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Ban Tham Lod, Thailand

Kanlaya’s Eyrie Resort Homestay

View Thailand & Myanmar 2018 on Nsevers's travel map.

My business card says “Professional Adventurer” but even I can’t believe the adventure I took booking an out of the way jungle “luxury homestay for 3 nights.
We spent an airport night in Chiang Mai after we left Mandalay. We had an early Bangkok Airways flight to Mae Hong Son, Thailand.
Mae Hong Son!

Mae Hong Son!

I spotted Kanlaya’s Eyrie Resort Homestay on Agoda. It’s so far from everywhere I didn’t know if we could get there so I emailed and called the owners to inquire. Philip is from England and Kanlaya (Gail) is from a local Karen Tribe. They’ve got a small piece of heaven in the mountain jungle near the Burmese border, and they rent one suite to guests when they feel like it. Philip picked us up from the airport. It’s about a two hour drive to their home. We stopped at a viewpoint for about 45 minutes as we met another traveling couple that we enjoyed getting to know. After a few more stops at road markets and in a daily market in Sappong, for fruit, vegetables and a few snacks, we reached Kanlaya’s 4 hours later. Turned out to be another long travel day but the view from that portion of the Mae Hong Son to Pai loop was spectacular.


I’ve gotten a little sick this week...something with my lungs and the constant smoky air, dirt road dust, and exposure to marble dust, so I’m both tired and not feeling great. This was the perfect time and place for a rest.
Yesterday we never left the property. We enjoyed the views, the exquisite gardens, many birds and butterflies, and we watched the swift colony of 250,000 small birds return to their cave over our deck last night. We had a massage down in an open air Sala above the river.

Gail’s sister cooks dinner and we can just ask for whatever we would like. Gail & Philip grow greens & vegetables in the garden “organically” and the salads with both green and yellow local avocados have been so good. The staff are all family of Gail’s from the local Karen village. The food is served outdoors, relaxing breakfasts overlooking the Lang River and local fields with a long range view to Burma. Dinners are in the garden with a fire each night. The food has been fresh, healthy and delicious and the setting is so very lovely.

This is the heart of the “trekking country” between Pai & Mae Hong Son. There are many adventure and cultural activities available. You can visit local villages and buy handicrafts, in season the best white water rafting in Thailand is in this area, and there are caves to explore and hot springs to visit too.There are any number of camping spots, guesthouses and even dorm rooms starting at 150 Baht $3.50 US, a night. Our Homestay is the only more upscale lodging available between here and Pai...I mean a regular bed, a flush toilet and shower and towels and soap etc. the room is priced like a 4 star in Thailand city hotel. After reading reviews and seeing the photos we chanced it. A Homestay is different from a hotel or guesthouse and is not for everyone. You get to know your hosts and learn lots about the area where they live. We thought it was great. The room, gardens, views, local architecture, antiques and art are incredibly beautiful. And we learned so much from Philip, even though these were our rest days and we declined the more extensive tour options he had available.
We did tour the nearby Tham Lod Cave. It’s a popular hour plus each way day trip from Pai but it is walking distance from Kanlaya’s. How could we not? We got there early to beat the minibus tours and motorbike travelers. This is not the cave where the soccer team was marooned last spring. It’s similar in formation but this one is much larger and wider. There are 3 caves open to visitors and there’s water flowing in this cave too, year round, higher and more dangerous in the rainy season. This cave revealed evidence of inhabitants from 13,500 years ago.
Details here:


We visited Cave 1 & 2 & skipped 3 because the air there is lower oxygen and there are bats pooping everywhere. And I’m already having breathing issues. Everyone goes in with a tour guide who has a lantern. Philip provided us with head lamps too. We were so impressed with the entire site, the gardens with labels and bar code links about the many trees and plants, there was no garbage laying around, rare in this part of the world. Everything was neat and while it can be understandably slippery on the floor of the cave, all steep steps in the first 2 caves, of which there are well more than 100, had safe clean railings. I made it up to the top (slowly) and down again safely.
We thought this was like what a Disney attraction tries to be, but it was all totally natural and so very educational. There were many Thai visitors, and even a school field trip, coming by the time we finished our 1 hour plus tour.
cave Rafts

