Category: Regional Travel


As thing were quiet with business in Chiang Mai we thought we would escape the heat of the city for a few days and get a bit of beach time in on Koh Chang.

My first time in Koh Chang was 11 years ago now and I remember staying in a bamboo bungalow on White Sand Beach for a couple of hundred Baht a night. Things have changed a lot in Koh Chang and the last of the bamboo bungalows on White Sand Beach have finally gone replaced by upscale resorts. A few years back a few girly bars had moved into to the south part of White Sand, on this visit I notice that these are also on the increase. Anyway, yes things have changed on Koh Chang but I still love this place and along with Koh Phangan is one of my favourite island destinations in Thailand. As for bamboo bungalows and other rustic beach side accommodation there is still plenty  around on the beaches heading south.  However on this trip Tack and I did stay in a relatively plush resort, this was mainly for the convenience of having wifi  internet in the room as I did have a couple of hours of emailing everyday.

Mok Fa Waterfall

Since living in Northern Thailand I have begun to tire of waterfalls, it doesn’t seem like a whole week can pass before I find myself staring at yet another waterfall. We have travelled the road between Pai and Chiang Mai numerous times and Tack has always nagged me to head down the side track to Mok Fa Waterfall. Well this time we did and I was pleasantly surprised. Even though it was the dry season the water cascade was still impressive but the best thing was the crystal clear water in the pool at the base which was deep enough for a swim….Nice!

On the way to Pai we made a quick stop at Pong Duet Hot springs as this was only as short detour off our route. They have a pleasant 800 meter nature trail to the bathing areas but me and Tack were feeling lazy and the day was already hot so we skipped the nature trail and took the motorbike straight to the hot spring baths. At the bathing area they had a couple of nice looking hot spring swimming pools as well as private cabins or if you preferred you could just dangle your feet in the natural hot spring stream. As it was just after mid day and the day was already a scorcher the last thing I felt like doing was jumping in an even hotter bath of water so I gave the bathing a miss however I will remember to come back if I am making the Pai to Chiang Mai trip by motorbike in the cold season as this would be a great spot to warm up while crossing the mountains between Pai and Chiang Mai.

We didn’t plan this trip so well. We headed off on the motorbike on Friday and needed to be back in Chiang Mai by Sunday afternoon. All in all we done over 600km over the two and a half days. Our main focus was Pai but there were a few places we wanted to visit around Mae Hong Son. We thought we would make an early start from Pai on the Saturday get up to Mae Hong take a few pictures and then head back to Pai the same day. Unfortunately time ran out on us and other than a stop at Lod Cave and some of the temples in Mae Hong Son we didn’t get around to all the places we wanted.

Since having the new motorbike my mountain bike has been very neglected.  Up until last weekend I hadn’t ridden it a single time throughout this cool season which was a shame as this has been the best time to get out on a bike (dry and cool weather) anyhow last weekend the bike got dusted off and both me and Tack headed out with Game and Nok from Thapae garden Guesthouse and a few of their friends. We went to sample one of their cycling tours which we will soon be combining with our package tours of Northern Thailand. The total distance was a rather tame 100km over the two days but enough for me as I hadn’t rode for a while and I think it was the first time I have actually seen Tack on a bike.

The ride was great and even though these back roads up to Khun Mae Ngat I have ridden before on the motorbike, the slower pace of the bicycle gave us plenty of chance to enjoy the scenery. It got a bit hot around midday but we took plenty of breaks.

We stayed the night at a home stay by the Ping River up near Khun Mae Ngat which was nice had a walk around the local market and our host prepared a real Northen style kantoke dinner. Overall an enjoyable weekend, even though the motorbike is fun I am determined to get out on the bicycle a bit more often!

Today Tack and I headed over to Samoeng via the Samoeng  loop on the motorbike.  This 100km ride was fun as usual and a whole lot warmer than the last time I done it a couple of months back. Anway the main reason for the trip was for the yearly Samoeng Strawberry Festival. Strawberry wine, strawberry juice,  strawberry jam and more fresh strawberries than you could shake a stick at…..

Penang Malaysia

As I had visited 5 times before I didn’t really want to hang around in Penang especially as it would be at the expense of beach time in Southern Thailand. Got the visa sorted within a couple of days with no difficulties and Tack got a good taster of the city. One thing I had forgotten about was the abundance of excellent cheap street food. The local Chicken Rice is fantastic and puts the Thai version of Khaw Man Kai to shame and it was good to see that my favorite Indian restaurant is still there at the top end of Chulia St. The best Indian food since I have left the UK.

My sixth trip to Penang in the last 10 years this time it was on Thai visa business. Usually my Non immigrant O visa gets extended in Thailand, however as I had to leave Thailand in a hurry for a quick trip home (England) I didn’t have time to get to Chiang Mai Immigration for an re-entry permit. Anyway it was a good excuse for a holiday and Tacks first time in Malaysia, we also manged a few days on the beach in Southern Thailand. We took the sleeper train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and then made our way over to Survarnabhumi for our international flight to Penang with Air Asia. Booking ahead we got our Air Asia tickets for around 2000 Baht each (which is about 30 quid in real money and this included the international departure tax of 750 Bhat. A Bargain For Sure!