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Great southern comforts – Narathiwat

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Great southern comforts – Narathiwat | The Thaiger
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by Pattarawadee Saengmanee

The southern province of Narathiwat is a great place to chill, unspoilt by mass tourism and full of southern surprises. Narathiwat shares a border with Malaysia.

A stone’s throw from the Narathiwat airport are the white sands of Ban Ton Beach where I stretch out while my media friends tuck into a Southern-style lunch in Chulabhorn marine camp’s Sala Koei Had restaurant. Trepidation at being smack in one of the three southernmost provinces in Thailand where violence has been part of life for more than a decade prevented me for joining them but the tension seeps away as I fall under the charm of the local life and calm beach vibes.

The fishing village of Ban Ton is famous for creating colourfully painted traditional korlae boats in an interesting mix of Thai, Malay and Javanese styles. Veteran craftsman Ahama Salae, 51, has been building the boats for 37 years and beams happily as he welcomes us to his dock to explain the basics of carpentry.

Using takhian sai wood (Shorea gratissima) to ensure durability, Bae Ahama has adapted the designs to resemble a Thai-style long boat so that a fisherman can easily pull his boat up onto shore. The bow and stern are higher than the hull and can hold two to five tons of goods.

Great southern comforts - Narathiwat | News by The Thaiger

“Our young generations are no longer interested in this career so I’m the only korlae boat builder in the village now. I have 10 customised orders on my waiting list and I reckon it will take me about three years to finish the work. The prices start from 400,000 baht including materials and painting,” says Bae Ahama, who also serves as village head.

Korlae boats come in lengths of six to 12 metres and are real workhorses, lasting for seven to 30 years. Bae Ahama says he fumigates all the wood to soften the texture before shaping the pieces into the structure of the boat.

“I use special glue made from amber, chopped hemp sacks and coconut residue to connect all the pieces of wood to give the boat a seamless look. I spend four to eight months creating each vessel based on size and patterns, which I design to suit each customer.”

A short distance from the deck is the house-cum-gallery of artisan Horsee Binda-oh, who crafts model korlae boats ranging in size from 12 centimetres to 2.5 metres and is also happy to show how it’s done. Prices start from 500 baht.

“We use santal wood to produce miniature boats because it’s durable and resistant to termites while the oars are made of bamboo. The design is the same regardless of the size of the model but it’s the colours that catch the eye. They’re painted with unique Javanese Yawo motifs as well as traditional and contemporary Thai graphics,” Bae Horsee says.

Great southern comforts - Narathiwat | News by The Thaiger

We are reminded of Narathiwat’s history of violence by the multitude of checkpoints manned by armed soldiers as we make the one-hour journey along Highway 4084 to Tak Bai district. It’s home to the popular Pa Eng shop, which offers a selection of top-quality fragrant, salted fourfinger threadfin and is run by Prasit, the second generation of the Chaikitwattana family.

Considered as the king of salted fish, Tak Bai’s fourfinger threadfin make their home in the rich mud at the confluence of the Sungai Getting, Bangnara and Golok Rivers. The price starts at 1,600 baht per kilogram.

“Salted fourfinger threadfin fish is a popular Chinese delicacy that tastes great with both steamed and boiled rice. My mother always used her special recipe to cook the salted fish for our family and friends and it became so popular that she set up her own shop,” Prasit says.

After a thorough wash and removal of the offal, the fish is fermented in quality sea salt from Pattani for two nights. Prasit spends two or three weeks drying them in a net dome to protect them from flies and other creatures.

“The secret technique is to thresh the fish with a bottle four or five times while they’re drying to make them tender. We pick only fish measuring about 40 to 60 cm or weighing around 800 grams.”

We cross the Tak Bai River by the way of the iconic 345-metre-long Koi Roi Pee Bridge, a popular place to watch the sunset, and learn that the original one was built with wood to transport villagers from the mainland to Koh Yao.

Great southern comforts - Narathiwat | News by The Thaiger

Spread over nine km, the island houses a Muslim fishing community and a giant Thai flag flutters in the breeze indicating the border of Thailand and Malaysia. As we go further into the island, we’re greeted by friendly young residents and spot a herd of goats munching contentedly on the pastureland. It’s a far cry from the Narathiwat that so often makes the news.

In Su-ngai Kolok district, the highly revered To Mo Shrine is crowded with local residents and pilgrims from Malaysia and Singapore, all of them asking the gods for fortune, business success and good health. Built in 1952, it houses a carved wooden statue of the Goddess of the Ocean along with her old joss stick pot that was moved from the original shrine on To Mo Mountain after World War II, as well as sculptures of other Chinese deities.

The next day starts with a Southern-Chinese-style breakfast of bak kut teh with deep-fried doughsticks and dim sum, hot coffee and Thai tea.

Tummies full, we head to the Pikunthong Royal Development Study Centre in Kaluwo Nuea district and learn about His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s soil aggravation project. Stretching over a 1,740-rai plot of land, the centre was established in 1982 and offers visitors a free 40-minute farm tour conducted by specialists.

Lush with towering local plants, it bills itself as a living museum featuring massive rice fields and demonstration plantations of Nam Hom coconuts, durians, 36 kinds of bananas, palms, citrus tangerines, Hom Kradang-nga rice and torch ginger flowers.

