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Travel Pictures - THAILAND - 1992

All images Ron Miller

          Although I have traveled to Thailand several times, my first visit in January of
     1992 was a time when most Americans knew little about this part of the world - and
     I was no exception. Although I entered the country with some trepidation, the Thai
     people made me feel comfortable almost immediately. In Thailand, I found peaceful
     people, tranquil countryside, remote hill tribes, stunning beaches and, best of all,
     savory food and delicious fruits with names I had never before heard. Thailand offers
     something for every visitor.

Very close to paradise; I have never found a more photogenic beach than this spot on the Andaman Sea -
Railay Beach, Thailand

Long-tail boats along Thailand's stunning southwest coast; because Railay Beach is
surrounded by cliff-lined limestone peaks, it can only be reached by boat -
Railay Beach, Thailand

Departing Railay Beach on the ferry to the Phi Phi Islands -
near Railay Beach, Thailand

A picturesque vista of Phi Phi Don Island; in 1992, the island was a travelers' paradise with little in the way of commercial resorts.
However, the natural beauty soon attracted more tourists and, eventually, international resorts. As a result, the island's population
increased dramatically to about 10,000 occupants over the next decade. The island became a tourist paradise - that is - until
the devastation wrought by the December 2004 tsunami. Tragically, it is estimated that as many as 4,000 people lost their
lives from the 18 foot tall tidal wave that completely overtopped the isthmus shown in the photo -
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Tranquil beaches, coral reefs, and private bungalows - a travelers paradise;
looking toward the isthmus and the village of Ton Sai -
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

This gravity-defying, karst formation was featured in the James Bond film "The Man With The Golden Gun" and, as a result,
is now commonly referred to as James Bond Island. This long-tail boat is used by the locals to haul tourists -
 Ko Tapu (a.k.a. James Bond Island), southern Thailand

The motorbike was a fantastic way to visit the rural areas in Thailand. I think it was about at this point, some
six months into my first world journey, that I felt the furthest from a 9 to 5 job and that irritating alarm clock -
northern Thailand

My international trekking group on the first day of our three-day excursion to visit some of the Hill Tribes in north Thailand -
northern Thailand

This young boy is a member of the Karen Tribe, the largest of Thailand's hill tribes. The Karen have an estimated population
of several hundred thousand in Thailand with several million more across the border in Burma -
northern Thailand

A British traveler with a young member of the Karen tribe; the ancestors of the Karen tribe migrated from Tibet -
northern Thailand

The promise given by our tour company that we would meet villagers who have "never seen tourists"
came into serious question when this kiosk was opened to sell sodas and cookies -
northern Thailand

This petite elderly woman is using a contraption to hull rice (and not appreciating my camera!) -
northern Thailand
Almost every trek into northern Thailand includes a journey (sometimes frightening) on the back of an elephant.
This small village has an elephant station (at left) to load and unload passengers. You can also
see men (at right) collecting bamboo for transport downstream -
northern Thailand
Our guide instructed me to steer this elephant but, without any instructions, I simply wanted to avoid pissing him (or her) off! -
northern Thailand
Do you know how to steer an elephant? -
northern Thailand
The elephants can negotiate terrifyingly rough terrain, and they do not seem to be unnerved by screaming tourists -
northern Thailand
Bamboo is harvested from the forest and transported down river -
northern Thailand
The local men are busily constructing bamboo rafts using only material from the forest. Some tourists are
"bamboozled" into thinking that the bamboo is harvested only for their rafts; however ...
northern Thailand
Setting off to negotiate several class II rapids on bamboo rafts! -
northern Thailand
These travelers are enjoying a unique form of river transport - bamboo rafting. The rafts are "guided" through the rapids and propelled
downstream with the use of long bamboo poles. Notice also the bamboo tripod that is used to keep the backpacks dry -
northern Thailand
This delightful village, probably designed by Tarzan himself, was just upstream from a bamboo sawmill! -
northern Thailand
We all survived our rafting adventure with nothing more than soggy feet and blisters from our bamboo poles -
northern Thailand
These adorable tourist bungalows were located right on the Burmese border (it was illegal at the time to cross into Burma) -
I wonder if one could permanently move into one of these bungalows? Maybe even look for folks
to share a home on a site like gumtree flatshare. What a beautiful place!
Mai Sai, Thailand
A tranquil scene from the bamboo porch of our tourist bungalow; although we could easily wade across
this stream on the Burmese border, unfortunately, we were not allowed to enter the country -
Mai Sai, Thailand
Locals could cross this bridge for trade but foreigners were prohibited to enter Burma (Myanmar) -
Mai Sai, Thailand
This is what rice paddies look like during the dry season -
near Chiang Rai, Thailand
This stream of long-tail boats is ferrying passengers across the Mekong River near the common border of Thailand, Laos, and Burma -
northern Thailand
The quiet main street of of Chiang Khan; after turning in my laundry to the hotel staff, I returned from
an outing and looked up to see all of my clothes drying on the hotel balcony! -
Chiang Khan, Thailand
These monks are moving about the manicured grounds of the stunning Buddhist temple which was created as a meditation center -
Wat Phu Thak, northeast Thailand
Strolling about the cantilevered walkways of this monastery truly is an act of faith -
Wat Phu Thak, Thailand 

My rickshaw driver, after transporting me from the bus station, waits patiently for another customer -
Bridge on the River Kwai, Thailand

We visitors remained at a safe distance as these WILD elephants crossed the road. Khao Yai national park has much to offer -
cool mountaintops, dense forest, grassland, waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife that includes Asiatic black bears,
Asian elephants, gaur, tigers, gibbons, Indian sambar deer, and wild pigs -
Khao Yai N.P., southern Thailand
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All images Ron Miller
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