cave Rafts


Because of the cave operation, this local village is very prosperous. The local women serve as the guides, the men paddle the boats, (in the low water season boats are used only for Cave # 3. ) There are markets and restaurants to serve the sometimes 700 tourists a day who come through. Afterwards, we walked back through Ban Tam Lod Village to the Guesthouse. We stopped for a nice lunch in town at Pen’s coffee and cafe. She has an organic garden in the back and a 750 Baht ($23 US) a night Homestay across the road. We walked back past the Temple and the school. I met some teenage students who were happy to Friend me on Facebook for the photos we took. I even came across a film team making a documentary for Thai PBS about local village food.

We came here for a well needed rest midway through our trip. We will have to come back to explore the many nearby activities and beautiful nature spots in the area.

Next, Philip is dropping us off in Pai, a town I’ve visited before. We’ll be there over the Christmas holiday (we needed reservations and a plan ahead of time at that busy time of year.) I’m looking forward to seeing our Pai friends and showing Mark this out of the way small mountain town loved by Thai tourists, aging hippies and young backpackers alike.

Thanks for armchair traveling with us!

PS: I’m really liking the ease of using The TravellersPoint blog site. I have created this entire blog on my IPad and IPhone. And I’m very proud that 3 of my photos have appeared in its Featured Best Travel Photos From Around the World Already!

Posted by Nsevers 03:11 Archived in Thailand Tagged landscapes gardens cave tham lod Comments (0)

Petchaburi,Thailand 19th Century Cave Temple

Visiting Awe Inspiring Wat Khao Luang!

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We are going south of Bangkok to Hua Hin for a few days. I had the chance to visit this extraordinary Temple in 2006 when nearby on my own. About 1 & 1/2 hours south of Bangkok and a little more than an hour north of Hua Hin, it was on the way. I asked our driver, Wi Nai to make a stop there. Wi Nai had never been there or heard about this place. I think he was skeptical. I told him we would see it together, that he would come in with us. What a spectacular sight! Again, we were the only westerners there, and the Temple was uncrowded. For those who remember the phrase, every turn inside is a “Kodak Picture Moment.”
I took this photo in 2006. It’s one of my all time favorites.
And this one in 2018:

A little bit about Wat Khao Luang:
Petchaburi was a favorite place of the Thai King Rama IV. Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha Mongkut Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua (Thai: พระบาทสมเด็จพระปรเมนทรมหามงกุฎ พระจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว), or Rama IV, known in English-speaking countries as King Mongkut (18 October 1804 – 1 October 1868), was the fourth monarch of Siam (Thailand) under the House of Chakri, ruling from 1851 to 1868. So it’s safe to say that this Temple was widely visited during his reign.

Outside Thailand,King Mongrut is best known as the king in the 1951 musical and 1956 film The King and I, based on the 1946 film Anna and the King of Siam – in turn based on a 1944 novel by an American missionary about Anna Leonowens' years at his court, from 1862 to 1867. During his reign, the pressure of Western expansionism was felt for the first time in Siam. Mongkut embraced Western innovations and initiated the modernization of his country, both in technology and culture—earning him the nickname "The Father of Science and Technology" in Siam.

But there’s no technology in this Temple! It’s much the same as when I saw it more than 10 years ago. And I suspect it’s similar to when King Mongrut would visit there. Today, I took so many more photos. Enjoy them!

So Many Small Shrines, So Pretty!

So Many Small Shrines, So Pretty!


We also visited Wat Matahat in the Center of Town.

Then we stopped at a shopping center food court which is always a safe bet fora quick lunch. A Spectacular Day!

Tip: Kuhn Wi Nai is a professional driver based in Bangkok. We met him when our Kanchanaburi hotel used him to arrange to take us there. I booked him directly to take us to Hua Hin. He drives a comfortable Toyota Camry and we like him. You can reach him at
66 084 699 7532 to go places in and around Bangkok.

Posted by Nsevers 00:27 Archived in Thailand Tagged cave wat petchaburi buddha’s. Comments (0)

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