As I sit here this morning writing this post, I feel pensive and have a deep concern for my friends in Thailand. It appears that the Thai Army, unknown to the Thai Government, has declared Martial Law and is imposing curfews and roadblocks around the perimeter of Bangkok. I love Thailand, its culture, its fabulous food and most of all its gentle people, who appear to smile 100% of the time.
I am worried this will escalate into a coup. Hopefully the assorted media campaigns are just being sensational as usual and have blown this completely out of proportion. The civil protests were just beginning when I was there in November and I can’t help but be apprehensive for my friends that reside in Thailand.
We flew from Bangkok to Phuket, a short flight and as we were approaching, I could see islands faintly out the plane’s window from Phang Nga Bay and made plans of a Snorkeling tour of Phuket. I had no idea how wonderful our stay in Phuket would be. We left the airport on a bus operated by the Sweetland Travel & Tours Company in Phuket Thailand and Old Town. At one time Old Town Phuket was the center of gambling, prostitution and opium trades. This was centered around the flourishing tin-mining industry, maintained by labor from the Siamese, Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians and various sea gypsies.
The tsunami of 2004 stopped the aggressive upgrade to this gorgeous city on the Andaman Sea,started in the eighties. There remain, many wonderful beaches and the shops are in varying stages of refurbishing. This video is all about the historical Thalang Road with it’s century old “Shophouse” architecture. We parked the bus a street away and had “10 minutes” to shop and see the area. Of course that was impossible and we wound up staying there for 30 minutes.
As we sauntered down the side street we came upon this barber plying his trade and giving a local his haircut. Notice the sparse accommodations in this shop and the fact that only a fan spins above the client’s head.
Another shop we walked by, had this chart in four languages; Thai, English, French and German. It illustrates the various pressure points of Reflexology on the foot, an alternative medicine or pseudoscience involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet.
We found this refurbished wonderful house on the side street, the balcony loaded with plants. Notice the TV satellite dish matches the base color pink.
As we turned onto Thalang Road, we found the architecture outstanding and a majority of the antique homes had been remodeled. This was along with the shops which sold a plethora of goods.
Shop after shop offered their silk wares and although we had mostly secured our silk needs in Bangkok, we did stop, chat and discuss things with the shopkeepers. They were all friendly and were all asking if we needed anything. Thankfully it wasn’t a heavy sell approach.
We continued along Thalang Road, the main thoroughfare and home of all the historic buildings and original center of commerce. I must have taken 50 to 75 photos of the houses and balcony areas
The “Shophouses”, named this a result of the fact that the front portion is an actual retail establishment of one kind or another and the remainder is their home. Some have intricate gardens and patios that are not visible from the main street. An interesting detail, is that all the “Shophouses” have a “five-footway” front, that provides shade and protection from the in-climate weather.
This shop was an illustration of the various clothing and Burkas worn by Muslim women. A Niqaab or face cover, is not required of most in Thailand and this portion of Asia. Additionally you can see rugs, packaged scarves and other clothing.
Before we knew it they were calling us back to the bus, to continue on to our resort and get checked in. As stated in the video, the shops were closed on the following day and I felt lucky to have this experience even though it was brief in nature.
I highly recommend you stay at the Keemala resort, located in the rainforest of Kamala Phuket and close to Patong Beach for those seeking a fun time. It is a great resort for a romantic get away and has a spectacular spa. The resort has numerous holistic activities and one can feast on an assortment of foods that will satisfy your wholesome needs. Whether you desire a villa, pool cottage, or pool house Keemala will placate your thirst for personal treatment.
*** My trip to Thailand and Malaysia was sponsored by Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Tourism Malaysia USA. All opinions are solely mine and as always, generated without any influence.