Elephant Polo!


This is the final article in a six-part series about Hua Hin, Thailand, a coastal city near Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. Hua Hin hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, a fun and unique sporting event. The 2012 tournament inspired me to write the children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant about an elephant that dreams of playing in the tournament. Enjoy this and other travelogues about the Hua Hin area.

Elephant polo is a fascinating sport to watch. A variant of equestrian polo, elephant polo originated in Meghauli, Nepal and is played in Nepal, Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka. Teams from England and Scotland also participate in organized tournaments. The sport is governed worldwide by the Kathmandu, Nepal-based World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA) and in Thailand by the Thailand Elephant Polo Association.

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (9)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (5)

The sport features Asian elephants ridden by a polo player and a mahout who steers the elephant. Players hit polo balls into goals with a mallet attached to the end of a long stick. Goal posts are located at either end of a pitch that’s three quarters the size of an equestrian polo field. Teams of four players, mahouts and elephants square off for two ten-minute “chukkers” (time periods) with a 15-minute time out (“interval”). The team with the most goals at the end of the second chukker wins the match. A full list of elephant polo rules is available here.

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (10)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (11)

Thailand-based luxury resort and spa company Anantara Resorts hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament in Hua Hin. Military marching grounds south of Hua Hin Town make an ideal pitch for a week’s worth of elephant polo matches. Dozens of sponsors set up pavilions on the sidelines that cater to visitors and polo players who come from around the world to watch or participate in the games. My family and I watched the 2012 championship match on the final day of competition; other spectators spent the entire week at the event.

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (1)

While the sport has come under some scrutiny for the use and treatment of elephants, the elephants participating in the King’s Cup seemed content on the sidelines and competitive on the field. They appeared as engaged and eager to participate as the human players. Elephant Polo in Nepal and Thailand is played under the auspices of the WEPA, which enforces strict rules on elephant welfare and game play. To my knowledge, no instances of alleged mistreatment of elephants related to elephant polo have been reported in Thailand.

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (3)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (4)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (6)

We enjoyed mingling with the elephants on the sidelines where the polo teams waited to saddle up. Several elephants huddled near the edge of the pen watching the matches and munching on feed like popcorn. They didn’t seemed to mind the spectators who gathered around them for photos. It was all part of their duties as star athletes. We enjoyed taking photos with a jovial pachyderm who inspired the character Ellie the Elephant in my book. This elephant was doing what Ellie aspired to do – play competitive elephant polo.

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (7)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (8)

The mahouts tended to the animals, feeding them, saddling them up, and guiding them on the pitch. They appeared to have experience working with the animals, while the skill of the players varied according to their familiarity with elephant polo. One replacement player took the field for the first time and had trouble handling the cumbersome mallet taller than an elephant’s shoulders. Watching the elephants, mahouts, and polo players work in tandem was mesmerizing. When a player missed hitting the ball, the elephant would back up so they could try again.

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (12)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (13)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (14)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (15)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (16)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (17)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (18)

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (20)

All the teams we watched did a splendid job. While only one won the King’s Cup, every team took home a trophy in the shape of an elephant’s head. The tournament was competitive and fun with all the excitement you would expect at any sporting event. There were scrimmages, breakaways, and the occasional error – all in the name of fun.

2012_09_06 Thailand Hua Hin Elephant Polo (21)

If Ellie the Elephant were at the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament, she would have enjoyed playing or watching from the sidelines.

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And you would have too! Here’s a video clip of elephant polo in action.

Elephant Polo in Thailand

Ellie the Elephant is now available as an e-book or in print from Amazon and other booksellers! Get your copy today!

More about Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin Town

Hua Hin Night Market

The Countryside near Hua Hin

Khao Takiap Village in Hua Hin

Wat Khao Takiap Temple in Hua Hin

map-ddaf71d935e422[2][2]

 

clip_image0023222[2]M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Wat Khao Takiap in Hua Hin, Thailand


This is the fifth article in a six-part series about Hua Hin, Thailand, a coastal city near Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. This post is about Wat Khao Takiap in Hua Hin Town. Hua Hin hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, a fun and unique sporting event. The 2012 tournament inspired me to write the children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant about an elephant that dreams of playing in the tournament. Enjoy these travelogues about this fascinating area of Thailand.

