Nature Study Trails in Kung Krabaen Bay

Tips Visitors on Nature Study Trails

Be a Responsible Visitors 

  • Before starting out at the head of the trail, check for information on the route, and a description of the fauna and flora and other highlights that you might reasonably expect to see.
  • Allow sufficient time to explore the route or a predetermined part of the route and discover the things you want to see. 
  • Never venture off the trail on your own.
  • Walk slowly and try not to make sudden noises that might disturb wildlife or other visitors.

Be a Respectful Visitor

  • Take your garbage out with you when you leave.  Don’t reach into the vegetation to touch nesting birds, or venture into the mud to catch crabs or mudskippers. 
  • Avoid trampling vegetation and damaging habitats that animals depend upon by always sticking to the marked route.
  • Never take animal or plant life home with you. 

What to Bring 

  • A pair of 8 x 30 binoculars is most useful for watching birds in forest habitats.
  • A camera and zoom lens, (70 – 300mm) allows you to photograph forest birds but a longer lens is needed for waterbirds.
    • Bring a macro lens for close-up photography of insects and mangrove trees.
    • A flash may help you illuminate an interesting subject in low light. 
  • Wear clothes and footwear appropriate to the terrain and weather conditions.  

Mangrove Forests at Kung Krabaen Bay

For those of you enjoy nature and a bit of peace and quite, there are still relatively undeveloped stretches of shoreline along the Gulf of Thailand. In Chantaburi forest, there are protected coastal woodlands, mangrove forests and coastal forests, part of  a vital effort to save this diminishing, yet crucial habitat. Kung Krabaen Bay, so named for the bay’s sting ray-like shape, is a fine example of Thailand’s mangrove forest conservation efforts.

 Natural History of Mangroves

Mangrove forests are natural rare because they only exist in areas that provide the correct conditions. All of Thailand’s pristine mangrove forests are thought to cover only a third the size of Bangkok (7,761 square kilometers) and less that 0.5% of Thailand’s total land area.

These forests have a tall canopy, often reaching 15-20 meters. At Kung Krabaen Bay, the forests cover 100 hectares. The forests consist primarily of Rhizophora trees that stand in the brackish water(saltwater and freshwater mixture) with their taproots branching out from their trunks down into the water.

Kung Krabaen Bay Mangrove Forests


The Kung Krabaen Bay Royal Development Center is actively working to protect and preserve this unique habitat by reforesting another 82 hectares, as well as overseeing the entire area. When you visit the area, you can see Rhizophora tree saplings planted in straight rows. Rhizophora is one of the pioneer plant species in this ecosystem and as the saplings mature, they help buffer the coastline  against erosion and expand the suitable environment for the creatures living in the mangrove forests.

You can enjoy the Kung Krabaen Bay mangroves in one of two ways. There is a self-guided Mangrove Forest Study Walkway that stretches 1.6 kilometers. It starts and ends in the reforestation zone and loops through older, more pristine forests. You will also venture through areas where mangrove and woodland forests meet. As you walk along the wooden walkway, you feel that you are walking with an “in the mangroves” feel. This is the ideal way to understand how the forest changes as it develops through the life stages from seedlings to mature forests. You can also see birds by day and fireflies by night.

More adventurous visitors can take a ranger-guided kayak route along the seaward edge of the mangroves. The route continues through the shadowy depths of the forest along natural gaps in the trees and access channels. You will also pass an area where you see how locals acquire food from the mangrove forests by setting small cages for fish and crabs. The best time to visit is during the cooler months from November to February and the tide will determine when the tours run.

 Importance of Mangrove Forest Conservation

There are many conservation efforts being made to protect the mangrove forests since the environment they provide is very important for various marine life. They are feeding grounds for sea animals and sea birds.

At low tide, egrets, macaques and civets feast on the sea creatures exposed in the mud. Above the water’s surface, mangrove trees are homes for large waterbirds. Among the roots of the mangroves, many crabs, shrimps and young fish hide and live in the teeming waters. They spend their early lives in the mangrove forests before they are large enough to survive in the ocean.

