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A Short Guide to Koh Larn, Thailand’s Coral Island

Escape Pattaya’s crowded and touristy beaches and head over to Koh Larn or Coral Island. This paradise island is only 7.5 km away from the nearest shore in Pattaya and is a popular day-tour destination. While the island itself is only 4 km long and 2 km wide, the beaches are pristine and surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters.

How to Get There?

There are a two of ways of getting to the island. The cheapest option involves riding a ferry, which costs 30 Baht per person and takes about 40 minutes. On the other hand, you can opt to ride in style on a speedboat, which costs between 300 and 2,500 Baht. The cost may be higher, but it slices the travel time in half.

You can rent the speedboat at the many shops in the Bali Hai pier. However, if you want to get the best price, it’s best to shop around and negotiate. As for the ferry, you can choose between the ferry that goes to Tawaen beach pier or the one that anchors at Na Ban pier. Either way, the ferry begins its journey from the same Bali Hai pier.

Koh Larn island, photo by Alex Voinich, wikimedia commons

Koh Larn island, photo by Alex Voinich, wikimedia commons

 

Where to Stay in the Island?

Due to the rising number of tourists visiting the island, there are quite a number of new places to stay on Koh Larn. Different accommodations are available such as hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, and even homestays. Checking in at one of these เกาะ ล้าน  Koh Larn accommodations instead of the ones in Pattaya means you can save on fares if you plan to fully explore the island.

What to Eat in the Island?

If you like seafood, you’re in for a treat at Koh Larn. It’s best to sample the fresh seafood from the downtown market, especially if you’re staying at an accommodation with a kitchen. For day-trippers, restaurants and cheap food stalls dot the island. Aside from serving world-class Thai cuisine, they also have western, Asian, vegetarian, and halal foods.

Fresh seafood in Thailand

Fresh seafood in Thailand

Main Beaches of the Island

The west side of Koh Larn is where the best beaches can be found. That said, all beaches in the island feature white sand and tropical blue waters, so you can’t go wrong wherever you chose to stay.

Tawaen Beach

Tawaen is the most popular beach with daily visitors numbering around 2,000 to 5,000. Luckily, it’s also the longest with 685 meters of pristine sandy shore accommodating vacationers. Guests have an assortment of water activities to choose from such as jet ski rentals, banana boat rides, and parasailing. What’s more, it’s also very commercial, with restaurants and souvenir shops lining up the shore to cater to every visitor’s whim.

Samae Beach

With a 530-meter shoreline, Samae is the second-longest beach in the island. The sand is not quite as fine, but the beach is still worth the visit, as it features some of the classiest resorts in the country. You’ll also be glad to know that you won’t go hungry with the number of restaurants on Samae Beach.

Tien Beach

Take your Instagram shots in Tien, as it’s one of island’s most beautiful beaches. It’s got a respectable 400 meters of beach front with plenty of Thai and western restaurants as well. The vibe at the beach is more relaxed, but you can still engage in aquatic activities like in the larger Koh Larn beaches.

Koh Larn beaches, photo by pongwit wikimedia commons

Koh Larn beaches, photo by pongwit wikimedia commons

Nual Beach

Nual Beach or Monkey Beach gets its name from the group of monkeys that live on the hillside. In the past, very few tourists ever ventured out on its 350-meter shoreline, but now, the beach has become even more popular. Catering to this rise in visitors are makeshift restaurants and food stalls serving different Thai dishes and western fare as well.

Tonglang Beach

This 215-meter beach used to be one of the most challenging to access. However, a new concrete road makes the commute faster and safer. As one of the smaller beaches on the island, you’ll find less tourists and a more relaxed ambiance. That said, you could still find resorts and food stalls that cater to visitors.

Tayaiy Beach

The smallest of the main beaches in Koh Larn is the Tayaiy Beach with only 140 meters of shoreline. If you want the most secluded beach hideaway with the least crowd, you can spend your time here. Keep in mind that there’s only one restaurant and limited accommodation in the area.

Are you excited to go on a holiday to Thailand and learn more about tourist secrets Asia guide? Consider staying in Koh Larn and experience for yourself why many vacationers are choosing it over Pattaya.




Retirement in Thailand

Thailand has become a popular country for retirees from Western countries. The best places for retirement in Thailand are considered to be Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Bangkok. Today, there are also retirement villages and homes for those who need assisted living.

Even though the options for retirement homes are still limited in Thailand, there are three facilities that admit expats in need of daily assistance. For instance, there are the Thailand Retirement and Long Term Care Communities in Pattaya. This institution has been known for assisting disabled foreigners.