Wat Khao Takiap is a Buddhist temple complex on “Chopsticks Hill” (Khao Takiap) south of Hua Hin Town center. One of the most recognizable temples in Hua Hin, it straddles a 272-meter (890 feet) tall hill that juts out into the Gulf of Thailand and is visible from beaches to the north and south.

2012_09_16 Hua Hin Temple (3)

A shrine shaped like a blooming white lotus flower sits halfway up the hillside. Although the 80 or so steps to it are a quick workout, one can drive to a parking lot part way up Chopsticks Hill. The view from the shrine and the shrine itself are both picturesque.

2012_09_16 Hua Hin Temple (4)

2012_09_16 Hua Hin Temple (5)

2012_09_16 Hua Hin Temple (8)

The parking lot area is even more interesting with an eclectic mix of Buddhist statues, including a Hungry Buddha and many-headed Buddha, dinosaur statues (seriously!), a prayer pagoda, souvenir and snack shops, and…

…monkeys! Hundreds, maybe thousands, of macaque monkeys live on the temple grounds. They are the inspiration for Monk the Monkey, one of the characters in my book Ellie the Elephant. People who work at the temple are the protectors of the macaques, who like to get too close to human comfort in their tireless search for food and drink. Tourists need to be careful because the monkeys target and steal bags, bottles, and anything else that looks like an easy meal. They’re not prone to bite but can become aggressive when the food runs out.

2012_09_16 Hua Hin Temple (19)

2012_09_16 Hua Hin Temple (20)

Here’s a picture of Monk the Monkey featured in Ellie the Elephant.

monk

The chickens that wander freely around the parking lot don’t seem bothered by the monkeys. Why should they? Some are larger than a mid-sized macaque and mean serious business in their hunt for chicken feed.

This rooster did not consider it a laughing manner when he crossed the road.

At the base of Chopsticks Hill is a large Golden Buddha standing 20 meters tall who looks out on the Gulf of Thailand with his arms outstretched. While he gave his blessing to the fishermen trolling the waters off the coast, we were blessed with delicious Thai food served by the outdoor restaurant at the base of the hill.

2012_09_16 Hua Hin Temple (25)

If you visit Wat Khao Takiap, don’t forget to give a donation. It could bring you good luck. Just leave it on this painted concrete block and someone will pick it up.

You’re in luck because Ellie the Elephant’s school, the Pachyderm School, is not far from Wat Khao Takiap. Stop by for an incredible adventure with Ellie!

Ellie the Elephant is now available as an e-book or in print from Amazon and other booksellers! Get your copy today!

Cover 5

More about Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin Town

Hua Hin Night Market

The Countryside near Hua Hin

Khao Takiap Village in Hua Hin

map-ddaf71d935e422[2]

 

clip_image0023222M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Khao Takiap Village in Hua Hin, Thailand


This is the fourth article in a six-part series about Hua Hin, Thailand, a coastal city near Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. This post is about Khao Takiap Village in Hua Hin Town. Hua Hin hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, a fun and unique sporting event. The 2012 tournament inspired me to write the children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant about an elephant that dreams of playing in the tournament. Enjoy these travelogues about this fascinating area of Thailand.

At the base of Khao Takiap (Chopsticks Hill) in Hua Hin opposite the Gulf of Thailand lies a colorful and messy fishing village nestled in a small waterway. The organic place looks out of place, and yet, right where it belongs in this area east of Hua Hin Town.

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (1)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (2)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (3)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (6)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (4)

Suburban Hua Hin has expanded around it, filling the former wetlands with contemporary high rises and neighborhoods, but this timeless village stands out amidst the surrounding modernity.

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (27)

Hundreds of wooden fishing vessels clutter the waterway with a chaotic order that looks artistic but tricky to decipher. Boats with hulls of varying bright colors create a multi-colored menagerie intertwined with a spider’s web of stout wooden masts and booms.

