Christmas By the Beach

19 December 2023

Coasts, Caves, and Close Calls!

The next leg of our trip took us towards southern Thailand adventure, further down the coast. As we journeyed along, we were treated to some of the most spectacular views imaginable. One such vista unfolded before us as we crossed the bridge on Bang Tabun Bay. Here, rows of traditional fishing huts perched on stilts over the water added a touch of charm to the stunning scenery. We took a moment to stretch our legs and grab some morning tea from a nearby 7-Eleven, the perfect pitstop to fuel up for the day’s adventures.

By 10am, we were traversing salt flats, where seawater is transformed into pure, glistening salt. Witnessing this process provided a fascinating glimpse into a traditional local industry.

Our journey continued, and at noon, we reached Puek Tian Beach. The beach itself was captivating, but what truly stole the show was the statue standing proudly in the ocean – a photo opportunity we couldn’t resist!

As the afternoon sun cast its warm glow, we found ourselves driving through Wat Khao Takiap. This particular location held a special place in our memories, though not necessarily a positive one. It was here, a few years back, that Alison had a close encounter with a mischievous monkey! While we opted to steer clear of any primate interactions this time around, we did stop at the local Chittra Seafood Village to stretch our legs and soak in the atmosphere.

After our break, we set our sights on Khao Tao Beach, arriving at 2:30pm. The beach offered a chance to relax and take in the beauty of the surroundings.

With the day nearing its end, we couldn’t miss a chance to explore Wat Khao Din, a temple currently under construction. The unique sight was a fascinating stop on our itinerary.

By 5pm, we had reached our hotel in Kirri Khan. After settling in, we wasted no time in heading out to explore the waterfront as the sun dipped below the horizon. The vibrant hues of the sunset painted the sky in breathtaking colors.

As dusk approached, we strolled onto Saranwithi Pier, its charming lighthouse guiding the way. Here, we capped off the day with a delicious dinner at a local cafe. Luckily, we arrived just in time, as the cafe closed its doors shortly after we settled in – a perfect end to another adventure-filled day!

20 December 2023

Sunrises, Security Checks, and Sunset Strolls!

The beauty of a sunrise never gets old, and this morning was no exception. With the sky ablaze with color, we departed our hotel in Kirri Khan at 8:35am, eager to see what adventures awaited.

Our first stop was the Wing 5 Historical Park. The drive itself was likely a scenic one, leading us past stunning coastal landscapes. Upon arrival, we encountered a unique security protocol – access required passing through the air base security gates and signing in with our passports. Despite the official nature, the park itself offered a picturesque scene: a beautiful bay, cool breezes, and boats bobbing on the water. We even spotted a curious dusky monkey, adding to the charm of the location.

By 9:30am, practicality called, and we found ourselves at HomePro, a haven for household goods. The store’s vast selection likely had everything you could imagine to keep your home running smoothly.

After a successful shopping trip, we continued our coastal journey southward at 11:30am. The drive provided a glimpse into the local fishing industry, with numerous fishing boats dotting the horizon. We even encountered a couple of immigration police conducting their checks, ensuring the safety and security of the area.

Our destination for the afternoon was Nana Beach. After checking into our hotel around 2pm, we took some time to settle in and unwind.

By 3pm, our rumbling tummies led us on a drive to nearby Chumphon, where we enjoyed a late lunch or perhaps an early dinner. Refueled and refreshed, we arrived back at Nana Beach by 5:30pm, just in time for a leisurely stroll along the shore. As the sun dipped below the horizon, painting the sky in a kaleidoscope of colours, it was the perfect way to end another delightful day.

21 December 2023

Visa Extensions, Shipyards, and Sunset Serenity

Our day began with a practical necessity: extending our tourist visa by 30 days. A quick drive to Chumphon Immigration at 10am got the ball rolling. The staff there were incredibly helpful and efficient, processing our paperwork and sending us on our way within 20 minutes – a testament to Thai hospitality!

With the official business out of the way, it was time for some exploration! We embarked on a journey to discover the beauty of the Chumphon coast. Our first stop at 11:15am was a shipyard, where we witnessed firsthand the hard work and dedication that goes into restoring and maintaining the lifeblood of the local fishing industry – the fishing boats themselves.

By 11:45am, we arrived at Khao Matsee View Point. The clear vista from this vantage point provided a breathtaking panorama, allowing us to truly appreciate the sheer number of fishing boats that operate in these waters. It was a powerful reminder of the importance of fishing to the local economy and way of life.

After soaking in the view, we descended to Chumphon Fishing Jetty at 12:30pm. A quick stop at a nearby 7-Eleven at 12:30pm took care of our lunchtime needs.

With full tummies, we drove back to Nana Beach for a well-deserved rest for the remainder of the afternoon.

As the day drew to a close, we couldn’t resist a final visit to the beach at 5pm. A stroll along the shore as the sun dipped below the horizon painted the sky in a mesmerizing display of colors. To cap off the perfect evening, we found a delightful local cafe for dinner, the ideal way to end a productive and visually stunning day.

22 December 2023

Beach Breezes, Breakfast Buffets, and Blackouts!

Our day began with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel around 7:45am. The early hour meant we practically had the place to ourselves, though the selection wasn’t quite as extensive as the first day. As the morning progressed, the breakfast area predictably filled up with fellow travelers.

