Getting lost in Chiang Mai

I love to start walking in a city and just follow my nose .... I call it "Getting Lost". Are we not all lost in life? So while in Chiang Mai I am walking from my hotel near the Night Bazar into the small streets of Chiang Mai and found many beautiful old temples.

Yes I have seen many temples, but here in Chiang Mai you will find some different style of temples. Like the one of the photos here with a "little dangerous looking snake" and the beautiful wooden decorated temple building. I love to walk around and make photos of the buildings, people and normal life on the street.

Visiting the Prasat Hin Phanom Rung in Buriram

Prasat Hin Phanom Rung is a 10th to 13th century Khmer temple build during "The Great Khmer Kingdom" that stretched over a big part of what we call now Thailand, southern Laos and Vietnam. It is build on top of a old volcano at a height of 1392 feet above sea-level in the Buriram province. I have been here now about 7 times and I still find it one of the most impressive Khmer temples in Thailand. Standing up there you have a stunning view over the high plateau of Khorat. And then you trying to imagine how they did build this huge temple complex high on the mountain. And no the stones do not come from the mountain it is build on.

It is about 2 hour drive over route 24 from Khorat city or 1 hour drive from Buriram city. There are not much hotels nearby so the most people visit it from Khorat or Buriram. As far as I know there is no public transport going to the site.

For more information see Phanom_Rung_historical_park or Sundial.thai-isan-lao. For more postings about ancient…

The Samakki Tham Religious Centre in Nakhon Thai

The first time passing the meditation temple I thought "What the heck is that?" and I made a quick stop for some photos. Later I returned and took some more time to talk to the people building this. It is really amazing! This is why I love travelling in Thailand ... you find such a special and sometimes weird things along your journey. For building they used cement (no sand or stones) mixed with foam. And it is amazing but this little houses do not have airco and are still cool inside ... while outside 34 Celsius.

Also the main building is going to be (is) something special. With a library in the basement and a meditation room in top (heaven) while the ground floor will be lighted by a sky of LED lights in bamboo.

Overlooking Pua from Cocoa Valley Coffee Shop in Pua

While we had to wait for someone in Pua we enjoyed a drink and cake at Cocoa valley Coffee Shop in Pua. From their roof-top terrace you have a great view over Pua town with Doi Phu Kha in the background with an incoming rain.

Making Coffee the old fashioned way in Nan

Along route 1081 between Bo Klua and Santisuk is an new coffee shop "Base 47" with a stunning view over the mountains. Now you should not be in a hurry .... the shop does not have electricity so every cup of coffee is freshly made on the stove. The old fashioned way. All made and served by this lovely couple.

Overlooking the rice-fields of Chiang Klang in Nan

While enjoying a dinner at the restaurant of Sangthong Resort in Chiang Klang (Nan, North Thailand) we had a stunning view over the rice-fields with a sunset in the back and a stunning sky over mountains of Doi Phu Pha National Park. For an better panorama photo see the full posting (click on KEEP READING).

On the motorbike to Ban Santisuk and Phu Langkha in North Thailand

After about 3 months not riding my motorbike it was time for a ride again. Although we are still in the raining season, the weather forecast was good. So in the early morning I did ride from Nan town in direction of Ban Luang via route 1091. In the morning is was cool and it started with beautiful clouds in the mountains. From route 1091 I made a side-trip to a waterfall (via route 1171) but I did never find the waterfall. So I followed route 1091 to Pong from where I took route 1188 and an local route to Ban Santisuk in Phayao province (not to be confused with Santisuk in Nan province). This is a bit weird village. Just on the border of Phayao and Nan province, locked in by mountain ranges and in the 1970's home to rebels who tried to escape government prosecution. The latter may explain the still isolation of the area. I tried to find a short-cut to Nan but failed to I returned back to the 1188 and took route 1148 via Phu Langkha back to Tha Wang Pha and route 101 back to Nan.

