After 13 hours flight we are back home. Airline was good the flight times are very comfortable we had just two hours stop over in Muscat which is enough for shopping, coffee and a smoke. Back here we were shivering but spring will come soon. Went to bed early and slept very well in my own bed. Vacation was really amazing (or shall I say awesome :) …) and because of Sunday we have a whole day to relax, meet our friends and start into the daily business tomorrow. Next trip ? Who knows. After the good times with the canadian buddies a short visit in the land of the maple leaf would be very welcome. Let’s see if we can arrange this. Keep you informed as I always do.
Back at Bangkok we we shocked about the temperature. We left Payam with 35 degrees and arrived 6:00 am with rainshowers and 20 degrees. It was a great week at the probably most beautiful island in Thailand, we met old buddies and had a lot of fun and also silence and relaxing. There was no Payam blues this time and we are sure that we’ll back as long as the island is the same as we would like to see it…….
The ride was relaxed within the VIP 24 bus and also the staff at Ballys studio was very kind and gave us a room at 8 am. First topic – tailor. As you may can imagine we had two nice weeks with a lot of good food and I guess all of us increased our weight :) But anyway the new suites and clothes fit and we were happy about that. Bought our BTS daypasses and went for shopping at MBK. So two days left for doing a kind of business and we’ll see us soon in Germany.
10 years ago since we came first time to Payam and to Bamboo Bungalows. Long time I guess. A lot of things changed during that time. Even we didn’t come every year we saw the development and growing of the island. And of the Bamboo as well. Instead of simple bamboo huts they have nice bungalows made of stone and power by solar. As we arrived at the pier I tried to buy tickets for the speedboat which goes frequently since three years. It was fully booked. So I bought tickets for the slow boat and what a surprise also the slow boat was full with people and stuff for the island. Unbelievable. I told the old story again when we went by a normal longtail boat to Payam with four people on it. So you may know how it is changed. More people more business more resorts on the island. No longer daily beachvolley ball (seems that there are not longer “highly sports motivated” people…) or may be it’s because guys like Tim or Chris didn’t come the way. I must correct myself the new court is just few meters from here and I’ll join the game later on. I got a massage by Oi and she was able to fix the pain at the back of the neck. She told me to tell the guys at the massage studio in Bangkok (not sure if I would like to go there again…) “if they don’t know what they’re doing than better do nothing…” I guess she is right but how to find out in advance if a massage is good or not ? Anyway I suggest go and get a massage from a place where you know excactly that it is a good one.
Topic for next days as mentioned twice is doing nothing. We went out for a coffee yesterday and while we were sitting and having a strong italian-style coffee we were able to watch a marriage of butterflies. I tried to take pictures but either my camera is too slow or my eyes are too old. Tonight we will have dinner with Tim and we are looking forward to hear his stories and talked about old times and what’s new on the planet.
Yesterday an earthquake and based on that a tsunami hits Japan. Unbelivable. The world is not that small as we might it to be…..
What a surprise… while we were playing volleyball the J-man appears!!! So we agreed that he comes to the place where we will have dinner. So I told Mandy I have a surprise for her and she was really surprised when J-man appeared. We had great and cheap food, Tom Yum soup and Masaman curry and fried basil with garlic and pepper. And as a desert J-man ordered banana pancake! As in the old times when we ordered five mins before they closed the kitchen pancake and/or banana fritters. We were talking about a lot of things and sometimes it seems that we tried to turn back the wheel of time. All guys at the same table, sharing food and stories. Great. I felt very comfortable with this and Mandy as well. What a nice evening.
Had a great dinner at Ois place.We got an invitation for a private dinner with Tim, Ian, J-man and Annie and it was really awesome food. And it was like in the old times sitting around and talking about journeys and travels.
Just to let you know what is most important business at Payam. Food, massage, sundowner cocktail… just smooth and relaxed.
