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A day in Chiang Mai

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During a motorbike trip in North Thailand I did stay 2 nights in Chiang Mai. I have been many times in Chiang Mai, so I lost count of how many times. But nowadays I come there to enjoy good western food as that is in Nan very limited to get. And this time I went shopping for some motorbike related things. So I choose my hotel cheap, with private parking for my motorbike and near the old center of Chiang Mai. This time it was Imm Thapae Hotel. I still like the old center of Chiang Mai with the small streets, small restaurants and markets. The first evening I had dinner at the always good Chez Marco Restaurant (highly recommended) at Loi Kroh road. The second night I had a much less good experience at another restaurant (no I won't mention the name) but for the first time in at least 20 years I did send it back with the remark to throw it away. I do not know what they did with my Beef Filet but it did look like it was overrun by a truck and it did smell & tasted like it had bee…

Shopping at Lamduan Woven Shop in Pua

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People coming to Nan province and especially people coming to Pua would like to see the famous Tai Lue & Hmong traditional cloths. And they are still handmade in the small villages of Pua but at Lamduan Woven Shop you can see and buy them. Lamduan Woven Shop is located right along route 1081, about 5 km east of Pua town and right next to the famous Ban Tai Lue Cafe. The shop is frequently visited by Thai tourist and in the high season there might even be a traffic jam at route 1081. Following are some photos I took at Lamduan Woven Shop.






Drinking a hot choco at Ban Tai Lue Cafe in Pua

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Sorry no photo of my hot choco but Ban Tai Lue Cafe is located right along route 1081, about 5 km from  Pua town and right next to the famous Lamduan Woven Shop. And it is more as just one of the many coffee shops in Nan province. Ban Tai Lue Cafe is setup very photogenic (for Instagram and selfies) with a big rice-field garden and sala's in between that are connected with a wooden walk-path. And as Tai Lue & Hmong handmade woven fabrics from Pua are famous the all shop is decorated with many of them. Actually Ban Tai Lue Cafe has became famous for Thai tourists who come to Pua. Recently they did just rebuild the all coffee shop and now are also showing some very nice handmade woven "paintings". Following are some more photos. About the hot choco .... it was good but served in a single-use plastic cup! I think that is not done anymore!




Travel Tips : Hotels in Cambodia

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While traveling a lot I of course stay in many hotels, not only in Thailand but also in Cambodia. If you click on the label Staying at .... then you will see all postings that I made about staying in hotels anywhere in the past 10 years. But I love statistics so I made a list of all hotels I stayed in Thailand. And this posting is about all hotels in stayed in Cambodia. Maybe this list of hotels helps you choosing your hotel in Cambodia. This list of hotels in Cambodia starts September 2010 and is last updated at 10 February 2020. For all postings about hotels in Cambodia see Staying in Cambodia.

Accommodation & Hotels marked with ⭐️ are favourite hotels of me, sometimes because of the wonderful service or breakfast buffet. Sometimes because of the good location, then also marked with  🌏.
Battambang - Bambu Hotel ⭐️Battambang - La Villa HotelBan Lung - Ratana ResortBan Lung - Ratana City HotelBan Lung - Terres Rouges Lodge ⭐️Ban Lung - Tree Top LodgeKampong Cham - Mekong HotelKam…

Another sunset in Pua

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Last week I was walking with our dog and was watching this stunning sunset over the "rice" fields of Ban Hia, near the famous Wat Phuket. As you might know I love sunsets and sunrise's.

Enjoying the Tat Luang Waterfall in Pua

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Despite it is the dry season (no rain since 3 months) we did go to the Tat Luang Waterfall in Pua. Yes there is not so much water but it is still a great place to go and there is still enough water to play in the water. The Tat Luang Waterfall is about 15 km south-east of Pua town or 45 km from Nan town, just a short 2 km partly dirt road from route 1081. Easy accessible but do not go there during rain, as the last 1 km dirt road will be not safe to drive. The Tat Luang Waterfall in the forrest of the Doi Phu Kha mountains and although being a part of Doi Phu Kha National Park there is (until now) no entrance fee. It is one of my favourite waterfalls in Nan because it is easy to get there and the area is so beautiful. For more information see Tat Luang Waterfall. Following are some more photos.









