Saturday, January 19, 2008

Udon Thani

The sunset from Gecko Villa.
Part of the archeological dig at Ban Chiang, complete with skeletons!
Aza & Heather enjoying the pool at Gecko.
Me by a Buddha at Phu Phrabat.
"Thai Buddhisim definietly has an element of disco!"--Heather P.

The next day, January 5th, we made our way to Udon Thani. As the crow flies, it’s directly east of Chiang Mai, but there are only direct flights there from Chiang Mai every other day and not on the day we wanted to arrive, so we ended up flying to Bangkok and then to Udon Thani. On the way there, we met up with Aaron, another SIS teacher who was coming to Gecko Villa with us. Gecko Villa ( is owned by a westerner but run by a Thai family, Ten and Ann. They have 2 sets of twins, all boys, two of whom are 18 and go to boarding school in Udon Thani and two of whom are 10. Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet the kids. Gecko Villa is out in the middle of farms, about a 20 minute walk from the nearest village and about an hour away from Udon Thani. Because it’s fairly remote, the family cooks all your meals and will drive you around to the sights. It’s a pretty fantastic place to stay the next time you’re in Thailand!

The first full day we were there, we were all pretty tired and jet-lagged, so besides walking to town, we mostly hung around the pool, read, and napped. The weather was pretty fantastic…lots of sun, but not too hot. That day the other two people staying with us, Azarea and Chandler, arrived.

The next day we went to the town of Ban Chiang, about 50 km east of Udon Thani. There was an ancient civilization in that area and artifacts dating back 5600 years have been found there. There’s a small museum with some pottery in it. There’s not that much there now because it’s closed for renovations, but it will open fairly soon. We also walked around the town and found a wat with a dig, so got to see some pots and skeletons still in the dirt, which was cool.

The next day, we went to Phu Phrabat Historical Park, which has all sorts of cool rocks left over from when glaciers moved over Thailand, and cave paintings. We spent about 3 hours wandering around. Next, we went to Wat Changtom, which is nearby. There are a ton of Buddhas and little shrines all over the place there. I don’t know that much about Buddhism anymore, so I didn’t understand a lot of what I was looking at, but it was still really interesting!

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