Star Date:  March 2018


Hello Dear Family & Friends!



(Hello! Goodbye. Good morning. Good evening Thai)



“Follow your gut, Storyteller, it will lead to your happy ending.”
(Isabel Greenberg)


Jao Mae Nang Non a beautiful Thai princess fell in love with a stable boy and became pregnant. Knowing their love was forbidden, they fled and eventually settled in the cave to rest. When the stable boy went out in search of food, he was caught by the princess’ father’s army and killed.  Distraught, the princess stabbed herself and bled to death in the cave.  The legend says it is her blood that became the water that flows through the cave, while her body is the surrounding mountains, said to look like a sleeping woman.

Her legend, and in turn how her spirit came to linger in the cave in Chiang Rai, near Myanmar, is similar to dozens of other tales across a country whose belief system and folklore are heavily influenced by Brahmin, Buddhist and animist traditions.  Caves hold spiritual and mythical significance in Southeast Asian nations, where the recent ordeal of the young soccer players who disappeared in the cave has spawned an outpouring of media coverage of ghost stories and supernatural explanations for the incident.

Exploring caves during the rainy season is dangerous.  Why the young, 25 year old soccer coach led his team into the mouth of Tham Luang Nang Non cave remains unclear.  Lack of experience almost cost 13 people their lives.  Weather was fine that day but as soon as the group reached the bowels of the cave the skies opened up, as can happen so easily in the tropics.

Muddy river paths quickly swelled and their return route to the surface was cut off.  The river raged and swelled leaving only a small ledge on which the coach and his 12 teenage team members narrowly escaped death.  This was to be their refuge for the next 9 days. The nightmare continued as one of the rescuers exploring the many kilometers of channels of the cave ran out of oxygen before he himself could reach the mouth of the cave and safety. 

Ten days into the search the agonizing wait was over. A Navy seal located the boys in a remote finger of the cave network.  A shining rescue light spotlighted the tired, sick boys, clinging to life on a dark cave shelf.  A finer sight was never seen. Their location was marked and supplies brought in. Once the boys were located the problem was how to carry out the rescue.  Time was running out and death around the corner.  In complete darkness and not eating for 10 days they survived on murky water from inside the cave.

Thai Navy seals surrounded each boy as they swam under water for hours, squeezing through narrow openings, and finally wading waist deep through the stream to the closest opening to daylight and freedom.  A happy ending. “An entire country is one in heartfelt thanks.”  Do myths or legends have a rooting in reality? Chances are future hikers will heed the signs at the entrance.  This story had a happy ending, and we all like happy endings.

I once climbed through a mountain, through a cave in China, near Guilin.  It was one of the most dangerous explorations I found myself on.  Slippery rocks made treacherous going, ladders needed to ascend were hanging loosely by one anchor and we had to swim across the cold swiftly flowing stream full of large golden leeches to reach our goal.  We made it.

Talking to a group of young local people around the dinner table on our travels we noticed they were visibly shaken by their recent cave exploration.  After a successful ‘spelunking’ adventure they headed back only to be met with a wall of water and an ever increasing rise in the water level.  Soon they were hanging on for dear life with only a couple of inches of air space at the top of the cave.  Fate allowed the water to recede as the outside rain stopped.  Their lucky day, the escape route was not under water and they lived to tell us the story through trembling lips.  Another happy ending.

Traveling from an exciting whirlwind week in Bangkok to the island of Ko Pha Ngan we decided to skip the option of rock climbing or cave exploration.  The site of the noisy Full Moon Party where young people and party animals converge for an orgy of drinking and drugs; many being scammed, arrested or hauled away on  stretchers, we immediately headed north up the other side of the island.  Caves and or crowds were not on our list this visit.

We flew from Bangkok, then took a ferry to Ko Pha Ngan Ko Pha Ngan is an island in southeast Thailand that’s renowned for its monthly Full Moon Party. This boisterous night-long celebration, which is tied to the lunar calendar, draws revelers to its southeastern peninsula, Haad Rin. Most festivities center on Sunrise Beach, whose beach bungalows attract a backpacker crowd. On the north coast lie quieter, white-sand beaches including Hat Khuat and Hat Thian. Heading in the opposite direction, we jumped off the back of a pickup truck and roamed the beaches near Had Yao.  A chilled area featuring several Yoga retreats we enjoyed lounging on the beach and walking for miles daily simply exploring the terrain.  We ventured out to a night market and enjoyed the usual taste bud tantalizing Thai food that keeps us returning to this country.  We later explored another area of the island settling in to a quiet beach; quiet that is when the Full Moon hoards are absent.  There is something to be said for the beauty of ‘off season’.   



And so it goes.........................................Next a 'flash from the past.'  Until then let's remember to follow our intuition or gut.  It will lead us to a happy ending.  Take care and keep those emails coming!



