Gadabout's Corner

Bird of passage

Tag: waterfall

KOH PHANGAN: An Island in the Gulf of Thailand

Koh Phangan is one of the most popular islands in Thailand. Not only because it houses the world’s famous party but also because of what it has to offer naturally. It’s a place for all preferences. There’s something for everyone.

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It’s very close to Koh Samui and they share similar features, especially the weather and transportation.

You could check out my previous post about Koh Samui here.

Top Beaches in Koh Phangan
  • Mae Haad Beach
  • Koh Ma
  • Chaloklum Bay
  • Thong Nai Pan
  • Haad Thong Reng
  • Haad Nam Tok
  • Haad Rin
  • Baan Tai

The sand bar of Mae Haad Beach links the main island with Ma Island.

 

The clear water in the area of Koh Ma.

 

The beach by the main pier at Thong Sala in Koh Phangan is a great place to relax after the journey or before saying goodbye to this island.

 

Baan Tai Beach taken with an analog camera; Minolta A3

 

 The finest sand of Baan Tai Beach

This amazing sunset was shot at Baan Tai Beach area in front of our resort.

Top Waterfalls in Phangan
  • Paradise Waterfall
  • Thaan Prawet Waterfall
  • Thaan Sadet Waterfall
  • Thaan Praphad Waterfall
  • Phaeng Waterfall

Phaeng Waterfall

Activities that You Should Try While in Phangan
  • Full Moon Party at Haad Rin
  • Wakeboarding at Wake Up! Wakeboarding
  • Wipeout at the Challenge Koh Phangan
  • Daytime party at Slip N Fly
  • Kiteboarding with Breeze Kiteboarding

 

 

These things make Koh Phangan so special and I can confidently say that you’ll never get enough of this island.

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The Best of KANCHANABURI

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for many reasons, not only for the tropical weather, islands and parties but also for the pure culture, history and nature. This time, let’s not talk about the beach because that’s the only thing that can’t be seen in Kanchanaburi. To make up for that, Kanchanaburi offers a full package of historical sites, jungles, rivers, waterfalls, animals and one of many doors to Myanmar.

The Best 10 Places to Visit in Kanchanaburi
Muang Kan

Muang Kan

  1. Erawan Falls
  2. Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls
  3. Sai Yok National Park
  4. Kroeng Krawia Waterfalls
  5. Baan Songkaria Resting Restaurant
  6. The Bridge Over the River Kwai and the Death Railway
  7. Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum
  8. Prasat Muang Singh Historical Park
  9. Wooden Mon Bridge
  10. Underwater City and the Sunken Temple

Kanchanaburi has many water areas and green mountains so it’s gifted with waterfalls and rivers. It’s a great place to admire tranquil views and enjoy water activities. There are monkeys everywhere as well.

I. Erawan Falls

One of the most known waterfalls of Kanchanaburi is the Erawan Falls that is located within the area of Erawan National Park. It is a 7-levels waterfalls with blue pools for you to swim with the fish. It’s a grand fish spa.

 

At the first level, there is a security area where they make sure you don’t bring food into the higher levels. If you are bringing bottles of water, you are required to make a deposit and they will return the money on your way back. This is so that people don’t leave any waste. I’d recommend at least a bottle of water as you will be trekking for about 45 minutes in this tropical heat. If you want to eat, there is area suitable for picnic in this level as well.

There is a 2 metres deep pool at the third level, a natural water slide on the fourth level. The 7th level though, gives the best view and there is a massive pool of blue water with loads of fish. There is also huge cascades that you can sit under while it massages your back.

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II. Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls
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Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls

Not too far from Erawan National Park, Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls lay beautifully within the area of Khuean Sri Nagarindra National Park. It also has 7 levels and the journey to the top is about 2 kilometres. There is a flat camping area with great view of the river and Srinakarin Dam for a great sunset watching.

III. Sai Yok National Park

Sai Yok National Park has 2 main waterfalls. Sai Yok Noi Waterfall is a smaller fall in which the water is enclosed within a natural pool and it’s great for swimming. The bigger one, Sai Yok Yai Waterfall is a huge waterfall falling into Kwai Noi River. There is a suspension rope bridge that takes you to the other side of the river and it allows you to have a full look of Sai Yok Yai. If you want to spend the night here, there are floating villas for couple or family in which the river is just by your front door like the one operated by Floathouse River Kwai. There’s also another option for a group of over 12 people. It’s a moving floating villa service. The villa is tied to a long-tailed boat and geared along the length of the river.

