Mindful Farm

Originally from Chiang Mai, we had planned on going to Pai for a few days. Mostly I was just excited about the potential for puns with a name like Pai, but before we left we were diverted. On the wall at Giant House we saw a poster for a place called Mindful Farm which was west of the city. After taking a look at the website, we knew we had to change our plans and go there instead.

Mindful Farm in owned by ex monk Pinan, his wife Noriko and their daughter Nobara. They started it almost two years ago when Nabara was born and have been welcoming guests ever since. It is an organic farm where they mostly live off what they grow and sell what they don’t need. They welcome volunteers to come stay with them for only B200 (about $7) a day, which includes accommodation, and all you can eat.

Like it’s name suggests, Pinan and Noriko practice mindfulness in their lives and encourage the volunteers to practice as well. The days are somewhat structured, which was a welcome change for us after doing whatever we felt like, whenever we felt like it for the past 7 weeks. The schedule was as follows:

6:30 – Wake up/walking meditation for 30 minutes
7:00 – Help prepare breakfast
7:30 – Eat as much as you can (it’s usually that delicious)
8:30 – Clean up/start working
11:30 – Stop working
12 – Eat as much as you can
1:00 – Rest until you feel rested (amazing right – in Pinan’s words “When you feel tired, you must rest. Sometimes I don’t rest at all and sometimes I rest all day”)
Between 2-3 – Start working again
5:00 – Stop working
5:30 – Eat as much as you can
7:30 – Group silent meditation
8:30 – Bed

We followed some form of this for the four days that we were there. All of the food is vegetarian, which made me a little more willing to try everything. I gave up trying to figure out what stuff was (which is my picky nature) and just piled up my plate. There was barely anything that I didn’t like and I found it fascinating how Noriko made such flavourful food with so little. There were even a few things that she admitted to never having cooked before (let alone knowing if they were edible) that turned out delicious. Their attitude is to use everything, and that’s just what we did.

Feast!

Feast!

A pineapple growing...who knew this is how they grow?! Answer: not us!

A pineapple growing…who knew this is how they grow?! Answer: not us!

We slept in very basic (and not super comfortable) bamboo huts with mosquito nets, while other volunteers slept in mud huts. But they were more than sufficient for a decent night’s sleep.

Our bamboo hut

Our bamboo hut

Inside the hut

Inside the hut

Unfortunately while we were there I got a few migraines, which put a damper on my experience, but Keith had a ton of fun and worked very hard, helping to build a new bathroom, making and hauling mud, mixing cement and weeding. I mostly stuck to helping prepare food, and get some vegetables ready for planting, but  also spent a lot of time caring for Nabara so that her parents could work. She was amazing and so much fun to watch as she has only a few toys and books that stay in the house, so every day she explores her world as entertainment. Her creativity and personality are so neat, having been shaped by her unique upbringing on the farm as well as the number of adults that pass through her life so frequently. By the time she starts talking I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up fluent in 5+ languages!

Nobara wanted to help with the chicory. She sat with me for at least half an hour copying what I was doing to process it.

Nobara wanted to help with the chicory. She sat with me for at least half an hour copying what I was doing to process it.

Keith showing off his muscles

Keith showing off his muscles

Although we would have liked to stay for much longer, we decided that it would be best for me to be in the city where I’d be more comfortable and hopefully the migraines would go away.  It was a very neat experience though, and a great option for anyone interested in volunteering (without paying hoards of money to do so). Pinan and Noriko are very welcoming and although it’s a rustic experience, it’s one that is totally worth it!

Making mud bricks. The night before some frogs had laid eggs in here so there were frog eggs floating everywhere in the mud.

Making mud bricks. The night before some frogs had laid eggs in here so there were frog eggs floating everywhere in the mud.

Keith's foot after a hard day's work.

Keith’s foot after a hard day’s work.

This is the eating/meditation area.

This is the eating/meditation area.

Doesn't your heart just squeeze with her cute-ness!

Nobara loved playing with my sunglasses.

Nobara was super into sunglasses.

Doesn’t your heart just melt with her cuteness?!

Noriko, Pinan, Nobara and us.

Noriko, Pinan, Nobara and us.

Baan Thai Cookery Course, Chiang Mai

While in Thailand one of our non-negotiable must dos was take a cooking course. The food is so good so we definitely wanted to be able to take home the skills to make it for ourselves. Not to mention that thai food is super expensive in Canada.