“Acid soil covers 1.7 million-rai of land around Thailand and 40 per cent is in the South. Some 900,00 rai have been developed already. Our centre conducts research to help local farms boost their output of agricultural products like Pattalung and Hom Kradang-nga rice,” says specialist Anurak Buaklekly.

“Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has also set up a botanical garden to research and interbreed 60 kinds of purple plants and flowers as well as economic crops like paco, cucumber, Chinese kale and pak choi.”

Visitors can walk along a long bridge to explore the swamp forest and say hello to the very tame goats at the open farm or check out the soil museum that combines acid soils from around the country. There’s also a unique collection of handicrafts, garments and home furnishings from a local community on show and for sale.

• Thai AirAsia and Thai Smile offer daily flights between Bangkok and Narathiwat.

• Pa Eng shop is in Jehhe Market, Tak Bai district and open daily from 8am to 5pm. Place an order by calling (073) 581 145.

• Pikunthong Royal Development Study Centre is in Kaluwo Nuea district. Admission is free. Call (073) 631 033 or visit Pikunthong.com.a28.readyplanet.net

SOURCES: The Weekend Nation

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Crime

Bride and groom shot in Nakhon Si Thammarat wedding

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Bride and groom shot in Nakhon Si Thammarat wedding | The Thaiger

Four people have been killed during a Nakhon Si Thammarat wedding reception in the Tham Phannara district. One other person was seriously injured in the hail of bullets. Local police report that the incident occurred around 11pm on the road outside the house where the reception was being held in the Dusit tambon village.

Two of the dead people were the recently married couple, 31 year old Aroon Phothavorn, and 24 year old Darawan Boonmeechai. Police report that the reception started early in the evening when the bride’s ex-boyfriend attended the event. It is not known if he was invited or not. As the evening progressed the groom and the ex-boyfriend started arguing, eventually ramping up into a full fistfight.

Darawan and other guests tried to intervene, eventually expelling the two and letting them sort out their differences on the street out the front of the house. Of course, half the reception followed to witness the fighting, but they quickly fled as shots were fired. Both the bride and groom lay critically wounded on the road, with multiple bullet wounds fired by the shooter. Three other wedding guests were shot and wounded in the incident, all aged between 25 and 47. Spent shells from a reported 3 different guns were recovered from the scene, according to Bangkok Post.

Narongrit and Kanchit were rushed to the Tham Phannara Hospital, in central Nakhon Si Thammarat, where they were pronounced dead. Another guest was admitted to Thung Song Hospital with critical injuries.

Police are now speaking to the wedding party witnesses to determine what happened and who fired the guns.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Expats

Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review | The Thaiger

A Koh Chang resort is fighting back and, reportedly, suing an American citizen after posting a nasty online review on TripAdvisor. After recently visiting the Sea View Resort on Trat province island in the Gulf of Thailand, American Wesley Barnes wrote an unflattering, almost bitchy, account of his stay prompting the owner to file an official complaint over the ‘unfair’ review. Barnes is accused of causing “damage to the hotel’s reputation” as well as fighting with hotel staff over refusing to pay a corkage fee for alcohol that he had brought into the hotel. Barnes’ review on TripAdvisor below, has got him in hot water with police.

Wesley B wrote a review Jul 2020…
Unfriendly staff and horrible restaurant manager
Unfriendly staff, no one ever smiles. They act like they don’t want anyone there. The restaurant manager was the worst. He is from the Czech Republic. He is extremely rude and impolite to guests. Find another place. There are plenty with nicer staff that are happy you are staying with them.
Date of stay: June 2020

Immigration police detained and arrested Barnes, who works and lives in Thailand, took him back to the island where he was later freed on bail. If convicted, Barnes could face up to 2 years in jail along with up to a 200,000 baht fine under current defamation laws.

Sea View Resort is located on Kai Bae Beach currently ranks 10th out of 85 properties on the island that have been reviewed on TripAdvisor. Out of 1,922 reviews, 1,090 rate the resort as excellent, 580 rate it as very good, 170 as average, 48 as poor and 32 as terrible.

They have published a reaction to the case, featured on Richard Barrow’s Facebook page…

Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review | News by The Thaiger

Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review | News by The Thaiger

Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review | News by The Thaiger

And then….

Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review | News by The Thaiger

Thailand’s defamation laws have often been used as weapons to silence people and are used by businesses and influential figures to intimidate detractors, sometimes over trivial matters.

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Songkhla

Nude Panda: naked food delivery man hit with 500 baht fine

Maya Taylor

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Nude Panda: naked food delivery man hit with 500 baht fine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Nude Panda? Rude Panda? Or NoodPanda? A man working as a food delivery driver in the southern province of Songkhla, has been filmed riding his motorbike while naked. 24 year old Botsin Dueanchamroon later handed himself in to police, explaining that he’d taken his clothes off due to “a personal problem”. The nature of the problem is not known, and police let Botsin go with a 500 baht fine.

The incident came to light after a video was posted on social media, showing a naked Botsin hurtling along on his motorbike, which had a food delivery bag on the back. The video has now been deleted. According to a 66 year old motorbike taxi driver, Bai Aumaoom, Botsin parked his bike in front of a local temple, removed his clothes, then got back on the bike and drove off.

He later returned and strolled around before putting his clothes back on. One woman who witnessed the spectacle says she was “sickened by the sight” and would not want to eat any food delivered by the man.

Social media response was mixed with most just inquisitive about his motives to ride “commando” with little (actually no) protection.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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