Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

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buksida
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Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by buksida »

The climate in Thailand has become progressively worse in recent years with hotter, longer dry seasons and wetter drawn-out rainy seasons often lasting months on end (at least where I live), not to mention the new smog season when air pollution is hazardous across most of the country from February to May.

For that reason, we decided on a road trip to the north of Thailand to enjoy the cooler January weather while it lasted, and before the haze season started (in some parts it already has). Additionally, there are four mountainous non-touristy provinces that I’d yet to visit during my years in Thailand - Uttaradit, Phrae, Nan, and Phayao.

It was too far to drive to the four ‘unseen’ provinces I wanted to visit in one go (over 1,000 km) so we spent a night just north of Ratchaburi to see the spectacular Nasatta Winter Illumination Light Festival. This place was a magical wonderland unlike anything I had seen in Thailand before and my two cameras were busy for three hours.

Photos here: viewtopic.php?t=41741&start=31

Map of the route around the north, driving anti-clockwise.
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To follow: Chainat and Uthai Thani
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by buksida »

The following day we drove to Chainat to visit family but ended up staying across the river in Uthai Thani province. Both areas are very rural with very little to see or do but we did visit the most blinged-up temple I have ever seen - Wat Tha Sung, otherwise known as the ‘Crystal Sanctuary’. This sprawling place was mesmerizing and clearly a popular spot among the selfie Insta-crowd. A few hundred yards away was the equally ostentatious 'Golden Castle' which is part of the same sprawling temple complex.

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To follow: Uttaradit
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by joelle »

1197 is a great shot with you in the back
Find the temple a bit too bling bling
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

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With the worst bit of driving behind us (the hellish roads and traffic around Nakhon Pathom), we motored north on relatively empty stretches of road in various states of repair to Uttaradit. This non-descript northern Thai town doesn’t have many attractions, hence the quick overnighter before venturing into the hills to our first campsite.

I’d meticulously planned this trip to avoid the campsites and popular places at the weekends, opting to stay at hotels in the towns instead on Fridays and Saturdays when the rest of the country wants to “bai tiew”.

It paid off at the ‘Jamjuree’ campsite in the hills north of the Sirikit dam and reservoir where we had the entire place to ourselves for two nights. We camped right on the river and enjoyed the beautiful settings and cool evenings as ‘golden hour’ cast a magical light across the river. Temperatures dropped as low as 15 degrees by sunrise which was also refreshing and a complete contrast to the hot and humid south.

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To follow: Phrae
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by Big Boy »

It looks lovely, but not the sort of life for this softee I'm afraid. Excellent photos as usual.
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by joelle »

Great shots, lovely scenery
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by Bamboo Grove »

The colours in the photos are just amazing. I must start to seriously consider buying a real camera in Hong Kong sometimes in the future.
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by buksida »

Some of them are taken with filters or processed with presets using Adobe Lightroom, but the colours were pretty impressive!

I would imagine you could get a good deal on a new camera in Hong Kong, I did in Japan.
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

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After a few perfectly relaxing days (aside from the all-morning roosters - more on that here) we drove north again to Phrae for a hotel stay, a proper shower, some laundry, and to restock on camping supplies. Most Thai provincial towns are homogenous, once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, and Phrae was no different. By 8pm everything was closed and it was a struggle to find a restaurant open for some dinner.

It was time to get out of town after just one night and head to our next campsite but on the way was a seldom-visited cave that had been illuminated with different lighting to provide some great photo opportunities. There was no entrance fee and we were the only people in Pha Nang Koi cave.

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To follow: Nan, Doi Samer Dao
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by Dannie Boy »

They certainly put a rainbow to shame - spectacular!!


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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by Big Boy »

Amazing what a few well placed floodlights can do.
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by joelle »

Stunning ❤️❤️ :thumb:
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

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Tonight we were camping at Doi Samer Dao in Nan province, a famous spot for Thai stargazers due to its elevation and clear skies. There was a 100 baht farang park fee to pay even though the campsite was outside of the national park but I wasn’t going to argue considering the drive we’d just done, the last few kilometers on very hairy dirt roads with serious gradients best suited for a 4WD.

As before, the campsite was desolated and we were the only ones there, even the staff had disappeared with it being midweek. We picked a spot overlooking the Nan River and the mountains forming the Laos border and tied the tent down as it was a little breezy up on the summit at almost a kilometer high. A fire kept us warm and the bugs away as the temperature dropped and the moon rose over the spectacular valley below.


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To follow: Nan
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by Nereus »

Some rugged country in that area, also very dry at this time of the year. I am sure that you are aware of the fire risk, a small spark blown by the wind could set that whole place on fire. I have wandered around that area, mostly Phrae and the road to Nan, but I was not aware of that high lookout. Brilliant photos! :thumb:
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Re: Photo Trip Report: Camping The North

Post by buksida »

Nereus wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 4:33 pm I am sure that you are aware of the fire risk, a small spark blown by the wind could set that whole place on fire.
There were enough farmers in the area setting the whole place on fire every day!
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