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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
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    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend

    The gf and I have both had two jabs and we decided to risk the Covid and take our first break of 2021. We thought first of Phu Ruea then we couldn't find an appealing hotel deal and we know from past experience that the eating options are limited up there, so we thought again and settled on Chiang Khan, a place we have only briefly stopped at before when travelling along the Mekhong.

    The drive is less than 2.5 hours if all goes smoothly, so the holiday Friday morning we installed her daughter as dog-sitter at the house and set off along Route 210, the main East-West highway to Loei. The road is under construction and for a long way is a minefield of deep potholes. Shocking even by Thai standards. Once heading north away from the highway the road was rural through some pleasant scenery and a nice change from the flat rice fields of the Khorat Plateau.

    We arrived at our hotel to find the Mekhong looking full and flowing fast.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck1-jpg



    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck3-jpgChiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck2-jpg

    Time for a late lunch, something simple, just chill by the river.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck5-jpg

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck4-jpg

  2. #2
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    Shutree's Avatar
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    In the late afternoon the rain was holding off so we headed down to Chiang Khan Walking Street. I didn't know what to expect, the last time we were here it was heaving and not much fun to be in a swamp of people. This time it was much more comfortable.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck6-jpg

    In my year of incarceration at home I had almost forgoten what it is like to be on holidays. Plenty of attractive young women in their holiday outfits and, of course, a good range of street food.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck7-jpg

    Here 'walking street' is a bit of a misnomer as vehicles are allowed in. The real danger was from noiseless electric bikes and scooters. Maybe when it is really busy they wouldn't be useful. When the pedestrian population is moderate then there is enough room for riders to weave through the crowd.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck8-jpg

    Beer was available although not prominently displayed.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck9-jpg

    That said, one bar was open at the top end of the street.

    Not everywhere has stayed the distance during lockdown.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck10-jpg

    We walked the length of the street and back again, stopping for an unremarkable meal along the way. The restaurant was very busy and they seemed to be struggling to keep up, which is not entirely a bad thing so long as you don't mind a long wait for average food. The view from our table was pleasant, in a dark sort of way.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck25-jpg

    Having dined and inspected all the market stalls selling things we didn't need, we returned to the hotel.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-20210924_180920_resized-jpg  

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
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    I had prepared for a 'no alcohol' regime and came prepared, so when we got back to our room we were able to open a bottle of wine and sit on the balcony as the rain finally returned.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck11-jpg

    In case you were wondering, I didn't forget the tonics.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck12-jpg

    And so to bed.

  4. #4
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    Saturday dawned grey and wet. Well, I guess it did, I was tucked up under the duvet as night gave way to day. By the time I looked it was definitely grey and wet. We shuffled down to the hotel buffet breakfast and got stuck in to congee, noodles, omelettes and fruit. It was not a massive spread but it had everything we needed and I gave it extra points for not having pretend bacon and those nasty little sausages.

    I didn't take any pics in case the gf got the wrong idea but I have to mention that the staff were all excellent. From running out to the car park to collect our suitcases on arrival, through check-in and meals to check-out they were all unfailingly pleasant and helpful. Maybe I have rose-tinted memories, this is sort of how I remember Thailand 35 years ago. As an example, on the Sunday morning we went for our second breakfast and started with congee. Whilst we were eating one of the staff brought me an omelette because she remembered that I had asked for one on the Saturday.

    After Saturday breakfast we got around to thinking about what we should do with the day. Both of us are quite happy to kick back and do nothing so we need to push each other a bit to make anything happen. There are two things that tourists do around Chiang Khan in the daylight hours. One is to visit the Chiang Khan Sky Walk which I think opened late last year but upon checking we found out it is closed for Covid. So that was out. The second is to go up Phu Thok, one of the highest peaks around, but with the rain and the low cloud we were advised not to bother. That left mooching along the Mekhong. This is the riverside walkway (also motosai race track) parallel to walking street.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck14-jpg

    Not many other moochers about.

