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Displaying items by tag: Thailand

Monday, 29 October 2012

Bamboo Nest, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Bamboo Nest is the ultimate rural Thai escape It’s so far off the beaten path, in fact, that the owners, Nok and Noi, had to put in a road beyond an already remote village just so people could gain access.

Nok is so sweet - she will come to pick you up anywhere in Chiang Rai and drive you back to her retreat; the airport, the bus station, a guest house, or in our case... a bar. My heart was in my throat on the last part of the journey to her land; the angle is straight up at some points and we were very close to the edge of the cliff at others. I took some relief in the fact that she drives this route twice a day!

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Once we arrived the relaxation began as there was not much to do besides lay in the hammock on our cottage’s porch and watch the sunset. The rustic bamboo cottages, our living quarters, were simple, but adequate; they included a large room with a bed and mosquito net, a bathroom with hot water, and solar powered lights. 

It is quiet  at night save a chorus of insects (except for 10 days after lunar new years’ when the celebrations in the village below go on all night – we caught the tail end of that and it was quite a contrast from that night to the next!).  The only real problem was that the bed was quite hard, but if you can overlook is a paradise for get-away-from-it-all rest and relaxation. No wifi, internet, hawkers, and definitely no touts yelling: ‘taxi, taxi?’

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Nok and Noi do just about everything here from cooking to solving electrical problems and acting as hiking guides. Nok cooks up a good curry for dinner and also makes a variety of European favorites for breakfast.

We hiked up to the nearby Akha village and explored. There were people selling Akha traditional tribal crafts, as well as a small restaurant, but the food was mediocre at best though it had an outstanding view.  The village was perched on the side of a cliff with vistas over a tea plantation. We also ventured straight down hill to the waterfall. 

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One advantage to staying at Bamboo Nest is the sense of camaraderie you feel with other guests. We all became friends just because of solidarity from all being together and talking about our daily activities at the large dinner tables. 

Each night we heard about hikes, elephant riding, and hot springs experiences from the other guests as well as from the owners. Each morning, we had to choose; either spend the day in the hammock or go on another new adventure.  

Provided you’re looking for an inexpensive, rustic place where you can soak in the rural Thai culture, Bamboo Nest could be just the place for you.

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©Christina Kay Bolton

Published in innkeeper
Thursday, 21 June 2012

Tiger Temple, Thailand

Monktiger 1

The Tiger Temple is a remote Buddhist temple in Thailand near the Myanmar border. It was founded in 1994 as a forest temple and sanctuary for wild animals. Most of the animals residing there are tigers, many rescued from poachers or orphaned due to illegal poaching activities.
The tigers are handled by Thai monks, international volunteers and the local Thai staff. Once a day, they are walked on leashes to a nearby quarry. Originally they would roam around freely, but nowadays with the increase in visitors and the number of tigers, they are chained for safety. The staff closely guide visitors as they greet, sit with, and pet the cats. They keep the tigers under control and the abbot will intervene if a tiger becomes agitated. The temple started off with a single rescued cub in 1994 and currently has 102 tigers that have a fighting chance of survival under the protective guidance of the monks.
Most of these tigers are Indochinese Tigers except 'Mek' who is the only rescued Bengal Tiger at the monastery. The image depicted shows the outline of 'Mek' who I managed to spot being taken for a stroll away from visitors with the Abbot who found him as a cub. To me, it symbolizes the perfect harmony between man and animal and the fight for the survival of the Tiger species by increasing its dwindling numbers.
The Tiger Temple is a haven for tiger lovers to get close to these wild majestic animals and fall in love with them all over again. Nothing soothes ones soul like the purring of 220 pounds of muscle at the palm of your outstretched hand – touching the mesmerizing stripes knowing the unknown can befall you if you are careless.
This was quite the experience for me as a nature enthusiast – gradually growing from seeing tigers in captivity when young, to in the wild in India, to the final frontier of the real mc'coy in Thailand at close quarters. A must visit for every tiger lover.

©Nolan Mascarenhas

Published in indescribable
Monday, 30 April 2007

South East Asia on a Scooter

When it comes to cheap thrills in developing countries, it’s hard to do better than a motor scooter.  During a recent three-month trip through south east Asia, I found no greater pleasure than blasting past villages and farms, taking in the menagerie of smells and seeing the countryside as many locals see it - from the saddle of a step-through motorbike.

Published in inexpensive

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