A Travellerspoint blog

Day: 13-15 Journy to Luang Prabang, Laos!

sunny 30 °C

Another sunny day, with a cool one in my hand. oh its tough being a tourist!

After Chiang Mai we did a quick stopover in Chiang Rai, it turns out there was not a whole lot to do but lounge by the pool so we took it like champs and did just that. :) Our "rock star" budget is doing very well for us, even when we try and stay somewhere dirt cheap we still end up with a pool and hot water, booyah!

The two days to follow was our journey to our next country Laos, "land of the elephants" so I'm told, oh and the coffee is great too! We had a few options to take, option A: a 12 hour bus ride...NO. Option B: a two-day long-boat ride or option C: a 6 hour fast-boat. Option C sounds like a great idea doesn't it? and you're probably wondering why we didn't take it? (well I know my Mom isn't wondering why) but for the rest of you...heres why :) Those risky enough to take on this feat are required to wear helmets and lifejacks at all times because of the low water levels. The levels create a great flipping ground for the boats because of the hidden rocks lying just beneath the water's surface. 4 fella's in our group had decided to take on this venture and risk their lifes...the guide asked them infront of all of us "Are you sure you want to do this...are you sure....?" anyways two of them took the 12 bus ride and yes the other two lived, we saw them today...arriving one day ahead of us.

Back to our long boat, the boat seats about 70, relatively comfortably. There are benches with tables, laying grounds and some seats facing forward. However, we didn't have 70 on our boat, we had 110, plus one rooster and one toilet eek! By the end, we were all super close and comfortable with each other and enjoyed the ride. Our own lil "Noah's Ark." Our handy guide recommended us to buy cushions for the journy and it was a great thing we did, wooden floors will hurt anyone's bottom after 6hrs.

To say the least, the views are amazing and the ride went quicker than we thought it would, with our first night spend in Pack Bang. A very small community on the side of a mountain, using only generators to run the town. The town's income comes mainly from the boat tours. Diana and I were well aware that everyone on our boat and the other boat heading in the same direction, plus one other from the opposite direction were all planning to sleep in the same little town that night, so we had to act fast! Together we decided Id get off the boat quick, run up the mountain and get us a room before the others unloaded their bagged and trudged up behind, while Diana stayed with the bags. (Mastering both sets of bags on those evil stairs). So I did just that, after a million stairs my "tunnel princess vision" led me to this beautiful resort over-looking the river...it was crazy expensive. I somehow managed to pull myself away from this dream and jump back into reality and find us a great place for $3.00 a night. what a steal! So I'm running back down the hill with my key and hand to meet Diana and grab our bags while people are shouting to me "Team Canada, how did you get a room so fast?" (my new nickname after wearing my red canadian sweater so much) I think I may have been the first one to get a room in the whole village.

We met some great people on our journey, lots of time to chat and get to know people when you only have enough space for your bottom. Rum and cokes all around I say....too fun.

So after another 8hour day on the long boat, we arrived safe at our destination Luang Prabang where the once group of two had turned into a group of 9. Nine people trying to make a decision on where to stay was borderline disastorous and brutely painful! After an hour of haggeling and down-right refusal we finally settled on a less-than rock-star style of a place....but we're all together and thats the main thing right ;)

Cheers to one country down and 3 to go! Until next time.....

Thank you to all the comments, much appreciated!

Posted by thai 2011 06:05 Archived in Laos Comments (3)

Day: 11 & 12 Elephant and Jungle Trek

sunny 30 °C

Hello Hello All!

Diana and I are feeling much better now :) and had an amazing last two days exploring the jungle both on foot and elephant! Our first day with the elephants was nothing like we'd ever experienced before. We had a brief lesson on commands in Thai and then off we went to practice with our elephants.

