Return to Kuang Jaw Shan Refugee Camp

Sawadee Khrap

We just got back from a return visit to the Kuang Jaw Shan Refugee Camp.  That is the correct name (see prior post labeled Tak Lang)  Tak Lang is the small village next to the camp – so now I have it named right,

I have a lot of pictures so I thought I would first show some shots of the people we meet and then next post will be on the party, followed by the Moun-Ju-Kour Resort where we stayed and later the visit to Srisangwan Waterfall.

Musur ladies First, before we arrived at the camp we passed these lovely ladies on the road – I think they are from the Musur tribe. I’ll check on that to make sure.

The rest of these shots were taken at the camp.  We got there early so we could see the kids reactions when Michael’s group of troubadours, volunteers from


the Chiang Mai area arrived to entertain the children.  I don’t have everyones name but this is a shot where they were talking to the Monk and the Camp leader(seated right).

Throughout the day we meet a lot of great kids and parents – some of which I thought were special enough to show here – Please check out the  *SLIDESHOW* for more.

SaiooeJornHere is shots of Saiooe and Jorn – these young men, residents of the camp, are also students at Chiang Mai University and luckily were home today.  Saiooe has written a essay about his life before and at the camp and when everything is completed he will allow me to post it here – 

birth defectbadly burned boy To the left is a boy in camp with a birth defect who escaped with his grandmother – the other boy standing with John was badly burnt while trying to escape from the Burmese army – nature and man can be very cruel – but here at the camp both boys are accepted and considered equal – there’s a lot more love and tolerance when all share the same problems . I don’t want to put any names here for their safety – there is still a shaky truce at the border – and we were just steps away.  Old Man

Old Lady And  ain’t these classic shots – the old man was I think the oldest person in the camp – we visited his house that last time I was here – see the post  – and one of Michael’s group brought a set of hearing aids and gave them to him – first time he has heard in a long time – Boy did he love to talk now – but in Burmese and we couldn’t understand anything he said. ——–

CRW_6605 It started to rain and we ducked under a roof of this lady’s house and she invited us in – low and behold in a mostly Buddhist camp here was a Christian family.  What a surprise.








living roomYou can see Jesus’s picture in the niche in their living room – and what a gracious hosts she was. 

And last but not least here is one of the children’s toys – the rhinoceros beetles – not sure what to call them – toys or pets , but the kids loved to watch them fight –



The little one is the female.

Well – enjoy the


I will get names and post a future article with names and more detail – today just the photos.


Massage & Haircut

Sawadee Khrap

I just finished getting my Monday 2hr massage & haircut.  1000 Baht.  $25 US

Tasanai is going to see if he can develop a business marketing his new massage oil formula.  Under the AsianCoOp label and for the local spa and massage parlors with their own label.  He just received a sample of a new version of Raw coconut oil from “Ms Ta’s” in Koh Samui.  Using coconut oil as a base and adding other Essential Oils, he has come up with a very good formula.  So today I tried it out.

In addition I needed a haircut  – so I called another friend “Odd” , his nickname, to come to the house and fix me up.   And that he did.

CRW_6028 ModFirst a haircut – sitting on a chair in the front room and then a 2 hr Oil body massage – using of course Tasanai’s coconut formula.  This guy is great, barber and masseur.  The haircut was right on – just the way I like it – no wheel-wells around the ears and fairly short – trimmed my beard too. And then the massage.

We put several blankets on the floor ( I have to get an air mattress) and his skilled hands went to work.  Odd is small but powerful and his pressure lasts the entire two hours – I like a strong massage so he is excellent.

If you are in Chiang Mai or planning to come and you want to contact Odd – he can be reached at 0845039561.  By appointment only  Limited English but that hasn’t been a problem – call him.

