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round-the-world in 2005

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Dec 28 - Dec 31, 2005

This is another short visit to Thailand as we will be coming back again during this trip. Also read about our first and third time in Thailand.

Roasted locusts

28 Dec 2005 Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

Eating Insects:

We have changed our plans a little and are heading back into Thailand before re-entering Laos in the north. It seems like a weird path but the countries are a funny shape and it is easier for us to do it this way and visit the places we want to. Another day of multiple transport methods. We started with a wooden longboat to our bus (which is really a truck with seats on the back) which took us to the Thai border after a bus change. Here we walked across, then it took two more buses to Ubon Ratchathani. It is great to be back in Thailand - the food is yummy. Ubon is a midsize city with not much to do - we are leaving again tomorrow. However, we found an interesting night market near our hotel. We couldn’t find the right cheap T-shirt, but it was great seeing the food on offer - fried grasshoppers, grubs, scorpions, chicks - not so yummy.

Speeding Rickshaw

29 Dec 2005 That Phanom, Thailand

More of the MeKong:

We took a five hour bus trip further north along the Mekong to That Phanom. We seem to be following this major river of the region. We walked from the bus stop, looking for the recommended hotel from LP. We continued on despite being told it was closed. We did not find it, and instead stumbled across a resort on the riverbank - it is so cheap and easy to spoil ourselves here. After relaxing, there was not much time left in the day, except to find a place to eat. There were a myriad of bars and eating places along the river, and most of them empty, so we randomly chose one. There was no English on the menu, so we indicated that whatever will do, and pointed at a picture of a fish on their menu. A feast followed - fish sour soup, whole salted fish, vegetables and rice.

Buddist Temple in Thailand

30 Dec 2005 Nong Khai, Thailand

Standing room only:

First thing in the morning we visited the famous temple of That Phanom before checking out and getting the next bus further north towards the NE border with Lao. Holiday season meant that the buses were all jam packed with standing room only. Fortunately after an hour or so, a few locals disembarked so there was a seat available! Unfortunately though, on the connecting bus from Udon Thani, it was sardine standing only, but just for one hour! We found a lovely place to stay, luxury for us, in this quiet but interesting border town.

Budda sculpture in Nong Khai, Thailand

31 Dec 2005 Nong Khai, Thailand

Happy 2549!

We caught up on some Australian news at our luxury hotel, as it had the ABC on cable TV. We rented bicycles to take us the 6km to ‘Statue Park’ - an eerie place full of huge (up to 20 m high) concrete statues of Buddha and other Hindu gods. After a very nice Vietnamese lunch, Clare had a Thai massage. One of the nearby guesthouses organised a New Years Eve party with live entertainment and a buffet BBQ meal. We got ready for our big party, putting on our best clothes (not much to choose from!). We sat drinking beer, sharing traveling stories with other travelers, while looking across the Mekong River at Laos. It was quite sedate, but we still managed to stay up until 4am. In Thailand they count the years starting from Buddha’s enlightenment, so they actually celebrate the year 2549 - way ahead of us.


next we return to explore the northern section of Laos.

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