Monday, December 28, 2015

Weekend trip to Khao Yai and Pak Chong (Wang Nam Kiew)

This past weekend, Pae and I planned out a quick roady up to Khao Yai. We decided to take Bubble for a night up about three hours from Bangkok, where I have run 4 races (TNF and Khao Yai Trail Marathon) several times.

The day driving up was a Saturday and driving was fine until we hit the outskirts of Khao Yai, which is a uppy, wind-y (not to be confused with windy) road with a lot of cement trucks and other larger vehicles trying to share two to three lanes. Normally it is slow going through the cement factory area, but on this day they had closed a lane for making a new u-turn bridge, so traffic was crawling. The positive taken out of this extra time in traffic was that it was nice to see that they were making the u-turn bridges as middle of the road u-turns are the cause of many accidents and traffic deaths here every year.

We got near the area where I run TNF in time to go see the sunflower fields, one of the main reasons we went to this particular weekend. Acres and acres of bright yellow sunflowers, smiling brightly at the sun overhead...FAIL!!!
Week or so late?
 Hahaha, unfortunately we got there and the fields were shriveled and brown rather than yellow. We, along with other cars that trickled in and out of the area, stopped to plan our next move...during the planning and rerouting, I hopped out and snapped some photos. I'm sure the fields will soon be burned or turned under to make way for the winter crops...I wonder if they will harvest the sunflowers for seeds? I'm guessing not.
Anticlimax to our four hour drive
We left the sunflower fields and decided that it was time to get headed towards our hotel. We drove following google maps and really got all turned around. Usually I have a good idea of where we are and what general direction we need to go...this time, I had no clue and was really relying on the family navigator (Pae) to get us where we needed to go. Internet being what it is out in the sticks, lagged something fierce and it was hard to get good directions from google or the iPhone maps app.
Not sure really what to think about this pinky stroller thing!

Along the way to the hotel was a place in Wang Nam Kiew that we went to a few years ago. Basically a garden with lots of flowers.
We hoped that Bubble could go inside with us and were lucky that they rented out dog strollers!
Bubble and Mommy at Flora Park
Bubble wasn't allowed to get out of the stroller, but we took him out every now and then for photos. Wouldn't want all of the dogs digging holes in their garden ;)
Family at Flora Park

"This stroller thing isn't half bad"
We did eventually arrive at our hotel, checked in, dropped our stuff at the room and went to the hotel restaurant for food. We got a small hotel room at a tiny winery. It was one of the few places that allowed pets to stay.
Mommy's favorite flower
The room ended up being about three feet wider than our bed!! Hahaha, quite small, but other than Pae smashing her leg on the bed in the dark when we first got to the room, it served its purpose; a place to sleep. The dinner was large and the red wine made at the winery was really good. Didn't buy any to bring home with us though as it was a little pricey ;)
Village Farm & Winery- Dogs welcome

The funniest thing occurred to us as we sat there. Have we been here before??? Sitting in the restaurant for breakfast, looking out over the small vineyard in front of the hotel, we thought to look in our Facebook photos for back when we went to Khao Yai with Mom and Dad.
A photo from our 2013 family trip to Khao Yai. Same vineyard in this photo from a stop along thee road is the same place Pae and I slept during our trip this year ;)
Sure enough, same place. We had stopped there for wine tasting and to look at the vineyard. It must have been on the tourist sites a couple years ago, so we stopped by ;)
Same exact spot this year ;)
After checking out of our hotel, we drove an hour or so to a garden touristy spot called Jim Thompson Farm. Jim Thompson is famous here in Thailand.
He was an American G.I., spy, architect and most importantly as far as Thailand is concerned, he was a businessman. He first came to Thailand during the Second World War as a military man. Eventually he settled down here and started a silk business. His company (Thai Silk Company) ended up revitalizing a dying Thai silk industry.

So, if you ever come to Thailand, you can visit his home in Bangkok or the Jim Thompsom Farm in Khao Yai. There are also factories in Korat where his old company relocated to sometime after his disappearance in 1967.

Jim Thompson Farm even has a working silk making factory for tourists to stand and watch the workers make silk. Very interesting to watch and try to figure out how it all works!!

The flowers were beautiful and there were acres and acres of them. There were fields that went on forever of cosmos. Bubble was actually able to walk around as pets were allowed. He got nice and dusty and tired from all of the walking, although he got held plenty as you can probably see from these photos, haha!
These are only a few of the photos we took at Jim Thompsom Farm, and other places also. The hard part about having a dog full of energy and with a short attention span is that it's nearly impossible to get him to hold still for a photo! So, we have tons of photos with a white streak for a head or just with him not even facing the camera. He seemed to enjoy driving the fake wooden tractor with Daddy though ;)
I'll end the post with one of my favorite photos. There were woven decorations hanging from the trees and I asked Pae to pose under them. Bubble was very interested in the hangy thingies and I got this photo. I think it's cute ;)
I'll post a couple videos if I can make the video function work ;)

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