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Northern most point of Thailand

Thailand: Golden Triangle tour – White Temple, Mekong River, Mae Sai, and entering Laos

Date: 23rd November 2012

Today, Ramesh and I were going on the Golden Triangle tour — one of the most popular and common full-day tours tourists do while in Chiang Mai. I had been to Chiang Rai and the point where Thailand’s border meets Laos and Myanmar in 2010. But I didn’t get the chance to hop across the river and set foot in Laos, because it’s much easier to do that when you go as part of a tour group.

Sam Kamphaeng hot springs Chiang Mai Thailand
The first stop on this tour was Sam Kamphaeng, famous for its hot spring fountain
Hot spring fountain rainbow Chiang Mai Thailand
The water really was quite warm
Putting finger in hot spring
Felt quite hot when I just poked my finger in the water
Boiling eggs San Kamphaeng hot springs Thailand
You can even buy eggs to boil in the water
Hot spring fountain Chiang Mai Thailand
It shoots pretty high
Chiang Mai highway hills
That’s it really. This was more of a rest stop.

One and half hours later, we reached Chiang Rai province. The van dropped us off at the famous White Temple.

Thai tour guide Golden Triangle
This was our English-speaking guide. He gave us a brief introduction and the told us we could roam about freely for around 30 minutes.
Alcohol sin tree White Temple Chiang Rai
“Alcohol is a sin” — A piece of advice ignored by practically everybody.
Golden structure Thai traditional design
When I first came to the White Temple in 2010, I was thoroughly impressed with the work done
Predator sculpture White Temple ground Thailand
Although I was still impressed by the main structure, some opinions about this place were starting to change
White temple Chiang Rai panorama
A panorama from Ramesh’s phone
White temple Chiang Rai Thailand
It was time to go in

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Clouds rivers out to sea Phuket

Thailand: Flying to Chiang Mai; views from Doi Suthep

Date: 22nd November 2012

We had our hotel book us a van taxi to take us to Phuket airport. Our Air Asia flight was at 10:35am, and even though the van taxi had to pick up other passengers, we all got to the airport on time. We didn’t have breakfast, so the Dunkin Donuts at the departures area was where we stopped first after checking-in and collecting our boarding passes.

Air Asia Phuket flight interiors
It’s been a while since I flew Air Asia
Flying over Chiang Mai Thailand
There weren’t any delays and the flight left on time
Phuket tributary Thailand from sky
Goodbye sun and sand
Archipelago Phuket islands from sky
Quite an archipelago

Clouds rivers out to sea PhuketRivers out to sea Phuket aerial view

Clouds over hills Thailand
One and half hours later, we were flying over Chiang Mai province

We landed on time, and ready and waiting for our arrival was the driver assigned to pick us up from Chiang Mai international airport. The driver was courtesy of Rux Thai, the hotel we were staying at. Rux Thai is where I first stayed at when I came to Chiang Mai in 2009, and again when I returned in 2010. Needless to say, I booked at Rux Thai a third time after I e-mailed them and got a good deal (฿500 per night) for a twin room on the ground floor for three nights. Continue reading “Thailand: Flying to Chiang Mai; views from Doi Suthep” »

Phuket wedding shoot sunset island

Thailand: Phuket beach hopping and bike ride to Promthep Cape

Date: 21st November 2012

The plan for today was to rent two bikes and ride all the way to Promthep Cape, a popular viewpoint at the southern tip of Phuket island. But after breakfast, we first walked towards Patong beach.

Patong beach Phuket Thailand
It wasn’t too crowded and we got our feet wet for a while
Patong beach chairs Phuket Thailand
The skies weren’t the brightest today, and we decided we would hit the waters when it got warmer

We then went around looking for bike rentals. I had already read up on scams in Phuket and one of the most common advice handed out were to avoid the vehicle rentals on Beach Road.

Honda click bike rental Phuket Thailand
I don’t remember if it was originally ฿300 baht for 24 hours, but we ended up renting two of these Honda Click bikes at ฿150 each. We told them we would return them by 7pm-ish.

Be careful when you rent any vehicle in Thailand, especially Phuket. Vehicle rental scams are common here and don’t go by the cheapest rate being offered. The scammers make money by claiming you scratched the vehicle upon return, when in reality, the scratch was always there — you just didn’t notice it when you took it. The going rate for a Honda Click and like are around 200-300 baht a day. The place we rented from was right next to our hotel and she insisted I hand over my passport (original) as security. I usually never agree to that, but she gave me a form to fill up stating she would return it upon giving the bike back, and provided there are no damages/scratches on the bike. It’s an agreement I had to sign and she put my passport in a password-protected locker.

You may find other places that just request a passport copy, but we bargained it down to ฿150 because we didn’t need the bike for 24 hours. So handing over my passport was something I had to agree to as part of the bargain. I also took photos of the bike from all angles in front of her. Something I always do before even starting the engine.

Walking Street during daytime Phuket Thailand
I carried a map of Phuket and Ramesh had Google Maps on his Nexus. We drove down Walking Street, which is open to traffic during the day.
Tiger bar Walking Street Phuket Thailand
Walking Street was awfully quiet as all the bars open late
Shooting gallery Phuket Thailand
We were going across the hill over to Karon beach
Road to Karon beach Phuket Thailand
I hoped the skies would clear up
Uphill road Phuket Thailand
And sure enough, it did

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