Thailand
Khlong Bang Niang

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  • Dec23

    Day 14 - A Visit from Lovely Chanika

    December 23, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    We managed to drag ourselves out of bed at 9.45am, then had a coffee & some left over mini doughnuts on the terrace. It was very pleasant with small birds & butterflies flitting about in the lush green foliage. At 10.30am the cleaner arrived, so we relocated to the sun beds around the pool.

    Again we had the pool to ourselves. With the benefit of decent WiFi, I booked a pair of Stone Valley Festival music & camping tickets for Jackie & I. To celebrate, I cranked up the volume with some Big Country on my speaker.

    For lunch, we bought a couple of beers & some sour cream & onion Lays from a tiny shop opposite the hotel. Our lunch on our now nice clean terrace was disturbed by a WhatsApp message from Chanika. She had sent us some information on trips to the Similan Islands that we had asked her to research & at a price considerably cheaper than the brochure price. We WhatsApp’d back that we would like to book it & she said she would be with us in 15 minutes to complete the paperwork.

    Twenty minutes later, Chanika arrived bearing homemade Christmas gifts for us. She gave Jackie a beaded chain to clip to her mask (all the rage over here), me a packet of nicely wrapped banana crisps & for both of us a bar of soap using ingredients from her garden. I’m hoping she hasn’t gone all Gwyneth Paltrow on us!

    She then pulled out her ticket book, which she said hadn’t seen a single booking in the last two years & completed the necessary documentation. We didn’t have enough cash on us so she gave us a lift to the money exchange to change up some more cash to pay her up front for the trip. Let’s hope this is not some elaborate scam!

    We finished the afternoon with a little siesta until the peace was shattered by the sound of loud rap music & the grunting & groaning of what I hope was Muay Thai boxers training.

    After a shower (apparently the water is now too hot & too powerful for Jackie) we were having a quick ‘livener’ on our terrace when I read the information leaflet that came with our antihistamine tablets for our itchy sandfly bites. It read that only one should be taken each day, avoid alcohol & they may make you drowsy. No wonder we were tired, we had been swallowing a couple of tablets at a time & washing them down with beer & gin.

    We went out for the evening via a shortcut, which Jackie was convinced was someone’s garden, but I saw it as a public right of way. We had dinner at a Thai/German restaurant called Thai Life where we had our tastiest starter yet, satay chicken & a cheeky garlic bread. We followed it up with a lovely Penang curry & Tom Yum soup. Over dinner I discovered my sd card in my camera was full. Bugger!

    We sought out Mr Chay Bar only to discover that it was closed & no sign of life. I just hope it hasn’t been closed down by the authorities after the Thai Government issued new Covid guidance including a request for citizens to inform on any bar/restaurant not taking necessary precautions. I’m not sure Mr Chay was!!

    Song of the Day: Alone by Big Country.
    Tracks of My Tears (Live) by Big Country.

    (The words seem all the more poignant knowing that Stuart Adamson committed suicide in a hotel room in Hawaii on 16th December 2001 aged just 43).
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    Andy Mays

    Have you got a who’s who of rock star deaths by your bedside - cheer up, you’re on holiday 😂

    12/24/21Reply
    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Ha, ha, ha. I’m only happy when I’m miserable 🙁

    12/24/21Reply
    Andy Mays

    Happy Christmas both of you. Have a fab one!!

    12/24/21Reply
     
  • Dec22

    Day 13 - Rookie Error Nearly Disastrous

    December 22, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Had an itchy night, waking up at 2.30am & not really getting back to sleep again. At 7.30am, we dragged ourselves out of bed, had a cold shower & packed our rucksacks. I had a dickey stomach, which is the last thing I wanted on a travelling day!

    An hour later we were ordering breakfast, banana porridge with honey for me & Jackie ordered the smallest in the world cheese & ham toastie with a pot of fresh coffee. Having paid up, we said our goodbyes to the characters I’ve previously referred to and we hiked down to the pier for the 10am speedboat back to the mainland.

