Part III: Hnaan Jon Waterfall
Hnaan Jon Waterfall is in Ampur (District) Chawhang in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Not that far from Wat Thart Noi (Temple) about 20 to 25 minutes drive. Waterfalls are popular to the local people. We didn’t know what to expect but we have heard that Nakhon Si Thammarat have many beautiful waterfalls.
As we started our hike up the mountain, the trails were difficult to those who were not use to hiking, while others couldn’t wait for the challenge.
Our guide took us through the local rubber plantation, so he explained what each plants were and a little about the rubber work. Did you know that the best time to cut the bark of the rubber trees for sap to run out into the bowls is around 1:00 to 3:00 AM? That’s right, the temperature during this time of the morning helps increase the most flow of sap. How you cut the trees also affect the amount of years you can expect the rubber to produce. To some farmers they may hold on to their trees for 20 to 25 years. With good technique of cutting, the rubber trees can expected to produce for nearly 30 years!
Everywhere we look it was colorful! The ground we walked on was dark brown soil and some red clay. The rocks were also beautiful colors, shapes and sizes. Our guide said they have so much rain some years that they experienced flooding. This year they did not get that much rainfall, so you could see very little water in the creeks and rivers.
After 30 minutes of walk, we came upon a really nice wooden-bridge which was built by local people . They have collected the donations from the local people and have done the work themselves. Our guide said when they get heavy flooding the bridge always get destroyed first and the people who live on the other side of the bridge could not come into town.
It took 40 to 50 minutes to get there but it was all worth it once we saw how beautiful the waterfall look. According to our guide, the pool and the waterfall was about 3 meters deep and not more than 4 meters high. Our volunteers were all sweaty and hot, so to jump into the nice cold pool was refreshing!
This was our last destination for the day but we all can say that it has been a fun day for all of us. Many of us would like to return to Nakhon Si Thammarat again to explore other waterfalls in the near future.
Desk Officer/Social Manager
8th October 2010
We stopped at the Rubber Processing Factory which is owned and operated by the people of Jundee Community. We have never been to a rubber processing factory before, so it was exciting to see what they can show us. When we arrived at this large warehouse, we were quickly introduced to the manager of the factory. Our guide, Boaw explained that one of the first thing they have to do when rubber first arrived at the factory, they have to weigh it for their true weight. This means each rubber balls that comes in must be put into a small tin cup and weighed behind a protected side shield. True weight means no water or any particles can be in the rubber during the weighing process.
Then we were led inside the factory to where there were many water basins with chemical added to treat the rubber from sticking to each other and possibly clean the rubber in the process. The next step they had to do was to wring the rubber out and flatten it out through a flat machine. Then the rubber sheets get hung up and stored in the smoke room to draw out the humidity and water that was in the rubber. It has to be in the smoke room for 24 hours.
The next step is checking through the rubber sheets for any defects or dark spots that needed to be cut out before it can be shipped out to the market to be sold. The going rate right now is 100 baht per kilogram of rubber. This business brings a lot of money into the region, so not surprising that the Southern Provinces of Thailand are known for rubber as their agricultural work.
Chananan Sutsadang-Desk Officer/ Social Manager
Photos can be seen on Projects Abroad Thailand The Official Group in Facebook
Social Day Outing-Friday 8 October 2010
Part one: Nakhon Si Thammarat Province (Thart Noi Temple)
Nakhon Si Thammarat is about 610 kilometers south of Bangkok and approximately 200 kilometers south-east from Krabi. It sits on the coast of Malay Peninsula. The record indicated in the year 2000 that the population was about 118,764 in this province. This city was founded for more than 1,000 years ago with rich history that explains how much impact the Dutch, Portuguese and the British has influenced Thailand in the 17 Century. If you like history, you would find this period of time to be very interesting to read about.
Our first stop was “Wat Thart Noi”. We left Krabi around 8:00am heading south-east. It took us 2 hours to get there, but it was a very pleasant ride in our minivan. Some of our volunteers were sleeping, while others were enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way. We saw many parades as we drove towards Nakhon Si Thammarat. The local people were singing and dancing and carrying food and money to be donated. They all were dressed in beautiful colorful clothes and some with white powder on their faces. This is very common just because it cools them down in the hot sun.
When we arrived at the temple the only place we could find to park was out side the temple ground. We needed to find a place that would be easy for us to leave once we finished .So many Thai people visit the temple during this time of year due to their desire to earn merit and donate food and money. There were so many people, so many motorcycles, cars and trucks.
Our volunteers were noticed because in these parts of the country not too many “farang” or white foreigner can be seen walking around in the public places such as the temple. As our guide, Baow led the way and explained the different statues of the Buddha each one for each day of the week. One of our volunteers noticed that there were more Buddha statues on Wednesday, while there were only one on other days. Baow’s explanation was people had donated them because they happened to be born on Wednesday, so they donate it to the temple to earn a lot of merit to help them with this life and the next life as well.
