Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kiteboarding World Cup Hua Hin March 11 - 20 2010

There will be two events:

The first event will be the PKRA Thailand competition March 11-14. The top 2 male and top 2 female finishers will automatically be entered in the main event of the PKRA International freestyle competition! This event will be run by the PKRA international judges and a PKRA contest director which means the highest quality of judging.

Monday, March 15 through Saturday, March 20 the top riders in the world will compete in this Grand Slam event, featuring Freestyle, Course Racing, and Board Off disciplines.  It will be the first professional kiteboarding event in Asia in the history of the sport, and it promises to be a new beginning for the sport in the region, as it is expected to become an annual kiteboarding mega-event in Thailand.

A little late on posting this but if you live in Hua Hin you'd have to be more of a hermit than this guy to have missed all the signs and the PKRA has a good web site about the event so the news is out.

So, all FBF will try to do here is make it a bit easier for those NOT staying at the Intercontinental to view the event.

The maps on both the PKRA and Intercontinental sites are a little vague on where the event will be held so FBF reconnoitered the area today, mainly for selfish reasons (2 boys who need to wash up after visiting any beach) but will share what was learned here...

A platform/stage/viewing platform is under construction roughly just north of Soi 79, which is the northern boundary of the Intercontinental Hotel.  There were no kiteboards visible at that site this morning but there were several working out on the beach east of the Condochain at Soi 75/1, which is probably the BEST place to get a bird's eye view of the festivities though would imagine the Intercontinental will probably offer some most comfortable viewing areas also.

There are a few small food stalls at the end of Soi 77 complete with umbrellas, tables and chairs and an abundance of massage ladies with their amenities. One would assume that many more will be setting up shop in the next few days.

There are also a few restaurants in more permanent structures along the beach in this area and south ie, between Sois 75/1 and what would probably be Soi 83/2 for those preferring tiles under their feet rather than sand.

Denizens of Bo Fai don't often go wandering through the rabbit warren of Sois on the Southside so there are probably more places in that area since FBF last visited the beach in that area.


Parking is not going to be fun. Unless you're a high-roller flying in for the event and staying at one of the resorts in the area or willing to fight the Scandies in their Speedos at the Condochain, be prepared for a hike.

The Sois in the area are barely wide enough to handle both pedestrians and moterbikes at the same time so there will obviously be a few folks from you-know-where who will park their cars there, further complicating matters.

Petchkasem has limited street parking in the area and that will go fast. The vacant lot just north of the Hua Hin Sports Villa at Soi 104/2 may be opened up for parking and this page will be updated if that proves to be the case.

A closing thought on local publicity:

[editorial mode ON]
For many years it has seemed that local hotels and resorts and even the TAT have gone out of their way NOT to publicize (IN HUA HIN) events being held in Hua Hin. Whether it be a music festival, food festival or special concert held in a local hotel, there have been many occasions where residents of Hua Hin first learn of something going on in town when the traffic builds up on Friday afternoon with cars from Bangkok asking where to find so and so.

The Intercontinental Hotel has only been in Hua Hin a few months but have already held two international scale events and the local publicity has been nothing short of amazing. They've done a excellent job of keeping locals in the loop and that effort should be commended.
[editorial mode OFF]

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 2:40 PM   4 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Plearnwan or A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words...

FBF has made a few less than complimentary comments about Plearnwan but folks continue to be drawn to the odd looking structure; thousands of folks every day. There are many expensive cars from Bangkok, VIP buses from the boonies and school kids by the classroom full. In fact, FBF Jr's class is there as this is being written.

The place is so popular that a cottage industry has grown up between the parking lot (second only to Market Village in capacity) and the entrance, selling everything from soft drinks, t-shirts, and sun glasses to noodles and True SIM cards.