    Most of the buildings are hotels/guest houses and we stopped into a few to ask about rooms and rates. There are rooms for B500 but these buildings are mostly long and thin with one or two rooms overlooking walking street to the front and one or two rooms overlooking the Mekhong at the back, so the internal rooms can be a bit dark. We were interested in the river view rooms for our next visit and most were quoting around B2,000 per night for this time of year, the low season, and unwilling to commit themselves on what they might charge come high season. A bit much for a smallish room with no parking nearby, I thought. Despite being three quarters empty they seem keen to maintain their prices.

    We also wandered along walking street, which was fairly quiet in the morning rain.


    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck13-jpg

    During our meanderings we found this distressed bird, a Tailorbird I think. When we looked, its feet were completely bound up in two balls of crumpled cobwebs, so it couldn't perch. We tried our best to clean it up without hurting it, the limbs are so delicate. I'm really not sure how successful we were.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck15-jpg

    After that we stopped for a Thai massage and then went in search of lunch.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-20210925_135452_resized-jpg  

  5. #5
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    We stopped at a restaurant that claims to be Chiang Khan's oldest and at 50 years old it might well be.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck16-jpg

    Some standard fare; yum, beancurd soup and some catfish. All good. I tried the 'food' setting on my phone, which seems to place 90% of the frame out of focus.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck17-jpgChiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck18-jpgChiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck19-jpg

    The fish is supposed to be Red-tailed Catfish from the Mekhong. That is a top predator in the river, it can eat anything and it will. Anything too big to swallow it will bite a chunk out of. Best examined when cooked.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat
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    We made it back to the hotel and as the rain waxed and waned but never stopped I called cocktail hour at 4pm.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck20-jpg

    I didn't take the Angostura with us on this trip. I like to pretend that I am roughing it.

    The balcony was just a little larger than the small table and two chairs. They told us that we'd be able to see the river and they were right. Half right perhaps. One person can see the river. The balcony wasn't large enough to place both chairs side by side facing the river. It was large enough for my purposes.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck21-jpg

    We were eventually driven inside as the driving rain ignored the roof above us.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing Shutree ... always love a Trip Report

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shutree View Post
    Plenty of attractive young women in their holiday outfits and, of course, a good range of street food.
    And you show pics of the food?

    Nice pics Shutree, but share a thought for those stuck on a boat!

  9. #9
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    Dinner time arrived and neither of us had any enthusiasm for the idea of driving through the rain to look for somewhere to eat, so we agreed to stay in the hotel. They had pizza and I still had the Italian wine, which they were happy to let me open in the restaurant.

    They had a pizza, not a choice of pizze. It had some kind of mystery meat which might have been chicken sausage lurking amongst some overly sweet tomato sauce. Teamed with some fresh salad and a bottle of red it was just fine.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck22-jpg

    Clearly the other residents were more determined to see Chiang Khan by night, we ate alone in the restaurant.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck23-jpg

    The keen-eyed observer will have noticed that they were preparing for a private party. It seems the alcohol ban is not enforced 24/7. In fact, that morning there had been two men drinking beer with their breakfasts.

    Chiang Khan, the wet weekend-ck24-jpg

    The private party passed without creating the kind of all-night disturbance that most of us have suffered here at one time or another.

    The sound seems to travel through Thai hotels. That morning a neighbour had been enjoying herself very noisily, all the way to a happy ending. Good to know that she was having a good time.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat
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    There are no more pictures. We had a good night's rest and a good breakfast and an easy drive home, dodging most of the darkest clouds on the way.

    I have to say that I didn't realise just how much I missed the wide world outside my village. It seems like we didn't do a great deal - and that works just fine for me. I enjoyed the trip.

    If I can persuade the gf's daughter to dog-sit again then another weekend trip could be on the cards.

