I have been metal detecting in Thailand for about 7 years now and have found a couple of small gold rings marked .965 which have made my wife quite happy, but hunting at a reservoir in northeastern Thailand, I found one for the record books.
I go metal detecting at a “beach” called Pattaya 2 in Khon Kaen, Thailand and it really isn’t much of a beach. It is on a reservoir about a one hour drive from my house. I go there when I am getting cabin fever from lack of metal detecting. I usually go to a beach in Thailand twice per year so going to Pattaya 2 keeps me sane though I rarely find anything there.
But that all changed.
A couple of months ago I was contacted via Facebook by another American here in Khon Kaen – a teacher at Khon Kaen University – and he was interested in metal detecting. We chatted a bit on Facebook and Dave came over to meet me as we are only about 10 minutes from each other.
Dave asked to borrow a detector so he could see if he was really interested in this hobby. I obliged and loaned him my beginner’s model – the Garrett ACE 250. He was happy and I was on my way to Chanthaburi on the eastern seaboard of Thailand to metal detect at Chao Lao Beach for three weeks.
Dave kept in contact with me and reported that he was finding 100+ baht, amulets and rings at Pattaya 2. He also told me that his wife and daughter love detecting as much as Dave does.
Now, wait a minute. My best day at Pattaya 2 was probably 60 or so baht with one junker ring. How the heck was Dave finding so much?
I asked Dave for some photos and saw the answer. Thailand is in the middle of a drought and the water at the Ubolratana Dam where Pattaya 2 is situated has gone down serverely. It is kind of like a super low tide. Where there was water, now there is dirt.
Once I returned from Chanthaburi, I met up with Dave and we planned a joint hunt. I couldn’t believe all the targets. Walking 10 feet from the truck to the edge of the water, there would be 10-15 good targets. I would set my detector to the side and it would “ding” again while I was digging what was in front of me.
We were both pulling in anywhere from 200 to 600 baht each and every time we went. And, we were finding Thai Buddhist amulets and rings – but – no gold.
We did this a few times and always had a great time hunting even though the targets were getting further and further apart. And, then, I went on another road trip and left Dave to hunt on his own again.
Dave managed to find gold – a small ring – but his first gold and he actually felt kind of guilty finding it using my detector. I told him he found it, it is his.
Things took a bit of a change as I needed to be home on weekends to help my wife watch our daughter and Dave was hunting on weekends as he worked Monday to Friday. So, I convinced my wife to let me go alone.
This may not sound like a big deal, but, if you have ever driven in Thailand, going solo is scary. Told my wife I would head out at sunrise and come home at about 1300 avoiding as much traffic as possible. She reluctantly gave in.
So, on June 15th, I headed out for about a one hour drive on my own – first time in 6 years driving somewhere alone. Got to Pattaya 2 without incident and started hunting.
I decided to hunt the upper area which is mostly dry dirt and in some places hard as concrete. I did this for about 2 hours and found coins and rings but nothing of real value.
I decided to go out in the water a bit. Now, at Pattaya 2 the water is clear until you dig and then you are blind. I was only hunting in about knee deep water and finding the occassional coin. I was in one spot and there was a lady on shore who rents inner tubes that was watching me.
I would dig a target about 10 feet or so from shore and then when it was in my scoop, I would walk to shore and plop the mud/clay/shells to ground and isolate the find. First one she watched was a 5-baht coin. Second one was a 10-baht. Third one – we both saw the yellow color in the scoop at the same time and she reached for it but I was quicker.
I quickly palmed it and walked back into the water as she started a rant/tirade for the other vendors to hear – about how I was a cheap ass foreigner who wouldn’t show her the ring I just found. This went on for about 15 minutes and I just pocketed the ring and continued to hunt in the water.
After about 1/2 hour, I decided to take a break and went to the area I was renting for the day – beach umbrellas and chairs for 200 baht. As soon as I sat down a different vendor approached and wanted to see the ring. I refused and eventually she walked away.
Once she was gone, I took a look at the ring and was immediately disappointed as I saw it was not a solid ring but adjustable. I thought it was another junker and probably brass. I did see that there was some writing inside but couldn’t make it out without my glasses and a magnifying glass.
Once I got home, I got the magnifying glass out and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A small crown symbol and .9999!
I posted photos at the Metal Detecting Thailand Facebook page asking the guys if anyone had ever seen a 24K ring that was adjustable and the guys confirmed it. I was ecstatic as was my wife!
Since I found the 11.6 gram, 24K Ring with my Minelab Excalibur II, I sent in the find to the official Minelab Facebook page and they posted my .9999 Ring Here.
I have been back to Pattaya 2 a few more times since and will continue to go as long as there are plentiful targets.
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