Soooooooooooo  now you have my 3 recommendations for massages –

  • Odd  (haircut & massage at your place)
  • Chakka Massage (elegant and great ambiance)
  • Classic House (Excellent massage in Night Bazaar area)


Back to the border

Sawadee Khrap

Hey !   We’re going back to the border – Tak Lang Camp in a couple of weeks.  Bert, a friend of ours, will also go with us to photograph the camp and peoples.   At last nights Wat Saun Dok – Monk Chat –  we meet Mike Meallem who is organizing a entertainment group to go and entertain the kids at the refugee camp – we’ll get photos and really look forward to going.  They expect to have clowns, dancers, singers – designed to “put a smile on the face of 200+ kids that live at the camp”, it’s all volunteer and impromptu.

I also found another great article – in fact a wonderful magazine you will need to bookmark in your Thailand Travel Guide section –  Welcome to Chiang Mai * Chiang Rai * Pia * Mae Hong Sorn, I intend to use links to many of their articles in the future – their mag is really well done.

National-parks_pha-daeng_2  If you look at the top-left of the map, you will see Baan (village) Piang Luang — just a little farther to the border is the refugee camp – actually on the border. We will stay at a more up-scale Guest house at Wiang Haeng this trip – the one I stayed at in Piang Luang was a bit rustic –  so to say – and Bert wants to make sure there is at least Hot running water for his morning shower.

After we attend the show for the kids, on our trip back home, we will take 1322 route back through the Park and see what shots we can get for you there.  That should be exciting too. Up 1322 and then back on 1178 to Chiang Dao – I think we’ll leave the Mira at home and take a rental car this time, more comfort and better for the mountains.  I can get a Honda Jazz for 1200 Baht/day  $30 US — cheap enough.

Check out the article on the park called Part III Chiangmai’s Norther Areas – Pha Daeng National Park –

Going to have to use the older Canon 10D – my newer Canon 350D just died and I had to ship it to Canon Service in Bangkok for repair – that will take over 3 weeks — damn just when the great weather is here – spectacular clouds, and mood-full lighting –  Oh well – life goes on !!!!!!!!!.


Chakka Massage – And did you heard this one?

Sawadee Khrap

CRW_6002I’d like to introduce a friend of ours new massage parlor in Chiang Mai.  Khun Montree Jino (Tree) just opened his new facility  “Chakka Massage” at 13 Soi 1 Sotsuksas Rd.  Phone 053–214–201.  I’ve known Tree for almost 2 years and have Copy of 69had many of his expert massages.  I suffer from a herniated disc in my lower back and Tree’s massages have helped me manage the pain.

I highly recommend him and I am very glad to put an announcement here for his new massage parlor.

CRW_6012Offerings:  by appointment only

  • Aroma Oil Massage
  • Thai Traditional Massage
  • Honey Milk Massage
  • Cumcumber Clay Wrap
  • Mud Clay Wrap
  • Body Scrub
  • Facial Scrub

Pricing ranges from 450 Baht to 1200 Baht.  That’s $12 to $30 US

At the present time his staff consists only of masseurs, future plans include staffing several masseuse.   Every masseur is licensed and personally trained by Tree.  Quality at reasonable prices. Be sure and give it a try when you are in Chiang Mai.


 And I almost forgot that I heard a great story at the last Expats meeting.

“A guy was lying in his hospital bed and realized he wasn’t going to last much longer. So he pulled his wife closer to him and whispered in her ear. 

 “Honey, I have something to tell you.  I have been having an affair with your sister for quite some time, but want to you to know that I am very sorry for it.  Will you forgive me.”

And his wife said “Now, Now, I’ve known about it for quite some time and now I forgive you, just lay back quietly and let the poison work.”

Sooooooooooooooo   take heed watch your step.


Chiang Rai River Park – Dancing Shrimp

IMG_5929The last hurray for this trip – Dancing Shrimp at the Chiang Rai River Park.   Tasanai had to stop by and order this dish – he says it the best he has had, fresh and very tasty.  I wouldn’t know – the idea of eating live flopping shrimp doesn’t appeal to me. 

