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Kanchanaburi and Erawan falls

sunny 35 °C
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After waking at 6am, we got a taxi across town to Bangkok Thonburi train station. There was a huge food market here as well as a few food vendors and after a noodle soup breakfast we boarded a train to Kanchanaburi.
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Once there a minivan and bus took us to Erawan national park, where we planned to go swimming in the waterfalls. We only took small over night bags, so we could go straight there.
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The falls here are in several tiers, the first few tiers tended to be great for children and we saw a small group of young monks playing in the pools.
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The first pool we swam in was tier 4, and had lots of very large nibbley fish in it! As well as large moss covered rocks you could climb up and slide down. We spent a few hours playing here, but the photos are poor as I didn't want to get my camera wet!
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The second tier we went to was tier 6, which was completely deserted... this was so beautiful. Swimming through jungle, with shafts of light coming through the trees, butterflies flying in lines over the surface and Dan doing an impression of Peter Andre in the waterfall - so peaceful and serene!! Lol
We stayed here until the park closed and we were ushered out - long after the last bus left...
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Back at the entrance we asked about any by places to stay inside the national park, but they were all full! Luckily some body saw we were looking and recommended a lady just down the road, she said "if you don't mind what it looks like..." We had no idea what was in store for us!!
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The walk down to who knows where...
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A rickety little bridge...
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The most terrifying walk across a rusty metal gangway!
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The "bathroom"
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The bedroom

....
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The views.... we were the only people in sight.

However, that didn't mean we were alone, as the raft house was home to a dozen spiders, 10 or so geckos, a few (but not too many) mossies, and about a million Mayflies, who fortunately all died at about 8pm.

We huddled around a mossy candle, until we decided it attracted more insects than it repelled, before going to bed fairly early for an early start the following day.

The next day we ate back up at the park entrance and headed back to the fun pool with the slides. We then relaxed in tier 5, a pool with relatively smaller fish, which I found small enough to allow to nibble my feet. Ben and I relaxed to the nibbling, whilst Dan screamed like a girl and wouldn't keep still!! Hee hee!
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At one point I must've had about 20 fish nibbling me, but when Ben went to take a photo they all swam off! We think it was the shadow.
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We reluctantly left to make the bus back into town and the journey back to Bangkok, barely making the bus we had to run to it in 35° heat!!

All of us said, we could've spent a week in the park, playing in the pools, watching nature - there are supposed to be tigers in there! This is definitely somewhere I will visit again, and despite the bugs, I would even be inclined to stay at the same accommodation! What a magical place, really.

Posted by Libbytes 18:29 Archived in Thailand Tagged waterfall kanchanaburi erawan_falls Comments (4)

The journey to Luang Prabang, Laos

sunny 35 °C
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Sean and I got up early on Tuesday morning to catch a mini bus to Chiang Khong; possibly the scariest road journey so far, as our driver carelessly selected songs to play over the speakers on YouTube! In Chiang Khong we crossed the border into Laos, Huay Xai, where we boarded a large slow boat to take a 2-day boat to Luang Prabang.

The scenery on the boat was incredible the whole way, but the boat was a total tourist trap - however this did mean that we were able to meet lots of people and I made a lot of friends very quickly!
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After a long journey, which included 5 hours on the slow boat, we arrived in our stop over destination, Pak Beng. The pumpkin and buffalo curry that I had that night was probably the best Laos meal I had! But it arrived late since the town experiences power cuts frequently, and there were 2 that night!

The following day we had 8 hours on the slow boat, which was tiring, but luckily the scenery stayed beautiful.

Once in Luang Prabang, myself, Sean and some people we'd meet on the boat, headed to Khammany Inn, a very busy backpackers hostel. The night market of Luang Prabang was great, although the phrase 'same, same, but different' can be used to describe almost anything in Laos; menus, shops, tours, hostels... So a lot of the stalls sold similar things. Still, I did buy some generic 'traveller pants' hareem trousers in bright funky designed material! The food in Laos was odd... sort of Thai, but not as nice, not spicy, lots of baguettes and sandwiches (French influence) and at the night market there were a lot of buffet stalls! It was still tasty, but disappointing compared to Thai food.
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The next day the gang and I spent the day wandering around the town. We ate on the river front, but certainly paid for the views not the food!! We continued to the palace museum, former home of the Laos king, before climbing up Way Phu Si for some great views over the town and river.
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That evening we went drinking, but as there is an alcohol curfew in Laos at 11:30, all parties turn to the only place open after this, which in Luang Prabang was the bowling alley!! ... I won of course!
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Taking the piss out of the face I usually pull on photos!!
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The following day the gang headed to Kuang Si waterfall by tuk tuk, an in interesting journey to say the least... I only screamed a couple of times! The waterfall was the most beautiful so far, the water was an eerie green and the view from the top of the falls was well worth the 30 minute tough steep climb.
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The evening ended the same, food, drinks and bowling (which I won... again ;)

Our last day in Luang Prabang we spent exploring the local temple cave and chilling in the town and hostel. A slow boat over to the caves was beautiful and the caves were nice and cool although very small.
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Luang Prabang was very touristy... although you can see why, as it was a beautiful place, especially the waterfalls and river.

Posted by Libbytes 04:31 Archived in Laos Tagged waterfall luang_prabang Comments (0)

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