Photo Gallery & Impressions 28b

PHOTO SAMPLER - Chiang Rai to Thaton by River Boat - Sept. 13-14, 2003.

.. A day-long, off the beaten track cruise west up the Mae Kok River from Chiang Rai to the town of Thaton near the Thai-Burma border.  This boat ride and Thatom stay was arranged by our new friend and owner of local Chiang Rai tourist agency, Mr. Somporn. This trip normally takes about 5 hours, but would take much longer this day as we had to buck the strong currents of the flooding river. [Note that this album was a late addition with photos added in Jan. 2008 and captions not added until Dec. 2011 - beware of faulty memories.]


Heavy rains had come to northern Thailand. Coming in to the center of town to the tourist agency office we are met with flooding in the streets.

Even with area flooding, we decide to go ahead with our river trip. Mr. Somporn took us to the river station where we would catch the regular river boat.

While Mr Somporn arranged for our boat passage and bought our tickets, Keith meets another westerner who would be traveling up river part of the way.

We bid our tour guide friend farewell, board our boat and take this photo of the river boat station.

We are soon on our way in our long-tail boat and get views of local folks trying to protect their river banks from the raging river.

Another powerful river boat (like ours) makes steady progress up the swollen river.

We pass several villages that are flooded, making regular boat stops impossible.

The other passenger has to get let off on a safe high point.

This was the place where he was scheduled to meet his jungle tour but it would not have been safe for the boat to try to stop here.

A nice river resort now under water.

The raging river was causing many landslides, this one closing a road and downing power lines.

Having picked up some other local passengers, we continue up the river that sometimes looked more like rapids.

Another resort suffering from high water.

This water buffalo didn't seem to mind the high water.

We were never sure whether folks like these were doing bank protection, waiting to be evacuated, or just waiting for the next boat.

We did not have to worry about this caution sign with such high water.

Interesting place to hang one's guitars.? This was probably a lodge as there was supposed to be a stop here, but we let off some passengers on an overhanging tree.

Just us and the expert boat driver now. This was in a very remote part of the country.

After a long solitary stretch, we started to see a more settled area.

We had a stop just before this bridge where we had a bite to eat and our boat driver could get a little rest.

Heading back upstream, our driver had to carefully find the greatest clearance to slide our boat between the bridge and the very high water.

Peg loved this ethereal aspect of this tree backed by the clouds. It reminded her of the Norwegian painter Lars Hertervig.

As long as this trip was, the boat was comfortable and the views stunning.

Finally we were able to see our destination up ahead - the town of Thaton.

As we pull up to the resort boat landing, Keith gets this shot of an interesting floating waterwheel used to pump water.

We are soon checked in to our lovely room with this fantastic bathroom! Because of being a bit off-season and the local flooding, we were the only guests here.

As this web page was made years after our visit, we are not sure of the name of this lovely small resort. We think it could have been the Garden Home Nature Resort.?

Thaton is a small town & was easy to see much of it on foot. Here Peg checks out the bridge views in the center of town.

This is the view from the bridge looking downstream towards where we were staying.

This view is of the highway that would lead south towards Chiang Mai.

This convenient town sign was located next to the bridge & "Police Box". If memory is correct, north would be towards the bottom of this sign.

Looking up the hill southwest from the bridge we get this pleasant view of Wat Thaton.

This is the pleasant dining area where we stayed. It did feel strange being the only guests in this nice setting.

Our schedule would only allow for one overnight here. It was time to check out without even visiting their "Old Rice Mill Bar".

We carried our luggage across the bridge to the bus and "songthaew" (2 bench pickup truck) station.

Here we would catch a songthaew south to another town where we could get a regular bus in to Chiang Mai.

The view north as we left Thaton. We were then the only passengers, but soon it would be full to overflowing with a dozen or more local passengers.

We wait in this colorful market/bus station for the bus in the background to start its journey through the mountains to Chiang Mai.

Taking local buses is always a fun experience, but sometimes not the best for photography.

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