Thailand… one more time (cycling from Bangkok to Cambodia). // Bangkok raz jeszcze… Rowerem z Bangkoku do Kambodży.

Assumption Cathedral, Bangkok // Katedra Wniebowstąpienia:

Lumpini Park, Bangkok

Chatuchak Market

Wang Saen Suk (Buddhist Hell // buddyjskie piekło)

Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan (+the town of Chachoengsao)

In between // Pomiędzy

Khao Yai

Just a few snaps from the Khao Yai National Park (totally worth it! Especially when camping surrounded by Sambar deers with occasional small Indian Civet and porcupine running around; plus lots more if you venture deeper into the forest, preferably with a guide) + few other spots that I visited and re-visited in Thailand.

***

Parę fotek z Parku Narodowego Khao Yai (polecam! Niezapomniane wrażenia z noclegu pod namiotem w otoczeniu jeleni oraz przebiegających tu i ówdzie wiwer malajskich i jeżozwierzy; a oprócz tego, całe mnóstwo zwierzaków ukrytych w lesie, po którym chętnie oprowadzą Was przewodnicy) a także z paru innych miejscówek, które odwiedziłem podczas kolejnej wycieczki po Tajlandii.

Back to China / Powrót do Chin

I’m leaving the place where the time has frozen (in a way), at least for local Chinese who are still cultivating old traditions, and head for modern amnesiac China, where they sometimes try to refresh their memories by going on a trip to places like Penang.

Just a stopover in Singapore (one of the most entertaining airports I have ever seen – better go through the security check as quickly as possible and use all those – mostly free of charge – benefits that the airport offers: video games, cinema room, gym…) and I’m already shaking the humid and cold hand of Shanghai. Luckily I’m bringing a backpack full of warm memories of my trip through Thailand (and through that little tasty bit of Malaysia)…

Z miejsca, w którym czas w pewnym sensie się zatrzymał, przynajmniej dla Chińczyków, którzy wciąż kultywują dawne tradycje, wracam do Chin współczesnych,…

This is where I say goodbye to Thailand. I didn’t have the time to experience the bad reputation of this border town. Before I reach Malaysia I notice the results of floods that visit the region of Golok river every year (hence so many houses on pales).

Tutaj żegnam się z Tajlandią, nie zdążywszy posmakować nienajlepszej reputacji, jaką cieszy się to nadgraniczne miasto. Przed przejściem na stronę malajską zauważam za to skutki powodzi, które co roku o tej porze podmywają okolice rzeki Golok (stąd często spotykane domy na palach).

Deep south, very Muslim. In these parts of the country religious and political conflicts are not rare. The Muslim minority (who makes a majority in the South) wants to split from Thailand; hence the presence of fully armed troops in railway stations as well as inside the trains.

I was invited to Chana by Sudiman, a friendly guy met on a train. Riding his scooter together we attract many curious eyes. I am introduced to the family and to a bunch of kids who enter Sudiman’s house without knocking (nobody closes their doors here, everybody is welcome). Apart from my host nobody here speaks English so our communication is limited to gestures and drawings. Drawings, or to be more precise – portraits that I made, made everybody draw closer with Sudiman’s buddies, who show me their own personal technique of making low-relief in mirrors.

To już głębokie południe, w zdecydowanej większości muzułmańskie. W tych rejonach…

One of the three famous islands in Gulf of Thailand (two others are Koh Samui and Koh Phangan), in theory it is the one that is the least damaged by tourism. At least this is what I was hoping for when boarding the ferry to Chumphon (a small but very comfortable ferry with air conditioning; the return trip will not be so comfortable anymore – I get on board of what could be described as chickenboat – 150 people stuffed on narrow mattresses, toilet with no water, windows that won’t shut…).When I get there I discover that Koh Tao is full of Europeans who came here to admire underwater views (the island is famous for its transparent waters and rich sea fauna) and taste the evening alcohol.However, if you leave the partying whiteys and hotels invading the land more and more out of the frame, you can still be amazed by the island. Numerous beaches of all kinds (sandy, stony),…

This is southern Thailand already. I chose a place with literally nothing special to see (except for one temple – Wat Thammikaram, visited often by locals as well as by monkeys). Just sea and beaches (I recommend the beach within air force unit – clean, orderly, reasonable infrastructure and friendly soldiers offering a ride).

To już południe Tajlandii. Celowo wybrałem miejsce, w którym właściwie nic nie ma (no, może poza jedną świątynią – Wat Thammikaram, odwiedzaną chętnie przez miejscowych ale także przez małpy). Tylko morze i plaże (polecam plażę na terenie bazy wojskowej – czysto, schludnie, rozsądna infrastruktura i żołnierze, którzy chętnie podwiozą).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZEVgfKzkvg

 Chiang Rai

A tip for those travelling from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai: use Arcade coach station (North East of the moat), not any other.

The town itself might be nothing special but it offers nice temperatures (around 20 degrees in the evening, everybody puts on sweaters and coats). Plus all that surrounds the Chiang Rai makes it an important starting point for all sorts of treks and trips.

I am lucky again – I arrive in the midst of flower festival (festival might be too big a word – it’s just an excuse to party a bit). I join the crowd in dancing and taste the deliciacies offered by nearby stalls.

Uwaga praktyczna dla wybierających się do Chiang Rai z Chiang Mai: należy wybrać się na dworzec autobusowy Arcade (północny wschód względem fosy), a nie żaden inny!

Miasto samo z siebie może nie porywa ale za to oferuje…

Having left Lopburi, I reach Chiang Mai after 17 hours train ride (13 hours travel; 2 hours waiting in the station; 2 hours delay on the way, including switching the trains in the middle of the jungle due to engine breakdown). Luckily the train was half empty and I could sleep quite comfortably.

Chiang Mai (“New City”) was officially founded in 1296 by king Mengrai, though before there already existed a town called Wiang Nopburi. Chiang Mai replaced Chiang Rai as Lanna kingdom capital. The city is located amidst picturesque mountains that make the biggest highlight for travellers (plus the all-night party centre and over 300 temples to see). Chiang Mai can really be addictive – you can ask those many individuals who only stopped here for a couple of days and have been living here for years already.

Do Chiang Mai docieram z Lopburi po ok,…

Another stop on the way is Lopburi – a little town where you can stop for a day, not necessarily longer than that. There is a couple of wats to be found here but it’s not them who make the biggest tourist attraction. The most important are the macaques. They have taken over Wat Phra Prang Sam Yot temple and the streets around. In theory, the monkey problem could be dealt with easily but the Thais – real Buddhists – don’t want to harm the animals so they just put grids over the windows, drive the monkeys away with sticks, shoot them with catapults (they never actually aim at the animals)… All in vain, the monkey invasion continues…

I happened to witness a celebration in memory of former local ruler, founder of the biggest temple in the town – Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat. First the local students painted religious images on a very long roll of canvas,…