Once a year, my family and I travel to the southern coastal province of Phang Nga. Though times are tough this year, we happened to schedule our trip in early-March, a couple of weeks before COVID-19 got worse in Thailand, and managed to upkeep this annual tradition during my temporary homecoming that currently has to be extended with no end in sight.
Apart from taking my grandma to see her relatives and former neighbors, we always watch the sunset at Thai Muang Beach, which is the neighborhood where my dad grew up, and travel to at least one place we haven’t been to in Phang Nga. This year, we visited the peaceful Khao Pilai Beach in Khok Kloi Subdistrict and revisited (after almost 20 years) Lampi Waterfall in Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Muang National Park.
I also brought my disposable camera on this trip and we were blessed with nice weather and beautiful sky every day. Without further ado, let’s see how Phang Nga looks on 35mm.
Every time my family and I visit Phang Nga in Southern Thailand–probably over 20 times now, Tau Sar Piah (cakes influenced by Chinese cuisine and filled with beans and salted eggs) are what we always buy. I know full well that Tau Sar Piah come from Takua Pa, a district next to my dad’s hometown in Thai Muang. Still, we had never been there together. After having heard of Takua Pa for almost my entire life, I decided to make it part of my solo trip in Southern Thailand last December.
Beyond Tau Sar Piah cakes, Takua Pa has so much variety from architecture and culture to nature. Plus, a trip to Takua Pa is doable with public transportation, whether you come from Phuket or Bangkok.
Since the quiet seaside district of Thai Muang in Phang Nga is my dad’s hometown, I have made many returns there. Earlier this month, I traveled to Thai Muang again with my parents, my grandma, and my younger brother. Even after all these times, we still found something new, including the return of the near-extinct turtles to Thai Muang’s shores.
Also, I am debuting my new travel companions: Oikawa Tooru nendoroid from the anime and manga Haikyuu!! and Jelly Doyoung doll from the K-pop band NCT. This is my first time photographing toys, let alone taking them out of my room. It is so hard, but I will try to improve. I plan to take Doyoung and Oikawa with me when I move to Japan this April and they will definitely join my future journeys… when I don’t have to carry too much stuff.
As a daughter and granddaughter of Thai Muang natives, I feel exceedingly lucky to have this paradise as my second home. Still unknown to most of the world, even Thai people, the district of Thai Muang in the southern province Phang Nga remains mostly untouched by mass tourism, retaining the no-filter quaint charms that I have been privileged to experience for almost 20 years.
Nostalgia caressed my heart like the waves that were nuzzling my feet. For the first time in five years, I got to stand on Thai Muang Beach again. Scenes from bygone days resurfaced in my mind, but I was there not only to reminisce. I let new moments sink into my memory and newfound appreciation into my heart.