Christmas on Ko Kradan

29 12 2009

Ko Kradan beach

We spent Christmas on the island of Ko (island, in Thai) Kradan.   Ko Kradan is located further south from the popular islands of Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta, and has only four or five places to stay and eat.  The islands and water are beautiful, with colors right out of a postcard, with all different hues of blue in the sky and in the water.  There is also great snorkeling right off the beach.  The food is really expensive, and the lodging wasn’t cheap (but that is mostly because it is high season). Read the rest of this entry »





Krabi

22 12 2009

Railay Beach

We are now in the paradise land of Krabi in the Andaman Sea. This area was hit by the 2004 tsunami, but it is now back in swing with many sun worshipers coming to visit the beautiful beaches, see the gorgeous rock formations and participate in great snorkeling and diving. The only leftover signs from the tragedy are the new “tsunami evacuation route” signs found everywhere in case there is another tsunami. Read the rest of this entry »





Return to Chiang Mai and on to Krabi

18 12 2009
Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

We came back to Chiang Mai to visit a few more temples, buy some last minute things at the night market and take a cooking class before our short flight down south to the beaches and islands in southern Thailand.  We took a class from the Thai Farm Cooking school, which is located at an organic farm outside of Chiang Mai.  The class was great and we are now ready to head to the ocean!

Read the rest of this entry »





Pai

14 12 2009

 

Pai

 

Pai is a hippy mecca reminiscent of the glory decade of the 1970s on the Kathmandu-Kabul-and-Beyond hippy circuit.  Many years ago, Pai was an edgy village in the Thai highlands -the Golden Triangle- with a brisk and dangerous opium trade.  Today, the beautiful countryside and romance of the dangerous opium days of the past lure hordes of tourists in.  The center is full of shops with signs in English, but we really came here for the beautiful surrounding areas.  Read the rest of this entry »





Chiang Mai

11 12 2009

Chiang Mai Wat

We left Luang Nam Tha in Laos and headed for the Thai border at the Mekong River.  We left around 9:00 a.m. by bus for a relatively quick trip to Houei Xai and crossed the river into Thailand.  We caught a 5:00 p.m. bus to Chiang Rai, and arrived later in the evening.  Thailand has much more money than Laos, and we noticed immediately the fancier vehicles and roads in Thailand.  Chiang Rai has a nice central market that uses traditional Thai architecture to create a vibrant public space with a large open air food court and a large stage for live music.  We were only here for the night and did not see much else of the city (which offers many things, but we kept moving on). Read the rest of this entry »





Observations on China

8 12 2009
Capitalism!!!!

Capitalism!!!!

Free from the internet censorship, here are some reflections looking back.  We really enjoyed our time in China, the people are great, but the government is kooky.  China is nominally a communist country.  First-hand, it seems more like a free market economy with little or no effective oversight run by an oligarchy called the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP.  They are pursing what they call ‘scientific development’ (rampant industrial and economic growth) and yet they still insist on using arcane Communist terminology and imagery in their slogans about peasants, workers, the Revolution, etc.  The peasants and workers are nominally the “true” Chinese, but these days the real Chinese are busy buying name brand clothing, eating junk food, and accumulating as much personal wealth as possible in the bustling urban centers like Shanghai, Beijing, etc.  The country seems to be undergoing a spiritual crisis as they abandon the party lines about “the glory of the workers” for the new ‘God’: money. Read the rest of this entry »





Luang Nam Tha

4 12 2009

Luang Nam Tha

From Muang Ngoi Neua, we took a six-hour boat ride further up the Nam Ou river to Muang Khau.  The guidebook said this was supposed to be the best part of the river, but we thought the trip from Nong Khiaw up to Muang Ngoi Neua was much nicer.  If we were to do it again, we probably wouldn’t have done this section by boat since we thought it wasn’t as great as the guide book said it was.  Unless you are going onwards to Phongsali, this may not be worth the extra effort.  We were lucky to catch a 3:00 p.m. bus in Muang Khau to Udomaxai.  We spent one night in a guesthouse near the bus station and caught an early bus to Luang Nam Tha.  Read the rest of this entry »