Page 8 of Rat on the Road Travel Blog Posts


Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Pai November 25th 2007

Kris So we finally arrived back in Pai - the little town in the north that we went to last year from Chiang Mai. Infact, we were there exactly one year before - I just checked our blog from then ("Easy as Pai" - a Rat on the Road classic..). We were pleased to find that it hadn't changed much. Still the sleepy little hippy town in the hills where life moves slowly and pressure-free. Thankfully still no new sky-rise hotels and no giant Tesco supermarkets. Just cool bars, restaurants and shops nestled by the river. With the odd late night party, obviously. We set off walking from the bus station to our previous accommodation - a small complex of bamboo huts in the middle of a farm field on the far side of the river ... read more
Chilling in our little house
Kris and Tee
Making curry

Asia » Thailand » Northern Thailand November 19th 2007

Kate Why I won't miss motorbike taxis From Mae Hong Son we took another local bus through more mountains and sunflower surrounded roads to the small town of Soppong. Confusingly, while the guidebook and info we had called the town Soppong, all the signs advertised Pang Manpha, which apparently is the area, but also used as an alternative name for the town. Because traveling in a country where you can't read most of the the signs isn't confusing enough!. From Soppong we found two motorbike taxis to take us and our luggage to Cave Lodge, about 9km into the forest. Now you may be aware that I don't like motorbike taxis at all. I find them very scary. Im sure if I had more an adventurous "now I want to bungy jump and then throw myself ... read more
Our bamboo hut at the Cave Lodge
Bamboo raft entering Tham Lot cave
Baby stalagmites

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Mae Hong Son November 17th 2007

Kate On the long and winding road..... to Mae Sariang The road out of Chiang Mai twists and turns up and down the mountains on the way out to Mae Hong Son, a town in the very north of Thailand near the Burmese border. The road was narrow and on either side the hedges were full of yellow sunflowers. We were on our way around the Mae Hong Son Loop, a road through the mountains of North Thailand that loops to Mae Hong Son and the back to Chiang Mai. We visited Pai, a hippy town on the loop last year from Chiang Mai. We loved the place and the scenery was beautiful so we wanted to explore more of the area. It's an 8 hour bus journey from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, and ... read more
River views in Mae Sariang
Welcome to Mae Sariang
The lake and temples in Mae Hong Son

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai November 14th 2007

Kris After our stay in Pattaya we wanted to revisit the north - as it's about a year since we were there. There were places we wanted to see that we missed last time and places we wanted to revisit before we leave the country. So hopped on an overnight train and headed for Chiang Mai. As I'm generally rubbish at sleeping on sleeper trains and as Kate can generally sleep anywhere, we decided on getting standard seating for the night. That way I could read if I wanted and Kate could snore and drool with her face pressed against the train window. Plus, from previous experience we know that if you get a seating carriage and not a sleeper you get free food and drink! It's very much like being on an aeroplane. Anyway, there ... read more
Thai dancers at the night bazaar
Thai dancer at the night bazaar
Kris beating Kate at Jenga

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pattaya November 12th 2007

I Heart Elephants Kate When we were in Pattaya before our flight to Vietnam, they mentioned that the beginning of November was going to be very busy in the land of the elephant mahout project. They had 8 volunteers arriving in the same week, and Arnon had someone visiting the dusky langur project so he needed to be there. That only left Ao and Sam to take care of them at the camp, with Mrs Noi looking after them at the hotel. Being the lovely people we are, and never ones to pass up a week hanging with the ellies, our mates in Pattaya and meeting elephant mahout volunteers, we agreed to go and help them. We flew from Hanoi to Bangkok in the company of Naomi, who we had to say goodbye to at Bangkok ... read more
Kris auditioning for a role in the next Harry Potter film
View from one of the bedrooms in the new volunteer house
Sam Rui's morning face

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa November 1st 2007

Sapa is a mountain town in the north of Vietnam and a popular tourist spot due to the beautiful scenery and local hilltribe population - much like you find in north Thailand. From Hanoi we decided to book an overnight sleeper train for the 10 hour journey... Hard or Soft Sleeping..? There were several options when choosing your sleeper carriage though the two main comfort levels were described as "hard" and "soft". We asked if this had anything to do with the comfort of the berth, but our friendly agent assured us no - it was just that in a soft sleeper the carriage only has 4 berths but in the hard sleeper there are 6. Being skinflints and always willing to sacrifice a little comfort to save beer money we opted for the hard sleeper. ... read more
Hmong hilltribes women
Sapa street
Walking down to Cat Cat village

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay October 28th 2007

Kate One of the things everyone reccommends you see when you go to the Norh of Vietnam is Halong Bay. It's supposed to be the most beautiful natural wonder, lots of limestone karsts thrusting out of the water. Its a World Heritage Site. Again, like the turtles in the lake story, there is local legend about Halong Bay as well. Apparently long ago when the Vietnamese were fighting Chinese invaders, the gods sent a family of dragons to help to defend the land. This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders. The people kept their land safe and formed what later became the country of Vietnam. After that, dragons were interested in peaceful ... read more
Our boat
Stalagtites in the cave
Way to heaven

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi October 28th 2007

Kate At some stupidly early hour on the 22nd October, with only the dogs in the street awake, we wearily carried our luggage to the end of the street in Pattaya to get some sort of vehicle to the bus station. We need to catch the 6am bus to Bangkok airport for our flight to Hanoi, Vietnam. Unfortunatly, there was noone on the road, at all. So we stood there in the dark, looking at the empty road, and the dogs barked at us, and we stood there some more. After a while, a lone motorcycle taxi driver drove past and stopped. He gestured for us to get on. Me, Kris, two large rucksacs and two small ones. I have seen 7 people travel on a motorbike taxi before, and carrying three live pigs on the ... read more
Narrow streets in the Old Quarter
Shops selling herbs
Bridge over to the temple on the lake

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pattaya October 22nd 2007

Kris After a brief stopover in Bangkok to pick up on visas for Vietnam (2,500 baht each, 35 quid, ouch!), we hopped on a bus to Pattaya for a 4 day stay with our mates at the elephant camp before flying to Hanoi. We arrived in the evening to find Arnon watching TV with his mum and agreed to go to the camp the next day to check out what changes had happened. And alot of changes there have been. The camp is bigger and there are more elephants and mahouts so alot of new faces around. Plus, while we were there a 4 bedroom volunteer house was under construction for budding western elephant mahouts to stay in overnight. Previously this had been done in vacant mahout houses but what with the place fully occupied more ... read more
Arnon working hard
Walking Street
Nice t-shirt

Asia » Thailand October 19th 2007

We're so popular Kris Arriving in Bangkok after our mammoth 12 hour overland journey from Siem Reap, all we wanted was some food and a bed for the night - but our mobile bleeped as we sat down to eat. It was another set of visitors! Paul and Sarah had just arrived in Bangkok from England! For those who know him - that's Paul Dixon who did a PhD on monkeys at the Univerity of Liverpool while me and Kate were there. They are here on a 2 week holiday, 1st spending a few days in the big smoke and then heading to the beach. They texted to say they'd landed and did we want to meet for a beer. We declined that particular evening - due to fatigue and met them the following day after ... read more
Kris admiring a big insect on Hua Hin beach
Hua Hin beach
Enjoying a beer by the sea




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