Young Monks

I should say that our Thailand trip was with Intrepid Travel and that we would gladly go with them again.  We had a terrific time spent travelling with locals and enjoying the local hospitality.  This set of photos are of some young Burmese Monks who were staying in a temple in a village near Chiang Mai where we enjoyed a homestay.

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The River

“When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come.”
Leonardo Da Vinci
So in a flowing river can time stand still?  Such is the mystery of midlife and the self centred perspective of that experience.  If we travel faster than the current can we catch up to our past and if we anchor for a while will our future pass us by?   How important is it to just go with the flow?  And why must we be at the mercy of life’s current?
And yet there is comfort to be found in a river.   Close your eyes and imagine drifting off, sleeping to the sound of the water song, rocking gently and feeling embraced by small comforts.  Is it true that the river knows where it goes even if we don’t?  Do we truly follow in the paths of those who have gone before as Leonardo says, or is each experience unique, does one small eddy, or drop of new rain, make such a difference that no two of our selves would experience the same thing, much as shadows are a reflection of our true selves slightly distorted.

So we touch the river and in touching it we change and alter it’s course even as it changes ours.   The journeys end remains a mystery and would we have it any other way?

*****************************************************************
Photo – Erawan Falls, Thailand

The River

“When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come.”
Leonardo Da Vinci
So in a flowing river can time stand still?  Such is the mystery of midlife and the self centred perspective of that experience.  If we travel faster than the current can we catch up to our past and if we anchor for a while will our future pass us by?   How important is it to just go with the flow?  And why must we be at the mercy of life’s current?
And yet there is comfort to be found in a river.   Close your eyes and imagine drifting off, sleeping to the sound of the water song, rocking gently and feeling embraced by small comforts.  Is it true that the river knows where it goes even if we don’t?  Do we truly follow in the paths of those who have gone before as Leonardo says, or is each experience unique, does one small eddy, or drop of new rain, make such a difference that no two of our selves would experience the same thing, much as shadows are a reflection of our true selves slightly distorted.

So we touch the river and in touching it we change and alter it’s course even as it changes ours.   The journeys end remains a mystery and would we have it any other way?

*****************************************************************
Photo – Erawan Falls, Thailand

Thailand Pics 1

It seems like a long time ago now that I said I would post some photos of Thailand but I decided that tonight would be the first part of the journey. We arrived in Bangkok where we spent the first night and then travelled to Sankaburi via Kanchanburi the next day. We spent two nights at the P Guest house on the Lake over which the longest wooden bridge in Thailand spans.

I hadn’t looked at the photos for a while and it surprised me how much we packed into that first couple of days. Day one we traveled by bus to the west of Bangkok getting to know our fellow travellers. There is so much to write about but maybe it is best to let the pictures speak for now.

We journeyed with Interpid Travel. So watch as we travel in a long tale boat on the Lake, visiting a sunken Wat, then on to a jungle village for our first elephant ride, followed by a trip to the Thai/Burma border, a visit to the Wat overlooking Sankalburi and then a walk along the wooden bridge in a magical sundown.

Thailand Pics 1

It seems like a long time ago now that I said I would post some photos of Thailand but I decided that tonight would be the first part of the journey. We arrived in Bangkok where we spent the first night and then travelled to Sankaburi via Kanchanburi the next day. We spent two nights at the P Guest house on the Lake over which the longest wooden bridge in Thailand spans.

I hadn’t looked at the photos for a while and it surprised me how much we packed into that first couple of days. Day one we traveled by bus to the west of Bangkok getting to know our fellow travellers. There is so much to write about but maybe it is best to let the pictures speak for now.

We journeyed with Interpid Travel. So watch as we travel in a long tale boat on the Lake, visiting a sunken Wat, then on to a jungle village for our first elephant ride, followed by a trip to the Thai/Burma border, a visit to the Wat overlooking Sankalburi and then a walk along the wooden bridge in a magical sundown.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

A Taste of Thailand

Hi all,
Monday 5:20pm here and we’re in Sukothai which is in the Central north of Thailand about 6 hours from Bangkok. Hot and humid, must be hell in the wet season. I’m going to keep this brief but have written a journal approaching 40 pages of notes so far and taken around 2000 photos in the first week.

