thailand. The west coast, which was hit by the waves, is a popular destination for tourists from around the world. Phuket, the largest island off Thailand’s west coast is the best known and most popular destination in that area.

The situation in Thailand is nothing like the pictures you may have seen on TV, showing villages in Indonesia that were leveled entirely by the sea. Thailand’s west coast is quite mountainous, which kept the effects of the waves limited to the immediate beach or oceanfront area in most places. In some areas, with steep cliffs over 10 feet above sea level, there was no damage at all.

What this region needs most is for the economy to keep rolling. With many tourists canceling or postponing their trips, many business owners face difficulties meeting their obligations with financial institutions. The tourism authority of Thailand (TAT) reports that 80% of the hotels in Phuket are fully operational. Of the popular tourist destinations, only Khao Lak and Phi Phi suffered extensive damage.

I’m sure your local travel agent will be able to offer you some excellent last minute deals for vacations to Thailand. Weather-wise, February is an excellent month to visit. Now might be an excellent opportunity for a nice tropical vacation. It’ll probably be the only chance you’ll ever get to visit Phuket in the high season (November through February) without being overrun by hordes of tourists.

As is often the case with Nature, when something is destroyed, something else is created. Tourism officials report that the natural environment around Thailands west coast was minimally affected. In fact, some areas noticeably improved as if the waves cleansed the underwater environment. The water quality at dives sites around Phuket and the Similans and Surin islands reportedly resembles what it used to be 20 years ago, before mass tourism discovered the area.

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