Benefits of the Burma Trip

Sawadee Khrap

Back almost a week from my trip to Burma and I am realizing some beneficial side effects.

  1. The extremely bumpy roads on the trip – the constant rocking back and forth, which I thought would hurt my lower back – in fact actually helped it – like getting a great massage – when I got back i had little or no lower back pain and it did not start coming back until several days later.   So I am trying to make sure I do not sit for long periods of time and always do some movement and stretching.
  2. Before I went on the trip I was experiencing constant joint pain  especially in my knees. But on the trip, because almost all the dishes served for lunch and dinner were spicy, I opted only for rice and mixed vegetables – which was mostly cauliflower.    When I got back I noticed almost all joint pain was gone.    At home I was eating a lot of potatoes, tomato, egg plant and bell peppers – NIGHTSHADES – and some researching of the Internet showed studies that indicated nightshades can product allergic reactions in many people similar to arthritis. – which is apparently my case – after the trip I had no joint pain but after coming back and going on my normal diet  – the aching joints came back.  Now I will stop eating nightshades and see if the joint pain goes away again.     I had thought it was from mostly old age.
  3. And thirdly, since I began taking a daily dose of Cialis for prostate, blood pressure and ED control, I have had relativity strong edema in my feet, very noticeable and commented on by several of my friends.   So,  since I didn’t imagine that this trip would produce any amorous situations, I stopped taking the Cialis.  Sure enough almost all the swelling in my feet subsided.  For obvious purposes I don’t want to eliminate the Cialis from my daily meds now that I’m back – unless I can find a substitute that is – a natural method if possible.  I am still working on that, but for the near future I will just put up with the slight edema so I can gain all the other benefits. LoL.  At least now I am sure what’s causing my edema.

The trip also has re-ignited my travel interest and so I am planning a future trip to Laung Prabang, Laos – hopefully next month, maybe for Songkran.   They celebrate it there and I understand it is a wonderful experience, similar but not the same as Thailand.   I am now checking Planet Romeo for possibility of contacting new friends in Luang Prabang, who could serve as my guide and companion for a visit there.  Having someone who is familiar with the area would be quite a blessing.

One can only speculate what benefits another trip might reveal.

Ciao

Burma Trip–Mong Yawng

Sawadee Khrap

On the second day we left Keng Tung and headed back to Mong Hpayak IMG_3700where the monks could get their lunch.  The tiny market there had all kinds of bugs for sale , but I opted just for some fried rice and cauliflower and then we went on to Mong Yawng where we would spend the next 2 nights.  This would be the most rugged part of out trip – and I mean rugged.  From Hpayak to Mong Yawng is 80 KM of which 1/3 was just single wide crushed rock roads – the rest was under some kind of construction.  Not too far up the road we lost the right IMG_3724mirror on our van  – hit by a passing truck on the narrow road it ripped off the mirror but did not damage the side of the van.   The dust and bumps were amazing – we had to cross over a mountain range where we came to a full stop because they were widening the road by cutting the hillside away –  but we did get through and ultimately got to IMG_3743our newly opened  “Nant Khat Guest House” in Mong Yawng.  Sparse but adequate.   The next morning, 5AM, we all headed to the local area market – still dark, but it was a full moon which was the biggest market day of the month – there must have been over 300 people there – go early get the best deals – all vendors were gone and the market was closed by 7:30.


