The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Category South East Asia frozen moments album

Chiang Mai walking street, 9:44 pm

The street is filled with people, they mill about among the vendors, buying snacks and souvenirs. The air is filled with didgeridoo music, a deep driving rhythm, almost like hard rock. The sky is filled with floating lanterns, glowing orange lights that drift upwards on the breeze.… Read the rest

Maerim Elephant Sanctuatry, 9-ish am.

The grey trunk comes snaking around me from behind, the moist end sniffing out the bananas in the bag on my hip. At the same time, the elephant in front of me also reaches her trunk in my direction, trying to get at the tasty treats. I can barely get the bananas out of the bag fast enough for them. As soon as I do, it only takes a second before one of the elephants has grabbed it and deposited it in its mouth. They are as tall as me and weigh two thousand kilos each but they act like … Read the rest

Road 1263, 1:56 pm

Am I still in Thailand? It sure doesn’t seem like it with these surroundings. On both sides of the road are rolling hills, on the right they are covered in withering, brown corn stalks on the left, the dark green of pine forests, with brown, bare tea bushes in neat rows lower down in the valley. This high up, the sweltering heat of the lowlands is gone, the air is cool and crisp like an autumn day. If I didn’t know better I would think I’m somewhere in Europe.… Read the rest

Tha Pai hotspring, 5:00 pm

The sign says 34 degrees and the one in the next pool reads 35. Somewhere off to the left is the source, the hot water cascading down from pool to pool, dropping in temperature along the way. This hotspring river as it were, flows through the forest, trees growing right at the edge. Thick vines grow from tree to tree, stretching across the water, hanging low down with people sitting or leaning on them as they relax in the heat.… Read the rest

Pai canyon, 3:34 pm

A tall sandstone ridge runs through the forests, winding its way forward and branching off here and there, sending out tendrils of rock like tentacles into the undergrowth. A small footpath runs along the top of the ridge, at places barely wide enough for a person  to stand, the sides falling away steeply without so much as a hint of a safety rail; one wrong step here and you go tumbling over the precipice. The part I’m on now slopes steeply downwards, and a deep fissure has been cut through the soft material, presumably by streams of water in the … Read the rest

Mok fa waterfall, 11:39 am

It seems no matter how many waterfalls I see, they still have a powerful draw for me. This one is neither the highest nor the widest I’ve seen in this journey, just two streams of water, tumbling down an irregular cliff face covered in plants, to a pool and a small beach of coarse sand. I stand, ankle deep in the cool water, contemplating the booming noise.… Read the rest

Jomtien beach, 4:43 pm

This is the most exploited beach I’ve seen in a long time. Miles and miles of parasols and deck chairs set back from the water under the the shade of a row of trees, behind them, a wide road lined with shops and restaurants and out in the water, by some floating jetties, a whole flotilla of boats and jet skis. Far in the distance, tall white skyscrapers that I can only presume are hotels. I like a good beach but this level of exploitation kills the relaxed vibe.… Read the rest

Wat Pho 2:11 pm

The backside of the reclining Buddha, all you can see of the statue is his back, the folds of his robes hanging down to the pedestal and the pillars supporting the roof. On the opposite side of the corridor is a row of brass bowls on little stands. In each one of them is a number of coins and the room is filled with the plinking sound as people keep dropping more coins in the bowls. They go along the corridor, dropping a coin in each one then moving on to the next. It’s some kind of ritual and though … Read the rest

Emerald Buddha chapel, 11:01 am

The walls are covered in murals depicting scenes from some kind of Buddhist or Hindu mythology. The roof, high above my head, is decorated with square, geometric patterns in red and gold and adorned with crystal flowers. Towards the back of the room is a large altar with several standing Buddha statues on it, their palms facing outwards. On each side of the altar is a small stepped dais on top of which is a Buddha statue, larger than the others but also with the palms facing outwards, adorned with a crown, the face and palms are covered in gold … Read the rest

Wat Pra Kaeow, 10:45 am

Two buildings right next to each other, one predominantly blue, the other predominantly green. The walls are covered in glazed, lozenge shaped tiles, each of which is adorned with a bas relief flower; the gaps between the tiles is painted gold. The multi tiered roofs, tiled in red and green, are supported by pillars covered in mirror glass mosaic sparkling with silver in the sun, and gold painted decorations. It’s all a bit hard to take in, so much splendor, so much fine detail. Of course, it doesn’t help that the place is crowded with tourists, every time you want … Read the rest

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