Thai travel diary: A school term full of adventures (1)

Thai travel diary: A school term full of adventures (1)

During the first month of the term I decided to see as much of Thailand as I could before I left the country for good. It was going to be my last term teaching in Dan Khun Thot so why not get the most out of it? There were still places I had never been to and could go. And so during the last term I went on more trips than before. Most trips were in Isaan, the northeastern region of Thailand.


Term trip #1 .:. Isaan trip #1: Chaiyaphum

After a month of being busy, I finally had a free weekend. No school work, no course work. So I rewarded myself by going on a trip.

Chaiyaphum doesn’t make it to the itinerary of a typical tourist in Thailand. It’s a provincial capital and totally off the beaten track. The kind of traveling I like. But the best part of being in Chaiyaphum was being away from Dan Khun Thot.  When you live in the middle of nowhere a change of scene is what you want and need at times.

Wat Song Sila, Chaiyaphum
Prang Ku, Chaiyaphum
Prang Ku, Chaiyaphum
Waiting for a tasty snack – roti

Sunday brought me a little adventure. I wanted to go and see the Tatton waterfall. Not being able to find any means of transportation I resorted to hitchhiking. In a country where hitchhiking is an alien concept. Even though I hitchhiked more than 10.000 km while traveling around the world Thailand is a country where I feel like a dingus when I am trying to hitch a ride. People hardly ever have a clue what I am doing by the side of the road making all sorts of movements and gestures. That day I made four different gestures perhaps. I wonder if any people thought I had run away from a mental institution.  I got some waving though!

But I must say I was lucky like never before in Thailand. 10 minutes into my hitchhiking adventure a car stopped. A man and his son offered to give me a ride. And they took me all the way not just to the turnoff where the national park gate was. Amazing! Going back I was ready to walk 22 km which was the worst case scenario. But after coming to the main road which was a 2 km walk the very first car stopped. And I was offered a ride back. On a pickup truck. My favorite!!! What a great day!

Tat Ton waterfall
Tat Ton waterfall

Term trip #2 .:. Isaan trip #2: Khao Yai National Park

Teacher Alesh changed into Adventurer Alesh on Saturday. After having visited Chaiyaphum previous weekend I decided to take another trip. To Khao Yai National park. I had been there before but I didn’t get to see what I wanted.

I took a bus to Pak Chong. The town was 6 km away from where I was dropped off. All grab taxi drivers were unavailable and there was no tuk-tuk around. I started walking. But at the turnoff I decided to hitch a ride. And I was lucky. A couple gave me a ride to the center sparing me an hour of brisk walking and possible trouble by dozens of stray dogs lining the road.

I wanted to rent a motorbike but they told me all motorbikes had been rented out because of a festival. Shoot! What now? Let’s take a songthaew to the park gate and hitchhike. It was quite late to do it but I went for it. The songthaew left after 11 am and it took over an hour to get there although it was just 28 km.

I bought a ticket and started hitchhiking. I had about 5.5 hours to see what I wanted before it got dark and the park closed. And I managed. I got a ride, and then another, and then another. I was amazed considering I was in country where hitchhiking is rather difficult.

I went to see Haew Suwat waterfall and then did a 3.5 km hike through the jungle along a creek and another waterfall (not really a waterfall). I was hoping to see elephants but they must have been scared away by the zillions of cars and people in the park. As I was hiking there were signs warning about crocodiles in the creek. I didn’t get to see any. But then I saw something fairly big swimming in the distance. I went further but couldn’t see what it was because of the bushes. And then I saw it. A playful otter popped out of water. I went further and saw three otters on the bank. Amazing. I was there alone and I was quiet so I got lucky.

Haew Su Wat waterfall
A short hike in a forest
Otters playing
The scenery at the end of the hiking trail

After hiking I hitched two rides to the tallest waterfall in the park – Haew Narok. Beautiful. On the way out of the park I stopped at a reservoir to enjoy the views. Then I got a ride out of the park and I hoped there was a songthaew going back to Pak Chong. There was none. So I had to hitchhike. It got dark while I was doing so. Hitchhiking after it gets dark is not my favorite activity and it makes me anxious. But I was lucky. After about half an hour I got a ride. A couple was headed for Muak Lek and they drove me to Pak Chong despite my telling them I can also take a train from Muak Lek. They were supernice and helpful. I got to Pak Chong at 7.30 pm which was just in time to catch the train 20 minutes later . I couldn’t stay in Pak Chong as all the affordable accommodation was booked.

What an adventure. 7 rides! 6 in around 5 minutes or less. Amazing. So grateful.

Haew Narok waterfall
Sambar deer, unlike an elephant, can also be easily spotted in the park
Sai Sorn reservoir
Sai Sorn reservoir

I have been to Korat so many times but only after my trip to Khao Yai did I go to this beautiful place. Bung Ta Lua park. It’s an oasis not too far from the centre. There were virtually no people there. A beautiful park. Great weather. No people. Where were they? My guess would be in a mall shopping or eating. Junk food. Oops. There, I said it. No wonder I had no friends in Thailand. I didn’t fit in.

It felt like in a post-apocalyptic movie only that it was beautiful and undamaged.

Bung Ta Lua park
Bung Ta Lua park
Bung Ta Lua park
Bung Ta Lua park

Term trip #3 .:. Isaan trip #3: Red Lotus Sea (Talay Bua Daeng)

A Christmas present for me from me. A trip to one of the most stunning places in Thailand. I had wanted to go there for a year before I finally made it. It was so totally worth it. Simply stunning.

Although it’s called a lotus lake, the flowers are, in fact, water lilies.

I took a train to Udon Thani, the nearest large city to the lake. I spent a night in a guesthouse, the owner of which arranged a tour for me. And so on the following day I was picked up at the guesthouse only to be taken to the lake along with a few other tourists where we went on a boat trip on the beautiful lake.

One of the many boats on the lake
Talay Bua Daeng
Talay Bua Daeng
Beautiful water lillies

2 Replies to “Thai travel diary: A school term full of adventures (1)”

  1. Nádherná krajina,som rada,že prostredníctvom Tvojich výprav a cestovaní som mohla byť ich súčasťou. Veľká vďaka ! Želám veľa šťastia pri objavovaní ďalších krás zeme!

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