 IMG_3926Next we headed to a temple high on a hill overlooking the valley, here as with all the temples we visited,  they did the usual blessing and chanting.   Back to town for lunch and then on to a temple which had a original India Bodhi Tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment.  From here we headed to a “forest” temple and a dedication and then back that evening to deliver a full IMG_3779set of “Buddha Bibles” to the local Mong Yawng Temple.   All the roads we were on this day were just dirt and extremely bumpy making travel speed about 5-10 KM/hr.  Quite a day.   The next morning up again at 5AM for market – Here the lady offered IMG_3798to sell me some “Shwe le maw” very strong Shan alcohol.  then breakfast and on the road back.  Got hung-up once in a new rock road area – the roller crusher hadn’t gotten there yet – but we made it through that area and on to the the major construction site where we IMG_4250were stopped coming in.  It was passable but slow and then on to Hpayak for lunch.   Here is where we spotted the deer heads, I had never seen any wild animals in all my travels in Thailand so this was a great surprise – we did pass several Burmese with homemade long barrel rifles  but with my slow camera I couldn’t get a shot.  Next time.    Time to go home now. And I did get my passport back at the border crossing, all stamped and ready to go.


All in all great trip – meat is scarce and expensive so most Burmese meals are rice,fish and vegetables.  I am amazed that although I ate very little each time, how much better I felt when I got back, tired but much more energy – in addition, all the rough roads and bouncing around actually massaged my back and all my back pain was gone. I was also worried about having to use the squat toilets but at all our major stops there were western sit toilets so that worked out ok too.   Great group of people on the trip, although most spoke very limited English and I limited Thai, we did manage to communicate and actually they took special pains to see I was ok.  I am looking forward to the next trip and will bring my high speed camera and opt for a front seat in a van so I can get more specific images.

Ciao

Myanmar (Burma) Trip

Sawadee Khrap

Tomorrow I leave for a 4 day trip into Shan State, Myanmar with a group from Wat Suan Dok to visit 2 towns –  First Keng Tung then I think our final destination will be Mong Yang.   This is a goodwill trip by the Monk KengTung-small(Advisor) for Monk Chat –  Phra Saneh Dhammavaro.  I am told there will be at least one European with us and his Thai wife.  However the Shan tour guide may not speak English just Thai – hope that isn’t the case.  I also understand that recently there has been some border trouble with the Chinese and shooting in the border area – But I think we are far enough away from the affected area to miss that, at least I hope so.  I am told that Mong Yang is similar to what Chiang Mai used to be like 50 years ago, so I am looking for some good photos.  Anyway, start packing tomorrow and leave at 4AM Friday morning.  They tell me the hotels are air-conditioned but that also remains to be seen – everything included in the 9,000 Baht price.

Ciao

Doi Angkhang trip–Day 3 Mae Teang

Sawadee Khrap

I think the most miserable and also the best part of our trip was staying here at Chiang Dao Hut & Kitchen.

DSC02518DSC02685As I pointed out in the last post we stayed at the “White House” – but it was very cold and damp, hard to sleep, but we were really rewarded with a amazing view in the morning – no fog and such a wonderful place. DSC02708DSC02718  Truly worth the stop – we caught a quick breakfast here but I insisted on a western place for lunch, very tired of Thai food all day.  So off we went to Mae Teang and the elephants.  On the way we passed some monks doing their morning walk for alms.  And finally at Mae Teang  we stopped at the first major resort we came across – Sibsan Resort & Spa – 5 star – as posted on the internet.  It’s an amazing place but definitely 5 star with the prices to go with it.   We had the buffet lunch (total 1,400 baht) which was good but not exceptional, but the grounds were emulate, service exceptional, and loaded with guests. A very cute driver drove us from the parking lot to the main hall for lunch – in fact all the guys were very cute and handsome – great eye candy.  After lunch we headed up the main road to the elephant camps and the rapids area.  Not enough water to really take a “white water” raft ride down but still very picturesque. And both of us had already been to the elephant camps before so that didn’t spark a need to stop and check them out.

    The slideshow is in order and takes you through the day.  


Now that the main images have been posted I intend to go back and choose some of the most sticking of them to do Photoshop work on.

Ciao

Wiang Kum Kam trip

Took a short trip to Wiang Kum Kam Ancient City south of Chiang Mai to wiang kum kamget shots of some of the ruins.  So close to Chiang Mai it’s one place you don’t want to miss when you visit, be sure and take a horse and buggy DSC02058DSC02036DSC02076DSC02051ride through the area.  Not too sure what it cost but should not be much and well worth the time – they will stop and allow you to take photos at each site.  I only visited 4 out of the 7 this time and made this slideshow.


