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Burma and the British

The Burmese - British Colonial Time

South Thailand Travel
Thai Online Shopping with Lazada
Road travel in Thailand 

It's a long but comfortable ride for about 12 hours from the capital to the northern center of Thailand. A bit slow but not bad with 3 stops in a double-decker coach cruiser which moves at an average speed of around 70 km from the flat delta plains near the sea to the northern highlands close to "Golden Triangle".

What are the alternatives to road travel? The train or an aircraft but the best compromise are definitely one of this modern buses. There are two versions, one with four seats in the row and another (VIP version) with 3 seats, the difference in price is about 30%.

Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok north

The Mo Chit Terminal is the start for all travel by coach to the north, west, and east. They also have some connections to the south which makes sense considering that many passengers just want to change to a other direction, read more.


Traveling by bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai starts at Mo Chit
High tech ticket counter by computer including seat allocation

The station it is close to the "Mo Chit BTS Terminal", that's the "Skytrain". Here are dozens of ticket counters and since the transport companies oven have overlapping destinations some guys standing around try to pull you to various counters. Actually don't listen to anyone just have a look around since you need to find the best time and the right fare and they wont tell you this.

The Thais preferred activity is eating
By motor bike from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Some prettty views around Nakhon Sawan

I also made the trip one time from Phuket to Chiang Mai with the Motorbike (above) that were around 1600 km one way and 22 hours driving. Plus 2 stops, one in Tak and one in Hua Hin. Actually the best is to avoid Bangkok completely. The routing is Phuket - Ratchaburi - Nakhon Phanom - Nakhon Sawan (which translates to ..in heaven) - Tak - Lampang - Chiang Mai. That is about 100 km less of the drive via the capital.

From here the mountain road to Mae Sot starts which ends up finally in Umphang in the south. The area is a great countryside with plenty of rivers, waterfalls and jungle. Here are the right places to relax when you are not a "beach junkie". Only the hotels around are not so good because until a few years ago there was still fighting at the Thailand - Myanmar border which made the tourists to come here. The whole terrain is also quite rough, read more.

Bus station in Tak for the north and east bound
Bus schedule Between Bangkok and Chiang Mai
Bus schedule
Buddha on the roadside north of Tak

Buddha is watching from everywhere it might bring something positive but is mainly decoration or some people want to collect some merit for the next life. Anyway it looks pretty and some places even have monasteries, pagodas and temples around with lots of strange guarding spirits, read more.

Into the northern Highlands well behind Tak


Into the northern Highlands well behind Tak (1)








Its rice and livestock
Palms and orchids
On the roadside
On the roadside (1)

Thailand Orchids in Chiang Mai
Thailand Orchids in a Chiang Mai garden

Evening approaching
Prominent monk of the past















Although the country has one of the best road networks in Asia.

it becomes slowly rotten, almost no maintenance and repair has been done in the last 10 years and that means countrywide. Most of the surfaces are broken, even sometimes when repair work was done it is clearly visible that the technical knowledge of the maintenance crew is substandard and this is from the very north to the border with Malaysia, it's a real mess what amateurism is around.

In the coach to the north
The route to the north
Other trip by bus from Bangkok >

By Bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
rest stop at night
rest stop at night (1)




The country is full with colors just open the eyes and there is a feast for them. Every day even created from most simple things such as this drinks which only get expressive when the shades are in the right way up. Or see the bus above, many coach owner have some stories painted on both sides.

At a service station
At a service station (1)
Wood carving art
The bus station







Wood carving art on the road >
The people have a good sense for creativity forms and impressions probably seen at best when visiting one of the more famous monasteries where people donate money so the the artist can be really independent creative.


The train station in Bangkok

By train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai >

What to eat today
What to eat today?
Riverside restaurant at Tak
Riverside restaurant at Tak


Pagodas and temples
Pagodas and temples








Now what happen in Chiang Mai?

Actually great things, the city is far off the tension of Bangkok and people of the north are relaxed, not as aggressive as in the south and just spreading a positive feeling.

There are plenty of very well preserved stupas and Buddhist temples in the old part of the city within the walls.
elephant ride
Chiang Mai old city
In the old city
The interesting stuff can be divided into 3 parts, the first is exploring the walled old city with pagodas, temples, Buddha mudras and all the sacred attributes related to it.

The other is the nature environment with elephant rides, bamboo rafts etc. There are also the mountains of the north such as as Doi Inthanon, the tallest in Thailand.


decoration in front of a hotel
Decoration in front of a hotel

some souvenir

nightlife at the night bazaar
Chiang Mai bars and nightlife
The town at night

is a bit different to Pattaya or Phuket, there are no real go-go bars although at some places one girl might do some table dancing but they behave rather bored. Sometimes I wonder why they are here at all since most appear not much interested in their job anyway. At many places even when you want to order something they look in a different direction being to lazy to do even the smallest work.

Chiang Mai Nightlife > Night Bazaar >

shopping at night bazaarShopping and visiting the "night bazaar" and the usual stuff with the bar girls as everywhere in the country for some sexy business.




There is another shopping mile during daytime.

That is at San Kamphaeng for serious stuff, no souvenirs, this road is a real treasure trove of the north. Along the several kilometer long stretch are countless small factories with shops in front with real interesting goods to sell such as beautiful celadon ceramics, sophisticated silverware, decorative items made from lacquer and dozens of other pretty things.

More about holiday in the city is here.

Now lets drive back to the south via Tak, Hua Hin, Chumphon, Ranong to Phuket via route 11 / 1 / AH2 / 4

Chiang Mai bus terminal
Chiang Mai bus terminal (1)

The 1 and AH2 highway

Behind Lampang about half way to Tak is a monastery plus temple and pagoda cluster showing all the mythical and colorful world of the blend of Buddhism and spirit shrines.


