Feeding the monkeys at Sammuk Hill

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Some tourists in Pattaya think of something else other than the beach thing. They go to Sammuk Hill in Bangsaen and feed some monkeys. That is not to say Pattaya’s attractions are not great, but a day with the cuddly primates is, indeed, another story.

Sammuk Hill is just a short distance from Bangsaen beach and features the shrine of Chao Mae Khao Sammuk, a Chinese girl who, according to one version of the story, committed suicide by throwing herself into the cliff, after her parents refused to give her the blessing to marry her lover. The entire hill is inhabited by wild monkeys, but can be hand-fed if you have bananas.

If you go more than picture-taking and want to do this and you don’t have anything to give, fruit vendors, who ply their trade on Sammuk hill, will provide. The top of the hill where the shrine is located can be reached by cars. The road is winding but not steep so that you don’t have to rev up your vehicle beyond necessary. Besides, monkeys do exercise their liberty, crossing the road at will.

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You don’t want having a bad day after killing one instantly with your rubberized tires! There are those who hike their way up the hill. If you do this and you’re over 40, make sure you had taken a dozen of energy drinks prior to embarking on this short journey. Halfway up the road is the first stop, though. Take a rest, deep breath, under a shelter, and enjoy a spectacular view of the sea. Right here is a relatively large tree where lazy and overfed monkeys take their nap.

If you need additional energy to reach the top, buy a bunch of bananas and do feed yourself first, before you do to your ancestors. Look through the thick trees and bushes beside the road. You’ll find a lot of baby monkeys, breast-feeding mothers, and banana-belied males. Most of the time, especially when many other people have come before you, the monkeys will not even throw a glance at your bananas. You need quail eggs to lure them towards you for the photos. This is a more expensive commodity around here, but it is readily available.p3

The top of the hill is a watering hole in itself. There is a car parking area. The shrine is never without people around it, devotees and curious onlookers alike. Ironically, despite its sad story, people worship it for luck and to improve on their love relationship. Another legend has it that this spot was used as “Lover’s Leap” where couples kill themselves after making a vow to their forbidden love.

Still another tale says that the shrine was built in memory of a fisherman’s wife who waited atop the hill for her husband who was lost at sea. They are not so sure, of course. It’s an old tale and we are talking here of an 18th century story. — Jony Reese

OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN BANGSAEN • Bangsaen Beach, ideal for swimming, windsurfing and other water sports. • Wat Saensook, where there are many statues, describing hell and heaven stories. • Ang Sila Village, where large oysters, lobsters and shells are kept in a fisherman’s farm. Also in this village are many stone handicraft factories, where you will be surprised at the craftsmanship skills of artisans in creating beautiful sculptures out of stone boulders.

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Rim Talay Seafood Restaurant Celebrates 7 years with complete makeover

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Opened 7 years ago, Rim Talay restaurant celebrates its 7th birthday with a complete makeover from top to bottom. “We are so happy to celebrate 7 years of successful operations for which we thank our many customers from around the world,” says Khun Kanuengsuk Prungpluem (Khun Oy) the general manager. “Our new renovations will reflect customer wishes so that we are able to provide better facilities and services. It is one of the ways we thank our customers for their continued custom by listening to their suggestions.” When the restaurants first opened its doors 7 years ago on the beach at Half Moon Bay at the end of Soi 18, next to the Centara Grand Mirage Resort the area was not very well known and there were thoughts that customers would not know to find the place.

However customers came and found the location perfect and the restaurant’s presence helped generate more traffic in the beach area so that today the beach is a very popular place for people seeking refuge from crowds off the main beach in Pattaya. Rim Talay’s new renovations start right at the beginning when customers enter the restaurant. Here they have created the biggest “seafood restaurant market” in Pattaya.

 

First they transformed one of their shrimp fishing pools into the largest seafood display pool in Pattaya where customers can choose live seafood like king lobsters, rock lobsters, river prawns, Fish and so forth swimming for customers to select prior to cooking. In addition they also have around 10 large glass aquariums where fresh live seafood and fish are kept for customers to eyeball.