At Kung Krabaen, the mangrove forests also draw tourists. The additional revenue from tourism in the form of nature tours, homestays and other accommodations is another motivating factor for locals to help preserve the forests.

Chantaburi Fish Market

While on a weekend trip to Sattahip, we drove past Klaeng and Rayong to another seaside village on the Gulf of Thailand, Chantaburi. There we walked through a nicely preserved mangrove forest at Kung Krabaen Bay (“Stingray Bay”) before heading back to Bangkok. On the way out of Chantaburi, we stopped at a fish market at the intersection which has a statue of three large dudong (similar to a manatee) in the middle.

The market consisted of a few few vegetable and fruit stands as well. This is were the locals would buy most of their groceries and some household items. The produce is mostly local, although most of the fruit is from other areas. They even had “yum kung,” or spicy rock lobster salad.

We stopped to look at the seafood in case we wanted to buy some fresh shrimp, squid or saltwater fish. My father saw one of the seafood vendors had live “poo dum,” or black crab and decided to buy one bunch. There were 7 large crabs all together and we paid a mere 280 baht for approximately 2 kilograms. In the Bangkok area, expect to pay closer to 300-350 baht per kilgogram.


We also saw a banana fritter vendor and bought a small bag for 10 baht. It was a tasty snack for us to eat in the car on the drive back to Bangkok.






 


 

10 Keys to Bird Identification

1. WATCH ITS ACTIONS

To identify a bird you need to see how it acts. Certain birds are known for standout behavior.  

  • Is the bird clinging to the tree trunk? 
  • Is it hopping on the ground pulling bugs? 
  • Does it scare away all the other birds from the feeder? 

By recognizing that behavior, it may make identifying a little easier if you don’t catch all of the physical characteristics.
 2. THE BEAK

Some beaks are long and thin, others are fat, some orange, and a lot are brown.  Make note of the color and size of a beak, and any
unusual characteristics: long, thin, thick, curved, pointed, short, etc. The type of beak will also give clues as to what the bird eats. 

 3. THE PLUMAGE

Jot down all of the colors and where they are visible.  Sometimes wing bars on a bird are only seen while it’s in flight.  If it’s flying away, it may be hard to get any of the other visuals to
identify it.

  • What is the main colored feather of the bird? 
  • Is the chest or head a different color? 
  • Does it have spots, stripes or wing bands? 

4. SIZE MATTERS

  • Is your bird very small or very large? 
  • Does it have a long tail compared to the rest of the body? 

For an easy comparison, use a bird you are familiar with. You can easily gauge the size of the bird you are viewing to one that you see quite regularily and late try to determine what it might be.

5. LISTEN

In general, birds use a whole repertoire of sounds in their vocabulary.  From short calls, to squawks to lovely songs, each is instrumental for communicating to other birds.  They also have special calls for certain activities they are performing.  Some calls can even be recognized and heeded by birds of other species.  
 
As for songs, each bird song is unique in its melody and quality. The songs usually happen between meals during daylight hours.  

6. FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING

The shape of a bird is indicative to what category it belongs to. Remembering
its general shape and appearance will lead you to its category.

The categories of birds are: perching birds, woodpeckers, water birds, birds of prey, owls, gulls, ducks and ground birds.  Certain
categories have more in depth sub-categories.

7. LET’S EAT!

Take note of what the bird is eating.  Determining its food will give you good clues to as to what type of bird it is.

8. WHERE ARE YOU WATCHING THE BIRD?

 Bird species will be more commonly found in areas where they nest or feed. If you know about the birds habitat and behaviors, it can help you determine the likely suspects andeliminated those which are unlikely.

Some birds prefer wide open grasslands, while others like pine forests and dead trees. Some birds will only be found along the shoreline or are only in the area at certain times of the year.

9. FLIGHT PATTERN

Birds have different wing lengths and styles of flying, just as people do walking.  Some will flap their wings quickly and non-stop, others slowly and glide. 

10. SEASONS OF CHANGE

The time of year you are watching birds can help determine the species. The weather turns cold in your area and some feathered friends
migrate during cooler months, mate in certain areas, then return “home” to raise babies.