If you look closely you can several shrimp that have jumped out of the bowl – they just put them back in or eat them as they jump out.   They are baby shrimp, transparent and without hard shells but just the thought of eating them live truns me off.


Here are some shots of the local area and one of the staff children.





























Ciao    Until next trip     Hope you enjoyed the photos, Please leave your comments.

Oub Kham Buddhist Museum – Chiang Rai

Just out of town is the Oub Kham Museum.  Khun Julasak Suroyachai, a teacher and art lover, realized that soon the heritage of northern Thailand would only be able to be seen abroad – so he started to collect antiques and relics affiliated with the Lanna Kingdoms, objects from  northwest Laos, Burma, China and the area around Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. First he founded the “Lanna Heritage Conservation Center” which late became the present museum.

It’s impossible to mention all the masterpieces here, the “Oub Kham”, a golden bowl used by the Royal, the golden throne of the Royal Palace of Chieng Tung for the Prince( the present Keng Tung is the easternmost Shan State of Burma), and mannequins fitted with the Tribal dress of each cultures that have migrated here.  

We were not allowed to take any picture inside the exhibits (Our guide did smile and turn away so I could snap off a few) but I hope you find the Slide show exciting enough to visit and see the splender.










And to our sunrise they had several African items in the collection

Very nice museum, almost 1 hour to tour, and then they served tea and opened to question.

We were the only two there so we got royal treatment – try it  – I am sure you will too.

IMG_6015  The rest of the photos are on the

   Slide Show



Mae Fah Luang Gardens

Sawadee KhrapIMG_5778

Leaving Mae Salong we headed back to Chiang Rai by the back roads and came to the “Mae Fah Luang Garden”  – one of several of the Royal Sponsored Doi Tung Development Projects for that area.  Here they cultivate local and International species of orchids, dahlia, and created this magnificent garden.  We stayed here for about 2 hours, taking photos, eating ice cream, and just walking through the displays.

Show the beauty of the place – I hope you enjoy the Slide show  – leave a comment and I will try to answer any questions.

IMG_5777 IMG_5882






This I though was a very interesting statue –

It was very hot out this afternoon so after ice cream we headed back to Chiang Rai — we had seen a museum on the way out of town that Tasanai wanted to stop and see – They had the largest collection of Buddha statues  (very old originals) in Thailand  – so we had to stop.

Next stop  – Oub Kham Museum.



Chiang Rai – Doi Mae Salong Trip

Sawadee Khrap

We began this trip early in the morning at Chiang Rai – IMG_5467On leaving our hotel we passed by a regular morning event – local monks going out with their bowls for merit donations from the residents.  I’m not sure what Wat these monks were from but we gave them a small offering as they passed by.  More pictures are in the slide show.  After breakfast we headed for Doi Mae Salong. Not too far out from Chiang Rai we came across a Hot Springs area – there seemed to be 2 capped springs there, but no pools to bath in.  Both were venting steam.

IMG_5481IMG_5527 I got a great shot (or so I think of a metal bridge across a small stream to a back field – looks like a old railway bridge) and here is a shot of the surrounding countryside.









The above shot is the inside area of a Chinese Warrior Monument to the fallen warriors escaping from the war and persecution in China – they moved first to Burma and then were forced out to settle here and built this monument and created Mae Salong Village  – Opium poppies were the main crop until a few years ago when the Thai Gov’t began to teach them how to grow tea and stop the drug trade.  The little figure is really neat – we bought 3, each a different doll – first soaked in cold water to load them up – and then hot water poured over the head of the doll  – well you can see what happens — and quite a distance.      It was about lunch time now so we stopped at the Doi Salong Villa in town.

IMG_5645 IMG_5681

Here is several shots from the Villa – more are in the slide show, including a great shot of the young lady who waited on us, and more shots of the view.  If you look very closely at the first picture you will see the temple in the background – after lunch we drove up the mountain to the temple.

