I'm not very good
at sleeping in and so I was up early on Saturday morning.
I detected a slightly less than cordial atmosphere in the
room next door, I'm somewhat sensitive to people's
emotions even if I am apt to be insensitive in what I say
sometimes... Probably growing up with severe criticism of
any human failing I had myself doesn't help! That's my
The monks had
already been out for their alms when I arrived at Wat Sri
I dismounted and had a walk around the grounds and looked
at the Thai - Burmese architecture.
Back on the bicycle, I rode up the hill eastwards from
the town to the begining of the mountain road.
There's a museum at the junction with scenes of local
villager's lives. No pictures allowed unfortunately.
Across the road junction I rode to Wat Jom Jaeng.
I made a donation; lit a candle and
A phone call that
everyone was up for breakfast took me back down the hill
coasting on the bicycle to Sawwaddee Café where I had a
large bowl of muesli and a cheese omelet.
I saw someone come off his kayak in the river upstream...
It was Fernando!
He and Worawoot had been upset in a kayak together
(they're both heavy) in the Mekong to the amusement of
everyone else and now were in separate kayaks for a ride
with a guide down the Salawin River.
Ollie, a retired
English resident, arrived by 10:00 in his pickup truck to
go get 91 octane petrol for the aeroplanes.
95 was available as well, but with alcohol!
Alex fed about 58 litres into the EuroFox's tanks.
The Rotax is a good engine for Thailand where 100LL is
hard to find!
I went for another
bicycle ride. This time I met Gill on the bridge and so I
walked back with her.
Gill's always good for conversation so we ended up back
at Sawwaddee for a cold lime drink.
I cancelled our
part of the group flight plan to Mae Sot, filed a flight
plan to Tantawan instead, and asked the airport attendant
to call Chiang Mai Tower on the phone with our departure
We took off at 13:47 for a low pass along the river...
You have to watch out for the many aerials around this
This leg was
planned for 5,500 feet which is below the tops of some of
the mountains enroute.
Top of climb was reached at 13:58 and I was watching the
temperatures and the fuel flow on the way up.
Nearing Bhumipol I
was finally able to contact Fantacia on 127.0 who told me
to "radar monitor", they always say this, but I
believe it should be 'monitor this frequency'...
Bhumipol Dam I asked Alex to descend to 3,000 feet...
Consternation, there was nowhere to go! But there was,
there's a golf course below the dam within easy gliding
"Why?", "because I want to take
Fantacia told us to QSY to Tak Approach (really
Phitsanulok), and we routed overhead Tak Airport where
not a soul was to be seen.
We descended to 2,000 feet south of Tak to reduce the
headwind and for a better view as we took the easy flight
along the Ping towards Bangkok.
I remember driving down the Tak
road to Bangkok in 2006 when the coup took place!
None of these
places seem to be busy and so we had an easy time talking
to Lopburi - Khok Kathiam all the way until we joined
overhead the field at Tantawan.
The hotel admin
girl was lighting the incense and watering the plants
when I appeared.
'Yes', I could take one of the bicycles the hotel
provides and go for a ride...
African Lion and Leopard with a
Tiger in Thailand
Where's the girl who's fruit
baskets lie on the ground?
My neighbours from
the room next door were at Sawwaddee.
After her friend left we invited the woman to join us. We
had an interesting conversation about touring south east
Asia, and about her home: Belgium. Carolus beer from her
local town Mecheley is highly respected I am told.
You meet interesting people on these trips.
If it was up to me
I'd probably never leave Mae Sariang!
But we did...
The plan was to fly to Mae Sot and then back to
Pattaya... But there were strong winds forecast and these
were already blowing at Tantawan. Two pilots at Tantawan
had decided not to meet us at Mae Sot as they were
concerned at the blustery conditions.
Alex needed to be back at work on Monday even though it
was a holiday here, and I was nonplussed about going to
Mae Sot and so we elected to leave the others and go
directly to Tantawan.
levelling off, the phone rang! I felt the vibration so I
It was Chiang Mai Tower asking for our departure time and
then giving me traffic information about a couple of
helicopters on our route.
Radio reception is not good around these mountains so why
not use the phone!
Pleasant flying weather as we head
There are five
large areas of Thailand with military air traffic
services and we were in [Dora] heading for [Oscar], but
we we told to squawk 2000 and contact [Big Shell] which
is marked as being Bangkok and south. All are on 127.0.
monitored us and told us to contact them 40 miles to run
to Takhli where they were to QSY us to the military
base's frequency: 124.0.
Even as we passed Nakhon Sawan, Takhli were not
responding, and we were back and forth to Big Shell
wondering what to do!
They told us to contact Takhli Tower on 133.25 which we
did and we got a reply, but then Takhli Tower told us to
go back to Big Shell who stayed with us until we were
I can see the hotel where I stayed
a night in 2006
There was some
confusion in the cockpit at Tanatawan as we joined and so
the aeroplane was a bit out of trim... Blame it on being
in the cockpit for over three hours!
When you are not sure, level the wings, trim the
aeroplane, take a deep breath and now look at the
I talked Alex through the join overhead and around the
Tantawan is a very nice grass strip of 700 metres length
and we landed at 17:25 after being airborne for 3 hours
38 minutes and the next day the tanks took nearly 50
litres for an average of just over 16 litres an hour.
Tantawan is a
fly-in resort but it's a little run down. There's a bit
of rubbish here and there.
The rooms were 1,000 Baht a night (you'd get a good hotel
room most places for that).
My showerhead was in a bucket of slimey water and so I
didn't shower that night!
The food was good
and since Alex likes Heineken and they didn't have any,
they sent someone on a motorcycle to pick some up from
the nearest 7-Eleven. In the evening we drank eight
bottles of the stuff between us while the ginger cat
snoozed in my lap.
I stayed up until
after 23:30 to take over sixty pictures of the Lunar