Category Archives: Thailand

Posts made in Thailand!

The Golden Triangle

Today we went up to the Golden, which was good to see although it was very touristy!  Well the Thai side anyway, the Laos side was just a river bank!  We got the bus to Chang Saen which took an hour and a half, then we took a boat about 10km along the river to the Golden Triangle.

On the way we visited the Laos Island of Don Sao, kinda in no mans land as it between the two countries!  We had to pay 20baht to enter the island – but didn’t need our passport!  The Island was very touristy and was just an excuse to try and sell more tack to the dumb Americans!  But I kinda had one leg in Lao for an hour or so!

The Golden Triangle itself is basically a fork in the river, very scenic – from the Thai side Lao is across river and Burma is separated by the tributary forking to the left.  The MeKong river is massive a good few hundred meters wide – its easy to see why its used as the country boundary.

Early night tonight as we have to be up early tomorrow for our flight to Bangkok, from where our epic journey to Cambodia begins.  We aren’t sure we will be able to get to the border in time to cross it tomorrow, if not we will stay in the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet and cross early the next morning.  The journey from the border to Siem Reap (where Angkor Wat is) should be interesting, Cambodian roads are notoriously bad, and conditions can be made worse if it rains, its 150km but its a 7-12 hour journey!!!  Should be fun….

Chiang Rai

Arrived in Chiang Rai today – much smaller than Chiang Mai and a load quieter, which is nice.  Not so many tourists!  Got the VIP bus this morning, for 3 pounds I had a chair bigger than a normal sofa at home, it was class!  The 3 hour journey went very fast too which was good!

Had a walk round this afternoon, and we pretty much walked round the entire town in a few hours which shows you its scale.  There’s a few temples which are good, one with some turtles in a little pool which were interesting to see.  We investigated doing a tour to the golden triangle, but we’ve worked out its loads cheaper to do it ourselves by public bus – 10 to 15 pounds cheaper which is a lot here!

I’ve uploaded a few photos from Toms camera into the China, Hong Kong, and Thailand folders here.

Here’s a photo of the hut we stayed in at the top of the mountain on the first night.  It was great up there – nice view and really peaceful:

Our Hotel!

Heres a photo of our trek group, this is the 4×4 thatwe travelled in, complete with a drunken English man (Tom) and six germans!

Our Trek Group!

Toms also updated his blog so you can hear his side of the story here.

Back from the Jungle!!!

Thanks for all the messages! Really good to hear from you all! You’ll be pleased to know we made it out of the jungle ok! Well it was an interesting few days…..

Firstly we made the typical British mistake of going for a quiet beer the night before the Trek, of course this turned into a big session – Johns Place a bar where I went last year is lively and we ended up staying there till 4am or so! We got picked up to start the trek at 10am the next morning – I was fine (aside from a bad head) but poor old Tom was feeling more than a bit ill! We got picked up on a 4×4 Nissan Pickup with a bench each side of its back for about 10 people to sit on. We were the last people to be picked up, there were 6 other people on the truck – all German! Tom and I got on and Tom was immediately sick! Oh dear! We then drove for 2 hours or so to the mountain area to the North of Chiang Mai. On the way we stopped at a village in the middle of nowhere to have a walk round – unfortunately Tom was sick again!

When we arrived at the foot of the mountain we started trekking, we walked for about 2-3 hours up the steep mountain through the jungle, which was brilliant – well I thought so, Tom was throwing up again! Our Thai guide was 71 but he was very fit and spoke good English, the pace was not slow! It was hard work and the heat was intense, my T-shirt was absolutely drenched in sweat – nice! We reached the top of the mountain though and made our way to the village of the Karen Tribe where we were to stay the night. What a view! The tribe live a relatively simple life, mainly there harvest coffee that they sell in Chiang Mai. There’s no electricity and you can only get there on foot. It was really nice to get out of the city, away from lots of people and traffic! The air quality was so much better! We stayed in a bamboo hut (basically built for tourists) on the floor, it gets dark here at 6pm and it was pitch black – nice view of the stars though! Unfortunately I forgot my torch (not good when you need the loo), but they lit a fire though and had a few candles which made for a nice atmosphere. We ate a simple meal of rice and vegetables prepared by the people in the village. We went to bed at 9pm (Tom went to bed when we arrived at the village) – which was surprisingly comfortable although the temperature really dropped at night.

In the morning we walked about another 2 hours (Tom was back to his normal self by this point) to another village, which was more developed – they had solar power for lighting! We then headed down the mountain to the river, where we had lunch before taking an elephant ride. Somewhere over the course of the morning I lost my camera 🙁 which I had in my pocket at the ready to take photos. Absolutely gutted! Aside from the financial loss, all my photos were on it – really really annoyed with myself!!! I had a great photo of tom being sick in the jungle! We were getting in and out of trucks to take us around and I think its fallen out in one of those – I went to look for it but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Hopefully i can claim for it on my insurance – what a melon! Anyway the elephant ride was ok, cept it kept sneezing, so we got covered in goo – lovely – not that it made much difference as we were filthy anyway (no showers in bamboo huts)! We then headed to the village where we stayed the night – on the bank of the river.

Again it was pitch black at night – but they sold beer which was nice to have around the fire! The Germans were a good bunch and all were fluent in English – plenty of German England rivalry but all good natured! Food again was simple rice and veg, but they had soy sauce to give it some flavour! It was even colder that night for some reason – and I spent most of the night needing a wee – but didn’t go cos I couldn’t see anything!

