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Balcony Guesthouse Kratie?

  • jonenlyd

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd December, 2008
    Posts: 6

    I am trying to book a room at the balcony guesthouse in Kratie, but i am not getting a response from them. Does anyone have their most recent e-mail adress?

    Thanks Jon

    #1 Posted: 23/7/2011 - 22:22

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  • Rasheeed

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    If he's not answering balcony@y7mail.com, which he doesn't sometimes, try calling the number on the website 016 604 036. If he doesn't answer that, have someone try the Khmer number 015 688 128. If not just stop in and try your luck...

    Sorry I couldn't offer more...

    #2 Posted: 24/7/2011 - 11:55

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    Kratie is a small place and the bus drops you off on the river front.The whole riverfront is full of guesthouses so even without a booking I would imagine it wouldn't be a problem getting a room.I was there in June and just walked along the front trying all the guesthouses to see which had the nicest room overlooking the river, it's no distance at all and there is no need to isten to the various touts who will actually take you to places away from the riverfront.

    #3 Posted: 24/7/2011 - 14:21

  • Rasheeed

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    Ya, but Balcony is the best of the classic backpacker guesthouses in Kratie (though stay tuned for Star under new ownership and You Hong II). A bunch of the places on the river are crap (looking at you Reverside [sic]). Oudom Sambath ain't bad.

    'sheeed

    #4 Posted: 25/7/2011 - 08:04

  • Couderc

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 5
    Total reviews: 4

    Hi

    Think Andrew's away at the moment so best call Pheak on the Khmer number. He speaks english so there's no problem.

    Are you in Kratie Rasheed ? Maybe we've met ? We go there quite often and always stay at Balcony. As you say, its the best on the riverfront.

    #5 Posted: 4/8/2011 - 17:34

  • Rasheeed

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    Nah. Right now in Banlung. Tomorrow Phnom Penh...

    #6 Posted: 4/8/2011 - 17:47

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    I was wondering what 'classic backpacker guesthouses' are?
    Most of the guesthouses in Kratie on the waterfront seem to be much the same.Think I stayed at theMorhautdom last time there.
    Found decent food the biggest problem.There is a restaurant opposite the market but the guy cooking there claims to be Italian and served the worst Bolognese I have ever had.
    Kratie seems to particularly suffer from too many touts.Best ignore them and sort things out yourself.When we were in Banlung the hotel offered to sort out a jeep but we went straight to the market where the drivers are and negotiated getting half the price the hotel offered.There are too many middle men in Cambodia best to sort things out yourself

    #7 Posted: 4/8/2011 - 17:57

  • Couderc

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 5
    Total reviews: 4

    I would say a "classic backpacker guesthouse" is a place where you get helpful information from the staff, and where you can exchange stories and share your experiences with other travellers over a drink or a meal.(You know, thats what it was all about before we had internet forums :)

    So for experiences...
    Kratie food: For good food go to Red Sun Falling on the riverfront in the evening - get there early for the "special". Also the food at U Hong II is ok and apparently Star is changing hands. Balcony also does good food and the restaurant (surprise surprise) is on a balcony - also great place for sundowners if you fancy drinking something apart from beer.Otherwise there is an khmer restaurant next to the market down from Star which serves tasty local food.(Sorry name escapes me.)
    Don't forget that about 3 years ago most of these guesthouses and western food places didn't exist - Kratie is discovering tourism and tourists.

    #8 Posted: 5/8/2011 - 16:21

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
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    If Balcony is a "classic backpacker" GH, they should be charging about half what they do. I stayed there last January and would not darken their doorstep again. Owner Andrew put out a decidedly weird and negative vibe (induced perhaps in part by his commencing the day with a beer, regardless of the hour), and Pheak, the manager, volunteered all manner of critical commentary about his employer. Oh, and there were blood stains on the stairs that had clearly been there for quite a while, and which no one made any attempt to clean up while we were there. Neither quaint nor charming, even in a classic backpacker guest house kind of way. Nor were the collapsing plumbing fixtures off our room, but that's another story.

