Children of Laos, Burma & Thailand

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Thailand and Laos (and Myanmar if I can manage it)

Hello, Sawatdee kaa and Sabai dee,

My next trip will be Thailand and Laos, and this is all about the before, the trip and the after - similar to my Malaysia/Cambodia blog. I am putting together from start to finish - tickets, do's and don'ts, tours, where to stay, places to see, things to do, as well as useful extras like transport, good places to eat, what to wear, climate, tourist traps, tricks and tips and whatever else I can think of that will be useful.

If you have any tips or advice, please, feel free to leave a comment and add your bit - whatever you think may be helpful or interesting.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

68. Golden Triangle Tour - The Golden Triangle

Our next stop is Chiang Saen - where you cruise over to the Laos island of Don Xao. I had been told the boat was a small canoe, being a non-swimmer I didn't fancy my chances in a little canoe so decided against joining in this part of the trip. Because of this I hadn't brought extra cash with me.

Above: Chiang Saen
Yep, here's the notice board which "proves" I was at the Golden Triangle! It seems a bit childish now taking a photo for proof, but hey! people do funny things and I'm pretty sure people have done funnier! All in the name of tourism.☺

Above: Boat to Don Xao Island
I found out the boat is not a little canoe, but this "normal" size boat so then there was a rush of letting the tour guide know that yes, I did want to go on the cruise. That meant I had to hand over 300 baht - don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, had I not been told the boat was a little canoe, I'd have paid the extra when I booked the tour and would have taken extra cash with me for spending.

Above: Thai side
It was lovely sitting in the boat - I love messing about on boats and sitting back watching the water and the river scenery, it is such a peaceful thing to do. Here is the Thai side of the river. Hmm - looks like a work in progress.

Above: Golden Buddha, Wat Sop Ruak
A little further up is the big buddha - Wat Sop Ruak, which I believe is the border point of Laos, Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). The huge golden Buddha rises 40-feet from the stern of an elaborately designed metal pirate boat.

Above: Laos Golden Triangle
On the Laos side. Here we see one of the casinos being built by China. It disappoints me that monstrosities like this are built along a quiet, lovely place all in the name of greed, money and big business.

Above: The Golden Triangle
Where three countries "meet".

Above: Don Xao Island
Here I am - the island where you get mostly black market stuff - grog, tobacco, you name it, they got it. I bought a white handbag for 300 baht. Asking price was 600 baht. Mostly the bags weren't really what I wanted - there were so many, and we had so little time. Anyway, I fell in love with a fuschia pink bag with a grey flower and black plastic beaded handles. Fellow wanted 800 baht. I offered 400, went up to 500 baht, Had left the bulk of cash at the hotel safe and couldn't go higher. He wouldn't budge. He did speak to someone and I caught the words "special delivery" or something like that. I was very disappointed.

If I were to be lucky enough to come back here, I'd be looking at the locally made silk scarves and trinkets and knick-knacks rather than handbags. You don't need your passport, even though this island belongs to Laos.

Above: Ferry
Soon it was time to leave - here we are on the boat heading back. Eating the ice cream I bought on the island. It was a goooood ice cream.

Above: Back to Chiang Saen
Soon we were back on dry land and it's okay everybody, back on the bus - it's time to head to the restaurant for lunch. We drove for a short while, probably no more than a few minutes.

Above: Chiang Saen restaurant
The restaurant was fairly large and is set up for tourist groups. I didn't know this at the time, but do now. Anyway, whether the food was "authentic" or an "authentic" experience I had a lovely time here. The food was good, plenty of it and I can honestly say I had a good time. The lower left-hand photo shows food dishes which are from L to R - Fried rice, Fried Chinese noodle, Fried potato, Fried chicken, Chicken curry.
There were also desserts, little confections of sweet stuff. And of course - coffee.

Above: Restaurant front entrance
This is the outside of the restaurant - it's just beautiful with all that bougainvillea overhanging, framing the place with a hint of old fashioned mystery. Sitting in one of the chairs under a flowering cover is one of the most enjoyable things you can do. I could have sat there forever. Sipping coffee, sitting in the shade with nothing more to do than pick up the coffee cup, the breeze wafting past your face with a delicate freshness. You close your eyes and live the moment.

Above: Verandah Chairs
These are the chairs on the verandah. As I sat on one of these rattan chairs drinking coffee, it looked and felt like British Colonial times.

Above: View opposite
There was a school or childcare learning centre opposite with drawing/artwork on the wall and small chairs. I couldn't get the whole lot in one photo, so took three and I've put them together in a collage. If you enlarge the photo, you get a better view. Does anyone reading this know what the Thai writing says?

The village, if that is what it was, was a pleasant, sleepy little place, busy but not crowded.
All too soon it was time to head back to the bus.

Next: Mae Sai/Tachilek

1 comment:

BlogDaz said...

I can just picture myself in one of those rattan chairs, drinking coffee and watching life go by.

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