The Selfcleaning World

stories & images from a world on the edge..

Tag: explore

Gulf of Thailand

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As our time in Asia came winding down we planned for the last few days to be spent relaxing on the beach and swimming in the ocean.  With not quite enough time to make it to the islands of southern Thailand, we opted for the beach resort town of Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand, about a 3.5 hour train ride from Bangkok.  Hua Hin has a history serving as the ocean retreat for the Thai royal family, with vast tracts of sand dotted with high end resorts, one of which we treated ourselves to for a couple nights (The Anantara) after many nights of less glamorous accommodation.  Wading up to the pool bar, ordering blender drinks and reflecting over many experiences, it was a great way to close out our epic Southeast Asia journey.

Anantara pool

 

Elephant Riders

Temple elephant

Elephant domestication has a long history in southeast asia.  We tried out elephant transport on a trek in northern Thailand.  Not the fastest or most comfortable way to get around, but it was cool to get up close to the giant beasts.  I felt bad for our mount though, with the two of us on a seat and our guide sitting on her head.  Better than a poaching I suppose.  Momma elephant had her baby walking beside her the whole time.

Elephnat trek Thailand

Laos

A boat down the Mekong brought us to the Pak Ou caves, a shrine filled with hundreds of Buddha figures. Back in the night food market of Luang Prabang, you can fill a platter from dozens of delectable noodle and vegetable selections for about a buck fifty.

Luang Prabang

WP_20130507_030.jpgWP_20130507_071.jpgLuang Prabang in Laos is a peaceful, picturesque town on the Mekong River. The alluring wats (temples) with distinct sloping roofs are home to orders of orange-robed monks. Strolling markets, listening to monks chant and drum, delicious food – a perfect place to mellow out.

Halong Bay

Despite the hordes of tourists and the boats that shuttle them crowding the polluted waters of the bay, the limestone karst scenery makes this a visually striking corner of the planet.

Inner sanctum

My friend brought me to his wife’s village, Tinh Bien, in remote southwestern Vietnam, in An Giang province near the Cambodian border. There is a large Khmer population there. A man let us into a Khmer Bhuddist temple that featured dazzlingly colourful religious murals on every square inch of wall and ceiling.

More Angkor

More Angkor… because, well, it’s that fucking cool. The Baphuon is a colossal pyramid structure on top of which the Khmer God-kings looked down upon their minions… The Bayon is populated by hundreds of towering stone faces that for ages have stared serenely at temple visitors from every angle.

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Angkor

At the heart of the Khmer empire lies an astounding accretion of monolithic temples. The scale of Angkor is mind-binding… It is difficult to imagine how it was accomplished. As grand as the Egyptian pyramids yet more complex and ornate, the structures are coated in bas reliefs of man, gods and entities in between.

You can walk around exploring for days. Pictured here is the Banteay Kdei temple ruins.