A Travellerspoint blog

Phuket Cultural Centre

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Phuket Cultural Centre was a find purely because i was asked about it and I knew very little about it - so i visited it the next week.

The centre is on the grounds of the Rajabhat University and there was one sign to it as we drove the road.

The Phuket Cultural Centre is described by Rajabhat as - 'A presentation of arts, culture and artefacts from the area of the Andaman Coast'.

The actual building is not one that one who have thought housed such a treasure of artefacts.The building is unassuming and looks in need of a degree of care BUT it is there and this is what matters.

On entering the building it was a little disarming because there was nobody there and there was no indication or directions that we could go in but we did. I was taken there by Thai person and this did help as they knocked on a door and the staff came to assist us (reminding me of a visit to the Thavorn Museum where they put the lights on).

When they did I was immediately taken with the plethora of items that there were on display in and out of the cabinets.

The actual building was divided into areas with a different focus.

- Ron Thai Phuket Room: showing us the life in Phuket

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a beautiful Chinese Calligraphy box (i also have one)

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a seeming well used or old Mahjong set - is it Ivory?

- Cultural Information Room: collection of information in a variety of formats

- Cultural Heritage Room: ornaments, implements and more locally made
- Buddhism Room: sandalwood carving, Thalang history and details of the Heroines actions

Email: cul@pkru.ac.th
Phone Number: 076 240 474 (ext. 148)
Approximate Price: Free
Address: Phuket Rajabhat University, Thepkrassatri Rd
Hours: 8:30 - 16:30 (closed weekends)

Posted by timinphuket 02:47 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Eat some Bugs!

sunny

Come to a different country and Eat some Local Food.
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As part of my job working in Phuket I try to explain many things to visitors to this wonderful place with such a myriad of things to discuss.

But I cannot talk about the reality of eating bugs!

A question that I am always asked by the visitors and I have to admit that I have tried twice.

Once (about 10 years ago) at the Cape Panwa promenade when there was a temporary infestation of the Giant Water Bugs and the second time when I visited Sapan Hin market with a food critic from the United Kingdom.

After visiting a number of sites (http://migrationology.com/2012/12/how-to-eat-scary-insects-worms-and-bugs-in-thailand / AND http://www.phuket101.net/2011/06/insects-in-phuket.html)

I have decided to take a fresher look at this type of dining – and the fact that the UN recently produced a report that Bugs may be our next diet.
(http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e00.htm)

Willy has the best site to outline all the different tastes that these special animals have so I would have to say that he is my mentor with this - all hail to Willy. Have a look at his post for a description of all them.

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Giant Water Bugs (Mang Da Na)
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Silk Worms (Nhon Mhai)
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Grasshoppers (Takatan)
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Mini Crickets (Jing Reed Khai)
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Bamboo Worms (Rod Duan)

Posted by timinphuket 06:46 Tagged #food #thailand #culture Comments (0)

A street procession for the Phuket Vegetarian Festival

As part of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival people are possessed, pierced and more and walk between temples

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The street procession on the penultimate day of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is certainly a must for me to visit, this was 2013. Arriving early (5:30am) is something I like to do simply to embrace to atmosphere of the Shrine and be prepared. On arrival it was quite peaceful, but as I relaxed the noises erupted from the Shrine and the possessions began. On entering the Shrine I recognised the person from a previous visit who was one of the first put into a trance.
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The man with the incredible tattoos over his upper torso. The pins seemed to be small fish hooks this year and each hook had a bell! The smoke was lit inside the Shrine and more people were brought in to be put under a possession.

Meanwhile the number of bells put on the tattooed man increased. Met Jamie outside and we wondered whether we would notice anything different this year - I indicated that I was going to steer clear of possessions and piercing because I had focused on these previously. There was I do not know how many Tai Pan waiting and how many people there were. People began to arrive and many of them walked in and waved their hand over the wood burning in front of the shrine - a common action.

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The procession began with the Head of the Shrine beginning the procession - he came to the front, took the rice from his 'team' and threw it over the onlookers. He then took his sword and pulled it along the ground - once this was done he returned to the Shrine.

At this point he approached the first Tai Pan and gave out pieces of orange fabric which was attached to the wrists of the people carrying the sedan. People carrying flags and some possessed / pierced Ma Song left.

