Thailand: Morning Mist Resort

Our accommodation at the ‘Morning Mist Resort’ was at the edge of the Khao Sok National Park.


We were to stay in small cabins that are scattered around the complex.  As I dropped my bag in the room, Number 13, I noticed that there was no AC but there was a fan and mosquito nets were dangling above the beds.  Perhaps I could have a good night’s sleep!

I opted to do nothing in the afternoon except explore and enjoy the flowers in the natural tropical gardens that surround the resort.  How often, when travelling, do we drop our bags at the place where we’re to stay and not explore its surroundings?  We just go off to explore somewhere else.  Seems a waste to me.


The main entrance to the Morning Mist Resort, rather rustic, very tropical.


Red Passion-flower (Passiflora coccinea).  This plant is a native of the Amazon Basin but is widely grown in tropical regions.  The fruit is orange or yellow and good eating.


Butterfly bush (Turnera diffusa)


This Thunbergia grandiflora has many common names such as Blue Skyflower, Bengal Trumpet and Clockvine.  It is native to China, India, Nepal, Indochina and Burma.  Broken pieces of plant float down watercourses and establish easily.  The large flowers are followed by pods which eject seeds several metres on ripening.  It is a declared noxious weed in Queensland.  By the same token it has been given an Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society (UK).  A climbing plant, it can reach 20m in height.


The shrub Vinca (Kopsia fruticosa) occurs in India and on the Malay Peninsula.  It has important traditional medicinal properties and is used in treating sores and syphilis.


Ixora sp. come from Africa and Asia.


Costus babatus is a plant closely related to the gingers and heliconias.


The Blue Butterrfly Pea (Clitoria ternatea) is a widely grown annual vine.  It originally comes from Tropical Africa and South America.


Hanging Lobster-claw (Heliconia rostrata).


An especially long inflorescence on a Hanging Lobster-claw plant (Heliconia rostrata).


There are over a 1,000 species of Anthurium from tropical America.  Many more 1,000’s of cultivars have been bred from the original species.


A white-flowered member of the potato family (Solanum sp.).


There are approximately 40 species of water-lily (Nymphaea) widely spread throughout temperate and tropical regions of the world.


Sometimes called Spider Lily (Hymenocallis littoralis), this plant is very salt tolerant.

After this delightful, if hot, wander in the gardens, Brian and I went for a walk down the local road to see what we could find. More of that anon.


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Thailand : Train to Surat Thani

Our quicker than expected  journey to the Bangkok rail station resulted in us getting there with 2 hours to spare, which in turn, gave us time to check out the station shops.


A few snacks were bought which we hoped would ease the pain of what was ahead of us. We sat as a group on the floor of the large waiting area along with all the locals as we all awaited our various trains to arrive at their designated platforms.


There was a special cordoned off area set aside exclusively for monks.  Especially revered, the monks had ornately carved wooden chairs to sit on.  The monk in the front row had a nasal inhaler stuck up his nose.


Our smart looking train arrived and we were allowed to board over an hour before our due departure. We found our respective berths and settled in. There were three Intrepid groups all leaving Bangkok on the same train and we all ended up in the same carriage.


Our destination for this part of our journey was Surat Thani.  We left on time at 19.30 and slowly made our way through the suburbs of Bangkok.  By now it was dinner time and many of us had opted to have the set menu on the train rather than buy stuff at the station – far more exciting!  I chose chicken with cashews which came with a bowl of watery cabbage soup, rice and a red curry.  It turned out to be very tasty and a good choice.

Our 2nd class carriage was set out with longitudinal berths, one above the other.  Surprisingly, they were exceptionally comfy… ah! comfy.  I’ve been here too long already as I’ve just spelled comfy with the Thai “ph” instead of an “f”… that’s the second time as the first occurred in notes I wrote earlier!

Our conductor made up our beds with a sheet, pillow and blanket and we all turned in behind our brand new blue curtains by 21.30.  I was dreading what was ahead but must say that the carriages were closely coupled so there was no rocking backwards and forwards on stopping and starting.  I was in the top bunk so couldn’t even sense when we started from each stop until the train gained some considerable speed.  I couldn’t see out.  I slept for around 2 hour periods at a time so had a very much more restful sleep than I had anticipated.  Bed tea arrived early morning and at THB40 was a steal.

