Trip to
Upper Isan

   – Jan-1-2010

Trip to Upper Isan

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Trip to Upper Isan Dec-26-2009 – Jan-1-2010

During the year-end holidays we took a trip to Upper Isan.   "Isan" is the northeastern part of Thailand and can be divided into Upper and Lower regions.

The maps displayed here are mostly from Wikipedia although my spellings of the place names are sometimes different from the sources.

December 26 – 27 2009:   On the Way to Loei

Petchaboon (Enlarged below)

Sritep Vichian buri
Sritep Wichian Buri
Tony had classes at school today so we waited till he was back. We paid a visit to Grandma at her house near Don Muang Airport before we left for Petchaboon (see the first map on the right).

Late at night we arrived at Sritep, which was located in the southern tip of Petchaboon, and stayed overnight at "Pitchavari".   In the morning we took some pictures before we left.   Sritep has ancient archaelogical sites but we have not visited any yet.
Wichian Buri is to the north of Sritep (see maps on the right).   It is the area very well-known for charcoal-grilled chicken.   We stopped by a restaurant in there and had our brunch.
Above:  Ken in front of the restaurant.   The picture on the right shows

grilled pork neck meat (the left one), fried veggies with oyster oil, WichianBuri style grilled chicken, and soup.   The half-empty dish had green papaya salad ("Som-tum").   I like Som-tum without chilli or garlic.

CLICK to view slideshow of the pictures above (bigger size) at Photobucket.
  Pictures of green papaya salad or "Som-tum" (Thanks to Google!) :   HERE

From Wichian Buri we continued up north.   The road was getting more and more lonely.   There were hardly any big gas station or 7-11's.   The northern part of Petchaboon was mountainous.   Decades ago this area was under the control of the Communist "insurgents".   Thank goodness there are no more wars in this part of the country.

December 27 – 28, 2009: Arriving in Loei, Meeting Old Friends there

Loei Restaurants

Loei The town of Loei
The town of Loei
The Province of Loei

Loei has delicious vegetables and mushrooms!   The food at Mum Aroi's and at Lan Chang's were all delicious.   I found 2 reviews of Lan Chang Restaurant with excellent pictures of the place & the food:   HERE   and   HERE

← For bigger pictures click: SLIDESHOW

We stayed 2 nights at Baan Fah-Dao Resort in Loei.   "Fah" = sky, "dao" = stars.

The resort was beautiful.

SLIDESHOW of the pictures below.  

Baan Fah-Dao

December 28, 2009: Chiang Khan and Tha Li Revisited

On Dec-27 morning we drove up to Chiang Khan and revisited Gaeng Kudkoo (Kudkoo Rapids) by the Mae Khong River.

Chiang Khan   Tha Li
Chiang Khan   Tha Li

← Gaeng Kudkoo in Chiang Khan

After driving around and taking a few pictures at the Gaeng we left Chiang Khan and went to the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge across Heuang River in Tha Li.   For your info, Hueng River flows to Mae Khong River.   It was quite a surprise to find lots of trucks crossing the
Gaeng Kudkoo bridge.   The serenity we experienced last year was no more.   Used Japanese-made trucks from Laos were all fully loaded. From what we saw, some were wood, some were yellow grains (we knew later that these were corn).   There were many fully loaded trucks from the Thai side going to Laos, too. Some were delivering gas (petrol).   Heavy traffic made the air dusty.   There were new checkpoints, making it impossible to walk freely to the center of the bridge the way we did last year.   What a change!
For comparison, see our first visit to the bridge across the Hueng River:   Loei Revisited Part Two (posted on Jan-9-2008)

It was way past lunch time.   We decided to find something to eat - despite the dust, etc.   Near the immigration building there were a few shops.   The coffee shop (first two pics on the left.)was simple but nicely decorated.   We went there after we had noodles and rice at another "caféteria " which was a few meters from it.   The caféteria owner said she usually had to deliver about 20 lunch boxes to the immigration building.   Her business was good.

The trucks from Laos (pic on the right, first row) had Lao letters on their plates that read something like "Saiyaburi".   We knew they were used trucks from Japan as there were Japanese letters on the trucks.   They all looked so dusty.   Most of the roads on the Thai side near Tha Li were paved so we guessed the roads on the other side were unpaved!
At Tha Li
Middle row:   First 2 pictures showed the start of the bridge on the Thai side.   Far back of the picture on the right was the Lao immigration.   Bottom row:   In front of the Thai immigration.   We decided to apply for border passes and go over the other side of the bridge for a look.

After we got the border passes we went on a small "song-taew", which is a pick-up truck with two rows of seats.

"Song" = two, "taew" = row.

See the song-taew that took us across the border (middle picture first row on the left).

All the song-taew looked very dusty and old.

It was interesting to see the trucks swiftly switching sides upon crossing the border.

Soon we were at the immigration building. The driver told us to get off and pay the fee at the immigration. The word "khaa yiap-paen-din" sounded like " the fee for setting our feet on the land" in Thai.

While on the Thai side we had been told beforehand the fee was 40 baht per person and free for children so it should be about 120 Baht.   We were therefore somewhat puzzled when the Lao officer asked us to pay what we thought sounded like 130 Baht (neung-roi sam-sib baht).   When we gave him 130 Baht he immediately returned us the 10 Baht coin. There and then we realized that what he said was not 130 but 120 Baht.   (neung-roi song-sib baht).   Another lesson in the Lao language for us!   ( In Thai 120 is neung-roi yee-sib. )

We returned to the truck and were taken to the "shopping mall" not too far from the Immigration.   The place was a row of shops among the dust.   The goods in these shops were mostly from China and Thailand.   We just bought 3 shirts that had Lao letters on them.

Back All the time we saw big trucks passing by the borders.   I wonder what they had beyond this dusty shopping mall?

Pictures on the right were taken while we were on the way back to the Thai side at Tha Li.   The building was the Lao Immigration.

See all our pictures taken at Gaeng Kudkoo and Tha Li:   SLIDESHOW

CK from Malaysia who has been working big projects in Laos for more than a decade answered me a lot of questions I had after the trip to this part of Laos across Tha Li.   Below is the screenshot of his email.   I highlighted some paragraphs.   I also included the two maps that had been attached to the email.   Thanks, CK!!!

From CK
From CK

Map2 Map1

End of Part One.

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Trip to Upper Isan Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6  


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