We chose the Baan Thai Cookery School out of the many many options. It seems that pretty much every restaurant in Chiang Mai offers courses (just like every guest house offers treks and every other store front offers massages). Baan Thai was close to our guest house and had some great reviews.

Some of our fresh ingredients from the market.

Some of our fresh ingredients from the market.

We were not disappointed! The morning started off with a market tour by our hilarious Chef Guru after which we chose what dishes we wanted to make and got to work! There were three different classes of eight people going on at Baan Thai that day, and three different dishes that we could chose for each meal. In total we made five different meals and a curry paste. For each meal the people from the three different classes went to whichever dish they had chosen, which made for approximately equal people at each station.

All ready to cook!

All ready to cook!

We each chose one curry, one appetizer, one soup, one stir fry and one desert. I did spring rolls, chicken in coconut milk soup, pad thai, panaeng curry and water chess nuts in coconut milk. Keith made papaya salad, fried cashew nut with chicken, Chiang Mai noodle curry, hot and sour soup and mango sticky rice. Plus they taught us all how to make the different kinds of rice.

Ingredients for one of the dishes.

Ingredients for one of the dishes.

We gorged ourselves all day, eating every dish that we made. The instructors were great, particularly ours who kept telling jokes that I found hilarious. The people in our group were great, and the staff were kind enough to care for the daughter of one couple so that they could participate fully. Overall, while I’m sure most of the cooking courses offered in Chiang Mai are great, I would recommend this one as a delicious and fun option. Now we can’t wait to impress our families back home with the easy, quick and delicious thai recipes that we learned!

And I’m sure that Keith will be making mango sticky rice quite often!!!

For the first recipe in months, here are a few that we made at the cooking school:

Papaya Salad [som tam]

50 g green (unripe) papaya or carrot or cucumber, shredded
10 garlic cloves
1-3 chillies (or 10+ if you’re thai)
½ tomato, quartered
1 chinese long bean, cut in one inch pieces
20 g peanuts
2 tbsp fish sauce
1-2 limes, quartered
1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar if you don’t have palm)

Put garlic, chili, and Chinese long bean in the mortar and pound together (tenderly – their words not mine!)

Add palm sugar, lime, fish sauce and pound until the palm sugar is dissolved.

Put in the papaya and tomato and mix well.

Pour into the dish and top with peanuts!

Keith's papaya salad

Keith’s papaya salad

Panaeng Curry with Pork [phanaeng moo]

75 g pork, cut into ½ cm slices
1 tbsp red curry paste (see below)
1 cup coconut milk
3 kaffir lime leaves with the stems torn off
1 tbsp ground, roasted peanuts
25 g pea egg plant
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fist sauce
1 tsp panaeng powder (see below)
2 sliced red chili (or more or less dependent on your spice tolerance)
2 tbsp oil

Heat the oil in a wok over low heat.

Add the red curry paste and panaeng spices and stir continuously until fragrant and oil surfaces.

Add the pork and ¼ cup coconut milk and stir until pork is cooked.

Add the remaining coconut milk and pea egg plant, stirring.

Add fish sauce, palm sugar and ground peanuts and stir continuously until coconut milk becomes thick and the pork is tender (not very long).

Pour into dish and top with kaffir lime leaves, red chili and serve over rice.

Panaeng Powder

1/6 tsp cumin
1/6 tsp cardamom
1/6 tsp coriander seed
1/6 tsp clove
1/6 tsp nutmeg
1/6 tsp black pepper

Pound all ingredients together in mortar.

Red Curry Paste

5 red dried chilies, soaked
3 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
50 g galangal (thai ginger), chopped
½ tbsp chopped lemon grass
1 tsp lesser ginger
1 tsp shrimp paste
½ tsp chopped kaffir lime peel
1 tsp coriander root
1 tsp turmeric root

Soak the dried red chilies in hot water for 10 minutes.

Put the garlic, lemon grass, kaffir lime peel, galangal and coriander root in the mortar and pound.

Add lesser ginger, turmeric root and shallots and pound well.

Add red chilies and pound well.

Add shrimp paste and pound until smooth and fine.

This can be kept in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.

Mango Sticky Rice
Serves 3

1 ½ kg cooked sticky rice
6 tbsp palm sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 litre coconut milk
1 ripe sliced mango

Heat coconut milk in a pot, add palm sugar and salt and stir well.

