Sunflowers in Saraburi (Thailand)

Thai do love flowers and they love traveling with friends. So what is better as going with a all group to the Thai-famous sunflower-fields around Saraburi (and Lopburi) ? Last year around December we went with a all group to the area of Saraburi, or actually Muak Lek. This area is about 50km after Saraburi city and reached from Route 2 (Mittraphap road), just follow the sign for the sunflowers.

One of the rapids of Muak Lek
Just driving along the main-road from the high-way you will pass many sunflower fields, where Thai will make photo's of the sunflowers and of themselves of course. There are some shops that sell sunflower product like seeds. and of course there are a kind of small podiums from where you can overlook the sunflower-fields and make photos.
Of course there is more as only sunflowers, Muak Lek is also Thai-famous for its "Seven little sisters Waterfall" (Namtok Chet Saonoi) which are actually seven big & smaller rapids. It is along the same road as the sunflower-fields but about 9km further. It is a great place to sit along the water, have something to eat & drink and Thai will go swimming with all their cloths on. In the weekend it is a bit busy with people from Bangkok, like when we were there once when there were 3 buses from an Bangkok University.

A few days in the Isaan (Thailand)

Lam Tha Khong lake near Muak Lek
This week we drove to the village where the family of my wife is living. They live in an almost as remote as possible village on the edge of the Khorat plateau. We drove via Khao Yai where we always stop for a lunch. For the best "Mu Han" (BBQ pork) and for my wife the best Som Tam (Pappaya salad). Along the road leading to the national park are a lot of small restaurants selling this kind of food.

If you want to travel in the North-East of Thailand have a look at Beyond Highlights Travel

Pun Pang Coffee shop (Khon Kaen, Thailand)

September 2015 A modern little Coffee shop and bakery in a small soi where you would never think to find a gem like this. What proves again .... if you have a good product your location does not matter. See location tag.

The cakes are the best I have eaten in Khon Kaen and the Creme Brule was the best I have eaten in Thailand. It was freshly caramelized, so it was warm on top and cold inside. That is the way I like my Creme Brule.

I also had a hot cup of chocolate and that was a bit of a disappointment. Much too sweet and much to strong chocolate taste. Why do they add sugar to it? And why so strong? So no hot chocolate for me anymore but I will come back for the Creme Brule.

Facebook : FB page of Pun Pang 

Update Oct.2015
We came back and as excuses for the hot chocolate last time I was offered a very delicious cookie. Bastards! Now I have to come back again!

Smile Restaurant (Khon Kaen, Thailand)

Outdoor seating
Feb. 2015 Last week we had diner at "Smile Restaurant" along Bung Nong Khot Lake in Khon Kaen city. This is the new location of the restaurant since about 1 year ago the old location (along Bung Kaen Nakorn Lake) did close. See location tag.

The old Smile used to be more a pub where you could also eat. The new Smile is a real restaurant with proper staff that is service minded and friendly.

The live band
We had a table right in front with view over the lake and that is really great. But the restaurant is actually big and has 3 other spaces outside and 2 parts for indoor eating (but due to modern design the indoor area's are quit noisy). And even some karaoke VIP rooms.

We had some Thai food and I had a Tenderloin (Thai-French) served with french-fried (what i think is a bit cheap) and cooked vegetables (what was a bit simply). My dish was not cheap at 450 Thai baht. But the beef was good and served perfect. Only that would be a reason to come back sometimes.

All together we had a pleasant evening and a diner for 5 persons for just under the 2.000 Thai baht (but without booze as we had our own bottle of strong stuff). Ooo ... and I had a small but very good Creme Brulee as dessert (only 65 Thai baht).

We came back a few times already and if you come early in the evening they play nice jazz and blues music, even the live band does! And not loud so you can still talk. I like it!

Facebook : FB page Smile KK

Phra That Phu Phek (Sakhon Nakhon, Thailand)

The Phra That Phu Phek is a Hindu sanctuary from about the 11th - 12th century A.D. in the Ancient Khmer period. Yes, the Greater Khmer Kingdom did reach that far into nowadays Thailand! It is located 37 km west of Sakhon Nakhon in the North-East of Thailand (Isaan). See location tag.

