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  1. #26
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    OK I'll get the pics sorted for next year, probably be a hell of a lot more too after this forth-coming trip.

    Yep, been to most places once and some of them twice.

  2. #27
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    Women are bigger nuisances than men when they get popped up! There were two in our company last night, feeling sorry for themselves and blaming men for everything! If I hadn't respected the company I was in in general, I would have left the party.

    Back to the story.

    I spoke to my pal who is in the Mae Sot area a couple of hours ago, I asked him previously over the airfield at Umphang and to see if he could find anything out about it for me.

    There is an airstrip manager who lives adjacent to the strip, apparently you have to clear any flight in or out? and he is the only guy capable of giving you permission. You have to bung him a few quid as well. (How strange in LOS)

    Apparently only highly skilled pilots who have been briefed about the strip should attempt to fly in here. It's location is very dangerous between the mountains and only very small planes or choppers ever use the same.

    The Chief of Border Police 'Colonel Somwant Khamthong' also carries some clout about the flights into here as well.

    I wonder what all that's about indeed!

    Apparently there is also the possibility of chartering a small plane here to fly you around the area and over the majestic water-falls, that sounds very interesting.

    Whilst I'm on, my pal also told me that he heard of the demise of Khun Sa, a few weeks ago in Rangoon. October 30th he recalled. He reckons he was in bad health with diabetes and a few other problems. He was duly cremated.

    RIP Khun Sa.
    All the women take their blouses off
    And the men all dance on the polka dots
    It's closing time !

  3. #28
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    Really interesting stuff Mathos.

  4. #29
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    Thanks for that Sabang, I'll keep at it when I have chance.

  5. #30
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    pls do , and don't forget the pic's ...............

  6. #31
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    I'll post some more tales etc this week Mid. Photo's will have to wait until next year. I'm off to LOS in three weeks and will be there until end of March at least!

    I'm glad some of you are finding it interesting. Thanks.



  7. #32
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    It is an interesting topic to discuss what people have eaten in their lives, especially in the mountains and around border towns like Mae Sot.

    At home you can push a cart or carry a basket around the supermarkets and fill it with all sorts of delicacies. The habit has reached LOS now of course. There was a time when rats were openly on sale in the markets, maybe they still are in certain parts of the country. I recall one guide many years ago setting traps to catch rats, we could be sat talking or nodding off in our hammocks and one would go off. He would be across like a bullet, they like them fresh, the critters were cooked immediately.

    One time many years back in the windmills of time we stopped at a village, they had a pit in the ground smoking away and whilst we were there a few men came in with a monkey they had killed. They threw it down on the burning wood, the stench from the fur alone was terrible. After raking it about a little amongst the wood, they dragged it off, the stomach had swollen badly, the fur was still smoking, stinking horrible smell that burning hair has. They cut the head, hands and feet off, gutted it, which was a hell of a mess and skinned it. Then they had it on a simple spit with more wood burning on the fire. It looked like a kid to be be honest.

    I couldn't even think of eating any of that. I saw a few of them cooking a small dog up north earlier this year. Each to their own I suppose.

    There were tales in Mae Sot and down the border areas a few years back of Chinese traders coming down especially to buy human brains which were sold quite openly to them from dead soldiers killed in the mountains. I was told the brains were put into alcohol, (strong rice wine) it was taken as a medicine to cure mental disorders, improve memory, cure epileptic fits and other disorders.

    Phu Tah Moo writes under the name of Thuleibo; In his book 'The Karen Revolution' he tells of the cruelty of a particular officer (Karen) with no holds barred.

    Anyone who joined his company had to eat human flesh, he gave enemy guts for his soldiers to eat. There is tale of him having an enemy tied to a tree or post, cutting his flesh off him and mincing it with condiments and eating it in from of him whilst he screamed and wriggled. That is worse than any cruelty imaginable. Whilst the wretch was still alive and cut to pieces, he cut out his heart and liver. The two thighs were eventually cut from the body and taken to a noodle shop in Zinkyaik to be fried.