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (8)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (9)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (10)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (11)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (12)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (13)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (14)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (16)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (17)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (18)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (19)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (15)

On the rickety wooden walkway that follows the water channel and sways with every movement, villagers prepare daily catches for the market, from fish gutting to drying squid and gathering seashells. It’s quite the sight for seafood lovers to behold. The smell is not overpowering as fresh hauls come in and the remnants are washed into the coffee brown channel. I glanced down into the thick water and shuddered to think what must have been lurking in its bowels.

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (20)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (21)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (23)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (24)

Many villagers live on the boats while a few own freestanding homes that strike an interesting contrast to the high-rise resort rising just to the south. Some own seafood markets, restaurants, and souvenir shops just across the street in the shadow of Chopsticks Hill.

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (25)

The coin-fed washer and dryer machines in a kiosk along the road indicated that the villagers have ready access to basic necessities. In spite of what looked like poor living conditions when I visited Khao Takiap Village, the villagers seemed to live well with an ocean of seafood waiting to be caught on the leeward side, and to starboard, a sea of tourists waiting to consume whatever they could catch. While a fisherman’s life didn’t look easy, Khao Takiap Village seemed to be a good place to give it a go.

If Ellie the Elephant wanted to be a fisherelephant, she would live in Khao Takiap Village!

Cover 11

More about Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin Town

Hua Hin Night Market

The Countryside near Hua Hin

map-ddaf71d935e422

 

clip_image002322M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

The Countryside near Hua Hin, Thailand


This is the third article in a six-part series about Hua Hin, Thailand, a coastal city near Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. This post is about the countryside near Hua Hin. Hua Hin hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, a fun and unique sporting event. The 2012 tournament inspired me to write the children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant about an elephant that dreams of playing in the tournament. Enjoy these travelogues about this fascinating area of Thailand.

The drive from Bangkok to Hua Hin takes about two and a half hours as a drunken crow flies and when traffic is light. The scenery on southwest-bound Highway 35 is forgettably suburban Thailand with more and more rice fields and orchards as the cities thin. At little more than the halfway point near the city of Samut Songkhram, the highway merges with Highway 4 and heads south on the Malay Peninsula. Here lies the beautiful countryside of Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces between the Gulf of Thailand and Myanmar (Burma).

huahinmap

Most of the drive to Hua Hin Town passes through Phetchaburi, one of three western Thai provinces that are popular weekend getaways for Bangkok residents looking to escape from the sweltering lowlands of the Chao Phraya River delta. (The other two are Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi.) The highlands of the Tenasserim Mountains offer cooler weather that blows in from the Andaman Sea. Phetchaburi is worth a stop to explore its scenic wonders, but for those on the way to Hua Hin, the province will still reward them with opportunities to enjoy picture-perfect scenery. Rice fields in the lowlands, including one farmed by Ellie the Elephant’s parents, share the land with rolling hills and craggy mountains.

2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside (1)

2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside (2)

2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside (3)

2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside (4)

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2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside (7)

You never know what you’ll discover in the countryside on the way to Hua Hin. During our drive to Hua Hin in November 2012, we spotted a thatched roof lodge at the foot of a mountain reminiscent of a traditional Thai bamboo house with some indigenous elements.

2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside (8)

Accustomed to seeing rotund statues of the Buddha, I stopped to examine some statues of a malnourished one. The “Fasting” or “Starving” Buddha depicted a time in the life of Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 B.C.), the Indian prince who founded Buddhism, when he wandered in the countryside for six years in search of spiritual enlightenment and practiced such an austere lifestyle that it left him skin and bones. Realizing that his asceticism would lead to death, not enlightenment, Siddhartha adopted a middle path between the luxury of his youth and his austerity. The statues on the way to Hua Hin recalled this period in the Buddha’s life.

2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside (9)

2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside (10)

Ellie the Elephant calls the countryside near Hua Hin home. Along with her parents and brother, she works in the fields when she’s not in class or playing at Pachyderm School. While she doesn’t mind helping out with chores around the farm, what she really wants to do is play elephant polo. Read Ellie the Elephant, her incredible story about following her dream – to play in the Elephant Cup tournament!

2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside (11)

2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside

Ellie the Elephant is now available as an e-book or in print from Amazon and other booksellers!

