On the road with Destination Thailand TV part 8

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    On The Road With Destination Thailand TV Part 8

    The ride continues Chiang Khong - Chiang Kham, following the Lao border R1155, R1093 + Phaya Phipak, & in search of some local history - the Tai Lue people who inhabit the area, plus the Hmong.

    Part of the the Destination Thailand TV Team was in Chiang Khong a day before me, plus Brian & Les rode in from Nong Khai, checking out more features for later episodes.

    Day 1
    Chiang Khong is a Tai Lue / Khamu town, so this time round we started off with the Tai Lue & a visit to the new Lai Lue Kham museum in Sri Dornchai on R1020 just south of Chiang Khong.

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    Suwida is the hot Destination Thailand TV presenter this time round

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    & we all had a great time together.
    Such that there will be a lot more of Suwida with GTR......she may even end up liking big motorbikes & smelly riders.

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    The Lue Lai Kham museum has featured on GTR before
    Chiang Khong - Khamu New Year - The Tai Lue Lai Kham museum - a CK meander
    but unfortunately this thread is one of those with images that have gone walkabout. Eventually the photos will be re-uploaded.

    Leaving the Lue gals after an interview

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    Something tweaked with one of the gals - the oldest one & she suddenly took a fancy to the old farang

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    & indeed I had trouble freeing myself such was her grip.

    More to come, despite the forum tech issues.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Across the street from the Lue Lai Kham museum is a small Lue homestay - weaving museum.

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    Worth checking out if you're interested in the local ethnic Lue culture & history.
     
  4. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Here are a few pics from that day..
    Lovely people and worth a visit if you are passing..

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    Cheers
    Brian
     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Next stop was a fast ride over the mountains towards Chiang Saen & the Huay Kwan Memorial

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    Some info on the Huay Kwan Memorial is on GTR here
    Huay Gwan Memorial

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    The Huay Kwan memorial fits into the story because it involves the struggle - fight between the government & communists for control of the Thai - Lao border area in the 60s-70-80s.

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    Check it all out sometime because it makes the ride, the road & the scenery much interesting when you understand some of the local history of the area that you are riding through.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    NIGHT 1 was back in Chiang Khong for one of CK's identities to present his views on Chiang Khong & it's development

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    Khun Jib from the Bamboo Mexican, a guy very popular with many bikers passing through.
     
  7. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Continuing on with the pics.

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    David having a chat with the village headman.. As expected.. There is more to the story of what happened out here.
    Victors write the history ;-)

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    A young boy when the incident happened.

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    Mum was around when it happened.

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    Chiang Khong and more interviews

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  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    DAY 2 CHIANG KHONG - PHU CHI FAH

    Part 1
    Staying at Tammila guesthouse in Chiang Khong we got a tip off not to miss the weekly Lao Talad Nut - Wednesday morning market at Ban Cham Bong, downstream from Chiang Khong.
    This weekly morning market attracts hundreds of people from Laos by boat.

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    Lao people come from hundreds of kms away for this market.
    We met people from Tha Fah, on the Houei Xai - Luang Nam Tha road, 60-70 kms out of Houei Xai!

    Getting watched by the Thai police / army

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    Registering with the police

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    Into the market

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    Lao people selling fresh jungle produce, for a few baht

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    It's perhaps not all about the money, but a community event to socialize & meet people.

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    And one of the reasons why it is so popular with the Lao is because it is cheap.
    Border pass fee is 20 baht, compared to 100 baht in Chiang Khong.
    There is no market fee for Lao people to set up a mat & sell produce.
    There is no boat mooring fee, compared to 200 baht fee in Chiang Kong.

    Check it out sometime.
    It is the best Thai - Lao border market I have ever seen.
    Every Wednesday in Ban Cham Bong, Soi 5, on R1155, approximately 22 kms from Chiang Khong.
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    DAY 2 CHIANG KHONG - PHU CHI FAH

    Part 2

    R1155 - Panorama Coffee - Pha Dai & the end of the Mekong road.
    After the hustle & bustle of the morning market it was time to back up a little, savour the Mekong & R1155

    Panorama Coffee

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    undoubtedly has the best panoramic view

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    of the Khong & should always be worth a stop for a cuppa & a breather to take in the view

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    Pha Dai is the end of the road where the Mekong goes away from Thailand & is no longer the border until hundreds of kms further downstream near Chiang Khan.