It as a 16-km drive from the Route 22 (leading to Sakhon Nakhon) and you can park your car halfway on the mountain next to a modern temple in the spirit of the old Khmer temple (have a look inside). From here a 490 steps stairs goes straight up to the top of the mountain where the ruins of the temple are. It is a heavy but rewarding climb all the way thru the jungle.

For traveling in North-East Thailand have a look at Beyond Highlights Travel
Remains of the temple on top of the mountain

Stone carved lintel at Prasat Phanom Rung (Buriram, Thailand)

What a beautiful piece of ancient art! As the "Greater Khmer Kingdom" once stretched out over what we now call North-East Thailand there are many ancient Khmer ruins to be found. And they are an example of the high standard of cultivation and technical knowledge that was in South East Asia already hundreds of years ago. Imagine how they build those temples out of huge rocks that had to be transported many km's. Imagine the art and hard work to make this kind of lintel's.

It is located about 60-km south of Buriram city (see location tag).

For more postings about ancient ruins / temples click below on the label "Ancient-Temples".
Also have a look at Ruins in Thailand and Khmer ruins in Isan
If you want to travel in the North-East of Thailand have a look at Beyond Highlights Travel 

Location, Location, Location ...

It is all about location is many times said. So would it not be nice to have the location of a place / hotel / restaurant / attraction ?

That is why I added a "location tag" to all postings. Have a look at the bottom end of this posting, where I made a location tag to Bangkok, Thailand. If you click on it you will linked to "Google Maps" with a marker to show the location.

Most times the provided location tag is correct and I am now working on checking the location tag's off all postings.

A tour at Phu Hin Rong Khla & Phu Thap Boek (Thailand)

We left not too early on our way to Phu Thap Boek. From Khon Kaen it is easy to get there, just follow route 12 in direction of Chumphae and Phitsanulok.

Traveling the Thai way means that just 50-km after Khon Kaen we stopped already for a drink & snack at a new kind of "winery" restaurant & coffee-shop. They have a fruit yard and the beginning of a winery yard. So of course they are also selling grape and grape-juice.

We continued our trip and about 30-km after Chumphae the road starts to go into the mountains of Nam Nao National Park (no entrance fee). It is the most beautiful part of the trip where the road goes into the high mountains with beautiful views. 

Just 500 meter after the exit check-point there is an coffee-shop "Nam Nao" serving not only drinks but also good food. In front of the parking is a huge road-marker and of course locals selling vegetable and mushrooms from the "jungle". 

After the coffee-shop the road continues to go thru the mountains and you will pass a view-point & local market after about 10 km on your left side. After leaving the mountains you reach the valley of Lom Sak and Petchabun. We continued over route 12 until about 5 km after the intersection of Lom Sak and Petchabun (second traffic light) where we took a right turn to route 2372. This route follows the mountains of Phu Hin Rong Khla and Phu Thap Boek. After about 12 km we took a left turn to route 2331 in direction of the mountains (and of Nakhon Thai). See location tag.

If you want to travel in the North-East of Thailand have a look at Beyond Highlights Travel

Wat Pha Po Paan Kam (Khon Kaen, Thailand)

The temple is located at the top of the mountain range along Ubolrat lake, 20-km north-west of Khon Kaen city. See location tag.

You can reach it by walking about 300 steps in a snake-like staircase up to the mountain. From the temple grounds you have a great view of the southern side of the lake. If you are too lazy to walk about 300 steps ... you can get there by car also from the other side but it is a jungle-track.

If you want to travel in the North-East of Thailand have a look at Beyond Highlights Travel

Market shop at Sawang Dean Din (Thailand)

Just a small upcountry market shop selling vegetables and other small things. Life in the real Isaan. Just like 1 of the 1000's of small family shops you will find all over Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

On the Motorbike to I-San Jurassic Park (Kalasin, Thailand)

As it is finally great weather again for riding the bike I made trip in direction of Yang Talat, Kalasin and then via route 227 in direction "Lam Poa" reservoir at Sahatasakhan. Actually I followed the signs "Sirindhorn bridge" because I was curious what was so import about that bridge to mention it almost at Kalasin. Well the bridge goes over the "Lam Poa" reservoir and is a few km long. The reservoir was at a high level and some roads nearby the lake were flooded.

Now this is a weird bridge to be build over an reservoir without and real road on the west-side and ending in village on the east-side without any signs how to get out of the village. On the west-side are some lake-side restaurants selling bbq chicken and fish.

