5 Reasons You Should Visit Rajamangala Trang Aquarium

Lighthouse just outside Rajamangala Trang Aquarium

Rajamangala Trang Aquarium is probably the most affordable aquarium in Thailand. With a 1.63 USD (50THB) for adult and 0.98USD (30THB) for kids entrance fee, I bet this is the cheapest there is in the world. Anyway, you might think that because it is inexpensive that it has nothing much to offer. On the other hand, it has loads of fun features and educational elements. Below are 5 reasons you should visit Rajamangala Trang Aquarium on your next visit to Trang.

Here’s a short video of a tour of Rajamgala Trang Aquarium.

5 Reasons Why You Should visit Rajamangala Trang Aquarium

  1. It has a wide selections of Catfish species. Catfish is very popular in this part of the world. Certainly one of the favorites is called Crispy Catfish with Green Mango Salad. We’ve never seen as many species of Catfish before as in Rajamangala Trang Aquarium. Their collection is simply unbelievable ranging from smallest to largest ones.
  2. Great collection of seashells. Children love seashells and most often they have collections of shells picked from the beach. Rajamangala Trang Aquarium’s seashell displays are awesome. Your kids would be amazed!
  3. It’s a stone throw away from Rajamangala Beach. After all the fun in the aquarium, you could frolic in the sun or play sand castle on the beach.
  4. It’s five minutes away from Pak Meng Beach. It may not be known for swimming but Pak Meng beach has a pretty sight to behold with all the beautifully sculpted islands just a few meters away from the shore. Sunset at this beach is also pretty spectacular.
  5. Trang is home to many unspoilt, untouristy islands in Thailand, Koh Kradan, Koh Petra, Koh Mook, Koh Ngai, and Koh Libong to name a few. These islands are accessible by long tail boats from Pak Meng Beach.

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The Most Affordable Aquarium in Thailand?

The Rajamangala Trang Aquarium lies just a few meters away from Rajamangala Beach inside the Rajamangala University Trang campus. With 1.63 USD (50THB) for adult and 0.98USD (30 THB) for kids entrance fee, this is probably the most affordable aquarium in Thailand if not in the entire world.

Don’t let this fool you. This humble admission fee is too meager for the loads of fun you’ll get; for the attractions you’ll surely enjoy, and for the information you’ll learn.

Please watch this short video and find out what this full packed, cheap aquarium have in store.

Here are some of the nicest things we found enjoyable at Rajamangala Trang Aquarium.

  1. Wide variety of seashell displays and all size types of catfish located in the main atrium.
  2. Aquatic Animal Recuperatory Center. It’s amazing that they’ve got their own clinic for these marine animals. Visitors are allowed to go inside.
  3. Sea Animal Skeleton Exhibit which is located in the same building as the recuperatoty center. Their collections are wide range. Children and adults who are into Zoology, Zooarchaeology, or are simply amazed by the morphology of bones, well, this is the place to go.
  4. Breeding Area. The aquarium has allotted a great amount of space for this.
  5. Animal Show. They’ve got more than a couple of animal show namely Turtle, Seal, Freshwater Otter, and the soft-back turtle.

This no-nonsense, no fancy aquarium is the best choice for family trips, educational excursions, and for science enthusiasts. It is not only the most affordable aquarium in Thailand, it also scores very high on fun, education, as well as health. Yes, it is healthy to come here! The place is surrounded by thousands of trees, and it so near the beach you could actually hear the sea waves rush in and feel the cool breeze brush your skin.

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Neca Reiche: Hotel Review

Accomodation: Neca Reiche

Location: 736/2 Poonnakan Rd, ตำบลคอหงส์ Amphoe Hat Yai, Chang Wat Songkhla Thailand 90110

Phone: 090 082 6555

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The Room (Standard II, L705):

At first glance this hotel room is the most modern we have ever seen. The concept is just state of the art. The way they made use of the space is so ingenious. The wall that separates the entrance and the bathroom hides the ref together with the closet and a tiny safety box. The closet can be accessed both from the outside and from the bathroom. A sliding door with a full body mirror camouflages this part. Next to it is the sliding door for the bathroom which is a translucent glass. You got to be very careful though as one can easily get their hands pinched by the alternating sliding doors.

The room smells like heaven. They have these perfumed, dried flowers that make the room smell so fresh. It’s the first thing that greets you the moment you open your room.

