A walk up Monkey Hill
On late Sunday afternoon after a hot day, and a couple of hours working in the garden, I decided that my original plan to drive to Cape Phromthep and hike down the path to the very end of Phuket was not going to happen due to an onset of laziness. Still can't believe I have never done that after 11 years here! So we took a vague drive into Phuket Town with the idea of a little walk somewhere and maybe an early dinner at Dairy Hut (a restaurant near the Bangkok-Phuket International Hospital which normally has live music at the weekend).
We actually thought of heading for a drive around Sirey Island, but it was getting late, and Sirey is on the far east side of town... we instead headed to the north side of town and the hill which most people call Monkey Hill, although it's really called Khao To Sae. We'd not been here for a while.. could have been a couple of years actually. There is a narrow road right to the top where you find many TV aerials. The monkeys are also nearer the top, where we have been before - this photo taken in 2007:
This time we drove as far as the shrine - a very interesting little place which I'd like to know more about. The shrine is called Chao Por To Sae.. I need to ask my wife to research a little with some Thai Google searches. The shrine features tigers and monkeys. It's built into the hillside surrounded by tropical foliage.
Tigers roam outside guarding the shrine. Inside at the very back of the wall are 3 figures which are called To Sae Kao, To Sae Daeng and To Sae Dam. (Kao = White; Daeng = Red; Dam = Black). Although it appears to be a Buddhist or Chinese shrine, the figures all have the Islamic crescent and star on the wall behind them. Interesting place. A girl came to say prayers while we were there.
Meanwhile my son was more interested in posing with the many tiger images outside the shrine. The whole shrine is full of tigers, this one being the scariest:
We had no plan to walk to the very top of the hill, that would be foolhardy! We just walked up until we found a view. A little exercise before dinner. Many local people come here to walk, ride bikes or run. The road is quite steep, so even a gentle walk is enough to burn a few calories. These guys were being more energetic, and with all their huffing and puffing still managed a smile :)
Some way below the "monkey line" we stopped where a gap in the trees allowed views to the east and south. A good place to stop and pose for photos. A number of other people had the same idea. One man was taking photos of his dog. One tree covered hillside looked almost autumnal...
And the same photo with some messing around on Photoshop:
Good for the kids to get some exercise too. Kids these days are easily distracted by their Nintendo games or watching movies or (God forbid!) reading books... we try to keep our kids active physically and mentally. Not too much.. keep it enjoyable. Now follows one of my favourite photos ever. Our kids. You want to know about my life in Phuket - this is it.
And another favourite. Earlier the same day, my daughter and I had been having a long
I remember when we last came, a restaurant was being built just below the shrine, not so far up the hill but still quite a good viewpoint. The restaurant is now open, it's called "Green Forest" and we will go back sometime - just stopped for a drink this time. The menu was full of local food - a lot of salads and seafood. Looks good.
Update 2012 - Green Forest Restaurant now blogged!
The view above looking to the southeast across Phuket Town from the restaurant. You can see the Royal Phuket City Hotel and the Thavorn Grand Plaza Hotel and behind that is Khao Khad hill and view point. Although I live here, sometimes the time is limited for exploring (yeh, I have a job working 6 days a week). Nice to revisit a place and find that there might be a good meal waiting in the future! We do try to get out and explore on days off but some days we have work to do around the house, feel lazy and just head somewhere local. Phuket has enough little places of interest that we can keep going back and there's always something new to see.
Monkey Hill - Location Map
View Monkey Hill in Phuket Town in a larger map