On our final day we walked up river and did some white water rafting, which was good, followed by bamboo rafting – much more leisurely! Before returning to Chiang Mai in the late afternoon. We then returned to out 1 pound a night guest house (which wasn’t great) – we had to stay there as I applied for a Vietnam visa which was to be returned there this morning at 10am. Kindly Tom didn’t mind and we put up with a not so nice guest house! The Vietnam Visa thing was worrying me, as my passport was basically picked up by a guy on a bike – who assured me it would be returned today (4 days application process) by 10am – obviously I was concerned when he rode of passport in hand weaving in and out of the traffic! But that’s Thailand – you cant judge it on western standards! All was well though and my passport was as he promised returned to me at 9:30 this morning – I have to say I felt better when I got it back though! No doubt there’s a Thai person called Stuart Shepherd now……….

Last night we went to a Thai reggae bar – loads of Thais with dreadlocks – which was fun! We meet zee Germans from the trek and drank lots of Chiang beer (again!).

Today we’ve been really lazy, as soon as my passport arrived we checked into a nice hotel with a pool, where we stayed last year – The Chiang Mai Thai House, which I’d recommend if you come to Chiang Mai.  Just been relaxing all day!  Tonight we’re off out for some food (no booze!)  and then an early night as we are up early tomorrow to get the bus north to Chiang Rai.  We then plan to go to the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet – should be interesting.  On Tuesday we fly to Bangkok where we will then take a train to the Cambodia border on route to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat – really looking forward to that – Travelling is brilliant!

Keep the messages coming – really good to hear from you all!  Oh and does anyone want to rent a house in Wolston??  Check it out here 😉

Chiang Mai

Arrived in Chiang Mai early this morning – it took about 14 hours on the train, which went quick as I slept for most of it!    Although the train wasn’t the smoothest of rides!  Nice to be back here – we are staying  round the corner from  where I stayed last year – but in a cheaper place!  1 pound a night!  When you get off the train you get badgered by touts selling guesthouses, taxis, and tours.  We just went with the one that looked ok and was cheap!  Its not luxurious but it’ll do!

After a quick shower we went to Rotoras Kitchen (which I remembered as being good from last year) for a some Khao Soi (northern noodle soup) which was spot on and cost 50p!  This afternoon we went round a few temples – most of which I remembered from last year – and got templed out (again!) as they are all pretty similar!
Tomorrow we are doing a 3 day (2 night) Hill Tribe trek to the north of Chiang Mai.  This involves visiting tribes in the mountains (trekking through the jungle), bamboo rafting, and elephant rides – I think we overnight in the village  in a mud hut – should be interesting!

We visited Pat Pong on Sunday night and got ripped off, the show wasn’t even that good – unfortunately Westerners are viewed as walking cash machines which kinda just annoys you after a while!  In the end we retreated to a bar to watch the Arsenal v Liverpool (who have a large support here) game.  It was a long day having left Hong Kong at 5am and here being 1 hour behind HK (7 hours ahead of UK) so I think we were in bed by 12.

Yesterday we had a long lie in – got up at 11am!!!    Then we casually walked down to Siam Square for a nice Thai curry.  Before getting the train we visited Wat Pho which is a large temple with a massive reclining Buddha in it.  I’d been before but it was still an impressive sight.

Tonight we are going to browse the Night Bazaar and have a view drinks in one of Chiang Mai’s chilled out bars.  It is soooo much better here than Bangkok!

If we make it out of the Jungle ok I’ll try and do an update on Fri or Sat……….

The land of Smiles

Arrived in Thailand today, we caught an early flight to Bangkok.  I quickly noticed two things, firstly the heat 35 degrees = hot hot hot!  Secondly the good nature of the people here.  Hong Kong is a busy bustling city and the people are had to bond with, its the opposite here – almost too friendly at times – they do call Thailand the land of the smiles!

Last night we visited the Peak on Hong Kong Island again, this time taking the tram which was a good experience – it goes up a near vertical slope!  The view from the top at night is arguably better than in the day, most of the skyscrapers have a light show.  I took a few photos so will post them up soon. We then headed back to Kowloon for a cheap meal – a nice Chinese curry – before heading back to the hostel for an early night.

We got up at 5:30am this morning to catch the bus to the airport – quite strange as this was the time we got in the night before!  Hong Kong is still busy at that time – I’ve never been to a place so busy – even London!  Tom and I were on the same flight  (with Cathay Pacific), which was amusing as Tom has been flying cheapo airways (China Air) and he thought Cathay Pacific was like first class in comparison.  TV’s in the seat in front with your choice of movies, games, etc – I don’t think he wanted to get off the plane!  I’ve been lucky – all my flights have had this!

Having been in Bangkok last year there’s a degree of familiarity about the place – except last year we had a posh hotel and now I’m in a 4 quid a night hostel!    We are well located though near the skytrain which we took the river and caught the river taxi to the north of the city – where we had some nice food for 50p each (great to be back in a cheap place after HK).  I then showed Tom the Khao San Road (where they filmed the start of the beach) – bit of a dive there I think, but some people consider it a backpackers mecca – its ok if you don’t mind being around hippy travellers, drug addicts, and street vendors selling all sorts of useless stuff!  I got me some Oakley sunglasses for 2 pounds though – I know their fake but who cares!

Tonight I think we’ll go to Patpong (I’m only to go to make sure Toms ok) and see some ping pong.  Tomorrow we catch the sleeper train (it takes 12 hours) to the northern town of Chiang Mai where we’ll do some trekking.

Looking forward to getting out of the big cities – Beijing, Hong Kong, and Bangkok are great but wear you down after a while!