Mae Ya & Mae Klang Waterfalls

Sawadee Khrap

Today we went down to the base of Doi Inthanon in Chom Thong District for a morning drive and chance to get away.  Walked to each waterfall and got some photos but didn’t stay for along time – had to get back and get some house chores done.

Mae Ya Waterfall DSC01292

Mae Klang WaterfallDSC01359-Edit

Both real beautiful falls but it’s been a dry, wet season and the rivers are real low  – last time I was here you could not approach the falls because of the high fear from the fast currents and possible flash floods. – but today everything seemed quite calm.  Nevertheless if was a good morning and luckily we got back before the overcast skies let loose any rain.

Ciao

MaeSai Trip–Jaiand

Sawadee Khrap

Sorry for the late posting but 2 weeks ago I took a quick trip to Maesai to visit my friend – Jaiand.  We had met in Pattaya and he was at home helping his mother.  Jaiand showed me this great cozy guesthouse in Maesai – Patcharaporn resort located in town on Pa Meuad  soi just off Hwy 1.20160519_15013520160519_150130  500 Baht a night including breakfast for 2 –  what a great deal and a wonderful place to stay – Don’t  miss it if you visit Maesai for your VISA run.  And we had wonderful dinner at HueanHimDoi rstaurant    just off Hwy 1 at the Hwy 123 junction.   Great food – Thai style – and this spread cost only 800 Baht.20160518_18091020160518_182221     We visited  Wat Phara That Doi Wao overlooking the bridge to Myanmar (Burma) and the border city Tachileik.IMG_4540IMG_4543IMG_4570-Pano   What a view from here.   The next day we headed for Doi MaeSalong – now the tea capital of Thailand – but it used to be the poppy and opium growing area  for the Maesai’s Golden Triangle opium dens.IMG_4627-PanoIMG_4642IMG_4657-Pano    From here, we made it to Wat ThaTon (Phra Aram Luang)  on Hwy 107 going to Fang but started to have a bad vibrations in the car.  Something was really going wrong so we headed back for the 2 hr. drive back to Maesai.  The car was really getting bad – felt like either failing motor mounts or the drive shaft universals were acting up – so I cut my visit short and limped slowly back to Chiang Mai – made it and did have to have new universals  installed – so the car was again in the shop for 3 days – but I also had new front shocks put in so now I should be worry free for quite a while.  Wish I would have had more time to visit with Jaiand but after my  upcoming operation – which was rescheduled  for June 11th – I should have time to visit him again.  I promise more photos next time.

Ciao

Chiang Rai trip

Sawadee Khrap

Feeling restless and just getting the car back working – had to replace the rear axel, bad bearing race  –  so I headed for a short trip to Chiang Rai.  Left about 7:30 and arrived in Chiang Rai at 10:00 AM – checked in the WangCome Hotel.   I had “Grinder” running and by that time I had received  5 messages from local guys and made arrangement for “Lan” to meet me and be my guide for the day.  First we headed for Wat Huay Plakang  9 Tier Temple at Mae Yao, just Northwest from Chiang RaiIMG_4335IMG_4339.     You can see more of the temple area in the slideshow below.  It also has a very large live-in school area for local students – really nice.    From there we IMG_4397-Panoheaded South along Hwy 1211 to Singha Park at Mae Kon.  Hugh park with roaming manicured hills, numerous lakes, flowers, and commercial green tea fields and of course the Singha product pavilion. A great place to have IMG_4408an afternoon picnic  –   they also put on many concerts here.    From here, traveling further south to Khun Kon Forest Park Area and the Mae Kon river.IMG_4427  Although only a stream now it still was a great place to go.  All along the river were small dams providing play areas and people enjoying the afternoon.  although very close , we didn’t go to Khun Kon Waterfall at Tat Mok – purported to be the highest waterfall in Thailand – I wasn’t feeling that great from some new meds I have been given for my BP, so we headed back to the Hotel.  Later that evening I had a great Greek salad dinner at Da Vinci’s restaurant.  When you go there by sure and say hello to “Maek” your very cute waiter.  IMG_4431I did manage to get a fairly good sleep but still decide to head back to Chiang Mai  the next morning and see how the BP was holding up.   About halfway back to Chiang Mai, along Hwy 118 is   Cabbages and Condoms at Wiang Pa Pao.   I didn’t stop for food but I bet it’s just as good as in the main facility in Pattaya – one of the best restaurants there – and like Pattaya IMG_4438everything is devoted to Rural Development.  Next time on the way up , I’ll be sure and make this my coffee break stop.


