Month: December 2016

Happy Christmas and best wishes for New Year.


Unfortunately, me trying desperately to get organised for Christmas has meant no recent update to

Sorry about that.

Off now to the Rohan shop to take advantage of the sale, then I’ll be planning loads of interesting adventures for next year.

I’m back in work for 3 days, then off to the Lake District for 4 days to do some more mountains and get my pub walks book signed 🙂

Most of you know that 2009 was the darkest time I can remember.

Each year since then I’ve tried to make gradual and sensible life improvements. This year has surpassed all of my plans and expectations.

Most of you reading this have helped to make it possible, so thanks so much for that and see/hear from, you in the New Year for more adventures.

Finally, if you aren’t doing much for New Year, make a point of watching the Accountant. We went to see it last night, its fantastic.

Happy New Year, the search for adventure continues…

Bangkok to start SEA trip and catch up with Frank


In 2005 I got married in Thailand (to a girl from the Wirral before anyone asks 🙂

I had 3 fantastic weeks there and even visited Vietnam and Cambodia.

On the trip my oldest friend Frank came with me. On the last day of the trip, I told him we were going to get a taxi to the airport the next day and he was welcome to share it with us.

He said it was OK, and that he was going to hang around in Bangkok. I smiled and agreed. I remember saying why not its such a beautiful place, why not have another week or two here.

No said Frank, I’m actually going to stay here for good. And there with a bag on his shoulder smaller than the one I carry to work his only possessions, he set out to make a life for himself there.

I always promised to go out and see him (although it was never as frequent as I’d have liked and I really missed an adventure companion who was up for anything here in the UK).

Well, Myanmar (Burma) recently opened to the world after years of being closed to tourists due to its Dictatorship. We were flying into Bangkok to start the trip so I was determined to go there and catch up with him.


I left for the airport straight from work. A stopover in Abu Dhabi and after 25hrs of travelling, were finally in Bangkok.

Were here for 2 nights and we’ve got a lovely hotel Nikki has stayed in before, on the bank of the river.


We decided to get out and stretch our legs.

My first exposure to Thailand, was a noodle bar in Manchester called Tampopo (which I believe is still there, 20 years later).

I remember reading on a menu, something called Pad Thai, described as a popular Bangkok street dish. I’ve been to Bangkok 6 times, eaten Pad Thai hundreds of times, but never actualy bought it from a street vendor.

So here we are, 20 years later buying Pad Thai, which was delicious.


We were going to meet Frank at his wife Na’s shop.

Won’t bore you all with the details, but I didn’t research it properly and instead of getting a taxi, decided to walk.

The map above showed our route across Bangkok on a Sunday.


Along the way, we found this building where the road runner gets all of his revenge ordnance from.


Ended up with Nikki and I finding a place in a shopping centre and messaging Frank on Facebook explaining that I couldn’t find where he was.

Turned out, he was just upstairs in the building and popped down to join us for a drink.

The people of Thailand were still in mourning over the death of the king and like many, Frank was wearing a black shirt out of respect.


We popped upstairs to see Na at her shop.

I had a really good shot lined up then an enormous African woman came over to buy something from the shop. Money is money, so I got out of the way and left them to conduct their business.

Also, Na’s lovely friend Lek wasn’t around either. For this reason I’ve used a picture from a previous trip.


From here, Frank took us out for a walk around Bangkok.

I’ve been here many times and I was looking forward to seeing what sort of “outdoor/adventure” walk we were going to have.

I shouldn’t have wondered, Frank took us to this spot where the UDD red shirts had an uprising against the military (I remember seeing it on TV and it was surreal to actually be standing there).


We head for a really nice place called Lumpini Park.

It’s name after Lumbini the birthplace of Buddha.

There were some awful swan shaped boats in the lake.


We carried on walking past the lake and through the length of the park.


We continued walking. After about 50 minutes, he showed us this cycle path he’d found.


It was raised above the houses and shops bellow.

It was really quiet and relaxing here and we were able to just walk along and catch up on old times.


At the end of the path, we cross this wobbly bridge and this “jungle with skyscrapers in the background” scene.


We find ourselves in a sports bar.

But instead of tv’s with sport on, it had dozens of pool tables. The regulars their seemed surprised that 3 people had just come in for a drink, but they were very pleasant and gave up their seats at the bar for us.

Wandering back into the “normal” Bangkok, we visit cheap Charlie’s, which is due to be demolished.