    The speedboat was a 40 minute bumpy crossing to Ranong Port, then a taxi transferred us to Ronong Bus Station, where we bought some random snacks - a honey & a strawberry pop drink, some Thai equivalent of pork scratchings and some unidentifiable sweet pastries.

    At 11.30am sharp, the coach departed & headed south. Despite being only 25% full, a young junior Hitler ticket collector kept coming back to check that everyone was sitting in their allocated seats. We also had the army again check our passports & the travel documents of our fellow Thai travellers halfway through our journey.

    As of today the Thai Authorities are clamping down on the movement of new tourists to Thailand. We understand that the Thailand Pass scheme that had allowed us to travel after our test & go procedure has been scrapped. Now all tourists without a previously issued Thailand Pass can only fly directly into Phuket & now take 2 PCR tests & must remain on the island of Phuket for at least 7 days before being allowed to travel elsewhere in Thailand. This clearly has a serious impact on those tourists who have booked a 1 or 2 week holiday somewhere in Thailand other than Phuket. No wonder British Airways & TUI have cancelled all their Thai holidays & flights!

    Nearly 3 hours later we arrived at Takua Pa Bus Station & the driver announced that we’d be stopping for 15 minutes. We decided to get off for a leg stretch & Jackie went to the toilet. Whilst waiting for her my stomach suddenly gurgled uncontrollably & I dashed to the Gents. There were 3 cubicles each with a different height toilet set in the middle of the cubicle. One was a hole in the floor, one was a normal size bowl & the 3rd was of a height somewhere between the other two. More importantly to me at this moment was that none had any toilet paper. What an idiot for not packing any in our hand luggage.

    In panic I scampered to the food hall grabbed a large handful of tissues from a ladies food stall. I asked if I could take them, but scampered back before she could reply & I made it back to the Gents just in time!!!

    Twenty minutes later we unceremoniously dumped at our schedules stop at the side of the main road through Khao Lak. No one was around to offer us a lift, so I walked down the road until I found a lovely little lady, Chanika, in a tour shop. After explaining my predicament, she offered to close her shop & drive us to our hotel for 150 Baht (about £3.50). She explained it was really quiet & I had been her 1st customer in three days. When we arrived at our new hotel, Fanari Khaolak Resort, Jackie & Chanika, who couldn’t have been more helpful, swapped mobile numbers as we would definitely use her for any future business we had in the area.

    Our new receptionist was not particularly warm & welcoming. She walked us to our room, plonked the key fob in the slot to activate the electric, said “OK” & walked out. Our hearts sank. The room smelt musty as if it hadn’t been lived in for 2 years, which it probably hadn’t & there was dirt between the floor tiles on our terrace. I asked for a broom, which didn’t do the trick, so she took some photos & promised to get properly cleaned in the morning. As she was leaving I then told her we didn’t have any coffee-making or tea-making facilities. When she returned with a kettle, cups & sachets, I asked if we could have a couple of extra harder pillows. She smiled sweetly and later returned with 2 satisfactory pillows. A quick squirt of citronella around the room & we were sorted! We really can’t complain too much when we are paying just £167 for 6 nights over Christmas.

    At 5pm, we went for an explore & found a German reggae bar called Mr Chay Bar. It was quiet when we arrived, but in the hour that we were there it had transformed into a lively bar, which apparently also has live music in the evenings. We have already earmarked this as potentially the place to be on Christmas evening.

    We went home, showered & went straight back out. The restaurants in Khao Lak are much more westernised than at Koh Phayam & clearly aimed at the western tourists. They also come with western prices, on average 50 - 100%, but when I mentioned it I was accused of being a cheapskate!

    We settled on a restaurant called Siam. The staff were ultra polite & the food was beautifully presented. Jackie had red chicken curry & rice, whilst I had chicken & cashew nuts, which was nice but not sensational. After a quick G & T nightcap on our terrace we had a very early night.

    Song of the Day: Clampdown by The Clash.
    Cheapskates by The Clash.

    (In tribute to Joe Strummer who died on this day in 2002 aged just 50.
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    Steve Rush

    Glad you were able to get into Thailand before the new restrictions were imposed. Would've been a nightmare!

