Explore and Experience

It was Visakha Bucha,  a Buddhist holiday where Thais visit temples to pray, when we decided to drive and visit Nakhon Sri Thammarat, the largest city in the South of Thailand. This one day road trip had been educational since our kids hadn’t only gotten to experience a Buddhist religious practice. We did not stay in some fancy hotel with kids pool which by the way is their most favorite activity. Instead they explored some ancient artifacts in the temple’s museum dating back to Bangkok period. This may not as outdoorsy as spelunking Phu Pha Phet or swimming at Wang Sai Thong Falls but it certainly is informative and insightful in terms of Thai culture and religious belief.

This is Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, the main and oldest buddhist temple in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.  Directly in front of the temple’s right wing entrance is the museum.  Inside, you’ll find three large chambers where ancient artifacts that date back to Bangkok period were exhibited. There were hand painted metal cabinets of varying sizes, brasswares,  copperwares, glasswares, and chinas.  Aside from these, there were weapons,  textiles, a few preserved sea creatures, and numerous sea shells.  It is a great place to explore and a good reinforcement for kids studying history and marine life. Taking of photos are not allowed here.

This was taken just outside the museum.  A row of seating,  golden Buddhas outlined the entire length of this side of the temple. On the same chamber,  were displays of huge whale remains and other marine life.

Summer and Derick offered incense and flowers, and said their prayers.

 

Despite the scorching heat of the sun, exploring Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawin was a great experience.

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Spelunking Phu Pha Phet
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Spelunking Phu Pha Phet Cave

Derick and Summer were the youngest in the group of tourists in Phu Pha Phet cave. I thought they won’t survive the two hour walk inside the cave, well I thought wrong. As a matter of fact they enjoyed it, Summer got so fascinated by the things she saw and Derick, oh well, because it’s so dark and he gets to use a flashlight.

We came as a side trip since the cave is within the vicinity of the waterfalls we went to earlier that day. Although unprepared it turned out successful. They love it and are looking forward to spelunk again.

This time though we have to prepare some things before-hand like.

  • Face mask especially if your kids are asthmatics. It might be dusty inside from loose soil or bat droppings.
  • Tiny backpacks for water bottles, face towel, and the likes
  • Comfortable rubber shoes are definitely better than open loose slippers
  • Long stretchy pants would be comfortable and it would be easy to crawl or duck if there is a need to.
  • Wear mosquito repellent lotion for protection.

For more details about Phu Pha Phet Cave Satun Thailand.

Here’s a slideshow of them in the cave

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Family Drive Routes

Hatyai, one of the big  cities in Thailand is gaining popularity from paying tourists, backpackers, foreign skilled workers, and even Thai people from the north.  When I came here almost 7 years ago, there was not a single taxi.  Now, I have noticed the presence of several company-owned taxis.  What they had before was solely the tuk-tuk and vans.  Currently, a condominium and several residential areas are being constructed and developed.  There are major road widening and drainage system construction going on.  These are all in response to the growing population, economic growth and flood prevention.

Here I will give you a tour on Hatyai’s well-favored family drive routes.

1.  Prince of Songkla Univeristy Lake.  Families come here to jog, run,  walk, or simply unwind after a day’s work.  It is located at the heart of the University.  Everybody is welcome to come inside the campus.  The University accommodates outsiders who would like to use their basketball, badminton, or tennis courts for free.

 

2.  Hatyai Park.  This one is big.  It occupies an entire hill.  At the foot, you will see the Ice Dome which has a temperature of -15 degrees Celsius, and the vast park with a hanging bridge, a lake, and a hall.  The Lantern Festival is always held here every month of February.  Thai People also celebrate Loy Krathong here.  Krathong is a flower wreath, loy meaning to float. During Loy Krathong Thai people make  wreaths made of flowers and have it float in the river.

 

3. Up on the hill are the Elephant Temple, Chinese Temple, and right on top is a statue of a standing Buddha over-looking the city.  They also have a Science observatory wherein one can view the outer space for only 20 baht.  At the moment, the Buddha shrine can be accessed directly without going around the hill through a cable car.

 

4.  Songkla Historical Park.  It is a 45-minute ride from Hatyai City.  It houses the Songkla Museum. Beautifullandscapes, architectural sculptures, Mangrove reserves, and a lake where one can view the magnificent sunset.  This is also popular to wedding photographers as the view is picture perfect.

 

5. Samila Beach is where the Songkla Mermaid Statue is found.  It is very famous to local tourists, as it is a nice subject for family picture taking and for professional photography.  Samila Beach is an ideal place for kids to swim.  The water is calm. And when the stomach starts growling, there are wide variety of restaurants to choose from. In recent years Samila’s Sheep Farm has been the go to for seminars and other academic related extracurricular activities.

 

5. Songkla Beach.  The long stretch of white sand is a favorite hang out for friends, lovers, and families alike.  Aside from swimming, there are a lot of activities to engage in like figurine painting, kite surfing, jogging, and banana boating.  This is also where the International Volleyball games are always held.  Most locals and tourists alike come here to just chill out and enjoy the fresh sea breeze.

6. Tangkuan Hill.  It is known for its monkeys.  People come to feed them at the foot of the hill.  On top is Tangkuan Hill Shrine, which is accessible through a cable car. It provides a scenic view of the entire Songkla district.

7. Songkla Zoo is unlike any zoo in the Philippines.  This zoo occupies an entire mountain.  It is impossible to roam the entire zoo the whole day by foot.  They offer a tour around the zoo.  They also have buggy cars for rent, 200 baht for an hour.  Songkla zoo also has a wide swimming pool, they call Waterworld.  It also has a camping area, for a complete outdoor experience.  Visitors are allowed to bring their own food, free of charge or they can dine in in their restaurant.

8. Songkla Aquarium houses diverse kinds of fish from seahorses to sharks.  The visitors can witness the fish feeding on a scheduled time at their show hall.  At the end of the tunnel, there are souvenir shops.  At the parking area of the aquarium, other activities are held such as car racing and motor/car exhibits. This is one of families precious weekend go to places.

 

If you will come and visit Hatyai Songkla, which of these places would make into your bucket list?

Feel free to leave your creative responses or comments on the comment section below. ^_^

 

 

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