Mae Hong Song Trip–Simon

Sawadee Khrap

Avoiding Songkran here in Chiang Mai,  Simon and I headed for 2  Days 1_MaeSheThaPathanaChitChaloenPhraKiatin Pai and 2 days in Mae Hong Song.  We tried to visit “Unseen” Thailand this trip and so when arriving in Pai – 2_NextBridgePaivisited a female monk meditation area- Mae She Tha Pathana Chit Chaleon Phra Kait.  Then we went to the Memorial Bridge on the entrance to Pai with it’s unique statues.    We were very4_PoiSangLong-Pai lucky 3_PoiSangLongPai-WatSriDonChaito visit Wat Sri Don Chai in time to view their Shan – Poi Sang long Festival – great and  colorful. And while in Pai stayed at the Phaewdao Resort – very very nice. Excitement did happen as a neighbor 2 doors down from Simon’s 5_PraewdaoResort-PaiDSC04440room was robbed and the police were there investigating in the morning.  One great site, South of Pai, was this (not on the map) hot water geyser, on the side of the road.    L6_NgamtaHotel-MaeHongSongeaving Pai and on to Mae Hong Song and booked into the Ngamta Hotel, next to the lake.  From this base we explored the surrounding countryside looking for “Unseen” sites. Gravel collection site from the river by Shan people, a river-floating restaurant, burning along the side of the road, and went to visit a 106 year old Monk – but he seem to be at the Poi Sang long 7_GravelCfromRiver-8_Riverside Resturanat9_RoadSideFiresfestival in the area, so we missed him.  We did visit several more Temples 10_Wat106yoMonk11_Watonhill12_DhammagiriChildrenFoundationand a special Children’s home for Shan refugees called Dhammagiri Foundation.  Great, relaxing trip – little traffic, lots of water throwing but only in designated areas and along the roads by little children – So I have made this Slideshow of the best images – Enjoy. 

Loss of a friend – Wit

Sawadee Khrap

_MG_5337-EditIMG_6540-EditI am very sad to have heard that a long time friend had been involved in a motor accident and passed away.  Wit – [ Lengwan Hsenkham     Tiger King of Shan State].wit

   He will be really missed – Services will be held Today- 3/21 to cremation on 3/23 at Wat Pan Tan, Chiang Mai.  I will attend the final services and will post images – Wit’s mother has arrived from Myanmar and I met her today – very sad moment.  Prayers will be Friday 23rd  start 11AM – cremation procession at 1pm.


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.


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.


After the Love–Shan boy version

Sawadee Khrap

Thanks Kevin for pointing this music vid out – we need to promote our local talent –

Click on the image to start the videoafter the loveNotice this video version was shot at Grand Canyon of Chiang Mai – I’ll get there and get some shots to show the full area – hopefully with a model .


Happy Loy Krathong or Yi Peng in the North

Sawadee Khrap

“Loi Krathong  takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional and they do this all evening on the 12th month Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November.”  This year Nov, 17th,  2013.

This year I’m staying home and not going to celebrate at the beach – I really miss the pageantry in Chiang Mai and the floating the krathongs on the Ping river.  It was always a lot of fun and great crowds. But this year I’m not ready to brave the flood of mostly Russian tourist that will be flocking to Jomtien Beach – not knowing what it is all about  – just making a lot of noise.   Much different that Chiang Mai which is almost all Thais.

But for good news, I just got a absolutely wonderful oil massage, best I’ve had since ‘Khun Pea’  in Chiang Mai.  Khun Lek came to my condo and gave me a superior 90 min Oil massage – and we have set a repeating date for the future.  He has also agreed to model for some photos – and I will be posting his mobile number and contact information shortly.  Very handsome young man with a super figure and smile – stay tuned for some great images and how you can contact him for a great massage.

AGAIN:      Happy Loy Krathong,  – Yi Peng.


My favorite photos

Sawadee Khrap

Here are my favorite photos – from the Shan refugee camp near Wiang Haeng, Thailand -  I took these memorial portraits – hope you agree.


I really hope the new Gov’t’ in Myanmar will allow these people to return and finally live the life they search for.  Meeting this lovely couple was the highlight of my day there.


Flood Relief Concert–Shan-Wat Pa Pao

Sawadee Khrap

Last week at Wat Pa Pao they held a concert to raise money for the BKK flood relief.  I stopped by for a little while to get some quick photos.  Met Wit and a couple of his friends there and we had a bit to eat before the show started. 

It is very refreshing to see the guys_MG_7896 putting on makeup and lipstick to get ready to go to the show.  It is normal for Shan boys to wear lipstick and power at any of these events.


Many Shan showed up at the temple for the concert and I got some photos but as I said earlier I didn’t stay very long so I don’t have a big



***** SLIDESHOW *****



Check out the slideshow for more photos.


Poi Sang Long from Wat Pa Pao

Sawadee Khrap

Better late than never –






Here are the photos from the Poi Sang Long celebration at Wat Pa Pao 2011 Chiang Mai. with featured photos of Wit’s Sang Long from his village group.  April 4-6, 2011  The procession started at Thapae Gate and followed the moat to Wat Pa Pao –

















And a   ****  SLIDESHOW  ****     Note: there are over 280 images so be prepared to spend some time going over the photos – Also compare with the celebration posted earlier at Wat Ku Tao.


Poi Sang Long–Shan Festival–Chiang Mai

Sawadee Khrap    or for Shan    “Mai Song Kak”

_MG_7957Today was the last day of the 3 day Shan festival “Poi Sang Long”  at Wat Ku Tao. This festival is for the young boys to enter the Monkhood – boys 7-14 ,dressed in their finest attire, are carried 3 times around the temple and take the robes of novice monks.   I made a

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of most of the images taken. 

I had to use my old camera because the new 7D’s shutter stuck and now I have to send into Canon for repair.  Needless to say I am very disappointed – I hope the Service department can make me feel better with a quick repair.  The new lens on the old 350D camera really helps and the photos are very clear – I’ll let you know what happens as I’ll probably rant and rave if the new one doesn’t get fixed soon – I paid a lot of money and don’t expect a “Professional” camera to go tits up after 300 photos – they advertise a 150,000 shutter life – We’ll see.