The train journey to Surat Thani gave me time to reflect on the group I was travelling with on the first part of this journey (I was to change groups half way through).

I was to share all the way with Brian Smith, an American from Colorado. A 46 y-o old, very easy-going American.  I guessed we’d get on pretty well together… and we did.

Twelve in the group, four guys, eight girls; all seemed to gell very well.. so far, so good.  I’m the oldest by 3 years, the youngest was just 18.  She was to have her 19th birthday later on during the trip.  We hail from Australia, Switzerland, Canada, the UK, and the States.  One of my fellow travellers is a garden tour guide!  She was born in the UK but now lives in the USA.  We have lots in common; ideas etc. to be explored over the following weeks.

Our guide to Singapore is Alif… not a Thai name I said, to which he agreed.  He said he was a ‘wok stir fry’ of Arabic, Thai and Chinese extraction.  A very likeable fellow in his mid to late 20’s, maybe into his early 30’s. How can you tell?!


We arrived at our destination, Surat Thani, on time at 07.30 and walked directly across the road and awaited breakfast in a local cafe.  I chose to have a couple of fried eggs, ham and two pieces of toast and a cappuccino…I’m a little bit tired of rice for every meal so far.  I’ll get back to the ‘Thai’ thing as time progresses and the options diminish.


After breakfast we boarded private mini-buses for the 90 minute drive out on the 401 highway to Khao Sok National Park.  Our accommodation was listed as the ‘Morning Mist Resort’ which is located on the edge of the park.  But more about that anon.


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Thailand: Bangkok : Wat Pho Temple b

There was yet much more to see and enjoy at the Wat Pho Buddhist Temple in Bangkok Officially it’s known as Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn, no wonder it has an easier to remember common name!

Wat Pho is associated with King Rama I who rebuilt the temple on a previous temple site. Construction began in 1788 and took over seven years to complete.  In 1932, King Rama III renovated and enlarged the temple complex.

The temple grounds contain 91 small stupas, four great stupas, called chedis, two tall belfries, a number of other buildings, pavilions, halls and gardens as well as the central shrine, the main hall used for performing Buddhist rituals, the most sacred building of the complex.


I understand that these bell like structures, called Phra Chedi Rai, contain the ashes of members of the royal family of Thailand. They are beautifully decorated.


Real flowers enhance the carved floral decorations.


There are approximately 1,000 Buddha statues in the various pavilions, some with bright shining new gilding and recently redecorated ‘cushions’.  The one on the left, by contrast, is need of a ‘shine up’! A constant maintenance program is required in the temple.


The black Buddha contrasts starkly with the newly gilded statues on either side.  The black Buddha has been lacquered in preparation for its new coat of gold leaf.

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The craftsman is preparing this statue for gilding.

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Spreading the lacquer also fills small imperfections and is applied with great care.


Some very different stone statues hold up a very tall, very heavy structure.


…and here it is!


Just before we leave Wat Pho, let’s take a closer look at some of those traditional roof decorations. They’re made up of tiny coloured mirror tiles.


I’ve heard it said that, if you only visit one temple during your time in Bangkok, this is the one… the architecture is fascinating and the decorations are indeed beautiful.

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After the Wat Pho temple visit finished there were a number of options to select from to fill in the rest of the afternoon.  I chose a tuk tuk drive through the busy streets to get me back to my hotel to chill out for the afternoon.

A shower was very welcome after wandering around in temperatures in the high 30’s with very high humidity.  Later, I ventured across the road and had a very relaxing massage.  I didn’t opt for a Thai massage as it bends and pulls your body into all sorts of unnatural positions. I’m a little bit too old to be bent double, who knows what may break!  But I‘m not too old to happily pay THB350 (about AUD14, plus a THB100 tip) to a masseuse for a relaxing oil massage.

Next, it was time to wash off some of that oil and be in the lobby ready to go to the train station for our 12 hour overnight train ride to our next destination – Surat Thani, about 700 km. away.  We were loaded into mini-vans and trundled off in the direction of the station, which wasn’t all that far away, but with Bangkok traffic as it is, it’s impossible to predict travelling times accurately.  As it turned out we made the trip in double quick time, notwithstanding the small, small accident we had along the way.  We bumped into the vehicle in front when it stopped suddenly.  Actually, the downward movement of our vehicle on stopping suddenly caused the contact.  Next to no damage with both drivers smiling when they got back into their respective vehicles.

