Brought to you by Pilot Productions - producers of addictive travel and adventure TV shows that take you to unforgettable destinations around the planet. Globe Trekker is the ultimate intrepid traveller's guide to exploring our wonderful world.

Presenter : Ian Wright

North Thailand & Laos

150-foot-long-reclining-bhudda

Ian Wright’s journey begins in the densely populated capital, Bangkok. He finds cheap accommodation on Khao San Road and visits one of the many fashion shops in the vicinity.

Ian discovers the popular art of Thai Boxing, and endeavours to try out his new found skills. Finding out that most boys begin learning this art from the age of eleven, he wisely leaves it to the professionals, and watches one of the dozen fights held each week.

Early in the morning, Ian heads to Damnoen Saduak floating market to sample some of the local cuisine and to haggle with the Thai women in their wooden canoes, selling their fruit and vegetables. Later that day he heads to the biggest and oldest temple in Bangkok, where Ian views the stunning 150 feet long reclining Buddha. He also visits Patpong, the infamous red light district in Bangkok, and even though it only covers two streets it makes a disturbing impact.

From Bangkok, Ian heads east to Surin, making a brief stop at the ancient Khmer ruins. Thousands of people flock to Surin annually to participate in the elephant round up, which celebrates the strength of the elephant. This amazing event includes a tug of war with one elephant pitted against one hundred strong men…and Ian. Even with Ian’s help, the men don’t stand a chance against the elephant’s superior might.

Continuing North, Ian takes a train to Chiang Mai, making a stop en route at Lopburi, which holds an annual festival in honour of the monkeys – with which Lopburi is infested! Arriving in Chiang Mai, which lies in the mountains of Northern Thailand, Ian embarks on a three day trek towards the Burmese border, where he meets more tourists than hill tribes, stays afloat on a raft in the rapids, rides an elephant through the jungle and tries to avoid the lethal sting of the giant centipede.

Ian heads North East to Chiang Khong on the Mekong River, which borders Laos. He takes the boat to Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of Laos and experiences village life and cuisine at the small village of Pakbeng.

In Luang Prabang, Ian, now fed up with eating rice, indulges himself with French bread and croissants and discovers more about the French influence in Laos, which was colonised a hundred years ago. Hiring a bicycle, Ian stops off to watch the villagers produce paper, for which Laos is famous, and cools off in the Taat Sae Falls.

From Luang Prabang, Ian travels South East to Phonsavan in Central Laos and meets the Mines Advisory Group. This area was devastated by two million tons of bombs, dropped by American war planes during the Vietnam War. Ian sees the local people being educated on the dangers of shrapnel and bombs and learns that many houses have been constructed from war junk.

Ian’s final flight is to Vientiane, the capital of Laos located on the border with Thailand. Here Ian joins up with Ammata, an ex London club-goer who returned to Laos to become a monk. Ian enjoys a steam and herbal massage at Wat Sok Pa Luang temple and then celebrates with the Full Moon Festival at the end of his incredible journey.

Places Mentioned - Laos, Thailand

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