On my way to Bangkok, 4 hour delay in Beijing!
Ferry to Koh Chang
Fishing pier on the mainland
Uhhhh...those lifevests don't look up to date!
Car ferry to the island
Northeast side of Koh Chong
Where I stayed the first night on the island, White Sands Beach
View from my bungalow
Nice to see some sailing!
Restaurants lining the beach
I ate wayyy tooo much squid!
Very relaxing beakfast on the deck
Until this guy jumped out of the tree and landed on the table in front of me!
Daily walk down the beach to find new places to paddle and swim
My bungalow on Lonley Beach, 500 baht a night. About 16 bucks...I splurged!
In a beautiful, peaceful garden
A stones throw from this
Next stop, Bang Bao on the eastern coast of the island. Bang Bao pier
Bungalows on the pier, very nice.
Tower at the end of Bang Bao pier. All the piers on the island had them, all very decorative, and different
Little resorts and bugalows dot the island
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!
Koh Chang sunset
Breakfast next to the tatoo parlor
Hospital on the pier, Health Promoting!
Cruising boat leaving Bang Bao
Where I stayed in Bang Bao, very relaxing, right on the water, kayaks, and boats to borrow. And with our own pier
All ya really need
There was no one there, so I set my camera on the grass, hit the 10 second timer, and ran for the deck!
Bang Bao sunset
Bang Bao pier from the top of the tower
My front yard
I like the added on outhouse on the stern
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!'
"Perhaps catch a few fish!"
There's a total of 53 islands in Koh Chang National Park
The water was beautiful, and warm!
Arriving in Salak Phet by boat
Saying goodbye to my ride
Tower on Salak Phet pier
The Finnish guy, who had a guesthouse, tooled around on this with Heavy Metal music blaring from the attached boombox!
Little guesthouses out along the tiny cement pier, Fantastic!
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....
Urai's Place, Thai/German guesthouse. Cheap, friendly and wonderfull! The beer was ice cold, and the Schnitzel was delicious!
Uli's wife, our hostess and chef! Let me borrow the motorbike, and did my laundry for free!
New temple at Salak Phet
Painting the inside
The gate to someone's home in the mountains on my way to the waterfalls
Spirit house on Koh Chang
More beaches, more kayaks, absolutely wonderful!
Eclipse from Bangkok on my way to the north.
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
My trusty steed!
Kids came running out screaming "FARANG.... FARANG!".....it means foreigner
Rattanawapi. Along the little road that follows the Mekhong, every 1500 yards or so was another beautiful temple. Many used as schools
Lao temple in Phon Phisai
Built around huge boulders
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'.
The entrance to Wat Phu Tok, amazing teak furniture.
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!
View from the third level
The Monks had their own radio station
The temple was built among the caves and rocks.
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!
Some of the statues were 60 meters high
Large catfish in the pond
The Mystic enshrined in his temple
Wat Pho Chai in downtown Nong Khai, a very special place for Isaan Buddhists
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!
The lake outside beautiful Rattanawapi
Chinese temple along the Rimkhong in Nong Khai
Drying sugarcane sticks by the river
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
OK...turned on the tube one night......'Oh Brother" with Chinese subtitles!
Sunset over the Friendship Bridge crossing to Lao
Nice little apartments..around a hundred bucks a month!
Local bike shop
Many floating restaurants on the river.
Tourist Photo at the temple in Nong Khai
Blessing the new Toyota!
Basically a Buddhist cemetery
Making Pastries on the street
Large Buddha looking across the river to Lao
My friend Wanyana helped me find my way to the airport in Udon Thani, I didn't want to leave!