    12/23/21Reply
    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Absolutely. Thanking our lucky stars!

    12/23/21Reply
     
  • Dec27

    Day 18 - Quiet Day on the Western Front

    December 27, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    The day started with more coffee & Christmas cake on the terrace. It was then a trip to reception to print off travel confirmations.

    We had just settled on the sun beds when Jackie’s phone rang & true to form she handed it to me like it was a ticking time bomb. It was Chanika telling us there was a problem with tomorrow. We were thinking ‘Oh here we go’, but we should have had more faith.

    Chanika told us that our bus & the only bus of the day was now leaving Phuket bus terminal at 10.30am & not at the scheduled 11.30am departure. Incredibly we had had no notification of this change & we would have missed the only bus of the day going to Hat Yai. Chanika had come up trumps yet again & she arranged to pick us up from our hotel at 9.30 in the morning.

    After an hour or so of melting in the sun, he headed into town to change some US dollars we had & to buy some provisions for our lengthy bus ride tomorrow. We stopped for a cheeky Chang in Thai Life & we ordered a bacon & onion rosti & some french fries, which didn’t let us down. We returned via my shortcut which it would seem was someone’s front garden, because we had to clamber over a barrier at the other end to get out.

    It was another lazy afternoon by the pool with a little bit of research for our onward travels. That night we went out to dinner to a little shack, ‘Give me Five’ recommended by American Dad for it’s onion soup. We both ordered the onion soup, with a portion of garlic bread to share. It tasted a lot better than it looked. We skipped mains & I had the sticky mango rice & Jackie the fried bananas & ice cream. Both desserts were huge, we struggled to finish them, but they did finish us.

    We waddled home & had a small nightcap on the terrace before calling it a night.

    Song of the Day: Drag It Down - Janice Long BBC Session by New Model Army.
    Frightened - Janice Long BBC Session by New Model Army.
    (No explanation required).
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  • Dec26

    Day 17 - Boxing Day Rain Relief

    December 26, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    We had a decent nights sleep & started the day with coffee & Christmas cake on the terrace. Jackie WhatsApp’d Chanika to let her know that the Similan Islands trip had been a great success & to enquire how she was getting on with arranging our onward travels on the 28th. All we wanted was a 1 hour 45 minute taxi ride back to Phuket bus terminal. It couldn’t be that difficult.

    Minutes later Jackie’s phone rang & she tossed her phone to me to speak with Chanika. I had a confusing conversation with her, but I ultimately worked out that she had other plans that would save us time & money. She said would need to visit us again. Not a problem we would be by the pool all day.

    Chanika arrived an hour later & sat crosslegged on the terrace floor in front of us as if we were a king & queen sitting on our thrones listening to one of our subjects. It felt a bit awkward. She wanted to see our bus tickets from Phuket to Hat Yai bus terminal. She was going to arrange for us to board the bus at Khok Kloi bus terminal instead of Phuket. This was would reduce our taxi ride to 1 hour, saving us about 1,200 baht & an extra 2 hour lie in. Perfect!

    Chanika then went into a big long sob story about how she gets up at 4am every morning to make breakfast for the Thais & she only made 45 baht profit this morning, how her mum has cancer & her brother a bad foot, but they can’t afford the hospital fee, how her electricity was going to be cut off on the 27th December & so on & so on. It didn’t make sense when she drives around in a big top of the range 4x4. We humoured her until she ran out of things to say to try and make us feel sorry for her.

    Our healthy lunch consisted of crisps, popcorn & a beer.

    In the afternoon, we sat by the pool in the scorching sun (the hottest day yet) until we had a lovely 10 minute downpour to cool us down. We stayed out in the sun until 4.30pm, when rain set in for the remainder of the afternoon.

    The rain continued until 8pm, when we went out for dinner with an umbrella. We returned to Thai Life, but went for the nearest thing we could get to a traditional Christmas dinner. Jackie ordered the Wiener schnitzel XXL, but the waitress now knowing Jackie’s sparrow like appetite suggested that they could do a smaller cheaper version for her, which she accepted. I ordered the cordon bleu chicken, but she didn’t recommend a smaller version for me! Both dinners were really delicious & we ate the lot.