Still can't imagine why but did run across a site that pretty much sums up why FBF doesn't intend on going back AND why so many others are continually drawn. It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words so be prepared for 107,000 words from Khun Pan.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 12:23 PM   1 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Curiouser and Curiouser

FBF has two ISPs, one is the TT&T/CAT combo and the other a fallback Hutch CDMA dongle. The latter tends to go out when there are two many folks down from Bkk using theirs and the system is apt to get overloaded. The former goes down whenever someone at either organization takes a coffee break.

They seldom are down at the same time.

This afternoon, they both shut down at exactly the same time, around 1530. Both were not allowing traffic but there was a signal from both.

Was sure that TETCBM had occurred. Paces for a bit and then called a buddy using TT&T. No problems at his end so paced a bit more.

About 1615, all was back to normal...

Who's paranoid?

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 5:35 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Too Much Work Getting Done

Started to call this Thai Government Declares All of April Songkran Holiday but guess should better leave that story to NotTheNation.

However, the government has just announced that in addition to April 13, 14, and 15th being official holidays for Songkran, Friday the 16th will also be a government holiday.  So, by merely taking the 12th off without pay, one can enjoy from Saturday the 10th through Monday the 19th as the mother of all long weekends.

Make your travel plans accordingly and think about getting out of Dodge for a while.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 3:52 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

You Are Being Monitored by MICT

FBF uses a utility that allows JavaScript, Java, Flash, and other plugins and scripted content to be selectively executed. In other words, activities other than just cookies can be monitored before they have access to the browser or the computer while surfing the web. For example, whenever a web site tries to inject HTML or JavaScript code inside a different site, this utility filters the malicious request, neutralizing its dangerous load.

Yesterday, when accessing the Bo Fai Blog, a flag went up saying that our friends at mict.go.th were watching that website. This obviously was a bit of a surprise as had always assumed they were watching the bad guys like Youtube and welovetaksin.com and had better things to do than monitor nonpolitical sites like this one. It was quite a jolt to see that the Bo Fai Blog was now on their radar.

A little later, the same flag came up when going to Yahoo so will now assume that some engineer over at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology isn't putting enough cream in his coffee or that they are even more paranoid than we thought they were.

You might want to check your cookie folder to see how many cookies you have from mict.go.th.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't watching.  The question now is, why?

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 12:58 PM   2 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Billy's Having A Birthday @ Billy's Bar

Billy is having a Birthday Party at Billy's Bar and Restaurant on Monday the 30th of November.

Not lots of time to make plans but it will be the place to be on Monday evening. Live band, some food and lots of drinks and a good crowd of Billy's friends.

Check in with those you haven't seen in a while and wish Billy and Davey a Happy Birthday!

If someone else is there, Billy's not responsible...

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 10:07 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Friday, November 27, 2009

Reds vs Yellows In Hua Hin

Somtawin and Pratana Kindergartens battled it out again this year at their annual Sports Day hosted at the new Somtawin campus in Nong Plop. Red, Yellow, Blue, and Pink shirts, ages 2 through 5 vied for no trophy or rewards, just a good time.

Here we see the Reds were a little confused during the tug of war competition, or perhaps the fellow on the right was a plant from one of the other teams.


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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 2:58 PM   2 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, October 18, 2009

ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin Traffic Report

Your intrepid reporter braved the rain storms, Bangkok traffic returning home, and the ASEAN lane this evening just to see how bad it was, or is going to be.

Actually he was delivering Khao Soi to the needy south of Bo Fai but that's another story.

The ASEAN lane now runs south from at least Narasuan Fort, about halfway between Cha Am and Hua Hin all the way through to Khao Takiap. The ASEAN lane is the inside lane, and while the No Parking signs are up for parking on the shoulder, they don't go into effect until the 21st so are ignored, as they probably will be to a certain extent after the 21st.

On the highway, it's not that big a deal--3 lanes are reduced to 2 but making right turns can prove interesting as then one is intruding in the ASEAN lane.

Once in Hua Hin town, 3 at-the-VERY-best lanes are turned into 1 and it really gets interesting at places like Hua Hin Tansamai.