Here is a image of the Temple, but I think there are much better shots in the Slide Show – check it out


IMG_5747 And here is a photo of some of the local tribal people you can find working in the jungle and surrounding fields, collecting mushrooms, tending to the tea plantations.

When I stopped to take these pictures of the old ladies, this shot and several in the slide show, all of them only knew “10 Baht, 10 Baht, 10 Baht” of English – they love to get their photos taken, but only if they get their 10 Baht – that’s about 25 cents US.


Lak Tran Refugee Camp

 Sawadee Khrap

This is the 3rd posting for the trip to Piang Luang and is about our trip to the Shan – Lak Tran refugee camp just out side of town and near the temple.  Here is a panoramic shot of the area around the village – This is a very large file so expect some time to load.



We arrived with gifts for the people of stuff like candles, medicine and some money for the small temple at the camp center.

IMG_4825And were greeted by a small band which called all the camp people out.  Almost all of the adults were off working so that left only the children and seniors in the camp – but out they came to greet us.

IMG_4835  Here are some quick shots I took – First the boys playing lag.  I almost wanted to join them – I haven’t played marbles in over 60 years – I can still remember some of the games we had in Omaha and what a great collection of cat’s eyes, steelies, tiger, and other names I can’t recall.  Everywhere in the camp I could see lines in the ground where they had started a game.

And this had to be one of the best shots I got of the children – I loved here smile – don’t you ?   And isn’t this a striking young girl IMG_4927in her doorway.  I was really impressed how clean both the people and camp were. 








These were people with little or nothing, and yet they had peace of mind and you could see it everywhere – I created a SLIDESHOW of the rest of the images we took at the camp.  We visited several huts, one – home to a old man and his wife – the Dr. gave them some medicine (his wife has cancer and no one to take care of them, no children).  The camp helps out but each there still has to care for their family – but through it all these seniors had high spirits.  What a great visit and we plan on going back again next month when the Dr. makes his run again.

Here’s a shot of the sunset from the camp temple grounds.

IMG_4982-Panoramic copy




Wat Fa Wiang Inn Temple

Sawadee Khrap

IMG_5079Six years ago during a border skirmish, the Burmese army advanced to the center of this temple area and established what they now call the border.  It cut the temple grounds in half with the larger newer temple claimed by the Burmese.

IMG_5120This is a shot from the Thai side looking up toward the temple now considered Burma.  From another advantage point I got another shot where if you look closely you can see the Burmese soldier sitting with his rifle on his lap watching us.

IMG_5081He’s rally hard to see and the enlargement doesn’t help – but he is there.   They then land-mined the gully area between the IMG_5353two parts of the temple grounds – If you  look at the bottom of the image you can see the old monk and school metal building. – this is no “no-man’s-land” and heavily mined.  Here is a image of the Thai soldiers that guard the border now – they came down to share in the lunch we brought.  Nice to know they are on patrol and alert.


This is a shot of the “Old” temple located in the present temple area.  I didn’t get any inside shots at this time  – that will be on a later visit – probably at the end of this month.  

The Abbot of the temple is Phra Than Preecha. They also have a monk school (68 novice monks) and a school for the local children.  Here we meet a Israeli volunteer teaching English to the novice monks, Yoram Barouch.  (standing)








And the teacher for the local children school (Sorry, I didn’t get his name this time).


 IMG_5258Here are some shots of the lunch they had ready – not really for us but for the novice monks  – normally they just get a bowl of rice & vegetables (they say that all 68 monks are fed with 250 Baht of food each day – Thats about   8 dollars US$ – meat is a treat —– sooooo this meal was a real treat and IMG_5232everyone was there.  Another volunteer I met was Idthipath Lertchaisak (Khun Boon).  They are planning on developing a charity donation drive through the Chiang Mai Expats Club and Khun Boon will be a speaker for the project.