By now, its getting Dark.

Na has finished work and joins us all for a for a delicious meal at Zaks restaurant.

Two hours of fun and interesting conversation then sadly, it has to come to an end. We say goodbye to Frank and Na, Na negotiates the price of a taxi and we head for home.


In the morning, we have breakfast at the hotel, then head for the airport for a 4 day trip to Luang Prabang in Laos.


Having completed our trip to Luang Prabang and Mayanmar, we’re back in Bangkok.

We arrive around 10am in the morning and were due to fly out at 8pm in the evening.

Nikki has cleverly booked us in at an airport hotel. We relax by the pool have a few drinks and something to eat.

Nikki decides to have a swim. A very relaxing way to prepare for the end of a holiday.


I leave the pool and go for a wander around.

I find a really smart bike shop, that sells coffee.

I have 2 cups of coffee, while I watch Thai Boxing on the TV.

Another 90m minutes by the pool, then 30 min lie down, shower and complimentary taxi to the airport 3 miles away (and all for £15).


Back home in the UK, I spend the morning on my own, have a nap then head out.

I head for the lock keeper where I take of my whistle and have a pint of beer.

My transition to normal life is complete.


Nikki texts me and asks what I want to do that evening (I’m back at work in the morning).

There’s really only one thing I can think off…

After 2 weeks of oriental food, its off to Harkers for Sunday lunch, with gravy and Yorkshire puddings.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me, so I’ve found a picture of this attractive woman eating the same meal that I ate (well not the “same” meal, but you know what I mean).

Another amazing trip complete.

Luang Prabang, adventure playground (1/2).


After flying into Bangkok (the main hub in the area) and catching up with Frank, we had a couple of days free before out organised tour to Myanmar (Burma).

The airport was quite small, and you needed to get a visa on arrival.


We got a truck from the airport (the main form of transport) and travelled to our hotel.

It was next to a road, and on the other side of the road they had a sort of cafe/bar where we had breakfast.

A beautiful teak building, the people there were really friendly and I was starting to get really excited about the trip.


We’re here for 3 nights. Were interested in doing full day activities for the 2 days in the middle, but of the afternoon we decide to wander around the town and get a feel for the place.

As we wonder out, we see this half completed building that gives an idea of how traditional buildings are constructed using modern methods.


Although the place is great to spend time in, the actual town itself only has 3 “must see” sights according to the lonely planet.

Wat Xieng Thong – the temple of the Golden city is a Buddhist monastery.


“mount” Phosi has commanding views of the whole town (although to be honest at 100metres above sea level, its more hill than mountain).

There is a woman of the bottom of the steps, who sells birds in cages. The idea is that you can climb up to the temple and set the bird free.

But like Nikki said. The old lady only trapped that bird because she new someone would buy it. If you really want to help the birds, keep your money in your pocket.


At the top of the main run of the stairs, a large tree, then you pay an entrance fee.

From here, the stairs go off to the right.


Wat Chom Si is the Buddhist temple at the top of the hill.


Around the back are some spectacular views of the peninsula.


Back down the stairs and right across the road is the Royal Palace.

A collection of regal buildings and a museum.


A wandered around the gardens which were kept in very good order.


The main building has a museum with fine art, a garage with Royal cars and stuff like that.

We wandered back onto the main road, had a few drinks and a delicious Pizza, cooked on a wood burning stove.

There were loads of shops open in the evening, advertising day trips. We decide that the following day we’d do the classic boat trip to caves and drive to waterfall.

The following day, we’d to a jungle trek to 2 villages and the Tad Sae.


In the morning, were up first thing and we have breakfast by the river.

Property is quite expensive in Luang Prabang, so many of the people who work there, actually live on the the side of the river, and sail over first thing in the morning and last thing at night.


Were picked up by van, just outside our hotel, then driven around the blog and dropped off at the boat jetty (which interestingly is only 60 metres from the place we were picked up).

The “captain” of our boat pilots it from the front, it has a roof in case of rain and had been modified with really comfortable car seats.

We share the boat with a French couple who had 2 well behaved young children with them.


A relaxing 2 hour journey up the Mekong. At one point it looked like our boat had engine problems, but our captain sorted this out pretty quick.


And we arrive at Pak Ou caves. There are actually 2 caves here, and we visit the lower one first.


There were all sorts of carved stone figures of Buddha here, but in the end, a caves a cave and there’s not much I can say about that.