I have added a short video of my time in Bangkok:


Our next destination was Surat Thani… more of that anon.


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Thailand: Bangkok : Wat Pho Temple a

After a very interesting cruise along one of Bangkok’s many klongs, we stepped ashore on Rattanakosin Island, which is directly south of the Grand Palace. We were to visit one of the many, many temples in Bangkok, the Wat Pho Temple.


Wat Pho is one of Bangkok’s oldest temples.  It existed even before King Rama I decided to establish Bangkok as Thailand’s capital.  In 1788, he began to rebuild the temple complex on an earlier temple site.  The marshy site had to be drained and filled before construction began.  Construction took over 7 years to complete.


In 1832, King Rama III began renovating and enlarging the Wat Pho temple complex.  It now covers an area of 10ha (22 acres).  This king was also responsible for turning the complex into a centre of learning, thereby creating Thailand’s first university.


I think you’ll find a wander here as fascinating and enjoyable as I did.  Some of the architecture and decorations are truly beautiful.


Entrances to temples are guarded by rather fearsome statues.  These are supposed to ward off evil spirits.  Usually, there is one on either side of the entrance.


A close up… carved in stone.  I’d be scared off!


Other statues are somewhat more benign.


Many of the small buildings are highly decorated.


A line of ornate swan-like necks support the roof beams.


Wat Pho is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.  It’s official name is Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn.  Little wonder it has a couple of easier to remember common names!

This reclining image of Buddha, 15m high and 46m (150 ft.) long, represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana, the place all Buddhist’s aspire to, the place where all reincarnations end.  It’s one of the largest Buddha statues in Thailand…. so big that it is extremely difficult to photograph!  It’s brick core is covered and shaped with plaster, after which it was gilded.


A close up of the face of Wat Pho’s Reclining Buddha shows how the right arm of the Buddha partly supports the head with its tight golden curls.  The pillows are of pill box design and are richly encrusted with glass mosaics.

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The soles of the feet of the Buddha are quite unusual… I haven’t seen anything like this before.  Just the size is amazing… they are 3 m high and 4.5 m long!  The sole of each foot is divided into 108 ‘boxes’, each one displaying an auspicious Buddhist symbol… flowers, tigers, dancers, white elephants etc… although I don’t know what they mean.  In the centre of each sole is a circle representing an energy point, called a chakra.

A close up of another of those bearded statues guarding the temple rooms. Attention to detail in these stone sculptures is incredible.


Outside in a small garden… another less ornate, less forebidding,  statue.


Wat Pho was considered the first public university of Thailand teaching students in the fields of religion, science and literature through murals and sculptures.  These wall drawings show pressure points that are the basis of Thai massage techniques.  There are many more around the walls.

That tradition of learning continues here with a school for traditional medicine and massage which was established in 1955.  There are courses in Thai massage, well known in many countries now, as well as Thai medicine, pharmacy and midwifery.


This fellow looks more than a little intimidating but at the same time, somewhat jovial!


Nearby, another small temple building with a superb roof… and an open door.


Inside… a buddha seated on a pile of cushions.  Just one of the many shrines in this very large temple complex.  There’s still much to see here… so we’ll explore more anon!


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New posts on

We are taking a break on this site for awhile.Thanks for your company over the past few months. If you have followed us, you will be alerted when we return to more travel postings on this site.

In the meantime we’ll be writing up a 28 day adventure David took recently with an Intrepid Tour group visiting cities, towns, villages, home stays and national parks in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. We’ll be adding posts of his photos and trip notes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays .  We hope you enjoy them. The site link is:

Jennie and David

Thailand: Bangkok : Along a Klong

Welcome back to another series of travel musings and photos. This series follows a 28 day adventure I took in March /April this year with an Intrepid Tour group visiting cities, towns, villages, home stays and national parks in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. We’ll be adding posts of my photos and trip notes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We hope you enjoy them.

So why this adventure from Bangkok to Bali?  I’ve been to most SE Asian capitals a couple of times, but only as a transit passenger.  I decided I needed to know something about the countryside I’d been flying over for decades.  On this adventure, I traveled by many means of transport: train, plane, push bike, kayak, mini-bus, trishaw, intercity coach and various types of boats including long-tails on the klongs of Bangkok. So let’s begin!


