Our Family’s Precious Weekend 2

A Fish I Wish
© By Karstyn B. Butler

Oh how I wish I was a fish to swim in the deep blue sea.
I would swim up and down and all around in laps of two or three.
There would be no rules to follow,all fun down here.
On land rules are trouble,a real pain in the rear.
Humans are not wanted down here and for them you must always look.
For they only want to see us fish dangling from their hook.
A sea full of wonder,yes that’s the life for me.
Oh how I wish to be a fish and one day soon I’ll be!



That’s right we went to Songkla aquarium for the weekend.  The kids had fun.  It was their first time.  So they were all eyes.

Unlike the poem above the fish here are not as free as described by Karstyn.  But yes, they are very much loved and protected here.

We were not able to make a very decent photo inside.  Camera flash is not allowed.  So we took videos instead.  Please check out our Songkla Aquarium’s feeding show video.







How was your weekend?


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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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Songkla Zoo Photo Contest

The Songkla Zoo Photo Contest is going to finish on October 3, 2012. The announcement of the winner of up to 70,000.00 baht worth of cash and goods will be posted on their bulletin boards in the zoo and on their website www.songkhlazoo.ac.th.  What is so amazing about this is that, it is open even to expatriates like us.  This competition is very timely as my husband is into photography, a hobby he started two years ago, and the kids would love to see the animals.  The contest has 3 categories – Animals Portrait, Happy Zoo, and Waterworld.  He has 10 entries all in all for the first two categories. But sadly he does not have an entry for the Waterworld because shooting it during broad daylight needs an ND filter which he does not have. Which is also not available here and is also kinda expensive. (my husband is a budget photographer. Check out his review of his budget lenses click here)

The decision to join the contest was unanimous.  We saw this as an opportunity to pai tiaw (go around) and spend time together and to practice photography.  We love going to the zoo.  We particularly enjoy feeding the the birds, elephants, and giraffes because you can really get up close with them.  This is also a very good activity to instill in our kids the love and respect for animals and the environment.

There is one particular shot that I find very charming.  I gave the title to this picture myself.  Below is the picture of Nancy, a female Orangutan.  Check out Nancy’s photo, “The Nancy Pose”.

What do you think? Which do you like best?  Let me know…




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