The 1995 Adventures of Cowboy Bob & Bonanza Jellybean in Thailand!


Sawadee... Sabadee mai krup?

Thailand

Pine Bungalows is now run by Mr. Sompong (used to be front counter guy) and Lek the cook from Pine 87-93. They are husband and wife now and have leased Pine from Mr. Chung's sister Juree.

Mr. Chung's dream has become reality... He has purchased waterfront acreage on the west side of Ko Siboya (see-boy-ya) 20 km. south of Krabi on the way to Ko Lanta. Chung has a new fast boat which takes about 1 hr down the coast. In the monsoon season you have to use the river which takes half again as long. It's actually only about 500 metres from the mainland, and there is a ferry (long-tail boat to take motorcycles) but the road access is a 50 Km. trip to Krabi. Siboya is about 10x3 km. and is home to about 1000 locals whose main occupation is in the rubber plantations, with some fishing. There are 2 primary schools that seem to handle students up to the age of about 14 or 15. Aside from the odd stall selling household supplies there are no commercial enterprises at all. So as you might guess it's extremely quiet.

Chung purchased 2.75 acres of waterfront (200 meters on the water by 80 meters deep) with the help of some family money and by leasing some of his land to a few hand picked farangs. We now have a 60 year lease, (that should be long enough for us don't you think?) on approximately 1/5 acre of tropical sandy beach waterfront. Cool eh?. It has 6, forty foot coconut palms, a mango tree, a Kaffir lime tree (only the citrus peel and leaves are used in Thai curries) and a Tamarind tree. At the waters edge is a 5 meter common buffer strip that runs the full 600 meters making a path to the restaurant. The land goes back from the beach flat for the first 20 metres with scrub grass, then slowly rising about 4-5 meters over the next 25 metres to the back. Plans are to build on the slope facing the water and the setting sun. We're going to pull the plug in 2002. Bob can retire then, so our tentative game plan then is to spend 6 months in Victoria and 6 months travelling using Thailand as a base camp. There are about 20 bungalows at Mr. Chung's Place (no name yet) that he rents out for a 100bt per night. The bungalows are really small but they have lots of windows so nice breezes are available during the night. One of the nicest features of the bungalows is the open air bathrooms (no roof) attached at the rear. It's so nice to take a shower under huge spreading cashew nut trees. One does have to take care when entering the bath area in case a python or frog needed a drink while you were away!

Out of the 18 plots originally available for lease, only 6 remain unspoken for. Two houses are built now with plans for a few more on the way. The beach is very shallow, so at low tide the water goes out about 100 meters, a little walk to go swimming. 100 meters along the beach from the great new restaurant the water is deeper. The beach at Pine was never a great either though. The ambience is magical. Chung has designed and built a truly magnificent kitchen with lots of space and stainless steel, looks like a commercial kitchen you'd find in any big hotel in Bangkok. During the evening rush he stands in the kitchen and orchestrates most of his extended family. If you thought the food at Pine was good you'll be amazed at this new place. Every thing has been taken care of, fantastic serving dishes, unreal menu, absolutely wonderful family staff, spotless, etc., you get the picture. A section of old rice paddies has been groomed and nets strung for games of badminton, volley ball or Mr. Chung's favourite Takraw (sp). At 5pm all the sports minded people play their games to the delight of the spectators. Many of the people that used to come back to Pine year after year are now going to Ko Siboya. Mr. Chung's following of disciples continues.