Morever they have kept another pool nearby for their very popular fresh shrimp fishing where customers can try their luck skills with fishing for shrimps. A fun activity that is easy to do, but requires a bit of skill in order to master. This has been one of their signature fun activities and remains very popular. The restaurant cooks shrimp caught for customers with the slogan “you do the fishing and we do the cooking”.

Next to the live seafood pool customers pass through the fresh chilled food area where seafood are kept for people that prefer not to order live fish. Then customers pass near the grill area and kitchen next to it where they have a staff of 25 cooks busy with many orders. The cooks are specialists in seafood cooking as well as in the preparation of imported steaks.

The second floor is kept as the place to view the beautiful Half Moon Bay and is very popular particular during sunsets. The second floor area is reduced a bit to allow for more open roof space for the first floor terrace. “The second floor we have redecorated a bit to allow for private parties and other functions. Customers wanting to celebrate specials events like birthdays and such and can now have a better private area to celebrate” says Khun Oy. “Our redecorations of mainly white themes keep the mood of casual and relaxed elegance to reflect the spirit of the restaurant and mirror the beauty of the ambiance of the dark blue sea, white clouds, long golden sandy beach and lush greenery of our tropical garden areas.

Sunsets are often spectacular with the sun sliding into the distant ocean’s edge”! The biggest change is on the first floor or the “Sunset View Terrace” as they call the area. The area has been expanded doubling its capacity with more open sky space with the removal of part of the floor of the second floor. A retractable awning has been installed to allow for a roof cover in case of inclement weather. “This means more of our customers can dine under the stars while enjoying one of the best seafood in Pattaya” says Khun Oy. “Rim Talay is the only seafood restaurant that offers full service dining experience right on the beach for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner in Pattaya and we intend of keep and improve on this tradition,” according to Khun Oy. During the day there are dozens of sun beds for customers who wish to enjoy the sun while dining. In the evening more tables and relaxing beach sofas are set up according to demand so customers are able to dine under the stars with the ocean practically lapping at their feet.

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“Rim Talay is the only seafood restaurant that offers full service dining experience right on the beach for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner in Pattaya and we intend of keep and improve on this tradition,” according to Khun Oy. During the day there are dozens of sun beds for customers who wish to enjoy the sun while dining. In the evening more tables and relaxing beach sofas are set up according to demand so customers are able to dine under the stars with the ocean practically lapping at their feet. As an added innovation and a conversation piece they have also transformed a ‘tuk-tuk’ to become a draft beer bar, which is parked in the beach area. In addition to beer the restaurant maintains an excellent selection of wines from around the world for customers who want to choose the right wine with their meals. There are also tempting tropical cocktails served throughout the day. “We provide friendly and professional service together with our truly delicious seafood as well as imported steaks. Our wine selections go well with most dishes. We also have Australian or Canadian steaks, which we keep chilled to keep its unique flavors, as well as Thai, Asian and European food. We also offer New Zealand mussels, Norwegian salmon, and Thai specialties all at compatible prices because we want customers to return. Advertising and “word-of-mouth” are our marketing strategies and it has worked well for us,” according to Khun Oy.

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The main menu is spectacular boosting over 200 items of seafood, steaks, Thai and European food and each menu item has a photograph of the actual dish plus describing each dish in 5 languages (Thai, English, German, Chinese and Russian). Khun Oy further mentioned; “We also added a completely new and chic as well as romantic and relaxing “Chill-out-Zone” in front of the beach with cozy furniture, sparkling lights and a special chill-out-menu offering “Stone Oven Pizza” and other delicious items besides our international variety of seafood, steaks, Thai and Asian delights. Since we opened the “Chill-out- Zone” it quickly became a hit with our guests!” Another new addition is the “TukTuk Beach Bar” located right in front of the beach with breathtaking views and offering a wide varieties of drinks from draft beer to tropical cocktails, wine and delicious Mock-tails all of which are also available for take-away while strolling along the beach!

