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PHUKET EXPOSED: Kritchaya Na Takuathung

Kritchaya Na Takuathung, Director of Phuket Heritage Trails

Thursday 31 May 2012, 02:15PM

Kritchaya Na Takuathung, Director of Phuket Heritage Trails

Kritchaya Na Takuathung, Director of Phuket Heritage Trails

How many years have you lived in Phuket?
I was born here.

Explain your job.
I founded Phuket Heritage Trails which offers cultural and educational tour services for visitors or Phuket residents who’d like to take a closer look into Phuket culture, history, cuisines, traditions, the true charms of the island, as well as to explore some of the sites known only to locals.

What is the best thing about living here?
Phuket offers a wide range of fun activities and places to see and explore. Although I was born here, the island can still surprise me every now and then. The fact that Phuket is small (compared with other provinces) and changes constantly, makes it very interesting to learn something old, and explore something new.

What do you do to relax?
Meditation or listening to great Buddhist teachers while sitting in perfect silence. I’ve been practising Buddhism and meditation for the past four years now and it’s been absolute bliss. Meditation is the art of silencing the mind. When the mind is silent, concentration is increased and one experiences inner peace in the midst of worldly chaos.

What kind of music do you like?
I like listening to solo female vocalists such as Adele, Anggun, Macy Gray, or Lauryn Hill. They are so talented, great performers, and have such powerful voices.

What is the best advice you have for people moving to Phuket?
Keep your heart open. Although it’s the second-smallest province in Thailand, it is a place with the widest diversity of people from all walks of life, apart from Bangkok.
Economic booms in Phuket have attracted both Thais and foreigners to migrate here for centuries, long before any other parts of Thailand. Tourism, marine, and property businesses have drawn more to the island in recent decades.
The big difference between then and now, as I see it, is that Phuket in the past was more a community with a harmonious blend of various ethnics and cultures. Then, we respected, accepted, and shared. Whereas now, it is quite opposite.
Living in Phuket means the environment and people five kilometres away from where you are, can be so different.
So, do not judge too soon, you can easily become cynical or miserable living here, or very happy. It’s your choice.

What’s your favourite childhood memory?
When my sister and I spent most weekends in Patong and Kata Noi in the ’80s, we followed our father, who was a talented chef at the time, to work.
In Patong, he worked at one of the five restaurants on the beach. There were only three hotels in the entire bay, a quiet Muslim fishing village and paddy fields to the back. Patong was very beautiful then, one of the most beautiful bays, sadly not now.
Kata Beach and Kata Noi were similar. My dad moved on to be personal chef to Mom Tri [Tridosyuth Devakul] at his villa on the cliff overlooking Kata Noi, today called Mom Tri’s Villa Royale. I still remember stunning Kata Noi beach with lots of coconut trees and thatched-roof cottages.

The person you admire the most and why?
HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, he is the soul of our nation. I admire him the most for his tireless efforts for the benefit and welfare of the people in this kingdom. He cares so much for us and what is best for all Thais.
As one of the world’s richest monarchs, he could have enjoyed his fortune; going on holidays, staying at luxury hotels, dining at world-class restaurants, enjoying life, or shopping lavishly.
He would have been a regular visitor to Phuket then, but no... the last time he visited Phuket was in 1973, and for less than a day.
Instead, our King has used part of his great wealth to fund many royal development projects, particularly in rural areas of the country, and has launched over 4,000 royal projects to help the poor.

Where in Phuket would you take someone on a first date?
Hmm, an orphanage? Or perhaps one of the poorest and dirtiest corners in Phuket would be a great place to check out his attitude and opinions. You know... I don’t have much time to waste.

Favourite place on the island, and why?
The Buddhist Nuns Monastery called “Wat Khun Chee”, at the foot of Rang Hill. The monastery offers peaceful monastic life and facilities for female guests to stay and practice with the resident nuns in a serene atmosphere.
The monastery conducts an introduction to Buddhist teaching and meditation courses every evening from 7pm to 9pm.
I am there at least three days a week to help.
I learned so much from them when I joined the community in 2010 as a Buddhist nun for three and a half months and still actively help them to help others.

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