The most surprising possessed Ma Song was someone which crawled on the floor and at this time it looked very painful because his hands seemed to be pulled tightly together. Then suddenly he leapt onto a vehicle carrying another possessed Ma Song - a powerful act which I was not able to get a photograph of.

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At this time the fire crackers started and the Tai Pan were lifted and the teams began to leave.

Then the streets erupted - people with firecrackers wrapped around sticks ran to the Tai Pand and held the crackers over the Tai Pan and the effigy and then there was NOISE!!!!

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The street was quickly covered in the fire cracker wrapping.

What I found most fascinating was the possessed walking through the chaos and how many accidents they did not have. It was at this point that I tried to have a conversation with Jamie and then got drawn into the chaos around me.

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As the procession continued I realised that it was still early and the sun was coming up - lovely. We continued all the way to Central Festival and it was at this time that I noticed that the female Ma Song were not wearing shoes! I walked a little quicker for some peace and found it at the front of the procession - water was drunk at a rate which was too fast but I felt better...

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Phuket Old Town (I feel) is the best place to take photographs - wonderful background.

Posted by timinphuket 00:31 Archived in Thailand Tagged #phuketvegetarianfestival Comments (0)

The ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’ or the ‘Por Tor Festival’

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It is believed by some of the Phuket Community that the spirits of our dead ancestors will visit them once a year on Earth.

This mean that tables are set with food in homes and candles and joss sticks are lit and doors of the homes are left open. This is an invitation to the spirits to come into the home and the spirits will have left when the candles and joss sticks have burnt out.

There is a more public display and this is the baking of cakes that are shaped as turtles and then covered with ‘red icing sugar’.

The turtles are covered in red icing and are made locally – much like the ‘Mooncakes’. The turtles are bright red because in this tradition this is the colour of ‘good luck’. The shape of the cake is a turtle because this symbolises ‘long life’.

These turtles are carried in a parade through Phuket along with a number of people in their local dress. The red turtles will be enormous and carried on a vehicle or will be carried by hand.

The parade will finish in Phuket Town, usually at the large Chinese Shrine called Jui Tui.

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The Red Turtles however will be taken into the Car Park above the enclosed Local Market. Here the Car Park will be full of tables with food prepared for the spirits – whole roasted pig, deep fried duck, red Fanta drinks, carved fruits and more red turtle cakes!

In the middle of this there is a Shrine and carpet built for this occasion. Here the local dignitaries will give their blessing to the gods and ask for luck for the future.

Posted by timinphuket 22:10 Archived in Thailand Tagged #culture #festival #phuketoldtown Comments (0)

Wat Koh Sirey

A special place for people who make the effort.

sunny

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Koh Sirey is to the East of Phuket Town - it is not actually an Island but there is a very big bridge that you can cross to visit the Island. I visited Koh Sirey previously to feed the monkeys at Monkey Seeing, we visited here again to visit the Wat on the top of the hill.

After feeding the monkeys we continued further into the island to look for the road to the hill. After several mistakes and feeling that we were lost we found a road which took us to Wat Koh Sirey...

The 'first' Wat was at the bottom of the hill and we were unable to enter, because the fence around the outside were locked. However the monks pointed us in the correct direction - up a steep hill which we had to walk.
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There was a peaceful pool at the bottom and then the road was rather steep...

Halfway up there were some Buddhist statues and rooms set back from the road - I investigated and there were some deserted rooms, I think that they may have been previously for monks.

As we came to the top Wat Koh Sirey peered through the trees, we found a geo-cache and progressed up the steep stairs - the stairs were very steep and we stopped halfway to bang on a hanging drum. We then progressed further and came upon a large temple perched on the top of the hill.

In the temple was something that we did not expect - the enormous reclining Golden Buddha - peaceful was something that I felt.
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After kneeling at the Buddha we walked outside and saw the statuettes surrounding the Wat. We found that we a were able to walk completely around the Wat - the views were beautiful and breath taking. We walked down but as we walked down we found that there were more Buddha images circling the Wat.

Definitely worth a trip.

Posted by timinphuket 21:20 Archived in Thailand Tagged #culture #phuketoldtown #buddha Comments (0)

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