    In 1991 I was with a guide 'Che,' We had arrived at a village and we were hungry they gave us food in small bowls, a little rice, grass type vegetation and a watery soup, it wasn't very good but helped fill a gap, there was a little meat in the bowl, it was white certainly tasted like chicken I thought.
    "Chicken?" I enquired of Che
    "No it rat, very good for you!" was his reply.

    Sometimes you 're much better off not being inquisitive you know.

    It amazes me what they do eat. Everything that creeps, crawls, flies, jumps, hops, slithers or swims is part of the natural and acceptable diet. Down Rover, they would love to get you in the pot boy!

    If ever you get the opportunity, it's worth sitting in on one of those market slaughter houses when they do a buffalo. the stench, blood and mess is unreal, nothing is wasted though, they usually carry out the killing and butchering at night, then its all fresh and ready for market the morning after, every bit of bone will end up in a big soup pot somewhere in town before the day is through.

    When they were building the first dual carriageways, drivers were coming out of the hills with wagons and all sorts of vehicles they could transport anything with. They had no idea what to make of the duals, so must have thought they were two roads. It was nothing to see those wagons coming down towards you full force on your side of the highway! Elephants draped in massive chains dragging teak trees along, not a care in the world.

  8. #33
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    Not sure where I'm heading early tomorrow to make up for release to Cambodia with mates for a week, but she mentioned Tut or Tat and the hotel's 1k/night and not far from Mai Sot so I have the general direction and of course everything is organised hopefully better than the last time...anything I need to watch out for aside from the Thais?

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by keda View Post
    Not sure where I'm heading early tomorrow to make up for release to Cambodia with mates for a week, but she mentioned Tut or Tat and the hotel's 1k/night and not far from Mai Sot so I have the general direction and of course everything is organised hopefully better than the last time...anything I need to watch out for aside from the Thais?

    You momentarily threw me with that Keda!

    I'm now assuming you are talking about Trat on the eastern side of the gulf and closely bordering Cambodia. That can be an interesting place too.
    It isn't near Mae Sot though, Mae Sot is north west of Kanchanaburi if that assists you with the geographical aspects, right on the Burmese {Myanmar} border. It doesn't matter though, as long as you are enjoying yourself, you don't really need to know where you are, where you are going, or where you might have been.

    There have been times in my life when I have had to look in the mirror to make sure I'm who I think I am! I've settled down a lot now though, age kind of has that effect on you along life's highway.

    Yep Trat, there was a real cute boarding house type of place there, I remember staying at years and years ago. When Pol Pot was in full swing.
    They had a senile dog, some guy a reporter I seem to recall, was up in one of the rooms with a couple of young Thai ladies. He had this habit of tossing his johnnies out of the window, the senile dog kept bringing them inside and putting them down on the floor, wagging his tail and barking.

    Sometimes, life can be bloody funny!

    I'm probably to blame for meandering away from Mae Sot and ending up in Cambodia, along with the Vietnamese War and American righteousness.

    Have fun and let us know how it went when you get back.
    Last edited by Mathos; 13-12-2007 at 04:19 AM.

  10. #35
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    Thanks for the caution and yes I know Trat and have breezed through several times, as well as the opposite direction for Mae Sot but she specifically mentioned and spelled Tat as about an hour from Mae Sot near Burma and there's a spectacular waterfall, so looks like we're in for yet another magical mystery to some off the shelf tourist resort...now shower and we're off, but she did promise it's well organised this time so can only wonder where I'll be sleeping tonight.

  11. #36
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    Shower over, now she's conceded after intensive interrogation it's Tak not Tat and showed me the map she printed and it's not only near but engulfs Mae Sot and the surrounding area so might be a province or national park region or something rather a town but looks like that's where we'll be the next few days...innit!

