Tourism Fail on a Perfect Day (Mae Sot, Thailand)
Snack time. All of my… the places I was thinking about stopping for something to eat. They were all closed. So yeah, I was too early for all of my places. But here in this small town, I came across a, just a little stall on the street there, and just selling some rice and then some kind of barbecued chicken, I believe. So I've got a kind of a skewer of
chicken here with some kind of a red pasty red sauce on it. Let’s see what we've got going on here. Yeah, kind of chicken with barbecue sauce.
Very tasty. Along with some sticky rice. Sticky rice is great because you can sort of… you don't need utensils of any kind. It all stays together in a, in a clump. I've got my sticky rice, and you can just sort of take a bite out of it like that.
Yeah, the weather, so far has stayed perfect. I can't believe the weather is like this. After all this endless rain to get a day like this, it's incredible. And the drive here was fantastic, really amazing, with these conditions. I got an amazing night of sleep last night. So I'm in a very good mood, full of energy. It's kind of a… shaping out to be a perfect day. I had that song, “Perfect Day” going around and around in my head.
Though I think that song is kind of a love song. For me, my perfect day is all about sunshine, the open road, and scooter. And now, roast chicken, and sticky rice. My kind of perfect day. Good news and bad news. The good news, of course, is that the day continues to be perfect, perfect weather, perfect mood, good food, amazing drive. Bad news, I've arrived at the Namtok Pha Charoen National Park in Tak, Thailand, and there's a big red sign that says temporarily closed because of COVID 19 outbreak.
Here's the entrance to the park. And there's the sign for the National Park. And here is the unfortunate sign right here. Temporarily closed. Well, I guess that means I'm going to go in just to see whether it really is closed. And then I
guess I'll drive up to the lookout point that I mentioned. So that will be my Plan B for today. It's not that far away from here. You just sort of go around these hills, actually, and then follow this line of hills, into a big range of hills back there somewhere. That's my new plan. Looks like a nice place. Very steep hill right there. Amazing trees I can see from a distance.
And since it's closed, I wonder if that means there's nobody here at all. Hello. It’s closed? Okay, thank you. Here, kitty. Yeah, that's it. There's a park ranger gate here, and they just indicated that it's closed.
Hey there, kitty. I have a cat came out here to say hello, so I should, should be polite. He's got his claws sunk into my foot. There he is down there. He's a big ol’ Tom Cat. Beautiful, beautiful cat. You can tell that he's like half a second away from launching himself at me with his teeth and claws. Cats are just so funny that way. Yeah, you can feel this guy, he's strong. He’s well fed and muscular. Aren't you? I don't get to see the waterfall, but I get to see this beautiful cat.
So, change of plans. We're going to go into the countryside. Anyway, here is this flower place. Hopefully, they uh… We’ll see if they mind me going in to take a look around. Oh, look at this. So, these are the flowers. And if I know nothing about fruit, I know even less about flowers. I don't know what these are.
It’s very heavy. It’s a heavy flower. It's got some weight to it. It's looking a little bit yellow on my GoPro. But here in real life, they're a kind of a bright orange. Look at that. They have all these trays of them. And I guess they're being dried by these fans. You can see quite a large display of them. Three different sections. And it looks like when they're dry, they bring them over here in baskets. Oh, looks like they're, they're processing them and extracting liquid. Or maybe that… oh, that's just water, I guess. They're drying them out even further.
I think this is some kind of a centrifuge. Just like the dryer in a house. At first, I thought maybe they were extracting some kind of juice, some nectar from the flowers, but I think they're just getting water, because they're not really collecting it. It’s falling into a bucket, and the bucket is overflowing. So, I think that's just water. They're letting it drain away.
Yeah. So this whole operation is just to dry the flowers. It looks like the procedure is the opposite of what I thought. The flowers go here first. They extract as much water as they can. And then they take them over here and lay them out to dry even further. So this is step two. This guy just took one of the baskets that had the water removed. And now he's laying them out to dry. So, there you have it. I wonder where they're being grown.
I don't see any fields of flowers out there. Like I said, I've seen several places like this along the road. So it's a common crop in this area, if you can call flowers a crop. Back on the highway.
