Nong Khai

Trip Start May 13, 2007
Trip End Jul 26, 2007

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm in Nong Khai now, which is in the very north of Thailand, on the border with Laos.  I was actually supposed to leave two days ago to go to Sukhothai, but its so relaxing and I like it so much here that I've stayed longer than I intended to!  I am eventually leaving tonight to take the night bus (12hrs!) straight to Chiang Mai, as I now don't have time for Sukhothai as my teaching course starts on Monday. It turned out to be a complete nightmare getting here- the journey was supposed to take 6 hours, which would have been bad enough, but it ended up taking 10hrs and 3 bus changes!  And I'd stayed up late the night before drinking cheap Thai whiskey with a bunch of Canadians and Germans, which didn't help matters!

I left Pak Chong at 9am and waited a while for a bus going to Khorat which was an hour away, from where I could take a bus to Nong Khai.  That part of the journey was fine, I got to Khorat with no problems and then got straight onto a bus that was supposedly an air-con bus and was supposedly going to Nong Khai (5hrs away).  Well, he air-con was broken, si ti was very hot on there.  Then the bus seemed to stop at every two house town on the bloody way and took ages!  Then the woman nest to me started to eat fried bugs, which did nothing for my hangover!  The bus eventually got to Udon Thani at 4, which was still an hour away from where I needed to be, then it was decided for some reason that the bus was going to terminated there!  Grrr!  So I had to get off .  The conductor was actually really nice about it and carried my massive rucksack to the bas stop I needed and paid for my ticket as I'd already paid all the way to Nong Khai.  But I did have to wait an hour for the next bus, but at least the air-con was working on this one!  On the down side, it was even slower than the last one, so I didn't get to my guesthouse until 7pm!  Ok, rant over now.  Everything after that was good!

The guesthouse ( is lovely and the English man who runs it is so friendly and knowledgeable, he's been here 16 years, and I can see why. All the other guests seem really friendly too, and theres a massive leafy garden right on the river bank.  The quite a lot of yoga and new age type places clustered around it too. And the mayor plus side?  They have wine!  Its not particularly good wine, but its wine, nonetheless!

I haven't done that much sightseeing here, its nice to just relax for a few days and do very little after spending the last few weeks fleeing around Thailand!  There's a sculpture park about 7km away, so I hired a bike and went there one day.  Its such a bizarre but pretty place.  It was designed and built by a man who had (apparently) fallen down a hole when I child, into the home of a spiritualist hermit who taught him everything he knew.  His philosophy is a mixture of Buddhist and Hindu principles (seems to be a bit of a cult) and the sculptures reflect that.  Lots of half man, half animals.  Actually, in an interview, when asked why he hadn't become a monk, the sculptor replied that it was because he was only half human and the other half was animal.  Hmmmm!  They have is body mummified in a glass case (although his followers claim it hasn't been treated in any way and doesn't decompose!) in a building in the park.. Very ghoulish!  Anyway, it was nice to walk around the park and the bike ride there was really enjoyable too.

I've also been on a sunset boat cruise down the Mekong River was was beautiful.  The first day I wanted to go on it, it was cancelled because of a massive thunderstorm..  The views were breathtaking and the sky was lit up all reds and oranges.  I took photos, but I doubt they'll do it justice.

Yesterday I had a reiki session with a german woman here.  I didn't know that much about the practice, so she explained about it first.  its a Japanese art of energy channelling.  Its a kind of rebalancing of the energy in your body.  I was a bit skeptical about it, but thought I'd give it a go as it was cheap for an hour session.  You lie on a massage table and the woman places her hands at different points on your body (the energy points).  Staright away I could feel a like a warm current or pulse going through my body and as the session went on I got pins and needles all over too.  I can't even begin to describe how I felt at the end.  It was amazing.  I was so relaxed and had a really strong sense of wellbeing, I felt radiant!  I don't know how it works, but it made me feel amazing!  I'd recommend it to anyone.  I'm actually thinking of coming back after my teaching course and doing the 4 day Reiki course they run here so I can learn to do it myself.

They also have a floating bar here too which has cocktails and live music every night, so I've been there a few times and really enjoyed it.  I'll be sorry to leave here, but I've heard a lot of good things about Chiang Mai.  I'll be starting my course on Monday and its going to be pretty hard work there on in for a month!

I haven't had time to upload the photos to this site yet, you can see them here:

Lots of Love
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