Retirement in Thailand

Retirement in Thailand

Retirement in Thailand

Pattaya is a nice location for all retirees who like to enjoy the beach, sun, entertainment and fast life in a transcient place. Nevertheless, there are also two main hospitals that offer great healthcare. These are Pattaya International, a private hospital, and there is Pattaya-Bangkok International which is located a short distance outside of Pattaya.

What is more, in Bangkok you can find the Golden Years Hospital which also take care of elderly expats. They also offer special tour programmes for elders in which the elderly are accompanied by a personal caregiver. There are many advantages of being nursed in the Golden Years Hospital because the doctors and nurses provide warm and close care.

Another well-known facility is the Mc Kean Rehabilitation Centre in Chaing Mai which has a complete nursing home for the elderly. It is a Christian Centre which wants to provide good life quality to seniors so that they can live in a caring and supportive community with dignity.

Thailand is a popular place for retirees from Western countries

Thailand is a popular place for retirees from Western countries

If you do not necessarily need a retirement home, there is also the possibility to buy or rent a small condo. Particularly, these kind of small condo units can be found in Pattaya where there is a large expat community. If you want to buy such a condo of around 50 square meters, the price is commonly around 900,000 Baht.

These condos for expats are usually in close proximity to immigration facilities. For instance, in Pattaya, Thai Immigration Building is in Jomtien, where you can find numerous condo units for senior expatriates. Hence, Jomtien has become a hot retirement spot and thus there are also many facilities for expats like clubs.

Actually, many of the Thai expat retirees in these areas live off their government pension. This is important because a government pension is a requirement for a retirement visa. Do you want to find out how much you need to live well in Thailand? Try the Thai Retirement Calculator found on my website.

Finally, we may say that Thailand is a very popular place for Western retirees because of the excellent weather and the generally stable economy. Thus, many Western seniors consider getting a Thai retirement visa for expats. In addition, the living costs in Thailand are much lower than in Western countries like the USA, the UK and Europe in general.

Yours, Sirinya




The Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya, Thailand

Today I’d like to take you on a photographic journey to the Sanctuary of Truth (ปราสาทสัจธรรม) which is a temple construction in Pattaya, Thailand. The Sanctuary is also known as Wang Boran and Prasat Mai.

The Sanctuary of Truth

Entrance to the Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya, Thailand

Entrance to the Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya, Thailand*

The special characterisitc of this temple is that it is completely constructed from wood. Thus, it is a great example of the art of Thai woodcarving. The sanctuary harbours numerous wooden scupltures from Buddhist and Hindu mythology.

The Sanctuary of Truth is an amazing example of Thai woodcarving

The Sanctuary of Truth is an amazing example of Thai woodcarving*

However, in the top of the building, which is 105 meters high, there are also pieces of modern visionary art exhibited. In 1981, the temple complex was initiated by Lek Viriyaphant who is also the founder of the Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan. Actually, the Sanctuary of Truth is not completed yet and the year for its completion is supposed to be in 2050.

Wang Boran, the Sanctuary of Truth, hall with royal images

Wang Boran, the Sanctuary of Truth, hall with royal images*

The temple construction is a unique and fine example of Thai architecture and it is also reminiscent of ancient Khmer buildings. There are four monumental towers representing images from the Buddhist and Hindu religions and mythologies of Asian countries like Cambodia, China, India and Thailand. Hence, the Sanctuary honours the ancient civilizations of Southeast Asia and their accomplishments.

The construction of Wang Boran is reminiscent of Khmer architecture

The construction of Wang Boran is reminiscent of Khmer architecture*

Therefore, the Sanctuary of Truth also gives credit to the seven creators which are of vital importance to man because without them, he cannot exist. These creators are Heaven, Earth, Father, Mother, Moon, Sun and the Stars. Thus, the purpose of this temple complex is to use art and culture in order to reflect Eastern philosophy and the ancient knowledge and vision of Southeast Asia. Visitors are invited to take a glimpse at and experience ancient knowledge, the connectedness of all beings and the cycle of life.

Prasert Mai, Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya

Prasart Mai, Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya*

The Sanctuary of Truth is divided into different halls. Hence, the 1st hall is about the origin and stands for the earth, the four elements and the universe. According to Hindu belief, Shiva is the God of Earth and Fire (beginning and end), Vishnu is the God of Water and thus the preserver of life, while Brahma is the God of the Wind and thus the creator. Trimurati is the God of the Universe and the universal aspect.

Wang Boran stands for stands for the earth, the four elements and the universe

Wang Boran stands for the earth, the four elements and the universe*

The 2dn hall represents the sun, moon and stars and thus symbolizes the created environment. The sun, moon and stars are also creators because without the sun there would neither be day nor night. The moon causes tideing and the stars are the reason for every cause. Hence, everything and even the creators are interconnected.

