Last Saturday we woke up late and went to the Seven Elephants cafe. The cafe is located at the Soppong River Inn. The dishes that we got were the oop gai, shan meatballs and the nam prik om. The shan meatballs were especially good and the nam prik om was probably the best version of the dish that I’ve had in Thailand so far. My dish was pretty good too, but I feel like it was very similar to other dishes that I have had recently. Afterward I had mango a sticky rice. The mango was not completely ripe but it was still very good. The rice really stood out. Instead of the normal white sticky rice it was black. A little bit chewy and very tasty.
After lunch we drove a few minutes out of town to the Coffin Caves. The Coffin Caves, also called Tham Pi Maen or “Spirit caves,” are about 30 or so wooden coffins with artifacts from 3000 years ago. The walk up to the Coffin caves is quite steep most of the way is up uneven stairs. My boyfriend and I saw caves 1 and 3. There is a sketchy bridge that the path from Coffin 1 to 2 takes you across. However because the path is a loop you can actually see coffins 2 and 3 without going over it.
After the coffin caves we drove up the winding road to Ban Rak Thai. The road is steep and twisted but in good condition and there was not much traffic. The guys really enjoyed the ride.
Ban Rak Thai was not at all what I thought it would be. It seems to be a total tourist attraction. There are many overpriced resorts and tons of shops selling tea.
After finding some reasonable rooms we went to a nameless restaurant for dinner. It was really weird. We got fried chicken, egg rolls, honey spare ribs and some stir fried vegetables. I did not recognize the veggies, the egg roll was basically a sausage with egg roll coating, which also came with some breaded and fried pork fat, the fried chicken was tasty but actually had black bones and skin. Very weird.
The hotel was ridiculously cold that night and we only had one small blanket. Definitely not enough to keep warm.
This morning we packed up and left for Soppomg. We actually only had an hour drive ahead of us but we decided to take it slow today. We stopped at this roadside shop for some beverages and to stretch our legs. It had an amazing view!
We also stopped at this market and viewing point. It had a four person human powered Ferris wheel. Eric and Greg tried to get it working with this Norwegian couple. Seemed pretty dangerous so after a few near misses we decided to quit while we were ahead. I took a video of it but I’m tethered to my phone at the train station right now so I will have to upload it later when I get to a wifi spot.
I thought the Cave Lodge was amazing when we first got there. It’s really up in the trees and has a spectacular view. We got a room with two beds because it was roomier and had a better view. Ate some tasty thai food though they have farang stuff as well. Did some laundry. Communal area with ping pong (guys played after lunch), books (though not a lot of English titles), hammocks and a smoking area. Really looks like a jungle bungalow.
Unfortunately I had a bad time on the only kayaking trip that we booked, the one hour trip through the Tham Lod. The guide pushed a leaky kayak on me and I ended up spending the whole trip in a pool of water unlike the other people in the group that were able to sit on the seats in the kayak. I should have asked for a working kayak but I just didn’t know enough about it to know that something was wrong until I heard air leaking out of it. Also the guide was very evasive when I asked questions about why there was so much water in the bottom of the kayak (unlike the others) or why I couldn’t sit like everyone else. I really felt taken advantage of and I can no longer recommend Cave Lodge as a place to stay or book trips.
We did end up staying the night there and eating dinner at their restaurant. Because it was raining we didn’t feel comfortable riding the scooters but I didn’t feel right about staying there after what happened. We left the next day.