After breakfast, we retreated to our room for a bit before venturing out for a walk along the beach in the opposite direction. A cool breeze and noticeably larger waves greeted us, a refreshing change from the previous days. Our stroll took us past the jetty and a charming little harbor nestled in a cove. A refreshing stop at a 7-Eleven for morning tea provided a welcome pick-me-up.

With the sun high in the sky, we decided to head back to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon.

By 6pm, our appetites kicked in, and we set out for dinner. The warm air was still stirred by a brisk breeze, and the waves continued their lively performance. Opting for convenience, we ventured across the road to the Nana Beach Beach Bar, its beachfront location offering a delightful ambiance.

The restaurant wasn’t bustling, but the company we did have was great! We shared a delicious Massaman curry with rice – a true Thai classic. This particular rendition was presented more like a soup, a unique twist on a familiar dish.

As if on cue for a bit of adventure, the power lines outside crackled with a display of arcing electricity just before we entered the restaurant. Following a brief blackout, the lights flickered back on, adding a touch of excitement to the evening.

With full tummies and a story to tell, we strolled back to the hotel, calling it a night after another day filled with simple pleasures and unexpected moments.

23 December 2023

Farewells, Familiar Markets, and Festive Feasts!

The bittersweet taste of farewell filled the air as we said goodbye to Nana Beach on this day. Our hearts were set on returning north to Khiri Khan, where we planned to celebrate Christmas.

Hitting the road at 9:30am, a familiar sight greeted us – a PTT station, our perfect pitstop for morning tea and refueling the car. By 10:30am, we were refreshed and ready to continue our journey.

The call of the market was strong, and we detoured to visit the Thai Singkhon Markets on the Myanmar border. Having enjoyed a previous visit here, we knew what to expect: a treasure trove of unique crafts, manageable crowds compared to other bustling markets, and an impressive selection of solid timber furniture. As if by fate, we even bumped into a friendly shop keeper we’d met before – a delightful chance encounter that brought back warm memories.

Our adventure continued at Praow Decor, where we made new friends with the owners. These kind souls, who specialize in importing beautiful rugs not found elsewhere in Thailand, took great delight in showing us their wares. Their hospitality extended to offering us cool water and comfortable seating – a gesture that went a long way in the afternoon heat. We left with a newfound appreciation for their craft and a hope to reconnect on a future trip.

With Christmas on the horizon, practicality took center stage. A stop at Tesco Lotus by 3pm ensured we had everything we needed to create a festive feast. Finally arriving back at our hotel in Khiri Khan, a sense of contentment settled in.

As the day drew to a close, we ventured a little further north by 6pm. The setting sun painted the sky in a mesmerizing display of colors, the perfect backdrop for our dinner at Bay Camp Cafe. By the time we settled in to enjoy our meal, we had the entire cafe to ourselves, a private serenade by the sounds of the ocean waves. It was a truly idyllic way to end a day filled with heartwarming encounters, festive preparations, and the promise of a special Christmas celebration.

24 December 2023

Monkey Business, Marine Marvels, and Market Delights!

Our day began with a 10am visit to Ko Lak, eager to see the Dusky monkeys again and explore the cafes lining the area. After a delightful stroll, we decided to save lunch for a later return, already enticed by the aroma and ambiance of the various eateries.

By noon, we found ourselves at the Waghow Aquarium. The air conditioning offered a welcome respite from the midday sun as we meandered through the display tanks, marveling at the vibrant underwater world. The aquarium provided a fascinating glimpse into the marine life that thrives in these waters.

Refreshed and ready for lunch, we returned to Ko Lak by 2pm. Our appetites led us to a delicious serving of Chicken Fried Rice, the perfect fuel for our afternoon adventures.

After lunch, we opted for a relaxing afternoon back at our hotel, recharging for the evening’s exploration.

By 5:30pm, a touch of hunger pangs lured us out to the local markets. Here, we stumbled upon a delightful find: lemon meringue pie, the perfect sweet treat to stash away for later. The market also served up another culinary gem – some of the best Pad Thai we’d had on our entire trip! We savored our dinner with care, thoroughly enjoying the flavors and textures.

With full tummies and a satisfied sweet tooth, we headed back to our hotel for an early night. Our delectable lemon meringue pie awaited, the ideal sweet ending to a day filled with animal encounters, underwater discoveries, and delicious local fare.

25 December 2023

A Merry Christmas on the Coast!

The spirit of Christmas filled the air as we awoke to another breathtaking sunrise on this special day. The vibrant colors painted across the sky mirrored the warmth in our hearts.

By 10am, we were drawn to the waterfront, where the ocean put on a show with large waves crashing dramatically over the wall. The salty breeze and the sound of the waves created a truly invigorating Christmas morning atmosphere.

After our walk, practicality called, and we took a quick drive to Lotus’s to stock up on Christmas essentials – beer and nibbles! These supplies would ensure a festive and enjoyable celebration.

Lunchtime brought us a comforting plate of Massaman curry – a familiar and satisfying dish that hit the spot perfectly. The rest of the afternoon unfolded peacefully, allowing us to relax and savor the tranquility of the moment.

As the sun began its descent, we couldn’t resist another stroll to the waterfront. This time, our mission was to find dinner options at the bustling markets. The sights, sounds, and aromas promised a delicious conclusion to our Christmas Day adventure.