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Here are two videos from the Valentines Day Love Festival

held 14 Feb 2010 near Ban Apa.

Please right click the links and save the videos as they are HUGE, 242 MB and 161 MB respectively!!

1. Akha Girls

2. Akha Ladies
















SUNSET @ 36000 FT



G'day from Rob, welcome to my travel diary.

I will update it as often as possible but if I'm having too good a time to do it, well, Phuket!

The rough trip outline is:

22 May 09 -Finally fly Sydney to Phuket (how the hell do you pronounce Phuket?)

22 May to 28 May - Stay in Patong

28 May to 19 Jun - See the rest of Phuket and its islands, train it to Bangkok (what's with the weird names?) and stay a few days,

train it to Chiang Mai, then by road to Chiang Rai

20 Jun to 4 Jul - Volunteer Community Development tour (this should be the most confronting and satisfying part of the whole trip)

5 Jul for a bit - See the Golden Triangle and sail down the Mekhong River to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

End Jul/Early Aug - Train it up the east cost of Vietnam for a few weeks or so (who's going to join me?)

Aug sometime - Get to Hanoi, have a peak around then head offshore to Halong Bay for a week or two

Aug/Sep sometime - Fly from Hanoi to Denpasar, see Bali for a day or two then head next door to Lombok for a well deserved break



Here we go:

Well, I'm here in Patong Beach Phuket, the start of the journey. The plane was an hour late leaving Sydney but the flight was good and safe. See you for the next thrilling instalment.

No picture, you know what a plane looks like.



Patong Beach, Phuket: What a place. I knew it was going to be hot and humid but this is ridiculous. I have to get used to it because when I get up north there will not be any aircon for a large part of the trip.

Here are a few photos from Patong and it's nearby beaches north and south. The scenery is amazing, just as good as the postcards show. I reckon beaches back in Oz are generally nicer but I haven't seen this sort of scenery outside of North Queensland. How they manage to build small bars and restaurants on some of these hillsides is beyond me but then they go and pop a large hotel on an even more steeply sloped and inhospitable hillside. Then you get to be the tourist, show up at one of these hillside joints and just stare unbelievably at the vista before you. It takes your breath away sometimes.

Anyway that's enough for now, enjoy the pics and await the next thrilling instalment:





Hillside viewing at its best.





The locals are friendly.                                          The scenery gets better around every corner.


Downtown Patong Beach.                                     The crazy things you see at the Aussie Bar 



The good things you see at the Aussie Bar. 




The Tavern I stayed in for 3 weeks at Patong.          Mai is the barmaid at the Tavern. 



Patong Beach.


Just south of Patong Beach.                                  This is a restaurant that looks back to Patong.


North of Patong Beach.


See what I mean about building on hillsides?        A friendly local.



This group of pictures are all from the Big Buddha. It is 45m tall, sits on

top of a hill and can be seen from most of the southern part of

Phuket Island. 




















These pictures were taken when I went for a ride on a scooter north of Patong.








These pictures are all of Wot Charon, a famous temple on the south eastern side of the Island.
I happened to capture a ceremony where this young kid was being inducted to be a Monk. It was a great thing to be a part of. There must have been 100 family and friends who took part in the ceremony. The whole temple compound is full of beautiful buildings and you can see that the views from the top of one particular temple are terrific.












You can see the Big Buddha in the middle top of this picture.





I had a ball riding this Honda CB400 for the day instead of the gutless scooter.



These pictures are from Doi Suthep temple in the hills west of Chiang Mai.



These steps are so steep but the picture can't capture it correctly. There is a cable car that you can take up to the temple instead. I took the cable car up!




A beautiful waterfall on the way to Doi Suthep.



Well we finally start the volunteer project. I met the group leader, Jessie, at her guest house in Chiang Mai. Jessie and her boyfriend Mek are really friendly and open people and so much fun to hang with. They run the Happy Hippy Guest House. I met up with Jessie and the rest of the group in Chiang Rai on Sunday 21st June then we packed ourselves into a ute for the 45 min trip to Ban Apa, a small Akha hilltribe about 20 km north of Chiang Rai.

The main part of our project is to work on  this community meeting house. Drains have to be dug, concreting the lower floor has to be finished, roofing has to be done and 1m high walls of besser block have to be built on both levels.

Ban Apa village. The Akha are a tribe who were relocated from higher up in the hills about 15 years ago. They have their own language and really don't consider themselves to be Thai.


This is the gang. Yes they are all lovely women and yes I am the luckiest bloke in Thailand


This is Jessie our group leader. It's just as well that she is fluent in Thai because between our group we only know about 10 words of it.


This is the local timber hauling contractor.

Besides the construction work we also go to 2 local schools to teach the kids. They are so young that we just usually end up playing games, singing, colouring in and face painting. We still aren't sure who gets more out of it: the kids or us!


The stairway to heaven, my penthouse.


My penthouse.


We all bathe this way every day!!


Try doing this yourselves. No trick photography, just patience.


The gang and some locals having a quiet drink after a hard days work.


The gang kicking up its heels back at the Happy Hippy House for the weekend.


Me and Mek enjoying the best drink in the world; Jack Daniel's.


There are some weird sights in Chiang Mai.


Kicking up our heels in a reggae club.


After a fantastic BBQ dinner last night we had our own private fire dancing show for hours. It was terrific and the local boys were only too happy to show us how good they are.

I'll be back with more after the second week of the volunteer project. La gorn