Going north, the ASEAN lane doesn't start (as of Sunday evening) until just north of the Chomsin Rd (Soi 70/55) intersection so it's pretty much good sailing past the market.

This is just Sunday and the festivities don't get started for a few more days.

FBF witnessed at least 60 identical ASEAN vehicles backed up at the PTT station at Soi 6 on Friday evening. The queue extended south past the Honda dealership. This is the last PTT station leaving Hua Hin so if you need gas, smokes or munchies, this is the station to avoid as it's the closest gas station to the meeting site.

FBF makes a TESCO/Villa run tomorrow and will hunker down with his Khao Soi for the duration. Bullshit, we all know he's a keen observer so expect further posts but if you're heading this way, think again and again.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 8:31 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, October 15, 2009

SNAFU: Vehicle Stickers for ASEAN Summit Redux

For those who've already given their vehicle information for the sticker used during the ASEAN Summit, there's been a slight change.

Much of the information given last week was either recorded incorrectly or was misplaced so those who do not yet have their sticker are instructed to take your housing and vehicle information to Hua Hin Vitthayalai School AKA Salesian School, just north of the Market Village Mall. Or, in the case of Bo Fai, there are officials at Klai Kangwon Temple.

This can be done through 16 October and you will get your sticker immediately.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 8:36 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hua Hin Goes Green for ASEAN Summit in October

The Bernama News Agency posts here that some ten thousand military and police will be deployed to ensure there is no disruption in Hua Hin during the summit.

They go on to quote Anupong:
Meanwhile, Army Chief Gen Anupong Paochinda said the Internal Security Act will be enforced between October 12 and 27 in nine sub-districts of Phetchaburi's Cha-am district and four sub-districts of Prachuab Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district.

The army chief however says he is confident there will be no untoward incident during the regional pact meeting.
In addition:
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban affirmed enforcing the ISA will not disrupt the daily life of local residents.

Regarding traffic during the ASEAN meetings, Suthep said that local residents can travel normally, but a special "ASEAN lane" will be preserved for motorcades of country leaders, senior delegations, as well as media, as they have to travel from their hotels to the meeting venues.
That sounds like a couple of exciting weeks. Ten thousand troops and a few thousand delegates, hangers-on, and press and one less lane for traffic.

Another lane will obviously have to be reserved to check that the local residents have the proper sticker attached to their vehicle, proving that they are indeed local residents.

Stock up on provisions early as this could be as bad as Songkran.  NO reference intended to the activities in Bangkok during the last Songkran.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 1:41 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Train Derailed in Hua Hin

As posted here and increasingly more sites, a passenger train heading north to Bangkok from Trang derailed in at the Khao Tao station in southern Hua Hin district at approximately 0445 Monday morning 5 October 2009.  The Nation is now reporting 7 dead with many injured and many still trapped in the overturned carriages.

Injured are still being taken to area hospitals including Hua Hin and the provincial hospital in Prachuapkirikhan. The Bangkok Post has yet to pick up the story.

FBF has no intention of going to the site or the hospital but passed by the Hua Hin hospital at 0900 and rescue vehicles were still arriving and the parking lot was quite busy.

If I hear anything more that I don't see posted on the mass media, I'll add to this post later.


The death toll has reached 10 and trains southbound from Bangkok have been cancelled for at least 24 hours.

As of 1130 there were several ambulances parked on Petchkasem Rd., just north of the Hua Hin Hospital, apparently waiting to take stabilized injured on to Bangkok.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 12:33 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, August 9, 2009

More Bad News For the Tourist Sector

It's the perception that counts. Whether or not King Power and their supposed cronies the Blue Shirts have a thing going on with the boys in brown is true or not is not the issue. What is true that the story has made the Associated Press, the BBC and several other agencies (A Google of "Bangkok Airport Scam" gives you over 300,000 hits). If foreign governments are issuing travel advisories about Suvarnabhumi, then insurance companies are raising their rates, or at least thinking about it, and tourists are thinking twice about visiting The Land of S***s.