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by keda
    it's well organised this time so can only wonder where I'll be sleeping tonight
    Probably in the car

  13. #38
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    Tak, yes that's better. Nice town too. quite lively from time to time. Decent hotel on the river front Viang Tak Riverside Hotel I seem to recall, but check it out. You can't miss the hotel though its the only one that is on the river edge, of that I feel quite sure. It was refurbished a few years back, nice rooms, not expensive at all, about Bt1000 I would think by now, it was about Bt700 a night breakfast included a few years back just after they brought it into the 21st century so to speak.
    OK from there you drive to Mae Sot about an hour or so. The waterfall you have heard about is relatively unknown to a lot of people; 'Nam Tok Thilawsu,' it's massive, I think it holds title to the 6th largest on the planet, but that would need checking out. It's definitely the biggest in Thailand though. Umphang area, I have made references to it and the surroundings a few posts back. Or 'Google' Umphang and Thilawsu, well worth the trip. There are some basic accommodation resorts in the mountains too.

    If you stay in Mae Sot, I would suggest the Central Mae Sot Hill Resort, just out of town and not far from The Friendship Bridge on the border crossing into Mayawaddi Burma {Myanmar. } Again about Bt1000 per room including breakfast if my memory serves me right.

  14. #39
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    I'm presently putting some bits and pieces together for a journey from Mae Sot after I have spent a few weeks there visiting some old haunts and places of interest to myself and wife in particular.

    The intention is to drive from Mae Sot, up the border road to Mai Sariang, then through to Mae Hong Son. I'll no doubt spend a few days in this area, I happen to think it's a beautiful area of Thailand especially.After MHS and a memory lane jaunt into Pai I will be heading for Chiang Dao, on north towards Fang and take in some of the real old border towns which are still I would imagine great places to visit.

    Tam Ngop, Yongtai, Muang An Huey Luag, Ban Hun Taek, Tachilek and eventually Mae Sai. I really like these outpost type places. They have good history attached to them from the special days of 'The Golden Triangle' I intend doing a write up on every bit of the area eventually, I have so many notes and transcripts together, but the difficulty is in reaching an audience who would be interested in the history. Not a lot.

    I'm consequently thinking it would be a better idea to build a fictional book and incorporate the knowledge I have into the same.

    After Mae Sai I'll make my way down towards Chiang Khang, Jhoeng, Chiang Kham. then make my way across the north east ridge towards Khon Kaen.

    There's a nice resort we spent a few days at about ten years ago up in the mountains around Petchabun. It's the Phukaew Hill Resort. I don't think it had been open so long when we dropped in there in January 97

    The restaurant manager was trying to impress,"'You want steak?" he inquired. "I have two sirloin steak."

    Great we both replied, we had been on a starvation diet for days including a long trek.

    We took a bungalow in the resort, really beautiful it was too {well worth googling} We had a shower, changed and made our way back down to the restaurant.

    We had a beer apiece, and there was a basket of bread rolls to nibble at, I don't think they had butter.

    "OK ok, steak twenty minutes, very nice!" he shouted across to us.

    Forty ,minutes later, "Cook, not cook steak before he said, have problem ,but very soon he bring!"

    Fifteen minutes later, clouds of smoke from the kitchen, a lot of yelling and cook runs out with what looked like two burning black lumps of coal in a frying pan.

    Manager comes over! "Steak fucked, you have chicken and cashew nuts, very nice"

    You can't make it up or buy it can you!

  15. #40
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  16. #41
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    We spent two days in the small town area Ban Mai Nal {Location 4} the old dirt road being much improved over the years, tarmac now covers some 60% of the route up into the area. Occidentals have no right to cross the border at this point and it's anybodies guess as to what criss crosses the border in this isolated and somewhat forgotten town in the mountains.

    The Thai side of the border crossing is home to quite a decent sized community of Karen and Paduang refugees from what I was able to make out. The homes are quite good for these standards, there are a couple of large school rooms as well but whilst we were there, we certainly did not see enough youngsters to warrant the size of the buildings. Houses were built in typical hillside methods, some quite precariously balancing on the very edges of steep drops.

    There was a sign in the village stating that the construction had in the main been funded by a Christian Church. The general contention in the lives of the people as I see it though, is that they are so happy at being out of the danger zone of being raped, abused, or even killed and butchered by the Burmese Junta, they will make the sign of the cross or Wei to Buddah, totally depending on who is dishing out the goodies at the time. Why not!!