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IV. Kroeng Krawia Waterfall
Kroeng Krawia Waterfall

Kroeng Krawia Waterfall

Kroeng Krawia Waterfall is located right next to the road number 323. It’s suitable for a lazy day as it can be seen from the road and it’s only 10 metres from where your car is parked so there’s no trekking. If you happen to drive pass it, you should stop and have a cool dip to refresh yourself before moving on to the next destination.

V. Baan Songkaria Resting Restaurant

If you are hungry, only about 5 minutes from Kroeng Krawia Waterfall, there is the Baan Songkaria Resting Restaurant. Their dinning huts are almost in the canal as these huts are elevated, which allows you to soak your legs in the water, while eating. During some seasons, it’s a great spot for swimming or kayaking. You can check with the staff at the restaurant for the convenience.

VI. The Bridge Over the River Kwai and the Death Railway

Kanchanaburi is filled with scars and stories from wars. One of the most painful memory must be from the World War IIThe Bridge Over the River Kwai is part of the Death Railway built by prisoners during the war to connect Thailand and Myanmar and used as supplier path for Imperial Japanese Army. The railway is called the Death Railway as over 16,000 war prisoners died during the construction period and the era of the war (Tourism Thailand, 2016.) The bridge is opened to be explored by foot or you could rent a kayak and paddle around the bridge. There is also a scheduled train from Bangkok, running on the railway as well.

If you have seen The Bridge Over the River Kwai starred William Holden before, the bridge in the movie is not from Kanchanaburi as the movie was filmed in Sri Lanka.

VII. Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum

Another section of this long railway that you shouldn’t miss is the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, which is a railway cutting and there is a safe and convenience walking trail that allows you to explore the actual railway.

VIII. Prasat Muang Singh Historical Park

Prasat Muang Singh Historical Park is an old Khmer town built around the 12th century. This ancient city is very authentic and filled with evidences of the inhabitation. There are many ruins and remains of shrines and monuments to be found in which the main one is Prasat Muang Singh located in the middle of the park. Apart from the antiqueness, the tidiness and trees around the park also makes it a nice place to walk around or relaxing under the shade.

IX. Wooden Mon Bridge

Uttama Nusorn Bridge is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand and it connects the people in Sangkhlaburi with Mon villagers. It’s not far from the Myanmar Border, the Three Pagoda Pass.

The best time to visit this place is in the early morning as you could start of by watching the sunrise over the dam, then see how locals and Mon villagers make merit in the morning by giving food to monks. There will be Mon kids, walking around with powdered face or you could even join some of them for a swim. Across the bridge is the Mon Village, which you can go and have Mon breakfast while observing the culture.

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X. Underwater City and the Sunken Temple
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Sangkhlaburi

Just by the Uttama Nusorn Bridge, there are few boat services taking you out along the river to visit the Underwater City and the Sunken Temple. Because of the operation of Khuean Wachiralongkorn Dam in 1984, Wat Luang Phor Uttama was flooded and drowned in the water but remains are still visible, especially during Summer. Evidences of this sunken temple that was built since 1953 includes pagodas, buddhas, statues, entrances and even arts on the walls of the temple. During other seasons, there are less to see, as only peaks of pagodas and walls are above the water.

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These 10 places are a mix of touristy spots, some unseen attractions and places where there are less tourists and more cultural. There are still more places in Kanchanaburi waiting to be explored as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Chilean Patagonia: Torres del Paine and the Southern Andes (part 1)

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I’m sure Patagonia is on many people’s bucket list, simply because of it’s beauty and how exotic this place is. It’s on the edge of the world. It’s at the tip of a continent. It’s filled with great histories, including the world’s navigation, European exploration, Spanish conquest of South America or the colonization of this specific desert between Chile and Argentina. It’s about tales like giants. It could also be about the neighbor like Antarctica. However, the peak is its nature, the flora and fauna, them ice fields and the desert.

Patagonia is shared between Argentina and Chile, but this time, we’ll focus on the Chilean side and we’ll start at Puerto Montt and marking our way down until we arrive at the Fire Land. This is a long trip so be prepared.

Puerto Montt
  • Ferries’ embarkment
  • Chapo Lake (Lago Chapo)
  • Calbuco volcano
  • Llanquihue National Reserve
  • Reloncaví Estuary and Sound

Puerto Montt is the ending of the pieced Chile and is a door to the Patagonian desert. Travelling to the South from here is possibly best with Ferries, otherwise flight to Punta Arenas would be recommend but that means you’ll have to skip the whole crooked area as it’s not reachable by land. Though, some area is reachable by land if you cross over from Argentina.

