Category Archives: Asia

Asia

Pai – Thailand

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Finished Songkran, we decided to go to Pai, a small village at about 150km north from Chiang Mai, next with the border to Myanmar.

Actually, we didn’t really know, apparently all the tourist/travellers tend to go to Pai after Songkran and buses were full, we went with the public bus directly from Chiang Mai and we had to wait two hours for a bus and on the way back people advised us to buy the return ticket at least one day before.

The road to Pai is very nice and very winding, the first time I went there in 2014 I was hitchhiking a pickup and it was so hard not to be sick!

The village is quite small with a hippie/organic/yoga vibe, I’ve still mixed feelings about it as I like very much the natural farming all around but it’s full, FULL of tourists and shops for tourist and the stalls and restaurants serve food that is adapted to foreigners, so not really spicy (weird for a country that has spices in almost every dishes). 

We didn’t book anything so we just walked around, crossed a quite unstable bamboo bridge and found ourselves in the middle of fields where we found a lovely and quite hut with a bed and a hammock for about 4$ per night.

We took a motorbike for 24 hours and it’s a good deal because everything around is outside the village and around the mountains.
We went to the waterfalls but we were quite disappointed as in this moment Thailand there is no rain and the waterfalls were simply dry.
There are, of course, temples all around, a giant statue of Buddha, a Chinese village, a lake (still dry) and a canyon.

At the end, despite some distress, it was worth seeing the area, it is calm and relaxing, nature is beautiful and it’s nice to get lost in the countryside.

Asia

Songkran in Chiang Mai

This year we decided to celebrate the Songkran festival, the Thai New Year, in Chiang Mai.
The festival marks the beginning of the new solar year and the begin of summer.
The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit and means transformation, change.

According to tradition, people visit temples during festivities and pour water, enriched and perfumed with flower petals,on the Buddha statues for good luck.
Thai people believe that water is spiritually purifying and that washes away sins and bad luck.

So for three days, all the street in Thailand are filled with people, young and old, pouring water on each other in the world biggest water fight.
Nowhere is safe and you’ll never know, until the very last minute, if the bucket of water that is coming upon you is normal or incredibly frozen!

Everyone participates, everyone is friends, everyone smiles.

Do you want to photograph Songkran? Check those tips to survive Songkran as a photographer!

Asia

Ayutthaya and night train

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From Kanchanaburi lake, Huafu took us up to Si Sawat where we were supposed to take a bus. But as we didn’t want to wait one hour and a half, we decided to continue hitchihiking to Lat Ya where we finally took a bus to Ayutthaya.

We didn’t expect much from that city that is about 80 kilometers north of Bangkok but apparently it’s quite common to go on a daily trip there from Bangkok and it’s an UNESCO World Heritage Site so we decided to give it a try.

Well, maybe it’s good for a day but not more. It’s much dirtier than other cities that we visited (that means, big rats everywhere) and there’s nice temples but that’s pretty much all.
We visited Wat Maha That, that is really beautiful, but we tried to walk around the city and it was too hot and we had to go to the train station to buy a ticket for Chiang mai and there’s a river cutting the city in half and to cross the river there’s only one bridge so at the end we were pretty much tired and didn’t enjoy the city very much (we discover in the end that there’s a boat that cross the river for pedestrian for a couple of bath so if you’re going there don’t make the same mistake as us!)

We spent the evening in the station, our train for Chiang mai was only half an hour late (impressive for thai trains) and everything in the station was clear, there was a blackboard with all the train, timetables and delay.
The night train was really nice, clean and confortable.
Only tip: if you book a ticket, ask for the lower bed: I had the top bed and the AC is very strong in the train and came from the ceiling so it will hit you directly on top. And the light in the corridor is always on, there are curtains but on the top bed they don’t cover up to the top and you’ll have the lamp directly in your face.
I finally ended up sleeping in the lower bed with Pawlo.

We arrived in Chiang Mai pretty on time in the morning, ready for Songkran and for a week of craziness.

Asia

Road trip to Kanchanaburi

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Before heading north, in direction of Chiang Mai to celebrate Sonngkran, we spent some days with Huafu and his family and his van on a road trip in the region of Kanchanaburi and around the Sinakharin lake.

The lake is huge so we were able to go change location almost every day, it’s a little touristic (with nice resorts and everything) but not too expensive and, most of all, with no farangs (foreigners) around!!

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Dawn on Srinakarin Lake

In the west coast of the lake there’s a national park with refreshing waterfalls and wild plants, nature is amazing there, we were able to swim in the lake, among fishes and tree branches, to have amazing meals and to finally use our tent.

There were also caves on the way but the entrance fee was 300 thb for foreigners (and I think 100 for thai) and it was a little bit too much for us just to see a cave.
Who knows, maybe it was the best cave in the world..

Asia

Phanom Rung Historical Park and Prasat Muang Tam

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It took us three days of travel (an no real nights) to get to Thailand from Paris: a night bus to Milan, some hours in Delhi airport, knowing that my lovely India with smiles and spices and smell is just outside the window, a night on the floor of Bangkok airport and 5 hours on a freezing bus and here we are.
We are staying at a friend place near Nang Rong for more or less a month, doing nothing but relax, work, eat delicious food, drink beers and play pool.

Despite Pawlo has already been several time in this area, he had never been to the temples around Nang Rong, a good occasion for a good day of tourism (and good food!)

Prasat Hin Phanom Rung is a khmer temple dedicated to the God Shiva. It’s builded in Angkor style and it’s the same style as the Angkor Park in Cambodia.

Prasat Muang is only a 10 minute drive away and it’s possible to buy a ticket for both saving 50 baht.