Last holiday during the Father's Day, Dek Jew had an appointment with some friends from the kindergarten to travel to Chiang Khan, Loei province.
This time we are going to stay at the resort of a grandpa of Dek Jew's friend, which is " Chiang Khan Hill Resort".
At first we didn't expect that the view from our guesthouse would be very beautiful like this....We just knew that it is located next to Mekong river. But it's located just in front of * Kaeng Kood Koo...The view is very beautiful.
We didn't plan for the trip to Chiang Khan since we have local friends there. So, we just ask them where to visit, where to eat or what to do.
There are many activities to do on this trip such as taking a boat to see the sunset in the middle of Mekong river, the walking street in Chiang Khan, making merit with sticky rice's ball, and the most impressive activity is seeing the Sea of Fog at Phu Thok (the sky was really clear and the fog was very beautiful on the day we have been to Phu Thok)
Now getting ready and start a journey to Chiang Khan with Dek Jew's kiddy gang.
*Kaeng Kood Koo is a group of large rocks blocking the Mekong River, which is located about 3 km away from Chiang Khan district centre. It's consists of a number of large rocks that have been under water for a long time, making these rocks colourful.
Dek Jew started traveling since Dek Jew were only 5 months old.
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Today there are many tourists in Nong Harn Lake, Kumphawapi because it is a long weekend in Thailand.
We rent a charter boat for 300 baht, which is a short-distance service. In general, there are either short or long distance type of the boat service here. Actually, we try to rent a long distance service but we are unable to do it because it is a long-weekend period with many demands from tourists. From this reason, the charter boat only offers a short-distance service at this time because the boat need to return back to the peer to take other tourists for another round and they won't wait for long.
Let's buy a ticket and going on board!
We sit down in a boat for a while. Then, we start seeing red lotuses blooming over the lake.
The boat sails to the point that has many red lotuses with beautiful curve of the lake as far as our eyes can see.
We see that other boats stop at this point for a while because tourists want to take pictures...but our boat still continue sailing to another point. We think that the boat will sail back here again (but it's not what we think, the boat is not going to sail back to the same way. It sails circularly T-T)
Our boat stops at this point for a while and continues sailing to the pier.
Dek Jew is quite sad of leaving the Red Lotus Sea. It was so short, only 15-20 minutes to sail over the lake. Once we arrive to the pier, a staff announce that a lot of people come here during this long weekend, so they need to return the boat quickly to take other people for another round. If we want to take longer time to visit the Red Lotus Sea, we should come on normal weekdays or non-festive days. I think it's not fair. They just want to get more rounds by reducing the time per round, which is quite unfair for tourists like us. As we took an effort to take a flight to Udonthani to see the Red Lotus Sea and will take a bus to Chiang Khan for another 3 hours, instead of flying directly to Loei airport.
We are quite sad...Dek Jew's daddy eventually says that we will come back here again and we will come during non-festive days as the staff suggested us.
We take a bus for 3 hours to Chiang Khan district in Loei province and finally we arrive to " Chiang Khan Hill Resort", which is located in front of Kaeng Kood Koo in Mekong River.
This is a guesthouse that we are staying (H2 and H3) located next to the river with beautiful river view.
In front of our room there is a grass lawn where our kids can run and collect pine cones and leaves while the adults can take a seat and talk at a table nearby.
Let's have a look at the guest room. The view outside the room is absolutely amazing! We can to lie down on bed comfortably and enjoy seeing the view of Mekong River outside the windows.
Before coming here, we just thought that we wanted to visit the resort which is belong to a grandpa of Dek Jew's friend in Chiang Khan. We saw some pictures on the Internet and thought that it was just a small family resort but what we are seeing now is totally different.
The resort area is quite large. Also, there is a big grass lawn with beautiful scenery of flowers. The resort offers 80 guest rooms with different accommodation types.
Moreover, the resort is full of guests and the rooms are fully booked (especially on a long weekend like this), also the resort's restaurant is full of guests in every meal.
These are different room types of the resort with either separate houses like the house that we are staying in or a 2-story building with many guest rooms.
The house at the edge of the river is the house of a grandpa who is the owner of Chiang Khan Hill Resort.
The grandpa spends time here after his retirement. Although his children are helping him to take care of business, he still doesn't abandon the business. We can even see the grandpa rides a bicycle around the resort in order to look after the whole operation...And especially, to take care of you.
From seeing this, it makes me want to have a small resort in a beautiful area like this, to spend time after retirement like the grandpa.
Chiang Khan Hill Resort was established around 20 years ago. The grandpa and grandma started from a small business until nowadays, the days that the grandma is no longer living on earth but the business is still being successful.
We are really proud to know a story of the resort from a daddy of Dek Jew's friend. For example, the name of the resort was named by grandma, all those big trees that has been growing since they were just small trees, or the menus that grandma made them up by herself and still the best selling menus until now.
