I am fortunate that I have a beautiful and caring lady in my life but in addition to this, I have her lovely family, who have often come and taken me out for the day, allowing me to capture some fantastic images of my surroundings and those in attendance.
This post features Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens on the outskirts of Pattaya and Bangsaray, a beautiful small village to the south of the city. I will also touch on Khao Chi Chan – the Buddha Mountain.
My first photo is of Nom’s lovely sister Sarah, who just loves to pose for the camera, which often results in fantastic photos, sometimes verging on the unusual. Here we see her completely static on one of the many featured statues as Nong Nooch. Her facial expression and poise, give the impression that the creature is moving like a swing.
Sarah is a brilliant individual to snap with the camera. Her second image shows that she is a natural model and can pose with the best of them. She creates these poses herself, with no or little input from me. I stand back and await what she produces and hopefully catch the action at the right time.
Sarah and her boyfriend Tumtam took me to Nong Nong with Nom. The tropical gardens are beautiful, yet at the same time – unusual. There are an abundance of statues or replica animals, some depicting life in the African jungle or Antarctica, whilst others are creatures such as ants, a common sight here.
Next is Nom, resting inside the mouth of a hippopotamus. Nom is a very photogenic girl but not so keen as her sister Sarah to pose for the camera. She is more laidback unless she has been imbibing her favourite drink “Leo.”
Still I have some awesome photos of the woman!
Back to Nong Nooch. What is it? The garden opened its gates in 1980 and has become a major attraction for the visitors of Pattaya. It features a number of areas such as The Ant Tower, European Gardens, Butterfly Hill, Cactus Garden and Flower Valley to name a few. It is like a theme park but the rides are the aforementioned attractions.
It sits in 600 acres of glorious scenic land and despite it’s many visitors, you almost feel you are completely alone as you peruse the parklands.
Above is my three companions for the day Sarah, TumTam and Nom posing for me.
The weather was incredibly hot as is usually the case here in Thailand. There are many cafes and restaurants where you can take respite from the sun and take in some fluids.
Another feature of the park is the tigers and elephants. You can pose with a tiger for instance. A photo from the official photographer will cost around 150 Baht and they will even frame it for you for a small fee. The photographers will take your camera and capture the moment on your own equipment for free.
I am not usually a supporter of these tiger shoots as in most instances, they are doped up to the eyeballs but this beautiful creature appeared to be aware of its surroundings and was rather intimidating. The tiger is my favourite animal, so to get up close and touch these creatures is a truly awesome experience. I was assured the large cat was well fed and safe, so it had to be done. Unlike some of the other tigers I have seen in Thailand, this animal was clean, well looked after and in pristine condition.
The image above gives some idea of the size of this park. I was there for around three hours and I did not cover half the ground it is situated on. This means a second visit of course, once the wet season concludes.
I did mention the elephant rides. I opted not to do this as I had recently been on a safari and travelled through the jungle and water features on one. Again it was something that I had to do, just to get it off the bucket list.
Although not on the same day, we went for lunch one afternoon in Bangsaray village. A well known seafood restaurant, which is partly built on stilts with the sea flowing below the wooden structure.
My first photo was taken from the pier at Bangsaray and features a gloomy, atmospheric skyline, with Pattaya in the distance across the bay. The rain followed soon afterwards, although nothing compared to the precipitation that we are enduring in the wet season.
Still on the pier and the sisters strike a pose. You can clearly see the difference in personalities as Sarah reaches for the sky with her legs up behind her.
On the day we travelled to Nong Nooch, we visited Khao Chi Chan, which is a 109 metre high, laser created engraving on the side of a mountain and is an astonishing sight. Buses are crammed into the car park and tourists fill the viewing area, with the cameras clicking away merrily.
The majority of the visitors appear to hail from China. In fact China is Thailand’s biggest supplier of tourists.
The Buddha mountain is located next to Silver Lake Winery and a nearby waterpark. We had lunch at the winery before heading back to Pattaya.
I will conclude this post with an image featuring selective colouring of British style phone boxes at Nong Nooch.
If you are in Pattaya, you should make the effort to visit the park. If memory serves me correctly, the cost is around 300 Baht but certainly was no more than this at the time of writing. It is well worth the effort.
The Buddha Mountain is free entry but you can make a donation to Buddha, which I believe goes a long way to helping the poor in Thailand.