More about Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin Town

Hua Hin Night Market

map-ddaf71d935e42

 

Maps courtesy of Google and Bing.

clip_image00232M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Night Market in Hua Hin, Thailand


This is the second article in a six-part series about Hua Hin, Thailand, a coastal city near Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. This post is about the Night Market in Hua Hin Town. Hua Hin hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, a fun and unique sporting event. The 2012 tournament inspired me to write the children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant about an elephant that dreams of playing in the tournament. Enjoy these travelogues about this interesting area of Thailand.

Thailand has many night markets, and the one in Hua Hin is excellent. Located in the center of Hua Hin Town just off Phetkasem Road (Petchkasem or Highway 4), it’s open nightly from 6 p.m. to about 11 p.m. or whenever the vendors close up shop. Most stalls sell food, clothing, or souvenirs. It’s touristy but also frequented by locals. The Hua Hin Night Market covers a four block area packed with vendors. When we visited on a Saturday night in November 2012, it was bustling with shoppers.

Why does Thailand have so many night markets? The average temperature in Thailand is so hot that many people try to avoid doing anything outside until the sun sets and the air cools down. Evenings in Thailand can be hot but are generally cooler than daytimes. Thai markets are known for selling many of the same things – you can find the same souvenirs in stall after stall – but each market has a different flavor. Hua Hin Night Market is no exception. It’s perhaps best known for its good selection of fresh food, especially seafood, and wide range of local products for sale.

The iconic Hua Hin sign at the market’s entrance is a good place to take a photo to tell friends back home that you’re shopping in Thailand.

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Makeshift stalls crowd the pedestrian street that stretches for two blocks between two-story buildings with even more businesses.

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Market (2)

The delicious foods – raw, cooked, or fried – taste as delicious as they look.

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2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Market (5)

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A vendor gave my son a balloon that he enjoyed while my wife and I browsed a stall selling grilled chicken and local wines and spirits.

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Market (4)

The market’s many restaurants and bars offer a mix of Thai and international cuisine. Hua Hin’s location on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand makes it a great place to enjoy fresh seafood.

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Market (8)

We didn’t see Ellie the Elephant shopping at the Hua Hin Night Market. Then again, she probably wouldn’t have fit! She might have enjoyed the some of the yummy tropical fruits on display, but the vendors would not have been happy if she accidentally knocked over their stalls!

Cover 1

Ellie the Elephant is now available as an e-book or in print from Amazon and other booksellers!

More about Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin Town

map-ddaf71d935e4

clip_image0023M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Hua Hin, Thailand


This is the first article in a six-part series about Hua Hin, Thailand, a coastal city near Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. Hua Hin hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, a fun and unique sporting event. The 2012 tournament inspired me to write the children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant about an elephant that dreams of playing in the tournament. Enjoy these travelogues about this diverse area of Thailand.

Hua Hin is a town in Prachuap Khiri Khan province on the northern edge of the Malay Peninsula that stretches from Thailand to Singapore. Situated on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand, Hua Hin is located about 2.5 hours by car southwest of Bangkok. Best known as the site of Wang Klai Kang Won royal palace, Hua Hin is a convenient getaway for city dwellers who want to get out of town or hit the beach. It’s not as touristy, and the beaches aren’t as nice, as more popular destinations such as Phuket or Ko Samui, but Hua Hin has steadily developed as a tourist magnet in its own right. The Venezia, an Italian-style shopping center and Santorini Park, a Greek-themed shopping and entertainment complex in nearby Cha Am, opened recently and have helped put Hua Hin on the map.

Below is a sweeping view of the Hua Hin waterfront from Wat Khao Takiap, one of the city’s prominent Buddhist temples atop Chopsticks Hill (Khao Takiap).

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This is a view of the Gulf of Thailand from the waterfront.

The city’s main street, Phetkasem Road (Highway 4), runs north-south through town past shopping malls, hotels, and a night market. It looks like many busy business districts in Thailand.

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A stone building near the rocky beach below the temple offers great views of the Gulf of Thailand and the city.

The foothills of the Tenasserim Range straddling Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand crowd Hua Hin with worn hills that serve as pedestals for Buddhist sites such as the Wat Khao Krailas temple.

