|Market place Thong Pha Phum|
Meanwhile, I was picked up at the tiny bus station in Thong Pha Phum by Pong’s parents. I must say, I got a great vibe from this tiny town wedged between shaggy karst mountains. No tourists, and very traditional. I knew I was going to love it! As is often the case, the bus station was right next to a market, and you all know how much I love markets. Chai and Ta arrived soon after me and there were hugs all around. I had met them both at Link and Pong's wedding in 2007, but very briefly. Ta bought a few more bits and pieces in the market and I followed her around. The word had gotten out ... Ta is a fantastic cook!
|Chai and Ta's house|
|Ta and her many dishes!|
|Hin Dat Hot Springs|
|With Ta at Khao Laem Dam|
Over the couple of days that I was there I also met a number of Chai and Ta's friends who had also retired and come out to live in the countryside. Some came over and others we went to visit; all within walking distance.
The next day was a busy one and we visited a number of places. There are some spectacular national parks with some phenomenal views. Khao Laem Dam, officially known as Vachiralongkorn Dam, is only six kilometres from Thom Pha Phum. At just over a kilometre long and 92 metres high and with spectacular scenery around it, it's quite breathtaking. There were lots of monkeys around and there are signs everywhere telling you not to provoke them. I got a bit too close to taking a photo of one and he was not a happy camper. I had to scuttle back, as he inched towards me with a don't mess with me look. Was not quite expecting that!
|Three Pagoda Pass at the border with Myanmar|
|Selfie on the Wangka Bridge|
|Beautiful temple architecture|
What a day! We had seen and done so much, yet once again Ta weaved her culinary magic and I was treated to yet another spectacular Thai meal. I was most certainly going to miss Ta's food. I asked her if she was interested in coming to Australia and being my personal chef!
The couple of days had gone far too quickly, but I had seen, done and eaten so much. It was easy to understand how Pong had turned out to be such a wonderful person; she has two wonderful parents, who I was most certainly going to miss. The morning that I was to make my way back to Bangkok, we went to visit some of Chai's friends as well as a Burmese family, who all lived within walking distance. Being so close to the border, there are a number of Burmese refugees in the area. The war between Myanmar's (Burma) army and the jungle-dwelling Karen ethnic group has been running for 63 years and is ongoing. The civil war is often labelled the world's longest. Needless to say the Burmese are desperate to get out and will try anything in their power to do so. Tragic!
|Saying goodbye to Chai and Ta|
Bangkok awaited me. My last few days would be spent shopping and just hangin' out in one of my favourite cities. Bangkok, you never, ever disappoint me!
"Philosophy begins in wonder". – Plato
|Chai and Ta see me off|
|A room with a view!|
|On the back patio with Ta|
|Chai and Ta|
|Ta weaves her magic in the kitchen|
|Ta preparing the food to be cooked|
|Voila, mission accomlished!|
|Lost in translation? Hin Dat Hot Springs|
|Chillin' at the Springs with Ta|
|At the Dam ... this could be used for people too!|
|At the Dam ... cute but don't get too close|
|At the Dam|
|To market, to market|
|Veggies for me thanks!|
|Red hot (and green!) chilli peppers!|
|Pong and Link's wedding 2007 ... a photo of a photo|
|At Pong and Link's wedding 2007|
|Driving around Kanchanaburi Province|
|Pom Pee National Park|
|At the border|
|Myanmar ... thatta way|
|Tax free options at the border|
|Herbal remedies ... at the border|
|Soccer at the border|
|Wangka Bridge ... now you see it ...|
|Wangka Bridge ... now you don't...|
|At one of the temples|
|Try your luck, or fortune, at the temple|
|Shoes off! (at a temple)|
|With the Burmese family|
|The wonderful colours of Thailand|