    To finish the evening we stopped in the Piranha Bar for a couple of strong Thai Piranha cocktails costing just 70 baht each. The bar owner also had his own sob story which he off loaded on to Jackie.

    Song of the Day: Sunday Rain by Foo Fighters.
    Kings And Queens by Thirty Seconds To Mars.
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    Pam Harris

    Once again I am loving reading about your adventures. Px

    12/26/21Reply
    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Thanks Pam. Is Tony snoring too loudly for you to get to sleep at this unearthly hour. Hope you had a great Christmas (when the power returned) & happy new year to you both x

    12/26/21Reply
    Pam Harris

    🤣🤣🤣

    12/27/21Reply
     
  • Dec24

    Day 15 - It Was Christmas Eve, Babe

    December 24, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Woke up to the sad news that yet another friend had been diagnosed with cancer.

    Breakfast on the terrace consisted of a cup of coffee & banana flakes courtesy of Chanika. We then had a mad rush to ensure our sun beds. Some miserable Germans were laying towels out around OUR pool. Bloody cheek.

    After an hour or so of sunning, I was getting itchy feet, figuratively, so I hired a scooter from the little shop opposite the hotel & Jackie & I went in search of a new sd card for my camera. After a lot of stopping & asking we eventually found the camera shop about 2 miles away & paid fractionally over the odds for it. Still we needed it.

    To celebrate, we treated ourselves to lunch at a much cheaper ‘locals’ restaurant on the main road beside some roadworks. I ordered a green curry, but when it arrived they had been a bit too heavy handed with the fish sauce. Jackie insisted on swapping & so I had her chicken & cashew nuts. Neither were that nice, but the cold beer made up for it.

    After a scoot around the resort, we concluded that we had made the right choice with our hotel, we returned the scooter & sat down by the pool we had to ourselves again.

    That night we planned to have a simple pizza & a relatively quiet & early night (best laid plans & all that), because we had an early start in the morning. We didn’t want any dodgy stomachs on our boat trip!

    After a quick livener, we headed to Mr Chay’s Bar for a pre-dinner drink. We drank beer & wine & nibbled on the complimentary roasted peanuts. Amongst the peanuts I found a roasted chilli & bit half off & swallowed. F**k my mouth was on fire. Jackie thought I was being a wimp & nibbled on a bit before spitting it out & then started sweating profusely. So much for taking precautions!

    Once Jackie had stopped sweating by consuming a couple of wines, we popped to Pinocchio Restaurant for a bland pizza to share. We then stopped at Piranha Bar, which we had awarded best dressed Christmas bar in town for a quick 99 Baht cocktail before heading home. No sooner had we ordered our drinks, I was rushing to the toilet not once, but twice.

    Before we knew it, it was late & we had had three very strong cocktails each & were fairly sozzled. Typically us!!

    I hope my choice of songs don’t offend.

    Song of the Day: Cancer by My Chemical Romance.
    Slide Away - Live For Teenage Cancer Trust by Noel Gallagher.
    Cancer by Tom MacDonald.
    Fairytale of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl.
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    Andy Mays

    Sorry to hear the news mate ☹️

    12/26/21Reply
     
  • Day35

    Khao Lak 2016 - Part 1

    April 19, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

    Ob ich noch einmal im September nach Thailand reisen würde - in der Regenzeit? Auf jeden Fall..... und in ein erstklassiges Hotel mit Top Bewertungen, wie das "The Sands Khao Lak", sowieso!

    Tauchen in der Andaman-See, ist in den Herbstmonaten eh nicht möglich und somit, lag der Schwerpunkt einfach bei zwei Wochen Vater / Tochter Ferien - viel Zeit zu Zweit und ganz wichtig....., lecker Thaifood!

    Zwei Juniorsuiten zu attraktiven Nebensaison Preisen kann man sich doch mal gönnen, dachten wir uns - wie sich zeigte, eine prima Wahl.

    Trotz Rainy Season, scheinte oft stundenlang die Sonne - genügend Zeit für Spaziergänge am Meer, Gespräche unter Palmen und eine gepflegte Urlaubsbräune.

