March 2005

The next morning I wake up early, around 7.30 am. Early bird catches the worm. Well, I don’t like worm, but who gives a darn, I can see sunshine out there promising a beautiful day. However, I’m reluctant to get up because I feel a little dizzy from… well, I’m not sure. Oh wait, it might be caused by drinking a few glasses of lao the night before… But that’s no problem since the cool morning air helps me recover quickly.

Lazy DayThe next step of my morning routine would normally be to take a shower. This is not that easy here. There are washroom facilities at the park, but no showers. It is more like a basin full of water and you use a small bucket to pour the water onto your body. And let me add one more thing: have you ever asked yourself why this National Park is called Nam Nao? Well, nam means “water”, and nao means “cold”. Do I really have to say more?
» Read more about Camping in Nam Nao – Part 3

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It’s after 6 am as we enter the minivan and go on to the park. The trip takes some 45 minutes or maybe one hour. I have no idea as I consider it more important to get some more sleep rather than keeping track of time. On arrival at the park we pay the driver and arrange everything necessary for our camp. We already have two tents but some of us don’t have sleeping bags, so we rent some plus insulating mats and blankets. Renting this stuff is really cheap, 30 baht for a sleeping bag, 20 for a mat and 10 for a blanket, per night and person.
» Read more about Camping in Nam Nao – Day 2

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We meet at 10 pm at Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal, Morchit Station. We, that’s my Thai friend Bow, Kyro from England, Jonas from Sweden, Glenny from England and Sebastian from Holland. Our coach leaves at 10.45, so we spend some time hanging around the terminal. Morchit station is impressive. The place looks more like an airport, not like a bus station. Huge. All coaches to the Northern and North-eastern regions of Thailand leave from this place.

When it’s time to depart, we enter our 1st class coach (230 baht per ticket) and make ourselves comfortable. After some freezing experience in other long distance coaches, I put on my sweater immediately and feel pretty comfortable. Each passenger even receives a blanket, so we’re fine. After leaving from the bus terminal, we also get some snacks. Get ready to sleep. Fortunately they don’t turn on the TV, so it’s dark and quiet in the bus. Sleeeep. But, hell, why can’t I fall asleep?

Well, it’s the d*** air-conditioning of this coach that can keep me from sleeping. It’s incredibly cold, even though I’m wrapped in my sweater and the blanket, plus we’ve done everything possible already to block the cold air from blowing at us. Hmm, unsuccessful. My neck feels soooo cold… Luckily I find the solution: I put on two pairs of socks and pull the blanket over my head. I’m fully covered now, the cold air has no chance to reach me anymore, and finally I’m comfortable and can sleep.

Bow, Seb, Glenny and Kyro in Lomsak, 4 amWe arrive in Lomsak shortly after 4 am, after some 5½ freezing hours. A minivan driver approaches us and we arrange transportation to the National Park with him. But first we have to go to the market and buy food. Sebastian is a chef and he will cook for us during in the camp, but we need the ingredients.

The market in Lomsak is great. You find everything you need for a decent meal. After some power shopping we stumble to a small restaurant and eat noodles, guay dtiaw (20 baht per bowl). Having eaten some North-eastern sausages, sai-grok isaan (only 5 baht each, that’s half the Bangkok price!), before that meal, my stomach feels good and I’m happy. On with our trip.

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