The room size will not blow you away but it is big enough to be comfortable. A queen size bed is nestled in the middle and a sofa bed tucked in the end of the room. There’s enough walking space in-between furniture but that’s it. You’d be risking stubbing your toe if you are not careful though.

The place is definitely clean, although we are not fond of black tiles for the floor (bathroom) as they never look/feel clean, they are very particular with cleanliness. The nooks and crannies even under the bed was vacuumed.

The room is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It’s a well thought of design and arrangement. Even the small details like paintings/photo on the wall, the hanging lampshade on each sides of the bed, even the TV rack is pleasing.

The only flaw we saw, which basically ruined it all for us was the bathroom. I guess being aesthetic does not always equate to functionality. We were not able to fully enjoy the bathtub or even just our bath for fear of flooding. If one is not careful, water could easily and we mean easily flood the room. The bathtub is located next to the bathroom door and the bathroom-floor and the room-floor are level. Well, we have seen modern bathrooms like these but I guess the basics of slightly angling the floor towards the drain should still be observed. Instead the water flows outside of the bathroom. It really freaked us out when we saw water going out of the bathroom while using the bath. We literally had to towel the floor down and squeeze the towel in the sink.

Ant problems also put us off. I woke up with ant bites and they were all over the floor the next morning. As a plush hotel in downtown Hatyai this should not have not been an issue but it is.

Now this is just based on the room we stayed in.

Sockets:

At this modern age of gadgetry we have made electric sockets our best friend. And having plenty of them in a hotel room is a necessity. We always bring a ton of gadgets with us and re-charge all of them in the evening and we were not disappointed. Sockets were aplenty

Wifi:

Another downside of this hotel is their WIFI connectivity or the lack of it. We were not able to connect at all during our stay. We called the front desk for assistance thinking we may have made a mistake in connecting and someone did come to our AID to help us connect but still no connection at all. For us it was fine since we do have internet in our mobile devices because we live here in Thailand but if you are a tourist on a tourist SIM card you might really really want a hotel wifi connection and this will be outrageous and disappointmenting.

Amenities:

They have got the usual complimentary bottled water, towels, toiletries, shower caps, flat-screen TV, fridge, electric kettle, and hairdryer.

Pool:

They have a pool located on the 6th floor of the building. The pool is tiny. You’d have to literally wait for your turn to get into it. They do not have a kiddie pool so kids shorter than 4 feet will need a flotation device. The tiles are dark blue almost black so we could not be sure if the water was clean. We did not take a dip.

Food:

The food was the saving grace of this hotel. They were generous of the food. They served ham and eggs, fried rice, fruits and vegetables, complementary drinks, salad dressings, soup, porridge, bread, and a lot of condiments. They replenished the food the moment they see it’s running low. We have seen stingy hotel restaurants who would not refill the serving plates right away to discourage clients from having seconds.

Staff:

The hotel staffs were friendly and courteous. They could speak decent English so communication is not a problem at all.

Clientele

Neca Reiche hotel is a good place to stay if you plan to go around Hatyai City. It is famous among Malaysians, Singaporeans, Expats, and local tourists.

Overall

At 49.90 USD/per night for a family of four in a Standard II room, I think it is a good deal. Overall, in terms of aesthetic, cleanliness, and location, this hotel is great. And the whole experience which could have been even greater if not because of the bathroom and WIFI connection. If Neca Reiche addresses these, then I would say it is the total package but until then, I would not return.

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11 Things to Enjoy in Samila Beach, Thailand

Samila Beach is one of the two beaches in Songkhla Province in Thailand, the land of smile. It is famous to locals and tourists alike; one’s visit to Songkhla is never complete without stopping by Samila Beach. It’s a 2 kilometers stretch of beige sand, from the mermaid statue at the south end, near PB Samila Hotel, to the northern end where the magnificent sculpture of Nag the serpent is.

blue sky khaki snd gree trees
Samila Beach

It is a major stop over for tourists coming to Songkhla from Malaysia, Singapore, or nearby provinces. A tour of Songkhla is incomplete without coming here, after all the symbol of Songkhla is found here.  For now, let me share with you some of the things that you could enjoy in Samila Beach.