So there I am standing alone infront of this gigantic creature, shouting this command in Thai (hopefully getting the prounciation right) so I can get on her. (Just slightly intimidating). She slowly lowers her head to the ground while tucking her trunk neatly underneath her and simotaniously lifting her back leg up. Then..... you run!.... towards her.... lunging yourself onto her head. Once your body is clinging tightly to her head and your hands grabbing onto the skin behind her ears she lifts her head up and you're on....backwards...but none the less, you're on! after she stops moving you turn around....and place yourself snuggly behind her ears and the nape of the neck and are ready to take charge.

Diana and I both had many opporunities to take the front seat on our elephant and try our newly learned commands while the trainers walked with us below. It was very easy to get the commands mixed up when trying to make the elephant go left or right, often the trainer would be laughing at me and say "noooo not Whhhwwhhyyyyy its Whhhhaaaaa" Here I was trying to say right, right right...and really I was saying Buffalo buffalo buffalo....no wonder the thai man was laughing at me :) poor elephant....it didn't really matter though, they didn't listen to us anyways.

We took the elephants in the river where we got to bathe them, and unintentionally have a huge water fight. It adds a new dynamic though having this large beast in the water with you and could potentially roll over you at any moment, they were pretty easy-going though and I think they like the scrub. Shortly after we gave them a mudbath, it sounds backwards but the mud is what helps protect their skin. The group got just as muddy as the elephants...too fun.

Our second day was the trek....5hrs of up and down, no messing around, jungle hiking business! It was another incredible sunny day with views one can only dream about. We treked to a waterfall where we had lunch and from there hiked to a bat cave. Diana was the only one that went in with the guide, the cave was huge...she took pictures and that was good enough for me :)

We leaving Chiang Mai today for Chiang Rai, on a 4hr bus....a quick lil journey onto our next pit-stop before we head over to Laos.
Thinking of you!

we'd love to hear your comments....please write

Posted by thai 2011 19:09 Archived in Thailand Comments (4)

Day: 9 & 10 Sick Days :(

sunny 30 °C

Soooo....

Diana and I have officially had our first sick days, we knew it was bound to happen at some point but I wasn't expecting such a hard blow and so soon into our journey. Now I'm feeling better today and Diana is the one in bed now. At least we planned it so only one victim requires the use of the toilet at a time :). We started a point system last week so I got 5 points for being sick first....whoo hoo. ha in the grand scheme of things it wasn't worth it. We also give points for who met the first Canadian on our travels, first to eat mystery meet from a market stand, first to swim in the Mae Kong river...its fun.

The street vendors have a variety of amazing local fruit to try, I couldn't pronounce half the names of the fruit I ate but most of them were pretty good. Some we had to throw away....it tasted like onions. I have a picture of the fruit in this blog it looks like a Dinosaur egg on the outside...huge...and nasty. But I can't even begin to describe to you how much the flavours of pinapple, mangos and papaya burst in your mouth...its so delicious. The fresh fruit shakes are my favorite! (mb with a lil vodka).

More to write later....chow!

Posted by thai 2011 22:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Day 5-8: Trip to Chang Mai

sunny 30 °C

Hello All!

We have so much to share its hard to know where to begin :) Our journey to Chang Mai was quite the feat to say the least. It started off with a very helpful Thai directing us to what we thought was the appropriate bus to Lopburi (our half-way stop to Chang Mai). After two hours of travel we were quickly scooted off the bus and left standing on the street with our bags in tow knowing that something didn't feel right. The trip felt too short, so of-course we asked around. Very soon we realized that this was not Lopburi but Ratchaburi (we went south...not north). We asked a taxi driver to take us to the bus station ...."where you want to go?"...."Lopburi" we said...."this is Lopburi"....no...."can you please take us to the bus station"...."where you want to go?...."Lopburi".....ahhhh I unfortunately do not have a lot of patience for this, but apparently Diana did and so she proceeded to flip through our travel guide for the appropriate words to help get some answers. We didn't get any....lol just a big smile and a lot of 'yes nods' after a few minutes of Diana practicing her Thai I said "to Bangkok?" and he said...."right over there".... ha so 10 meters away was a bus heading back to bangkok to get us back on track.