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The traditional architecture contrast with the modern high-rise hotels and condos hugging the Hua Hin waterfront.

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Although the sky was overcast when we visited Hua Hin in November 2012, the air was warm enough to enjoy the beach. Our son enjoyed making sand castles and sculptures. Vendors flocked to this little boy on an almost-empty beach, begging him to go on horse rides and buy souvenirs. He was having too much fun in the sand to pay much attention to them.

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2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin (13)

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You never know what you’ll find when you visit Hua Hin. You might stumble upon some delicious Thai food like we did near the waterfront or see a cute cat sleeping on the beach without a care in the world, or…

…Ellie the Elephant playing elephant polo!

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Ellie the Elephant is now available as an e-book or in print from Amazon and other booksellers!

Map picture

 

clip_image002M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Ellie the Elephant Now in Print!


The print edition of my children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant is now available to purchase for $6.99!

Book two of the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Ellie the Elephant is an illustrated picture book that encourages children to follow their dreams. A young elephant named Ellie who lives in Thailand dreams of joining the elephant polo team and playing in the Elephant Cup polo tournament, but her parents want her to work in the rice fields. Will she realize her dream of playing elephant polo?

Inspired by my adventures in Thailand and real elephant polo matches, the story features Ellie and her family, Monk the Monkey, and human boys Wasan and Wattana. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will introduce them to the amazing game of elephant polo and inspire children to dream big.

Print Edition

The paperback version of Ellie the Elephant features 21 full-color illustrations. It is now available to purchase in print for only $6.99 (or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Ellie the Elephant (cartoon)

 

Amazon.com ($6.99)

Amazon UK (£4,61)

Amazon Germany/Austria (€5,84)

Amazon France (€5,55)

Amazon Italy (€5,40)

Amazon Spain (€5,40)

Createspace ($6.99)

 

 

E-book Editions

I released two ebook versions of Ellie the Elephant, one with illustrations and the other with cartoon photos. Both feature the same story. The print edition features only the illustrated version of the story.

Ellie the Elephant (Illustrated Ebook Edition)

The illustrated edition of Ellie the Elephant is now available to purchase as an ebook for only $0.99 (99 cents or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Ellie the Elephant (cartoon)

Amazon.com ($0.99)

Amazon UK (£0,77)

Amazon Canada ($1.01)

Amazon Germany/Austria (€0,89)

Amazon France (€0,89)

Amazon Italy (€0,89)

Amazon Spain (€0,89)

Amazon Brazil (R$2,00)

Amazon Japan (¥99)

Apple iTunes ($0.99 for iPad)

Barnes & Noble ($0.99 for Nook)

Barnes & Noble UK (£0,66 for Nook)

Goodreads ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Kobo Books ($0.99 for Kobo)

Scribd ($0.99 for PDF)

Smashwords ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Ellie the Elephant (Photo Ebook Edition)

The photo edition of Ellie the Elephant is now available to purchase as an ebook for only $0.99 (99 cents or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Cover 8 (small)

Amazon.com ($0.99)

Amazon UK (£0,77)

Amazon Canada ($1.01)

Amazon Germany/Austria (€0,89)

Amazon France (€0,89)

Amazon Italy (€0,89)

Amazon Spain (€0,89)

Amazon Brazil (R$2,00)

Amazon Japan (¥99)

Apple iTunes ($0.99 for iPad)

Barnes & Noble ($0.99 for Nook)

Barnes & Noble UK (£0,66 for Nook)

Goodreads ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Kobo Books ($0.99 for Kobo)

Scribd ($0.99 for PDF)

Smashwords ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

What Kids Are Saying

clip_image007Ellie the Elephant is kid tested and approved! Here are what some early readers had to say about the picture book in their own words:

“This one is the epicle of EPICNESS! The cover is cool and the pictures inside are the best.”

“I love this one! It is awesome! Cool! I like how you made the pictures detailed.”

“I love this one! I like the cover.”

“I like Ellie the Elephant because it has pretty good animation and it is a really good book.”

“I like dis 1 ‘cause U put GR8 detail and U cartooned everything.”