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  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    From the Mekong its was onto the fabulous twisting R1155 snaking through the mountains

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    to venture up in the mountains & Phaya Phipak, the ex communist battle ground.

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    More to come.
     
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Phaya Phipak has featured on GTR before here

    R4018 The Phaya Phipak road

    The masterplan was to have couple of rides up & down the road for some filming plus check out the forest park with the amazing tree.

    Stopped at the viewpoint oggling the amazing view towards Phu Chi Fah, our destination for the night.

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    And what a view that is towards Phu Chi Fah in the distance on the Lao border

    Whilst here I spotted the deserted building on the side.

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    the buildings always been there, ever since Ive been going to PP, but today it roused my curiosity & I sauntered over to have a look. The door was locked (so I thought.) I headed off across the road the shop to ask the guy for the keys to get inside & take a look at what was on the wall - some old photographs by the looks of it.

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    The shopkeeper looked at me as if I was stupid wanting the keys & I had to repeat the question several times before he got a bunch of keys & walked over with me to open up. And open up he did, simply by pushing the jammed door open - oops not locked at all. Silly old farang!

    more to come..
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Inside the grubby dusty building - "the museum?" a collection of old framed photos on the wall.

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    Proud young men - communists - fighting against the government of the day.

    All villagers from Phaya Phipak who struggled for their rights & survival in those difficult days.

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    more to come...
     
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The main photo was this one

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    the centre row shows medics - female who treated the fighting wounded & one of the guys in the bottom row was the shopkeeper.

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    who gave me the keys to the "museum." According to the good "doctor" all the people in the photos & are still alive & living in Phaya Phipak, such was their good luck, strength & will power to endure the struggle they must have had to survive for a few decades - conflict, battles, then poor living conditions no running water, no electricity & here they are years later ALL still alive & seemingly comfortable & enjoying life in Phaya Phipak. An amazing story, amazing people.

    Loh & behold whilst at the shop getting the low down on their lives a tiny Hmong guy walks past wearing his communist cap. We call out & beckon him over, asking if he is still communist & the reply comes back yes as nonchalant as can be. Still believing in what they fought for - their lives in the mountains & right to survive, live there.

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    If you go o Phaya Phipak, take your time. Hang out in the shop by the viewpoint. You can meet some real interesting characters. The Big Dipper is more than just the ride, there is history on that mountain with living people.

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    Check out some more Phaya Phipka info on GTR here: R4018 The Phaya Phipak road
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    With Phaya Phipak finished it was a quick race over to Phu Chi Fah, & in pouring rain at the end going up the mountain, in low light on greasy  wet roads = treacherous conditions. But all riders survived to live to tell the tale.

    The Phu Chi Aree was the joint we opted to stay at & were well pleased.

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    Basic but clean & with a hot shower to warm up.

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    and the important thing about the Phu Chi Aree is location, right beside the road with a view back towards Phaya Phipak

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    plus you are walking distance - 250 metres from Phu Chi Fah's late night restaurant = food. Yes you can get it after when all the lights in town go out.

    Where you eat

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    Look out for it in PCH - the only late night place in the low season.

    A delicious kow tom brekky

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  15. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Great report.. Makes me feel like I am back there living it.

    Will get on and share some of my pics shortly.

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Phu Chi Fah is a special, unique spot literally right on the border between Thailand & Laos.

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    It is also a bit of a steep hike to the top from the car  park.

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    & the reason why a fat unfit old fart like me had never made the climb before.

    However under peer pressure I gave in & decided to battle my way up the hill.

    Before we left the Hmong kids in the car park hit on you for them to be your guide for the hike & so pick up some pocket money.

    How could you  refuse

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    They were also impressed with loong's new Vstrom motorbike

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    & so onto the hike. It's steep & somewhat slippery in the light rain we encountered along the way.

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    The kids know the route blindfolded I reckon & guide you to all the best viewpoints & photo opportunities

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    Finally at the top the view is sensational

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    Brian Ennion is the danger man

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    through the clouds & light rain you can see the Mekong in the distance.

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    A place to & explore later on

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    Straddling the border Thailand - Laos.

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    Is it worth it - certainly & believe me it is considerably easier than climbing up all those steps at Pha Tang,

    Check it sometime if you have not done it.

    More to come with  GTR & Destination Thailand TV.

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  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Time to move on, back down the hill, collect your gear from the Hmong shopkeepers, pack up & leave. [​IMG]
    onto R1093 - the Hmong cabbage road & head south towards Chiang Kham.