    I found the food, btw, to be seriously hit or miss. Dinner at Red Sun Falling was good (dinner only; Joe doesn't open 'til around 5pm). Better was the Sun Set Bar, around 200 m south of the bus stop on the river front - a block or so south of the Heng Heng. Family-owned and operated; great food. They also have rooms. I didn't see them, but they advertise doubles with fan and ensuite toilet for USD 2 - 4, and double air con room with ensuite toilet for USD 8.

    We had beers and snacks at U Hong and thought it was ok. Likewise with Star. The best part of Star, for me, was the location. On a corner, across from the market. Great people watching. Andrew and sketchy conditions at Balcony notwithstanding, I enjoyed our three days in Kratie.

    #9 Posted: 5/8/2011 - 21:02

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Couderc
    When I started travelling the only information you got was from other travellers, all happened by word of mouth and we seemed to get by, thought the advantage of the internet is far more choice and faster information.What I don't understand is why everyone has to stay in a place because it's in Lonely Planet. I would never recommend any of my favourite places on the internet because I don't want the crowds and the prices to go up: however I will swop info with fellow travellers over a drink somewhere, that's tradition.
    I DO remember visiting Kratie for the first time about 5 years ago in the wet season and being really impressed with it. We had a balcony room overlooking the river and hired a motorbike.I remember visiting a very nice Pagoda with lots of steps. Does anybody know the name? Then we went on a boat trip through the flooded landscape but only briefly saw dolphins. The boatman wore a red Krama and my companion who was Khmer reckoned he was ex-Khmer Rouge as he scowled constantly and chain-smoked a la chairman Mao so she made us shorten the trip.
    In Banlung the place had one western restaurant bar and we got hopelessly drunk and lost leaving it since there were no lights.I remember going up country and these half-naked women with huge bundles on their heads hiding behind trees when they saw our jeep approach. I expect it's changed like everything else but I have great memories.Went back to Kratie this March and the place looked exactly the same except the room was $8 for one overlooking the river but he said we could have a back one for $5.
    I do remember in March there was one great place to eat on the riverfront and it was Khmer owned but the name escapes me. Probably the one you mention.

    #10 Posted: 5/8/2011 - 22:04

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6256
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    "I would never recommend any of my favourite places on the internet because I don't want the crowds and the prices to go up: however I will swop info with fellow travellers over a drink somewhere, that's tradition."

    I don't need to worry about that. Tourists don't seem to have the slightest inclination to go to the places where I like to go. In Saimun, where I go often, I haven't seen a single one yet. Not one. Haven't seen any in any of these places which I frequent either:

    Amnat Charoen
    Kut Chum
    Lueng Nok Tha
    Khemmerat (although I met a tourist who did go there).
    Nakhon Phanom (although someone here on Travelfish mentioned they'd been there)
    Buakow

    So I can recommend away here. I'm not expecting anyone to actually go to these places. A few Travelfishers have come to Muk though... So I guess you never know.

    #11 Posted: 5/8/2011 - 22:27

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    So what's there to see in Mukdhahan?
    I'd probably love the food since I actually like things like Nam tok and Gapi.
    Isan food's the best.
    But if you like roast beef you should come to Phnom Penh but be prepared to do a lot of chewing. I get roast beef with a salad (although you probably wouldn't recognise the vegetables) plus a large jug of fresh beer for $3.50.

    #12 Posted: 5/8/2011 - 22:35

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6256
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    What's there to see in Mukdahan ? Well, let's see:

    There's the national Park famous for it's goofy rock formations:

    http://www.all-hotel-resort.com/?p=1551

    It's got the Mukdahan tower with a museum in it, great view, and lots of naughty nightlife around the base of it at night.

    http://www.travelfish.org/sight_profile/thailand/northeast_thailand/mukdahan/mukdahan/298

    It is only 50 km from Wat That Phanom - which has one of the oldest, if not the oldest, Chedis in Thailand and is just a great temple (easily my favorite).

