Theme Park Tourisme in Thailand

The Verona, Thap Lan
Last week I was visiting Bo Klua in North Thailand. A area bordering with Laos and thought of as one of the last frontiers of Thailand. Well that was until last year. I had not been here for about a year and I was not pleasant surprised about the changes that domestic tourism had brought to this little village once forgotten by time.

Just north of town are 2 new resorts in trendy style, in town are 2 new coffee shops and some new souvenirs shops. In town are also 2 new hotels / guesthouses and south of town is a new camping ground and a new trendy hotel (in European style). And 2 other resorts have expanded with new bungalows and even a 2-floor main building. Yes, Bo Klua is on the domestic tourism map!

And it is a bit sad because it might be heading to situations like Pai, Chiang Khan, Phu Thap Boek, Khao Kho, Khao Yai and Wang Nam Kieuw. Where overdevelopment of resorts & restaurants have changed the place. And not for the better.

Theme Park Tourism in Thailand? Nature, Animals, history, old culture, European culture, Hill tribes but all within reach from a comfortable car, modern hotel, wifi, coffee shop and restaurants. And that all packed in a trendy form with colours and  European designs from Italy, Holland or Swiss. And number one activity is making a trail of selfies from one theme park to the other theme park.

The Verona created between Thap Lan National Park and Khao Yai National Park is a good example of a theme park for domestic tourism. European style looking buildings with shops and restaurants. Build between the beautiful mountains and destroying nature.

The river-side street in Chiang Khan is also a good example of a theme park for domestic tourism. Almost all of the house are now hotels, guesthouses, souvenir shops and restaurants. New houses are being build in old style. In the early morning there are more tourists making merit (by giving food to monks) as local people. Many hotels, shops and restaurants are owned & managed by people that are not from Chiang Khan. I think the river-side street has turned into a kind of Chiang Khan that never was.

Chinese New Year 2016

Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, is lunar based and for that reason changes date every year. This year it will start on 8 February and officially ends on 27 February. But as New Year it is "only" celebrated for 10 days.

That means business in China in for 10 days in hibernate mode as it is 10 days holiday. So the Chinese will be travelling, within China and abroad. What will bring a lot of Chinese tourists to Thailand.

This year will be the year of the Monkey, a social and self-assured character. But also selfish and jealous.

As there are Chinese communities in almost all cities in Thailand, there will be Chinese New Year celebrations in many places in Thailand. Go and enjoy Chinese New Year celebrations!

What is here being dried?

Well of course it is food ... Thai would not take all this effort if they could not eat it. It is weed that comes from the Nan River. You will see it for sale at the local markets, but not all year around.

Aliens have landed at Mani Pruek in Thung Chang, North Thailand

Well actually it was the sunrise seen from Siam Garden Bungalows in Thung Chang, Nan province.

On the motorbike in Nan province .... riding from Bo Klua to Nan.

Sunsride above the clouds
From Bo Klua I did ride in the early morning via route 1081 and route 1169 to Santisuk (there are different options to ride). And from there to Nan city along the Nan River. A stunning beautiful route to ride ... with almost brand new good roads. Motorbike paradise .... but of course a lot of trees and nature have been destroyed for it.

For more motorbike trip reports in Thailand see MOTORBIKE TRIP REPORTS

Almost no traffic at all and good roads

Phu Phayak Communist Memorial in Nan province, North Thailand

View from the Royal Project
Phu Phaya means Giant Mountain and it is a mountain range in the most north-eastern side of Nan province in North Thailand. It was once the place for opium farming and the battlefield between the Thai soldiers and Communists soldiers in the 1970's. It is famous as being one of the last strongholds of the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT). The reason for having a HQ in this area was of course the difficult accessible mountain range that is bordering (communist) Laos. The area is also home to hill-tribes (Lawa & Hmong) who came from southern-west China.

Communist Memorial
Nowadays the area is home to a few villages that are supported by a "Royal Project Phu Phayak" to help local hill-tribes in a sustainable existence without growing opium.

And nowadays there is a "Communist Memorial" to honour the communist soldiers fighting the Thai government. The museum and memorial was officially opened in December 2005 and is the result of combined efforts of local hill-tribe people and ex-communists to reconcile the past disagreements. The museum shows the history of the ex-communist centre, the story of Ban Huai Chanin rebellion against unfair taxes and the stories of the battles.

The area is "only" 17-km from the main road (route 1081) but due to the bad road condition it will take you about 45-min to 1-hour to get there. You will pass 2 small villages and then you will be at the "Communist Memorial". It is not always open.

After Communist Memorial the road continues to the Royal Project where is a small viewpoint and a small display of the work that is be done there. There is a small kitchen & coffee shop where you can drink coffee from local coffee beans. After the Royal Project the road continued to the high viewpoint in the mountains along the Thai-Lao border.