I've reached the intersection where the road cuts into the hills, and I see from some signs here there's another waterfall down there, but I'm not really in search of waterfalls. Waterfalls, they're not really my thing, but I really just want to go up into the hills to get the views, you know, go up to a lookout point and just see what's out here in the countryside. And there's a little town up here a few kilometers. I think it's called something like Ban Chi Ba Bo. Okay, there it is. Ba Chi Ba Bo. Just up ahead. Go through this small town, and then start climbing up into the hills. I really don't know where I'm going, because I don't see any obvious big hill ranges to climb up.
But I guess we don't really need a big hill range. We'll see where this road takes me. Getting into some serious rolling hills, agricultural fields everywhere. It's gorgeous here. Beautiful.
As I mentioned… As I talked about in the video the other day, the rainy season is sort of a mixed blessing. You might find yourself caught in a rainstorm or stuck inside as it rains a lot, but then the entire landscape becomes transformed, becomes green and lush. Plus you get to see so many more people out in the fields, working. Just makes driving around much more interesting. Here's a nice, nice lookout point. Beautiful view. You could not get a nicer day, you just couldn't. There's the landscape. And on the other side of the road, there’s another view.
Wow. All newly planted fields every which way you look. Can you imagine if I get up there and I find that there's a coffee shop up there? That would be pretty amazing. Call it a miracle. I've reached the turnoff to this scenic area. And the same road leads to the Pa Wai waterfall. And just ahead of me, there's quite a dramatic-looking sign. It sort of looks like a sign you would see in a TV show, you know, like The Walking Dead or something, some post apocalyptic world saying, “Warning. Don't go here,” you know, “Zombies ahead” or something. And I'm sure it says
waterfall closed or road closed or campground closed, something's closed. Whoa, look at this guy over here, down at the base of these signs. A warrior with two spears. He's definitely saying, “Yeah, you don't want to come in here.” Look at those old signs there.
Yeah. Closed. Okay, thank you. A farmer just stopped on his motorbike. And he said that the road is closed. It's kind of weird though, because the road is clearly open on one side, and lots of people are going in and out. I’m just going to drive ahead a little bit and see what happens. What does it mean that the road is closed? It is kind of funny in a way, because I wasn't online this morning, but I know that if I went to the local news sites for Thailand, you know, 50% of the articles in the headlines would be all about Thailand opening up for tourism again, you know, reopening, all the dates for this island to be open, that area to be open. That's all I'll read if I go to the news. But here I am
out in the countryside around Mae Sot, and all the tourist attractions and national parks waterfalls, everything is closed. So, a bit of a contrast with the country opening up for tourism The campground area, the campsites, are supposed to be just a short distance ahead. But I haven't done any climbing at all. In fact, I've been going down, losing altitude. So, I'm not quite sure where I am. Gorgeous road, though, nicely paved really windy. S-curves, s-bends everywhere. Ah, okay. Okay, this looks like a… That's definitely… That's definitely a barrier. Nobody's going past here.
Hello. Hmm. Ah, well. I know. Check that out. It really… It’s really like community action in a way. All of these like red signs here, all kind of homemade, and there's like seven or eight men over there in the, in the shelter. So I can't go to the lookout point or to the waterfall. I love these signs, though. Red paint, like red spray paint. It really is The
Walking Dead out here. Wow, they've really shut down. Like all the local men here, there's like seven or eight motorbikes there, and they're all hanging out. Well, time to turn around. See you!
Doug the Tourist. I set off today to be a tourist, and the country won't even let me. It's kind of ironic in a way. But I am curious about where, like, this closure came from. It just seems so informal, almost like the community itself decided to barricade itself off from the world, because it just doesn't look official. So, I don't know whether they're following
some kind of national guideline by putting up that roadblock, or whether the community itself, just decided on its own to implement its own blockade and keep people out. Well, I'm back at the… I’m back at the road where I turned off. I just want to grab the camera and get a close up of these warriors with the, with the spears.
That's crazy. So I guess this relates to the people that live in this area. It must represent their, you know, their history and their culture. That is one scary-looking dude. And here's his counterpart on the other side. Two swords, and then a Walking Dead, red spray-painted warning sign. Even this sign, you know, these old signs all rusted and pockmarked kind of look like a, you know, The Walking Dead. It’s got bullet holes in it, of course. People shot at it. Anyway, this is where I am right now. Beautiful countryside.
Now the question is, what does Doug the Tourist do now? So, 11 o'clock in the morning. And uh, yeah, I'm out here in the countryside. Now where to go? I guess I’ll take a look at Google Maps and pick a direction. All right. A little bit more scenic country driving. Look at that view up ahead. Really nice. My scooter is making a lot of vibrating noises. Some of the plastic is vibrating. I can't get it to stop.
