Street Food

There is only one rule when browsing the food stalls at a village market, if it looks good, it probably is good and you want to try it. If you don’t the chances are it will be the one thing you will never find again.

Kluay Tod or crispy deep fried plantain bananas are an all time favourite. But you need to catch them straight out of the pan otherwise go limp and rubbery.

Hoi Tod is a Thai oyster or shellfish omelette which is a cross between an omelette and a crispy pancake. The stallholder will more often than not also serve Pad Thai.

Kanom krok is a deliciously sweet thai dessert that is a popular street food. It often consists of two layers – the base is made from a rice flour and coconut milk mix, and the topping is a sweet mix of coconut milk and sugar, plus a variety of toppings. It is cooked over a charcoal fire in a kanom krok pan. They are small half sphere shaped puddings that are golden brown and crispy on the outside, and soft and sweet on the inside.

Nam Isan or fermented pork from the North East of Thailand is one of the most delicious foods that have come out of Isan. I don’t know if I have got this right but my understanding is that it is the rectangular shaped patty on the left, usually on a stick which is fire grilled and served with birds eye chilli’s shredded cabbage and sliced ginger. The sausage on the right of the picture comes in various shapes and sizes and it is a mix including rice and it is known as Sai Krok Isan or Sai Krok Priao. There is another variation of the sausage which uses glass noodle in place of the rice which I don’t really like.

Organic

We are not farmers by any stretch of the imagination. Nor are we strictly organic. But I am constantly reminded of the practical necessity of growing organic produce as we browse the local market where all the vegetables look crisp and perfect.

Unspoilt hideaways

With over 20 million visitors a year and very little regulation, “unspoilt” is becoming more and more difficult.

THe main problem is quite logical – if a beach is REALLY beautiful then there will be virtually no restrictions on what a wealthy develpoper can get away with……the inevitably result is that ALL the top grade coastal attractions are overrun or destroyed.

THat leaves the sort of places that as yet have not attracted enough people to warrant the attentions of the greedy developers whose only criteria is quick and easy profit.

To this end you are better looking at in land areas, national parks etc.
I agree that Kanchanaburi Province and the Western Forest complex offers a great opportunity to see bits of unspoiled rural Thailand before it finally disappears.
Also towns mentioned like Prachuap Kiri khan have not yet been overrun by foreign tourists as their beaches – although quite respectable – are not 5 star and therefore the target of untrammelled development.

The further away from the main holiday centres you go, the more likely you are to fid towns that have not been ruined by rampant tourism.
The coastlines between Hua Hin and Suratthani still have quaint places as do the coastlines between Phuket and Ranong, Phuket and Malaysia (mostly) and Sattahip and Trat.
these 3 coastlines are relatively unfrequented by foreign tourist hoards (as yet) and although they may not be the “best “beaches in Thailand you may find the lack of crowds and reasonably priced local food etc. more than enough compensation.

[BTW – all these places are popular with Thai vacationers – on public holidays and week-ends]

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Birdwatching

Ten percent of all bird species can be found in Thailand.  It is a zoogeographic crossroads or in common terms a melting pot.  This because the country’s avifauna comprises Sino-Himalayan, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Chinese and Sundaic elements as well as a large number of migrant visitors.

There are a number of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and protected areas which are the main birding spots where birds can be seen all year round.

November to February is the peak time for migrating species when most areas are good for birdwatching. In the north where the weather is cooler the most popular destinations are Doi Inthanon National Park, Doi Pui/Suthep National Park, Doi Chiengdao Wildlife Sanctuary, Doi Angkhang and Chiengsaen.

One of the best areas for birdwatching first thing in the morning is in north east at  the Khao Yai National Park. Then there is  Kroeng-Kravia ,  Tung Yai and Kaeng Krachan in the west and south west.  With Khao Sam Roi Yot a little further south.

Next at the hottest time of the year, March  to June is good for both passage migrants and resident species, which are then breeding. The best areas are in the west, south west and the south . The mangroves in Krabi, Khao Nor Chu Chi and the Halabala Wildlife Sanctuary in the far south.

July to October is the rainy season which is a lot quieter but good for resident species and breeding visitors. With sightings of passage migrants  from  August to October. The best birding spots are in the central plains in and around Bangkok and Kampangsaen. As well the coastal areas Bangpu and Samutsakhorn fromSeptember to October.