Monday, March 29, 2010

Chang Mi is the historic capital of Thailand. There have been a number of capitals in the history of the country, but this one is unique. The time of year that we visited is a bit hazy, because they are burning off the rice fields inpreperation for the spring planting, but it was a must see anyway.

There are a number of temples scattered throughout the city. When walking through the city we swung through a few of them.

O.K. this one was interesting. There are times that I am not sure who does the decorating. Can you find what doesn't belong?

Above answer: What in the world is Donald Duck doing at this temple?

BONGGG! Chelsie took the chance to bong the gong.

Nearby one of the temples a local artist worked on a portrait of a monk.

We stayed in the old part of the city. It is quite scenic. You often can see Tuk tuks and bicycles meandering through the windy streets.

A motorcycle with a sidecar. There are many of these. They haul everything from water to vegetables, to people.

I believe that they were harvesting Lotus seed pods. Many people enjoy snacking on them.

A monk takes a rest in a bamboo hut with a leaf roof. They monks in orange are ofter very friendly. They often smile in passing and have even chatted with us on occasion.

It has been a while since Chelsie has bought new clothes. Our style was a bit different that what we had access to in Korea. While in Chang Mi, Chels went on a shopping spree at Chang Mi Cotton. The store was locally owned and the clothes were designed and made in house. She bought a cute blue shirt and two dresses. The brown dress which she is standing next to is one that she purchsed.

Thailand is also known for its silks. We saw so many things made from it. It is beautiful as it changes colors when you tilt it from side to side.

Chelsie did some research before we arrived in Chang Mi and made a fantastic find. We stayed in a very cozy guest house called Charcoa House. They rooms were very nice, the decor was warm, and their small restraunt was fantastic. A number of locals come to enjoy the tastey dishes that they serve.

Our room.

Chels enjoying a piece of Chocolate cake. The black dress is one of her new ones from Chang Mi and I bought her the silver necklace. She is such an elegent young lady. XOXO

I had pasta before desert. It was to die for. The salads were also very good at the Charcoa House too.

Chelsie's wore her new blue blouse the next day and we enjoyed fresh fruit shakes.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Transportation can be really exciting here in South East Asia. There are days that we use many forms of each. I have heard it said before that getting there is half the adventure. Well for 24 hours in this part of our trip it was the adventure.

We left Railay by longtail boat. We were not cruising into darkness this time. The scenery leaving the mountinous beaches was very nice. Chels got some fresh fruit, yoghurt, and musuli and we enjoyed it as we rode the waves back to the main land.

Lontail boats taking a rest.

We have learned very quickly that the bus/van services do not run on a strict time schedule. Flexibility and an easy going attitude is key in getting from point "A" to point "B" stress free.

Here are some transulations for example:
"We are leaving soon"= we might be outta here in 15-45 minutes.
"It is time for rest stop now" = please buy my friends merchandise here
" Time of arrival is 4:00" = You will get there some time later on this evening.

And so on.

Next we took a van.

Then we took another van to Surat Thani.

Then we took a taxi to Surat Thani Airport.

We took a domestic flight from Surat Thani to Bangkok.

A Taxi ride from the airport to the train station in Bangkok.

An overnight train to the cute little town of Chang Mi.

We had a great time on the train. We brought our snacks and enjoyed the scenery until sunset. We mingled with the other travelers and enjoyed swapping stories. Ches and I enjoy watching reruns of Seinfeld that we have on the computer. This helps pass the time.

One of the passengers had bought a guitar during his trip. He was practicing it as we clicked along th tracks.

The staff on the train was great. They were super friendly and very helpful. When you needed your bunk made up they would get clean sheets and a clean blanket and get your bunk all set up. The train AC which was a great bonus.

Taking the second class train ment that we didnt have our own private room. We did have our own section, but when the bunks were made, the bags sit in the isle on luggage racks. Knowing this ahead of time we purchased PackSafe cages for our packs so we could rest easy at night. They will come in handy on the trains in India as well.

Upon arrival in Chang Mi, we took a Tuk Tuk to the hotel.

So as you can see it was quite an adventure getting from point A to point B. It is not always simple in some countries.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Railay, Thailand

We made our way from Ko Tao to Railay beach. Railay has beautiful limestone mountains which jett above the beach line. Arriving was quite an adventure. There is no overland route to the skinny peninsula. It is rather isolated. We arrived after dark. The van dropped us off on the shore and we climbed aboard a longtail boat and rode the waves to Railay in the dark.

The peninsula has two shore lines. The east and the west. One is more of a mangrove type beachline and the other is sandy and more for relaxation. The below pictures are of Raily east.

The beautiful limestone cliffs are famous for rock climbing.

There are lots of locals which have have taken on the reggae look. They are climbers by day and bartenders by night. I think I may have seen Bob Marley.

Chels and I did some hiking around the area. We made a really nice trip to a sunken lagoon, high in one group of mountains.

Local wildlife.

We passed on the Thai tattoos.

Jesse's friend, Mark, gave him a diablo before leaving Korea. They are also known as Chinese tops. Jesse is learning to do different tricks and the beach is a great place to practice.

We took a snorkeling/ island tour trip. It was a great adventure. We got some mango smoothies from a boat vendor at one of the islands.

Longtail boats are like taxis. They take you everywhere. We were part of a group of about 10 on our snorkeling trip.

Although it wasn't as fun as diving, we still saw lots of colorful creatures. Chelsie and I also got plenty of sun that day even though we applied lots of sunscreen.

A very cool looking sail boat anchored in front of the limestone caves on Railay.

Scrambling around on the beach area.

The first night that we arrived in Railay, we were tired and didn't have any accommodations booked. Looking for a place at night is always an experience. We opted for a very cheap bungalow and regretted it immediately. Pretty dirty to say the least. The next day we were able to shop around some more and find a very nice place for just a few more more dollars.

Our philosophy for budget travel is find a nice resort and then stay in the cheapest room that they have.

We hung out at the pool during the afternoons. Diamond Cave Resort was a great place.

With the large amount of limestone mountains in the area there are of course caves too. There was one right behind our hotel that we checked out one evening.

We enjoy trying local foods at the smaller stands. We ran onto some really good papaya salads. While we were on Railay beach we chose to go out for one really nice meal for the sunset on the beach.

We got such a kick out of the rice and veggies served in pineapple that we decided to order ice cream and pineapple for dessert.

The sunset dinner was great.