Sanctuary of Truth, everything is interconnected even the creators

Sanctuary of Truth, everything is interconnected even the creators*

The 3rd hall represents Parental Love which also stands for unconditional love, starting a family, tranquility and peace. In this way, the hall also represents father and mother who are givers. They do not ask anything in return for their love and the receivers, the children, are grateful and pay respect to their parents. The 4th hall stands for the world supporter and thus for the Bodhisattva who is the Buddha. His attributes are love, compassion, selflessness and service to others. What is more, this is also the basis for all religions.

Bodhisattva, his attributes are love, compassion, selflessness and service to others

Bodhisattva, his attributes are love, compassion, selflessness and service to others*

Finally, the Centre Hall stands for the four noble truths that the Buddha has preached to all men. It means that human beings can understand the wheel of life and overcome suffering in order to reach Nirvana.

Centre Hall stands for the four noble truths that the Buddha has preached to all men

The Centre Hall stands for the four noble truths that the Buddha has preached to all men*

Hence, the four spires on the top roof represent the four elements: there is a female celestial being holding a book representing the continuation of philosophy and morality. The other female celestial that holds a pidgeon in her hand stands for peace. The male celestial with a lotus flower represents the establishment and continuation of religion. Finally, the celestial holding the hand of a child and leading the elderly represents life.

The Sanctuary of Truth, the four spires on the top roof represent the four elements

The Sanctuary of Truth, the four spires on the top roof represent the four elements*

Summing up, we may say that the Sanctuary of Truth is an amazing temple construction and a stunning example of Thai woodcarving that captures the ancient vision of the earth. I really recommend a visit to this place 🙂

Yours, Sirinya

*all photos in this post by Amporn Konglapumnuay




8 Fun Facts About Thailand

 

Thailand is an amazing country that stuns the visitor in many ways. Thus, get ready for some fun facts about Thailand in numbers 🙂

8 Fun Facts About Thailand

  • 2 grams weights the world’s smallest mammal. It is the Kitti’s Hog-nosed bat which is also known as the bumblebee bat. It is a vulnerable and rare species of bat and the only extant member of the family Craseonycteridae. It occurs in Western Thailand in the Kanchanaburi province, more specifically in the Sai Yok National Park, where it occupies limestone caves along rivers.

Kitty's Hog nosed bat (photo credit: nationmultimedia.com)

Kitty’s Hog-nosed bat (photo credit: nationmultimedia.com)

  • 95% of all Thai people are Buddhists. Thai tradition supports laymen to go into a monastery for a certain time period. This retreat is expected of all male Thais and is commonly scheduled after high school. Such retreat brings honour to the family and merit to the young man.

Young novices entering a monstery in Thailand (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)

Young novices entering a monastery in Thailand (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)

  • 169 letters has the official name of the capital Bangkok: It is known to Thais as Krung Thep Maha Nakho, but its full ceremonial name is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit.

View from Baiyoke Sky Tower on the capital Bangkok (photo taken by myself)

View from Baiyoke Sky Tower on the capital Bangkok (photo taken by myself)

  • 70% of all animal and bird species are living in Thailand. Thus, Thailand is one of the world’s countries richest in species. There are over 200 different reptiles living in Thailand according to Thai National Park’s ‘List of reptiles’.

A country rich in species (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)

A country rich in species, here a lizard (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)

  • 172 meters high is the world tallest stupa. It is located in Nakhom Pathom and called Phra Pathom Chedi. It was completed in 1870 and the name Phra Pathom Chedi means ‘the first holy stupa’.

Phra Pathom Chedi (photo credit: ScorpianPK, wikimedia.org)

Phra Pathom Chedi (photo credit: ScorpianPK, wikimedia.org)

  • 1430 islands are there in Thailand, ranging from desert islands to spectacular islands. Some are well-known and popular among tourists while others are still pristine.

Angthong Islands National Marine Park (photo credit: Amazing Thailand, FB page)

Angthong Islands National Marine Park (photo credit: Amazing Thailand, FB page)

  • 1586 meters long was the catwalk of the Pattaya International Fashion Week in 2010. Thus, it was a Guinness World Record in Pattaya.
  • 1,500,000 Bath (around 37.000 Euro) was paid for a painting created by eight elephants from the Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai. The painting measured 2,4 x 8 meters.

A paiting elephant (photo credit: elephantpaintings4you.com)

A paiting elephant, a fun fact about Thailand (photo credit: elephantpaintings4you.com)

Well, did you know all that? Do you know more amazing and astonishing fun facts about Thailand? Feel free to comment 🙂

Yours, Sirinya

(Reference: Thailand Magazin TAT 2015, German Version)