Nan - The origin of Phu Nan Coffee

Phu Nan Coffee is produced in the mountains of Doi Manipruek and is sold in many Coffee Shops in Nan province, but limited also at other places in Thailand. Since long this area has been the home of hill-tribe people that originated from China. And since the 1950-60's this area has been famous for the growing of poppies for opium. Since 1980-90's there have been Royal Project to help the local hill-tribes to change to other crops and build an sustainable life.

In 2006 Nan province was hit by a severe flooding that damaged homes, businesses and the environment. A part of this flooding was a result of uncontrolled deforestation for farming in the mountains. In the old days for poppies fields, nowadays unfortunately still for corn and rice.

But with the help from Royal Projects this is partly being replaced by fruit plantations and coffee plantations. Like the coffee plantations of Doi Manipruek near Thung Chang in Nan province. This coffee is sold in Coffee Shops in Nan but als…

Relax at Ban Thai Lue Cafe in Pua

We were a day in Pua and stopped a few km out of Pua along route 1081 at this Coffee Shop build in / on the rice-fields. Made with wood & bamboo are little sala's, all connected with wooden walking bridges over the rice-paddies. In the sala's are no chairs or tables, just traditional Thai pillows to sit and relax while enjoying a drink. Along the road itself is also an shop selling traditional Thai Lue cloths.

Small village in the mountains of Nan

At about 1000m high on the steep mountain slopes a hill-tribe village. Stunning views, lovely people and in the cool season indeed nice cool in the mountains. I love Nan province!

Ao Nang beach in Krabi

From Chomphon on the east-coast of South Thailand we travelled to Krabi on the west-coast of South Thailand. We did stay between Ao Nang beach and Thara beach. Weather-wise we are not lucky as there was just a big storm heading over South Thailand. So there was rain and strong winds. So we enjoyed ourselves with massage, a walk along the beach and good food.

Taking a closer look at a rubber tree

While traveling in Thailand you might have seen & passed many rubber plantations. Thailand exports a lot of rubber. Unfortunately the price of raw rubber is not as good anymore. But how does the rubber processing begin? Well first you have to plant rubber trees and you can start the rubber tapping after about 5 to 7 years. On the photos you see the first step of the all process .... the rubber tapping. This is done by making an incision in the tree (see photo 1), just deep enough to tap the vessels but without harming the tree's growth. In the incision is put a small tap (see photo 2). The latex then drips into a small bucket (see photo 3). In Thailand this bucket is most times an old coconut shell.

The cutting is most times done in the early morning. And in the raining season it can not be done at all. Rubber trees can be exploited for about 20 years. In Thailand the wood of the trees is used to make furniture. The farmers collect the rubber and make rubber mats of the raw r…

Visiting Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

So after traveling in North Thailand we did travel to Hua Hin and from there we headed more south to Chomphon. And on the way, just 20km south of Hua Hin, we did visit this beautiful seaside National Park. The name means something like "300 Rocky Yot mountains".

From Bang Po beach we took a small longtail boat to Leam Sala Beach. This boat trip takes only 10min but you will have to walk thru the water a bit. The beach is the entrance to the National Park, so here you will have to pay entrance fee. From this stunning beach you can take a walking trail to the famous Phraya Nakhon Cave.

A part of our group did stay at the beach and relaxed while enjoying the view. Others did walk to the cave, what will take about 90min. After that we all had a lunch at the restaurant on the beach. After lunch we took the boat back again and continued our trip to Chumphon where we did stay at the beautiful "Novotel Chumphon Resort".

Visiting the (in)famous Hell Fire Pass in Kanchanaburi

While in Kanchanaburi we did visit the (in)famous Hell Fire Pass & Museum. The Hell Fire Pass thanks his name to the hell that the POW's endured during WorldWar 2 building the Death Railway from Bangkok to Burma (Myanmar). You can walk a 800m trail to the place where POW's by hand cleared a small rocky mountain for the railway. At the beginning of the trail is a museum to explain the hardship of the POW's and how life was in those days. This is about 70km west of Kanchanaburi city. The photo is showing the Hell Fire Pass where the railroad used to be.