I just arrived in Nong Khai after 2 days in Chiang Khan. Interesting drive - I hired a driver and a TA friend also came along for the ride and so I got to see many interesting places along the route - stopped at Ban Chok (?), Sangkom, and a very revered Wat about an hour from Nong Khai... and a few other places -one was a place where there are many waterfalls in the rainy season and pools to swim in, where many many Thais go with their families to swim and picnic - today it was very dry and only the rocks showing - very near MeKong River..
I just checked into Mutmee Guesthouse and have a very nice room for 800b a night (2 nights). Right on the riverside - it's about 3:45 pm on Saturday, so I'm going to park my backpack in my room, go to a lovely quiet area on the guesthouse grounds, order a big Singha - ice cold in case anyone cares, and sit there and relax... !
At least this guesthouse is well organized and great staff that explained everything to me when I arrived, and speak English which will be helpful to me. I was getting a little tired of playing Charades the past 2 days - it wasn't getting me anywhere in Chiang Khan! I DID eat some street food during my time there and discreetly did away with a couple of things that I didn't like, and very much enjoyed a lot of other things, especially the breaded banana with a special sweet sauce - delicious! And finally got my hands on some fruit - pineapple, mango, bananas... I was unable to find fruit when I was in Loei - again, couldn't find anyone who spoke English on the street, and at the hotel I was at - Muanmanee... the two staff people there really didn't know enough English to help me... so my diet was a little lop-sided for a few days, and I actually felt a bit ill the other day, but once I got some fruit into me, I was fine.
I'm looking forward to seeing a really good sunset tonight in Nong Khai! I have heard that the sunsets here are wonderful! In Chiang Khan, I guess my G.H. was at a particular curve in the river where I could not see the sunset or sunrise (it's usually pretty misty in the mornings....)
Tomorrow I plan to take a tuktuk to the Sculpture Park, and there is a morning wet market that will be interesting, and I can buy some more fruit there. Tonight, there is the Saturday Night market and the promenade along the Mekong where I can go for a stroll and enjoy speaking some English to the English, and some very poor Thai words to the very nice Thai people! My repetoire is now up to about 5 words! lol...
My room is very nice - lovely furniture and many Thai accents - ground level which helps my knees. I am still doing fine and loving my trip. Can't believe Laos is so close! Have taken many pictures while in Chiang Khan, especially early in the morning when the fishermen are going out in their long boats - interestingly, I saw one fellow sitting right at the front of a very long boat, and he was paddling over to some of the islands - must be some nice juicy catfish in those currents and eddies...
I almost feel like I am in a dream that continues to flow from one direction to another very quietly... It has helped to have an overall structure of the places I wanted to visit, and then I can just relax into each place when I get there and do or see whatever presents itself. Effortless! Great way to travel and I love getting online (when I can find a computer!) and hearing from my TA friends. I'm in a book store at the moment - 20b an hour to use the computer. Won't be able to use it tomorrow as it is Sunday ... so thought I'd post now (before the Beer.... as I may be slightly incoherent after that!).
On Monday morning, I am leaving for Nakhon Phanom and will take the river route, that doesn't apparently always go by the river, but the scenery is nicer than doing the straight forward route by highway straight south from Nong Khai and then over to Nakhon Sakon and then Nakhon Phanom... Driving time will be about 5 hours with some stops along the way.
I will post from there on Monday - probably won't get there until mid afternoon. The scenery from Chiang Khan to Nong Khai was very nice and the roads were pretty good - a little construction here and there, and a bit of crop burning, but hasn't affected me to any degree. Hot and dry; it was interesting to see how the Mekong River changed its appearance as I got closer to Nong Khai.
Well, the thought of that ice-cold beer is calling to me like a siren, so I will say Adieu for now... by the way, the driver stopped at the Buoy Guesthouse, I think it is about 70 k's from Nong Khai and I walked the grounds and looked at the facilities. It is truly lovely - many flowers, great location right on the Mekong - a neat long wooden bridge to reach the thatched cottages which are very basic but incredibly peaceful vibe... I think they are about 450b per night. In the main house, there are a few lovely rooms with netting and lovely decor at 250 b per night - with hammocks to lie in and just chill out. If I was staying in this area longer, I would stay there for sure! Just wanted to let you know that anyone interested in a peaceful place with no TV and basic but lovely surroundings and really nice people that run it (Thai), check it out.
I know Mutmee G.H. has been around for a long time and it will suit me fine, but in case someone comes this way and it is booked up, remember Buoy G.H. It's very nice. I have not stayed there so these are just my thoughts and feelings about the place. After having a look, I loved it and wished I had longer in this area so I could stay there for a night or two.
Well, time to wet my whistle (Canadian speak for chug the beer!). Hope you all are thirsty after reading this! lol..... I'll do a follow-up on Nong Khai probably on Monday after I've spent some sober time here!