From the AP story

Warnings issued about alleged Bangkok airport scam
By JOCELYN GECKER, Associated Press Writer Jocelyn Gecker, Associated Press Writer – Fri Aug 7, 3:31 am ET

BANGKOK – Travelers to Thailand have braved a variety of hazards in recent years but foreign governments are now warning about a new and different one: duty-free shopping at the airport.

Several European tourists say they were falsely accused of shoplifting at the Thai capital's main airport and some recount being taken to seedy motels where they were shaken down for thousands of dollars by a shady middleman.

The Thai government has vowed a crackdown at Bangkok's scandal-plagued Suvarnabhumi Airport, which has barely recovered from last year's public relations disaster when anti-government protesters shut it for a week and stranded 300,000 visitors.

The airport opened in 2006 and has been dogged by corruption allegations, taxi touts with "broken meters" and baggage thefts — prompting a recent order for luggage handlers to wear uniforms without pockets.

But the allegations of extortion take things to another level.

"We are quite concerned about this," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Vimon Kidchob said Thursday. "The government of Thailand is doing everything we can to ensure the safety of tourists."

It's hardly the image the self-proclaimed "Land of Smiles" wants to project, particularly as Thailand's vital tourism industry faces its worst crisis in years after political instability, the global financial crisis and swine flu scares.

The scandal has spawned lengthy chatter on travel blogs about other scams to watch for in Thailand and a string of overseas travel advisories on the perils of duty-free shopping in Bangkok.

Ireland is warning its nationals to "be extremely careful" when browsing at Suvarnabhumi (pronounced "sue-WANNA-poom").

Britain and Denmark have updated their online travel advice to warn that Suvarnabhumi's sprawling duty-free zone has hard-to-detect demarcation lines between shops and patrons should not carry unpaid merchandise between them.

British couple Stephen Ingram, 49, and Xi Lin, 45, technology experts from Cambridge, took the alleged scam public in late June. Their ordeal was pieced together based on accounts from police, airport and embassy officials and an interview the couple gave to British media.

The couple was approached by airport security before boarding a flight to London on April 25 and told that security cameras showed they had taken a Givenchy wallet.

King Power, the company that owns the duty-free store, has posted CCTV footage on its Web site that appears to show Lin putting her hand in her bag while browsing a wallet display. The security guards found nothing, but turned the couple over to police, said Sombat Dechapanichkul, managing director of King Power Duty Free Co.

"We are not aware of what happened next. It was then the job of the police to proceed with the case," said Sombat.

Ingram told The Sunday Times of London that they were questioned at an airport police office and then transferred to a nearby police station where their passports were confiscated and they spent the night in jail. The next morning they were introduced to a translator — a Sri Lankan named Tony — who said he could arrange bail and get their case dropped, warning it could otherwise drag on for months.

Tony took them to a nearby motel, called the Valentine Resort, Ingram said. The couple managed a visit to the British Embassy on April 27 but then returned to the hotel fearing Tony, who had warned they would be watched, Ingram said. They didn't leave Bangkok until May 1.

An investigation found that the couple transferred into Tony's bank account 400,000 baht ($11,800) — half for bail and the other half for Tony's "fees," said police Col. Teeradej Panurak, who oversaw the case.

"Tony came in to translate for us. We can't control what the accused agree to with a translator," said Teeradej. He said the couple was released because there was not enough evidence to press charges.

A visiting British government official recently raised the case with Thai authorities, and the British Embassy was consulting other embassies about the alleged scam, said embassy spokesman Daniel Painter.

Tony resurfaced in June, when a Danish woman was arrested.

Danish Embassy Consul Tove Wihlbrot-Andersen says the woman was accused of stealing an item worth about 1,500 baht ($45) after she unknowingly crossed from one shop to another. Her allegations mirror those made by the British couple: She was taken to a police station, contacted by Tony the translator, released on bail and then "taken to a bad hotel in the vicinity for almost a week," until she reportedly paid Tony 250,000 baht ($7,400) — for an offense that normally results in a 3,000 baht ($90) fine, the consul said.