Having a fantastic time. People are beautiful and the groups we have been with have also been great. Last week was spent with a bunch of Aussies and one Canadian in the west of the country. Had our farewell dinner with that group last night which is always sad and have commenced the journey this week with a whole new group of people – 4 Aussies, 3 girls from the UK, one from Chicago and a swiss couple.

Tomorrow we are on a bike ride around the ruins of the ancient Thai capital of Sukhotai and after that head up to the Chiang Mai area for a few days. Couldn’t get into Ko Samet so have booked internal flights and 4 days down at Krabi. Connecting flight takes us back to the International Airport in Bangkok at 4pm on Thursday of next week before catching the flight back home at 9pm arriving back in Melbourne at 9am on Friday.

Highly recommend travelling with Intrepid. We’ve got a great local tour guide who is absolutely lovely and we’ve been lucky enough to have her again this week. Everything has run like clockwork and we have enough spare time to go exploring or chill if we want to. This is not a 5 star tour so we are in guest houses with squat toilets in some cases and travelling on local transport which has been a great way to experience the country. I don’t think I’d want to travel any other way.

I look forward to posting more when I get back and have really missed all of you blogging buddies.

A Taste of Thailand

Hi all,
Monday 5:20pm here and we’re in Sukothai which is in the Central north of Thailand about 6 hours from Bangkok. Hot and humid, must be hell in the wet season. I’m going to keep this brief but have written a journal approaching 40 pages of notes so far and taken around 2000 photos in the first week.

Having a fantastic time. People are beautiful and the groups we have been with have also been great. Last week was spent with a bunch of Aussies and one Canadian in the west of the country. Had our farewell dinner with that group last night which is always sad and have commenced the journey this week with a whole new group of people – 4 Aussies, 3 girls from the UK, one from Chicago and a swiss couple.

Tomorrow we are on a bike ride around the ruins of the ancient Thai capital of Sukhotai and after that head up to the Chiang Mai area for a few days. Couldn’t get into Ko Samet so have booked internal flights and 4 days down at Krabi. Connecting flight takes us back to the International Airport in Bangkok at 4pm on Thursday of next week before catching the flight back home at 9pm arriving back in Melbourne at 9am on Friday.

Highly recommend travelling with Intrepid. We’ve got a great local tour guide who is absolutely lovely and we’ve been lucky enough to have her again this week. Everything has run like clockwork and we have enough spare time to go exploring or chill if we want to. This is not a 5 star tour so we are in guest houses with squat toilets in some cases and travelling on local transport which has been a great way to experience the country. I don’t think I’d want to travel any other way.

I look forward to posting more when I get back and have really missed all of you blogging buddies.

Confucius say….

I’ll start this with a very corny joke –

Confucius say man who run naked through turnstile at airport on way to Bangkok.

And that’s exactly where I’m off to tomorrow, fully clothed and uninjured I might add. The trip has been booked with Intrepid Travel.

So I’ll be absent for almost three weeks arriving back in Melbourne on Friday 22nd February. The itinerary is below. It will be my first taste of Asia and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be the first of many trips with Intrepid and I look forward to writing about it on my return, with plenty of photos of course.

The trip is $850 Australian for 14 days and that’s incredible value. Browsing their website there are tours upwards of 80 days for example Beijing to Bali $A4435 plus a local payment of $1350 US. That’s around $A6000 for nearly three months of travel, pretty good I reckon, but that one will have to wait for long service leave.

Day 1 Bangkok

The ruling heart of Thailand is Bangkok, home to temples, palaces, floating markets and the frantic pace of a city on the move.

Days 2-3 Three Pagodas Pass

Staggering views await on a journey along the winding road to Sangkhlaburi. Travel through the limestone mountains and forests that are home to the Karen and Mon people and take an elephant ride before stopping off at the historical Three Pagodas Pass.