After the group I was to travel with met together at the designated Bangkok hotel, we set off for our first exploration together… a ‘cruise’ along one of Bangkok’s canals or Klongs.

The last time I was on a klong was back in 1976 when the klongs were not a pleasant place to be. They were extremely dirty with all sorts of unmentionable things floating by including ….. I won’t even go there. This cruise, which lasted 90 minutes, was a much more pleasant experience.

The word ‘klong’, sometimes ‘khlong’ in Thai, is used to name smaller rivers as well as the canals of Bangkok.  Historically, Bangkok was a maze of klongs and the city was given the nickname of Venice of the East.  These klongs were very important for transportation, a place for floating markets and less invitingly as a place for sewerage disposal.  Many of the klongs have been filled in now.


Many homes are built on stilts stretching over the klongs.


Temples too, are built right on the klongs edge.


The waterways are important thoroughfares.

This trader plies has wares from his long narrow boat


Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) is an attractive plant in itself but can become a huge weed problem under the right growing conditions.


Colourfully decorated long-tail boats transport tourists around the klongs.


Private jetties belonging to large homes and hotels jut into the water.


Some homes are lavishly decorated.


This long-boat couple sell hot soup from their craft.


Some homes are not as well maintained.


Rebuilding and repairs are still taking place after the devastating floods of 2011, (815 deaths were recorded with 3 missing).  Sixty-five of Thailand’s 77 provinces were declared disaster zones and 13.6 million people were affected.


More repairs being undertaken.


A typical wooden house built in the old Thai style.


When you live on a klong, where else do you hang the washing to dry?


More houses awaiting repairs.


Not much playing space if you live on a klong.


The clothes line.


Colourfully decorated long-tail boat.


Another similarly decorated boat.


A larger boat on the Chao Phraya River.


Our river cruise ended when we arrived at the Wat PhoTemple, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. More of that visit anon.


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CAN: Vancouver: Richmond

While in Vancouver, we visited my cousin in the small seaside town of Richmond.


Wandering along the boardwalk at the small fishing port in Richmond is pleasant… unless you go when it’s crowded at the weekends.


A little away from the tourist centre is a park by the water, popular for family picnics.


Children love playing on this sculpture.


The water’s edge is littered with logs that have broken away from the large log rafts that are floated down to the harbour from forests up in the mountains.


Fishing boats fill the marina. Fish is sold right off the boats. That’s fresh!


A fish shop set up on the back deck of a boat moored at the boardwalk.


The fishing boats are set up with all of the latest gear.



A large fish cannery once thrived in Richmond… now it’s just a fascinating museum.


There were many signs telling the story of the cannery… I’ll add some of them for those who might be interested to learn more of the cannery story.




In the early 1900s, many families migrated here to work in the canneries.




‘Wire’ figures were used to show the activities in the cannery… an interesting concept.


Signs told the stories, although guided tours are available.






Some signs told the stories of the various kinds of fish that were caught here.


Other signs were questioning, thought provoking.


Whose fish?  An age old question, especially here where USA and Canada meet.


The cannery runs an excellent school program.

I visited the classroom and found the program to be very informative and fun.


After a very interesting visit to the canning museum it was time for lunch on the boardwalk. There are, of course lots of souveneir shops, cafes and ice-cream bars.

And with that visit to Richmond, we come to the end of this series of travel posts. We hope you have enjoyed them and invite you to visit our alternate site,  where David will tell stories of his trip, just completed, from Bangkok to Bali.

Jennie and David

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CAN: Vancouver

While in Canada, we not only visited our friends on Vancouver Island but we also had a few days with my cousin in Vancouver…a city close to the top of my list of most liveable cities, although I believe it can be a little cold and dismal in winter! But this was summer.


I’ve enjoyed English beach on each of my visits here. The log seats and resting places are unique to this beach adding character as well as keeping the sand in place.


The walks around the headland towards Stanley Park are very pleasant. In fact many of the parks are great places to walk as I’ve discovered on previous visits.


But this time we just took our time to enjoy the sunny day and savour a delicious lunch at the Boathouse Restaurant… upstairs at a window seat. You can’t beat that!


