Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Thai Field Trip

Definitely a different trip than Ko Phi Phi – the bpai tiao to jangwat loei was actually a working trip billed as a tourism conference. I spent two days on the road with a fellow PCV’s (Bobby) SAO, like a tessabaan only smaller. 50 of us loaded onto a festive double decker bus decorated with Disney characters, only Mickey was a vampire, Daisy was a bat – you get the idea. They still had those big Disney smiles. The bus was typical Thai, lots of loud speakers blaring karaoke for hours. No exaggeration, more of an understatement – FOR HOURS! Thais enjoy karaoke and they enjoy long bus rides. I think the road trip getting there is probably just as important as the destination.
Jangwat loei is in the far north on the Laos border. We stayed at the Chaing Khan Hill Resort which is right on the Mekong River with a spectacular view. It is a tourist destination for farangs and for Thais. Chaing Khan walking street is a charming spot with old, old hotels and lots of good shopping. On the way to and from we stopped at two national parks, phukradueng and the second one I cannot name because I only saw it in Thai letters. Beautiful tropical forests, waterfalls, and amazing rock formations. We also stopped at a lake for lunch, eating on our own floating boat. Very charming. We also visited a local OTOP (One tambon, one product - a Thai economic development program I will blog about another time)and saw how they made delicious coconut kanoms (desserts).
It was unanimous among the farangs (Bobby and me) that two days is our limit on that kind of trip. The bus ride is wearing and when you stay with your coworkers there is no time off to gather your wits and not worry about your lousy Thai!

These markers mark road locations throughout Thailand, 0 = the beginning!

Mekong River with Laos in the background

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