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About H508

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  1. Yeah, that day seemed tight which is why I thought about either cutting out Phu Ruea entirely, or using up another day in that area - see Phu Ruea, get a hotel in Loei city, then do huai krathing and erawan the next day before driving back and spending the night in Chiang Khan. Erawan is just out of the way from everything but I went to school for mining engineering, so I like rocks and caves :) I'm just going by google map directions which lists 1 hr 6 min... https://imgur.com/a/ssEIU I wonder if I shouldn't be using erawan cave (loei) and instead there is a Erawan cave in Nong Bua Lam Phu that is further south and 1 hr 12 min (both sites show the same pictures)
  2. Amphur Muang Loei - I'll be driving through there and will be sleeping overnight just up the road so I'll check out those places to eat. Thanks!
  3. So, getting much closer to finalizing the February Isaan trip plans. I'm a stickler for having a rough itinerary and booking hotels before I go so this is to help me plan the big visits/days needed/driving distances. After I lock down what days I'll be where, then it's booking hotel time and I'm pretty much done with the planning as I can find short excursions/bars/whatever is close by to fill out any down-time. Route I'm taking in my trusty Avis rental... (underpowered Toyota Vios): https://imgur.com/a/yVekh Day 1: Arrive Khon Kaen Feb 7, 6pm; Hotel - ? Day 2-3 (Feb 8-10) Things to do: 1a. Khon Kaen City – Wat Nong Wang, Ton Tann & Fairy night market, Zoo 1b. Wat Pa Thamma Utthayan (temple, walkway; feed you free breakfast or lunch) (20 minute drive from Khon Kaen) 1c. Ubolratana Dam (sit on boat to eat/drink, Wat Phra Bat Phu Pan Kham (can take car up)) (1 hour drive from Khon Kaen) Day 4 (Feb 10-11): Hotel - ? (stay close to Phu Kradueng for early start up hill) 2. Suan Hin Pha Ngam (walk through rocks; definitely get a guide) & Phu Pa Poh (2 hr 30 min from Khon Kaen) Day 5 (Feb 11-12): Hotel – Rent cabin on top of Phu Kradueng 3. Phu Kradueng (walk up morning, see some stuff, spend the night, look at sunrise then back down hill) Day 6 (Feb 12-13): Hotel - ? somewhere between Wat and Phu Thap Buek 4a. Wat Phathat Phasomkaew (sometimes spelled Wat Pha Sorn Kaew) (2 hr 40 min from Phu Kradueng) (relax day after Phu Kradueng) Day 7 (Feb 13-14): Hotel - ? 4b. Phu Thap Buek (viewpoint to see clouds in morning) (53 min from Wat) 5a. Phu Ruea?? (maybe, not sure it's worth it, but on the way to Huai Krathing Lake) (2 hr 10 min from Phu Thap Buek) 5b. Huai Krathing Reservoir (raft on lake to eat/drink) (1 hr from Phu Ruea/2 hr 30 from Phu Thap Buek) 5c. Erawan Cave (1 hour from Huai Krathing Reservoir) Day 8-9 (Feb 14-16): Hotel - Chiangkhan River Green Hill (some dumb, overpriced Tent camp the lady wants to do) 6. Chiang Khan - Kaeng Khut Khu (1 hr 30 min from Erawan) Day 10 (Feb 16-17): Hotel - 7a. Sangkhom - Wat Pa Tak Suea (glass floor on lookout point) (2hr drive with river view from Chiang Khan) Day 11 (Feb 17-18): Hotel - 7b. Wat Pa Phu Kon (blue roof wat and a 2nd wat nearby) (50 min drive from Sangkhom) 7c. Phu Phra Bat (rocks and stuff) (1 hr 10 min from Wat) 8. Nong Khai City - Aquarium (1 hr 10 min from Phu Phra Bat) Day 12-14 (Feb 18-20): Hotel - 8. Sala Kaeo Ku Temple (crazy temple/statues) 9a. Ban Na Kha Silk Market (30 min from Nong Khai) 9b. Udon Thani City (20 min from Ban Na Kha) 9c. Phu Foi Lom (nature area) (1 hour from Udon) 9d. Red Lotus Lake (nature area, could be pretty with flowers on lake, best to go between 6am-10am as the flowers are open; have to take boat) (45min from Udon) Leave Udon Thani Feb 22 12:15pm So, I have 2 nights still to add anywhere between Khon Kaen and Udon. Maybe stay a night in Phetchabun city to do more things around there, or maybe get a place to wake up early to see Phu Thap Buek sunrise in Phetchabun. Maybe stay a night around Phu Ruea or by Reservoir because that looks like too long of a day (but Phu Reau is getting close to getting scratched off the list to even visit so the drive to lake and cave seems reasonable then)... Any thoughts? Things I missed?
  4. I transfer money from my US bank (credit union) through ACH to the New York Bangkok Bank branch to my actual BB thai account. I did a test 2 months ago to compare it to Transferwise: I got my money a day sooner with Transferwise and also more Thai baht at the end of the day. So, no matter if NY BB changes like the London branch; doesn't affect me - I've already changed. You should do your own test, of course, but I think you'll be in the same boat as me and drop the BB transfer and move to transferwise.
  5. That is a strange looking place. Adding to the list of things to do :)
  6. CGW - thanks for the suggestion. Erawan cave looks great. Added. Expat68 - thanks for the additional excursion points. I'll check those out.
  7. At my thai gf 's work, the owner's kid (probably 4th grade) had some English worksheets to do and he asked for my help... it was super easy - basically had a sentence in Thai, then 4-8 English words scrambled that you had to put in the right order to make a coherent English sentence. Half the sentences were okay, a quarter were strangely worded and no one would talk that way, and the other quarter were basically flat out wrong. Same gf is also trying to learn more English and has 2 books that are god awful and NO ONE would speak that way. Half the time I don't understand her when she says it in English to me as the words or phrases are so...archaic or strangely worded. Humorous as it shows the author of the book as this blonde haired, young American guy. No way that could be the case as the best I can figure, the book was written in 1920 and the person pretended to be Shakespeare. I didn't have the heart to tell my gf to throw those books away. I don't understand why she doesn't watch youtube videos of Thai's speaking English since she watches every other possible thing on youtube but she flat out refuses that advice.
  8. Other thing I worry about is the car rental - I was completely fine driving in southern Isaan, but I'm a little worried about renting a Vios again with 105 horsepower and 15" tires going up and down hills further north.
  9. Phu Kradueng - Yes, reading more about the hike, this is definitely an overnight stay. Climb in morning. See sunset over cliff. Wake up and see sunrise over different viewpoint. Maybe go waterfall route then back down.
  10. So, my 13 days in September 2017 went pretty well in Southern Isaan (Buriram, gf's village in Maha Sarakham, Roi Et, Yasothon, Ubon, Tohsang Khongjiam, Pha Taem) so I am going back February 2018. I think I'm good for a 10 to 14 day trip to Northern Isaan this time around. I've spent the day researching various things to do and have come up with a rough idea of a possible route I could drive with my thai girlfriend, and before I planned too much by myself, I thought I would run this by you guys assuming there are some of you living in this part of the country. I'm a little bummed that February doesn't seem the best time to be enjoying nature in this spot of the country as I enjoy the greenery and waterfalls, but the thai gf seems to think it will still be fun and picked this area to travel in when I asked her where she wanted to go. Rough route I'm thinking right now would be: https://imgur.com/a/7P04k I'd fly from Bangkok to Khon Kaen and rent a car there. - Spend maybe 2 days in Khon Kaen (check out the zoo, figure out anything else) - Drive out to Ubolratana lake and hang out for the afternoon on a boat (I really enjoyed staying a few hours on Sirindhorn Lake with those pontoon boats tied up for food and some drinks between Ubon and Tohsang Khongjiam) - Get to Phu Kradueng and stay there for a day or two ...This is where I thought about going west to Khao Kho in Phetchabun, but that adds quite a few driving hours to the trip just to look at a slightly different hill so I've tentatively axed that leg. - So then onto Chiang Khan for 2 days - Drive through Sangkhom, maybe spend a night - Get to Nong Khai for a day or two. Debating going over to Vientiane but the gf said she's already been there so dunno if it's worth the hassle of the visa and leaving the car as I don't think we would do anything else in Laos. - Drive down to Udon Thani for a few days. Maybe check out Phu Foi Lom. - Then, either drive back to Udon or Khon Kaen, drop off the car, and catch a flight back to BKK before going back to the US. Thoughts? Am I missing out by not going through Phetchabun? Anything you would change? Maybe I should cut out Khon Kaen/Ubolratana and start in Udon and then work my way west to end up in Phretchabun and then I'd get to Khao Kho and fly out of Phetchabun? ...so, this itinerary: https://imgur.com/a/XwSA1 I think the gf just likes Khon Kaen because it's not too far from her home and she could show off her travel guide skills.
  11. PT Taxi Company, getting worse ?