    It's got plenty of decent nightlife and lots of decent restaraunts.

    A good night market for those who think street food is "delicious".

    The top floor of the Ploy Palace Hotel has a nice Piano Bar. The ol girls a little worn out, but it's still a nice take.

    "Isan food's the best."

    Actually I think Somalia's food is the best. I don't much care for Issan food, and certainly prefer Thai. It's one of the downsides of living out here - the food.

    #13 Posted: 5/8/2011 - 22:51

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Maize Porridge v Som Tam mmm! I think I know what I prefer.

    #14 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 00:43

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6256
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    Som Tam is disgusting. Especially if Plahrah is used... which also happens to contain liver flutes which lead to a very high degree of liver cancer in this region.

    Maize Porridge? Well, I wasn't eating much of that back home either. Perhaps a staple in your neck of the woods?

    Kraft Dinners was where it was at where I grew up. That ****'s gold here now! I got a supplier and pay 80 baht a box and am happy to do it.

    #15 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 01:56

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I thought it was the staple food of most of East Africa.Our porridge is made of Scottish oats. Don't let your wife hear that about Somtam I'm sure she's rightly proud of one of Thailands finest cuisine.The liver fluke is partly to blame but the Lao kow has something to do with it as well.
    Trying to get back on thread I just found some old footage of my trip to Kratie in the wet season.You can't see the river because it has spread way, way out into the countryside.Spent a lot of time watching the continual rain from under a tarp,drinking beer next to the river.It's one of my favourite places in Cambodia.

    #16 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 02:09

  • Rasheeed

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    A couple clarifications:

    Joe opens Red Sun for breakfast and lunch as well, but closes from 2-5pm. And it is closed on sunday.

    Andrew is weird. So am I though. And have started many a day with a beer...

    The Pagoda was probably the 100(?) pillar pagoda. a decent bit north from town. Nice ride up there.

    Sayadian, I wouldn't worry about you suggesting somewhere online and the crowds rushing there. I just wouldn't.

    And drinking beer next to the river is a good time.

    'sheeed

    #17 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 09:02

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
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    Hey Sheed:

    Thanks for the clarification about Joe's hours. Absolutely correct.

    Regarding weirdness and beer for breakfast, I have no problem with either. It's the way off kilter vibe at Balcony that I was talking about, and the general decrepitude of the place relative to tariff. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

    I want to throw in another plug for Sun Set Bar (& Inn). I met the family who own the place - charming lot - and, most importantly, the food was excellent.

    Happy travels!

    #18 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 09:18

  • Archmichael

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    And hopefully, the fact that I have bandied about the name of Sun Set here on line will not mean that next time I'm in Kratie the place will've been ruined by hordes of ... gasp ... tourists. ;)

    #19 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 09:20

  • Rasheeed

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    Too late. I'm at a GH in PP right now and I just heard that everyone is planning on staying at Sunset now. Booked solid for months to come... by TOURISTS!

    #20 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 09:24

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
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    Oh, the horror .....

    #21 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 09:25

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    People who stay a long time are the ones who know the best places so perhaps that makes it clearer.Some of the bargain places I know and I mean clean, friendly AND cheap are too good to share on the internet, sorry ;-)

    Yes, the pagoda did have a lot of pillars.Good ride but my beautiful guide made it worthwhile.

    #22 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 17:22

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6256
    Total reviews: 10

    Sayadian
    Maize Porridge, or the sort of purina famine chow you see on TV, is for famine relief. Somalis have excellent cuisine. A fine mix of Italian and Arab food. It's my favorite on the planet.

    #23 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 18:51

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Madmac
    Now your talking.
    I loved Arab food when I was in The Middle East and Italian is great.