Actually there are many places we have visited that also have a story like this but we did't recognise it. Whereas we get to know a story of this place and we are in love with it (a bit proud to know this).
The grass lawn next to our guesthouse is not only a popular tourist spot to take pictures, but it has somethings for children to play and enjoy their time.
This kind of insect-shape creations is an idea of the grandma who saw something like this on the book from abroad and adapted to be used here. Instead of being normal playthings, children can enjoy swinging and climbing on this insect-shape creations.
In the evening, we take a boat to Kaeng Kood Koo for watching the sunset there.
In early December, the weather is not much cold. By this time, there is cool wind blowing on my face that makes me feel fresh.
The sun is going down while the moon is rising on another side of the sky.
After taking a boat trip, we come back to have dinner at Krua Nucha which is a restaurant in Chiang Khan Hill Resort.
We take a seat at a table next to the river. Such a great atmosphere.
Let's have a look what they have for this meal. I confirm that all dishes are super delicious.
Begining with Koong Pae, which is a famous dish in Chiang Khan. It is a fried river-shrimp served with sweet and sour cucumber salad. So yummy indeed!...And the kids really like this menu.
A dish of fried shrimp cake is a special recipe here. It's served with rice wrapper (similar to rice wrapper of Naem Nuang) and fresh vegetables. This looks like Vietnamese dish.
Long Kaeng Salad (A dish of salad with fried dried shrimps, cashew nuts and shredded green mango) design by grandma. It is a recommended menu of the restaurant.
Other dishes are also delicious and really spicy with strong flavour of Thai herbs. Daddy really like these dishes such as spicy minced duck salad with green vegetables and chillies, stir-fried fresh Shiitake mushroom with oyster sauce, pickled pork sausage salad (homemade pickled pork sausage), spicy Tom Yum soup with Asian red-tail catfish, and stir-fried Asian red-tail catfish with spicy sauce. The last dish is deep-fried Asian red-tail catfish with garlic. The fish is really crispy...So delicious.
After eating all dishes, our stomach is full with yummy food and we have to move our body a little bit for digestion.
After satisfying our stomach with dinner, we take a walk on a walking street of Chiang Khan.
We come across this dance floor at the first place. Our kids really like this. They go to make merit and join with those grandmas to dance around the dance floor.
There are many people here but the number is less than the number of people on a walking street in Pai.
When we went to Pai, there were so crowded, even though it was not a long weekend like this.
There are many shops here, which provide various choices of food and souvenirs for you to buy and take home.
These 3 cute children are doing street performance. Once you drop money into a hat, they will change a position from a still position to be dancing like they are wind-up dolls.
Retro-style atmosphere in Chiang Khan.
We continue walking for a while but we can't continue till the end of the street because our kids are tired, since we started our trip from Bangkok early in the morning. So, we decide to return back to the resort in order to keep our energy for making merit tomorrow...
Early in the morning, we need to get up to prepare ourselves for making merit.
During waiting for a shuttle bus, let's take some pictures of the resort during this time.
We leave the resort around 5.30 AM to make merit by giving sticky rice balls to monks at walking street. The same walking street as we walked around last night.
We order a set for making merit with the price of THB 60. It comes with instant food, a bunch of flower to give to the monks, and a mat to sit down during making merit.
Generally, the monks start to leave a temple for receiving food and other needed items before the sunrise.
While waiting for making merit, the kids are so excited with joy.
Normally, we don't take Dek Jew to make merit in the morning like this (just being on time at school everyday is quite difficult).
There is a small number of the monks this morning. Sometime there is only 1 monk, sometime there are 2-3 monks coming in the same time.
I thought that the ambiance would be like in Vientiane where many monks walk in a row (actually I have never been there, just saw some pictures on the Internet)
We are really excited when the monks are coming closer. We suddenly make small balls of sticky rice for giving to the monks.
Since there are many people want to make merit and there's just small number of the monks. Therefore, the monks need to take out their food and all items from their bowl to a wheelbarrow, which a monk's attendant is going to carry along the way behind the monks. I am curious how the monks eat those sticky rice balls since they are mixed with other items in the wheelbarrow.
While we are in the middle of making merit, daddy has gone to the back of the shop where we are sitting in the front. The backside of the buildings on this walking street is located along the Mekong river. It's a little bit foggy with beautiful morning sunlight...So gorgeous.
Once we arrive to the resort, It's still in the morning time while we can see the sunrise at Kaeng Kood Khoo in front of our guesthouse.
This is a great view from our guesthouse. It's so beautiful, isn't it?
We are going to have breakfast at Krua Nucha as usual. The view in the morning at this place is amazing!
We have breakfast near the river, complemented with beautiful view and great weather. The kids are really happy at this time.
We are really impressed with the breakfast here. There are a dish of fried-egg in a small pan topping with sausage and cooked minced pork, a bowl of rice noodle soup (similar to Vietnamese noodle soup), a clear soup with boiled rice and minced pork, a dish of grilled sticky rice, and a dish of stir-fried cabbage with fish sauce...So delicious.
