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The Peace and Quiet of the Thai Countryside

Chainsaw Critters of Thailand

Loving the sounds of Thailand…

For the past four days I’ve been driving in and around the freezing Thai countryside as far as Khon Kaen and then back to the noisy city of Bangkok again. After leaving skyscrapers behind I drifted past wickedly green rice fields to mist covered mountain tops to dry hillsides creaking with bamboo.

For three nights I slept on either boards or lumps camouflaged as beds, waking up each morning to pains deep in my bones. Drugs R Us…

Along with a gazillion squat toilets and spirit houses I photographed Khmer ruins, ancient burials, dinosaur bones and communist hideouts. Oh, and I found some paraphernalia hiding in the leaves! But more on that stuff later…

I also took videos of the peace and quiet of the Thai countryside. Below are two.

The critters making all that racket are called cicada (or is it cicadas?) a known delicacy of the region. I’ve located two Thai spellings, จักจั่น and จั๊กจั่น but as Talking Thai Dictionary (reviewed here) has จักจั่น /ják-ga-jàn/, I’ll go with that one. You?

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My passion is promoting the Thai language. Fullstop. Oh, and traveling. I'm passionate about that as well. And photography too.

6 Comments

  1. Great stuff, Cat. I can’t wait to read the full write ups especially about the hidden paraphernalia.

    While I don’t love the sounds of the city they were very nice to my ears when recently in Bangkok but man I really miss the peaceful countryside and think your post just inspired a Songkran trip for me.

  2. Thanks Talen. My side of the city is quiet except for the birds and the odd tuk tuk in the distance. Others in the city have to put up with the rhythmic pounding of either the traffic or workmen driving piles.

    I’ve been going around and around about what to do for Songkran. I was too late to book a room at Ampawa (now that’s peaceful!) so I might just hang around BKK. And there’s always Khao San road (in a pinch, can’t beat it for Songkran photos). I brought back a jug of เหล้าไห /lâo hăi/ from Issan so whatever I end up doing will be fun (if it even lasts that long).

  3. Catherine I watched your top video and you can see how dry the vegetation is, it desperately needs a good deluge of rain. What always comes to my mind when I witness countryside like this is what the bloody hell is lurking about in there. That is cobra country for sure.

    The countryside of Thailand has a real peaceful feel about it, almost like you’ve stepped back 100 years in time. I hope you felt that way about rural Thailand and feel the need to explore it further. Many of the rural areas have a resort or two sprinkled about and maybe they would give a Big Mango gal like yourself a good base to spend a few days in the countryside, and see what tranquillity and ‘back to the basics of life’ can do for a persons mindset.

    I always find a taste of rural Thailand gets me thinking about whether the modern world is better then the old world of our grandfathers. My jury is still out on that one but I do know a taste of rural life is a slice of therapy a top psychologist would like to have in his armoury at a push of a button.

  4. Martyn, it was dry but burning wasn’t in the air so I was grateful (smoke just kills me). And I never once thought of cobras! I’m not fond of wiggly surprises so not thinking is a desired state :-D

    I didn’t stay in a resort for the duration (pity). All three nights found me in medium sized towns where no chances were taken and the top hotels were booked. The lack of comfort was unexpected because I’ve stayed in cheaper accommodation and came out with my back intact. Not this time.

    In one hotel I found myself choosing between sleeping in the bathtub or going for an upgrade. My back decided for me and I switched to ugliest suite I’ve ever seen – clashing purple sofa set included. A double dose of drugs eased my back and the lumpy but not rock hard bed helped.

    Day trips saw me out in the countryside where I got in a few peaceful walks. It was noisy but the scenery was impressive. I did a lot of ‘ups’ and as heights scare the bejesus out of me, it was a thrill.

    Merely looking at postcards of steep canyon walls makes me feel like puking, so yeah, this trip was not boring.

    My drive to take photos overcame my fear of falling forward so I literally crawled up dirt trails to reach the summits, using the dry grasses where I could.

    The last time I was this scared was last May. I was on my condo rooftop taking photos of Bangkok burning, and then remembered that my area had snipers picking off locals going about their business. My stomach crawled then too.

  5. Catherine you are a lot braver than me because I wouldn’t crawl anywhere in the heart of the countryside, I’ve seen too many snakes to do that.

    I’ve never stayed in a small town hotel, only the big city affairs. I’ve noted what you have said.

    I’m sure the most bloody thirsty of snipers would lower their gun when a ladies blonde locks hits their cross-hair. Though it was a bit risky.

  6. I haven’t seen that many snakes when out walking in Thailand, whereas in Brunei I ran into a few (but nowhere near as many as in California and Virginia). And I’ve seen more roadkill here than live. Sort of like my kangaroo experience in Australia.

    The hotels we stayed at were in fair sized towns but not as large as Khon Kaen (half?) And both are advertised on the Internet so I’ll wait awhile and then add my two cents worth.

    I’ve been in 450 baht a night hotels and slept like a baby. Paying four times that for a sore back and an ugly purple sofa? Oh, and don’t get me started on the rest of the decor (but I do have photos ;-)

    “A bit risky”, I agree. But I didn’t think of the snipers until I was already high up there. My fear of heights plus a natural fear of snipers pretty much ruined my morning.

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