    Wir freuten uns jeden Tag auf das fantastische Frühstück das keine Wünsche offen ließ. Bei strömenden Regen drehten wir Runden im riesigen Hotelpool, oder schauten von unseren Balkonen dem Monsun zu und redeten über Gott und die Welt - wie schön!

    Mit großem Regenschirm "bewaffnet", ging es abends meist in's nahe Zentrum, oft mit den Flip-Flops knöcheltief durch warme Pfützen - ständig den Blick auf die Füße gerichtet, um nicht auf Schnecken oder Frösche zu treten. Willkommen in den Tropen!

    Der große Bang Niang Nachtmarkt im Nachbarort, war nur einen mittleren Spaziergang entfernt - Shopping in Thailand muss einfach sein! Auf solchen Märkten, bevorrate ich mich immer besonders gerne mit Freizeitkleidung und Flip-Flops - meist prima Qualität, die Latschen beispielsweise, sind heute noch im Einsatz!

    Ausschließlich bei Klamotten, blieb es selbstverständlich nicht! Beim Packen für die Heimreise, war Jessi bis zuletzt nicht davon zu überzeugen, daß alles in meine riesige Tasche passte - naja, ich packe eben kompakt 🚁😎😅!

    In der zweiten Woche, wurde dann eine stabile Wetterlage mit geringem Regenrisiko gemeldet, darauf hatte ich gehofft - auf zum Dschungel Trekking in den Khao Sok NP, Zeit für Abenteuer!

    🌴🐒🦇🐘🐸🐊🦂🦟🦋🕷️🌳🐝🚁😎!
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  • Dec19

    Day 10 - Now Officially Eaten Alive

    December 19, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ 🌧 24 °C

    We both slept pretty well, but a small gap in the mosquito net allowed one in to bite us about three times each. As I was getting dressed, I picked up my shorts from the downstairs bed to discover they were saturated. We eventually worked it out the Jackie hadn’t screwed the lid back properly on a large bottle of water & it had leaked down through the floorboards to my shorts below. Brilliant!

    It was an overcast start to the day so we spent the whole morning uploading & downloading in the WiFi breakfast area, whilst drinking instant coffee & each eating a big fluffy pancake with pineapple & bacon. I benefited from Jackie not particularly liking hers. We managed to book seats on a bus from Phuket to Hat Yai, accommodation in Hat Yai & transport to the island of Ko Lipe.

    Just after midday, we jumped on our scooter & headed straight back to Long Beach. This time we stopped at the next bar along, Lazy Hut, who had far superior sun beds. We reserved our chosen bed for the afternoon & took a walk along the beach & through the occasional cloud of smoke from bonfires in the jungle. We walked until my watch announced that we had completed a mile before turning around & walking back.

    We had worked up a decent thirst & imbibed in a couple of beers for lunch, before settling down for a siesta on our very comfortable sun beds. I had taken my Bluetooth speaker & we listened to the relaxing tracks on a playlist with the unsavoury title of ‘Fister’s Lot’. Don’t ask!

    It would have been relaxing if we hadn’t been bitten alive by mosquitoes 🦟 which were forming pusy lumps on Jackie’s arms, legs & back. A fly kept landing on one of Jackie’s scratched open bleeding pusy bites. Our bodies were an eyesore. Bizarrely they were nowhere near as itchy as our first night at Sabai Sabai.

    At 5.30pm, a motorcycle & trailer combination materialised on the beach & the staff from Lazy Hut rushed down to buy his wares. I was intrigued, well Jackie told we to go & investigate, so I joined the throng & discovered he was selling ice creams in a bun. I ordered a bun which was loaded with sticky rice, some jelly stuff, coconut ice cream, chocolate ice cream & topped with chocolate peanuts, chocolate drops & coconut cream, all for less than £1. Again I liked it, but Jackie doesn’t need to have one again.