Add the sticky rice and cook on low for 30 minutes. Stir one more time and serve on a plate with sliced mango.

Keith's mango sticky rice.

Keith’s mango sticky rice.

Chowing down on his first creation.

Chowing down on his first creation.

My spring rolls.

My spring rolls.

Getting my cooking on!

Getting my cooking on!

Keith's curry dish. What a masterpiece!

Keith’s curry dish. What a masterpiece!

Soooooo fuuuuullllll.

Soooooo fuuuuullllll.

The cutest cute there ever was.

The cutest chef there ever was.

Giant House: Home Sweet Home Chiang Mai

We are constantly looking for the most bang for our buck, like most budget travelers, so when we read about Giant Guest House, where we could get a double room with air conditioning, free bikes and free computers to use, we thought we’d better check it out.

Unfortunately the first night that we arrived, Giant was full, something that we learned is not an uncommon occurrence. Lucky for us, the next morning I went to check if they had rooms first thing in the morning and we were in luck!

Giant House ended up totally making our time in Chiang Mai. When I was filling out the form, the manager was explaining the rules he talked about sharing, about cleaning up after yourselves and each other, and about being gentle with the 100 year old bikes (rough estimate by him). He talked about how at Giant House, they live the “good hippy lifestyle”. And that’s just what it was!

And as a bonus for us, they have a communal kitchen! We cooked for ourselves for the first time in 47 days with fresh ingredients from the market down the street!

We stayed for three nights but wanted to stay for far longer. It’s true what everyone says there, it’s easy to get “stuck” at Giant House. There was even one woman who had been there for two years! But since there are so many long staying visitors, the vibe and energy of the guesthouse continues from month to month to month.

If you are ever in Chiang Mai we highly recommend staying here! But get there first thing in the morning to make sure you get a room (or try calling ahead, although I’m not sure they would actually take reservations since they are full basically every night).

Oh, and Chiang Mai as a city is pretty nice too! I hope to go back there sometime soon to spend more time!

Communal bbq night at Giant House (with me chowing down in the background)

Communal bbq night at Giant House (with me chowing down in the background).

 

Just a little casual yoga at the bbq by some of the residents

Just a little casual yoga at the bbq by some of the residents

Cheap margaritas and a good book, my kind of night:)

Cheap margaritas and a good book, my kind of night:)

The night market chaos in Chiang Mai

The night market chaos in Chiang Mai

The Elephant Conservation Centre

Aka The Day I Lost My Mind

On our way to Chiang Mai we decided to get off the train early in a city called Lampang in order to check out the Elephant Conservation Centre located right outside the city. There are many places that you can see/ride elephants in Thailand but Lonely Planet suggests that many of them are not great situations for the elephants so we didn’t want to support them. This particular centre is supposed to be good though, so we figured we’d check it out.

We arrived via night train at about 10 am and as soon as we got to the hotel I got hit with some serious stomach pains and spent a good chunk of time running back and forth between fetal position on the bed and the toilet. But since we’d only planned on one day in the city, I rallied and we made it out to the centre for the last show of the day.

I really wasn’t expecting to get all that excited about the elephants, but boy was I wrong. Basically as soon as I saw an elephant I lost it. Went crazy! I was so freaking excited! I don’t really have a good explanation for why, so I figure that I was an elephant in a past life and this was me being reunited with my long lost sisters and brothers. Why else would I turn into a five year old who was just told that I could eat all the candy in the world?

It was love at first sight...

It was love at first sight…

It started with the Mahout’s (elephant trainers) bringing the elephants out to a pond to wash them. They were all playful, spraying each other and splashing. I think it was really all for our benefit, and realistically I wasn’t complaining. I was too busy weeping for joy and giggling my brains out.

P1100857

Next they started walking over to the place where they give the show. Naturally there was someone selling bananas to feed them so obviously we bought some so that we could join the fun. They were hilarious using their trunks to grab the food and shove it into their mouths. Nom nom nom, they kept shoving it in (all the people were feeding them) until it was actually falling out. What big pigs! (I mean elephants?!)

The show was awesome, although I would have been happy just gazing at them adoringly for hours and hours. They demonstrated some skills that they used to use when they were apart of the Thailand logging industry and also did cool tricks like tossing balls into buckets (say whaaaaaa!). Then as the finale…they painted!!! And it was better than I could have painted (although admittedly that’s not saying much). So cool.