Coffee beans from the Royal Project

On the motorbike in Nan province ... the Bo Klua loop

To the Communist Memorial
After 2 days in Nan city it was time to explore the northern part of Nan province, so I made a detour ride to Thung Chang via Santisuk, to stay a few days at "Siam Garden Bungalows" with the wonderful hosts Marco & Dao. The resort is located along the Doi Phu Ka mountain range where the Hmong hill-tribes are still living at Mani Pruek high in the mountains.

The area of Thung Chang is a great place for hiking, bicycle rides and off-road motorbiking. After a day exploring the stunning local area I made a ride to Bo Klua on the other side of the mountain range.

For more motorbike trip reports in Thailand see MOTORBIKE TRIP REPORTS

Clouds near Huai Kon border

A tree a day, keeps the doctor away

By now you probably know that I love trees. So when riding the small streets just out of Nan city I had to stop and make a photo of this beautiful trees.

On the motorbike to Nan province .... again - Day 2

In the early morning I left Dan Sai, that was totally covered in clouds. I took route 2113 to Na Heao and made a stop about 20-km out of Dan Sai at a view-point where you can overlook the valley of Dan Sai. Time for a small snack and drink.

From Na Heao I took route 1268 along Phu Suan Sai National Park that is along the Thai-Lao border. You could take a nice detour and take route 1328 that goes thru the National Park.

Route 1268 also passes Phu Soi Dao National Park (also along the Thai-Lao border) and directly along the road is Phu Soi Dao Waterfall.

For more motorbike trip reports in Thailand see MOTORBIKE TRIP REPORTS

Sunrise over Dan Sai

At the shooting range in Nan, North Thailand

There is a new private shooting range in Nan city, along route 101 just 2 km after the airport. You can shoot here small caliber rifle (50 meter) or pistol (25 meter).

They have .357 revolver, .38 revolver, .45 pistol and some .22 rifles. The owner and his lovely wife are both also shooting at the range.

It is not cheap .... or actually expensive. Although I have the idea that the price-list (in English) is made for tourists.

In my previous life in Europe I have been a pistol marksman at the local shooting range. But the last time I had been serious training & exercising shooting is about 18 years ago.

So the results ... 20 shots and I missed only 2 totally. Still managed a average of 8.2 .... not bad at all! That is standing and shooting with 1 hand. First 5 shots were at 15m. The other 15 shots at 25m.

As you can see I did shoot with a revolver ... .38wc. You do get a gun of your choice, 20 bullets, 2 targets and ear-protection. And of course there goes an instructor with you. Costs = 1.500 Thai baht.

The range is open-air (could be bad lighting) and the targets are fixed at the range. So you will have to walk on the range. That was OK as I was the only person shooting.

Facebook : Nan Tactical Shop

On the motorbike to Nan province .... again - Day 1

It had been awhile ago that I made a long motorbike trip and last week I finally had the time and reason to make a 10 days trip to Nan province. So the early morning started with a boring 90-km trip on route 12 to Chumpae. Boring and unpleasant as the road is used by many potential suicide candidates on scooters and with cars. My first stop is always at the PTT gasoline station 2-km after Chumpae. I always have a kind of small breakfast here from the 7/11.

From there I took route 201 to Wang Saphung. Along this 100-km route you are passing the beautiful karsten mountains with Phu Man National Park (with many caves) and the famous Phu Kradung. Just before Wang Saphung is another PTT gasoline station where I had a drink at the Amazon Coffee Shop.

For more motorbike trip reports in Thailand see MOTORBIKE TRIP REPORTS

Dan Sai view-point stop

Studying in the mountains of Bo Klua in North Thailand

Dodo Crossing Bride at Route 12 in Thailand

When driving over the new / expanded route 12 between Phitsanulok and Lom Sak about 2 months ago I saw steel constructions being build over the road. I thought to put on road signs. But there are about 20 of them, without any signs and there are no other roads to have the need to for road signs. Also weird that there are fences build next to them and that there are ropes on the side. So what are it?

Yesterday I did ride over route 12 again and stopped for a few photos ... and I did see a sign explaining the "things" .... click on "see more" to see the last photo (that will explain everything).

Kids playing

We did visit "Suan Somdet Phrasinakarin Park" in Sakhon Nakhorn. That is located along "Nong Han Lake". The park has a playground for children and the park was just being visited by a bus-load of school children. It was a bit difficult to make a photo (without a tele-lens) because as soon the kids saw a white-face (westerner) they all started giggling and saying "Hello".

A temple on a island at Han Kumphawapi lake in Thailand

In the not so early morning we did visit "Han Kumphawapi Lake", about 20km south of Udon Thani city. This lake is famous for the red lotus flowers that blossom from Dec-Feb each year. So it is also called "Red Lotus Sea" or  in Thai "Talay Bua Deang". You can take a small boat to go over the lake to enjoy a sunrise over the beautiful red flowers. I have visited this lake more as a few times and did make some postings about is last year. So I will not bother you with that again.

But there is also a small island in the lake ... where of course is a temple. As I had never visited this island it was a good day to do that.

Buddha image on a raised platform in case the island is flooded