After quite a unique Christmas playing Skipbo/UNO with our adoptive Dutch family amongst an array of deep-fried goods; we realised that the number of things we wanted to do/see compared to the number of days we had left were not in our favour. Our solution? MOPED!
Realisation: After Tod gave us our key and pointed at the bike as he walked back to the reception desk we realised that neither of us actually knew how to drive the thing. Michelle can drive a car and to quote a friend “DON’T! HE’S A CYCLIST!” but two wheels with a motor was something I had never done before… Luckily a stranger we came to know as Anton was there to start this day in motion and taught us how to use our noble steed for the day.
Despite Michelle’s ability to accommodate Anton she somehow failed to carry my slightly slimmer frame. Ego bruised and chuckling to myself for the next hour about the injustice of it all… I drove.
First stop… A really big tree… not much was written about the tree, well actually nothing in English and currently my Thai is only spoken. I did read that it would take around ten people hand in hand to surround the circumference of the tree. I reckon if me and Anton held hands we would have managed the feat alone. The tree was big and impressive… once we drove past it and realised that the tree was actually the tree we were looking for. Michelle really liked the tree and since then can add tree’s along with temples to her list of new interests (See our albums on Facebook… lots of tree’s now).
We drove onwards to a local Cave/Shrine… place. Michelle suggested to not mention it on this post but to not warn anyone about it would be against one of the reasons were blogging. It’s not that the cave/shrine place wasn’t interesting it’s just that it was placed at the back of a temple that hasn’t actually been built yet and more importantly it isn’t actually a cave but more of a bunker meets poor man’s Disney set.
With Michelle firmly snuggled in behind me we set off after barely getting to the cave (Thus the one wonky photo) and headed up along the beautiful Mae Klong River. Grave yards can be quite interesting and in this example quite beautiful.
I couldn’t actually find much info on this grave yard, there is another Chinese graveyard in town that is unkept but interesting all the same, if I find any relevant information I will add it to the post at a later stage (It was on the way to Wat Tham Sua and Wat Tham Khao Noi).
After 20 kilometers and some of the most authentic hours we’ve experienced in Thailand thus far we got to Wat Tham Sua and Wat Tham Khao Noi. We have more pictures of the journey on our FB page but here are a couple.
There is quite a strange set up on the temples that have been called “sisters” from my research. Both are located on top of a hill (Michelle would call it a mountain) but for sisters it was pretty apparent that they had fallen out. They had their own set of high walled entrances clearly showing that the two Temples had nothing to share and when we walked the stairs to the very top of Wat Tham Khao Noi and walked towards Wat Tham Sua at the top we were met with more high walls lined with barbed wire segregating the two “feuding siblings”. Begrudgingly we walked back down, drove our moped out of the walled entrance of Wat Tham Khao Noi and into Wat Tham Sua.
What ever these two “sisters” were arguing about, on first impressions it seemed that Wat Tham Sua had won over the locals and from just pulling up we could see it was in much better shape than Wat Tham Khao Noi. Rather than stairs being offered to reach the top Wat Tham Sua offered a ride up the hill and after our walk up the first temple we thought it would be rude not to try the local transport that was on offer for 10 Baht.
Wat Tham Sua blew us away, the slightly neglected “sister” beyond the barbed wired walls had its charm but What Tham Sua really over delivered on our expectations.
We spent the next hour or so walking around the temple with our mouths open and the regret that I didn’t bring my DSLR but Michelle took some great photo’s that have been posted on our Facebook page for you to all see.
We splashed ourselves with the holy water after some encouragement from the retired Thai and Chinese tourists that were also saving the water for another time in plastic bags.
On the way back down the stairs we saw some monks walking up the stairs that were incredibly steep and felt a little guilty for riding the lift up. To our relief we saw the image below and didn’t feel too lazy after all.
This has been the best day we’ve had in Thailand so far and although the random “cave” was briefly entertaining, the feuding “sisters” were absolutely inspirin. I have to say the highlight for us was just seeing Thailand the way it is without it’s awareness of tourism. We exchanged waves and smiles with people in the fields, on top of haystacked trucks and within the small villages we drove through. We got lost way too many times but caught glimpses and views that Lonely Planet can’t point out.
I think on this day we learnt that sometimes the journey can be more fun than the destination itself.