By keeping a notebook near your bird watching station, you can quickly jot down features of an unknown bird until you can find it in your field guide. Digital cameras can provide instant replay until you have identified your subject.
 

Heath Ledger’s Tragic Death

I didn’t expect to come to work, turn on my computer and find out that one of the actors that I admire the most would be dead. Truly, people around the world must be shocked to find out that 28 year old actor, Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but police suspect that it is an accidental overdose or suicide because prescription-type drugs were found near the body.

Heath Ledger will be remembered for his controversial role as a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, teenaged hearttrob in 10 Things I Hate About You, Mel Gibson’s son in The Patriotand a thatcher’s son turned knight in A Knight’s Tale. He will also be seen as Joker in the upcoming Batman movie, The Dark Knight.

Breaking News

Heath Ledger Found Dead

TUESDAY JANUARY 22, 2008 04:45 PM EST

TUESDAY JANUARY 22, 2008 07:45 PM EST UPDATED

Heath Ledger Found Dead | Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger was found dead at his Manhattan residence Tuesday, a New York police spokesman confirms. He was 28.

Police say the death may have been drug-related and that “prescription-type drugs” were found near his body.

Ledger was found in the bedroom of his Soho apartment around 3:30 p.m. by his housekeeper and a masseuse who had arrived for an appointment with the actor, according to the Associated Press and New York Times.

Ledger, who was in bed, did not respond when they shook him, and the housekeeper called 911. He was pronounced dead at 3:45 p.m. ET.

Authorities said they did not suspect foul play but that pills were found near the body.

It’s still unclear whether the death was accidental. A medical examiner removed Ledger’s body from the apartment just before 6:30 p.m. ET, and New York City Medical Examiner spokeswoman Ellen Borakove says the autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Despite initial reports that Ledger was subletting the apartment from Mary-Kate Olsen, reps for the actress denied that Olsen ever owned or lived in the apartment.

sourced from People.com

Bangkok Boasts Longest Place Name

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, has an extraordinarily long official name. The Guiness Book of World Records lists it as the world’s longest city name. It has a reputation for being the steamy and busting metropolitan center of Thailand that never sleeps, also known as “The City of Angels.” In Thai, Bangkok is also called Krung Thep and most Thais would refer to it as such. For more formal occasion, Bangkok is also called Krungthepmahanakorn.

 In Thailand, the length of a person or place’s name, is a kind of honoring or celebrating of that person or place. Royalty in Thailand also have very lengthy names to signify their importance to the people. Although not used in everyday situations, many Thais pride themselves in their ability to recite the entire name of Bangkok without error.

The full name of Bangkok is pronounced: Krung-thep-maha-nakorn-boworn-ratana-kosin-mahintar- ayudhya-amaha-dilok-pop-nopa-ratana-rajthani-burirom-udom-rajniwes-mahasat-arn-amorn-pimarn- avatar-satit- sakattiya-visanukam.

A Bangkok wordsmith, Theppitak Karoonboonyanan who said the correct spelling (163 letters) is

Krungthepmahanakornamornratanakosinmahintarayutthayamahadilokphop
nopparatrajathaniburiromudomrajaniwesmahasatharn
amornphimarnavatarnsathitsakkattiyavisanukamprasit.

Sourced from http://www.thailandlife.com/ericshackle/placename.html 

When these phrases are roughly translated, they become a series of superlatives to describe the qualities of Bangkok:

The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.

sourced from http://www.bangkok.com/bangkok-history/longest-name.html

Brick Bar at Khaosan Road

For those of you searching for live music that can really get you dancing, try spending an evening at Brick Bar in Khaosan Road. It calls itself the best ska and reggae joint on Khaosan Road and I’ll venture to say it’s probably one of the best in Bangkok. Brick Bar has a very chilled atmosphere and you aren’t expected to dress up to come and dance here. All the walls are covered in warm brick giving the place a cozy, European pub feel, not like the lounges in the high society areas. 

Every night from 9pm-1am you can listen to up to three different acts and Brick Bar definitely advertises this variety. All the bands are local and generally play Thai music with their own ska or reggae twist. Among the regular bands to play at Brick Bar are Teddy Ska, Joy Boy, Cheay, Big Daddy, Liva De Puillet, Zo What and Hoochie Choochie Man.