After traveling 4hrs by bus to Bangkok we decided to try a train....hmmm not the best idea, hard seats, a ton of stops and not very scenic. We finally arrived in Lopburi at 930 at night where we were meeting up with a travel buddy who had been waiting for us to arrive all afternoon. The hostel we were planning on staying at turned out to be full and as we were leaving the man asked if we had a friend...."Yes I have a friend"...anyways, our new travel buddy had booked us a room, while he was staying down the street. It saved our butts after such a long day.

The following day was 10hrs on a bus....never again. (apparently the flight was 1hr from Bangkok and only $40). I was so hungry I ate meat on stick from a vendor at the bus station who kept answering me in Thai when I asked if it was chicken. It wasn't chicken! or pork or beef....it was nasty! I should have known better, no one else was buying the meat....lol. It didn't make me sick Lesson learned!

We decided to splurge a little and stay in a nicer place with hot water, toilet paper, a shower and a toilet with plumbing. Its crazy how much you can miss that stuff...who knew! Honestly though, all the places we've stayed in are very clean with well kept gardens and amazing staff. Some are just more simplistic than others and a cold shower on a hot day can be very refreshing. Everyday so far as been hot and sunny, and definately not as humid as I thought it would be. very compareable to the Okanagan.

Yesterday we went to an insect zoo. It sounds a lil weird but it was amazing. butterflies, beetles, dragon-flies and catapilars from around the world. They even had a butterfly farm and live beetles, scorpians and spiders. We had our own tour guide who would take the insects out of their cages and hold them so I could take better pictures. Shortly after we went to the snake farm...I protested...but eventually went and squealed the whole time during a snake show. Not fun in my opinion. :)

Through our travel guide a resturant called Huen Phen was recommended and we were told by the front desk that it was close enough to walk and the food is amazing. She asked..."where's the boy?....is he lazy?" ha the guy we had been traveling with had done his own thing for the day so he wasn't around to join us but it was commical to hear here refer to him as that :) so off we go on our trek to find this place for dinner. Its important for you to know that most of the streets do not have names or are rarely posted...so two hours later we find the place only to here they've shut down early for the evening. ha. of course. so back to the travel guide that recommends another amazing place called Huen Huay Kaew that over looks a waterfall. Trying to say Thai names and getting the accent right is another ordeal in itself. So after altering the word several time. The cab driver nods and takes off on a crazy maze through town. The cab is really a pickup truck that has benches in the back with a canopy....realively safe :) The driver points to the sign of the place and says the name. we nod and thank him. but you think we could find the place....no.... instead we end up walking right into this guy's back yard. We roll in and say "is this huen huay Kaew" ...to his reply...."no this is my home"....lol thank goodness I was wearing my Canada hoodie. They were just young guys so it wasn't a biggie. and honestly some restuarants look like homes....so hard to tell. Finally we make it, the views are amazing...and Diana's food is too spicy to handle. Her eyes were watering and nose was running, what a night!!!! Western food here we come!

So today....we went for an hour and a half pedicures and foot massages and layed by the pool! Great relaxing day. Tonight we're off to the night bazaar to do a little shopping. Tomorrow we're doing an elephant trek through the jungle where we get to play in the mud and then bathe them in the river afterwards. Should be fun.

I think I'm on Thai time now....life happens when it happens....feels good! I'll write after our second trek. (in 3 days)
xoxo

Posted by thai 2011 01:12 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Day 4-5: Day Trips from Kanchanaburi

semi-overcast 24 °C

Wow, a crazy two days have flown by...and I have to say it "being a tourist is hard work" :) ok not really but sometimes...

Note to self, do not book a 10 hr tour when you're still recovering from jet leg....bad idea. To say the least we got a ton of touristy stuff in and learned a lot about the history and culture of the Thai people.