    Sunset was shaping up to be another flop so we headed off to a hilltop viewpoint restaurant I had spotted on the outward trip. We had a small beer each and chatted to a middle-aged German couple who were also staying at Sabai Sabai & had actually travelled over on the same ferry as us. They told us they were going to Bangkok next where they were going to rent 125cc scooters & ride them up to Chang Mai with their rucksacks. Mad. Whilst chatting with them we started getting bitten on the ankles & we whipped out our mossie spray. They informed us that they don’t use mossie spray for ethical reasons, so we have come to the conclusion they must be tree huggers!

    Conscious that they were leaving the restaurant just behind us, I raced back to Sabai Sabai along the path through the now pitch black jungle. For our troubles we got a very unpleasant & relentless bug facial including one in my eye, which persuaded us to not ride the scooter at night again.

    After a very quick shower we headed out to ‘36’. The waitress immediately confirmed we wanted our usual - 2 large bottles of Chang. Embarrassingly predictable! I ordered the Fresh Vegetable Spring Rolls which contained large chunks of mango & watermelon as well as vegetables sitting in a pool of penang & tamarind sauce. Jackie ordered a Pad Thai which she pimped up with extra chilli, sugar & sweet vinegar. All absolutely delicious.

    Song of the Day: I Can’t Look At Your Skin by Graham Coxon.
    One Tear by Paul Weller.
    Smoke in My Eyes by Josh Flowers & The Wild.
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    Andy Mays

    So the playlist came in handy in the end then!! 😂

    12/20/21Reply
    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Yes thank you

    12/21/21Reply
    Andy Mays

    Here’s something for you I found today . . . https://open.spotify.com/album/57EkTny9UjqpLhFz…

    12/20/21Reply
    2 more comments
     
  • Day56

    Police 813

    February 24, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Die letzten Tage verbringen wir so wie an gedacht auf den Inseln von Thailand und so selten wir es nur geht auf dem Festland. Hin und wieder Erinnert ein Schild mit der Aufschrift „Tsunami Hazard Zone“ an die Naturkatastrophe.
    Am Morgen des 26.12.2004 erschütterte das, mit einer Stärke von 9,1, drittstärkste Erdbeben das je gemessen wurde die Küste vor Sumatra und löste mehrere Tsunamiwellen aus. In der Folge starben über 220.000 Menschen, die meisten davon in Indonesien. In Thailand kamen über 5000 Menschen ums Leben, viele werden bis heute vermisst, über 10.000 wurden obdachlos.

    Etwas unbeachtet von der medialen Aufmerksamkeit in den westlichen Ländern, die sich auf die Touristenzentren in Khao Lak, Phuket und Phi Phi konzentrierten, war Ban Nam Khem die Region mit den meisten thailändischen Todesopfern.
    Heute ist es wie vor dem Tsunami, ein verschlafener Ort in dem die Bewohner dem Fischfang und Tourismus nachgehen.

    Für mich ein absoluter Pflichtbesuch, der zwar sehr nachdenklich macht aber so auch mein Bewusstsein schärft, wenn ich nun weiter reise an all die schönen Orte die Thailand zu bieten hat.
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  • Day9

    Last Dinner

    December 28, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    At Hotel Gahn, a local restaurant where many Thai people from Bangkok stay.
    The building was constructed after the Old Chinese style, 2 stories with shaded front part but here a lot of plant were incorporated giving it a mix of lived in jungle feeling.
    As usual the food was delicious and the Thai Tea comes in a vibrant shade of orange.
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    HaFra

    Frothy tea? All looks exceptionally fine!

    12/28/21Reply
    HaFra

    Cool!

    12/28/21Reply
     
  • Day4

    Back to Chong Fa Level 1

    December 23, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Bathing time - and well earned after a good hour of climbing on slippery slopes through creepy-clawlies.
    The water was amazing, just the right kind of cool and refreshing! And there were the skin eating fishies ticklishly nibbling at me.

    The first level, easiest to reach obviously, is the favourite spot and soon to be Instagram top10 with all the couples and Foto sessions.
    Read more

    HaFra

    I had fishies tickle my hands in a pond at the St Louis Aquarium...

    12/23/21Reply
     

You might also know this place by the following names:

Khlong Bang Niang, คลองบางเนียง

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