Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Raming Tea House Siam Celadon, Chiang Mai


The tea-room
Tapae Road is in the more modern section of town. This busy road goes from Tapae Gate in the old khlong side, there is an old colonial teak house that was renovated at the turn of this century.
Street view of the house
city to the Ping River. And there, right on the
The building architecture is fine in itself. There is also a gorgeous back-yard filled with trees and lush vegetation.
But what makes this place so special is that it is both a shop and a tea-room that turn it into a delightful spot to chill out.
The showroom displays an array of Siamese celadon items, which is worth the stop. Celadon is a form of glazed pottery with the color of jade. It was first invented in China but became popular in Korea and Japan. It was introduced to northern Thailand in the 12th century and has now been revived.
They also added a tea-room, which makes it a great place to sit down for a relaxing break. Tea originally comes from the south of China and has been a traditional drink in Thailand as well. They offer two kinds of locally grown tea: either black or jasmine green tea. But since northern Thailand is also growing coffee beans, it is also possible to taste their fine local brand there.

Celadon pottery


Khlong side view
Floor tiles

On the upper floor

View down on the atrium
Back Garden
Outside sitting

Celadon collction

Monday, November 26, 2018

LAMPHUN [ ลำพูน ]

A deep blue wat entrance
Lamphun, in the northern part of Thailand, was the last Mon kingdom before it became part of the Chiang Mai Lanna kingdom.
It was founded by a queen and is now the sleepy capital of a province bearing its name. Located about 25km south of Chiang Mai, it has lost most of its past grandeur with the exception of its many majestic temples, whose architecture reveals a notable singularity. 
The following photos display this feature as the town was getting ready to welcome the Loy Krathong  Festival.
One of the main wat compound in Lamphun
A 5-tiered tower in white and gold color.
A typical royal barge decorated for Loy Krathong
The wiharn guarded by a Naga
Prayer inside the wiharn
The red lanterns of Loy Krathong
Another imposing white temple of Lamphun
The traditional way to strike the hours
Interior of a wiharn
The main yard of the temple
A gilded chedi

Friday, November 9, 2018

Khon [โขน] Dance at the Thailand Cultural Centre

Thailand Cultural Centre Hall
The Khon is a traditional masked dance drama. It was originally performed at the court of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. It is based on the Thai Ramakien drama, which is an adaptation of the Hindu Ramayana epics. The performance uses masks and elaborate costumes. 
The performance involves four sets of characters, male, female, monkeys and demons. It is the tale of
Khon actors
the struggle between the forces of good and evil. Ramayana depicts the story of Prince Rama. There are four main characters: the hero, the heroine, the ogre, and the monkey. The best-known characters in the story are the monkey warriors, the monkey god Hanuman, and Phra Ram.

This type of performance has been revived by Queen Sirikit, the Queen Mother of Thailand and remains under royal patronage. Originally, the Khon dance was only performed by men. It combines many forms of art that include also a narrator and a piphat [ปี่พาทย์] ensemble (a Thai classical music featuring wind and percussion instruments). 
VDO sound of the choir

The actors at the finale
Mask display
Portrait of a dancer
Mask of a monkey
Mask of a demon
Khon actors on the scene at the end of the performance

Friday, November 2, 2018

YouTube - Interview à / in Paris

Interview réalisée au Jardin des Plantes (1h30)
This interview was made live at the Paris Botanic Garden in September 2018.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A New KRABI Getaway

A partial view of the Sofitel pool with the Andaman sea in the background
Room view from the balcony
The Andaman remains my favorite corner for a seaside getaway. I flew down THAI Airways to Krabi again for just a few days before the tourist hordes start coming back. Yet, it may not have been quite the right time to get there. I was lured by the weather in Bangkok that seems to foretell the dry season. But I forgot that on the southwestern part of Thailand, the seasons are different. There, the rainy season has not come to an end. So, the sky was still overcast and it did rain, but at the same time - mostly in the mornings - we had sun allowing plenty of time to go for a swim either at the pool or at the nearby beach.
THAI Airways flight time from BKK to KBV is only 65min

Each time I go to Krabi Province, I tend to stay at a different place in order to discover new sights.
The Sala at the pool
However, this time I felt more like resting in a secluded area to breathe some fresh marine air as well as enjoy the seaside and get some fresh seafood.
I did not even go to AO NANG, Krabi tourist magnet! Instead, I chose to stay in pure luxury at the SOFITEL located north of Ao Nang, near Koh Kwang village. This place is moderately developed for the tourist industry. It is a Muslim fishing community.

The SOFITEL Resort:

This ACCOR 5* brand offers a spa and golf facilities. It is located on Koh Kwang Beach at a walking distance from the village. 
Service and facilities are excellent. But its greatest assets is its fabulous pool said to be the longest pool in the ASEAN!
Some more, the beach is right across the coastal road.
A truly big pool

Koh Kwang Beach.

The beach is small but made of white coral sand. It has two main features that need to be mentioned:
- As it is on Phong Nga Bay, I noticed that it is not subject to the usual tide. Some more, the sea is
The beach at sunset
calm and is not affected by the usual waves of the Indian Ocean.
- On many occasions, I have often been appalled by beach pollution in many other places. But here I must praise the cleanliness of the beach. Every day, a bulldozer cleans the entire beach to leave it as pristine as ever before! So kudos! I wish this would happen everywhere.
A view of the bach before the rain

The village beach on Phang Nga Bay

Koh Kwang village.

Fishing boats at sunset
This is essentially a Thai Muslim community living on fishing and tourist commodities. Everything is low key in this village. There are a few small hotels and resorts, many coffee and restaurants, as well as the ubiquitous 7-11 open round-the-clock.
The main focus remains on a small beach having a long stretch of fine white sand. Along the beach, there are plenty of bars and restaurants that are usually open till 10:00PM. 
At one end, of the beach, there is a rocky island, which is easily reached by simply wading across. But there is nothing special about it. Actually, the small bay in front serves as a safe harbor for some of the fishing boats.

Koh Kwang is a quiet and safe getaway from the usual other crowded places in the vicinity. It does not mean it is more difficult to get to other places either inland or out at sea. The closest two main islands in Phang Nga Bay are Koh Yao Yai & Koh Yao Noi.
There are direct private links between Krabi International Airport and Koh Kwang. It takes 40 minutes by car.
Christian Sorand
Koh Kwang Beach in the evening

Beach restaurant at night

Koh Kwang small beach island

Friday, October 12, 2018

Article du mois d'octobre 2018

L'article sur WINDHOEK pour l'édition d'octobre 2018 de TRAIT d'UNION MAGAZINE, à Hong Kong (nº99) a également été publié par l'agence Wild Wind Safaris en Namibie.

Carte de la Namibie (SW africain)