The white Pagoda stood tall and high into the sky was just awesome! Camille, one of our French volunteers asked me if she could buy flowers to give to the Buddha? I told her “yes! and decided to buy flower-incent sets for each volunteer, so they can pray as the Thai people do. It was very interesting to see how our volunteers embraced Thai customs as they do. As Thai people were looking at our volunteers, I overheard some of them saying “it is so nice that these "farangs" like to pray and visit our temples as we do”. I saw their smiles too. Our volunteers have made a very good impression.
A few of our volunteers donated money to the temple and was given amulet (a charm worn against evil) with a picture of a monk who was responsible for building this temple and bringing the community together as a group.
As we made our exit out of the temple you could see that just by being there we were able to communicate to the local people through smiles and behavior of respect and reverence to the Thai people of that community.
Photos can be seen in the Projects Abroad Thailand official facebook group:
Chananan Sutsadang- Desk Officer/ Social Manager
Krabi's Pillar Shrine
Krabi isn't a big town but it has a history to add to the excitment and adventure for those who are traveling through or decided to make it a home for a while. As I look for things to write about I can't help wondering if I can do justice in describing our beautiful-little town. To some of our alumni volunteers they would remember it well and how it was for them for the very first time when they saw and walked the streets of Krabi Town. The traffic lights with cave men on top, the Krabi River with beautiful mangrove on both side of the river and the tall-twin-shark-like-tail rock that stood out of the water that you can explore and climb to get a better view of Krabi by the Adaman Sea.
Today I visit Krabi Town with a purpose! I needed to do research for our Newsletter articles, so I found myself at Krabi's Pillar Shrine across from the public libray. For many people Thailand is a very small country that has been in the news a lot lately. Well, did you know that before a city can be established in each province a "City Pillar" must be erected first? This acitivity is tied with Buddhism, which is our country's main religion as well.
Krabi's Pillar shrine was erected in 1350 BE or 1,203 years ago. The building in which the pillar is in have been built in recent years. This place is considered a place of worship and holy to the Thai people and many Buddhist believers. The City Pillar contains the scope of the city in which it protects the city and the people who dwell in it. Some people come here to pray and find answers to questions that they are not able to figure out on their own, while some people coming to ask for lucky numbers that they can buy on the lottery tickets.
When I first arrived at the City Pillar Shrine a middle age woman was working as a gardener asked me "did you come to ask for lucky numbers?" I smiled and told her "no, I wanted to see and get information about the shrine since I have never been here before. I drove by so many time but never stop to see until today". She turned back to her work cutting grass but continued to say "most people who asked for the numbers often get it right and win the lottery, you should give it a try". I just smiled back at her and thought to myself, I wish I had that kind of faith but numbers was not on my mind at the time. I thanked her and went about my business.
Something you must know is that a Thai-Buddhist persons sometimes would not conduct business or imporantant decision in their life without checking with their trusted-advisor of life and that is the Fortune-teller. This person is most important because they can help you get the right outcome from the decision you make. One of the things they must do is to check with the stars location, date, month and time. The same goes for when it would be the best day and time the City Pillar can be erected to ensure the prosperity of the city. This practice has been done hundreds of years ago and continues till today because Thai people believe that it work!
On the positive side of things the population of Krabi is over 400,000 and climbing. Roads are being built, repaired, paved for the convenient of travelers and local people. Hotels, Resorts and houses are being built every day. Where there's building, there's money changing hands, so the economy is moving, while other part of the country may not. City dwellers from Bangkok immigrated here to find better quality of life that the city can't offer them.
I hope this article will help those who wish or plan to travel to Thailand with Projects Abroad could learn a little more about Thailand before getting here. All the staff here can't wait to meet you!
Desk Officer/Social Manager
On 30 September 2010 happens to be one of our day off here at Marine Conservation Thailand. Three of our volunteers will be leaving the project the following day, so we all decided to spend the day all-together having some more fun to add to our many happy memories.
We couldn’t have asked for a better day, it was just absolutely beautiful with blue sky and sun. No rain insight! We first went to the Tiger Temple where we have to climb 1233 steps to get to the top. Those who made it up brought back so many beautiful pictures to show the rest of us.
Next we went to Kanaap Naam across Krabi River to this Twin-Tail-like Rock. One of the Rocks happen to have a cave in side of it. During the Second World War, the Japanese Army use this place as their Head Quarter. Many Thai people died here in this cave. We also stop off at a Fish Farm to check out some fish.
Our last fun place we visited was the Crystal Pool. To get to the pool we had to hike through the thick forest trail. It took us about 25 to 30 minutes depend on how fast you walk. When we first arrived at this National Park we saw dark – black clouds over our heads. We just knew that we will get rain on before we reach the rest area next to the pool. By this time we were all hot, so the rain actually felt nice. Thunder and lightning can be heard and seen in a near distance. Most of us did not wait for the rain to stop but just jump right into the pool.
If you are considering coming to Thailand, please be prepare to have a lot of fun with us!
Chananan Sutsadang-Desk Officer /Social Manager
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