A sea of red lotus flowers at Udon Thani

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At Nong Han Kumphawapi Lake (20 km South-East of Udon Thani) from December until February / March the lake is filled with Red Lotus Flowers. It is an amazing thing to see. Best is to visit early in the day, actually arriving just before sunrise. There are small and a bit bigger boats to make a trip over the lake. You can choose for a short or long trip. The long trip is about 1 hour and costs 500 Thai baht. The boat can hold about 6 - 8 people (they say 10 but I would not do that). There are life-jackets on every boat. Now they say Red Lotus Flowers .... but actually they are pink. The lake is easy to find as along every main road nearby are signs in English (Talee Bua Deang) and Thai. You can park your car (there is no public transport) nearby a temple along the lake. There are a few simple restaurants and there is food & drink for sale. Well This Is Thailand so it would be weird if there would be not food. Another spectacular thing to watch on the lake are the small birds that …

Clean water, you might take it for granted

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What is above photo? Well it are water filters, left the old one. And right how this filter looked when it was new. When living in my home country I took clean water for granted. We even used drinking water for the garden or to wash our car. But once you are living upcountry in Thailand you realise that having clean water is a privilege. At the location of our new house (since May 2019) we do not have connection to a public water system. So we had a water well made in our garden. But as you guess this water is not 100% clean, so we installed a water filter system. The first filter is an Mazuma sediment filter (M1F-3) with an R-30 Pleated R-30 Filter. When we bought the all system (with 2 other filters) we were told to clean them every 6 months. So well now at almost 10 months it might be time to clean them. So yesterday I did replaced the sediment filter. The replacement itself is easy but getting the replacement when you are living in upcountry Pua was a bit challenging. I went to 2…

Chinese graves Chonburi

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This post was originally posted in 2011, in the time I was still living nearby Pattaya and exploring nearby Chonburi by motorbike. I have always had an interest in history and graves & cemeteries make part of that history. Even in my home country I find it interesting to walk over old or abandoned cemeteries. When I was in Indonesia I did visit the cemeteries from the old Dutch people living there before. In Thailand there are not so much cemeteries because most Thai will be cremated at the temple and their ashes will be put in a small urn. But the Thai-Chinese like to make a place of remembrance and honour for their family. At some places you see the huge Chinese cemeteries, which prove that there must be huge Chinese community in Thailand and already for a long time. But not only like a big cemetery, also private graves just for one family or even 1 person. There are a few things that they have in common, they are all build in a kind of small hill and even on a real hill facing…

Farming in Pua

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Despite it being the dry season (and it has not been raining for 3 months) there is always water in the valley of Pua. There are many small rivers coming from the mountains of Doi Phu Kha that supply water for the farmers. So around our homestay Non Na Pua there is always something growing. Of course in the raining season there is rice. Some farmers start early and can even do 2 rice harvests per year. But most people do only 1 rice harvest and after that they start to grow other things like peanuts, corn, chilli's, onions, garlic or leaves to be used for smoking tobacco. So around our homestay it is always green! Following are some photos of what is growing around us.






Oliebollen at last

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Oliebollen (deep fried doughnut balls) are a traditional Dutch speciality normally eaten when celebrating New Year. In December you will see on the streets Oliebollen. But well that is all lacking when living in Thailand. But of course the Dutch roots can not be hidden under a palmtree so when I was in my home country last year I did not only eat oliebollen on the street but I did also buy a pack of Oliebollen Mix. It is easy to make, just a pack of special flower, mixed with dried raisins, 2 eggs and 300cc of water is all mixed together in 2 min. In the meanwhile the olie is heated to 190℃. Then balls of dough are fried for about 4 to 5 min in the hot oil. Before served to people some powdered sugar is scattered over the oliebollen. I still love it! It brings back memories of good days as child in my home country. And I like sweet cookies, so this is perfect. Even my Thai wife likes them.

Running our homestay Non Na Pua

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Since December 2019 we are running our homestay called "Non Na Pua - นอนนา ปัว", what in Thai means something like "Sleeping / relaxing between the rice fields of Pua". It is only 1 bungalow in our 1 rai garden, so we are living almost right next to it. But still have our own privacy as well that guests have their own privacy. Our bungalow can be booked via Booking, Agoda, Airbnb or directly with us via our facebook page or just by calling us. November, December and January are high-season months here in Nan province, so we should actually have openend at least 1 month earlier. In Nan province 95% of the tourists are Thai so that is our main target. Following are some statistics from the past 2 months and forecast for the next few months.

December :
Occupancy rate : 65%Direct bookings : 50%Walk-in booking : 0No shows : 0Cancelations : 2Thai guests per night : 70%Average nights per booking : 1.5January : Occupancy rate : 35%Direct bookings : 40%Walk-in booking : 1No s…

Travel Tips : Hotels in Vietnam

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While traveling a lot I of course stay in many hotels, not only in Thailand but also in Vietnam. If you click on the label Staying at .... then you will see all postings that I made about staying in hotels anywhere in the past 10 years. But I love statistics so I made a list of all hotels I stayed in Thailand. And this posting is about all hotels in stayed in Vietnam. Maybe this list of hotels helps you choosing your hotel in Vietnam. This list of hotels in Vietnam starts mid 2019 and is last updated at 5 February 2020. For all postings about hotels in Vietnam see Staying in Vietnam.

