So yesterday’s forecast, by and large, wasn’t wrong. At sea level it was bright and sunny all day, while in the hills there were the expected clouds and haziness, plus a short shower around lunchtime. Not a bad day for touring.
I headed out early – well, nine-ish, that’s early by my standards – and went off in the general direction of Surat Thani city. About 80kms northwest. I was armed with a shortlist of places to visit, both west and north of the city. As always, with only a vague description of where these so-called tourist attractions actually are, I was not confident of finding everything I was looking for.
I read recently about a new attraction to the west of Surat Thani. Apparently, somewhere, there is a six meter tall fan-shaped rock, which has a base of only thirty centimeters, not all of which touches the ground. Should be worth seeing I thought. The article mentioned that the Provincial Governor has visited, and decreed that signs should be erected, along with suitable tourist infrastructure like potties.
It would seem his decrees fell on deaf ears.
The only information I had was that the rock is in a village called Baan Sua Yao, which doesn’t appear on any map that I can find, and is 15kms from the town of Kirirat Nikom, which does. So, I sort-of knew where I should be headed.
Now, the problem is, Kirirat Nikom – which is itself approximately in the middle of nowhere – is built at a cross roads. Which means Ban Sua Yao could be 15kms in one of four directions. There were some signs to various tourist attractions and the fact that I hadn’t found one that pointed the way to a fan shaped rock, or Hin Pad in Thai, lead me to believe there weren’t any. Nonetheless I gave it my best shot, heading down many promising looking side roads, but eventually deciding I wasn’t going to find it. Not that day anyways.
But it was no hardship as the surrounding countryside was very attractive. Let me show you some pictures before we move on…
In an hour and a half or so of nosing around the area, I did find a sign which said “Crystal Water Canal 7kms.” Okay, something different, I thought. Sure enough, several similar signs directed me right to the place, and it was indeed exactly seven kilometers.
It’s more a river than a canal, but for sure, the water was crystal clear. Apparently it’s spring water, but there were no signs pointing the source, and the concrete walkways didn’t lead very far.
The main point of the place seemed to be for the local teenaged boys to strip down to their underwear and impress their girlfriends by leaping all of two meters into the water… while the fully-dressed girls impressed their boyfriends by dutifully preparing lunch.
And I had to pay to witness this. One fee to park the car, and another fee – five times higher for farangs – to enter the place. Okay, as you can see below, it was pretty, but not overly spectacular…
One the way there I passed through the tiniest of villages, which for some reason I felt, was hiding something. So on the way back I stopped. I’d noticed a couple of things that looked like floats for a procession, but I felt there was more. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact I was overwhelmed by what I found. So much so that it deserves a whole article of its own. So you’ll have to wait until tomorrow! Ha. I make the rules around here. 🙂
And I also found a wat that was worth photographing. Yes, another one. The coloring is always so spectacular, I can’t resist.
By this point it was well past lunchtime, and my next destination was north of Surat Thani. So on the way I made a stop at Central Plaza on the edge of city, for a break and some farang-food. No, not McD. I think I’d rather starve to death. But a large cappuccino and croissant in Starbucks. I know, why would I do this when there’s all that wonderful Thai food around? Probably the novelty factor. There’s always wonderful Thai food around.
North of Surat there seems to be a wetland area – very wet land – after which there’s a long stretch of beaches. Attractive. Especially in the late afternoon sun. Unfortunately too late to complete my “Must visit today” list.
A good day. But check back tomorrow for the best part.
Update: February 17th., 2016
I did eventually find the fan shaped rock, or hin pad. Please see this later article.