Normally Dek Jew doesn't eat much vegetable but at this time Dek Jew eats stir-fried cabbage over rice and finishes the whole dish.
(Sorry, there is no picture with stir-fried cabbage)
After satisfying our stomach with good breakfast, it is the time to take a walk and take some pictures :-)
Our program for today is visiting Wat Phra Phutthabaht Phukwaingern. It is a temple located on a small hill where there are many rabbits in the temple area. Our kids really enjoy feeding food to those rabbits.
Actually, the rabbits are not put into a cage but they are everywhere in the temple, wherever they like. Sometime, they hide under tourists' cars, so the temple staffs have to use a long stick to poke them out because they may be crashed by those cars.
I think it's quite scary when there are many tourists who come by cars and did't know that there are any rabbits under their cars...Not sure if there are some of them died from the car crashed...So scary.
(But why there's no picture with those rabbits)
After visiting a temple, we return to the resort for swimming.
In Chiang Khan, you can find many fresh jujubes. Dek Jew tries it once and finds that it's really delicious, so finally Dek Jew eat many pieces of those jujubes :-)
There is a playground near the swimming pool. The kids enjoy playing this very much.
For lunch, we come back to Krua Nucha again for having a nice meal. We can say that we always have our meals here for the entire trip.
We order simple dishes for this meal such as papaya salad and grilled chicken, grilled fish, and boiled fish. Every dish is so yummy :-)
This is a papaya salad without chilli pepper and garlic for mummy. It looks quite plain and colourless. Actually, a dish of normal papaya salad here looks colourful and tasty, not like this.
There is a full moon during this period. The moon is really big, bright and beautiful. It's also encircled by a corona.
After watching the full moon, let's take a walk around the resort at night.
Here is the entrance of the resort. Krua Nucha restaurant is on the left side, the reception area and the office is on the right side.
Different types of accommodations in the resort have been turned on the light brightly. It looks quiet but it's actually fully booked on this long weekend.
In the morning of the 2nd day, we are going to visit Phu Thok!
Phu Thok is the main reason that makes us want to visit Chiang Khan. We just get to know Phu Thok recently and we find that it's quite easy to reach this beautiful place since we just take a minibus to the top of the mountain and walk just few steps.
The van brings us to the foot of the mountain. First of all, we have to buy a ticket in order to take a minibus to the top of the mountain. After we bought a ticket, we suddenly get into a minibus and it takes just few minutes to arrive to the top of the mountain.
It's still dark over here but there are many people waiting for seeing the sunrise.
As you can see the below picture, there's still a full moon during this time.
Seeing through the Sea of Fog down to the bottom of the mountain, there is a line of city lights in Chiang Khan district.
First seen in real of the Sea of Fog at Phu Thok makes me fall in love with this place. It's absolutely beautiful.
We are lucky that we choose to visit Phu Thok today since the day before there was no beautiful sea of fog like this.
(This is because some guests who are staying in the same resort told us that they came to Phu Thok 1 day before us and the view was not as beautiful as today)
The sun is rising from the horizon.
Beautiful sky, full of fog and lovely sunlight.
There are many tourists this morning. We didn't see many tourists on the way to the viewpoint but on the way back it's full of tourists with extremely long line of vehicle.
This is really beautiful morning light. During selecting pictures to put on a review, it was really difficult to cut some of them off.
Even though the fog is quite thick, it does not necessarily mean that it will be cold on the mountain.
In fact, we wear really thick winter coats but we need to put them off and carry by hand when the sunlight comes. The weather is cool with comfort. No need to wear winter clothes here.
Although the sunlight is getting stronger, the fog is still not fading away and the view is still fantastic.
We spend much time taking pictures until number of tourists is getting less but the fog is still the same.
We are on the way back from Phu Thok with a lot of impression and we don't forget to stop by a morning market to buy stuffed deep-fried dough stick, which is quite famous here.
The kids also buy some boiled quail's eggs, sit, peel and eat the eggs deliciously.
We are back to the resort late in the morning. A morning scenery of Kaeng Kood Koo looks hazy and foggy but somehow it's beautiful though.
Before saying goodbye to Chiang Khan, we have a short visit to Grandma's Garden Cafe near the resort for taking pictures and having a cup of coffee. There are many chic corners to take as many pictures as you like. Although there is strong sunshine, the kids are not afraid of this. They are running around the cafe and Dek Jew's daddy follows the kids to take pictures untiringly.
For me, I just take a seat and watch them from a far distance (indoor) ^^
We return back by taking a flight with Nok Air airlines from Loei airport.
Farewell Chiang Khan with a lot of impression....Many thanks to my friend and family who always support us very well in the entire trip. I really envy this family, as they own a very beautiful resort like this as a second home.
We will come to visit you again, Chiang Khan.
Dek Jew needs to say goodbye for now. See you again in the next review and thank you for traveling together with us.