Sukothai. Craddle of Siam in 13th century. We arrived by bus from Chiang Mai and we all were a kind of lucky that we had left this busy place. Guys from J&J GH picked us up from bus station so it wasn’t that difficult to find the place. And it is beautiful here. Couple of bungalows stand around a small green. Because they moved to this place couple of months ago there is no swimming pool but we can use again a pool in a hotel which is closed to here. We went there and after two hours when the sun goes down we walked to the night market to have dinner. Very tasty and a lot of curries and appetiziers. Only disadvantage here in Sukothai is that after dask billions of small flies come out. They don’t bit or anything but it is not a nice thing to have them in your food or in your glass of beer. We agreed to a tour through old Sukothai for next day and went bedwards.
Today we started the tour with our private Tuktuk at 8 am to avoid the heat in the aftnoon. The entrace for the main area was free today may be why they built up a Muay Thai boxing stadium inside. The old wats and temples, stupas and chedis are in same condition as we saw it years ago. I guess that more roads were built up but not sure. Anyway the whole area is very well maintained and everywhere people cleaning ways or cutting trees. Maybe a kind of meditation…. We were impressed by the size of old Sukothai and of nit’s wats. First to see was Wat Mahathat which is one of main temples here. I don’t wanna tell you the names of the other places we visited because we spent there around four hours. It was amazing and breathtaking and it was so quiet here that we found our time to talk to Buddah. On the way back, it was 1 pm, also nthe wind was hot during the ride. What to do after arriving ? Switch aircon on (yes we have a working aircon…) take a shower and go for a rest….next destination Koh Payam
Chaing Mai. We were here 10 years ago. It was a busy place at this time but it wasn’t so overcrowed as it is today. The guesthouse we had choosen in advance is not bad but if I’ld stay longer than two nights another guesthouse would be probably better. But for us the first really relaxing days. Doing nothing than laid back business. Means sitting and having coffee (more real coffee shops than Bangkok I guess…) or good and cheap food as well as traditional massages. In the street where the guesthouse is located it goes like this .. guesthouse.. bar .. massage ..guesthouse .. bar .. massage. Ok you got the message ? Fine. I need my in-ear headphones to get a sleep. But only two nights. Most important to visit the Doi Suhteph temple. It wasn’t that spectecular as we thought but it is one of the most important Wats in northern Thailand. I bought my “worship package” (contains two candles, a lotus flower and three insences) for 10 baht and talked to Buddah. Well let me see if it was a good conversation. Ladies are happy because of very valuable massages and I hope that the pain I have since my first massage in Bangkok becomes better and I feel well again. Notice : not every smiling thai woman is able to do a good and correct massage. Tomorrow we’ll go to Sukothai which is also a former capital of siamese kingdom.
Trek starts at 8 am. After a short breakfast we went by car to the national park, a Short ride about 15 mins. We were 5 guys on the pick-up jeep and two guides what is pretty nice. First stop was an overview platform where we put on special socks to avoid from leeches. And the guides showed us the first small animals , so-called flying geckos. Very small but we saw them through the binoculars very close, one of them was eating ants :). We went deeper into the park by a very slow driving while the guides were watching out for animals. They showed us the first Gibbon family in the top of a group of trees. Playing around and making a lot of noise. Difficult to take pictures because the lenses of my camera not really made for this. Anyway it was amazing to see the monkeys gliding between the leafes. Next group of monkeys was sitting on the street a whole family of makaks. They were doing socialising without facebook by playing and kidding eachother. A guide tried to feed one of them with an apple but the monkey was to shy or scared. We had a short stopover for a break at the central place just getting a coffee. After that we jumped on the jeep and stopped on a small place where we left the car and started our 3hours walk. The guide shows us a hole on the groundand with a little wooden stick he stirred inside