Here are list of things you can do when in Samila Beach

1. Frolic in the beach, and the best time to do this is late afternoon, when the sun is still out; it’s warm, but not scorching hot. The water is low and calm; it is safe for children, and a perfect time for swimming and sunbathing. In terms of swimwear, there are no rules. Wear whichever you are comfortable in. People are tolerant, courteous, and generally are just minding their own business.

2. Picnic or read a book. A large portion of Laem Samila is shaded by canopies of tall Pine trees. Benches are available, lounging at one of them with your favorite read is another awesome way to relax at Samila beach. If you are with friends be sure to bring a picnic mattress and some snacks from the nearby 7-11 or local food stalls, lie down, relax and gaze up at the blue skies, feel the cool sea breeze, and “chat the noon away.”

3. Enjoy local snacks. Along Laem Son Rod, there are variety of places where you could grab something to eat. As mentioned there’s 7-11 just outside BP Samila Hotel near the roundabout. There’s an Amazon Cafe for coffee aficionados, which is right in front of the beach, on the hillside. And there are plenty of local food stalls along the road selling variety of street food, deep-fried hotdogs, deep-fried shrimp-pancakes, papaya salad, grilled meats, variety of local drinks, and Thai ice cream.

4. Play bubbles. This one is for the kids and kids at heart.  There is no need for you to make your own bubble concoction, you can rent it there for 30 baht (0.91USD or 3.81RM).

5. Horse riding. Yes, you read it correctly. For 150 baht (4.55USD or 19.07RM) you can go on a horse ride, and gallop the whole stretch of Samila beach. I know what you’re thinking, horse manure. Of course, horses do their thing there (they can’t help it ^_^), but it’s owners look after this and see to it that their horse is not soiling the beach. So what they do is they use tissue paper to collect the manure, and place this in a plastic bag (yep plastic bag), and dispose of properly in a bin.

6. Fly a kite. The beach is a nice place to fly a kite. There is no shortage of space and wind. In the afternoon when the water is low, it exposes a vast area of the beach, a totally great place to enjoy kite flying.

beach volleyball play pose to hit a ball
Beach volleyball

7. Beach volleyball. Samila beach has been a regular venue for Beach Volleyball competition which includes the Asian Beach Volleyball Championships and  the AVC Asia Beach Volleyball Championships. Next year, June 19 to 23, 2019  Samila Beach will host the 2019 edition of the men’s and women’s FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships.

8. Take a photo with Samila mermaid statue. One of the most photographed part of Samila Beach is the Bronze Mermaid Statue.  It had been the symbol of Songkhla for over 50 years. Sculpted in 1966, this blackened bronze statuette was the work of master Jitr Buabut who was honored as a national artist and awarded a visual arts award in 2002. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 100.

Another prominent statue found in Samila beach are the Cat and Mouse which represents Songkhla and the Island in front of Samila Beach respectively. There is a bit of wonderful history behind these statues which I will be sharing in the next post.

9. Sunset photography, Wedding photography or selfie. Samila beach can be a sight to behold especially during sunset. Visitors could not help take photos of the beach or take a selfie with the sunset, or the long stretch of khaki sand, or the bright azure sky, or the lush green, shady Pine trees, or mermaid statue at the background.

10. Walk and feel the sand. During the late afternoon when the water is low, it exposes a long, off-white powdery sand, a perfect time and place to re-connect with Earth; ditch your footwear, walk, and feel it. After a days work or a long, cold stay in a conference room, or after long hours of being cramped up in a vehicle, wake your senses up and get your daily dose of vitamin D and “sea” by hanging out on the beach.

11. Dine. And after all these, it is time to fill your growling tummy with fresh, yummylicious seafood or any Thai cuisine of your choice. You don’t have to look far, as there are several seafood restaurants along Laem Son Road just outside the beach shore.

So there you go. I will keep this post updated for what’s up and what’s new with Samila beach.

If you have comments, suggestions, and questions please leave them at the comment section below or you could send me a message at my Facebook page which you could find at the right side bar of the post. Thanks.

