GLOBE TREKKER : NORTHERN THAILAND AND LAOS

(49 Menit)

 

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Located in the heart of South East Asia, Thailand's bustling cities and heavenly beaches continue to attract more and more visitors every year. This progressive, fiercely independent, country provides a stark contrast to neighboring Laos. Also Buddhist, it has been under communist rule for the last 30 years and continues to offer a unique glimpse of an old South East Asia.

Traveler Ian Wright begins his journey in the chaos of Thailand's capital Bangkok. Traveling north through Surin he makes his way to Chiang Mai from where here embarks on a three day trek. He then takes a boat along the Mekhong River to Lauang Prabang, the capital of Laos. He ends his journey celebrating the full moon festival in Vientiane.

 

†††† Denise

Great !

 

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Ian Wrightís journey begins in the densely populated capital, Bangkok. He finds cheap accommodation on Khao San Road and visits one of the many fashion shops in the vicinity.

Ian discovers the popular art of Thai Boxing, and endeavours to try out his new found skills. Finding out that most boys begin learning this art from the age of eleven, he wisely leaves it to the professionals, and watches one of the dozen fights held each week.

image: Ian Wright
Ian wright making new friends

 

Early in the morning, Ian heads to Damnoen Saduak floating market to sample some of the local cuisine and to haggle with the Thai women in their wooden canoes, selling their fruit and vegetables. Later that day he heads to the biggest and oldest temple in Bangkok, where Ian views the stunning 150 feet long reclining Buddha. He also visits Patpong, the infamous red light district in Bangkok, and even though it only covers two streets it makes a disturbing impact.

 

From Bangkok, Ian heads east to Surin, making a brief stop at the ancient Khmer ruins. Thousands of people flock to Surin annually to participate in the elephant round-up, which celebrates the strength of the elephant. This amazing event includes a tug of war with one elephant pitted against one hundred strong menÖand Ian. Even with Ianís help, the men donít stand a chance against the elephantís superior might.

 



Continuing North, Ian takes a train to Chiang Mai, stopping en route at Lopburi,for the annual monkey festival. Arriving in Chiang Mai, which lies in the mountains of Northern Thailand, Ian embarks on a three day trek towards the Burmese border, where he meets more tourists than hill tribes, stays afloat on a raft in the rapids, rides an elephant through the jungle and tries to avoid the lethal sting of the giant centipede. image;Ian visit the landmine stricken Phonsavan

Ian heads north east to Chiang Khong on the Mekhong river, which borders Laos. He takes the boat to Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of Laos and experiences village life and cuisine at the small village of Pakbeng.

In Luang Prabang, Ian, now fed up with eating rice, indulges himself with French bread and croissants and discovers more about the French influence in Laos, which was colonised a hundred years ago. Hiring a bicycle, Ian stops off to watch the villagers produce paper, for which Laos is famous, and cools off in the Taat Sae Falls.

From Luang Prabang, Ian travels south east to Phonsavan in Central Laos and meets the Mines Advisory Group. This area was devastated by two million tons of bombs, dropped by American war planes during the Vietnam war. Ian sees the local people being educated on the dangers of shrapnel and bombs and learns that many houses have been constructed from war junk.

Ianís final flight is to Vientiane, the capital of Laos located on the border with Thailand. Here Ian joins up with Ammata, an ex London club-goer who returned to Laos to become a monk. Ian enjoys a steam and herbal massage at Wat Sok Pa Luang temple and then celebrates with the Full Moon Festival at the end of his incredible journey.