A couple of days ago, my husband, Kuldip, and I went to Chai Talay; a cute little cliff-top restaurant, located near Payoon Beach, that overlooks the Gulf of Thailand. Friends, Richard and Helen, took us there last year and I had to go back for more of their crispy fried fish. I tried this traditional Thai dish, named Pla Rad Prik, for the first time a number of years ago at the Spirit House Restaurant at Yandina on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. While I don’t usually go in for fried food, this spicy sweet and sour Thai specialty is very special indeed. But, to enjoy it while overlooking the aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Thailand makes it even more so. The spectacular sunset that followed after our two-kilometre stroll home along the beach finished off another perfect day in paradise.
While bumping into an elephant on the beach is what I call a main event, plenty of other remarkable stuff also happens during the day along this stretch of the Gulf of Thailand. Payoon Beach is a little fishing village where colourful wooden boats bob about while their skippers are ashore preparing for the next catch fit for a fisherman’s basket. Since many dads here fish for a living, it’s not surprising to see the local small fry snoozing in one as well!
Amateur anglers are everywhere too and some are lucky enough to catch more than just a cold! On the other hand if you play golf and have a bunker mentality, the beach is as good a place as any to practice getting out of it. Many Thais, however, prefer to spend their leisure time swinging from tree to tree.
After picking up my little (3-month [grrrrrr!]) instead of big (6-month) tourist visa for India, Kuldip and I travelled 2.5 hours south of Bangkok to Payoon Beach located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand where we will stay until we return to Bangkok to fly to back home to India on 22nd August. Yesterday while strolling along the beach, we bumped into the local mahout and his charge that we had the pleasure of meeting, for the first time, during a visit last year. What a photo opportunity! Forty baht later we walked back to Richard and Helen’s condominium with some memorable photographs while the elephant meandered off down the beach having enjoyed the two sugar cane treats from his Aussie admirers.
The Thai’s love of colour is evident everywhere you go in the ‘Land of Smiles’ and it was palpable at the recent ‘Happiness Street Festival’. Staged in the centre of Bangkok alongside the sixth largest shopping complex in the world, Central World, the Festival was an explosion of colour and a delight to witness.