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Hotel Review: Nadivana Serviced Apartments

Location. 159 Moo 4, Ao Nang Muang
Krabi, Muang Krabi 81180 Thailand
☎ 011 66 75 661 358

Room. The room we stayed in was pretty spacious and clean with a huge wall mirror, and a bunk bed which our kids loved so much. In reality though, Summer and Derick used the lower bunk only, as the upper bunk was way too near the air-conditioning. The bed was soft, but shaky. It’s a bed with wheels, wheels that couldn’t be locked, so it’s super unstationary. Pillows were tiny and uncomfortable, the kind that gives you a stiff neck but they’re clean though, which is super important for an asthmatic family like us. There were two dainty lampshades and a huge photo frame of Nopparat beach on the wall. The huge flatscreen TV had several cable channels which we enjoyed as well. The bathroom waa big and clean except for those icky smudges on the black-tiled walls. Other things we appreciate about the bathroom was the big mirror in front of the big sink and having a number of towel rails/holders. We love the vibrant looking, marble bathroom floor of The Lakehouse better though.

Other amenities in the room include several hangers, fridge with beverages (for sale), complementary bottled water, electric pot, safe box, two comfortable, sturdy, plastic chairs, toiletries but without shampoo, wierd!


Amenities

The Pool- adults and kids, both are huge! The pool for adults has a bar that allows swimmers to enjoy their drinks while in the water. Next to it is the kids pool, a proper kids pool, not a jacuzzi/kids pool type. It has a teeny weeny slide that adds to the fun. The pool is awesome! Water is a bit murky but not as murky as the Lakehouse Ko Yo Guesthouse during our stay there. Our kids enjoyed chilling out by the pool and had the time of their life!

 

WiFi is excellent! No glitch at all. The connection is even faster than Hatzanda Lanta Resort and Lanta Riviera Villa Resort which we ranked number 1 in our list prior. We were able to open and stream pretty much everything we thought of watching, in the room and even at the pool side.

Restaurant is located at the main building. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

However, eating outside is better. There’s a nice restaurant which serves great food at a local price just a few meters away, Sakeereen Halal Food.

Food. We opted for breakfast and paid extra $16 for it. Thinking that Nadivana is a big company, we were expecting a good breakfast on our first morning. However we were disappointed big time! The complimentary buffet includes toasted bread, steamed ham and tiny hotdogs which were re-cooked the following morning, cereals, khaw phat (fried rice) which has nonexistent meat and thinly sliced veggies. Eggs are available upon request but you to pay extra.
We had an excellent breakfast experience at Rimlay Park Resort, a relatively small accomodation. Breakfast there was truly a treat.
Anyway, the complimentary buffet breakfast is Nadivana’s weakest link.

Resort ground is wide with the pool occupying the main central portion of the main ground. Behind is where the deluxe quad rooms are situated facing a vast grassland (not a garden) where one could be visited by cows and/or snakes. Yaas snakes! I saw one (on our first morning) slithered into a bushy part of the main building. But don’t worry they have got this silicon cover attached at the foot of the door to keep snakes, frogs, and bugs from coming in through the gap.

Parking. There were no proper onsite parking for those staying in the deluxe quad rooms. They have got a few spaces right in front of the reception/restaurant area but this however is a long way from where our room was, anyway, it’s full the whole time. So we had to park on the grassy vacant lot near our room. We didn’t mind it really, the hiccup was, our car tire got punctured by a nail or metal screw.

Services
The room is serviced everyday and complimentary items are replenished too. The ladies at the reception were friendly, accommodating, and they could communicate in English pretty well.

Clientele

A great choice for those who come in groups of 4 or more.

Price. We stayed at the deluxe quad room for three nights with breakfast, for $178 (5,543.00 baht). Booked at bookingdotcom (https://www.booking.com/s/27_8/b84f891f)

Over-all

If you’re tolerant enough of small nuisances like having the water sprayer on the left side of the toilet, off road parking, possible snake sighting especially if you’re staying in one of the deluxe quad rooms then posh-looking Nadivana Serviced Apartments is a good choice. I strongly suggest however to opt-out breakfast!

 

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The Modern Hotel (โรงแรมเดอะโมเดิร์น )

Location: Tha Sala, Tha Sala District, Nakhon Sri Thammarat 80160

This fairly new hotel is conveniently located just outside the city of Nakhorn Srithammarat, and a few kilometers away from Walailak University.  We stayed for 2 nights,  and here’s our experience.

 

What we like about it?

First of all it’s very affordable with deluxe rooms at 499 Baht and super deluxe rooms at 599 Baht.

Kid-friendly. We always travel with our kids whether the reason is for leisure or work, and so a kid-friendly accomodation is preferable.