    I was informed that the men usually find employment of sorts via the Thai farmers and such, but would be lucky to be paid the equivalent of 5.00 {$10} a month for a back breaking dawn to dusk heavy manual work load, plus a basic food supplement on a daily basis.

    The women do their best to sell their beautiful weavings and fancy stone necklaces and bracelets. These are normally bought by the more industrious Thais who will sell them on to the Farang Tourists. Whilst the village is open to to tourists, the Karen & Paduang have much on table displays here and there, including I noticed some beautiful knives. The few tourists who visit these sections of the unknown track are not likely to be keeping them solvent with trade. Obviously something is.

    However, I could not help but notice the inhabitants certainly appeared well fed, content and cheerful. I rather think the village would be a bloody mess in the rainy season but this is life or Thailand!.

    Then again, the young girls I was informed are regularly sold into prostitution by their parents, slavery, prostitution and money to exist go hand in hand though.

    The Paduang women wear the jugular ornaments around their necks, which is increased in size on quite a regular annual basis dependent on funds. They look horrendously deformed, it is a ridiculous tradition to maintain in my opinion, but traditions obviously help maintain 'tradition'
    From what I learned many moons back it is a tradition steeped well back in the annuls of time to increase the strength of the neck and enable the women to carry heavy loads on their heads?

    For a spell in the early 90's we actually lived in the mountains for three months with several different Hilltribes and shared their rations.
    At one stage of our travels my wife swapped her trainers for a handful of eggs which tasted like a banquet. Mine were too big for them and although we traded just about everything we could during that period of time it was worth the experience.

    We ended up late one evening in Chiang Mai, absolutely filthy!

    After a soaking in baths and under showers, we ordered so much from room service, steaks, ice cream, soups, milk,tea, coffee etc etc. We tried eating the steak and chips first, it wouldn't go down and we felt sick. We managed two glasses of milk each and some ice cream. We lay on the bed and slept for eighteen hours until they woke us late the following afternoon.

    They thought we had 'croaked'

    Strange, we could barely walk, we were in agony, relaxing brought on every kind of pain you can imagine. It was hell for several days. We tried a massage and it almost killed us.

    The Mien are perhaps the most educated of all hillside people, they came from China in the 19th century and inhabit most of the Nan mountains. They retain their own language, alphabet {based on old Chinese script} from their original homeland of southern China. The lower Yunnan territories.

    In general the Hill folk are akin to how I imagine Neanderthals might well have existed, and living amongst them can be quite an ordeal. Believe me.

    I was flipping through my notes whilst writing this and as I'm finishing off now, first though there were a couple of issues of recommendation I thought I'd add.

    If you get in The Pai area there is a nice little resort, run a by a middle aged Thai lady, her son, daughter in law and a small child. Nice clean bungalows, beautiful well kept surroundings. Bt800 per bungalow per night includes breakfast for two and if you stay a few nights she will drop the price down to Bt500. It's called THE PAI HILLSIDE RESORT.

    The hillside and valleys are at their most beautiful in the period directly after the monsoons, in the dry season they look withered and rivers are low level like streams in places. You cannot do the walk abouts with safety in the wet season though. I have seen rivers in the monsoon season {most of you will know how it rains}, it's treacherous, rivers can carry boulders as big as cars down toward you, trees, and whatever. The hill people have evolved with these seasonal changes, it's second nature to them, it's survival and evolution. I have seen drowned buffalo, wild boar and other critters whirling in torrents of water a sane man would keep well away from. The Neanderthals cross them on logs, felled trees, anything, but they do it.

    Then there are the leeches, they can get in through a lace hold, through a zip like a piece of cotton, when you find them feasting on your blood, they look like mighty fat ugly slugs.

    I'm leaving the UK on Tuesday next. I think I mentioned there will be two young boxers going with me to learn a bit down south. Then I will be seeing them off back home early January. Then my wife and self will be on our way. Maybe I'll be on here again before I go. I like this forum and that has to be a good issue. Some of you guys and gals, come across as my sort of people.

