A travel blog as inspiration for Traveling, Living & Motorbike riding in Thailand with Destination Travel Guides about North & North-East Thailand.
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Schoolgirls in Vientiane, Laos
In my series of Faces of Asia, here a photo taken in Dec'2015 in Vientiane at the Patuxai or Victory Gate (what would better be called the most ugly copy of the world famous L'Arc De Triomphe in Paris).
While living in Thailand I was already many years thinking about starting a small guesthouse. But living in Bangkok, Pattaya or Khon Kaen that seemed not the right location for the kind of guesthouse that I wanted to start. But when we found our new home in Pua, Nan province I knew this would become the place to start our guesthouse or homestay. So when we finished building our own house between the rice fields of Pua we started at the next project "our bungalow". And the creation of our bungalow is almost finished, just the finishing touch have to be done. We are calling it "Non Nan Pua", what in Thai means “Sleeping / relaxing between the rice fields”. A place where guests can relax in comfort and enjoy the view over the rice fields & the mountains of Doi Phu Kha. And as our bungalow is between the Tai Lue villages Ban Ket and Ban Hia it is also the perfect location to experience the real local way of slow life in Pua.
It is rice harvesting in the valley of Pua. Groups of farmers work together to harvest the rice by hand. Today the land of farmer Som, tomorrow the land of farmer Gan. Although this plot was about 2 rai (about 3.200 sqm) it was done in half a day with about 10 people. The cut rice is now drying in the sun and later a threshing machine will come to the land to thresh the rice (what gives a lot of small dust particulars in the air).
As usual when friends visit us in Pua we do visit the Wat Sri Mongkol, originally named the Wat Kong, near Tha Wang Pha. About 45 km north of Nan town and 15 km from Pua town. Just 4 years ago it was just a local temple with a nice local style museum and a stunning view. Now it is one of Nan's temple highlights to visit. What results in many people visiting this temple to make photos, mostly selfies. But still a fun place to visit. Following are a few photos I made this time.
For the merit of the future of our new homestay (and for the family of my wife) we did visit a local so called jungle temple. It is a small forrest where a groups of Buddhist monks are managing a simple temple. And one of the monks ever had the idea of building from a scooter a TukTuk. So the right rear wheel is actually the rear-half of a scooter, incl. the engine & chain. Extended building created something that looks like a TukTuk but with 4 wheels and a bit weird steering construction. Not sure if it is still in working order but the kids loved to play in it.
While passing Wat Hia in the evening it did look so beautiful with all the lights that I had to stop and make some photos. No, it is not an old temple but beautiful designed and build in Tai Lue style. Following are 2 more photos. On the walls are murals of the destruction of the old temple after a storm and the building of the new temple. The new temple is designed by a local architect.
At the sound of the temple I did wake-up, took a shower and hit the road with my motorbike for a short ride to Nanthaburi National Park in Nan province, North Thailand. Easy as I am living nearby, so even with an extension to the hill-tribe village Ban Sop Sai it is only 60km one-way. But the last 3 km to Nanthaburi National Park is a kind of dirt road. The HQ of Nanthaburi National Park is at 1279m high and has a nice camping ground and viewpoint. If you want to go higher you have to take a very shitty dirt road for another 1500m with some steep parts. So I skipped that. I had breakfast with a Thai couple camping here. Following are more photos. For route info see the map all the way down or click Route from Pua to Nanthaburi National Park.
When traveling from my home town to my home country I had to stay 1 night in Bangkok as my flights to and from Bangkok did not connect. So I did choose a hotel that is near the Airport Rail Link to Suvarnabhumi Airport. And the Mercure Bangkok Makkasan Hotel is indeed only about 400m from the Airport Rail Link Makkasan station. For more information see Mercure Bangkok Makkasan Hotel.
I had a smooth & fast check-in and although I arrived a bit early I could use my room directly. The room is not so big but comfortable and has everything you need. In the afternoon I wanted to go shopping and wanted to take the free shuttle-bus service to MRT station Makkasan. But as this free shuttle service is only going once every 30min I just missed it. So instead of waiting I just walked it, took me just a bit more as 5min. Be aware there is no side-walk. This ritual repeated itself in the evening. But then the MRT station was totally crowded so I walked to Asoke & Sukhumvit, what was a bit …
Sunset from my room on the flanks of Doi Pha Tang at the Thai-Lao border in Chiang Rai province, North Thailand. This viewpoint is also called "Pratu Sayam" or "Door to Siam", as on the top are to big rocks with an opening (door) from where you overlook Laos. This was my last night of a 3 days/2nights motorbike trip from Pua (Nan province, North Thailand) to Huay Xai (Laos). In the next days a full trip-report (with maps) will follow but one thing is sure ... it was a stunning trip!
Stunning location! I did stay here 1 night in November 2019 and I loved it! And as usual I always write a short review of all places I stay, now 259 Hotels, Homestay's and Guesthouses in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Have a look at Accommodation where I did stay. I have been a few times at Doi Pha Tang but did never stay overnight there. And I always passed this hotel of what I thought should have a stunning sunset view. So this time I did stay here. OK the rooms are a bit old but nicely & recently renovated. All rooms have private balcony with stunning sunset view. And all rooms have a private bathroom with toilet, shower with hot water. In the room is a fridge and free drinking water. The hotel has a restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But breakfast is served at 8:00am, what is a bit late for me so I left before breakfast. The room is a bit overpriced but it is all about location and as said the location is stunning. Staff speaks a little bit English and is …
I was meeting a friend and together we did visit the Kunst Hal in Rotterdam where was the impressive retrospective exhibition ‘Joana Vasconcelos. I’m Your Mirror’, featuring the work of the famous Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos (1971). And there was also an the exhibition ‘Joost Swarte everywhere’ that pays homage to fifty years of drawing by presenting a cross section of Swarte’s body of work – from his first cartoons, original drawings, sketches, designs and objects to his most recent work.
We did start with Joana Vasconcelos. I’m Your Mirror, the photo above "Don't shoot the messenger" is a huge pistol made out of old telephones. The photo under is a small helicopter dressed like a bird.
After the first exhibition we walked into the exhibition "Joost Swarte Everywhere".