“This one is awesome! Great cover.”

“Detailed pictures. Good detail. I love the book it is so good.”

“Love this one. It is awesome!”

“I like this one because it’s attention grabbing!”

Alexander the Salamander

Alexander Cover (front mid)You may also want to pick up the first book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. Alexander the Salamander, is also available to buy for just $0.99.

Alexander the Salamander is about a salamander named Alexander living in the Amazon who joins his friends Airey the Butterfly and Terry the Tarantula on an unforgettable jungle adventure. Set in the Amazon region of Brazil, the story teaches children the importance of listening to teachers and other authority figures. Co-authored by M.G. Edwards and his son Alex, the story was inspired by their 2008 visit to the Amazon.

 

clip_image010M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Ellie the Elephant Now on Sale!


My children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant is now available to purchase as an e-book for just $0.99!

Book two of the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Ellie the Elephant is an illustrated picture book that encourages children to follow their dreams. A young elephant named Ellie who lives in Thailand dreams of joining the elephant polo team and playing in the Elephant Cup polo tournament, but her parents want her to work in the rice fields. Will she realize her dream of playing elephant polo?

Inspired by my adventures in Thailand and real elephant polo matches, the story features Ellie and her family, Monk the Monkey, and human boys Wasan and Wattana. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will introduce them to the amazing game of elephant polo and inspire children to dream big.

I decided to release two editions of the book, one with illustrations and the other with cartoon photos. Both feature the same story. Choose one or both. It’s your choice.

Ellie the Elephant – Illustrated Edition

The illustrated edition of Ellie the Elephant is now available to purchase as an ebook for only $0.99 (99 cents or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Ellie the Elephant (cartoon)

Amazon.com ($0.99)

Amazon UK (£0.77)

Amazon Canada ($1.01)

Amazon Germany/Austria (€0.89)

Amazon France (€0.89)

Amazon Italy (€0.89)

Amazon Spain (€0.89)

Amazon Brazil (R$2.00)

Amazon Japan (¥99)

Apple iTunes ($0.99 for iPad)

Barnes & Noble ($0.99 for Nook)

Goodreads ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Kobo Books ($0.99 for Kobo)

Scribd ($0.99 for PDF)

Smashwords ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

The Wordshop ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Coming soon to Google Play, Sony ReaderStore and other booksellers.

Ellie the Elephant – Photo Edition

The photo edition of Ellie the Elephant is now available to purchase as an ebook for only $0.99 (99 cents or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Ellie the Elephant (photos)

Amazon.com ($0.99)

Amazon UK (£0.77)

Amazon Canada ($1.01)

Amazon Germany/Austria (€0.89)

Amazon France (€0.89)

Amazon Italy (€0.89)

Amazon Spain (€0.89)

Amazon Brazil (R$2.00)

Amazon Japan (¥99)

Apple iTunes ($0.99 for iPad)

Barnes & Noble ($0.99 for Nook)

Goodreads ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Kobo Books ($0.99 for Kobo)

Scribd ($0.99 for PDF)

Smashwords ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

The Wordshop ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Coming soon to Google Play, Sony ReaderStore and other booksellers.

Ellie’s Tour of Thailand

Stay tuned as Ellie goes on a virtual tour of Thailand! Here’s Ellie enjoying the scenery in Khao Yai National Park east of Bangkok.

Cover 13

What Kids Are Saying About Ellie

Ellie the Elephant is kid tested and approved! Here are what some early readers had to say about the picture book in their own words:

Heart“This one is the epicle of EPICNESS! The cover is cool and the pictures inside are the best.”

“I love this one! It is awesome! Cool! I like how you made the pictures detailed.”

“I love this one! I like the cover.”

“I like Ellie the Elephant because it has pretty good animation and it is a really good book.”

“I like dis 1 ‘cause U put GR8 detail and U cartooned everything.”

“This one is awesome! Great cover.”

“Detailed pictures. Good detail. I love the book it is so good.”

“Love this one. It is awesome!”

“I like this one because it’s attention grabbing!”