Buddhist monasteries and shrines (1)

Buddhist monasteries and shrines >

Buddhist monasteries and shrines
Dinner in Tak on the Ping River side
Dinner in Tak on the Ping River side

There is a good hotel in Tak Town.

It is right in the center for below Bahr 400,- / night including SatTV etc., it's not easy to find since the sign is only in Thai and shows something xxxx 24. The name translate to ...love.. in English but this is not what you think now, it's just a name.

Great scenes before Nakhon Sawan
Great scenes before Nakhon Sawan

Around Nakhon Sawan
Around Nakhon Sawan (1)
Some History
Photos
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We set the line for the south at Hua Hin 
Photos
Which is a bit more than 200 km south west on Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand.


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To the west and north
Photos
There are huge dams and reservoirs, great river resorts, floating villages on the lakes, incredible waterfalls rivers for jungle rafting and other Thailand tours. All these scenic areas are usually integrated into a Thailand national park and there are over 60. You could visit the areas via a Thailand tour package or on an individual trip.

A very particular holiday subject is trekking, hiking and river rafting is around Kanchanaburi and from there to the west towards the three pagoda pass.

Everyone know the “Bridge over the River Kwai”

Located in Kanchanaburi town. Nearby is one of the most exciting waterfall on planet earth, the Erawan Falls. Erawan waterfall is a real highlight of any Thailand holiday, not the biggest waterfall but the location and the scenery of the waterfall running down mountains over 7 level are real great. Other places to visit are for almost every taste and wallet size. Whether you're a tourist, traveler, backpacker or whatever, you never get bored on Thailand vacation.
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The Erawan Falls
Photos
Close to the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi Province is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Thailand. 


It is only about 3 hours and that means if the weather is fine the sun out and weekend or holiday, around the National Park it's like Bangkok rush hour Friday late afternoon.

Behind the entrance and after a short walk the lower level the waterfall becomes visible. The water with a beautiful emerald shade splash down limestone formations over seven levels, a 1.5 kilometers trail in a tropical jungle runs beside the waterfall all the way up to the top. Usually, visitors just have a look for the lower 3 or 4 levels of the Erawan falls.

If you are not in the very good physical condition you have a problem to do the climb up the trail. There are even very steep stairs between the limestone boulders. On the trek up you pass jungle giants and bamboo thickets. On the upper level the water runs over a huge boulder, giving the impression of a three-headed elephant, this is why the waterfall’s name is Erawan, the Hindu elephant god.
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North Thailand
Photos
Loei is a charming holiday destination, sandwiched between the Phetchabun mountain range and Mekong River. It's green, quiet and far away with tropical mountain forest, lakes, National Parks, waterfalls, all agriculture, no industry. On the road to Loei is the Dan Sai Resort, a nice place from where the countryside can be explored. At Loei are also several good hotels and at every hotel, the first question is, you like a massage? You know which one?

Easily accessible by air, bus and car over a very winding roads through a beautiful countryside create a good mood because it is easy to reach all places. The nearest great outdoor is Phu Rua national park on the way from Dan Sai to Loei town. The highest peak is 1,365 meters and in the “winter” month a chilly wind can bring the temperature down to below zero degrees centigrade.

Usually, no chilly winds are around and a terraced campground under pine trees invites to get your tent up and explore the beautiful surrounding. You can get out for a hike along markers that contain information about the forest. The area is dotted with pine trees. A light breeze of early summer winds might tickles your nose with a fragrance of wildflowers.
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Pha Lee Rock Garden shows surrealistic rock formation

somehow like the limestone around Phang Nga in southern Thailand , further up is a so called Stone Forest with more wild stone sculptures. In early summer wild orchids can be found around here. Up to Pha Loan Noi viewpoint people can drive with the car and do a short walk, its worth it, the panorama is a breathtaking experience.

During the rainy season


Huai Phai waterfall, 2.5 kilometers from the visitor center carries enough water for an exceptional splash or –namtok- as Thai call a waterfall. The limestone formations of Suan Hin Pha Ngam stone forest have been formed to all kind of abstract shapes. Typical limestone caves like Orathai Cave and Broken Heart Cave could be explored. Four park lodges for around 300 baht per head for five persons a night over a very basic stay. Campgrounds with showers are near the visitor center, the best actually is to stay in a hotel in Loei town and do the short ride to the National Park, it prevents from a negative experience.


At Loei city


(Loei is spoken as Loi) take the road to the north to have a look for the Mekong River a large stream as you can see the pictures below. The road runs along the river and opens up great panoramas when driving eastwards. The problem with the Mekong River is, the Chinese at the upper reaches have been and are still building several huge dams for power stations and using the water also for irrigation projects. The result is that almost no real ships can cross the river anymore because the river is too shallow, also fishes are gone etc.


Since the Chinese destroyed most of their own nature in the past, they do it now on places where this affects other. That's the some in the high mountains of the Myanmar Himalayas where hordes of Chinese cut too much trees, they are not allowed to do so in Myanmar but they bribe the local administration, cut take the trees and run big profits are made since they even sell the coniferous trees in south Korea.


A great tour I made was from Sukhothai to Phitsanulok after taking the 21 route to the northeast and to the Mekong best to be made by the end of autumn because at that time the river and waterfalls have enough water for a good optical feeling. Why? Rivers and waterfalls without liquid are not particularly interesting. The area in the north is slowly coming together although there is still a deep trench dividing north and south.