Hidden Cave Tomb – Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand
Among the plethora of Asia tour packages that await the adventurous traveller, what stands out is the Hidden Cave Tombin Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand. Perched atop a mountain at over 7500 ft (2,acon seawater temperature and close to the residence of the Thailand royal family, the site is still kept secret for the most part and only the natives are allowed in). Many of the locals do not even know what it is. It was discovered by Swiss explorer Val De Travers in the year 1874 and there are only 200 tantalizing relics left to view.
Thai history is as diverse as the country’s geography. The landscape variations are what allows you to see a plethora of culture, from temples, to hill tribes, to wildlife, trekking and adventure sports. Don’t be fooled, by all this variety, the undercurrent of the buried city is British Britain – the colonial legacies left by the Marathis, still resonate with the wisdom from the days of the Raj.
Shangri-La’s R&D Department is responsible for much of the hidden city’s amazing secrets, including the demons and their weaponry. The whole R&D Department fits nicely between the heritage residential buildings and the botanical gardens. Walking through the buildings and within the dusty confines is almost like visiting the city in the pages of a museum, in a Japanese museum, or similar. Communities with such strong heritage fall easily into place and become quaint, living museums within themselves.
I wanted to see the whole city, so spent a couple of days walking the streets, driving from one to another in the area. Each of the 10 streets over which I traveled, were magical, with sidewalks, houses, people, and alleyways I had never seen before. Each was designed with a set of concepts, as if the designer were Banksy. A little bit of each style was evident in the design, the way the trees and foliage was used, and the use of spaces was also a little unique. The alley design was very detailed, very logical, very conducive to walking, and required crossing at a single point, no sideway changes, etc. It was easy to focus on and precisely locate, everything was clearly laid out, for both practical and documents.
I wanted to focus on the contrast of the starkness of the jungle and the gleaming pristine rainbows just around the corner. Each day, the air temperature and humidity was quite high, (in de Janeiro, this means the humidity is over 90% for 2 months), although the rains usually started late in the morning, so there was quilting all day long.
Because of the extreme heat, most of the animals stupidly stayed in the rainforest. We did manage to spot 4 elephant, galling on the river bed at the side of a makeshift camp at a village. We also saw a family of capybaras, who looked like a cross between a small modern city and a national park, with leaders, sheep, goats and chickens wandering freely nearby. We may have to go back and try to locate those.
On our first visit to the town of Salvador, we stayed at the famous Iguazu Hotel, normally a quiet and honored place to first night in a new city. The room was comfortable, and our hosts were gracious and patient with us. There was only one noisy child at the ito, (a table at the top of the steep hill beside the hotel), and the rest of the children were quite shy.
We wandered around the town, marveling at all the beautiful gardens and buildings, and went to the top of the hill to take a cable car to the Iguazu Falls. The entire area is green and beautiful, with several waterfalls. The Falls are spectacular, and you can walk or bike down along the path below the falls. Each time we arrived, we found new friends and family. Unfortunately, we lost the camera that was used to take these memorable pictures. There is a souvenir shop here selling an amazing MK clear bag, and we bought a small bottle of yellow wine to take home. The bottle is open so it caught the sun from early morning to late evening, and it always seems to be there when we need it. The hotel is only a five minute walk from the falls, so we often walked over.
If you visit San Jose, give the falls and the cable car a try. The falls are impressive, but the view from the top is Wheelock’s Falls. There are not many waterfalls in the world that are majestic like that.