Khao Sam Roi Yat National Park, Thailand Week 2 6th - 7th May 2011

Large chunks of it. On the hoof. Steaked (pun intended) out in the National Park.

We've been eating at least one meal of rice and other things from ristorants and stalls. The other things vary a bit. Something like Thai Green Curry doesn't have a standard recipe. Its either a case of pointing at the food and smiling, or, nearer the tourist haunts, pointing at the menu and smiling.

Some of the Malay Muslim food we weren't quite game to point at.

Our taste buds haven't been totally destroyed by chillis and have noticed that food is less spicy in the North of Thailand than South.

There seems to be a competition for who can erect the largest sign in Thailand. This one is really only a small one. Important though, it has a petrol station and a shop under it.
The taxis and buses to the South of Thailand seem to be newer than some of the more traditional buses further North. This one was built on a Mazda chassis.

Not a good start for a motorhome conversion though.

At State borders we encountered police checks where we were waved through. The waving was sometimes a bit ambiguous but we kept going anyway.

I have awkward memories of Zambia some 35 years ago where similar checks were accompanied by gunfire if the signal to stop was ignored.

Ali on the other hand has no such memories so took a photograph instead. I hope they didn't notice.

I'll leave this one to your imagination. We have no idea what it is or what it represents though we tended to think of it as "the big chicken".
These large (concrete?) jars seem to be the traditional way of storing rain water through Malaysia and Thailand. They are about 1.5m tall.

There are still lots of them but of course they are being supplanted by bright blue plastic barrels.

Sunset at Sam Phraya Beach in Khao Sam Roi Yat National Park.

The sea is about 20m away. Just right for an evening swim.

For the two nights we were here one of the park people started up a smoke generator at dusk and walked along the beach with it so the smoke drifted across the campsite. It smelt like diesel but may have had other things in it. Aimed at keeping the mosquitoes down. We guessed it worked as they didn't get past our screens and we didn't get bitten.

In Australia we have Rainbow Bee Eaters. This is a Green Bee Eater. Similar shape, similar markings, the addition of a couple of long tail feathers (or maybe we never noticed them in Aus).

These photos are for Laurie (Motorhome Club friend) who first made us aware of her favourite Aus bird and provided lots of useful suggestions as we were preparing the trip.

They were very shy. They either swooped past us, too fast to photograph, or sat in the tops of the trees. Waiting for passing insects.
Fish farming.

The spray is from paddle wheels. Presumably aerating the water.

A makeshift shelter, a few tables, a truck load of ice, some large plastic hampers, lots of people, a truck to take it all away, and we have a fish packing station.
It looked hard work. The hats included nets as we suspect the fish smell attracted the flies.
Just a bit of care while driving past.
And it looked like they'd finished for the day.
The Khao Dang River (we think).

Open to the sea.

We climbed the 300m to Khao Dang lookout. Still in Khao Sam Roi Yat National Park.

Hot and sticky, but worth it.

Fish farms surrounding the village, the river is the curly bit at the right.

Our campsite for two nights was on the beach beyond the first small headland in the distance.

Fascinated by the fish farming the paddles can be seen.

It looked like the ponds, lined with black plastic sheet, are periodically drained and cleaned.

Limestone at Khao Dang. Fine grained, "good quality", showing the ridges we have seen in other places.
To help us on our way there are milestones.

It means that when asking directions we are sometimes told where the turnoff is relative to the milestone.

The beach which has Phraya Nakhom Cave behind it.

We walked over a headland (about 1km and 200m high). The easier way would have been to pay for the boat ride. Even easier, wait for the tide to go out and walk around.

And the lizards in Thailand are not dissimilar to the lizards in Aus. Though the colours seemed a bit brighter.
The entrance to Phraya Nakhom cave.

Having walked up then down to get over the headland we then walked up then down to get into the cave.

The cave is a large sinkhole.

A couple of Emperors happened by in the (I think) 17th century and liked it so much they left their mark.

The throne occupies the center of the cave, bathed in light from above.

Similarly Ali.

Not only did they leave the throne they also left some Royal graffiti.
And the view from the headland, on the walk out,  looking North.
Back at Samphraya Beach we met Eric and Lydie.

A French and Swiss couple on a short bike ride from Europe to Australia. They'd been on the road for 14 months and looked fresher than us.

Lots of stories to help us on our way.

They'll be cycling from Darwin to Adelaide so keep a look out and say hello.

Sometimes economics defeats us.

This rather large truck was carrying wood. Pieces of tree about 1m long and less than 100mm diameter.

We can only assume it must be rather special wood to be carried in such a large truck. Not only that there were quite a few similarly loaded trucks on the road.

Unfortunately we'll just have to wonder.

The largest of the three WWII cemeteries in Kanchenaburi.

The resting place of Commonwealth and Dutch soldiers who died building the Thai Burma railway in WWII.

A peaceful oasis.

The remains of the approximately 6,000 allied soldiers who died were collected and re-buried where possible. Not so fortunate the 100,000 or so civilians.

I guess nothing changes as we listen to the BBC World Service and other news services and they grapple with the civilian cost of war.

We found a new verb.

The dysneyfication of tourist attractions.

This is a brightly coloured "toy train" carrying tourists on a short trip across "The Bridge Over The River Kwai" and back.

The wooden bridge of film fame was built about 300m downstream but there is no trace remaining.

About 30 years ago I was on a local bus heading North in Sumatra. We had joined a queue of traffic to cross a river by pontoon. When we asked we were told the bridge had been destroyed - by the Japanese in 1945.

The original three center spans of the River Kwai bridge were destroyed by allied bombs. The Japanese replaced them with two spans shipped from Northern Indonesia. Just one of life's small connections.

Near the bridge is the "World War II & Jeath War Museum".

The building itself was intriguing as well as the stories to be told.

Very much an anti-war story but lots about battles between invaders from Burma and Thai people.

There is a very heavy Thai military presence between Kanchenaburi and the border.

More murals showing full size some of the military leaders from the 17th century.
Even the ceilings were decorated.
And the outside.
We camped at a Safari Park and Zoo North West of Kanchenaburi. No charge.

Not quite what we expected, the entrance had a couple of fibreglass giraffes.

It seemed we didn't have to go anywhere to find things of interest.

This is part of a herd of cattle being herded past us while the air conditioner drain was being successfully unblocked.

A bit of sign language to make sure it was ok to take photographs and the local farmer stood still for his photo.

Somewhere round the neck of the nearest cow is a bell, reminder of cattle in the alps.

And a couple of elephants were herded by.
Probably something to do with the Safari Park. The elephants were tethered in a rice paddy for the night.
And the hunter became the hunted.

This young lad was stalking a few herons which had landed in a rice paddy. We'd earlier watched a couple of people harvesting the rice but didn't feel comfortable taking photos.

At distance I couldn't tell whether the "gun" was real or a toy. On closer examination it had rubber bands to fire a bolt.

He appeared blissfully unaware of our presence. He also has a bit to learn about hunting as the birds all flew away before he was in shooting distance.

And the prey.

A mixture of herons and storks in the rice paddy that had just been harvested.

Erawan National Park, Thailand Week 3 9th - 10th May 2011