Painting...did I mention that they are geniuses?!

Painting…did I mention that they are geniuses?!

P1100897

They all came up to the fence to say goodbye, which of course suckered us into buying more bananas to give to them (“No Keith, don’t get the sugar cane, there are more bananas so I can hang out with them longer!”).

How could you not love that face?! I.Want.Him.

How could you not love that face?! I.Want.Him.

P1100908

We stopped at the little shop and bought postcards (luckily resisting buying the entire store’s worth of novelty items) and then went over to sign up for a ride. How could we not! Although I would have rather ridden bare back like the Mahout, we sat in a saddle thing. We went through the pond (where the elephant took a giant, bubbly dump) and then down a trail to see some babies. I was still going crazy and couldn’t wipe the silly grin off my face.

BFFs

BFFs

At the end of the ride we were offered the chance to buy a picture that they had taken of us on the elephant that they’d nicely put in a lovely little frame. DUH, we bought it. Again, how could we not!

We are lucky that we didn’t come home from the centre totally broke, as I was enthralled and wanted to buy everything. I think that Keith spent more time watching me then watching the elephants, I was going that crazy. Really the only appropriate adjective is giddy…I was giddy the whole time we were there!

Santa, if you’re reading this, I’d like an elephant for Christmas.

They are so playful, and cheeky!

Oh, and if that’s not enough to convince you about how awesome they are I have one word for you…TRUNKS! They can do anything with those nifty noses!

Baaaah! Elephants are the best.

[End excited rant… I mean post]

One of my fave photos of the day

One of my fave photos of the day

Keith also enjoyed the day, just not quite as much as I did... :)

Keith also enjoyed the day, just not quite as much as I did… 🙂

Keith thought the way they got up was hilarious because it's the same way one of his grandpas gets out of his lazy boy

Keith thought the way they got up was hilarious because it’s the same way one of his grandpas gets out of his lazy boy

Feeding our elephant before he took us for a ride

Feeding our elephant before he took us for a ride

My face hurt by the end of the day from smiling so darn much:)

My face hurt by the end of the day from smiling so darn much:)

The Rest of Bangkok

Other than the King’s Palace and Wat we had a few other more positive Bangkok experiences.

One we hung out with my parent’s old friend from Yellowknife who has been living and working in Bangkok for 25 years. He gave us a taste of the expat life, taking us for drinks with a business partner and then for supper at another expat’s house. Gave us tons to think about for opportunities for Keith once he starts school!

The next day Keith surprised me with a day all planned out to celebrate my convocation, which was happening back home in Calgary. First we hit a big market and split up with the challenge of finding a ‘fancy’ outfit for the evening using less than $30 each and in under one hour. It was fun racing around picking different things and haggling for better prices. In the end we both came in just over $30, but needed about double the time.

We headed back to check out of our super budget hotel and check into our celebration hotel. It was right next door, which was kind of funny, but was increda-swanky in comparison to what we’d been staying in for six weeks. It was great because it was almost brand new and still cost half the price of what it would have back home. It really tall and had a roof top pool and work out room! So exciting!

I hit the gym for a quick work out, my first time in an aircon room with weights in a really long time, and had a whole new view of the city. Afterwards we both hung out at the pool for a while, taking in the view on the other side of the building.

From there it was a change and reveal to each other in our new clothes and we were off to our reservation at the top of one of the tallest buildings in Bangkok. Unfortunately it rained so we didn’t get to see the sunset (although that’s their big selling point and Keith strategically planned our reservation time) but it was still awesome to be up there eating delicious food and reminiscing on the past six years.

We stayed the WHOLE 24 hours that we paid for, only leaving the hotel to go for supper (and a quick ice cream run after we’d gotten back) in order to maximize our time. It was nice being back in North American standard clean after our time on the road. We hit the gym and pool again, relaxed in our room, and then sadly returned to our original hotel next door. It was such a great surprise and Keith managed to keep it from me all the way until the day before (I was clueless as to when my convocation was haha). I’m so lucky!!!

All dressed up! Quite the difference from our usual sweaty selves.

All dressed up! Quite the difference from our usual sweaty selves.

The view at the restaurant.

The view at the restaurant.