Wow, look at that. Beautiful view. That small town down there sort of nestled on the hillside. Wow. Nice. Don't need the engine on this road, very steep. Huh. It says 6% grade. Feels more like 8%, 10% to me.
Still going downhill. I don't need any motor power yet. I keep wondering whether these little towns will have blockades as well, and whether I'll be allowed to pass through. Yeah, I can't get over that blockade they had in that little town. Not so much that they, you know, had a blockade. That kind of makes sense. They decided to isolate their town. And that's all well and good, but you'd sort of expect to see
a roadblock, maybe two people sitting there, maybe, probably just one, telling people that they can't go through. But that place had a posse, you know, a posse of seven or eight men. And I wonder if they had guns back there as well. I wouldn't doubt it if they did. And yeah, it's quite a, quite a welcoming committee. It's quite something to show up at one of those, and realize that all of that barrier is for me, you know. They're afraid of the outsider, right? The foreigner coming in from
outside, bringing disease into their town. And so they're there basically to keep me out. I'm the I'm the outside danger that they're trying to keep out of their town. It's weird to be, you know, an outside danger. I don't feel particularly dangerous, you know.
A beautiful area. I’m going like 30 kilometers an hour. Just because I want to absorb this atmosphere. Just so nice out here right now. No need to zoom along. I actually have quite a ways to go yet on this small road. I wonder if it leads through a lot more small towns or not. I'm out of the farming country and back on the main highway. Heading that way goes towards Umphang. This direction back to Mae Sot. And I was going to go to the Ava cafe, but I'm going to call
an audible and continue up the highway a little bit and go back to the “Locha” or Rocha cafe. So let's head in that direction. Only take, yeah, 15 minutes to get there, something like that. I’ve arrived at the turnoff for Rocha Coffee, Rocha Cafe, coffee and bar. It’s just up this road here in the hills a little bit. I already came here. There it is over there. That is Rocha Cafe up on the Hill - that very large building, looks kind of like an old barn. There it is there. Rocha Cafe.
Clouds are starting to move in, but it's still looking pretty clear. Beautiful day to be up here. I enjoyed my last visit, even though it was in the rain. The rain kind of gave it a special quality. But it's nice to be here on a sunny day. They have a very nice setting here with a view over the farming countryside and the hills. And here's the outside of the building. They've done some nice garden landscaping… and some flowers. The whole place has a kind of fairy tale, like children's
fairy tale atmosphere, in terms of the decor. So, in this room over here, for example, there's like a stage with a kind of a carousel - bunny rabbits and horses and a reindeer. Just has sort of a flavor for children. And they’ve got two main seating areas. There's this section here, which is, you know, open to the outside world. All these tables.
And this is the coffee service bar over here. And then they have another set of tables and chairs upstairs there. Let’s take a quick look around. From up here, you get a nice view of the, of the setting for this place. So there's where they prepare the food and the drinks. And there are a couple of stools and chairs down there. And then up here you can also sit up here with all these tables. And the advantage to
being up here is you can sit right beside the window and enjoy the view out there. As I said it has a bit of a children's fairy tale vibe going on, you know, you can see that with the artwork here. And this artwork. I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling this artwork is connected with the, the owner somehow. And this cat over here is their logo, or the mascot for the place, and it has kind of an Alice in Wonderland character to it. I'm all settled in with my iced cappuccino. And as I said, there's the, the cat logo for this place.
I find it nicer down here than upstairs, just because upstairs it's enclosed and all the windows are closed and it's not air conditioned, so at least down here, you get a breeze, kind of a cross breeze going through. Actually, this particular table doesn't get a breeze, I just realized. Got a lot of plants kind of blocking the, the window here, and maybe even the view. Maybe they kind of overdid it over here with the plants. Yeah, that's nice. It's a nice iced cappuccino.
It’s a little bit pricier here than other places, of course. This cappuccino is about 65 baht. So like, $2.10 US, something like that. And you would normally, I mean, you might pay 40 or 50 baht at some place in Mae Sot, you know. So, 65 baht… You're paying a premium price for the, for
the location of this place basically. It's a special kind of place to go. And I'm just going to relax here for a few minutes, and then hop back on the scooter and ride back to Mae Sot. The end of my small adventures for this Friday morning. Alright, that's it for today. And as always, I'll see you in the next video.