I used a squater for the first time (a toilet without a bowl or tank) that is flushed by you pouring a bowl full of water down it. You literally stand on something like a toilet seat and .....go. oh and don't forget the toilet paper, cause there is none. ;) I learned that you shouldn't ask how much something is unless you plan on buying it...."why you ask how much if you no buy?" lol and....if someone is taking your picture, its not because they think you're pretty ...its because they're putting your face on a plate as a souvenir for you...ha so needless to say I have some not so pretty shots, maybe I even used a lil "stink-eye" on them.

Today we had a great day, by far the best! We took a bus to the next town called Erawan where we trekked 2km up this mountain to view the 7 tiered water falls. The trek was amazing. The waterfall is so huge you can't see the whole thing from one place. Each level has its own beautiful waterfall with mini pools and amazing scenery. So finally we make it to the top, (not the easiest hike) and jump in the water...we're hot and sweaty so we're stoked to rinse off and relax in the falls when all of a sudden we feel something randomly nibbling our legs all over. I can't tell you how freaky it is to have something do this...it was all the fish eating the dead skin off of us. I screamed of course, Diana laughed and all the russian women giggled...ha. I launched myself outta the water so fast!!! and sat on the edge while Diana let them have a four course dinner. joking ;) she's much braver than I.

We saw our first monkey...don't worry we didn't feed it or get to close. It was climbing down the tree when I noticed it so I slowly grabbed my camera to take a pic and then it fell out of the tree. (only 3 feet) Diana thought it was drunk, cause it just layed there for a moment. Seconds later it sat up and watched us, then hobbled away. (I think its foot was broken). Anyways, it was really cute and weird to see without a cage being between us.

Tomorrow is our travel day, we're heading north to a town called Lopburi on our way to Chang Mai by bus. I'm thinking it will take 5 or so hours and then from there we'll get on a night train with sleeping cars so that'll be nice.

Somehow we've managed to avoid doing any booking or planning and I can't tell you how perfect things have worked out so far...its really great timing so hopefully tomorrow is the same.

Thinking of you all, hope you're enjoying the pics as much as we are taking them. Here's to another chapter!

Posted by thai 2011 03:26 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Day 3-4: Kanchanaburi

sunny 30 °C

Hello All,

After a 2hr bus ride and a 15min man-powered carriage-bicycle ride (for $1.50) we've made it to a town called Kanchanaburi. We're staying at a quant place called the Jolly Frog on the river Koa :) it's simple and clean, no hot water or tv but there's a/c ;) and a very beautiful view (the sunset was amazing). It's a much different environment then our last accomadations but perfect in its own way.

Meeting lots of great travellers who've shown us the in's and out's of this town who we just finished an amazing Thai meal (Diana may not agree with me on that lol ). Tomorrow we're booked for a tour that views the Sai Yok Noi Waterfalls, the hellfire pass museum, hot springs, Krasae Cave and the death railway. We're gone for the whole day so to unwind we'll splurge on a 1hr thai massage (for $5). So fun!

Its still hard to believe we're here... there's so much to see and do its mind blowing. Our jet lag has finally subsided and we are able to stay up past 10pm ;)

Thinking of you all
Therese and Diana

Posted by thai 2011 06:06 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Day 1: Bangkok

sunny 28 °C

Hello Everyone, Diana and I have made it safe and sound after a 21hr flight and 15hr time change. The flight went by reletively quick and without delays.

Our first accomadations are rather extravegant to say the least and will be very short lived...but for the mean time we're living it up like royalty ;) The weather here is like a hot summer's day in the Okanagan, with a pleasant tropical breeze to take the edge off.

We've recently learned our please and thank-yous and our yes and nos, So we're off this afternoon for some sightseeing to the 'Old City' in Bangkok to check out the temples and markets. While this evening we're off to the glass enclosed root top bar in Thailand's tallest building on the 88th floor!

Our next stop is Kanchanaburi which is 140km west of Bangkok where we'll take in the cave temples, tribal villages, waterfalls, elephant rides and bamboo rafting. Getting there might be interesting but thats tomorrows adventure ;)

We send our love and miss you all. More to come soon...

Posted by thai 2011 16:47 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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