Very chilled out and relaxed, the Mut Mee Guest House is run by Juilan, an extremely friendly English expat. It was around 8pm and dark when we arrived at the Bus Station in Nong Khai, and we quickly negotiated a deal with a local TukTuk driver ( ie. laughed our arses off when he asked for 100 Bhat each ) who took us straight to the hotel, where we could just dump the bags, and head out into the garden for a few relaxing Beer Leo’s. The TukTuk cost us only 40 Bhat.
The garden is set right on the Mekong River, and in the morning, we could actually see across to Laos, about the same distance as back home overlooking the Tay from Dundee and over to Fife.
The garden was full of lush foliage, with lots of rustic sitting areas, covered in bamboo and thatched roofs. There was a bit of a traveller vibe about the place, and Julian seemed to be very good at introducing everyone and breaking the ice.
Up early and fresh next morning, it was time to hire a motorbike and get out and the area. We were going to head out into the countryside, but take in the Sculpture Park first.
The sculptures were quite fantastic, and there were lakes filled with huge giant catfish breaking the surface of the water occasionally in a feeding frenzy.
Leaving the park, we trundled down the road on our little Japanese motorbike, taking in the wonderfully colourful scenery. For the first time, our visit back home was a distant memory, and it really felt like we had just picked up from where we left off. We were both quiet, enjoying the heat, the breeze, the smells, and the sights.
Skinny farmers herding water buffalo would smile and wave from a distance, their teeth glowing brilliant white against a canvas of sun weathered brown leather skin. Poor, hardworking, yet extremely happy.
Smiling children would shout out greetings, looking slightly bemused at the unusual sight of 2 gingers floating past on a motorbike.
We got back to the hotel before darkness fell. There was a party that night with a really good local Thai band. This was on the raftboat at the bottom of the garden, so we had made a loose plan to maybe head over depending on how we felt. We had a few beers then ended up drinking some blue jungle juice concoction. Good idea at the time, we had a great night, but didn’t look too healthy next morning for our trip over the border to Laos.