P1100752The day before we left we visited Jim Thompson’s House, which is another touristy attraction and luckily was right by our hotel (no big trek in the rain this time!). It was actually pretty neat. Jim Thompson was an American expat who helped revitalize the Thai silk industry after World War II. Unfortunately he mysteriously disappeared and was never seen again (seriously), but his house was preserved. It is actually a set of traditional Thai teak houses that are all put together in a big courtyard. He collected a ton of different interesting art, and it was neat to see how he had set it all up. It was a good way to end our time in Bangkok and while there we had successfully secured our Vietnamese visas.

Next up: Northern Thailand!

Wat’s the Big Deal?

“The Most Unmissable” tourist attraction in Bangkok, according to the Thailand Rough Guide, is the King’s Palace and the Wat (temple) that is there. With the book’s encouragement we took a taxi boat and then walked a few kilometres to get there. As soon as we got there we were sent to borrow clothes as we were not dressed appropriately (we actually did try to follow some guidelines in the guidebook but apparently failed along with half the other tourists). Once we got suited up we headed into the Wat, only to be stopped so that we could EACH pay 500 Baht…500!!! Now I’ll admit, that’s only about $17, but that is by far the most we spent on any single touristy thing. Our accomodation is usually between B300-B500, our overnight bus tickets are about B600 each, so B1000 for one activity seemed like a ton.

The entrance I think.

The entrance I think.

Once we paid we headed in and I’ll admit, the temple was beautiful. It is so intricately decorated with red, gold and green. It sparkles in the sunshine and was quite large with different sections. There was a model of Ankor Wat (the real thing is in Cambodia) so we checked that out since we are skipping Cambodia altogether. But after about fifteen minutes we were pretty much done. Maybe it’s because it was hot, maybe because there were so many people, but it just wasn’t that fun walking around looking at the stuff. And it certainly wasn’t B1000 fun.

Model of Ankor Wat. Now we can say we've been there done that right?

Model of Ankor Wat. Now we can say we’ve been there done that right?

To boot, after about 25 minutes (I was thinking of just camping out for the rest of the afternoon in order to get my money’s worth!) it started POURING rain. Absolutely coming down in sheets. Everyone was hiding under doorways and other buildings, but (much to Keith’s chagrin) I was going to get the most out of my money and carried on in the rain, getting soaked through my clothes in about 45 seconds. Once wet I trooped around, which was actually a little more enjoyable since I was a little cooler and while everyone else was hiding. I was finally convinced to leave by Keith and as we were walking out I SO badly wanted to start a flash dance mob in the rain. Unfortunately Keith was being a party pooper (and we all know that the first follower is really the most important for starting a movement) so we headed back to the taxi boat.

This took about half an hour and was not without a few big events.

First, a taxi driver got out of his car holding an umbrella in one hand and whipping out his penis to take a pee with the other hand (no joke, RIGHT beside us not even trying to hide it!). We have seen many little boys doing the same throughout the trip, but never a grown man!!!

Next, we stopped for a snack and just about got hypothermia in the air conditioning. Definitely the first time that I have gone back outside to get out of the aircon!

Finally, we just enjoyed seeing all the cars “float” through the streets. Seeing so many people hiding, waiting for the rain to pass (it didn’t until midnight).  Seeing people taking off their flip flops to walk bare foot because a) they kept losing their shoes and b) all the side walks are made out of tile. TILE! Which by the way, gets soooo slippery when wet. Which is quite often, and sooo dangerous. Keith took a big fall later in the night and we are now firmly anti-tile.

After about an hour of trudging (Keith being grumpy, while I was determinedly optimistic), we made it back to the hotel to dry out.

But we learned a lesson, that I hope I can instill on others. The King’s Palace and Wat will likely leaving you watting, so you may as well just skip it and visit other smaller wats throughout the country and other countries for free. That way, you won’t burn out from the one (like we did) and could actually enjoy comparing the various differences throughout the countries. There is no question that they are very beautiful, and you don’t want to be left asking “wat’s the big deal” like us!

Wish I could have that much junk in my trunk!

Wish I could have that much junk in my trunk!

Keith pretending to be one of the statues (after I forced him to).

Keith pretending to be one of the statues (after I forced him to).

Keith soaked on the way home, not so impressed with the day.

Keith soaked on the way home, not so impressed with the day.

