Winter 17/18 – Back in Pai

The big question every year – how much more fucked up is the town. How many new buildings, how many new bungalow places and how many old places are gone. And I am surprised by the change every year. Some buildings do not even survive one year. And let’s not talk about businesses. In the daytime, I only care about the view from my bungalow of course. Still OK but was so much better a few years ago.
View from my bungalow - more empty bungalows over the field
View from my bungalow – more empty bungalows over the field

Guess I have to use the hammock this way. I see more green but less mountains
Guess I have to use the hammock this way. I see more green but less mountains.
Breakfast at Twin-Hut is still the same. I have coffee and a fruit salad every day.

White - still sleeping
White – still sleeping

Pai Walking Street

Rahel never used her new camera in the night so we went to walking street for a few shots.

Pai Thai Tapas
Pai Thai Tapas

Pai Crêpes
Pai Crêpes

The master at the wok
The master at the wok

A bit like a show kitchen
A bit like a show kitchen

But why not?
But why not?

Doing what they do best
Doing what they do best – every stall tries hard to get some biz. Some do better some not. There was a time when you could not walk in walking street in the main season. It was too crowded. Now you find days where not even the hawkers come out and sell something on the street.

Preparing jummy food
Preparing jummy food

Sure thing you have a Shushi guy
Sure thing you have a Shushi guy

Rolls and since a few years Potato Twist as well
Rolls and since a few years Potato Twist as well

We do not have the white ones
We do not have the white ones

And the fat street dogs waiting
And the fat street dogs waiting

Me need discount!
Me need discount!

Swiss perfection
Swiss perfection

He he
He he

Relax at the tables
Relax at the tables

Mojo Bar

The transformation from a Pizza Place to the new music hot spot in town. Mojo became my favorite music place for this winter trip. I sure hope it stays that way for long!

The best man at the drums
The best man at the drums

Stay cool
Stay cool

The Master
The Master

You are my pride and joy
You are my pride and joy

The second Bass Man
The second Bass Man

Supaporn "Boy" Sunti on guitar
Supaporn "Boy" Sunti on guitar

The Swedish house mafia
The Swedish house mafia

Other than that – my favorite food place is gone as well. Rent got so high that they could not make any biz anymore. That was the worst of news on this trip.

A new Khao Soy place
A new Khao Soy place

Still sleeping
Still sleeping

Breakfast at Twin Hut
Breakfast at Twin Hut

Time for a shower
Time for a shower

Clouds do make for better sunsets
Clouds do make for better sunsets

At THE walking street coffee place
At THE walking street coffee place

Winter 17/18 – From Rayong over Bangkok to Pai

Ban Hua Khod Mangrove Forest in Rayong

Dee’s brother was in town with his girlfriend and we went all together to the Ban Hua Khod Mangrove Forest near Prasae. When we arrived there was almost nobody there. We took a boat out to the open water and back into a pier that leads to elevated walks in the mangrove forest.

From the Golden Meadow (Tung Prong Thong) we took a boat out of the mangrove forest
From the Golden Meadow (Tung Prong Thong) we took a boat out of the mangrove forest

Saw some birds on the way
Saw some birds on the way

The ocean is coming into view
The ocean is coming into view

Open water ahead
Open water ahead

To protect the marsh from the open sea they build a wall
To protect the marsh from the open sea they build a wall

Once outside we turned back
Once outside we turned back

And they let you out at a pier. From where you can walk to Prasae the Estuary Viewpoint (จุดชมวิว ปากน้ำประแสร์) and back to your car again.
And they let you out at a pier. From where you can walk to Prasae the Estuary Viewpoint (จุดชมวิว ปากน้ำประแสร์) and back to your car again.

And from there back to the car again

Rayong

We stayed in a small place downtown close to the market. Went with Gerben and the Monkey to a big playground and after the little one was tired we circled back to the hotel again.

Walk in Rayon
Walk in Rayon

Found a little place with food and beers
Found a little place with food and beers

And full of collectibles
And full of collectibles it was

And the former king of course
And the former king of course

Dee took us to a meeting with her former class mates. I catched the biggest cold in centuries there
Dee took us to a meeting with her former class mates. I catched the biggest cold in centuries there

Finally a place that understands customer needs
Finally a place that understands customer needs. We had dinner at the night market.