Pick up your copy of Ellie the Elephant today!

clip_image003You may also want to buy the first book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander, is also available to purchase for just $0.99. Alexander the Salamander is about a salamander named Alexander living in the Amazon who joins his friends Airey the Butterfly and Terry the Tarantula on an unforgettable jungle adventure. Set in the Amazon region of Brazil, the story teaches children the importance of listening to teachers and other authority figures. Co-authored by M.G. Edwards and his son Alex, the story was inspired by their 2008 visit to the Amazon.

clip_image004M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Ellie the Elephant Cover Release


I’m proud to release the cover art for my upcoming children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant. Book two of the World Adventurers for Kids Series will be released as an e-book on April 1, 2013.

Ellie the Elephant is an illustrated picture book that encourages children to follow their dreams. A young elephant named Ellie who lives in Thailand dreams of joining the elephant polo team and playing in the Elephant Cup polo tournament, but her parents want her to work in the rice fields. Will she realize her dream of playing elephant polo?

Inspired by my adventures in Thailand and real elephant polo matches, the story features Ellie and her family, Monk the Monkey, and human boys Wasan and Wattana. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will introduce them to the amazing game of elephant polo and inspire children to dream big.

Without further ado, here are two versions of the cover for your viewing pleasure:

Cover 8 (cartoon small)

Cover 8 (small)

Why does the book have two different covers? I decided to release two versions of this book, one with illustrations and cartoon photos. Both feature the same story, but readers have been mixed on whether they preferred the photos or cartoons. I’ll publish both and let you choose! Or pick them both. It’s your choice.

clip_image005What Kids Are Saying

Ellie the Elephant is kid tested and approved! Here are what some early readers had to say about the picture book in their own words:

“This one is the epicle of EPICNESS! The cover is cool and the pictures inside are the best.”

“I love this one! It is awesome! Cool! I like how you made the pictures detailed.”

“I love this one! I like the cover.”

“I like Ellie the Elephant because it has pretty good animation and it is a really good book.”

“I like dis 1 ‘cause U put GR8 detail and U cartooned everything.”

“This one is awesome! Great cover.”

“Detailed pictures. Good detail. I love the book it is so good.”

“Love this one. It is awesome!”

“I like this one because it’s attention grabbing!”

Stay tuned for the official release announcement next week of Ellie the Elephant.

In the meantime, enjoy the first book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander, now available to purchase for just $0.99.

clip_image007Alexander the Salamander is about a salamander named Alexander living in the Amazon who joins his friends Airey the Butterfly and Terry the Tarantula on an unforgettable jungle adventure. Set in the Amazon region of Brazil, the story teaches children the importance of listening to teachers and other authority figures. Co-authored by M.G. Edwards and his son Alex, the story was inspired by their 2008 visit to the Amazon.

clip_image008M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Fire Dancing!


In March 2013, we enjoyed a brilliant fire dancing performance during a weekend getaway to Ko Samet, a small island off the coast of Pattaya, Thailand. Ko Samet is a three-hour drive south of Bangkok and a great overnight getaway for those visiting Bangkok or Pattaya who don’t have time in their schedule to visit more popular island destinations such as Phuket and Ko Samui.

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (2)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (1)

Fire dancing originated centuries ago in Samoa, a Polynesian island in the South Pacific. The islanders of Bali, Indonesia developed the Fire Dance independently as a mystical Hindu ritual known as the sanghyang to ward off witches during epidemics. Fire dancing is now practiced around the world primarily for entertainment purposes. The Ko Samet performance we saw at our beach resort was definitely entertaining.

It’s difficult to explain in words what photos and videos could show you, so without further ado, here are some shots of fire dancing on Ko Samet. Time elapse photography created the fire rings.

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (3)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (4)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (5)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (6)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (7)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (8)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (9)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (10)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (11)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (12)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (13)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (14)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (15)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (16)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (17)

Here are some photos of the beach on Ko Samet at night. What a wonderful getaway! If you visit Thailand, visit Ko Samet or one of the country’s many popular island destinations for a great beach vacation.

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (18)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (19)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing

Here’s a video clip of the performance.

Fire Dancing Performance, Ko Samet, March 2, 2013
Map picture

clip_image001M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.