Nong Khiaw is a stunning small town nestled between towering karst mountains on the banks of the Nam Ou. Sitting on our riverside deck for hours a day, we watched leaves flutter down in the breeze, long painted boats motor past the village, and time float by.
If you ever find yourself in Nong Khiaw, we highly recommend the riverside rooms at Sunset Guest House. The views are unbeatable!
by Stephanie Choate
The town of Luang Nam Tha in northern Laos is perched along the fringes of Nam Ha National Protected Area—2,224 square kilometers of rolling jungle-clad mountains. Many companies offer guided treks through the jungle, and though we had avoided the more popular trekking scene in Thailand, we wanted to get further into this amazingly beautiful countryside.
Surrounded by an old moat and the crumbling remains of a city wall, Chiang Mai is the cultural capital of northern Thailand. Narrow cobble-stoned soi lead to small cafes and glittering wats, the sun gleaming off their mirror-tiled walls.
An overnight sleeper train journey from Bangkok—and, we realized shortly upon boarding the train, there is no other way to travel—Chiang Mai is cooler, cleaner and less hectic than the capital city. We spent five enjoyable days there, running out the remainder of our visa.
First and foremost, our thoughts are with everyone in Japan right now affected by the earthquake. Having grown to love the place in our five weeks there, it is especially heartbreaking to see the devastation. It is an amazing country that you should definitely visit if you ever get the chance.
This is the first video in a series highlighting our fifteen-months across the Pacific. It’s 14 minutes long so get comfortable, grab a beer and watch it fullscreen if your bandwidth allows! Turning off HD will make for a faster load. Enjoy!
The speed of air travel can lead to some intense contrasts. Midway through February, orderly, wintry Kyoto was replaced with the chaos, noise and oppressive heat of Bangkok. The waves of taxi drivers and touts pressing their services were a bit bewildering after a month with the reserved, unfailingly polite Japanese. From the perfection of thousand year old gardens to soot-stained streets lined with garbage and stray dogs, this was a textbook case of culture shock.