 

Islands of Thailand

Our next stop was two islands in the south of Thailand. We flew from Manila to Bangkok and took a night train that evening to the Ranong Province. From there we took a mini van, sonthaew, and boat and finally arrived at the beautiful Koh Phayam on the Andaman Coast.

Sunset on Koh Phayam.

Sunset on Koh Phayam.

Keith originally found the island on his relentless search for surfing, and after my cousins endorsed it, we were sold. Since it was monsoon season, we were two of about 30 tourists on the island. Many were staying for long periods, attempting to outlast the monsoon. Unfortunately that meant that many of the shops, restaurants and massage places were closed, but it also meant our beach and resort that were practically private. We stayed at Bamboo Bungalows on Ao Yai in a bungalow that is normally 1,800 baht ($60) in high season but was 500 baht ($17). It was spacious with a private attached outdoor shower and toilet, a nice porch with two comfy chairs and a hammock. It was lovely!

Relaxing on our porch with a book.

Relaxing on our porch with a book.

This week was meant as recovery for me after my race, so we took it quite easy. Leisurely breakfasts, followed by some surfing (mostly Keith), maybe a walk on the beach, some exploring on a motor bike, lunch in the village and beers on the beach watching the sunset. Of course we were loving the food after such a bland month in the Philippines and enjoyed trying all sorts of different dishes. There was only electricity from about 6pm onwards which added to the rustic/resting vibe of it all.

Walking on the beach searching for shells on Koh Phayam.

Walking on the beach searching for shells on Koh Phayam.

I got a little obsessed with shells and spent one afternoon collecting them. I’m currently carrying about 3-5lbs of them around with me. Can’t wait to have them in awesome bowls at our new house in Victoria. And I’m hoping that Victoria has a beach where I can collect more! They are so pretty!!!

Keith riding the waves in the sunset.

Keith riding the waves in the sunset.

It rained a few days forcing even more rest and reading, but leaving us lots of time to research where we would go next. Instead of going straight to Bangkok to get our Vietnamese visas, we decided to take a detour to the Gulf Coast to visit the island of Koh Tao. Koh Tao is a diving centre, but there is also good snorkeling.

It was crazy hot while we were there, and we weren’t staying in a place with aircon. The first day we explored the island on bikes, stopping here and there to take pictures. We were especially intrigued by the giant rocks that were sporadically throughout the island with nowhere to have fallen from.

Super cool rocks that we were fascinated by on Koh Tao.

Super cool rocks that we were fascinated by on Koh Tao.

We signed up for a day long snorkeling tour and were not disappointed. Within 10 seconds of jumping in the water at our first stop we saw a four foot long reef shark. Of course that got our hopes up for more sharks, which we didn’t see, but the underwater wildlife was fascinating. It was my first time doing anything like that and the diversity along with the plethora of colours blew my mind. Unfortunately my sunscreen couldn’t keep up with the ocean and I ended up with a sun burn on the backs of my legs (I had a life jacket on for most of it covering my back), which annoyed me because of how hard I try not to get burned.  I’m a big whiny baby with sun burn. Luckily that didn’t set in until we were back at the hotel, so I was able to enjoy the day. I’ve decided that life above water is MUCH more bland than below! (Cue Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid).

A private island just off Koh Tao that is basically two small islands attached by a long beach that has water on both sides. I've never seen a beach like that before. We got to spend a few hours on the island at the end of our snorkeling and I walked up to the top of one of the hills.

A private island just off Koh Tao that is basically two small islands attached by a long beach that has water on both sides. I’ve never seen a beach like that before. We got to spend a few hours on the island at the end of our snorkeling and I walked up to the top of the left the hill.

The next couple days we just relaxed trying to keep cool. We got thai massages, ate delicious food and ‘used the internet’ aka paid to sit in aircon for a few hours. I went for a run one day that ended up being more of a walk. There are super steep hills on the island and the heat pretty much slowed me to a crawl. I kept having to stop and sit down in the shade. Although eventually I did make it up to the top and it was a great view from the top (unfortunately my pictures from that are on a different memory card so I can’t post them).

On Sunday we caught an afternoon boat off the island to headed back to Bangkok on a night train. Before the train we hit our first night market, gorging on the delicious street food that the people of Champhun had to offer to put us into a food coma in order to get a great sleep on the train!

Walking on the beach in Koh Phayam. Our last beach for a while as we head north inland.

Walking on the beach in Koh Phayam. Our last beach for a while as we head north inland.