Bangkokian Jakkra Brande is the owner of Nira’s, Ko Pha Ngan’s first bakery. After their typewriter business collapsed, his parents fled the Thai capital during an economic crisis in 1984 and aimed for a new frontier—Ko Samui.
In their younger years, his father had been a chef in Germany, while his mother had saved the life of a German nun who’d had a motorcycle accident. She cooked and baked for her throughout her convalescence—subsequently the nun adopted her.
The wrong boat to a cloudy rainy place
Brande, at the time aged six, recounts his parent’s arrival on Ko Samui.
“My father saw some local boys selling newspapers to foreigners. That got him thinking, why not start something on Ko Samui? They both had the skills, but they didn’t know how to start a business, so they took the boat back to the mainland. An hour later, their Songserm ferry stopped at Ko Pha Ngan. They had taken the wrong boat.”
“From our bungalow, we saw this cloudy, rainy place across the water—Ko Pha Ngan.”
That wrong boat would change their lives.