Bangkok

Spend most of my time in Bangkok in bed fighting my cold. A few shitty days and worst of all X-Mas approaching and all the busses out of Bangkok are full. Everybody leaves the city for a few days.

Former food places
They been here for 30 years or what? And now they had to go. A government crackdown on the small people. My favorite Fruit Shake place – Gone. My favorite daytime snack/lunch place – gone. Great Job!

They killed the old wood house as well. And instead of cleaning the place up they left all the rubbish there...
They killed the old wood house as well. And instead of cleaning the place up they left all the rubbish there…

This is good news. Now one can see where the bus goes. For the 1st time :-)
This is good news. Now one can see where the bus goes. For the 1st time 🙂 Well I use here since years and it tells me which bus goes where and where to change etc. A great app if you travel and it does work offline as well!

Merry X-Mas!
Merry X-Mas! Due to my cold, I almost went back from the bus stop. to bed. But the bus came round the corner when I started to walk back to the hotel. So I want and we had a bit of an X-Mas party and Hello Hello at Scotts place.

My favourite hideaway bar - gone. Replaced by the stupid shutter shops
My favourite hideaway bar – gone. Replaced by the stupid shutter shops. There was a little mom and pop shop and behind a hidden bar / restaurant. Great place in the center of it all but nobody knew about it. So usually only a few locals at the place. Well, that was it…

At last these guys are still here. For more than 40 years and still the best Tom Yum Goong in Bangkok
At last these guys are still here. For more than 40 years and still the best Tom Yum Goong in Bangkok. Since I do not eat animals for quite a while now it is not really useful for me but if you are in town. Go and try!

Breakfast for Champions
Breakfast for Champions

Since the portion is small and cheap...
Since the portion is small and cheap…

... I might as well have two of them
… I might as well have two of them

Off to the North

If you ever been to Bangkok a few days before X-Mas you know how fast the city gets empty as soon as X-Mas is here. Everybody gets out of town for a few days. By cold was better and I wanted to be in Pai for New Year’s Eve.
My usual choice – Bangkok Bus Lines (Read my review here) was booked solid. Now what? Could not even choose anything – was happy I got a VIP bus in the end.
It was chaos at the bus station! So many people and all slots full with busses. A lot of busses had no slot so they loaded customers in between. After more than an hour, our bus finally arrived – one guy came to our ramp and hushed us out in the rain. The bus was waiting somewhere far from the ramps. And there where many busses. Big confusion who goes where since 5 or 6 busses were parked next to each other. In the end, I had my seat and was happy.
And what is it with that rain? In the good old times, there was no rain in the dry season! Global warming eh?

On the bus to Chang Mai
On the bus to Chang Mai – OK seat in the front.

Not my usual one but still ok
Not my usual company but still OK. Note the rain – it is still raining.

My seat on the window
My seat on the window

Chiang Mai

The bus arrives at the new terminal. It still rains so you get a bit wet on the way to the old terminal. Got my ticket to Pai and all the mini busses where full for the next 2 hours. Which leaves me some time to get breakfast at my usual place. The restaurant at the right corner when you walk from the old to the new bus station. It is there since forever and one day and I stop there every time I have to wait for a connection.

I see egg but no pork - where is it?
I see egg but no pork – where is it? Never mind – I take the same as usually.

If I have time before the minibus to Pai I go here for years. At the corner between the two bus stations. And have the same two dishes usually.
If I have time before the minibus to Pai I go here for years. At the corner between the two bus stations. And have the same two dishes usually.

On the Way to Pai

After breakfast, I had a coffee from the coffee place next to the restaurant and wheeled my bag back to the minibus stop. Still raining – how wired!

At the stop on the way to Pai. They do roast their own coffee
At the stop on the way to Pai. They do roast their own coffee

Cat-Car
Cat-Car

Still raining - the mini bus to Pai
Still raining – the mini bus to Pai

Do you want to stay up to date and not miss a post? Subscribe to the blog on the top right or all the way down on this page!

