Photo: Wong's Bar, Bangkok.

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Getting all provincial

Posted by somtam2000 on 9/5/2017 at 15:40 admin

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Getting all provincial
You'll come across these towns throughout the region: the Ban Phes, Surat Thanis, Trats, Trangs, Satuns, Pak Chongs, Rach Gias, Padang Bais, Gorontalos and Kuala Besuts of the world. They're all leaping off points for places that are often (fairly) considered to be considerably more "worthy" of your attention. To many travellers, they're little more than a bus station, bed, street stall and ferry port.

They're the nameless towns that slide by the bus window as you hear the travellers behind you ask each other, "Where are we?" but the question hangs, often unanswered, as the place doesn't matter. It's just a pause on the way to somewhere "better".

The thing is, we've always had a bit of a soft spot for getting provincial. For getting off the bus, and staying off the bus. Not surprisingly, once you spend some time in a town, just about any town, you'll find something of interest and enjoyment.

It might be a little-visited temple, the family-run curry shop next door to the guesthouse, a friendly older resident who, surprised to see foreigners in town, takes you under his wing.

These are sometimes the basis for special, longer lasting memories. They give you the chance to touch the earth somewhere a little more local, and dare I say, authentic.

Set aside a day and a night here or there as you plan your trip. Get off the bus, stay off the bus, and see what you find.

The island will still be there the day after.

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,863
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Posted by exacto on 9/5/2017 at 20:13

Funny you mention Trat and Trang, which are two of my favorite places in Thailand. I usually stay a night in Trat on my to or back from the islands. I once spent several days in Trang when a mate got sick and spent several days in hospital there. I also have fond memories of a night in Ban Phe watching world cup soccer and drinking with a nice mix of locals and western expats. Like you say, these types of places are often the basis for special, longer-lasting memories. Ta.

#2 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,753
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Posted by fondo on 11/5/2017 at 23:15

Well said! I've spent good times in plenty of them - Trang, Chumphon, PKK, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Khon Kaen, Loei - some have a few touristic claims but hey, just enjoy the everydayness

#3 fondo has been a member since 23/6/2006. Posts: 175
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