On another day, my cousin took us by bus and train into the CBD to have dinner at the revolving Restaurant called Cloud 9. We made sure we were there in the late afternoon to see the city as we revolved slowly and stayed on to enjoy the sunset over the bay.


It was a great experience to look down on Vancouver as we enjoyed our meal!


Lots of high rise buildings… a central city of apartment dwellers.


Ever more apartments are being built to make use of available space.


This high-rise shimmered like copper, the mirrored windows forming abstract patterns of the city around them.


Vancouver is very close to mountains with some well known ski resorts.


Nowhere is far from water.


Sailing and boating are much enjoyed pastimes in these sheltered waters.


They have to sail amongst the ships waiting to go the docks to be loaded.


The restaurant revolved further to show the inner harbour.


The marinas here shelter many types of yachts and pleasure vessels.


On our final time around, the sun began to set and the water shimmered gold.


It was a very special way to end our meal at Cloud 9.


And then, at last, the sun was gone, the sky turned rose pink, making a silhouette of the mountains, and it was time for us to make our way back to Richmond.

More of that town anon.

Jennie and David

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with my cousin who lives in the nearby town of Richmond.



CAN: Vancouver Island; A Private Garden c



Back from our walk in the woods, David waited for me in the garden at the rear of our friend’s house… more delightful flowers and a special surprise awaited us here.


A blossom filled hanging basket.


Big and blowsy but how delicate is the colouring of these flowers.


Clematis, perhaps my very favourite of all plants.




A bouquet of rose buds.


Anyone for honey? It’s hard work for bees.


Difficult to photograph… shiny red berries.


Silver grey amongst the green… delightful.


A tiny, put perfect geranium flower.


I always think of the buds of Kalmia latifolia as icing sugar buds.


The buds open into perfect, though tiny, bells.


Birds abound in both the woods and in the garden…

attracted by the feeders no doubt.


And this was our surprise… hummingbirds. Their name comes from the fact that they flap their wings so fast that they seem to hum. Interestingly, each species of hummingbird makes a different humming sound, determined by the number of wing beats per second… some recorded at up to 80 beats and more per second.


These are fascinating birds to watch. If you watch for long enough you can see them fly to the right, to the left, up, down and even backwards… the only group of birds able to do this. When they hover their wings flap in a figure 8 pattern… though this is a bit difficult to see unless you slow down a video of their wing movements.


The tiny feathers on these birds make delicate patterns.

Their feet are used only for perching… not for hopping or walking.


By merely shifting position, the gorget feathers of the throat region can instantly become fiery in colour as the sun hits the prism like layers of these feathers.

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The hummingbird’s fast breathing rate, fast heartbeat and high body temperature require that they eat often. They need to eat twice their body weight in food every day. To do that they need to visit hundreds of flowers.. or have generous neighbours like our friends to give them a helping hand. That long, tapered bill is used to obtain nectar from the centre of long, tubular flowers… or, as here, from simulated tubular flower feeders. Their tongues can lick the nectar at a rate of 13 licks per second… try it sometime! Nectar is a mixture of glucose, fructose, and sucrose and is a poor source of important nutrients such as protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. To make up for this lack in nectar, hummingbirds also feed on tree sap, insects and pollen.


We could have watched for hours as the hummingbirds darting back and forward to the feeders … but a delicious meal of salmon BBQ’d on cedar boards had been prepared for us… so we left these amazing little birds to their own feast while we enjoyed ours.

We are very grateful to our good friends for allowing us to photgraph their garden and we hope you have enjoyed sharing their garden with us.

Jennie and David

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CAN: Vancouver Island; A Private Garden b

Leaving the delightful lily pond, let’s take the path around towards the back of the house.




We have a very willing guide!


One of my favourite ‘green’ additions to a garden… Lady’s Mantle.


Especially beautiful when dusted in rain drops!




















The ‘vegie’ garden provides wonderful fresh food for the table.


Behind the house is a large area of woodland… great for walks. I’ll just give you a taste of that experience… I couldn’t stop all the time for photos… after all, it was a walk!










One of our little guides waited patiently for me to join in the next part of our walk. So,  I’ll leave you now and, when we come back, we’ll explore the garden behind the house.

Jennie and David

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