Love, Light & Laughter, 

xoxoox  Nancy & Joseph




Travel notes:

1 US Dollar = 32.66 Thai Baht



Roof Garden Guesthouse
#63 Soi Rambutri, near Khao San
boss # 089 784 9058

general  02800514

521 AC 600

421 AC 600  if window fixed
321 AC 600

Other rooms without AC 300 and 400 bhat  Jun 4, 2016 The buzz: Located in Khao San, Mango is dedicated to healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes. Owned by devout vegetarian Wachiraya Suebsang and sculptor Wonlop Nimesanong, the restaurant is already packed with tourists in search of a healthy meal and the homemade kombucha tea ..

From Don Mueng Airport
A-4 city bus - get off at Khao San - kind of express  Get the bus outside of door 6 to
beat the crowd

50 bhat - about an hour

Taxi 400 bhat - same time

Mango Vegetarian Restaurant - A relief from the hubub to enter this small quiet aircon cafe.  End of Khao San - left at Burger King- follow down an block -located on same side  Good prices Great vegan salads, juices, main courses.  13-Tanao Rd.  082-457-9071

May Kaidees Restaurant and Cooking School: Tanao Rd - near Ethos Behind Khao San Rd -(Burger King End)  Great Sat night vegetarian/vegan buffet 6-10pm - 150 baht, phone #
089 137 3173

Shewa Spa:
108 Rambutri
This spa offers specials until 3pm.  A little 'classier' than some of the others.

Angelic Fashion  085-916-1498
Oi, down a little alley from Khao San.  Alley is across from big orange beer sign on Kaho San.  She will fix any broken necklace for a good price.

Large local vegetarian restaurant:
Suki jeh RU yi vegetarian
I pinned:  at MAPS.ME, world offline maps. Click this link ge0://00h-Vxvg2Z/Suki_Jeh_Ru_Yi_Vegetarian or this one to see the place on the map.

Viman Guesthouse:
Soi Sansen  +662 629 4215

To Pontip Plaza: bus #60 or #511  or #2 going

#511 back  

MHC Lap top repair
3rd floor  near steps

Siam Plaza  bus #79 going
#15 back

Pana Pearl and Gems  phone #+ 66 026220171
296 Titong Rd.
Wangburapapirom, Phranakorn, Bkk

Sutunthip Vegetarian food  020862-4238  Call for directions
about 80baht for taxi from Khao San area

Navalai River Resort:  Rooms expensive, starting at 2200 baht (cheaper online, but restaurant lovely along the river, Along the Chao Phraya River, next to Phra Athit river taxi pier,   45/1 Phra Athit Rd  #66 0 2 280 9955

New Siam II Guest house, newly remodeled, off Soi Rambutri,  # 66 02282-2795  about 800 baht per night/for a week

New Merry V - room in back ok w/ac,  590 baht per night/ for week,  Check for construction noise.

Phra Sumen Fort, Great place to relax in, the shade along the river and watch locals having fun.

Mango Lagoon, 30 Soi Rambutri  # 02 281-4783  Newly remodeled with pool,  800 baht with AC and pool

Ko Pha Ngan:

River Sands - rugged  One right on the beach  400 bhat night/for week

Arun ruyan - Ban Tai Beach

Rung Arun Resort - Bantai Beach
Tele # 077 238624  #2 right on beach

JK's House 50 bhat meals sign
20 mt south of 7-11

Exotic Guesthouse - on hill overlooking turquoise bay
Call Pen at 087  2836642

Happy Beach Bungalows
Sri Tanu  Tele #086 9410293
room #9  500bhat












The first photo of the lost boys, 10 days after
they disappeared.


Torrential rains cut off the escape route back
 to the cave's entrance.


A major rescue was launched, with a
happy ending.


Colorful flowers punctuate the Thai landscape.


Ornate Thai Buddhist temple.


Monks crossing the river.


Small boats run from the mainland to the
islands of Thailand.


Rock climbing and cave exploring is
popular in Thailand.


Having a nap.


Cute little opossum in a beach restaurant
would rather be in the jungle.


A car ferry t
o Ko Pha Ngan.


Remote, quiet bays between small villages.


Fancy snorkeling boats.


This guy definitely brushes his 'teeth' regularly.


Mom ready to give rides through the forest.


Beautiful orchids.


Bug balloons.


Spare change?


Baby squirrel.


Idyllic island bay.


Fishing village.


Traditional wooden house.


Beautiful beach on Koh Phenang.


Coastal islands.


Our favorite restaurant on Ko Pha Ngan,
'Mama Pooh's Kitchen.'


In the corner of the restaurant was an old guy
who could fix anything.  Proof was that parts of
everything he had worked on were still there.


Fishing boats of all sizes.


Scooter for 5!


Flowers of every color.


Tropical rains bring stunning rainbows.


Friendly bulldog.


Markets are the center of action in
any town or village.


Sellers take pride in their


Strange things are for sale in the back corners
of Thai markets.


'Star fish.'

It's all about the right spices in Thai cooking.
They combine 5 flavor sensations in each dish!


Fried grasshoppers.


Toasted grubs.


Anyone hungry?


Fresh condiments.


Night Market full of yummy Thai food.

Lively beach crabs.


Serene beach.




Our lovely little beach hut. 20 ft. from
the ocean.


Foot long lizard hiding in the leaves.


Night night. A unique way to sleep!





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