I really enjoy hearing the horns at Brick Bar because these instruments are rarely heard live, especially in Bangkok. Once in awhile you’ll get an English song from Slime and the like, but even if you aren’t familiar with Thai pop songs, you will definitely want to dance along. Actually, the popular Thai songs are the best because that’s when most of the crowd, which is Thai, will get the most animated. Most of the Thais who frequent Brick Bar are the younger, university segment of society, so expect plenty of frisky, energetic dancers. I also noticed several excellent male dancers, who unfortunately, gay.

Location: 265 Khaosan Road, Taladyod, Phanakorn, Bangkok, 10200

How to get there: Parking is hard to find around Khaosan so unless you are familiar with the parking areas, just take a taxi to Khaosan Road. Brick Bar is located in the Buddy Lodge Group, the same building as the Buddy Hotel and Cafe, McDonald’s and Coffee World. If you go all the way to the back of the walkway, you’ll see the entrance to Brick Bar.

Cost: The night that I went there was a 150 baht cover at the door, which entitled you to one drink (Heineken, Smirnoff, San Miguel, etc.)

Tips: Get there early to grab a table if you have a big party. If you open a bottle it will be easier to snag a table, but otherwise you can stand anywhere you can find a spot. My favorite location is the stairs.

http://www.brickbarkhaosan.com/

Trendy Gym in Thonglor – Chirofit

Chirofitis the short name for Chirofit Chiropractic Fitness Center, a leading fitness center in the Thonglor area of Bangkok. Their philosophy is based on the idea of human’s differences and the need for customized workout programs to suit our individual differences. They have chiropractic physicians, physical therapists and nutritionists on staff to help design a program to suit your needs.

I have been enjoying a 3 month membership to Chirofit. The facilities are small but more than adequate. They have new equipment for cardio exercise including: ellipticals, bikes, treadmills, stair climbers, wave, and rowing. They have a huge section devoted to free weights and assisted weights, such as Nautilus and Precor machines. In addition, they have regular group exercise classes with an instructor ranging from group cycling to pilates to step classes.

During the day and on weekends, Chirofit’s gym is usually pretty empty. After 7pm it seems to get a bit more crowded, although you still don’t have to worry about finding a machine. I’ve been to several classes where I was the only person there or it was just me and my friends. It can seem a little lonely at times, but the staff is really friendly. They will come and introduce themselves and soon they are all calling you by name. The staff is also really good about helping you with the different machines and correcting you on your technique if you need it.

I’m impressed with Chirofit’s service and attention to customer satisfaction. If all gyms were as attentive to their clients, I’m sure that more people would be practicing correct form when workout out. I’m eager to try more of the amenities they have to offer during the rest of my membership.

www.chirofitbangkok.com

Chirofit Chiropractic Fitness Centertries to combine knowledge of integrated chiropractics with physical fitness to provide the ultimate health and fitness for its clients. They are approved and regularted by leading US organizations such as American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Medical Fitness Association (MFA) and American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Location:

ChiroFit 8th Floor, Home Place Building
Soi Thong Lor 13, Sukhumvit 55 Road, Klongton Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110

Contact:

 Tel. & Fax. 0-2712-7383-6 Email: contact@chirofitbangkok.com

Thai Currency

Baht

The Thai unit of currency is the baht. Although the conversion rate changes daily, one US dollar is worth around 34-36 baht. You can also get a lot more for your dollar when travelling in Thailand as a plate of food at a local restaurant costs around 30-40 baht per dish and drinks are usually around 10-20 baht.

Paper Money and Coins

In Thailand, paper money is easily identified by its color. The green notes is the smallest value and is worth 20 baht. Less common is the blue 50 baht note. 100 baht notes are red and 500 baht notes are purple. The largest denomination is 1,000 baht and the notes is white and grey.  Each bill is marked with it’s value in Arabic and Thai numerals. Prominent on each bill is the portrait of the current king, King Bhumibol.