Winter 17/18 – From Germany to Rayong, Thailand

December 17th, 2017
Took the bus to the tram, the tram to the train station. Took the InterCityExpress train to FRA. Wheeled my bag to hall B in Terminal 1 and got in line at the Kuwait Airways Check-In counter. About 20 minutes later my day was much better. Exchanged my big bag for a sticker on my boarding pass and was on my way to the REWE Supermarket. The last German beer for a few months to come and of course a Brezel. Kind of a tradition if you will – and every year it is the same good feeling. Leaving Germany when the worst is coming – the dark months when the sun will stay low or it is gray and cold and you will not even see the sun for days. Off to warm days in Thailand and – not so nice – gray ones in Vietnam. Well – let’s hope for the best 🙂

Ready to go to Bangkok
Ready to go to Bangkok

Kuwait Boing 777-300ER to Kuwait
Kuwait Boing 777-300ER to Kuwait

Business Class
Business Class

My class - at last Exit Row seat!
My class – at last an Exit Row seat! And YES – it is free on Kuwait Airways. Suck on that Lufthansa or all the other airlines that want money for an exit row seat.

Legroom!
Legroom! Lot’s! Me happy!

Nice big screen - even at the Exit Row
Nice big screen – even at the Exit Row

Vegetarian Non Dairy foooood
Vegetarian Non Dairy foooood

Vegetarian Non Dairy snack
Vegetarian Non Dairy snack

Massive screen at the standard Economy Class seat
Massive screen at the standard Economy Class seat

And plenty of legroom at the standard Economy Class seat
And plenty of legroom at the standard Economy Class seat

Vegetarian Non Dairy foooood
Vegetarian Non Dairy foooood

The GE90-115B turbofan, the world's most powerful jet engine with a maximum thrust of 115,300 lbf (513 kN).
The GE90-115B turbofan, the world's most powerful jet engine with a maximum thrust of 115,300 lbf (513 kN). What a piece of engineering!

Vegetarian Non Dairy breakfast
Vegetarian Non Dairy breakfast

For the next leg I had a first row seat. Less legroom but still better than the standard seat.
For the next leg I had a first row seat. Less legroom but still better than the standard seat.

Thailand - with a snake river and some mountains
Thailand – with a snake river and some mountains

Getting closer to Bangkok
Getting closer to Bangkok

Less fields and more factories
Less fields and more factories

And more houses as well
And more houses as well

Bangkok
Bangkok

Bangkok downtown
Bangkok downtown

Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok

How many times did I arrive at BKK? I do not remember but I know the first time was in 1989. BKK was, of course, Don Mueang International Airport. If you arrive at Don Mueang today it does look quite old and small but good memories. As usually long lines at immigration and many empty booths. Still much better than Chicago the last few times. Sawadee Kap! Khop Khun Kap and I had my 2-month visa stamped. Got the bag and was off to get a welcome beer at the little convenience store outside.

Outside of the airport you find a 7/11 knock off - so much cheaper than inside and cold beer all the time
Outside of the airport you find a 7/11 knock off – so much cheaper than inside and cold beer all the time

Dee and Gerben are in Rayong. Dee want me to come over and meet her family. There is a Public Bus Station at the Airport with free Shuttle Busses. From there you can go places – but not too many. Still more convenient than going downtown to one of the big bus stations. This will only work if you go to one of the few places you can get from here…

This is the bus stop outside the airport
This is the bus stop outside the airport. You wait for the free shuttle to the bus station here.

At the bus station
At the bus station – I had to wait for about 2 hours. That was a long fight to stay awake.

Not to many choices
Not to many choices

One of those cold cold bus trips
One of those cold cold bus trips but in the end they took me to the corner where Dee would pick me up later that day. Got my SIM card and called her. Thailand – I am here!

Rayong

They drove me to Dee’s uncle’s house or was it the house of her grandma? Whatever – grandma had a small shop there and a big fridge with ice-cold LEO. Things were good – if I only where not so tired. In the evening we went with some family for dinner. After that, I was very happy to sleep.

Poor fish
Poor fish

Big family dinner
Big family dinner