Monday – 21st January
The drive to the Maruay Garden Hotel cost 500 baht for a 45 minute drive. I was only spending an hour here but I got a feel for the hotel. There was a massive foyer, beautiful big staircase, and comfortable waiting area. To the right was the entrance to the dining room which was still serving breakfast. There was a massive buffet, which looked absolutely delicious. Before coming to Bangkok, I had read reviews that Maruay Garden Hotel was not very nice so I booked elsewhere. Needless to say I plan on staying here next time.
I met up with my friend Kate and her husband Wayne at the hotel, to travel to Phimai. Our driver, Mr Chaup was the sweetest and happiest man I think I have ever met. The Lam Ta Khlong Dam was on the way – its massive – and Mr Chaup was keen to show it to us. Wayne introduced me to BBQ pork rolls which are insanely delicious!
There are so many 7 Elevens in Thailand which are a great place for rest stops. Everything was so ridiculously cheap compared to Australia.
We drove past so many amazing places – giant monuments, temples, roadside markets…it’s so insanely different from the Australian roadside attractions. The sites seen just from driving along the highway are just cool. I’m not sure how else to put it.
Phimai Inn Hotel is a great budget hotel. Its right on the southern edge of Phimai, only short walking distance to the markets, the town centre, and the Phimai historical park. The bathroom was more like a wetroom, which was a new concept to me, and was quite small. The room had two large single beds, a tv, a wall length desk, a couch, cupboard and aircon. The view from the other side of hotel looks over the town and the view from my room was in to some bush. There is a massive pool right near the restaurant and bar.
Tuesday – 22nd January
First day at Ban Non Wat. Songthaews are the vehicle used to take everyone to the site. If you ever have the opportunity to ride in a songthaew, take it. It’s a lot of fun. Ban Non Wat is a village which has had continuous occupation for c.4000 years. I went on a tour around the village first and saw the Museum, nearly finished at the time, and finished now. The village is such a beautiful place and definitely worth visiting the museum. The locals who work there are so lovely. There are also so many beautiful friendly dogs just hanging around..
I did my washing in the bathroom sink, which was an interesting experience. Wash in sink, rinse with shower head. There is a clothes line up of the roof, which the workers use for washing laundry, where I hung my clothes to dry.
Doing your own laundry is a great way to save money when travelling.
Dinner was a massive shared meal with authentic Thai food. My first experience with super spicy food and I loved it.
Wednesday – 23rd January
I watched a field rat get cut and cooked, while looking at the weapons used to catch them. Then I ate the rat. It was deep-fried and it tasted like lamb. I surprisingly enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend trying it!
Lunch was brought to us by the hotel every day – it was a big lay out of delicious cold and hot foods, and fruit.
I was then introduced to the mobile ice cream man – it’s all Streets ice cream. YUM! Who doesn’t love the ice cream man?
Sunday – 27th January
We had lunch at nearby Wat Marum which was having a festival. Lunch was free and made by the local people.. traditional Thai food. It was delicious but it was so spicy! Will need to work on my spicy food threshold for next time. The Ban Non Wat villagers kept bringing us some delicious food to try as well – including a coconut custard dessert which was delicious. We saw the Buddha statue and I hung around while the service started. The monks sang a beautiful prayer! It was magical. A really great way to see the faith. People were coming from everywhere to come and see. I was so in awe that I lost track of time.
I had the best toasted ham and cheese sandwiches & hot chocolate in Phimai and I tried banana roti (delicious), did shopping at a Thai supermarket, and then rode back to the inn on a moto (first time) which was an experience.
If you’re going to ride a moto the ‘man’ way, beware not to burn your legs.
I went to a restaurant, Vimayapurapat Place, in Phimai for dinner. It is so big and beautiful. We ate in an upstairs room with aircon to hide from mosquitoes and the rain.
Dinner here was divine. There was so much food! I had a slice of ice cream cake roll for dessert which was delicious. The staff were incredibly helpful and had friendly service. It ended up costing 270baht each between 8 of us. That is like $7AUD. This restaurant is a must in Phimai!
Monday – 28th January
I spent the afternoon at the local Phimai Monday Markets so I could get shoes and a new ball for my earring. I tried the BEST shake; oreo, milo and ice cream. Also had some delicious popcorn.
Tuesday – 29th January
It’s incredible how many temples you can see on the side of the ride as you drive through communities. They are beautiful, elegant amazing structures that tower above you. A lot of the time they are in the middle of nowhere.. surrounded by rice fields. The countryside reminds me so much of Australia, but at the same time it’s so different.
We stopped at a house we have watched get built since getting here. It’s a curious place. Turns out it’s a tree stump! So awesome. The builders just let us in to walk around…!
Wednesday – 30th January
This afternoon I went to the Sai-ngam Banyan Trees in town…It’s so beautiful! I also went to the markets nearby and had a look at the little animals you can buy to let go in the water around the tree for good luck.
Saturday – 2nd February
I walked through the night market and then I got to see the Phimai Historical Park in the afternoon afternoon. Was so amazing. I spent two hours there.
This will continue next week with my trip around Northeast Thailand.