Traveling through Thailand 2 times, 1st to cross to Myanmar, 2nd to Laos
The first time will be moving North from Malaysia and entering Myanmar from the South. The second time will be traveling through Thailand to cross to Cambodia
Walk-abouts in traveled through Cities
After crossing the border with Malaysia, I arrived in Hat Yai. I stayed there a couple of days to catchup with my website and looked at what was interesting. I had planned to move straight to Bangkok as the main tourist destination cities were not of interest. So I moved on to Chumphon which was halfway to Bangkok and one train ride away. However in Chumphon I changed my mind, (i had already booked a hotel in Bangkok) and decided to go to Ranong and cross to Myanmar at its most Southern border crossing.
VIRTUAL TOUR - Hat Yai I was not planning to stay but was tired and decided to take a one day rest. Some online research I found that Hat Yai had the 3rd largest reclining Buddha statue. Walking the 3 miles from the hotel I came across some other high rise structures and pagoda's For each 360 degree picture or tour ... (Double-click for full-screen. Click and drag mouse/finger to navigate the 360)
ChumphonTo be honest there is not much going on in Chumphon. It is a stop-over town for many travelers going North or South. I did a day-time walkabout looking for the bus terminal to buy a ticket to go to Ranong. Actually there was no bus terminal. There was an bus agency that ran a service minivan service between Chumphon and Ranong and this was opposite the Chumphon Gardens Hotel. During this stay to pass the time I captured 2 videos capturing the essence of the place. A rooster waking me up in the morning and a traffic policeman directing rush-hour traffic.
Ranong The local bus ride to Ranong was slightly more interesting as it was clear that the bus agency clearly did not have many foreigners taking this route. When I arrived at the Ranong Bus Terminus, the bus driver who did not speak English and just pointed to a shop in the corner and said "Kiwi Orchid". What I found out later is that there is a nice lady who owns this - Jai, who had bought it from some New Zealanders and kept the name. A restaurant, guest house and travel agency who arranged an escorted border crossing to Kawthaung the next day. The video of which you can also see on the Video page. .
VIRTUAL TOUR - Chaing MaiI really liked the first impression I had of Chaing Mai and decided to stay a few more days. The options for accommodation were great relative to the other countries so far. I think the time of year I visited was perfect (low / rainy season) except for a couple of showers a day, the weather was great, accommodation was available and affordable, and you can really experience the city For each 360 degree picture or tour ... (Double-click for full-screen. Click and drag mouse/finger to navigate the 360)
VIRTUAL TOUR - Chaing KhongThere was no attraction to head to Bangkok and cross the border to Cambodia from there. So decided to head North to Chang Rai, and cross border into Laos and head my way South to Cambodia via Laos. I arrived at Chang Rai not sure if I should stay or move on. Still early in the day I decided to take the next bus out. It so happened it was a local "red bus" to Chaing Khong. The other option and more historical and tourist worthy was Chaing Saen. Spent a few days in Chaing Khong gearing up the courage to cross the border to Laos.For each 360 degree picture or tour ... (Double-click for full-screen. Click and drag mouse/finger to navigate the 360)
Less than $50USD/day
For all the above cities finding accommodation on the main hotel booking sites was not a problem. The key requirement for the whole trip being 1) Free and good WIFI 2) and a decent ensuite bathroom. Ranong was the challenge as there was no internet at the hotel. Again all my reviews are on the relevant booking site and on Google map reviews.
The real standout so far out of the Hotels under $50USD a night has to be the Euro Boutique Hotel in Chumphon. For the seasonal rates, their modern facilities (I took a picture of the elevator for future online accommodation seekers), and good variety breakfast, and view from their dining floor, I have given them a rare 4 stars. It is a pity that there is not much to do in Chumphon, but highly recommend it for value for money
Getting across the Border - 26 May 2016
Getting across the border from Ranong, Thailand 'to Kawthaung, Myanmar was a unique experience. I expected that this would be by boat but I did not expect a Thai longtail boat. Not much to be said other than what is captured on the "info-video" of this journey above from Ranong. The 2nd crossing was from Myanmar to Thailand at the Myawaddy/Mae Sot border. With Maxime, french independent traveler on 5Euro a day, whom I met on the bus, we just made it across before it closed for the day.
For each 360 degree picture or tour ... (Double-click for full-screen. Click and drag mouse/finger to navigate the 360)
My favourite memory song for Thailand ...