Each baht is divided further into 100 satang. This is similar to the way one dollar is divided into 100 cents. The tiny copper-colored coins are valued at 25 and 50 satang.  You’ll need to look closely to differentiate them. The 50 satang coin is slightly larger than the 25 satang coin. There are few of these coins in circulation and are primarily used in larger supermarkets and departments stores.

There are also silver-colored coins in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 baht. The 1 and 2 baht coins are very similar and you must be careful not to unwittingly use the less common 2 baht coin.  Also, some coin machines will not accept them. The 10 baht coin is the largest coin in circulation and is unique in its design in that it has a copper-colored center surrounded by a silver-colored ring. All coins also have the king’s portrait featured on the front side.

Happy Brains Need Water

Water is good for you. You should drink 8 glasses (64 oz.) a day. If you haven’t ever heard these tidbits of information which are readily available from any health book, magazine or website, Vanessa Race has some astounding news for you. Yes, your brain is make up of over 70% fluid, also known as water. As a matter of fact, your entire body is also made up of a similar percentage of water. Water is an important component in the biochemical processes that occur in your body every second and drinking adequate amounts of water does help your body function better.

Drinking a lot of water is a healthy habit that has many positive benefits ranging from a better complexion and good looking skin to flushing out impurities in your system. Why do you think water is a number one component and commonality in detox programs. Whether or not thinking fast due to your larger neurons being able to communicate faster makes you happier is rather subjective. It’s hard to credit the simple act of drinking water to happiness, although it can be credited with making you healthier when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

Logicwatch.com also mentioned that brains don’t have feelings and they can’t be happy. A specific memory recalled by the brain can lead to the person feeling happiness, but the brain itself doesn’t feel anything. Often times brains are likened to computers and in many ways they are similar. Your brain doesn’t feel ecstasy when you finish writing your term paper that took you days to write, but you do. Your computer, and similarly your brain, are simply the tools you used to accomplish the task.

Excerpt from Logicwatch.com

THE HAPPY BRAIN

Brains don’t become happy. Brains process. The memory of the brain determines if the outcome will be happy or not. In perhaps the award of 2007 for most inductive stupidity, Khun Vanessa Race, a Harvard graduate with a Masters in neuroscience (too bad) posits that (sit down) “The brain is composed of approximately 8% protein, 10% fat and 72-75% of fluid, That is why drinking lots of water helps, because its part of what makes you happy, and what makes your brain work better.” Give me a break. Somebody get this dude a hobby.

Original article from Asia One

ASIAONE / HEALTH / NEWS / STORY

The happy brain
Mon, Dec 31, 2007
The Star

WHAT do water, soft undergarments and a smile do to you?

It gives you a happy and more active brain, say experts.

“The brain is composed of approximately 8% protein, 10% fat and 72-75% of fluid,” said Khun Vanessa Race, a Harvard graduate with a Masters in neuroscience, who talked about how happiness is good for our brain.

That is why drinking lots of water helps, because its part of what makes you happy, and what makes your brain work better.

“Neurons are like plants, if you don’t give them (neurons) water, they will shrink in size,” Race explained.

Therefore, as neurons have to communicate by sending neurotransmitters through the space between them (the synapses), any shrinkage in size will result in this space becoming wider, making it more difficult for neurons to communicate.

“Drinking a lot of water actually makes you happier, because you can think a lot faster,” Race continued.

In another research done by Prof Shigeki Watanuki from Kyushu University, he found out that our environment and what we wear actually have an effect on our brain activity through various physiological responses.

One of the interesting findings was that soft underwear might decrease physiological stress. “It was found that soft underwear decreases cortisol levels and increases the level of IgA (immunoglobulin A),” said Prof Watanuki, who is an expert in Physiological Anthropology.

Coupled with a comfortable environment and mentally stimulating food such as the essence of chicken, a relaxed person can have better brain function, he explained.

Have you ever smiled and instantly felt better? Race has an explanation.

One of the research she was involved in found out that besides making more friends, a smile could release endorphins in the brain and make a person feel happier.

When the brain is happy, it makes it more conducive to learn, said Race.

This story was first published in The Star on Dec 30, 2007.

Sourced from Singapore’s AisaOne.com