Some of the stories I was told about the hardships of the young boys and monks are really sad.  One young novice, 12 y/o, had to travel for 7 days through the jungle to get here. Another 10 y/o had a 10 day journey fleeing across the border to get here. One slightly older boy had spent over 3 months in prison before getting here.  Most are Shan tribal people from Burma call Thai Yai.  The temple refuses no one so they are integrated into the novice program along with the local students.

IMG_5303 Here is the table set up for Mr Boon and myself – quite a feed, and so delicious.  I have more images in a Slide Show of the monks, ladies who volunteered to cook, children,  and school/general area of the temple – I am working on some panoramic shots and will show them later.  But here is another shot of the surrounding area.


IMG_5369Next post will be about the Shan refugee camp close by.








Piang Luang Trip

Sawadee Khrap

This will be the first in a series of posts to cover my recent trip to the Wat Fa Wiang Inn Temple at Piang Luang and the Thai Yai refugee camp at Lak Tran not far from the Burmese border.

Dr Saneh and fellow monkI was invited by Phra Saneh Dhammavaro, Director of Academic Affairs, Mahachulalongkron Buddhist University at Wat Suan Dok to go with them as they visited the local temple and the refugee camp nearby. 

We traveled North to Chiang Dao and then West toward the Burmese border past Wiang Haeng village to the much smaller Piang Luang village.  This route is 72 km, almost all climbing over the steep mountains – it put quite a strain on my little Mira car but she made it fine.  The views were spectacular but I didn’t get any shots on the trip there, but the next post has some panoramic taken at the camp.

IMG_4772  We had a choice to stay at the temple or in the village guest-house – I choose the guest-house – but that even proved to be very rustic.  The room had a water-heater for the shower but I was told that the gas ran out about 3 years ago and so I was left to take a cold shower in the morning – Oh well it was only for one night.  At least it had some mosquito netting on the windows so it was fairly safe.

The next morning I got up about 6 Am and went out to the road and got some shots of the locals going to school, work or just starting their day. (see the slideshow)

IMG_4773 IMG_4778  Here is a shot of the Dr. Phra Saneh and  Phra Sinlapachai Santikaro and the two young daughters of the owner of the guest-house – these were really great girls – they showed me to my room and brought water and what I needed for the night —– the other shot is the truck load of items the Dr. brought for the temple and area locals to share.

The next post will cover the trip to the temple and the third will cover the trip to the refugee camp.

I have also created a Slide Show of the remaining photos for this leg of the trip.  Please enjoy and leave a comment if you like this kind of presentation.



Finally, I’m posting again

Sawadee Khrap

Yesterday I went to “the Spirit House”  for breakfast and took some shots: 


Owned by Steve and Wanchai, the Spirit House is unique in Chiang Mai.  Steve was a well known pastry chef in New Orleans for over 8 years. 


The restaurant and bar also features classical music, DVD’s, and Asian antiques from all the surrounding country.  Open all week, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in European style, but they also have Thai food for the locals.  If and when you visit Chiang Mai make sure you don’t miss this place.  BreakfastFruitBowlExtremely reasonable pricing – for example my breakfast started out with a glass on passion fruit juice, then a fruit plate with mango, pineapple, melon, mangosteen, and jack-fruit.  After this the meal was ham, scrambled eggs with Cheddar cheese, onions, and mushrooms, toast and pot of herb tea – all for 100 Baht ($2.50 US).

I forgot to get a picture of the full meal – I ate it so fast I forgot to get a shot.  Believe me it was delicious.

From here I tried to find a new massage spa managed by a friend “Tree” – but I must have passed it by -I’ll have to ask a friend where they are located and have some shots later. Sorry about that.

So on I went to the Golden Ball to get some shots of the staff.  Here is a link to the Golden Ball staff website gallery Tasanai made for them – enjoy and plan a trip here to savor the food and service.