    I loved my grits with eggs and ham when I stayed down in Louisiana too.
    I think grits is a kind of porridge.Maize? Corn? Can't knock it.

    Meanwhile back in Kratie......is it raining?

    #24 Posted: 6/8/2011 - 20:58

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6256
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    I'm not a gritz kind of guy. I find it somewhat flavorless...

    #25 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 02:08

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
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    I recently heard grits described as "the base for whatever you really want to eat."

    #26 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 02:59

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6256
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    Sometimes it is. Other times it is the base for butter and sugar.

    #27 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 11:45

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
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    Mmmmm... Waffle House...

    #28 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 12:36

  • giroffle

    Joined Travelfish
    27th July, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Hi

    Does anyone know how to contact the Sunset Bar in Kratie by email...the balcony7@ymail.com is defunct....and their website address only has this as a contact email ...I have taken note of the 2 numbers (Andrew and Pheak...supplied by Rasheed in this thread) but I am in the UK and only want to contact them about availability in a couple of months...what's the best thing to do...I'd really like to book up if I can...can/should I bother texting on those numbers

    Kind Rgds
    Carmel

    #29 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 04:57

  • Archmichael

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    I have their business card. I'll dig it out and send you the information a little later.

    Cheers!

    #30 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 05:06

  • giroffle

    Joined Travelfish
    27th July, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Ok many thanks Archmichael for that ...I have another question on top of that...we have three days to get from Pakse to PP via Stung Treng...can you or anyone suggest the best possible way to do this..

    I posted a query on this the other day but got no reply...we can't afford any more time on this leg of the journey (unfortunately) but I am not sure exactly the best way to do it

    My hunch was to stay overnight at the Balcony in Kratie and I believe you can get either a fast or slow boat from there to PP (or maybe bus is better !)...or whether to stop at Kampong Cham...and tips would be more than welcome

    Carmel

    #31 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 05:22

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
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    Giroffle/Carmel:

    There is no e-mail address on the Sun Set biz card I have. The telephone numbers shown are (+855) 12 725 032 and (+855) 011 77 24 55. Actually, I'm surprised they don't list an e-mail address on their card, since they have an internet cafe in their lobby.

    The following is quoted directly from the Sun Set business card I picked up last January:

    Double room with fan (bath room): $2, $4
    Double room with A/C (bathroom): $8
    Only one roof top Bar and Restaurant Over Looking the Mekong.
    Free Welcome Drink!!
    200m South of the Bus Stop, Kratie Town

    By the way, regarding Balcony GH: although I would strongly recommend Sun Set over Balcony, I see on the Balcony business card I have that their e-mail address is actually balcony@y7mail.com, versus what you wrote above. Secondary e-mail is ngoempheak@yahoo.com.au . Phone number is (+855) 015 688 128.

    Happy travels!

    Michael

    #32 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 05:42

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
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    Carmel:

    Three days, Pak Xe to PP is doable. Bus is the best way. You can overnight in Kratie , as you wrote. As far as I know, there is no boat service, not official anyway, from Kratie to PP. Phnom Penh Sorya bus line, though, does the trick quite well. Meals included. In fact, I have seen Sorya bus schedules that list busses from Pak Xe to points in Cambodia.

    M.

    #33 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 05:47

  • giroffle

    Joined Travelfish
    27th July, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Michael

    Thank you so much for all this...really appreciated...so there is no web address for Sun Set...the only way to get hold of them is by phone ?

    I'll take those numbers though and see how I go you are right about the balcony email address I got the chars transposed so it failed, works now and I have dropped them an email...got the address muddled there...thanks

    Do you know the journey time of the bus from Kratie to PP ?

    Kind Rgds
    Carmel

    #34 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 13:15

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
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    Like 6 hours.