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    Confirmation that R1093 is cabbage central -
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    The cabbage viewpoint
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    & time for an interview with Brian
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    Filming with R1093 is the background
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    Suwida the presenter takes a liking to Les' Ducati & needs a few piccies
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    Back on the road R1093 & a break in Lao U / Rom Pho Thai. The original master plan had to be hook up with a Hmong guy ex Laos who had been at Long Chieng & worked with the CIA (he claimed).

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    He spoke quite good English & was happy to speak of his life & adventures previously. Perfect for a story we thought, but alas he was gone - locked up inside now or an unmentioned offence. Oh well next trick. Over a lengthy kwiteo lunch we were able to ascertain that there was another interesting Hmong guy just up the road with one leg blown off from a land mine. Off we go & there he is with a little bamboo sala beside the road weaving matts (or whatever he can do to make money & survive.)
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    an amazing guy with a wonderful story to tell.

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    Years ago in his younger days he was hunting on Phu Chi Fah & stepped on a land mine, blew his leg off & he almost bled to death before they found him& got him to a clinic for treatment. Lucky to be alive he still loves living there in Phu Chi Fah & can sing you a mean tune to serenade people. You will have to watch the Destination Thailand TV clip to get his story & song - serenading the GT Rider, of all people.

    Moving on again Les needed fuel for his Ducati with the small tank. There was an entertaining pit stop with a Hmong gal on her phone whilst fueling up.
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    It was obviously an important call, because the phone never let her ear during the entire fuel up & payment. More adventures on the road to come.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Next stop on R1093 was at Huak & time to check out the local border crossing

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    Setting up minutes before was Modernine TV doing a story with the Nai Amphur about the border & trade / traffic with Laos.

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    Interview over it was time for a joint photo session & chat

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    & the word is that the border crossing will be full international in two more years.

    Huak is famous for a type of tortoise

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    that used to thrive in the stream in the area, but we never saw any & asked where were they all are ow. The reply -oh,  there a are very few left now as the Laos came over, hunted them & took them all back for sale & eating in the market on the Lao side.

    Further down R1093, at Phu Sang waterfall I got to mind the bikes

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    & admire the tortoise sign

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    whilst the healthy fit happy ones climbed the hill above the falls to check out the spring & hot water.

    Brian led the way

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    More to come.
     
  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Chiang Kham it was for night # 3.

    The Bouthong Resort was our place of stay

    The Khom the restaurant venue

    The Chiang Kham Riverside Return Pub for some late night revelry

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    Chiang Kham is a delightful Tai Lue town & the next day we hit a couple of the towns stunning temples

    Wat Nantaram

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    a fabulous classic teakwood temple paid for by the British logging company of the day.

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    More on Wat Nantaram here

    Wat San Mueng Ma

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    a stunning temple famous for its murals depicting the migration & history of the Tai Lue people in Thailand.

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    Wat Pra Nang Din - the only temple in Thailand with the Buddha image sitting on the ground (& there's a story about that.)

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    there is also an interesting fortune telling ritual you can do

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    Just a bit more to come
     
  20. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Day 4 & the final run back to Chiang Rai

    After the CK temples it was out of Chiang Kham & head north-west to get onto R1155

    Onto R1155 to pick up on more more memorial to those killed building the road through the once communist controlled area

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    Les & Brian taking a break on the road

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    Then back onto Phaya Phipak to pick on what we had missed out the day before

    That amazing tree at the forest park headquarters

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    The story goes that it was planted in 2534 = 24 years ago / 1991 & has incredible growth in an extremely short time. It’s a freak & a one off.

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    After this a quick blast on into Chiang Rai & part 8 is done. Only 4 days on the road filming interesting bits & pieces, but we are sure Destination Thailand TV is more than happy with the content the got &  fun they had.

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    Celebrating a super 4 days after the trip at Paradise Bar, Chiang Rai.

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    The next series of clips should be out soon. Enjoy....we did.
     
  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Here is the first clip - Tribal Trails - for part 8

     
  22. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The film & the ride continues….Part 9 of GTR & Destination Thailand TV – riding the ex communist held areas of the Thai – Lao border. A bit of history & some of the characters of R1155, R1093, Phaya Phipak & Phu Chi Fah to end up in Chiang Kham.



    Enjoy the ride & light commentary.
     
  23. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Back to the big dipper for another bash & then 1148 with Scotty007 & Oddvar

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2016

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