and catched… a scorpion! And he placed that poison animal on Mandys back. She was screaming but after a couple of seconds she recognized that there’s no danger for her. Sabine took the beast into her hands and was faszinated about the creature. While we were walking our guide explained us a lot about the forest and it’s animals. While we were waiting for hornbills (you can hear them coming because of thenoise the make during their flight) a giant black suqirrel was climbing upa tree. Seems same size like a small rabbit. And than we saw hornbills. A couple, male and female. Beautiful to see. After a while we reached the place where other Greenleaf guys had always a lunch prepared. And than back to the car and a short ride to see a waterfall. What is special with that waterfall ? It’s the one you may have seen in the movie “the beach” and the waterfall isn’t located near the famous Maya bay no it’s right here at Khao Yai. I saw that already so I took a power nap. Meanwhile it was 4 pm and now we were ready for elephant hunting. By camera for sure. We drove slow and saw a lot of elephant signs like small broken trees and others :) Another car comes up and the guys on it were yelling “elephants! elephants” So we drove back and stood still on the rood. And the noise they made comes closer and closer. Wow. 3 meters infront of us an elephant appears from the wood. And the next and than the whole family. Six of them. Amazing. Breathtaking. Wild elephants always a special event for normal europeans like us. We were silent while we watched them eating and as soon as the started to cross the road we left our place as well. To dangerous to stay because of two babies in the group. We were lucky at this day we saw all the animals we missed years ago. And it was a great experience for Sabine as well. And to make this day really perfect we got a very delicious dinner for free when we arrived at the Greenleaf resort. Tom yam gung and fried fish with vegetables and rice. The guides offered this because we came back. Amazing and now you may imagin a little bit about thai hospitality. A fantastic day.Thanks to Greenleaf and we will recommend you to everybody who wants to go to Khao Yai.
Bus to Pak Chong which is the entrance to KhaoYai Nationalpark was cheap as we remembered. 10 km before Pak Chong the clutch was broken so we hqd to wait for another bus but we were lucky and reached Pak Chong in-time. While we were ordering a coffee the Greenleaf car comes around and picked us up. And we were surprise about the bunch of people here. New rooms and everything bigger, better, more. The afternoon tour started at 3:30 pm and we joined it. Spectecular to see was the flight-out of the bats, 3 millions of them flxing out every day at dask for hunting. Back at the guesthouse I was talking to the guys about former times and after having a beer we went bedwards. Next day to full trip…..
We spent two days in Bangkok. Why city of angels ? Bangkok is the city with longest name all over the world and the name contains the term city of angels as well. You may ask wikipedia for the full name. We stayed at Ballys Studio Suites a nice and clean hotel at Sukhumvit Soi 20. First day we started relaxed with a walk through Siam Square area, we were at the Jim Thompson House ( the guy who has reestablished thai silk weaving..) and had our lunch at MBK 6th floor where you can find whole asian kitchen for less money. Afternoon we found a new tailor for me and Sabine decided to go for a nice dress as well. Enough for first day. Not really. We took another cab to famous Khaosarn Road and we were looking for a japanese sushi restaurant we were in years ago. Unable to find (moved to next street…) we had local food to an reasonable price. Next day we sleept a little bit longer so our plan to be the first at Grand Palace failed. took BTS to Saphan Taksin and Mandy and me were surprised that there were no longer public boats available. Instead of the cheap boats we had in mind we must take a tourist boat to go to Wat Phra Keo. Anyway 25 bath for each is not a big deal. And during the week it is definetely better to take public transportation instead of taxi. The Wat was amazing but overcrowded. Lots of russian tourist and I thought by myself that for them the only thing what counts is to take pictures to prove that they were here. Afterwards we went to Grand Palace and it happend again that an official-looking persons told us thatthe palace is closed today because of a buddhist holiday. We walked on and entered the Grand Palace. Sabine was impressed but i am on the same page, it was like a kind of overloaded impression. The room of the jade buddah image was full (as always…) and after 2 hours we had enough and took a taxi to Hua Lampong where we jumped into MRT. Back at the hotel we treated ourself with a massage, bought some beer at 7/11 and had one more hour on the roof top.