    #35 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 16:02

  • giroffle

    Joined Travelfish
    27th July, 2011
    Posts: 41

    thanks both...those 2 no.s you gave me for Sun Set

    00855 12725032
    00855 011772455

    Can I assume one is LL and the other Mob
    I have texted the longer number (assumed this was mob) but haven't heard back and there was no prob sending it...could you confirm if you can please....thank you again...I would like to get hold of them if I can

    Rgds
    Carmel

    #36 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 18:10

  • Rasheeed

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    From in country

    012725032
    011772455

    From elsewhere

    00855 12725032
    00855 11772455

    That's how the numbers should look, I think.

    #37 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 20:30

  • giroffle

    Joined Travelfish
    27th July, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Rasheed...thank you...they are Mobile No.s right ?

    #38 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 21:34

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
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    Yup.

    #39 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 21:40

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
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    Travel time: From Kratie , the bus presently takes Hwy. 7, through Snoul, which is a long way round. About 215 km, Kratie to Kampong Cham; then another 120 to PP. With stops for food and passengers, I think 8 or more hours is likely. In January, went by jeep from Kratie to Kampong Cham via Chhlong & Roka Khnaor (along the dirt road paralleling the Mekong). I saw a lot of work being done on the road to Chhlong from Kratie (road 308). Right of way being widened and bridge work being begun. The plan is to make the main route go that way, then, I think, use existing Hwy. 73 from Chhlong to where it connects with #7 south of Chong Cheach as the new main route. But that's a long ways off yet.

    Phone numbers: How Rasheed has the in-country version is correct. You add a zero in front of the number. I don't know about the double zero in front of the 855, though. Never tried to call there from here (US).

    Sun Set e-mail: Maybe you should start a new thread entitled "Sun Set GH E-Mail" or something like that. It might get the attention of someone who knows what (or if) it is.

    Michael

    #40 Posted: 3/9/2011 - 21:41

  • giroffle

    Joined Travelfish
    27th July, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Hi again Chaps...well I had no luck with a reply from Sun Set on either of these numbers

    (00) 85512725032
    (00) 855011772455

    Rasheed...you say they are both Mob No.s but one is longer than the other..

    Anyhow...is that how they are regularly contacted when visitors want to stay ? Seems a bit hit and miss. This is the only link (or few links should I say...) in the chain that needs planning on our trip and I would like to get something pre-booked for 6th to 8th Dec (leave for PP)...maybe they prefer to handle locally...but my preferred solution would be to stop over in Kratie for a couple of nights...we will be travelling over the Laos border--> Stung Treng on 6th...so that would suit us fine to carry on to Kratie...and as the Sun Set is well recommended...I thought we'd go for it for a couple of nights

    @ M...I need the leading two zeros for int'l...so that is fine...from here in UK...and thanks for the journey time...looking at 8 hrs then...

    ....where to go from here ?

    Thanks again for your help

    Carmel

    #41 Posted: 6/9/2011 - 01:29

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
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    One is not longer than the other. See my previous comment.

    Honestly, figure it out when you get there. None of the places to stay are really that much better than the others. If one is full find another.

    #42 Posted: 6/9/2011 - 01:44

  • giroffle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 41

    Yeah sure..Rasheed...I just remembered about the numbers in your earlier post..I have just posted a thread on it separately anyhow...what the hell...

    #43 Posted: 6/9/2011 - 02:01

  • think87

    Click here to learn more about think87
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    was reading through this thread and while im a bit late but i noticed a little interest in muk and can definitely say that following the river visiting Muk, Nakhon Phanom and That Phanom was one my favorite times in thailand. That Phanoms night market was awesome and the local barber is not to shabby with a straight edge razor and gave me a nice bald head. Had a hard time explaining that i wanted to keep my beard but like clock work a monk walked and by i pointed to his head lol.gave him a nice tip and bought him a drink. Beautiful rural thailand. looking forward to hitting up muk again soon.

    #44 Posted: 11/9/2011 - 09:16

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