Tag Archives: river

Tha Ton village

After scoring a beautiful sunrise at Thailand’s second highest mountain (Doi Phahompok), I continued my journey towards Doi Mae Salong, which is famous for its tea plantations.

Before I got there though, I have visited a temple next to the road and then stopped at rather small town of Tha Ton (village indeed, only about 2,000 people). Even though I have passed through Tha Ton many times in the past, I never stopped there for a longer time – which turned out to be a huge mistake. Tha Ton is located on the Kok river, which flows all the way from Chiang Rai city (and further, one way into Myanmar and another into Mekong river). The village is famous mostly for the temple – Wat Tha Ton, which consists of 9 levels. Each temple level is different – dragons and Buddha images are the most common sights here. The view of the surrounding areas from the higher temple level is simply breath-taking – the weather was very clear so the visibility was perfect. One could see military outpost on the border with Myanmar easily.

On Tha Ton-Chiang Rai water way there is a scheduled boat service. I have never decided to use this mode of transport because it takes much longer than the paved road (3h one way, 5h the other). Locals have mentioned that the boat trip is indeed quite nice, yet really long. The day was finished (and started) with the visit at one of the local restaurants by the Kok riverside. Fresh fish at good prices prepared in Thai way should not be missed by any travellers who happen to make their way in this area. Even though visiting this place is unlikely for ordinary tourists, it can provide you with a unique Thai experience.

Tha Khaek Loop, Laos – Day 3

Imagine a river disappearing inside a monolithic limestone mountain  and running 7 km through pitch-black, winding cave –  and you have a glimpse of what Kong Lo cave is (sometimes spelled as Kong Lor), truly one of the natural wonders of Laos. This cave-cum-tunnel is quite impressive – up to 100 m wide in some places and almost as high. Boat is naturally a mean of transportation for visiting the cave – a motorised canoe, to be exact. The canoe is operated by two guides (the entrance ticket was 20,000 kip, hiring a boat with guides 100,000 per boat for up to 4 people, so altogether I had to pay 120,000 kip – about 10 euros – as there was nobody around to share the boat with). To pass through the cave one have to spend almost an hour in the canoe (one-way).  I had to change the shoes for flip-flops, as it is not possible to make the journey without going in the water. In the main cavern there are some lights which enable us to get a better look for stalagmites and limestone formations. It pays to bring your own torch – I had my faithful head light with me. It is really a pity that the only light in the cave is only in the main cavern – if there were lights along the entire tunnel, it would definitely make it more attractive and the boat trip would be much more interesting. The visiting to the cave includes going all the way to the other side and a short walk to the local village – there we had a short break for a sip of water – and of course, going back. It all takes about 3 hours. The village itself looked just like any other village – the guide took me to his friend’s house, where they had a little chat about this and that – of course in local language – we had some boiled water and went back. On the photos you can see how locals live in the village.

On the way back to Tha Khaek I have made a stop at the sala viewpoint near Km 36. One should never miss that spot, as the scenery is indeed dramatic (the panoramic photo is just a fraction of how it really feels). I have arrived in Tha Khaek early evening, skipping some places that I was about to see the next day.

From Kong Lo cave (A) to Tha Khaek (B)