Tuity Fruity Chumphon

Trip Start May 07, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Suda Guesthouse

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Chumphon (Kim)

It was time to make our way to a border to renew our Thai Visas. We took the ferry to a medium size East coast town called Chumphon. It is not an especially touristy place. The ride in on the ferry was typically Asian. There were Chinese and Thai fisherman on the coast waving. Palms and coconut groves lined the shores and the water's were muddy. Most were on boats but some were sitting by the banks of the river with homemade bamboo poles. There is a hat the fisherman wear that looks like an umbrella.

In Chumphon most foreigners just stop over for a night or two to catch the train to Bangkok or on their way to Ranong like us. I liked Chumphon a lot because of this. Some places in Thailand have a reputation for being artificial and hedonistic, a fake culture generated by the visitors and encouraged by the locals. I mean you get the usual street food and great deals in the more touristy places and you do get the sense of Thailand. But in places like Chumphon the friendliness feels more genuine, the food is spicier and cheaper, your guesthouse host will sit down and have a cup of coffee with you. It just felt more real.

We only had one night here. The night market seemed to come highly recommended by our book and our guesthouse. It is a treat of smells, colors, and lights. Everyone turns out for it with a festive spirit. So it was off to the night market to discover more exotic fruits and dishes. We stopped off at a restaurant and sampled a traditional fish dish. The dish is interesting because the fish is dried first and then fried. The snapper we ordered was served whole and smothered in a Thai Chili. We also managed to find a tasty dessert. It was like malt-o-meal made into squares with banana in the center and wrapped in a banana leaf. Desserts and sweets really aren't as big here as other places in the world. Fruit is ubiquitous, varied and cheap. People seem to eat non stop in Thailand and if they are not eating curries you'll see them munching on fruit. We tried a variety of fruits. Some we'd heard of but never tried and others we never knew existed. Dave fell in love with the pomello. This is a citrus-like fruit reminiscent of a giant grapefruit but milder. It is easy to get a bag of cut pineapple, watermelon, or cantaloup, the Thai idea of fast food. There's a fruit stall on every corner. Durian is a delicacy but it is most definitely an acquired taste. You can usually smell it before you see it. Many hotels will have signs posted that durian is not allowed in the rooms.

After wandering around sampling street vendor food and picking up some cheap dvd movies we headed back for a good night of sleep. This guesthouse called Suda was noteworthy for a few things. First, it had air conditioning - a rare treat after a few weeks on the beach without. The owner turned out to be a pretty nice Thai lady who speaks great English. She was a big help to us in arranging the remainder of our visa run to Ranong. The room also had a little meditation garden attached to it. The next morning our taxi for Ranong came to the door of our guest house to pick us up for the "visa run."
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