Day 4 Thong Pha Phum

Learn about the customs, religions and way of life of the Karen and Mon people and wander through the produce market that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

Day 5 River Kwai

Make an sobering visit to the Hellfire Pass Museum before taking the infamous Thai-Burma railway to the infamous ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’.

Days 6-7 Bangkok

Visit the spectacular Erawan waterfalls and take a dip, try your hand at Thai Cooking or take a kayak for a paddle before returning to Bangkok. Enjoy a stay with a local family in a traditional teak house.

Days 8 Sukhothai

Travel to Thailand’s first capital and explore the 12th century ruins by bike. This historical park is dotted with temples, lakes and beautiful gardens.

Day 9 Lampang

See the wooden temple at Wat Phra That Lampak Luang and admire the inspiring murals or step back in time and be chauffeured around town by horse cart. This is the only town in Thailand that still uses this transport. For a bit of indulgence head down to the local herbal sauna for some pampering.

Days 10 Elephant / Homestay

Watch elephants at work and play before jumping aboard one for a ride through the forest. Say goodbye to our majestic friends and spend the night in a remote village to learn about hilltribe crafts and rural Thai life.

Days 11-13 Chiang Mai

Fabulous temples await in Chiang Mai and there is ample time to take a cooking class, bamboo raft down the river or hire a bike and cycle off into the countryside.

Day 14 Bangkok

Return to Bangkok for last minute shopping and sight seeing at the end of an incredible journey.

I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance to post during the trip but if I get the chance I’ll give a quick update.

Confucius say….

I’ll start this with a very corny joke –

Confucius say man who run naked through turnstile at airport on way to Bangkok.

And that’s exactly where I’m off to tomorrow, fully clothed and uninjured I might add. The trip has been booked with Intrepid Travel.

So I’ll be absent for almost three weeks arriving back in Melbourne on Friday 22nd February. The itinerary is below. It will be my first taste of Asia and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be the first of many trips with Intrepid and I look forward to writing about it on my return, with plenty of photos of course.

The trip is $850 Australian for 14 days and that’s incredible value. Browsing their website there are tours upwards of 80 days for example Beijing to Bali $A4435 plus a local payment of $1350 US. That’s around $A6000 for nearly three months of travel, pretty good I reckon, but that one will have to wait for long service leave.

Day 1 Bangkok

The ruling heart of Thailand is Bangkok, home to temples, palaces, floating markets and the frantic pace of a city on the move.

Days 2-3 Three Pagodas Pass

Staggering views await on a journey along the winding road to Sangkhlaburi. Travel through the limestone mountains and forests that are home to the Karen and Mon people and take an elephant ride before stopping off at the historical Three Pagodas Pass.

Day 4 Thong Pha Phum

Learn about the customs, religions and way of life of the Karen and Mon people and wander through the produce market that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

Day 5 River Kwai

Make an sobering visit to the Hellfire Pass Museum before taking the infamous Thai-Burma railway to the infamous ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’.

Days 6-7 Bangkok

Visit the spectacular Erawan waterfalls and take a dip, try your hand at Thai Cooking or take a kayak for a paddle before returning to Bangkok. Enjoy a stay with a local family in a traditional teak house.

Days 8 Sukhothai

Travel to Thailand’s first capital and explore the 12th century ruins by bike. This historical park is dotted with temples, lakes and beautiful gardens.

Day 9 Lampang

See the wooden temple at Wat Phra That Lampak Luang and admire the inspiring murals or step back in time and be chauffeured around town by horse cart. This is the only town in Thailand that still uses this transport. For a bit of indulgence head down to the local herbal sauna for some pampering.

Days 10 Elephant / Homestay

Watch elephants at work and play before jumping aboard one for a ride through the forest. Say goodbye to our majestic friends and spend the night in a remote village to learn about hilltribe crafts and rural Thai life.

Days 11-13 Chiang Mai

Fabulous temples await in Chiang Mai and there is ample time to take a cooking class, bamboo raft down the river or hire a bike and cycle off into the countryside.

Day 14 Bangkok

Return to Bangkok for last minute shopping and sight seeing at the end of an incredible journey.

I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance to post during the trip but if I get the chance I’ll give a quick update.