Golden Ball opens

Sawadee Khrap

Well it was Opening Night at the Golden Ball Restaurant in Chiang Mai.  I posted the business card before and here are the images from this afternoon/evening.

Bon was busy setting up for the first customers so I really didn’t bother them – more pictures will follow when the full staff is there and the place is running smoothly. But here are the first shots:

GoldenBall-Bon GoldenBall-Bon-MenuHere is Bon – a little nervous and really excited about getting started.  Here’s his menu – in Thai of course – I’ll get the English version soon.

Full training of the staff wasn’t possible – the final paperwork for the purchase was delayed and so this was a hurried opening  – but as they say the show must go on. 

Here are shots of the rest of the Restaurant and Bar– There is a inside and a outside restrauant area and the bar area itself.  Very, Very nice













Stay tuned – the staff pictures will be posted soon and I am sure you will want to stop by just to say hello –  –   –  But of course we want you to have something to eat and wash it down with a great drink and warm conversations.

I feel like I’m coming down with a cold and I have to do another shoot at the Temple tomorrow morning at 6 AM – soooooo I’m gona take my Thera-Flu and go to bed.  It’s 9 PM now – hope I can sleep.




P.S. Here is a link to the Golden Ball staff website gallery Tasanai made for them – enjoy and plan a trip here to savor the food and service.

Asalabucha Day – Buddha’s first sermon

Sawadee Khrap

Tomorrow (Sunday) is Asalabucha Day, when Thai’s celebrate the day that the Buddha gave his first sermon to his disciples.  WatMontienI went down this morning to see Van-WatMontien5





what activity was at the Wat Montien Temple– just 3 blocks away from our Condo – today the monks clean it and the candle and merit ceremony will be on Sunday, then on Monday and Tuesday is the start of the Buddhist Lent and the monks retire to the Temples for the rainy season.  They used to fully confine themselves to the temple area because. as custom has it, they did not want to kill by stepping on any animal as they walked in the WatMontien2rainy season – puddles could hide animals and they would step onVan-WatMontien4 them without knowing.   The monks are also preparing circular amulets of the Buddha to sell to the people tomorrow as fund raising for the Temple.  As you can see they have a large variety of colors available, and this only shows about a quarter of the ones laid out to dry in the Temple.

Van-WatMontien3I was very fortunate to meet a Novice Monk (Van) Van-WatMontienwho showed me around the Temple grounds and told me the story of the celebration. He is from Lao, living at this temple while studying here in Chiang Mai at Wat Suan Dok – a very beautiful Temple nearby and the nearest Monk Novice School.Van-WatMontien2   Van is studying English Language as well as the standard Buddhist classes.  It was a lot of fun talking to him and what a beautiful young man.  He says it will take him about 9 years to graduate from Novice class to a full Monk.  After he graduates from school he plans on returning to Lao and his Temple.

He also offered to give me a personal tour of Wat Suan Dok on Wednesday and that I would never refuse – so I will should have some great shots to show you then.



Mike’s Burgers – 1st Bangkok Branch

Hey, remember back when I posted about my trip to Mae Ngad Dam with Brian and Kot.  Well Brian just opened his new Mike’s Burgers in the Silom Road area of Bangkok. Just up the street from the famous “Patpong” streets and the ever so erotic “Boys Street”.     Another friend, Jerry, was there for the Grand Opening and sent me these pictures.


He has 3 other franchised locations here in Chiang Mai and this is the first to go in at Bangkok.  The big “enchilada” – he is planning on franchising several others in the greater Bangkok area over the next few years.


That’s “Pong” behind the counter – Mike’s partner.   The next time your are in BKK and taking in the sites at the famous red light district “Patpong”   Make sure you stop by for a old fashion hamburger and fries – he’s even got beer to wash it down with.









Good Luck Brian ——  Reminds me of SF – Look out McDonald’s