If you happen to stop by Puerto Montt, you might as well spend your time at the Chapo Lake. You can spend your time camping, fishing or visiting an active Calbuco volcano in which its peak can be easily spotted from Llanquihue Lake.

Reloncaví Sound is a great place to witness the Reloncaví Estuary which is a fjord that is surrounded by many National Parks, volcanoes, lakes and valleys.

Chiloé Island (Isla Grande de Chiloé)
  • Canal Chacao
  • Castro
  • Chiloé National Park
    • Sea lions
    • Cole Cole beach

A bit below Puerto Montt is the Greater Island of Chiloé, which is reachable by boat from Puerto Montt by crossing Canal Chacao. It’s the second largest island in Chile, only after Tierra del Fuego.

The biggest city on the island is Castro. It’s a nice area to get an accommodation if you want to spend a night on this island as it’s surrounded by a peaceful waterfront, which is decorated with colorful houses. These wooden houses float above the water and leave beautiful reflection on the water. It’s a really cool picture opportunity.

The other option for accommodation is camping or lodging at Chiloé National Park. It’s a good place to see sea lions as well as chilling by the beach. It’s really nice to drive or walk along the coast until you reach the long, calm Cole Cole beach.

Coyhaique
  • Coyhaique National Reserve
  • Simpson River bank
  • Lake Atravesado
  • Puerto Río Tranquilo
    • Only between December to February
    • Marble Caves (Capillas de Mármol)

Coyhaique is just a bit below Chiloé and it’s a nice town surrounded by river and mountains. This town is also known as “the city of eternal snow” because these mountains are always covered with white. It’s especially beautiful in Winter and brightly nice in Spring. It houses a tiny National Reserve of Coyhaique that is packed with deers and other animals. You could also get closer to nature by spending time with horses and ride them around the Simpson River. It can be a bit chilly during Winter so you might have to prepare yourself a bit before hand.

Also, maybe because these mountains are surrounded by rivers, the land is very green and fertile. Along the green scenery, there is Lake Atravesado. On the way there from town centre, the road is always accompanied by the water, which makes the trip a lot shorter. Apart from the body of water, Lake Atravesado also has a small waterfall that decorates the whole mountain.

One of the place you should never ever miss if you’re already in Southern Chile is Puerto Río Tranquilo. It’s so special that it’s only available between December to February, otherwise this place is too cold to visit. It shuts during Winter.

Getting there from Coyhaique is possible by bus. The bus should take about 5 hours to get to the port and it costs about 10,000 Chilean Pesos. The star of this place is the Marble Caves. They are islets, popping a bit above the sky blue water, with marble walls, columns or rooms. To get there, you can hire a boat or rent a kayak from the lakeside and for about half an hour you will arrive at the cluster of beauties. I would recommend taking waterproof bag with you as sometimes, the tide can be a bit high and you might get wet. Also, you might wanna get out of the boat and explore the interior of the caves in which you might have to go through some water. It’s impossible not to take too many pictures here.

Laguna San Rafael National Park
  • San Rafael glacier
  • San Rafael Lagoon
  • Moraleda Channel
  • San Valentín glacier
  • Mount San Valentín
  • Park’s facilities
    • Punta del Cisne
    • Caiquenes Lagoon

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From Río Tranquilo, you can go to Laguna San Rafael National Park by sea. Depending on the services you choose, it can take a day or a week to get here. You could also get here from Puerto Montt as I mentioned earlier.

This park is very special for many reasons. First of all, it’s very remote and not easily accessed by land. It’s also a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve for the beautiful environment and nature. It holds the entire Northern Patagonian Ice Fields (Campos de Heilo Norte), with about 19 glaciers. One of the most impressive of all is the obvious San Rafael glacier at the San Rafael lagoon that is right by the Moraleda Channel. The other one that should be seen is San Valentín glacier. It’s close to the highest peak of the Southern Andes, which is Mount San Valentín. Its height is 4,058 metres above sea level, which is impressive as the background for many points of interest. In an addition to that, the fjords here are massive. The biggest one is more than 16 kilometres long. It’s even better if you see it in person and up close. Also, the service and facilities of this park are really good despite being so far away from the main land. However, there are only two places where you can access these facilities: Punta del Cisne and Caiquenes Lagoon. My final reason recommending this place is because there are so many things to do, such as trekking, sailing, fishing, camping and animal watching. There are high chances to see Black-necked swans, sea otters and Andean foxes. This place is goals!

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At San Rafael, we are only half way through our trip and there are already so many to see. The final half of the trip will be available very soon in my next posts. It won’t be too long, please wait for the rest.

 

 

 

 

 

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