sun is rising above Oman
We started with drive to Munich adnd from there onwards with 5 and half hours flight to Oman. Landing in country capital - Muscat, early in the morning, renting car for 2 days and making visit of Nizwa and Muscat.
Fast forward: Clock Tower in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand
After visit of Oman we made another 6 hours hop to Bangkok. Quick transit: one night, eat first pad thai, repacking bags and next day flight to the north of Thailand, namely to Chiang Rai. Quick sightseeing of the city and next day onwards to Laos.
comfortable (not a joke, was really comfy!) from Chiang Rai to Laos border
border-crossing from Thailand to Laos
Bus ride from Chiang Rai to Laos border was not long and with tuk-tuk and over the border bus we made it to the Laos border post. For me country number 70. Visa procedure was quick and payment of 30 USD resulted in having our passports enriched with Laos visas.
looking from Houay Xai over the Mekong River to Thailand
on our way from Houay Xai to Nam Kan National Park
Houay Xai is a small border town, mainly living from tourists. No shortage of guesthouses or restaurants. Prices lower than in Thailand. But Houay Xai was not a destination for us, it was and entry point to an adventure - the Gibbon Experience. What is that? One treks for an hour and then moves through the jungle using 12 up to 600 metres long and 200 metres high zip lines to a treehouse to spend a night in the middle of north Laos jungle.
starting trekking throught the jungle
and taking many ziplines to get to our treehouse
Zip lines were great, some pretty fast with gorgeous views. We made it to the treehouse late in the afternoon, got dinner and enjoyed evening in the jungle.
fantastic views around... just nature
Every bed was equipped with very thick mosquito nets, so one could sleep without worries of mosquito bites.
and next day morning
our adventure group
Next day we started with breakfast, packed all our stuff and jumped to ride the long row of ziplines, some even longer than those on the first day.
walking through the bamboo jungle
leaving the woods
Overall it was a great adventure, something one wouldn't do everywhere. One thing, which i feel should be improved as soon as possible is quality of equipment provided - helmets, karabiner, harnesses. All very worn, not meeting good safet standards. I don't debate, that primary mission is nature protection, but while charging 180 EUR (Laos is one of the poorest countries in Asia) for a two day tour, and 250 EUR for a 3 day tour, there should be some funds left for good equipment.
Chiang Rai again
moved back to Bangkok and leaving to the south
We returned to Thailand, spent the day in Chiang Rai and in the evening took plane back to Bangkok. That was the end of the more sightseeing and adventure part of the journey. Relaxation was ahead ;-). Next day morning we left Bangkok by southbound train in the morning. After 4 hours journey we were in our destination - Bang Saphan, small town on the coast of Gulf of Thailand.
our little paradise for a week - beach 10 meters from house :-)
yummy... coconut addicted
Right in front of the train station we got a little surprise - the Theatre Villa owners were waiting for us and gave us a free ride to their wonderful small resort, right on the beach, few kilometres south from the town.
Bang Saphan beach
garden around our house
The following days was combination of beach relaxation, bike riding, bit of sport... and we loved our stay in Theatre Villa (totally tranquil place, great owners, delicious food and nice long beach).
biking along the coast
romantic again :-)
ourselves with the guesthouse owner
But the stay got to it's end and we returned back to Bangkok to spend our last 2 days of the vacation before flying back to Europe.
leaving Bang Saphan for Bangkok
people share food in one of the Bangkok parks
flying back to Europe... above Iran
The second flight from Muscat to Munich was a bit of a sightseeing flight - Strait of Hormuz, whole Iran, Mount Damavand, Mount Sabalan and last but not least last sunrays hitting the top of biblical Mount Ararat.
biblical Mount Ararat (5165m)