Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vegetarian Festival กินเจ

Not really hidden, but I thought I would include a short video and a few pictures of some of the processions held in Kathu. Josh and Jeremy are taking part holding one of the shrines and Chris, Nikki, Shane and A are dishing out some crackling showers.

A little background information on the festival:
'The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. It is believed that the vegetarian festival and its accompanying sacred rituals bestow good fortune upon those who religiously observe this rite. During this time, local residents of Chinese ancestry strictly observe a 10-day vegetarian or vegan diet for the purposes of spiritual cleansing and merit-making. Sacred rituals are performed at various Chinese shrines and temples and aesthetic displays such as walking barefooted over hot coals and ascending ladders with bladed rungs are performed by entranced devotees known as "Ma Song".'
Festival Flags
Sea of WhitePhuket Disco
Tongue anyone?Serious Protection

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swinging! แกว่งตัว

This is the video from the Bang Wad Dam swings. Amazing fun indeed! A few of the first pictures in the video are from another lake in the Kathu area. A friend called Danny is the one doing the mind blowing flip off the swings and the one who set up the ropes!

The Secret Waterfall น้ำตก

In my time exploring the area around Bang Wad Dam, I found a waterfall! It is not signposted or anything and I imagine very few people know about it. To my surprise the falls are better than the main three shown on the maps of Phuket. It has a little dam so the water is deep enough, (at least in the wet season) to allow some wallowing around. The boys absolutely loved it!

To get there, follow the right side road around the dam and about half way down the length of it look out for a small right junction after a series of red flowers on the left. It is a pretty inconspicuous turn, but once you take it you will see the falls. If you are keen you can follow the falls all the way up to the top before it gets a little too dense to continue easily. Also there are a few areas whee you can slide down the falls (if you are small enough).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bang Wad Dam เขื่อน

Although not a great secret seen as though it is on almost every map out there, Bang Wad Dam is not that well known. It is generally used by joggers in the evening for its shady trees and during the Loy Kratong Festival for the water and space etc. Many of the people I know on Phuket don’t know about it or have never been.

A few years ago, a friend of mine setup two rope swings from a tree at the back side of the dam. It was awesome fun! Unfortunately, I guess someone really needed the rope more than us. The place is overgrown now, but the little hut and BBQ pit created can still be seen.

After hearing some weird sounds in the bush we discovered this gruesome sight...

Many people seem surprised that I swim in the dam waters. I am quite aware of the potential diseases lurking within the waters, but as far as visual cleanliness it is often a better bet than the some of the beaches where stinking discharges often visibly flow into the sea. (Just don't swim if you have any cuts on you). Locals have told of crocodiles living in the dam, but having swam there a load of times, and coming out with my limbs still intact, I figured they are friendly. There are plenty of big fish there, you can sometimes see them under the shade of the trees waiting for a snack to fall from the sky. There is also always some nice wildlife to see...

As of recently someone fucked up the aesthetic appeal by creating a massive area of concrete and rocks. The one upside is that it has steps going down straight into the dam which makes access for swimming just too easy. The outlet pipe runs out from this and you can jump off it or out of it for the comedy value. You can also climb and jump off the giant plug/outlet of the dam when the waters are higher. When on top you get a very good idea of how deep the dam really is. You really don't want to fall down the plug hole so take care!

Of course the area is not just about the dam and the waters held behind it, it has beautiful jungle surrounding it on both sides of a road that runs all the way around. If you like walking, running or just cruising along on a bike then this is a great route to take. The trees provide some nice shade most of the way round.