Newspapers have published a steady stream of outraged letters-to-the-editor that note the Thai police force's reputation for taking bribes and to call for arrests in the airport scam.

One recent letter in The Nation newspaper came from Mike Gilman in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, who lamented the scandal's potential damage: "More nails in the coffin of an already devastated Thai tourism industry."


Associated Press writer Ambika Ahuja contributed to this report.
It's very quiet in Hua Hin for those who live here. Much too quiet for those trying to make a living. Handing your passport to an unsmiling person upon arrival, taxi touts and broken meters are things many travelers get used to. Fears of being locked up in a Love Hotel while some sneak named Tony brokers with unseen faces is enough to put anyone off.

Many are saying they've never seen a low season this quiet and have just about given up on any kind of high season in the near future.

For those willing to come to Thailand and Hua Hin this year, they're going to find some very quiet beaches and probably some very good rates in the hotels.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 2:08 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Goldfingers Still Smoking

FBF saw Randy this week (first time in over 4 years) and he made a point to state that the smoking lamp is still lit at Goldfinger's. There may be the occasional overblown shootout on Patpong but Randy's place is always a good place to escape the throngs.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 7:11 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Latest Report on the 2009 Hua Hin Jazz Festival

A reader posts:
Oh, and speaking of the Jazz Fest, near as I can tell by visiting both venues last night, in spite of the claims that it's going to be the best yet (new management, Hua Hin 100 year celebration and all), it appears to be the worst in the 7 or so years it's been held.  They've brought back the 'boxer park' (Pone Kingpetch?) venue but there's no beer garden with tables / chairs.  It's SRO.  And the usual beer garden with large video on the beach road next to Sofitel is no longer.  The Heineken and cigarette girls are still pretty but I was nevertheless forced to a stool at Billy's Bar!
Well, FBF doesn't do jazz, or festivals, or places where he has to walk too far, so he can't attest that any of the above is true but a stool at Billy's doesn't sound bad at all.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 7:30 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chaos in Bangkok, Traffic in Hua Hin

There's been an inordinate amount of traffic on the blog the last couple of days, especially from overseas visitors.  My bet is that folks are wondering if the chaos in Bangkok is also going on in Hua Hin.

My answer would have to be an emphatic NO.  This is pretty much a typical Songkran holiday time in Hua Hin. There are too many cars from Bangkok and, as always, never enough parking places.

Songkran in Hua Hin is pretty much one day of splashing and several days of traffic jams.  With what was supposed to be a 5-day weekend turned into a 10-day weekend, we can expect this to continue for a few more days.

My family didn't go out on Monday, Songkran day, but we went to Market Village this morning as it was FBF junior's birthday.  The mall was pretty much filled to capacity by 11:00 and no one cared what color shirt anyone was wearing.  The food court and the ice cream places were doing a booming business though we managed to escape the throngs before the lunch time crowd arrived.

We stayed away from Petchkasem, the main drag through town, to avoid the traffic, but could see that it was backed up from the Villa Complex to the traffic light as we headed west and up and over the hill to get home.

Along the canal road, all the hotel parking lots were full and the shops popular among the Bangkok crowd were extremely busy, especially the quitio shop with fish noodles.

If you're planning on coming to Hua Hin, I wouldn't let the yahoos in Bangkok keep me away.  It seems to be quite now, Tuesday evening, and I would think it should remain so for several days.

It's not over by a long shot and FBF won't be going to Bangkok in the near future but he makes a habit of not going there anyway.

Some color shirt will be back out within a week or 10 days but they will mostly congregate around Government House.  There shouldn't be any problem getting from the airport to Hua Hin.

FBF tends to keep to Bo Fai so if any of the local readers have seen anything untoward that I haven't, please let us know

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 9:43 PM   2 Comments Links to this post