But first I followed the signs "Siridhorn Museum" which is also called "I-San Jurassic Park" and which is actually really a museum. And although on the outside it did look a bit old and not taken care of, inside it was a modern and nice looking museum about Dino's and the history of Thailand in that regards. Be aware that the museum is a bit difficult to find as with Thai custom at the last moment there no signs anymore. Coming from the south (Kalasin) it is a small road on you right-hand side that goes to and temple. Just before the temple gate you turn right and follow the road that goes around the temple.

Fresh market (Khon Kaen, Thailand)

Photos are courtesy of Han, made when we visited the daily fresh market (from 16:00 - 19:00) at the north side of Bung Nong Khot in Khon Kaen city. It is so busy there every day that you think it is the only market in Khon Kaen.

It is all food, some ready made but most for making you own food. Vegetables, meat, duck, eggs, mushroom, fish, shells, fruit, sweet Thai deserts, bamboo, shrimps, drinks, herbs, chicken and whatever you would find in a Thai kitchen.

And as you can see all sold by smiling Thai ladies!
If you want to travel in the North-East of Thailand have a look at Beyond Highlights Travel

The Chocolate Factory (Khao Yai, Thailand)

Photo from their FB page
September 2015 We did visit this place more as a year ago, when they did just opened. Last week we were coming back from Bangkok and made a visit again to buy some of the best chocolate of Thailand. Not cheap!

The first time there was only a restaurant for lunch & diner where they would also sale their chocolate. And there was a open kitchen so you could see how their chocolate was made.

As of lunch I was a bit disappointed but the chocolates were very good. So good we came back for it this week. And we saw that they expanded and now have also a Shop, specially for selling their chocolate products. I love  it!

In their shop they also have an open kitchen so you can see how their chocolates are made. They also do workshops to learn how to make chocolates. Great for kids (and adults).

The Chocolate Factory is under management of Chef Chocolatier Eric Perez. Highly recommended for chocolate lovers! I think even Charlie & Roald Dahl would love it. The shop is located along the road leading to the entrance of "Khao Yai National Park" (see location tag).

Web-site : The Chocolate Factory Khao Yai
Facebook page : The Chocolate Factory Khao Yai @FB

One One Hotel (Bangkok, Thailand)

September 2015 I had to be a few days in the area of Thonglor in Bangkok and found this new hotel. It is located right on Thonglor road (Soi 55 of Sukhumvit road), between soi 13 and 15. See location tag.

It is all brand new (although I have the idea that the building itself is not new) and our room was comfortable with everything you need like TV, airco, mini-bar (with reasonable priced drinks). The bathroom was big although it was shower only. They have a restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had
lunch or dinner a few times and it was actually good and not too expensive (for a hotel). If you have to be in that area I would recommend this hotel. Updated with photos from our last (third) stay at this hotel.

Web-site : One One Hotel BKK
Facebook : FB page of One One Hotel BKK
Book this hotel via AGODA

Erawan cave (Nong Bua Lamphu, Thailand)

The "Erawan Cave" (also called "Elephant Cave") is located about  25-km west of Nong Bua Lamphu (what is in between Loei and Udon Thani). See location tag.

The area is full of limestone mountains (Karsten mountains) and of course there are caves. But this a a very big cave and is actually considered to be a temple.

If you want to travel in the North-East of Thailand have a look at Beyond Highlights Travel

At the foot of the mountain is a temple and it takes 611 steps to go up to the entrance of the cave, that is guarded by a huge sitting Buddha. As there are no drinks for sale along the way or on top, you might take something to drink with you from one of the shops at the parking place.

The stairs going up are good & easy walking, but still 611 steps! But there are a few sala's to take a rest and enjoy the beautiful view. The cave itself has a reasonable good walking path and some stairs. The cave has electric lighting so you do not really need a light with you (although it could be handy as at some places the floor is dark). Walking up will took us about 20 min. The cambers inside are huge and lit up by colored lights. Unfortunately of course I did not have a good camera with me so it are only photos of the entrance part where there was enough light. The walking path leads to the other side where is an exit of the cave. From here you have again a beautiful view over rice-fields. But there is no way to go down here, you will have to walk the same way back.

The cave is open 7 days a week, from 8:00 to 17:00. You do not need a guide. There is no entrance fee, but of course you can make a donation to the temple.