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Koh Chang and Nong Khai Thailand, Dec 2011

On my way to Bangkok, 4 hour delay in Beijing!
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Ferry to Koh Chang
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Fishing pier on the mainland
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Uhhhh...those lifevests don't look up to date!
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Car ferry to the island
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Northeast side of Koh Chong
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Where I stayed the first night on the island, White Sands Beach
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View from my bungalow
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Nice to see some sailing!
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Restaurants lining the beach
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I ate wayyy tooo much squid!
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Very relaxing beakfast on the deck
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Until this guy jumped out of the tree and landed on the table in front of me!
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Daily walk down the beach to find new places to paddle and swim
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My bungalow on Lonley Beach, 500 baht a night. About 16 bucks...I splurged!
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In a beautiful, peaceful garden
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A stones throw from this
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Next stop, Bang Bao on the eastern coast of the island. Bang Bao pier
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Bungalows on the pier, very nice.
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Tower at the end of Bang Bao pier. All the piers on the island had them, all very decorative, and different
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Little resorts and bugalows dot the island
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The Grand Lagoona Resort. The Galaxy, a huge boat, moored in a lagoon, used as a hotel. Too expensive for me, and not really that nice. Lotsa Skeeters!
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Koh Chang sunset
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The neighbors
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Breakfast next to the tatoo parlor
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Local Critters
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Hospital on the pier, Health Promoting!
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Cruising boat leaving Bang Bao
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My Dinner!
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Where I stayed in Bang Bao, very relaxing, right on the water, kayaks, and boats to borrow. And with our own pier
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All ya really need
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There was no one there, so I set my camera on the grass, hit the 10 second timer, and ran for the deck! large_5IMG_0865.jpg
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Bang Bao sunset
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Lionfish sculpture
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Bang Bao pier from the top of the tower
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My front yard
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I like the added on outhouse on the stern
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Leaving Bang Bao on a rented Longtail boat. It took me two days to find someone that would take me the rest of the way around the island. The road doesn't go all the way through, so the only way is by boat. Every time I asked someone that gave tours they said 'Nobody does that!'. So I finally found a fisherman that would take me the rest of the way around....as long as he could fish on the way. I said 'Let's Go!'
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"Perhaps catch a few fish!"
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There's a total of 53 islands in Koh Chang National Park
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The water was beautiful, and warm!
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Arriving in Salak Phet by boat
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Saying goodbye to my ride
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Tower on Salak Phet pier
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The Finnish guy, who had a guesthouse, tooled around on this with Heavy Metal music blaring from the attached boombox!
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Little guesthouses out along the tiny cement pier, Fantastic!
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Where I stayed in Salak Phet. I got off the boat at the pier and there was no one around. I found a few local kids and asked where the town was, and they said 'this is it!' So I got a ride to the ATM, which was in the middle of nowhere, and a little German woman comes up behind me and says 'is it working? because usually it's not', I say yes and she asks where I came from, and I said a boat from Bang Bao, and she says 'Nobody does that' and I say I know, and she asks me where I'm staying. As usual, I say I don't know, and she says to find her friend Uli's guesthouse, and proceeds to give me directions, 'Go down this path, past the temple, turn right and look for the German flag'. The kindness of strangers....
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Urai's Place, Thai/German guesthouse. Cheap, friendly and wonderfull! The beer was ice cold, and the Schnitzel was delicious!
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The view.......
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Uli's wife, our hostess and chef! Let me borrow the motorbike, and did my laundry for free!
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New temple at Salak Phet
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Painting the inside
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The gate to someone's home in the mountains on my way to the waterfalls
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Rubber plantation
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Spirit house on Koh Chang
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More beaches, more kayaks, absolutely wonderful!
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Eclipse from Bangkok on my way to the north.
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The north is very different. Mostly farms and small towns. Nong Khai along the river, my friend's farm in Rattanawapi, and temples in Phon Phisai, and Wat Phu Tok
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My trusty steed!
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Kids came running out screaming "FARANG.... FARANG!".....it means foreigner
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Rattanawapi. Along the little road that follows the Mekhong, every 1500 yards or so was another beautiful temple. Many used as schools
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Lao temple in Phon Phisai
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Built around huge boulders
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Dinner at my friend Nok's farm with her family. Every night we BBQ'd fresh fish, eaten with rice and fresh vegetables, and ate outside in the cool northern air. Her whole family would come for dinner to meet the 'Farang' and want to talk and drink homemade ....'medicine'.
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The entrance to Wat Phu Tok, amazing teak furniture.
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'Yeah...I know....'
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Wat phu Tok was incredible. Built by monks on an outcropping of rock in an otherwise flat landscape. Seven levels of stairs to get to the top 'Enlightenment'. I was the only one that went all the way. The walkway and stairs were pounded into the rocks, only wood, and a little frightening! Several hundred feet straight down!
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View from the third level
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The Monks had their own radio station
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The temple was built among the caves and rocks.
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Wat Kaew Kou sculpture park, built by a Buddhist/Hindu mystic, who's body still lies in state there. He built the same thing in Vientiane, Lao many years earlier but when the government changed hands they kicked him out because he was not a pure Buddhist. He then went across the river to Nong Khai and built an even bigger one!
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Some of the statues were 60 meters high
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Large catfish in the pond
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The Mystic enshrined in his temple
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Wat Pho Chai in downtown Nong Khai, a very special place for Isaan Buddhists
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It is the home of Luang Pho Phra Sai. Commissioned by the three daughters of the King of the Lao Lan Chang Empire, it is one of three identical Lao Buddha images, one of which fell into the Maekong during a storm 200 years ago. Its head is said to be made of solid gold!
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Monkmobile
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The lake outside beautiful Rattanawapi
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Chinese temple along the Rimkhong in Nong Khai
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Drying sugarcane sticks by the river
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The temple that slid into the Mekhong many years ago. When the water levels are low, the top of the temple sticks out and they decorate it until the river rises, and then the following year when the level goes down, they do it again
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OK...turned on the tube one night......'Oh Brother" with Chinese subtitles!
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Sunset over the Friendship Bridge crossing to Lao
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Nice little apartments..around a hundred bucks a month!
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Local bike shop
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Many floating restaurants on the river.
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Tourist Photo at the temple in Nong Khai
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Blessing the new Toyota!
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Basically a Buddhist cemetery
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Merry Christmas!
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Making Pastries on the street
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Large Buddha looking across the river to Lao
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My friend Wanyana helped me find my way to the airport in Udon Thani, I didn't want to leave!
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Posted by ikombazana 19:24

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