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Thailand

Day 7, Chiang Rai


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large_938978_12094079034516.jpg Today we'd pay a visit to the local tribes that live in the most Northern province, close to Chiang Rai. First we had to go into little mini-vans. It was to steep for our bus to go there, and too many turns. after a nice ride through the mountains we got to the first tribe, the Akha-tribe. they are among one of the poorest tribes. They live in little bamboo or wooden huts. Funny thing was they did have a tv. Well the leader had one. We got a little tour around the village. Animals were running all over the place, dogs, chickens, even little pigs.

We gave mainly food to the people there, milk, packages for noodlesoup. We also bought things from the little stands there. The necklaces and bracelets were beautiful! A lot of women were pregnant, and the ones who weren't had babies.large_938978_12094079027790.jpg There were a lot of children around....really cute.
We went on to the Lahu tribe. These were a little wealthier. They lived in a bit more luxury compared to the Akhu-tribe. But instead of a view we only got through a sort of improvised street with stands, nothing more. So the Akhu-tribe was more interesting to spend time.

We went to have lunch in a beautiful garden, and after that we went to the Golden Triangle. We went on a boat and saw Birma, Laos and Thailand from the Mekong-river. We even went on land in Laos for a while where we could shop around a bit. It was nice to do because we haven't had much time to shop during the days we have been on our trip. So later on we went back to Thailand. We also saw very small wooden fisherman's huts...it was a bit of an upsetting site to see how people lived on the shore of the river.

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Day 6, Pitsanoluke - Chiang Rai


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large_938978_1209407679509.jpg Today was the longest bustrip of the whole vacation. Yesterday was long, but today would be even longer. We got up at 5.30 am, and left an hour and a half later.
First we visited Wat Mahattat, de second most important temple of Thailand. Very beautiful, and we got explanations about the different Buddha's, one for every day of the week. Our guide also told us there were different colors for each day. We got some time to walk around before we left for our next stop, Sukothai National Park.

We got a bike tour through the park. The bikes weren't in the best shape though, one got a flat tire, someone else lost a pedal...quite hilarious though. The tour was nice, we saw a few ruins, beautiful nature and the bike ride was quite nice because it was hot and with the bike ride we could cool down a bit ;)

After that we just drove on to Chiang Rai, with a few coffeestops on the way. We arrived at the Golden Pine Resort in the evening. And that really is something to be awestruck about. It is absolutely amazing, in the middle of ricefields. The garden was amzing, the rooms were little bungalows...it was just perfect!!

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Day 5, afternoon, Ayutthaya - Pitsanuloke


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After having lunch the bus left for Pitsanoluke, where we arrived later in the afternoon, around 5 o'clock.
We had a tour by samlor (sort of riksja) through town. It was really great even though i had pity with the one biking and me just sitting there in the back. But the ride was very nice. We stopped once for what was callen the flying vegetable show. There were four volunteers, and the thing they had to do was catching vegetables which the cook threw through the air.
The thing they didn't know was that they had to wear a red cooks skirt, yellow sort of dress, and leek on the side of their head. Funny to see :)

After that we had dinner on a raft sort of boat. It was flat...so not really a boat but it was really big. We sat on a long table, all 29 of us, and had dinner served. Only minor thing were all the mosquitos flying around ;) So after the very nice dinner ( i absolutely love Thai food now) we went back to the hotel. Where we could buy another photo. With everything we did there were pictures taken which we could buy for 100 or 200 Baht...And not only pictures in frames, they even tried to sell buttons at one point.

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Day 5, morning, Kanchanaburi - Ayutthaya


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large_938978_12081072477473.jpgRats! Bbq-ed rat anyone? Next morning, almost a weekaway from home. Time flies when you're having fun.
We left for the ruins of Ayutthaya.

Before we got to the ruins the tour guides had a surprise for us. We stopped at a little shop
close to the road where the served the local delicacies of the area...rat and cobra. And because
you have to try everything at least once i ate a bbq'ed rat...didn't taste bad, it was just like chicken,
only a bit dry and with more herbs. Cobra wasn't available when we were there.

So after that little surprise we arrived at Ayutthaya. The city was build based on the building
style of the Cambodians, like the Angkor Wat. Ayutthaya used to be a city, that was attacked
several times by the Burmese. The city was destroyed in 1767.

It was HUGE.large_938978_12081072489829.jpgFinally...the ruins of Ayutthaya!Well of course it used to be a city... too bad that a lot of it was destroyed.
Every buddha we saw was broken, without a head or just completely cut in half. It also used to
be all gold around there, and the only thing we saw now were burns. The Burmese burned the city,
collected the molten gold and transported it to Birma.

The bricks were a beautiful color of red, and the towers and stupa's were mostly intact,
so we could get a lot of pictures. They also had a maquette of how the city used to be. The
morning was over by the time we left. We visited a small other city in the same style also the beautiful red bricks.
What was really special was the face of a buddha in the roots of a tree. In old times people hid the head
of the Buddha because of all the asaults. The roots of the tree didn't grow over it, but perfectly aroud it! Very
special to see, and very important for the people, who saw it as a sign.

We left for Pitsanuloke a little while later.

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Day 4, Bangkok - River Kwai - Kanchanaburi


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large_938978_12077666521994.jpgFloating....We left Bangkok early in the morning. First we went to the famous Floating market.

We were brought there with a speedboat. It was great!! I really enjoyed that trip there. The floating market isn't all floating. Part of it is on shore, but there was a possibility to get into a little boat and go along the floating market on the canal. Took about 45 minutes before we got back at ur starting point, and it was an amazing experience. It was fun trading from a boat lol :) Bought a little fan, some tigerbalm (helps against musquitobites, gone in a day!) and a few other things. Bargaining is addicting ;)

After the floating market we continued our trip to the River Kwai, or Kwae as it is supposed to be pronounced. First we went to the Railway Museum and the cemetary closeby. It was impressive to see, and sad at the same time if you reconsider how and why all those people died. After that we went to see the Burma Railway. It was high...very high. Felt a bit weird to be standing there knowing what happened, but it was a beautiful sight. After that we went on a little train that brought us along the River Kwai, a beautiful view.

After that it was on to Kanchanaburi, where we stayed in the River Kwai Hotel. A good hotel, nothing special. So after a very nice dinner and a great foot massage we could look back on another very nice day. The city itself wasn't anything exciting, but we only stayed there one nigth so it didn't really matter.

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