  11. #11
    LATHER NICE
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    Great pix and your effort tp help that beautiful little bird will make merit.

    As to room prices I never used to look, don't need much but she likes teh Aircon so $100 in BKK Hua Hin and half elswhere 2000 off season C Khan seems steep I doubt many takers, you can get 3 start rooms in Eu or even a BnB outside London at that level , I lived at the not really plush but niice Bayview in Penang for less than that , perhaps they attratc those who wish to avoid us 1500 a night travellers or its face.

    Suffice to say great o here of anyone travelling.Cheers
    The light at the end of the tunnel may be an oncoming train

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by david44 View Post
    2000 off season C Khan seems steep
    It seems steep to me too. That is why we didn't stay in CK the last time we passed through. I guess there isn't too much real competition, these families live alongside each other and it probably works more like a complex monopoly.

  13. #13
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Spent a quiet few days there about 25 years ago, right by the river.

    There were a few weekend bookstalls by the riverside back then. I don’t suppose they’ve survived.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    Spent a quiet few days there about 25 years ago, right by the river.

    There were a few weekend bookstalls by the riverside back then. I don’t suppose they’ve survived.
    I didn't see any bookstalls, although many places were locked up.

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    And you show pics of the food?
    Two things here.

    The first is that the gf finds it hard to understand when I chat to attractive young women and photograph them in provocative poses, while the attractive young women don't seem to understand my innocent intentions when I take pictures without asking them first. It is a tricky one to resolve. I did try a couple of sneeky pics but unsucessfully.

    The second is that of course I spared a thought for those people stuck on boats. On balance, food seems less likely to distress than hordes of scantily clad maidens on holiday. I mean, you can actually get food on the boat, right?

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat helge's Avatar
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    I had the pleasure of a weekend there some 8-10 years ago.

    Very nice place.

    Unfortunately we had to change bungalow in the middle of my kids' afternoon nap due to some thais wanting our "bungalow number".

    Adios Amigos

  17. #17
    CCBW Stumpy's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing Shutree...green owed

  18. #18
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    Thanks for posting Shutree, took me back. Must have been nice to get away, some semblance of normality. I love the rainy season and kicking back with a beer and watching the world go by whilst confined to a bar or restaurant etc.

  19. #19
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    Glad you enjoy it mate. Me and her indoors were there about 7 or 8 years ago on a roadie from Laos. I really enjoyed it because there was fuck all farangs about and it seemed to be a very thai domestic market they were catering for. No complaints from me. The food in restaurants was good and varied and the beers were cold. A wide range of hotel budgets to choose from to. I think.i might of bunged up a thread about it to. Green sent

  20. #20
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    When we went to Chiang Khan it was empty. No tourists and we struggled to get food. We managed to find somewhere open, good food and the lady cooking it was very pleasant. Didn't fancy the accommodation and we toddled off to Loei. Weirdest city ever. Went to evening market for food and millions of eyes on me. Village of the Damned, Mark II. Fabulous scenery outside the city but a very strange place and we easily knocked it off our list of possible places to live.

  21. #21
    Isle of discombobulation Joe 90's Avatar
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    Nice trip report, thanks for taking the time to share.

  22. #22
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    Its a nice spot, good review.

    My favourite ride is Chiang Khan to Nong Khai, #210 or 212 I think. Beautiful road and scenery whether on car, bike or motorcycle.
    We used to stay at Bouys guesthouse in Sangkrom (sp). Basic basic accommodation but your hut is on a little island on the Mekong.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Some nice piks there my friend. Love the Khan, it's a cracking little joint and always stop there on a roady.

    Rippa mate. Ta

  24. #24
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    Great thread, and thanks for the pics!

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusb View Post
    Bouys guesthouse in Sangkrom
    Thanks, that looks interesting. That is about 2.5 hours driving from here. Nong Khai town or province was already on my list of places within a sensible radius of home. I have previously visited the town so I might give that guest house a try next.

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