Off on our holidays

Trip Start Sep 21, 2011
Trip End Mar 21, 2012

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Where I stayed
Petcharat Garden Hotel

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Up at 5:30 for a quick breakfast and a cuppa and we leave the village just before 7amand head off towards Roi Et.  Roi Et is our nearest city of any size and is about 60km from where we live.  We take our time and make a few stops to look at things along the way.  We ride through one village where they all seem to make chopping boards and there are stalls lining the road all throughthe village.  We stop again at Tawatburi(sp) where the river Nam Chi has flooded quite badly.  The waters here seem to have risen since we passed through a few weeks ago.  The main road usually passes overe the river with about 10m clearance but today the waters are lapping over the parapet of the bridge and the locals are throwing fishing nets in.
Kust before we get to Roi Et we take a short detour to see an old Khmer temple phrang that is signposted as being only 1km off the main road.  For once they are right and it is only about 400m.  The temple of Phrang Ku was built under the Khmer King Jayavaraman in the 12/13 centuries and it is only the central prang that is still standing.  We wander around and you can still see the laterite walls where the buildings would once have stood and the ceremonial lake.  There appears to be some reconstruction work underway with the prang supported by scaffolding and a small shelter showing drawings of the site.  Will have to stop again in a acouple of years time and see if anything has happened.  Quite a pleasant little stop though.
Returning to the main road we are soon in Roi Et and looking for a hotel.  I have a few names in mind but finding them could prove to be a problem so we just cruise around looking for a while.  Spot one of the places on my list, the Sai Thip Hotel, and stop for a look.  Ask to see an aircon room but am told to look at a fan room which looks the same.  I pojt out that the fan room doesnt have a bathroom and that I want to see an aircon room with the bathroom but it is all too much trouble for the guy at reception who returns to his newspaper with a shrug.  Needless to say we leave and wont be returning.  We phone the Petcharat Garden Hotel which looks to be quite classy and at the top end of our budget for this trip and they give Jai directions (left, left, then right, then straight on the n left again etc etc etc).  Jai cant follow this at all so we ask someone who is passing who tells us to go 200m down the road, over the bridge and turn right.  Easy enough and we are soon at the hotel.  Looks good but a bit impersonal.  A place that businessmen might stay but not travellers.  Return into town and check-out the Mai Thai hotel which at the same price as the Petcharat looks grubby and rundown.  (Find out later that it is also the haunt of the local prostitutes who 'serve' the local community with room rates by the hour and a lot of comings and goings and noise throughout the night - lucky escape).  Enough is enough so we return tio the Petcharat Gardens and check-in to a room on the fourth floor.  Room nice with views over open fields and the hotel swimming pool.  We are paying 580baht (about GBP12) which is still very cheap and I am led to believe includes a help yourself breakfast buffet - we will wait and see.
We dump our bags then head out to visit a temple that we pass every time that we are passing through the city on the bus.  Wat Buraphaphiram has a large standing buddha which I have been led to believe was 100m tall.  The name Roi Et actually means 101 in Thai.  We wander around the temple and I spot a notice in English and Thai that tells us that the buddha is actually 59.2 m tall or 67.85m if you include the concrete base.  Not 101m at all but still they proudly claim it is the tallest buddha in the world to be portrayed in the 'blessing posture' - hand raised.  Find a strange group of concrete figures sat in a semi-circle listening to another concrete figure preach a sermon - well, obviously not actually listening but ...  There is a small cave beneath a huge tree that has a reclining buddha but there is not much else here.  We climb up the standing bussha to the first floor but the views arent much and it is not possible today to go up any higher although there appears to be a viewing gallery near the op of the figure.
We ride back through town and park up by Palanchai Lake where we wander about for a while.  The park is really nice and we visit the city shrine, spirit house, of chao phor Mahesak and Phra Buddha Kodom sat on a rise in the ground overlooking the lake.  In the distance we can see a number of Donald Duck pedalo boats on the water and have to investigate.  It is a lovely spot that actually puts me into a holiday frame of mind.
We bike back into town for some lunch at a duck and rice place at the side of the road then picking up a couple of coffees we head back to thehotel to cool off for a while from the midday sun.  On our way back we stop to have a look at the Roi Et City Hotel which at 990Bht a night seems no better than what we already have.
Mid-afternoon we are off back to Palanchai Lake and our date with Donald.  We board another cartoon boat - Donald wasnt available - and at 40bht for 30mins it was a really good deal.  Hard work peddling the boat around in the hat though.  Made the mistake of going down to the one corner of the lake only to find that when we turned around we were heading into the wind and were pretty tired and hot by the time we got back.  Good fun though.
Spend another hour or so in the gardens where there is a fitness park and a 'zoo'.  The zoo turned out to be concrete animals amongst the bushes but all in all a very nice place.
Back to the room then down to the swimming pool for a stretch and a cool off.  A few people around but fairly quiet and enjoy a good swim.
We go back out after dark and find that a lot of the park is now lit with coloured lights and is very busy with people jogging and eating on mats.  We stop at what appears to be a 'farang' bar called 'The Happy Man' which turns out to be run by an American guy.  Have a beer and a chat but not too much going for it in terms of location.  Had been told about another bar but havent found it yet.  We eat noodles on the street corner then return to the hotel about 20:30 - a late night for me !! 
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Phil on

Everytime I read your blogs and see the pictures of Thailand makes me wish more and more that I was out there !!!

Yvette on

So pleased to hear that you are not under water. The floods look horrendous.

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