    I stopped using PT after 2 bad experiences in a row (exceptionally old/dirty cars, driver stopping in the middle of the route to pick up a new phone charger, taking forever to get his car and come back after we initially find each other in the terminal)... Every place sells a trip from BKK to Pattaya for 1000 baht so there's no reason to not try something else. I'm happy with Nan's now from using them 3 times on my last trip - cars were newer with polite/timely drivers.
  12. From all the posts and stories I've read, it's 100% luck of the draw. I bought a new motorcycle helmet from Italy that shipped directly from the store to a home in Isaan through EMS (Express Mail Service). Custom went through Bangkok - cost of the helmet was 12,000 baht. Cost of the import tax was 4,200 baht. Sadly, it was a Shark helmet made in Thailand that no one in Thailand sells, lol.
  13. Best place to stay in Ubon

    Things I did in Ubon that weren't bad (so leaving off places I didn't like): - Tawan Daeng, Wat Phrathat Nong Bua, Sirindhorn Dam (if you want to drive out of Ubon - places to eat and drink in pontoon boats on the lake), Country of Arts (3D picture place is okay, one in Pattaya is better, and it's only open on Saturdays), typical Central/Lotus/Big C (stay away from Sunee if you're looking for malls), I thought they had one of the better night markets to walk around and kill some time in as they had quite a few food places and trinkets, a year from now the Ubon Zoo will be good, but it's still under construction; if you have time to kill it's still okay and you drive a golf cart around it and can feed deer, see some tigers, and play with a sloth. - Peppers, The Home, Outside Inn, a lot of people like Spago for pizza but meh (I usually don't like to disparage and name bad places, but for god's sake, stay away from Smile since you'll probably see that on a list of restaurants to go to)
  14. Best place to stay in Ubon

    I stayed at Come Pang and V Hotel about a month ago, both were just fine. V Hotel had the better breakfast and was more like a traditional hotel. At Come-Pang. I finally got a soft (for Thailand) bed. Went through Agoda. Note Come-Pang doesn't have an elevator and at a minimum you're walking up 1 flight.
  15. For posterity, as many pluses that the aerox had (better overall style and color, better handling which includes bigger tires and better brakes, and a smoother shifting engine) this scooter just was never comfortable with 2 up riding and my 5'5" girlfriend had to shift back and forth for a stopped and riding position with just her driving, so we purchased a PCX 150. PCX 150 at one of the Mityon's in Pattaya was 84,000 for the scooter but came to 93,000 out the door which included 2 years theft.