Ciao

Planning next trip

Sawadee Khrap

Here is the area map and the location of photos I have taken so far  – Issan Thailand map visits(Eastern Thailand)  not covered yet and the west boundary of Thailand has some real large  gaps.  Add in the festivals I have missed and there is still a lot to see.  Rest assured that when it’s time to retire the Vitara it will have plenty of mileage on it.  Paramount to see now is the Phi Ta Khon festival, Surin Elephant roundup, Mekong river boat trip, the 12 temples on the way to Siem Reap Cambodia, and the heartland of Issan. 

I would also like to take a trip into southern China through Lao – you can see a lot of Chinese vehicles here in Chiang Mai – so if I can get the necessary paperwork – that would be a fun trip too.  I also have monk and ex-monk friends from Monk Chat in Wat Suan Dok that have returned to their villages in Lao, Cambodia, and Myanmar (Burma)  and have asked me to visit – do I have time ???    I hope so.  God willing.   Ohhh Well,  it’s massage time – Gotta go

Ciao

Day 4 Nong Khai Trip– on the way back

Sawadee Khrap

Now the last leg of the trip – leaving Loei we were very tired and took the faster side roads back to Uttaradit  – First about half-way from Loei along Highway 21 in Phu Ruea District IMG_4301IMG_4300is Wat Pa Non At and a interesting structure there. The “Monkey temple”.  Further down the road at the small town of Dan Sai , is home to the Phi Ta Khon (ghost mask) festival – held, I think, sometime in late June – that’s one IMG_4308festival and parade that I plan to go back and see.  Costumes and masks are beautiful. 

Approaching Den Chai is Wat Phra That Suthon Mongkol Kiree IMG_2875IMG_4316and across the highway a great place where they make wooden horse statues.   Coming into Lampang we stopped at Duo Mo Restaurant for a quick lunchIMG_4323IMG_4317.  Good food – seemed to be the local gay female hangout judging from the people there and the staff.

Back home at 2:30 PM and ready for a nap – Great trip, good images – but next time need to spend more time at each location – at least a day in each major city is needed to have time to take in more sites.  4 days and 3 nights did not allow sufficient time to visit all the attractions – but then there’s always another trip on the horizon.

Ciao

Day 3 Nong Kai Trip 2/23

Sawadee Khrap

IMG_4152Before we left the Paradise – Kay wanted to get some shots at the pool.IMG_3032   Next we headed for Nong Khai and  made our first stop at Sala Keoku – Wow – huge statues and displays – quite impressive – and then on to the crocodile farm, next door, for a quick visit.   It wasn’t open but Kay was invited in and took some photos of the tanks –   Then on to the IMG_3026Friendship Bridge – Nong Khai , I think there are 3 such bridges to Lao along the Mekong River boundary.  Here the river looked quite wide but further up the way, going to our next destination, Chiang Khan, we were shocked to see how low it actually was.IMG_4254-PanoIMG_3105IMG_4257  I’ve been reading about the furor over the Chinese blocking the river with their dams and causing many problems down stream.  The sign above, not too far out of Nong Khai,  is one of the places where Mekong Naga Fireballs can be seen.  Next we visited Chiang Khan, a historic little town that the Thai’s love.  Lots of Teak buildings – nice, quiet, rustic and friendly place – IMG_4276IMG_3109and then on to Loei where we stayed at the Loei Palace Hotel for the night –  I stayed here 8 years ago on my first trip to Nong Khai – nothing changed but they did replace the carpet with tile – much better.