Easy to locate. Most often we travel by car, getting to a hotel without the hassles of going round and round certainly is a plus factor. After hours on the road you just want to cozy up in a comfortable bed or pamper yourself to a long warm shower. Another good thing is that  The Modern hotel is registered correctly and I mean spot on in google map unlike the other hotels we have stayed in where the location they registered in goodle map is either in the middle of a forest or in the middle of the sea.

Plenty of parking space. Parking is not a problem.  They have got an onsite parking space, safe,  and paved.

 

What are the quirks of this hotel?

Room is small with wooden cabinet and wide screen TV, which only plays local programs. It is well lit but without any aesthetic pleasure.

Cleanliness.  At a glance it is tidy and organized however for asthmatics such as my family, we know for sure that the floor and linens were dusty. Good thing I brought some masks otherwise the sneezing would have ended up in a full blown asthma. We had to mop the floor ourselves and gave the linens a good  shake to get rid of the fine dust. There were mildews on the bathroom wall and the rubber tile floor felt slimy.

 

WiFi connection is good enough to open Facebook and Youtube but not fast/strong enough to open photos and videos. If you are thinking of uploading photos or watching videos it may take you like forever.

Limited amenities.  Free coffee and coffee maker,  and hairdryer are few amenities we deeply appreciate having in our hotel room. Unfortunately The Modern Hotel have got free toiletries, and free bottled water only.

No other services offered like breakfast,  laundry,  dry cleaning, or room service.

 

Would we stay there again? Well if there is a better choice we might have a second thought.  However,  considering how affordable it is,  we might.

 

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How Do Majorettes Dress Like In Your Country?

Majorettes are dancers doing a choreographed movement, baton twirling.  They perform this during parades together with marching bands.  I remember as a grader I used to envy how great they look in their glossy, skimpy dresses and how awesome to see those tricky baton twirls.  All were always excited to see them. Young girls dreamed of becoming one but were told that only selected few could become one as there are qualifications to meet like one must be tall, slim, fair-skinned (oh so discriminating!) and must be pleasant looking.

Now living in Thailand, it’s amazing to know that anyone could be a majorette.  Qualifications? Nothing like what were mentioned above. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to join.

Amazing Thailand.

And totally amazing costume!

Majorettes here look like Moulin Rouge dancers.

FotorCreated

 

How do majorettes dress like in your country?

 

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White Water Rafting in Satun, Thailand

White water rafting at Manang Satun is definitely an adventure you’d want to include in your bucket list. It is one of the southern provinces in the south of Thailand.  Adjacent provinces include Phattalung, Trang, and Songkhla in the North, and  Perlis Malaysia in the South.

If you’re a nature lover and who would love an adventure involving physical challenge, then, this is for you. Manang Satun offers a roughly 10 kilometer long kayaking experience full of beautiful greeneries, rock formation, and caves around.  The entire place is serene, the air is so fresh, and the water is clear.

This trip could be done in a day since the kayaking only takes 2 to 3 hours to finish. Or you could stay in one of the accommodations which by the way are cheap (500 Baht) and have many to choose from.

 

Getting ready!

 

Off they go!

(Taken with a 600D with a 55-250mm lens)

 

(Taken with 550D with a 24-105mm f4)

 

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“The Nancy Pose”: Songkla Zoo Photo Contest

“The Nancy Pose” was chosen as one of the preliminary winners in the Songkla Zoo Photo Contest!

 

I mentioned in my previous post that this is my favorite picture of all the entries, and titled it myself.

We saw the picture from the zoo’s facebook page.  I was very happy.  But my husband most especially was beside himself with excitement.  He was jumping and dancing. He said as an amateur photographer, it is already an honor to be chosen in the preliminaries.

As we read through the description though, we found out that the name of the photographer with which the picture was awarded to was not my husband’s.  It was named to another Filipino expatriate, who is a friend of ours. OMG! Welcome to Thailand.  It is so ridiculously amazing.  You just do not commit such mistake with this kind of event.  Before you release something publicly.  It has to be checked and re-checked by not just one but two or more authorized personnel.

Well anyway, all is well that ends well.  The zoo authorities were sorry and immediately corrected the mistake. Check out Songkla Zoo facebook page.

The final verdict is scheduled next week October 15 to 21, 2012. The event will take place in Lee Garden’s Hatyai, Thailand.  We are so excited with the final ranking of the photos.

I will keep you posted.

Don’t forget to drop by then.

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