The Big Buddha

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Pattaya is not only bout water sports and glittering nightlife; it is also home of some of the kingdom’s captivating cultural landmarks. The many interesting activities of engage in, the amusing parks and the glittering nightlife to see, all this constitutes an irresistible attraction in Pattaya. It is no wonder that this resort destination always comes first on the list of many travelers around the world. But there is much more than that to discover in Pattaya.

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It is also home to some of the kingdom’s historical landmarks that are really worth visiting. For one, it has the Big Buddha. Sitting on top of Pratumnak Hill, which is about halfway between Pattaya and Jomtien, the Bug Buddha can be reached by a motored vehicle. To get to it you walk up a staircase guarded on both sides by the guardian serpent painted in gold. The image is also painted in bright gold and is elevated about 300 meters above Pattaya’s coastline, overlooking the sea.

It can be seen from some distance away. In the area around the Big Buddha are smaller Buddha images mostly in standing position. The images representing the seven days of the week, this kind of structure can be found in many places around Thailand and each has something to say depending on what day you were born. Some people come here only to know their luck and destiny, while others think of the images as guardian spirits.

Depending on what day you were born, you have your own guardian Buddha:

Monday’s Buddha is said to bring you peace.

Tuesday’s Buddha will grant you with peaceful sleep and is usually in the reclining position.

Wednesday’s Buddha will remind you that you are generous person and that it is your passion to share your blessing to others.

Thursday’s Buddha allows you ample time to meditate and to have peace of mind.

Friday’s Buddha assures you happiness.

Saturday’s Buddha will keep you safe from harm especially from the forces of nature.

Sunday’s Buddha will remind you that the needy must be care for. In addition, people come here with caged birds purchased at the foot of the stairs. After a brief worship and meditation, the birds are released for luck.

There is quaint temple at the right side of the area where you can give contribution for the monks and for maintenance of the area. Flower offerings are also made here, and so with burning of incense and merit-making.

Make sure you remove your shoes and are dressed properly before you enter (no shorts). If you are a little superstitious, in this small temple are long flat strips of wood numbered one to 28 placed in a circular container.

p2Shake up and down until one jumps out. If you get the number, read the charts on the wall behind you. This will be your destiny. Take photos and enjoy the fresh air and experience a moment of quietude, or just spend time viewing the surrounding below. Down the hill to the staggered cross road the views are amazing and you should be taking more shots here. But that’s not all there is to see. There is a shrine of Admiral Krom Luang Chumphon Khet Udomsak, the “Father of Royal Thai Navy.” Admiral Krom Luang Chumphon Khet Udomsak or the Prince of Chumphon – formerly HRH Prince Abhakara Kiartiwongse, during the reign of King Chulalongkorn was known for his great contribution in developing the Royal Thai Navy.

Born on the December 18, 1880 as the 28th child of King, the revered prince was a born navigator. He was a skilled seaman, assuming the commandership of the Royal Ship from Ceylon to Europe during his father’s journeys. He was also noted as the first Thai officer to train naval cadets in foreign waters, developing and strengthening the capabilities of The Royal Thai Navy at par with those of other European countries.

So impressive was his record that in 1887 the Ministry of the Navy was established to oversee the growth of naval affairs. The Prince was later made Minister of the Navy. He also founded the Royal Thai Naval Academy and the Marine Engineering School.

Craving dolce vita ?

p2Subtitle: Pack up and head to Pattaya Intro text: This sun and sand paradise has it all from marine sports, good food and great people… When was the last time you had a blast? Pattaya, a popular Thai beach resort two hours from Bangkok by car, has it all for you. Pattaya attracts local families and holidaymakers from around the world.

The plethora of hotels and guest houses, and easy access from the capital and airport, make it a popular weekend getaway. Catering for over five million annual visitors, Pattaya is also able to offer an excellent range of dining options and a wide variety of things to do. Its population is a colorful mix of nationalities and ethnicities from near and far. Pattaya’s name was originally “Thap Phraya,” meaning Army of the Phraya—commemorating the surrender of Nai Klom’s army to that of Phraya Tak (later King Taksin the Great), without a fight.

