We booked a tour by van to the Doi Inthanon National Park. What a great day! The tour included two waterfalls, two native craft and produce markets where we visited the Hmong Village and the white Karen town people. After, there were visits to the Royal Chedi's, beautiful pagoda monuments built to honor the King & Queen. After a filling lunch, we then went into the rain forest and stood on the highest peak in Thailand at 2565 meters above sea level. Fortunately, the rain held off and we had a wonderful visit to the park, returning to our hotel at about 1630 hours. For dinner, we found this funky Indian restaurant which served good food at good prices, with the added benefit of the owner who besides selling bus tickets to anywhere in Thailand also is a Henny Youngman protégée, telling non-stop one liners thru out our dinner. Dinner and entertainment!
Our VIP bus tickets cost a bit more, but the reclining seats on an air conditioned bus for the 9 hour trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai made the cost of the tickets worthwhile. The train between these two cities is temporarily shut down for repairs, so air or bus travel is the only way to go. We arrived at the Tadkham Hotel at about 0630, and were immediately checked into our room! Nice! We took a short rest and went exploring the Old City. Chiang Mai was established around the 13th century, and there are many historical places to see, wats to visit and, of course, innumerable restaurants. We took the Night Safari tour to get out and see some of the sights, as we had walked the Saturday street market and wanted to get out some. There were tiger and lady-boy dance shows, then a couple of tram rides thru the park to see the game animals. After, we got dropped off at the Night Bazaar, more walking and shopping...Pic: one of many wats in the old city.
Our taxi picked us up at Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina at 0700 for the short ride to Krabi International Airport. The Air Asia flight into Don Muang Airport landed 20 minutes early and after a 30 minute taxi ride we checked into the Skyy Hotel in the Sukhumvit section of Bangkok. This is a city of around 10 million people; anything you want or need can be found here. I had a general health check up at Bumrungrad International Hospital, which is well set up for international medical tourism. Our hotel was about 200 meters away from the hospital, so transportation wasn't an issue. Anyone interested in health check-ups or medical procedures can check them out at www.bumrungrad.com. Later, we met up with Stuart & Sheila (sv Imagine) for a great hamburger at the Firehouse Pub & Restaurant. After, we went to the Above Eleven Bar and Restaurant on top of the Frazier Suites, which afforded a stunning view of downtown Bangkok. The morning of the 25th was my check-up; we later went out to Limoncello's, a wonderful Italian restaurant we stumbled across. The next few days were spent sight seeing. One of the highlights was a Chao Phraya River trip; we bought a ticket and stayed on all the way up to station 30; total time was about an hour each way. We've seen our share of wats (temples) and National monuments! It was time to get to Chiang Mai. Pic: Beautiful scenery along the river. Long-tail water taxis are plentiful.
Pic: We enjoy seeing local artists in action. This one is carving flowers out of soap, which she then dyes and puts in a lacquered or coconut box.
Stuart & Sheila (sv Imagine) picked us up at the marina and we were on the road to Phuket by 0830. We were surprised what a nice drive ensued; going thru the mountains of Phang Nga was beautiful. It had rained for the last two days, but the skies were blue and traffic was light. Our first stop was Boat Lagoon Marina to go to the chandlery. There's just not a lot here at KBL, so it was good to have supplies available. Of course, paying $7USD for a 5" 8 mm SS bolt seemed a bit unreal. $7USD ?? For anyone coming this way, bring your parts from back home or be prepared to pay top dollar. After a quick visit with Chris (sv Rumrunner II), we drove over to Patong to go to Jungceylon Mall to find a few items. On the way back to Krabi we were wide-eyed as we watched a rally of about 10 Maserati's, a Ferrari, a big Audi, and a Nissan GTR zoom past us on the other side of the road. We thought we had a mass hallucination. After a stop at the Tesco in Krabi, we got back about 8 pm. This morning, we installed the new starboard side Harken cheek block. Progress.
Pic: Following our dinghy escort into our slip.