    We are a pair of loners, but maybe I'll get in touch whilst I'm over there, it will be for at least three months.

    Take care.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathos View Post
    Tak, yes that's better. Nice town too. quite lively from time to time. Decent hotel on the river front Viang Tak Riverside Hotel I seem to recall, but check it out. You can't miss the hotel though its the only one that is on the river edge, of that I feel quite sure. It was refurbished a few years back, nice rooms, not expensive at all, about Bt1000 I would think by now, it was about Bt700 a night breakfast included a few years back just after they brought it into the 21st century so to speak.
    OK from there you drive to Mae Sot about an hour or so. The waterfall you have heard about is relatively unknown to a lot of people; 'Nam Tok Thilawsu,' it's massive, I think it holds title to the 6th largest on the planet, but that would need checking out. It's definitely the biggest in Thailand though. Umphang area, I have made references to it and the surroundings a few posts back. Or 'Google' Umphang and Thilawsu, well worth the trip. There are some basic accommodation resorts in the mountains too...
    Hi, just back, thanks and yes it was both Tak and the Viang Tak Riverside, which I recognised the moment we arrived as our sanctuary when we were so lost you wouldn't believe it early last year due to forward planning that accounted for everything except geographical knowledge of the 50 km ahead and a time factor. The room was 950 including a reasonable for the sticks buffet breakfast, not that much would have impressed me after violently spilling my guts from both ends throughout the preceding evening and night as a result of earlier downing the last 3 inches of buttermilk that mrs had packed for the trip. Tip: Keep your buttermilk chilled.

    So, Friday morning had me weak and feeling very sorry for myself, and though mrs k is a lifesaver in that sort of situation she became a bit unfocused when it was clear I had survived the worst, and being still able to hobble under duress finally made it to Mae Sot as a veggie till Saturday morning, did the bridge/market bit but was still too fragile and really didn't get into much other than a couple of the characters...Sunday had us heading for Nakon Sawan as a halfway to Pattaya today with an impromptu stop in Bangkok for dinner and darling that's a nice camera and the other one keeps going white...so next trip being Cambodia hope to return with some pics.

    A couple of observations but nothing much, sorry.

    Little to do in Mae Sot itself if you don't understand gemstones and from the looks on some of the faces might be best to avoid even if you do. We stayed at the Siam, 500 baht for a musty and otherwise unattractive room and the only saving grace was UBC which gave me something to play around with. Can't remember much about the Viang Tak room but they had Thai channels only. Friendly people throughout.

    Coincidence from the bagels thread, the Krua restuarant in Mae Sot does them and is the only one with bagels, and as most things go with this versatile food it's a good start, though of course there are more Western dishes and a full Thai menu, as well as yes, cheeses by the block and wedge, plonk-type wine by the glass and bottle, Chau Doi Hilltribe coffee by cup or weight, fine selection of potted teas, reasonable prices and a friendly and convivial atmosphere. While we were there some British colonial-type independent/rebellious young lady in ethnic garb with telltale red cheeks and wide brimmed hat appeared with kid in tow, plonked herself down at the corner table and gave him a good 10mins at the tit till her food arrived. Krau is run by David, a Canadian guy that found his way there 10 years ago and decided to call it home. It's located directly opposite the police station but Mae Sot has 2 of those so it's the one opposite the Krau you'll be wanting.

    I think we'll be heading in that general direction on our next trip, because though this one was disrupted from the outset it could've and next time hopefully will be very different. I liked the few people we interacted with and am looking forward to check out a couple of the parks and resorts in that area, as well as Nam Tok Thilawsu...

  18. #43
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    Keda..

    Nice to know you are safe and sound, as we have a habit of saying over in this neck of the woods.

    Yes, I did suggest The Mae Sot Hill Resort. It's the only one worth staying at in the locality. Superb value for money too in my book. The DK in town used to be about the best in the area, it was 'Old World' type and good value for money. The buildings are old though, and you always appear to get blessed with that 'musty smell' in such like. Many is the time I have thought that some enterprising guy with a Thai wife should be building a nice Guest house or small hotel in Mae Sot, about twenty rooms with facilities to start with, it would make a fortune if the right approach was taken.