Thap Phraya became Phatthaya (the name of the north-easterly wind at the beginning of the rainy season), and then Phatthaya (the true phonetic spelling). The Vietnam War made Pattaya a well-known recreational center, especially among American GI’s. From its beginning in 1959 with a small private bungalow where American officers on leave took turn for “R and R” (rest and recreation), this sleepy village by the sea has grown and changed dramatically into one of the world’s tourism hot spots. The opening of the new Suvarnabhumi Airport (located east of Bangkok, alongside the expressway to Pattaya) has made visiting easier than ever.

Pattaya is popular not only as a beach resort and for its entertainment, nightlife and shopping, but also for the broad selection of pastimes it caters for, from golf and horseback riding to bungee jumping, karting and shooting— not to mention a wide variety of watersports such as scuba diving, jet-skiing, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing and kitesurfing, and a whole lot more. Pattaya is also very popular as a conference, convention, and seminar venue, and the grapevine hosts rumors of future developments of varying degrees of plausibility, such as a horse racing track, casinos, and a tram system.

Pattaya occupies most of the coastline of Bang Lamung District (one of the eleven districts that comprise ChonburiProvince). Pattaya’s downtown area is easy to get around. Running north-south, a few hundred metres apart, are Beach Road (Thanon Hat Pattaya, sometimes also referred to as First Road) which borders the main beach (Hat Pattaya), Pattaya Second Road and Pattaya Third Road (with the smaller but busy Soi Buakhao in between), and the main Sukhumvit Road coastal highway.

Beach Road is one-way (southbound), likewise Second Road (northbound). Beach Road south of South Pattaya Road is closed to vehicles in the evenings (currently 18:00-02:00) and is called Walking Street. It’s the main tourist area, both for nightlife and shopping. Other major tourism areas include the section of Second Road between Sois 1-4, and the Sois immediately north of South Pattaya Road. At the southern end of Walking Street is the New Pier, usually called Bali Hai Pier (sometimes “Pattaya Pier” or “South Pier”). The Old Pier, close to the junction of Beach Road and South Pattaya Road, is still shown on most maps but was dismantled and removed at the beginning of 2006. Some of the nearby islands are accessible by speedboat in less than 15 minutes and by ferry taking about 45 minutes. The three kilometers long Pattaya Beach runs along the city centre. The beach is full of life with hotels, restaurants, shopping malls all along the road facing the beach. The street south of Beach Road, Walking Street, comes alive with rock music as the night sets in. People throng the street to experience the night life, which is unique in all respects. There are hundreds of beer bars, go-go bars, discotheques around the area.

Muay Thai, the Thai Boxing, an open arena in some of the beer bars are exciting to the hilt. Another beach in Pattaya, Jomtien Beach, more popular among family vacationers, is on the southern part of the city, and separated from the main Pattaya Bay by Buddha hill. Jomtien is more calm and serene compared to the crowded Pattaya Beach and a paradise for water sports enthusiasts.

Jomtien is also popular for its amusement park and tower, to keep children entertained. The one-kilometer long, Wong Phrachan Beach, situated on the Northern part of the Pattaya Beach is a favorite among swimmers. There are acres of sand jam-packed with recliners and umbrellas (usually with an “in-house” supply of drinks), serviced by an army of laid-back but tenacious hawkers offering anything and everything from food (especially seafood, fruit, ice cream) to massage, manicure/pedicure, tattoos, lottery tickets, newspapers, herbs, flowers, gems, perfumes, sunglasses, CDs, watches, lighters, clothes, toys, souvenirs, handicrafts (it’s a bit like TV shopping – as soon as you’ve declined one offer, it’s time to consider another) and so on. Eventually you buy a very dark pair of sunglasses, and after that you just pretend to be asleep. Have fun!

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