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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

20 November 2018

On the road in Thailand

The view from our Phufa Sawan resort

The view from our Phufa Sawan resort

15 November 2018

I ought to whisper this, but we’ve only been in Thailand for a day and everything we’ve eaten has been better than anything we ate in the Philippines. I don’t know how they do it. We’re staying in a lodge with literally no other guests, and yet they still seem to be able to make anything on the menu and it’s all delicious.

We are driving ourselves again, something very easy to do in Thailand where the roads are excellent and the road users are reasonable. Just within a half hour of driving out of Chiang Rai, the northern city where we’ve started via a short flight from Bangkok, we’ve picked out these differences between Thailand and the Philippines:

  • The roads are wider and better, being tarmac rather than concrete
  • There are no trikes or jeepneys
  • Houses tend to look finished, with a lot less bare breezeblock or corrugated steel
  • Far fewer visible people loitering on the streets or in their yards
  • There are no signs in English, nor even in the Roman alphabet
  • Far fewer dogs and cats on the street
  • Lots of wild birds, not just sparrows
  • Bikes pull over to let cars past
  • Bicycles are fairly common
  • None of the little tiny shop/shack/kiosks found all over the Philippines
  • Lots more places of worship – every few kms another Wat
  • No-one wears motorbike helmets

Phu Sang waterfall

Phu Sang waterfall

Our car is a truly feeble Nissan automatic. Even in “Low” gear it struggles painfully up anything like a steep hill, often slowing to under 10 kph before finally deciding to change down a gear. In a damp forested area near Phu Chi Fa it finally failed completely: we slowed to a near stop on a steep uphill and then the wheels lost their traction and we slithered gently sideways while wheel-spinning. Poop.

Luckily there was enough space to turn the car around and go back down. And luckily-er still, there was another route up to the Phu Chi Fa viewpoint that we’re planning on seeing at dawn tomorrow.

Today we also found time for a visit to the Phu Sang waterfall. A charming cascade of naturally warm spring water, there was also a nature trail above the falls that allowed us to stretch our legs in the dense forest. On the way there we passed through a village called Ban Huak that had all manner of statues and signs dedicated to some kind of snapping turtle. No idea why.

Temples of bling

Temples of bling


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