I found a nice spot to take a picture of Nikki.


Further along, a stairway leads upto the other cave.


The other cave was a bit more “tomb raider and you could rent torches to explore it.


Back to the jetty and we set off.


But we dont go straight back, we stop off at the whisky village.

They had whisky and dead scorpions in bottles. We decided not to buy anything.


Back to Luang Prabang, and we’ve got 90 minutes to have lunch in the alternative brew bar, a really nice coffee shop before jumping in a truck and heading to our next destination Kuang Si waterfall.


It’s about 40 minutes in a minibus, and once you get there, well, its a waterfall.

The most interesting thing I found was to wander around the top of the waterfall and explore.


You can’t actually swim around there, but a pool nearby is a better option.

I found somewhere in the shade and had a can of beer.


Our group had been allotted 2 hours for the trip. To be honest I was bored after 40 mins, so we wandered down the hill to the town and found a nice bar there to relax in.

Along the way, we passed this zoo where local bears live (but they’d hidden inside so we didn’t see them).

Luang Prabang, adventure playground (2/2).


Luang Prabang in the evening was a lovely place to hang out, drink some nice red wine and eat Asian or Western food.


A ubiquitous night market sold everything under the sun.

Therese always some sort of fashionable trinket, and this years was a bamboo thing that you put your mobile in.

When you played music, the bamboo enhanced the sound.


The following day were picked up and head off for our jungle trek.

Several different groups were in the truck, and the first group were dropped off to do mountain biking.


When we arrived at our destination, another couple were going canoeing.


They put to water in this river.

The start of our jungle trek was on the opposite bank.


We were transferred across by traditional canoe.



Our walk begins through rugged tracks leading towards the first village on our trek.


The villagers main source of income is are rubber trees, and here you can see a tree being “piped” and some bags with rubber ready to be processed.


We leave the road and head through forests.

Our guide Lan was a really interesting guy who had worked as an adventure guide for several years.


From here we head into the jungle.

Lan (like many of the people we met on the trip) was very comfortable in the jungle

He demonstrated this technique of fashioning a large leaf and “sewing” it together to make it into a hat.

I was impressed.


The route takes us higher into the mountains and we are furnished with walking poles.

I wondered what kind of cutting tool our guide would have. A Parang, a Panga, perhaps a Kukri.

Interestingly, none of this. He had a kitchen cleaver. To my surprise it performed perfectly.

He explained he used it as he could use it for preparing chickens at home, being stainless steel it was easier to clean and held and edge for longer.


We reach the top of the col, and the view into the valley is spectacular.


At the bottom of the hill, were on the outskirts of another village.

They have constructed this simple shelter, so that travellers and people visiting relatives have somewhere to stay.


Much less dense, we wander through a wood towards the village.


The village has a school, a rice store and loads of other cool things.

It was quite simple though, and most of the people we were introduced too, seemed reasonably happy though they didn’t have much in the way of possessions.


In the middle of the picture is an artillery shell.

It had been repurposed as an anvil and was used making things and processing bamboo.

As it was a nice day, we visited the village shop.

The owner and a few friends were inside sitting around a fire (in baking heat) and drinking whisky.

It was too nice a day to miss an opportunity, so I bought a couple of bottles of beer and we sat outside in the shade for an hour and chatted.

It was one of the most relaxing moments in the whole trip. I opened the bottles with my Swiss army knife, Lan seemed as impressed with that, as I was with the cleaver.


Leaving the village, we wander through a clearing and back along the road.


We leave the road and follow a trail by the river.


And shortly afterwards, we arrive at the Tad Sae waterfall.


Around the front of the waterfall, there are loads of people relaxing and sunbathing.

Not like use hardened trekkers.


Tragically, we’ve now left the beautifully jungle and arrived at a tourist trap, with all the razzmatazz that entails…

But, we’ve also got lunch included with our trip and I have delicious Pad Thai with Chicken.


I rest my weary feet in the cool water.

Whilst doing so, I admire my Rohan Jungle cargoes.

I bought them some years ago, and I always think its a wast to go to a jungle and not wear them for their intended purpose.


A boat takes us back across the river where the trick waits to take us back to our hotel.

Another lovely evening, red wine, and a nice peace of steak for dinner.


In the morning, after breakfast by the Mekong Delta, we load up another truck with our bags and head for the airport.

My first visit to Laos complete, I thought the place was fantastic and I’ll be going back.