    One of those places initially to cater for the 'Farangs' single guys in the main.

    You noticed the characters then, good! It pays to be observant.

    The gem stone market has to be understood.

    There are some great antiques though across the bridge, mainly old British stuff from The Colonial pre war days and much earlier of course. There's an old Austin Car been hidden away from the 20's or 30's, I've recently heard about, plus more than one wind up gramophone, so I'll be taking a look at those when I cross the bridge this coming trip.

    The bagels.. You found them then!

    You can get a nice coffee out on the streets, they cater for everything. Just as you turn left for Tesco Lotus as well there is a lady who does laundry, brilliant service. Two ton of laundry given back to you like new for a hundred baht. It's good service, she hangs it all out on the sidewalk, did you see it?

    They have a big new Police Station or 'Cop Shop' in town now, The days were when Mae Sot was lawless, lawless being kind, it was a bloody mad house with capital letters in every sense of the wording; believe me, some of the things I have seen going on there in years gone by are mind blowing. Wouldn't have missed them for the world, because I was witness to what I would perhaps never have seen the likes of any where else. You would never have dreamed of taking a 'Farang Lady' into town after noon onwards {I'm talking about the dregs of the planet, not Thais; The fortune seekers, Carpet Baggers, Mercenaries} hard men of a special nature; those days trouble was trouble of a nature kind of special, not simple. The worlds a better place with it out of the way or under the table.

    The market in Mayawaddi, so cheap and everything you can think of for sale. Well worth the visit.

    You need to spend a lot of time in the area to soak it all in of course. Then you can move about without the a sense of urgency; The falls are a must, I will be going back to them in a few weeks time.

    The Brit lady was being a bit silly to put it mildly, it happens though.

    I have a few views on the effect of the American and European Porn Industry out East! I might do a big post on that when I get back.

    Well I fly out or we fly out tomorrow evening get to LOS on Wednesday.

  19. #44
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    it is about time this thread went to "Issues"

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    Are you living in MaeSai?

    I was there few days ago....

  21. #46
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    No I visit quite regularly, in fact I am not all that far away from there right now. benn driving around on a motorcycle for a couple of days, meeting up with some old friends from way back in the corridors of time. I'll be getting up there within the next few days> Mae Sot is my favourite haunt though, especially the wild hills and jungles up amongst the clouds so to speak.

  22. #47
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    Great day out todayt, I called to see an old associate of mine who normally hangs out in Mia Win. Unfortunately he had been called away a few days since. He never uses any kind of phone, so it's contact by drum so to speak, anyhow he left me a message in a milk bottle by the floor mat on the front step.

    We can make up time later. As it is, I thought I would visit the local waterfall, water levels were not too bad either, for the time of year and I took a swim. Having a bit of time to kill and being in the neighbourhood we blasted off towards Mia Wang, the fall there was quite spectacular. However, there must have been one hell of a landslide up river as the cascade and river itself was really muddy brown. There was a little shack on the opposite bank selling soft drinks and what not. We crossed by a bamboo bridge, (Much safer than the wire suspended bridge of bamboo at Mia Wang and not a fraction so high as that one is.

    Could hardly believe it the Thai lady there was all geared up for us Brits! Cups of tea in matching cups and saucers, and she took a pride in showing us the kettle was fully boiled!

    Overdid the allocated time in the mountains though and got back to our apartment at around 8pm the poor roads up in the hills were quite dangerous with severe pot holes and landslides into the valley's below. Still we made it back in one piece but I have to admit it was a very difficult ride on a big bike. I'd better be pulling my horns in a bit from now on.

  23. #48
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  24. #49
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    Just to let you know I'm going to be putting some photograpjhs up soon and relate a few tales.


    Hope you like the one above!


    It's amazing what you can do with a river bed, isn't it.....

  25. #50
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    Those mountain roads can be treacherous at times!

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