P.S.  Couldn’t do anything because I was with Kay –  But on my phone I have Grinder and Hornet, the 2 most popular gay chat sites, from Khon Kaen to Loei, I received calls from more than 28 local guys – maybe next trip I’ll go alone – meet some new friends.  Devil 

Ciao

Day 2 Nong Kai Trip 2/22

Sawadee Khrap

Great breakfast at Anothai Hotel, on the road at 7AM – first stop – The IMG_2926 IMG_3792 Ancient City at Chum Phae – Interesting but leaves a lot to your imagination – they really don’t look like real bones,  I thought they looked IMG_3811-Panomore like reproductions but you can’t get close enough to really find out. The local area has no indication that any thing exist here and it’s hard to figure out how they knew how where to dig. –  you decide for yourself.

From here we headed to the King Cobra Village of Thailand past Khon Kaen on the way to Udon Thani.  Here’s where the Google Maps really helped – IMG_4111asked several locals for directions to the place and each sent us on a wild goose chase – they just didn’t know their own neighborhood.  They had IMG_4002IMG_4016boas and cobras and put on a hour free show, just asking for donations – nice.  Finally we stopped at the Paradise Hotel in Udon Thani.  We have been IMG_2998covering a lot of territory and so only stopped at a couple of venues – going off the main highways to get to these places takes a lot of time and I didn’t  want to drive at night but still make it fully around in the 4 days allotted.


Ciao

Day 1 Nong Kai Trip 2/21

Sawadee Khrap

We started out at 7 AM passing  Lampang, Den Chai, Uttaradit, Si Satchanalai on the way to Sukhotai.   Didn’t stop for any photos until we IMG_2882got into the Sukhotai area –  Had lunch at The Legendha Resort – Great place , good food.   This is also a nice shot of Kay at the resort.

Before we left on the trip I had bought over 700 Baht of Atlas, and road maps and we also stopped at a TAT office ( Tourism Authority of Thailand) and got their maps.  They all were terrible – The only safe way to travel in Thailand is with GOOGLE IMG_3164MAPS running on your cell phone, here is my setup in the car, a LIFESAVER.  I also run a APP called TRACKS, it keeps a record of our path marked as the blue dot at the lead of the red line  – center right.  This photo was taken much later in our trip but It does shows the program working.   This also let me GPS the photos as my cameras don’t have GPS capabilities – Lightroom and Track’s GPX tracklogs did the trick, synchronizing with the camera’s date stamps when I get back home.       Side note:   They wanted 25,000 Baht to install an auto Garmin GPS system and it was SLOW – I mean slow – my 16,000 Baht Samsung Galaxy A5 was at least 5 times faster and I can take it from the car when I leave.  With DTAC I have full internet and phone capabilities.         Several times the maps showed road or highway numbers that were completely wrong and many times there were no roadside markers or signs to indicate what road you were on – leaving the main highways and trying to use shortcuts on lesser side roads would be impossible using the maps or looking for signs and at night – forget it.  With Google maps we drove right to each location – No Problem . 

Here are shots taken during the day – not in actual order as we were using 2 cameras I didn’t take the time to sort them out.  We did visit the Sukhotai Historical Park, Phara Buddha Chinaraj National Museum, and a small Wat next door with boys honoring  – Muay Thai.


That evening we stayed at the Anothai Hotel  in Phitsanulok  –  small but actually the best place we stayed for the entire trip – Amazing 600 Baht for IMG_3747IMG_3743the room, including breakfast – quite, clean and everyone very friendly   – I highly recommend it.

Ciao