Accommodation & Hotels marked with ⭐️ are favourite hotels of me, sometimes because of the wonderful service or breakfast buffet. Sometimes because of the good location, then also marked with  🌏.
Can Tho - TTC Can Tho Hotel (riverside) 🌏Doi Hong - Muong Thanh HotelHalong city - City Bay Palace HotelHanoi - Amadas HotelHoi An - Kim An HotelHoi An - Lotus HotelHue - Thanh Lich Royal Boutique Hotel (ce…

Travel Tips : The weather in North Thailand

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I am living now in Thailand for 20 years and I have never seen such a weather like we are seeing now. Yes the weather has changed, not only in Thailand but worldwide I think. It is now 9 February 2020 and in the evening, night and morning it is still cold (well for Thai standards) in Nan province, North Thailand (see photo above). Normally it would be cold in the mountains of Thailand from mid December to mid January. But it is now begin February, we have not used the air-conditioning for 3 months and we are still sleeping under a thick blanket. In the morning I am wearing a warm pullover. And it is not only still cold it is also dry. Very dry. Actually it has not been raining since 3 months. And the forecast is that it will not be raining in the next 2 or 3 months. So it is going to be dry, very very dry. Not good for farmers! Luckily we are living nearby mountains, from where many small rivers are going to the valley. And although there is not much water in this rivers, there is un…

Travel Tips : Corona virus

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To date of today 8 February 2020 I assume that anyone with access to news media knows that since December 2019 there is a flu-like virus going over almost all the world. In the media this flu-like virus is called Corona, but actually is labelled 2019-nCov. As Corona is a family name of a virus. The medical world does not know yet much about this virus except that it can be transmitted from human to human, it has an incubation time of 14 days and that you can die from it. The latter said, you can also die from any ordinary flu-virus. But currently there are worldwide at 7 February 2020 more as 31.000 people confirmed to have the virus and 637 people died of the virus. But mostly (97%) in China. But the numbers are growing daily. Outside China there have been confirmed people with the virus in Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia,  India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, UK, Russia, Belgium, Finland, Spain,  Sweden…

Staying at Lotus Hotel in Hoi An, Vietnam

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The Lotus Hotel is located not far from the famous old city of Hoi An and with nearby shops and restaurants. The rooms are situated in a tropical garden setting and with a swimming pool between the tropical trees. The rooms are a bit old fashioned decorated but clean and spacious. Each room has private balcony and private bathroom with shower. And of course each room has air-conditioning, TV and a fridge. And in room is served drinking water in a refill-bottle that you can refill in the lobby, so no waste of plastic bottles. Lotus Hotel offers bicycles, but they are not free (rental). Lotus Hotel also offers a very good breakfast buffet and has a restaurant for lunch & dinner. All together a nice hotel and good value for money. Photo above is not my photo but looks like the room I did stay in. For more information see : Lotus Hotel Hoi An.

Travel Tips : Air quality in Thailand

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Photo above is a screen-shot from the website Air Visual at 6 February 2020 and shows the air quality of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. And as you see it is not very good. And it is not only not good in the area of Chiang Mai but actually all over Central Thailand (Bangkok), North-East Thailand and North Thailand. And to make it worse the air quality is not only in Thailand unhealthy but also in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And it is basically already like this for  at least 2 months. All we can do is waiting for rain, what is unlikely in February to happen. Actually more likely somewhere end of April.

According to the AirVisual app as of 6 February 2020 * the air quality in Thailand is :
Nan province = 155 (Unhealthy)Chiang Mai = 122 (Unhealthy for sensitive groups)Chiang Rai = 129 (Unhealthy for sensitive groups)Khon Kaen = 144 ((Unhealthy for sensitive groups)Udon Thani = 157 (Unhealthy)Bangkok      = 74 (Moderate)Pattaya        = 101 (Unhealthy for sensitiv…

Staying at Gold Hotel in Hue, Vietnam

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The Gold Hotel in Hue is located in the center of Hue nearby restaurants and shops. A great location, it if had not been during the TET festival when most restaurants and shops are closed. The Gold Hotel is a bit older but very well renovated and decorated hotel. The Gold Hotel has a restaurant for breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner. The Gold Hotel offers a gym, swimming pool and parking. Photo above is not my photo but it looks like the room I did stay in. For more information see : Gold Hotel Hue.

Staying at City Bay Palace Hotel in Halong city, Vietnam

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City Bay Palace Hotel is located in Halong city but at a bit awkward location, being a bit out of the center. But with stunning view over the karsten mountains in Halong Bay. It is a brand new modern hotel with a bit small but comfortable rooms. City Bay Palace Hotel serves a good breakfast buffet and the restaurant also serves lunch & dinner (except with the TET festival). All together good value for the money, but location-wise not my cup of tea. Photo above is not my photo but is looks like the room I had. For more information see : City Bay Place Hotel.

Old photos of Hanoi, Vietnam

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Here a serie of photos from the past, called Blast From The Past. I found an old box of photos .... here a small selection of some photos from Hanoi and Halong Bay in Vietnam. The photos are probably made in 1996 or 1997. Some photos might be horizontal flipped and some photos might need a WB adjustment (thanks Spike).